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Chaffers
1st May 2003, 23:52
Whilst the prospect of Europeans actually paying for their own defence for once will no doubt delight the American taxpayer the timing of the announcement and the sketchy details available make the decision look half-baked at best. 60,000 troops capable of deploying to, erm, France, Germany and Belgium looks to be almost purely for Nationalistic reasons rather than any sincere defensive need.

The already struggling central European economy is set to be burdened by the essential C+C for such a force, previously underwritten by the Americans and the crumbling North Atlantic Alliance appears to have been dealt a mortal blow. A very serious political statement indeed. A case of jumping before being pushed perhaps or is this a peurile a self defacing retaliation for the expected American backlash, which so far appears to emcompass sending 3 toilet clerks and a Cessna to the Paris Airshow rather than the usual Armada.

One wonders what else is being done, or planned, in the name of European Nationalism.

steamchicken
2nd May 2003, 00:01
Oh God, oh God, oh God. We've just secured agreement to get the EU Rapid Reaction Force going, you know - that one all 15 and now 25 nations agreed to and that exists - and some fool wants to start duplicating it. This is so bloody silly it takes the biscuit. So yet more proliferating bureaucrats in uniform dolloped about Belgium, and all to command a dinky lil' Franco-German brigade group, some Belges and the mighty Luxembourgers. And if the Germans are suddenly so keen on European defence, then why don't they pay up and get going so we can all finally have our A400Ms and Eurofighters! Not so much a summit, more a festival of inefficiency!

Ozzy
2nd May 2003, 00:31
Can we surmise that given their recent actions both France and Germany believe they actually do need this "independent" force? I wonder how they will divvy up Belgium? I guess Poland should start fortifying its borders again...

Ozzy

Bubbette
2nd May 2003, 03:22
I think the Pentagon has pulled the US planes out of the show, and limited Pentagon staffers attending. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/4/29/162810.shtml

Davaar
2nd May 2003, 03:42
Zum Rhein, zum Rhein, zum deutschen Rhein,
Wer will des Stromes Hüter sein?
Lieb' Vaterland, magst ruhig sein,
Fest steht und treu die Wacht am Rhein!



Also!
Sic transit gloria mundi.

pigboat
2nd May 2003, 05:38
It would appear this decision is less than fully assed.

Hilico
2nd May 2003, 05:43
[Text of post deleted by original poster. Tone inappropriately flippant for Current Affairs forum.]

Davaar
2nd May 2003, 05:43
The Brits got the Entente Cordiale last time. Now it's Germany's turn.

reynoldsno1
2nd May 2003, 05:47
No doubt it will be a non-aggression pact with Russia next...

tony draper
2nd May 2003, 06:29
Check the fuses on the demolition charges halfway thru that tunnel, bloody thing was afront against nature anyway.
;)

Chaffers
2nd May 2003, 06:34
I was talking about the US military presence, no senior officers or flying exhibits or so I hear.

Hardly a major part of my post to pick on, good job I left the other jokes out else I'd have a swarm of overzealous pedants biting my ankles.

T_richard
2nd May 2003, 10:06
I don't know if this is a case of history repeating itself, but I just saw a documentary about the 1938 (?) Olympics (think Jessie Owens) on the History Channel. The second camera sequence is of the French Olympic team coming out at the opening cereomonies (sp) and extending the "Heil Hitler"salute to Hitler in his box. Funny they hadn't been invaded yet and they were already surrendering. Why am I supposed to admire their politics?

Davaar
2nd May 2003, 10:49
No, I doubt that they were surrendering T-richard. It was even worse: they AGREED. See what Petain did, and no one forced him on them.

Kwasi_Mensa
2nd May 2003, 22:21
Knowing the present political and social state of affairs in Germany (and also France), I find Davaar's quote re "Wacht am Rhein" and T-Richard's remarks re ('36) Berlin Olympics in reference to the present situation, to say at the least, utterly ignorant and I can only assume it's caused by a flush of victory or a temporarily intelligence black out (SARS?), despite the use of Latin. Or maybe an overdose of FOX?

Prohibe linguam tuam à malo.

Ozzy
3rd May 2003, 00:52
Back to topic. So what exactly is this Franco German dad's army meant to do? Man the borders? Parade? Pass out? War games? Run away? Run away again? Reverse? Run away yet again? Eject? Occupy chateus? Run at targets shouting "take that you Yankee dog"? Or what?

