Published January 14, 2015
This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Nov. 17, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: President Bush's best friend for life, Jacques Chirac (search), just can't let it go. He told the BBC the war in Iraq has only encouraged the terrorists and made the world a more dangerous place.
Chirac is meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) this week, and those two aren't exactly getting along either.
I'm joined now by John Miller (search), co-author of the book "Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France."
So Mr. Miller, you know, this was the — Chirac's line is, was John Kerry's line, the American people rejected it, and Chirac doesn't seem to notice. Or is it that he doesn't care?
JOHN MILLER, CO-AUTHOR, "OUR OLDEST ENEMY": Well, I think, well, first of all, I love this comment of his that the world is now a more dangerous place. And I suppose that's true for certain people in France who have been on the take in the oil for food scam over there.
But as with respect to this election, I think he probably wanted John Kerry (search) to win. He would have loved to have the new president jet across the Atlantic Ocean, have a little wine and cheese soiree, and exchange pleasantries in French.
But the fundamental fact is that France does not have an anti-George Bush policy. It does not have an anti-Republican policy. It has an anti- American policy. And its fundamental outlook on the world would not have changed if John Kerry had been elected.
GIBSON: Now, why do you say, the, explain this, because… you know, Americans get annoyed with France, but they don't understand this business of an actual anti-American policy. What do you mean?
MILLER: Well, they… it's — it — the — it's — it's — it goes back — it goes back centuries, actually, but — but it, but this — this is a government, Chirac's government clashed with, with the Clinton administration over Iraq. And they — they — they established a policy in the 1990s where, where they decided the United States was what they call a hyperpower. It was an out-of-control superpower who, who needed to be balanced on the world stage, and balanced is a euphemism for oppose. So France has tried to organize a coalition of nations that will - - that will provide this balance or opposition to the United States.
GIBSON: Well, now, what is he, who is he talking to when he says the world is a more dangerous place? Is he trying to influence the Brits? He's about to make a visit to Britain of their 100-year-old sort of detente between France and Britain or is he speaking to Americans or the French? Who, exactly?
MILLER: I think he's speaking primarily to Europeans. That interview was for the British. He's about to go to Great Britain. I think he's trying to undermine some of Tony Blair's pro-war support over there and suggest that this war has been disaster for the world and bad for Europe.
And what he — what he really wants, when he wants to organize the world against the United States, he's — he's — he's primarily talking about the E.U. And he wants to — he wants France to be the center of gravity over there.
GIBSON: Is the reason we're seeing this — you know, I read one report on a French Web site that is in English that said that Chirac was recently informed that the Americans had been spying on him, been listening to his phone conversations, and had heard exactly what he thinks of President Bush.
So it — does it — would it be fair to say that Chirac figures, well, they're listening to me say this stuff in private, I might just as well say it to the rest of the world out loud?
MILLER: I haven't heard that report. I do think that the Bush administration knows what Jacques Chirac thinks of them. I mean, he — he — he — certainly expressed it very recently, called — he said Donald Rumsfeld lacks culture, typical French patronization there. He said that Americans don't return favors. He's, he's been in rare form the last couple days.
GIBSON: What a, why? What, I mean, the — just because he's in a fit of pique about Kerry losing or Bush winning?
MILLER: Well, this is a guy who, who's, who, who really speaks off the cuff a lot. He's very quotable. And it's nothing new. I don't think this is surprising, what he's doing now. He's been a little bit more colorful than he has been recently. I think he went under the radar a little bit before the election because he probably didn't want to be seen as endorsing one candidate or the other.
But this is a guy who has a long history of making anti-American statements, and he's, he's back making them again.
GIBSON: Well, look, you know, there's this little story in the paper that French are protesting to the Americans because we have not given them access to a guy we found and saved in Fallujah, who turned out to be the driver who was driving those two French reporters when they were kidnapped, and they're still missing. Are the Americans giving the French a little payback? You want to give us all this lip, guess what, we're going to be slow about letting you talk to this driver.
MILLER: Well, Condoleezza Rice (search), the new nominee for secretary of state, made a famous comment last year, where she was assessing what to do on the world stage. And she — and — and — and it was, it was a little quip. She said, Punish France, ignore Germany, forget Russia. And I think we're possibly in a punish France mode right now.
GIBSON: John Miller, a co-author of the book "Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France." John, thanks very much. There's a picture of your book on the screen, ready for Christmas season buying.
John, thanks for coming on. Appreciate it.
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