Ah, French Dhimmitude is modernized De Gaulle “Third Way”

In an earlier post, I was trying to understand what Bat Y’eor was really saying about the dhimmitude of Europe. I just read this great article that clarifies:

There is something far deeper going on here. Beyond the anti-Americanism is an attempt to court the Muslim and Arab world. For its own safety and strategic gain, France is seeking a “third way” between America and its enemies. Chirac’s ultimate vision is a France that is mediator and bridge between America and Islam. During the cold war, Charles de Gaulle invented this idea of a third force, withdrawing France from the NATO military structure and courting Moscow as a counterweight to Washington. Chirac, declaring in Istanbul that “we are not servants” of America, has transposed this Gaullist policy to the struggle with radical Islam.

Explosive population growth in the Arab world coupled with Europe’s unprecedented baby bust presages a radical change in the balance of power in the Mediterranean world. Chirac perhaps sees a coming Muslim future or, at least, a coming Muslim resurgence. And he does not want to be on the wrong side of that history. The result is a classic policy of appeasement: stand up to the American presumption of dictating democratic futures to Afghanistan and Iraq; ingratiate yourself with the Arab world. Thus, for example, precisely at a time when the U.S. and many Western countries are shunning Yasser Arafat for supporting terrorism and obstructing peace, Chirac sends his Foreign Minister to the ruins of Arafat’s compound to shake Arafat’s hand for world cameras.

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2 Responses to Ah, French Dhimmitude is modernized De Gaulle “Third Way”

  1. ooghe says:

    If Chirac were worried about being on the wrong side of history, banning muslim headscarves certainly wasn’t the most prudent move in courting Islam. Although I agree that postwar France has never cottoned to being relegated to second class power status, I’m not sure France would actually view Istanbul as a politcal counterweight to the US. They are, after all, ardently opposed to Turkey joining the EU in a way that reeks of elitism.

    (It also still seems the case that the panarabian cause, that is the political unity of the arab world in a practical sense, never recovered from 1967- what politician would bet on it today?)

    But really- if any nation can be said to harbor a kind of culturally ingrained racist attitude towards the Arabs, it would be France. From Charlemagne and the Moors through the Algerian war, the Gallic spirit seems almost predicated on the notion of subjugating the Arab and Islamic world.

    Personally, I think French ambitions- at least as evidenced by Chirac- have more to do with cementing ties with Germany in the hopes that a Franco/German dominated EU itself can become a counterweight to the US.

    There was an interesting book, the title eludes me, written by a Frenchman about a year ago that went into the roots of French anti-Americanism (which I think is a stronger emotional undercurrent in France than anything). One of the more salient points the reviewer brought up was that since the Revolutionary War, France has been steadily replaced by the US on the world stage. In additon, France sees itself as largely *responsible* for the success of the American Revolution. Worse, from the standpoint of France, not only was the French Empire replaced by the US- but the generally the US *doesn’t even seem to be aware that it did this*.

    Much French intransigence seems to make a lot of sense to me when considered from that angle.

    In any event- I think the future of Europe is going to resemble a kind of medievalism rather than any kind of national superstate- either by way of federalization or ‘dhimmitude’- but that’s another topic.

  2. ps says:

    I think you (ooghe) are largely correct. I believe that the book you are thinking of may be one of two:
    “L’ennemi américain: généalogie de l’antiamericainisme français” by Philippe Roger, or “L’obsession anti-américaine: Son fonctionnement, ses causes, ses inconséquences” by Jean-Francois Revel, both of 2002.

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