Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 20, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

FANTASYLAND....Nicolas Sarkozy's honeymoon with American conservatives was always bound to end before long. Here's another nail in the coffin:

France acknowledged Monday that it had informal contacts with Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist organization for its campaign of violence against Israel.

Washington swiftly condemned the move, but French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said such contacts are needed to gauge the humanitarian and political situation in the Middle East. He said other European countries had quietly done likewise, a contention supported by Hamas.

Kouchner hastily assured everyone that the French were involved only in "contacts," not "relations" or "negotiations" with Hamas, but even that was too much for the Bush administration. We are all supposed to pretend instead that Hamas doesn't exist and that things will get magically better if we ignore them. Even Barack Obama has been forced to buy into this nonsense. The mind boggles.

Kevin Drum 11:41 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

Is "boggles" an intrasitive verb?

Posted by: BarryG on May 20, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

"boggles" is a transitive verb, but this is a special construction in which "the mind" is the implied object of the sentence as well as the subject.

Re: Sarkozy. Well, he's French. What good neocon can love a Frenchman? Even a conservative Frenchman is still a conservative that eats cheese and surrenders.

Posted by: thersites on May 20, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Even a conservative Frenchman is still a conservative that eats cheese and surrenders.

Henri IV would disagree . . .

Posted by: rea on May 20, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"contacts," not "relations"

[Place your own Bill Clinton joke here.]

Posted by: thersites on May 20, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush/McCain foreign policy is pure genius. They have created a marvelously clever Catch 22 policy position: Don't negotiate with an adversary that isn't doing what you want them to do. Of course, if the adversary is doing what you want them to do, they aren't an adversary, so you have no reason to negotiate with them.

For Bush/McCain, this makes complete sense. In fact, it has a certain elegant beauty. It leads to the very logical, even inescapable, conclusion that the only option is military force.

And we all know that military force is George Bush's and John McCain's favorite foreign policy option.

Posted by: aaron aardvark on May 20, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Even a conservative Frenchman is still a conservative that eats cheese ....

So are you saying that if one eats cheese that one becomes a conservative? That must be my problem.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 20, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps John McCain will return to his 2003 line on France:

"They remind me of an aging movie actress in the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it."

Posted by: Furious on May 20, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

People, left or right, shouldn't get too invested in who gets elected to run foreign countries. Their job is to advance the interests of their countries, not ours. Eventually, they will do something we don't like.

Posted by: CJColucci on May 20, 2008 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

OW: So are you saying that if one eats cheese that one becomes a conservative?

No, what happens with eating too much cheese is one becomes "constipated." Come to think of it...

Posted by: thersites on May 20, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sarcozy narrowly won the run-off election in France over the liberal.

Conservatives in France or the Us will NEVER change. All wrong all the time. But hey, they are so adult and reasonable. Like Bush. Cheney. Sarcozy. F them.

PS: Sarcozy is an APPEASER!!!

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on May 20, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

What up with the cheese talk...let's cut the cheese talk...(somebody stop me!). WHO FARTED?!?

Posted by: Big Pussy on May 20, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

People, left or right, shouldn't get too invested in who gets elected to run foreign countries.

Tell it to Mohamed Mossadeg or any number of Central American leftists who were elected in the 80's.

Posted by: Double Shot on May 20, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe if we could get decent cheese in the USA, we would be willing to acknowledge that Hamas exists.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 20, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

let's bomb france!

Posted by: john on May 20, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

PTate - try igourmet.com, they have good selections.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 20, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

WHO FARTED?!?

Posted by: Big Pussy on May 20, 2008 at 12:32 PM

But which is worse - a cheese fart or a cat fart?
I'll posit the latter, excepting of course eating an overabundance of really good gorgonzola while washing it down with Guiness.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 20, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of 'shock and awe' we are 'vision and hope'.
A V.P. Jim Webb will make it happen.

Listen at NPR's Fresh Air: Terry Gross interviews Senator Webb.

Wow.

