What do you do if you've got an obnoxious little neighbor, about half your size, who is always kicking you in the shin?
If you squash the little moron like a bug, you look like a bully and the whole neighborhood comes down on you. You're big, you're well off, you can do what you want... the little neighbor is a hapless puke.
On the other hand, if you leave the little obnoxious neighbor to just go around kicking you in the shins, or kicking you in the rear when you're not looking, pretty soon you get bruises, and pretty soon bigger neighbors say, "Hey, if the punk can get away with it... I guess I can too."
This is the problem the U.S. has with France. Dominque de Villepin (search), the oily French foreign minister, keeps saying America is a good friend to France. It is obvious France doesn't really think that, because it's obvious France isn't acting that way.
The Wall Street Journal reports that French banking practices over the last few years have come down to this: Against the U.S.A? Great, we Frenchies have millions to loan Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, anti-Americans wherever.
Blair said, "uh, uh. Challenging the U.S. is a really bad idea," but he's being kicked around a lot lately for being America's friend. Some time down the road, maybe he or his successor will say, "Well, perhaps we should be closer to the French?"
I ask again... what should you do about a pukey little neighbor who keeps kicking you in the shin? Eventually, you gotta do something.
That's My Word.
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