Tony Blankley, the editorial page editor of the Washington Times, is extremely upset. It seems the French, in an attempt to keep Eastern European nations from backing President Bushs war plans, are threatening to withhold European Union membership to countries who sign on to the U.S. agenda.
According to Blankley, French president Jacques Chirac revealed himself to be a vulgar, unsubtle, bullying thug when he threatened Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and others who had been invited to become but had not yet been formally confirmed as members of the EU, that their words in opposition to Frances wishes were dangerous and risked their membership being blocked.
If these countries want to play ball with the EU, threatens Chirac, they must stop playing ball with the United States. Using such invectives as hypocrisy, thuggery, and cowardice to describe Frances tactics, Blankley leaves us with no doubt that using diplomatic and economic pressure on struggling nations in order to further a political agenda is, well, choose from any of those words above.
Meanwhile, the 3rd Infantry Division remains shipboard off the coast of Turkey, as the Turkish government debates whether to allow its soil to be used as a springboard for a war on Iraq. In order to make that decision a little easier for the Turks, the Bush administration is offering a financial package equaling $26 billion in grants and forgiven loans to Ankara.
No bullying, no thuggery … and oh, so much more subtle.