Tuesday 25 May 2004

What's French for 'Dangerous Loony"?

All countries have their raving nutters. Some merely take the dottiness to extremes. Some are comparatively harmless, only murdering a few dozen or a few hundred before they get caught. Others get into positions of power, either by a Putsch or a ballot box, and then they are Dangerous.

Paul-Marie CouteauxBear with me, as I'll quote a primary source en Francais. I've given it in full, and in the original, as it's so incredible. It's a Verbatim quote from the proceedings of the European parliament, dated a few months before 9/11. The speaker is Paul-Marie Couteaux.
Madame la Présidente, le plus étonnant dans notre débat, c'est notre étonnement, car la politique expansionniste d'Israël est le résultat inévitable et prévisible du déséquilibre croissant dans la région, équilibre dans lequel nous portons une très grande part de responsabilité. D'abord parce que la plupart de nos États - à l'exception notable de la France -n'ont pas cessé, depuis 1967, de donner l'impression à l'État d'Israël - un État de plus en plus sûr de lui et dominateur - qu'il pouvait impunément violer la loi internationale et les résolutions de l'ONU.

En réalité, nous avons suivi, là comme ailleurs, Washington et nous persistons à fermer les yeux sur la dérive théocratique de cet état religieux dont les gouvernements se trouvent placés sous la coupe de partis et de minorités fanatiques qui n'ont rien à envier aux autres fanatismes religieux de la région. Pour ces raisons, nous devrions envisager des sanctions à l'encontre d'Israël.

Mais il y a un autre déséquilibre grave où notre responsabilité est engagée, c'est le déséquilibre des forces. Il faut que nous envisagions - je n'hésite pas à le dire - à doter la partie arabe d'une force suffisante, y compris d'une force nucléaire suffisante, pour qu'Israël ne se croit pas tout permis. C'était la politique qu'avait engagée mon pays dans les années 70 en dotant l'Irak de l'arme nucléaire. Nous l'avons détruite. Nous allons donc persister dans notre politique de déséquilibre et ce qui arrive aujourd'hui n'est que le résultat fâcheux, mais inévitable, de notre aveuglement et de notre lâcheté collective.
Here is the official translation into English :
Madam President, the most surprising thing about our debate is our surprise, for Israel's expansionist policy is the inevitable and predictable result of the growing imbalance in the region, the stability for which we bear much of the responsibility. Firstly that is because since 1967 most of our states, with the notable exception of France, have continued to give the State of Israel – a state that is growing increasingly self-assured and domineering – the impression that it can violate international law and UN resolutions with impunity.

In reality, here as elsewhere we have followed Washington and persist in closing our eyes to the theocratic excesses of this religious state whose governments are under the thumb of fanatical parties and minorities that are just as bad as the other groups of religious fanatics in the region. That is why we should envisage imposing sanctions on Israel.

There is, however, another serious imbalance for which we are in part responsible, namely the imbalance of forces. I have no hesitation in saying that we must consider giving the Arab side a large enough force, including a large enough nuclear force, to persuade Israel that it cannot simply do whatever it wants. That is the policy my country pursued in the 1970s when it gave Iraq a nuclear force. We have now destroyed it. So we will carry on with our policy of imbalance and what is happening today is merely the annoying but inevitable result of our collective blindness and cowardice.
A Lone Nutter, you say? Just another Euro-MP, not a Mover nor a Shaker? Here's his political biography :
Senior administrator, Ministry of Education (1982);
Head of the office of the Commissioner-General for the French language, reporting to the Prime Minister (1984);
Special adviser to the head of the Africa directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1988);
Special adviser in the office of the Minister of Defence (1989).
Visiting lecturer at the University of Paris VIII (1995).
Editor of the RPR magazine Une certaine idée (1998-1999).
Technical adviser in the office of the President of the National Assembly (1993-1995).
Technical adviser in the office of the UN Secretary-General (1992-1993).

His position in the European Parliament :
(Polit)Bureau Member of the Group for a Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD)
Member of the European Parliament,
Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy
Member of the European Parliamentary Delegation to the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union (ACP-EU)
Monsieur (or, since he's a Chevalier des Artes et Lettres, should that be just plain Sieur Paul? )Couteaux is one of the guidng lights of Souverainisme - Sovereignism. It's Nationalist, first and foremost, and secondarily Socialist. The term originates in Quebec, but it was he who imported it.

From Souverainisme, j'écris ton nom
Le souverainisme n'est que la formulation contemporaine de la révolte d'un peuple qui ne s'appartient plus, s'en rend compte peu à peu, et ne l'accepte pas.
Or, in a free translation in today's Lingua Franca, from 'A Personal Exposition of Souverainism':
Souverainism is only the current term for a Popular Revolt of the Owned, those who realize their slavery little by little, and do not accept it.
As I've written before, National Socialism is not neccessarily always a Bad Thing (tm). A quick skim through Sieur Paul's works (with my poor French helped by Google's Translator now and then) shows none of Jean-Marie LePen's Hamasesque rantings about International Jewish Conspiracies, Freemasons and Illuminati running the world etc. Instead, Couteaux blames the USA, and with some truth. A French Patriot, or rather, a (literal) Chauvin-iste, he rants against the impotence of France, its irrelevance in world affairs.

But as long as his solution is to give Nukes to Israel's - and America's - enemies to 'counterbalance' the situation (and if a few million Jews or Americans die as the result, that's not a problem , it's a desirable feature ), then France's irrelevance will just get worse.