Ozzy

Hoedt uwe tong voor het helsche. Amen;)

steamchicken
3rd May 2003, 01:06
That's exactly it. Perhaps somebody forgot that Nazi Germany was rather better known for being an enemy of France (after all they invaded it, conquered it, annexed bits of it and spent 4 years exploiting it) than for agreeing to share bits of its army with them..after all, who d'yer think the Watch on the Rhine are watching out for? (hint - they're watching from the German side)

BTW, West Germany signed an non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union as part of the 1972 Treaty of Moscow, under which both sides agreed to renounce any attempt to change their frontiers by force, agreed to a wide range of economic clauses, and that the Soviets would bully the East Germans into accepting West Germany's proposals for more contacts, trade, and guarantees for West Berlin (this bit, the purpose of the exercise, of course wasn't written down!) As with everything else, the treaties signed by the Federal Republic pre-91 remain in force. The principle was re-affirmed in the Stavropol Agreements between Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, in which Gorby agreed to let the Germans reunify as one state in return for a large amount of economic, scientific and technological cooperation, guarantees of non-aggression and the recognition of the post-1945 frontiers. It was yet again laid down in an accompanying Treaty of Friendship. Finally, the principle, the frontiers and a maximum German army of 375,000 without nukes were enshrined in the 2+4 Power Accords of 1991, dealing with the external aspects of German reunification and effectively the final peace settlement between Germany and the Allied Powers. This is old news. I doubt very much that a country where the sending of 200 men to Afghanistan causes the near-collapse of the government is particularly frightening.

Davaar
5th May 2003, 00:01
The Kwasi savant finds T_richard and me ignorant. I can’t answer for T, but as to me, no contest. I think K wants a one-way debate. Still, I did not start the thread.

I did suggest to T that he mistook the motives of the 1936 French team, which were probably “enthusiasm” not “surrender”.

You will search my contributions in vain for any hint of “surrender monkeys”. Indeed, I suspect it is unjust for British and Americans to reproach the French with ingratitude on the “Liberation”. I suspect that Liberation was the last thing France wanted until it was clear the Allies would win, and so gratitude would be out of place.

Until then the French were doing well what they did best at that time, sending Jews, adult and children, to Auschwitz. The “concentration building” at Drancy near Paris was still there in 1989 and for all I know still is. Read the Statuts des Juifs.

Anyway, T knows about the sports scene and I do not, so I'll move on.

The author and critic Ford Madox Ford joined the British Army in 1914. He was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant at age 41 and fought in the front lines through World War I.

In his “The March of Literature” (1938), he notes that the French 115th Regiment every year held a parade to commemorate Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, killed in 1761 as he single-handedly held a pass against an Austrian army. I imagine it was in the Seven Years’ War. Given the service of Henri’s family to France over 1000 years, one wonders a little why they singled him out from the many great men it produced. Anyway, it is clear that Ford was not anti-French.

In the same book he considers “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes (that’s the one where the Athenian women deny n**ky to the men until they end the war with Sparta). Many think it a pacifist play by a pacifist author. Not at all, says Ford: Aristophanes wanted peace not because he was opposed to war but because he was opposed to democracy (Athens) and in favour of the Tyrants (Sparta).

Now in 1938, continues Ford, we have a French critic Léon Daudet “probably of so great a genius as to be almost alone in the world”, seen, as many see Aristophanes, as a pacifist.

“So Monsieur Daudet today clamours for peace and alliance with German National Socialists, desiring to see, if not the actual installation of Mr Hitler as the ruler of France, at least the organisation of France on lines exactly similar to that of the National Socialists in Germany”.

Ford observes that Aristophanes did live to see the 30 Tyrants installed in Athens, and wonders if M Daudet will see a similar fruition of his hopes. He did. M Daudet was not alone in his outlook.

I think Kwasi is suggesting that we should ignore the history of France, and if so I think he is wrong. There can be few nations with a sense of history more vivid and lasting than that felt by the French.

Von Clausewitz, von Scharnhorst, von Moltke the Elder, and others started and developed the Great General Staff system because they were aware of that, had been hammered by Napoleon, didn’t like it, and didn’t want a repeat.