Posted by: slanted tom on May 20, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The conservative attitude is like a foreign-relations analog to their attitude to domestic street crime: just ignore the people who produce the criminals and their culture and its problems, and instead keep mindlessly hitting them and expecting it to defeat the problem, although it never does.

When more and more minorities make it into the middle class- due to unrelated factors- conservatives will proudly pipe up (at least in private) that their crime-reducation plan caused it, although what has ended up being produced is a lower-middle-class that still has a lot of the same social problems and racial animus towards whites. For people who are so hysterically scared that the blacks are an internal enemy, they really know how to create the conditions to creat that enemy- to condition the people to believe that white people are against them. Just look at the Katrina clean-up- that was a pretty dramatic example.

Posted by: Swan on May 20, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

crime-reducation plan

Sorry, should have read "crime-reduction."

Just excuse my typos today!

Posted by: Swan on May 20, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hamas doesn't exist

Soon, Palestinians will not exist, which is the solution many hope and pray and kill for.

Posted by: Brojo on May 20, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Qui a coupe le fromage?

Posted by: Alice on May 20, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin what is it with your never ending quest to engage, seek approval from, or just wave your arms around to get noticed by the marginalized wingnuts at the Corner? If you're trying to be a modern day
Galbraith to their Buckley you're wasting your time. It remains to be seen if you have what it takes to be a Galbraith but none of them will ever be your Buckley. You're setting your sites too low and you're falling into Broderism with your attempts to prop them up as worthy antagonists.


Posted by: markg8 on May 20, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Even Barack Obama has been forced to buy into this nonsense."

Forced by whom?

Posted by: flubber on May 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie: But which is worse - a cheese fart or a cat fart?

Apples and oranges. Unless either a) the cheese is farting or b) a person is farting after eating cat. I suspect that, as a cat lover, you would disapprove of option B. Option A seems physically improbable, but you're the scientist.

Posted by: thersites on May 20, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Option A: Person farting after eating cheese.
Option B: Cat farting after eating shrew.

I'll take option A, anytime.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 20, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sarkozy has to do a lot more than this before he alienates me. After years of boycotting French Burgundies, I've been able to start drinking and collecting them again as a result of Sarkozy's pro-American tilt. That hasn't changed.

Brojo - The day the Palestinian Arabs lay down their arms, and stop planting bombs, firing rockets, kidnapping travelers and sniping at school children, on that day the IDF and Mossad will stop killing Hamas, Al Fatah, and other terrorist leaders. On that day there will be peace. You might not like where the borders are drawn, but there will be peace, if the Palestinian Arabs want it. I would imagine that after enough time has passed without further incident, enough time to allow mutual fears to dissipate, Israel and the surrounding Arab lands, including the West Bank and Gaza along with Egypt and Syria and Jordan, might even move towards open borders as have the countries of Europe have finally done after centuries of warfare. But for any of this to happen, the Palestinian Arabs will have to abandon their revanchist dreams and lay down their arms.

Posted by: DBL on May 20, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

DBL,

"The day the Palestinian Arabs lay down their arms, and stop planting bombs, firing rockets, kidnapping travelers and sniping at school children, on that day the IDF and Mossad will stop killing Hamas, Al Fatah, and other terrorist leaders. On that day there will be peace."

Sorry, but that's not how conflicts like this end. They either end by one side being completely defeated, or through complex negotiations that allow both sides to save face. You do nothing but adopt the typical right-wing Zionist viewpoint that everything is the Palestinians' and Arabs' fault, and that there's nothing to talk about. The British and Northern Ireland Protestants could have used your logic and said, "Until the IRA recognizes Northern Ireland's right to exist, there's nothing to talk about." Thank goodness they didn't do that--the Good Friday agreement would never have happened if they did.

And what about Israel's responsibility? If Israel wants peace so much, why does it continue building settlements in the West Bank?

Posted by: Lee on May 20, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Double Shot, I get the impression you think we disagree. I don't think we do.

Posted by: CJColucci on May 20, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hamas who?

Warmest Regards,

The Republican National Party

Posted by: CT on May 20, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

CJColucci, I see that now. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Posted by: Double Shot on May 20, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Thierry on March 21, 2010 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK
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