Clueless DeLong Was Clueless About What Was Coming in 2007 and 2008: Hoisted from the Archives

Monday Smackdown: Apropos of the Opening of "Dunkirk"...: Remember How Bad the Old New Republic Was?

Also apropos of the three neoliberalisms: (1) Mont Pelerin; (2) Charlie Peters; and (3) anti-Black, anti-woman, anti-Arab, anti-union—and anti-French:

With the opening of "Dunkirk", time to hoist and highlight this:

2006: Nick Gillespie Has Had It with Marty Peretz ("Lafayette! Nous Sommes Ici!" Department) He writes, accurately and correctly:

Hit and Run: They're starting to shit themselves in public... TNR owner and "Spine" blogger Marty Peretz is enacting the cyberspatial equivalent... with posts such as this one on French jokes:

Let me assure you though that I am not a Francophobe. It is true that for a few years in recent times I have not bought French wines. But I did drink the ones I had in my cellar. In any case, there is some silliness in what follows. But there is also some wisdom, wisdom garnered from historical experience. If you are a Francophile, you may not want to read this. It's your choice. Feel free to send this to friends if you like. That's how I saw it in the first place...

  • "France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes." --Mark Twain

  • "I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." --General George S. Patton

  • "Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion." --Norman Schwartzkopf

  • "We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it." --Marge Simpson

  • "As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure." --Jacques Chirac, President of France

  • "As far as France is concerned, you're right." --Rush Limbaugh

  • "The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee." --Regis Philbin

  • "You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it." --John McCain, U.S. Senator (AZ)

  • "I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get Hitler out of France either." --Jay Leno

  • "The last time the French asked for "more proof'' it came marching into Paris under a German flag." --David Letterman

  • "War without France would be like ... uh ... World War II."

  • "What do you expect from a culture and a nation that exerted more of its national will fighting against Disney World and Big Macs than the Nazis?" --Dennis Miller

  • "It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us." --Alan Kent

  • "They've taken their own precautions against al-Quaida. To prepare for an attack, each Frenchman is urged to keep duct tape, a white flag, and a three-day supply of mistresses in the house." --Argus Hamilton

  • "Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day--the description 'Never shot. Dropped once.'" --Rep. Roy Blunt (MO)

  • "The French will only agree to go to war when we've proven we've found truffles in Iraq." --Dennis Miller

  • "Raise your right hand if you like the French. Raise both hands if you are French."

  • "Question: Do you know how many Frenchmen it takes to defend Paris? Answer: It's not known, it's never been tried." --Rep. Roy Blunt (MO)

  • "Do you know it only took Germany three days to conquer France in WWII? And that's because it was raining." --John Xereas, Manager, DC Improv.

  • "The AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced after the London bombings that it has raised its terror alert from 'Run' to 'Hide.' The only two higher levels in France are 'Surrender' and 'Collaborate.' The rise in the alert level was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively disabling their military."

  • "French Ban Fireworks at Euro Disney. ... The French government announced today that it is imposing a ban on the use of fireworks at EuroDisney. The decision comes that day after a nightly fireworks display at the park, located just 30 miles outside of Paris, caused the soldiers at a nearby French Army garrison to surrender to a group of Czech tourists." --AP Paris.

It is odd.

The French, in World War II, did about as well in their first encounter with the Nazi war machine as everybody else. Poland. Britain and Dunkirk, Greece, Libya, and Crete. America and Kasserine Pass. Russia and the catastrophes of Barbarossa Phase I. France's problem was that they didn't have (as Britain did) the ocean to protect them or (as Russia did) space to retreat to or (as America did) allies soaking up most of the Nazi forces.

And as long as the French did fight, they fought. Roughly one in five French soldiers was a casualty. The 600,000 military casualties France suffered during the six weeks its outgeneraled and outmaneuvered commanders lost its war were roughly the equivalent of the casualties America suffered during the entire 3 1/2 years of its involvement in World War II.

And the French chose to fight the Nazis. They were one of two countries--themselves and Britain--who declared war on Hitler, rather than waiting for Hitler to come after them. They were the only country without ocean between themselves and Hitler who chose to go after him. The honor of Daladier and de Gaulle far outweighs the shame of Petain and Laval.

I don't know whether Marty Peretz is more ignorant not to know this, or more stupid in that he at some level knows this but can't think it through, or more lazy in that he simply hasn't bothered to think it through.

But let me assure the people of France, and the ghosts of de Gaulle, Daladier, and Lafayette that not all Americans are as ignorant, stupid, and lazy as Marty Peretz, and that some Americans understand how much America owes France (and France owes America).

Matthew Yglesias had more...

I suppose congratulations of a perverse sort are owed to New Republic editor Franklin Foer, who has in Marty Peretz found a weblogger even worse at it than Lee "Sock Puppet" Siegel.

Matthew Yglesias (2006): France-Bashing "The enduring popularity of France-bashing in the United States is a fascinating phenomenon...

...Nick Gillespie spies Marty Peretz getting the bug.

What's especially fascinating is the particular form of the contemporary France-bashing narrative, as reflected in Peretz' post. According to this story, the USA differs from France in our greater eagerness to go to war and that this disagreement reflects superior wisdom on the part of the United States. Interestingly, neither prong of that narrative is supportable.

Obviously, there was an instance of France being unwilling to fight in a situation where the USA wanted to go in -- Iraq, 2003. But here the French position -- that Saddam's WMD programs were not a serious danger, that a western occupation of an Arab country was likely to go poorly, and that such a war would hinger the fight against al-Qaeda -- has been utterly vindicated. Other recent American wars -- for Kuwaiti independence, against Slobodan Milosevic's Serbia, agains the Taliban -- were undertaken with French support. Before that, you had Vietnam where France fought Ho Chi Minh's movement first, lost, then let us go make all the same mistakes over again.

So French dovishness comes down to one war -- Iraq, part deux -- that France didn't want to fight, and that France was right not to want to fight.

France's "rep" for weakness and appeasement comes, of course, from World War II. But in 1938, France was the non-axis country most eager to fight Germany. Going to war without the support of England, the USSR, or the United States would have been a horrible policy. Once their British ally was on board, they fought. They lost, of course, but the contrast between France, the UK, and the USA in this regard is that France was located adjacent to Germany, without a convenient stretch of ocean to block the Nazi advance.