Joshua Marshall has a nice little piece on unilateralism, multilateralism, anti-Americanism, and the UN today. I’m going to offer a couple more points:
Tacitus quite accurately pointed out to me that there was a vein of anti-Americanism even directly after 9/11; it’s not as if everyone in the world was our friends. On thinking about that a little more, though, I’m not sure it’s a distinctive statement. One could as easily point out that there’s always been a vein of anti-French sentiment in the world, and a vein of anti-British sentiment, and a vein of anti-British sentiment. It goes with the territory. Humans have a xenophobic streak. Bush should still be held accountable for fanning the spark of anti-Americanism into a roaring flame.
Second point: Chirac is impressing the hell out of me. Not in a moral sense, but as a politician. I realized the other day that he’s put together a coalition consisting of France, Germany, and Russia. France and Germany? Germany and Russia? France and Russia? Wasn’t there been some animosity of considerable proportions between those countries not too long ago?
Now, you can say that they’re just uniting because they have similar interests, but that kind of begs the question of why they have similar interests in this case. They’re not really terribly similar politically. They all have very different problems. And who’d have guessed that France would wind up as the organizer, anyhow?
Chirac’s a hell of a diplomat, no matter how much he pisses us off. I hope nobody’s underestimating him.