The French did want a repeat. That is why, at the Frankfurt Diet, Bismarck made such effective use of Die Wacht am Rhein. The French saw their chances diminish, year by year, and so were eager as could be to have the Franco-Prussian Olympics of 1870 before it was too late and they lost the population race. Alas they lost all the races.

Clémenceau was there at the time. The French got the Brits into the Entente Cordiale with its net of secret clauses, and thus got the Brits into WWI. At Versailles in 1919, Clémenceau said the day of vengeance is here at last. He had been waiting fifty years for this. Yup. He had not forgotten.

Thank you, steamchicken, for your hints.

I think myself the present rapprochement is another of these hidden American inspired money-makers. Intelligence reports that the safest place to hide your wallet in France is below the soap. The Germans are noted for their cleanliness. The mingling of French and German may result in improved sales of soap in France and a boost to the American economy.

Kwasi_Mensa
5th May 2003, 07:11
I'm aware of your French fobie Davaar and I'm sure J.P.Sartre will appear in one of your future rantings and may be even Jeanne d’Arc or Robespierre, but things do have changed over the past 50 years. Especially in Germany after causing 2 WW’s in the 20th Century. Many Germans are painfully aware of their terrible war history and try to avoid anything that will remind them to war even if it is the slightest. That’s why Schroeder/Fischer played on anti the Iraq War during the last elections, just to be re-elected.

Although France hasn’t been evolved as drastically as Germany, I’m sure things are much different to 60-90 years ago. Hell, the whole world is different to most of the last century! France and Germany, the sworn enemies for centuries, are now the best of allies.

So, either you are totally ignorant of the present geopolitical situation in Germany and France, or for whatever reason you just can’t escape the last century. I just don’t see the point in your kwasi intelligent collection.

And re your remark about a safe place to hide your wallet, Cheney already knew this from 1997 to 2000, when one of his Halliburton subsidiaries (Dresser) sold for $73 million in oil production equipment to Iraq through French affiliates. A true French Connection ;)


Wir leben alle unter dem gleichen Himmel, aber wir haben nicht alle den gleichen Horizont (Adenauer)

Davaar
5th May 2003, 07:29
You can have Sartre. I'll take Alphonse Karr: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”.

chuks
7th May 2003, 15:44
When your geo-political questions come down to the local level human diversity makes these gross national distinctions largely meaningless. I know pacifist Germans, warlike Frenchmen, Norwegian Nazis, Perfectionist Africans, American sophisticates... so? Most people still live in their own little worlds, largely isolated from these trends some of you guys like to see and chunter on about so.

The world is a disorderly place, and that's a threatening thing. How reassuring to try to chop it up and cram it into little boxes with big labels, cutting off any bits that stick out. Just don't try to take that approach out on the road, since it's largely useless. Almost the first individual you will meet will cause you to reconsider whatever considered opinion you started with. Well, check out the origin of the word `prejudice´if you like pedantry!

BahrainLad
7th May 2003, 18:38
For t_richard, interesting article about Saluting Hitler in Sport here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1202-301147,00.html

It wasn't just the French...........and so is meaningless in this context.


{edited to make sure that my intentions at providing a footnote to the topic discussed are entirely clear to the Gods of the Board...}

Davaar
8th May 2003, 04:35
My allusion above to the Entente Cordiale was made on 1 May. I have just received my copy of the Spectator of 3 May. Cutting and pasting are forbidden here; they are also beyond my skill, so I recommend the article on the same topic at p. 24, by Simon Heffer. It is entitled, appropriately, "With friends like these....". Guess whom he has in mind.

Chuks is in my modest view perfectly correct that we cannot legitimately particularise from the general, races, colours, or even (an unpopular one here) organised religion. We can certainly, though, generalise legitimately from the particular, if we have enough of them: How else would the worlds of politics, insurance, and aviation be run?

Paterbrat
9th May 2003, 00:10
Alas Kwasi your mental floss is only passing through the remaining few:} . The present proposed alliance would seem to be as woefully totaly ignorant of the present geopolitical situation and seeks to duplicate NATO functions, expensive, but no doubt a face saving way for France to try and rectify it's absence from that body in any meaningful capacity.
Interesting choice of partners in that it was Germany that actualy assisted in solving the last NATO crisis caused by France's veto on the Patriots to Turkey. But then they have been bedfellows before.
A shame they won't actualy be needing all that oil production equipment then.:D