M. Couteaux was born in France in 1956. I was born not far away (at least in Australian terms), in Southern England, in 1958. We are of similar vintage. English Europeans of my generation will never forget how the US Cavalry arrived in 1942, after England had held the line alone against a Nazi-Soviet pact for nearly 2 years, and a distracted Nazi-held Europa for 6 months thereafter. The war was in doubt until a sneak attack on December 7 that killed fewer Americans that did 9/11 ( though the Directorate of Tube Alloys would have built the Bomb by 1949 at the latest, and England may have been able to hold out that long ). England had been stripped bare of all US holdings by the Neutrality Act, and of the famous 50 destroyers, only 12 were still in service by 1942. Too Old. Too decrepit. But no matter. Boys from Idaho, from Indiana, and from Iowa, as well as Saskatchewan and Surrey and Sussex died at Omaha, at Utah, at Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches. We'll never forget the debt we owe, a debt in the strongest currency of all - Blood. But many French Europeans of that generation, it seems, will never forget, and certainly never forgive the Anglo-Americans for Liberating them, and forcing them to confront their own national failure.

M. Couteaux is willing to see Israel Nuked, not because he's Anti-Semitic, but he sees Israel (rightly) as an outpost of close-to-Anglo-American values. With its querulous, bickering, materialist Democracy, it represents all he despises - Uppity Peasants who see no need for an Elite to guide them, full of cultural and culinary atrocities like McDonalds. He's not against Democracy per se, nor Judaism per se, nor anything much per se - except inasmuch as they're creatures of Coca-Colonialist America. And much as I loath many of the same things about the US's arrogance that he does, the USA has a lot to be arrogant about. I live in Australia, and we remember Coral Sea, and Midway, and Guadalcanal, and... Iraq. The UN has failed as a World Policeman, and an unwilling US has had to act the part of Vigilante. Besides which, despite the best efforts of the RIAA and other US robber-barons, the competition is for the most part, not too unfair. If we want our country not to be overwhelmed by US culture, we can do a bit of cultural overwhelming ourselves.

It's called 'Competition'.

You don't see too much of Americans bemoaning the fact that Fox is owned by an Australian multinational, nor that the Wiggles are producing a generation of American toddlers with a hint of Aussie Twang in their voices, nor that a whole slew of 'Hollywood' epics are actually shot here in Oz or even Kiwiland. The days when 'Mad Max' was dubbed to give the actors American accents are (hopefully) over, the blatantly anticompetitive US steel tariffs are gone, though the Sugar Lobby still holds sway over Congress - for now. We criticise the US when it doesn't live up to its Ideals, not when it does. And our criticism is muted by the abundant goodwill that so many Americans have - those both pro- and anti-War. Often the worst of the 'Bush=Hitler' brigade's Idiotarianism is driven by a passionate belief in the concept of the Land of the Free. Then we see that yet another American has died in Iraq, to help 25 million people to live in an atmosphere of Democracy tempered with Tolerance, and our criticism fades to silence.

Chirac and Saddam at OsirakBut be warned : there is a spectre haunting Europe. A spectre called Anti-Americanism. We in Australia know all about the Tall Poppy Syndrome, we suffer from it ourselves. And the USA, like the World Trade Centre before 9/11, is a very tall Poppy indeed. The Dangerous Loony who's the topic of this article is merely the most visible sign of this Racist Agenda. The real Danger is the degree to which the European Chattering-Class Guardianistas agree with him, and have done for some time. For after all, M. Couteaux has finally let the proverbial Chat out of Le Sac.
That is the policy my country pursued in the 1970s when it gave Iraq a nuclear force. (actually l'arme nucléaire - nuclear arms)
As a 'Special Advisor in the Ministry of Defence', he should know. Until now, the French Official Line has always been that the Osirak reactor was for 'Peaceful Purposes', a story widely believed in the USA and elsewhere. UN inspections had even given it a Bill-of-Health far more complete than for Iran's programme today. Now we know better : the French technology was for a 'Nuclear Force' to be used against Israel. We have it straight from the Horse's... one of the Horse's orifices anyway.

(The picture to the right shows Jacques Chirac with Saddam Hussein at the Osirak site)

Hat Tip to the Dissident Frogman, one of the many Frenchmen who can say with justice about French Middle-East Policy, 'Not in My Name!'.

UPDATE : Thanks to Talos, a reader at Metafilter, I have some more information about the ubiquitous M. Couteaux, and the EDD. He provides a list of the EDD's strange bedfellows from various nations, and another even more bizarre link (site is En Francais). This is a report of M.Couteaux engaged in a debate against the former Minister for Justice and Opus Dei member Jean Foyer, with no less than Prince Louis de Bourbon (the French Pretender)in the middle. M.Couteaux states
Monseigneur, je suis depuis longtemps royaliste ; mais comme je me suis couché tôt, je suis longtemps resté orléaniste
Which, if my French is accurate, is in English :
Monseigneur, I've been a Royalist for a long time; but as I said before, I've remained an Orleanist for a long time.
The headline is :
Paul-Marie Coûteaux : républicain et monarchiste
Which even I have no hesitation in translating as
Paul-Marie Coûteaux : republican and monarchist
I'm less sure what it means though. Is he a Constitutional Monarchist in the English style, or a National Socialist who believes in the FuehrerPrinzip? Curiouser and Curiouser.

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