Yesterday Jacques Chirac vetoed a U.S. plan to send NATO troops to help maintain security during Afghanistan’s upcoming election. Chirac ignored a direct plea from Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, who traveled to Istanbul to ask NATO to help:
I would like you to please hurry, as NATO, to Afghanistan. Come sooner than September
Which tells us something about France and its position in the war on terror. France’s position has nothing to do with Iraq; nothing to do with the U.N. and international law; nothing to do with U.S. invasions; and makes no distinction between controversial American policies (Iraq) and non-controversial American policies (Afghanistan). France’s hostility isn’t even driven, necessarily, by its commercial interests, since France has no economic interest in Afghanistan one way or the other. I don’t pretend to know what calculation drives Chirac’s pro-Arab and anti-American policies. But it’s hard to see how John Kerry or anyone else can fault President Bush for being unable to secure Chirac’s cooperation on Iraq, when France not only won’t help out in Afghanistan, but won’t let NATO help, either.