Fight the Real Enemy

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axisweasels.jpg

I'm always disappointed when I miss moments like this and have to rely on Media Matters for recaps. Nonetheless, here's Fox News Live host Page Hopkins asking the most constructive question imaginable about the conflict in Lebanon: Dude, what's up with those smelly French people?

We thought they were gone, but the so-called "Axis of Weasels" appears to be back. Why do they see this conflict in such a different way?

Our European allies seem to be splitting along some of the same lines as they did in the Iraq conflict. Does—does this tell us that there is a permanent change in our diplomatic landscape, in terms of who we can count on and who we can't?

The "Axis of Weasels" was the New York Post's name for France and Germany for "wimping out" and not joining the glorious invasion of Iraq. I suppose you have to be a true believer—or at least someone interested in NewsCorp synergy (it owns the Post and Fox News)—to still think France and Germany got the raw end of what happened in March 2003.

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  1. Will Rupert Murdoch & Co. please explain how the current situation in Lebanon is appreciably different from the last time that Israel invaded? Maybe the youth of the Fox News Channel means that nobody on its staff can recognise the parallels and see that there is little to be gained from Israel’s (excessive) use of force.

  2. Maybe there’s more to the link, but I don’t see any reference to France and Germany “losing” in their dodging of Iraq. I think the complaint is that they are freeloaders.

    Hmmm, I suppose you recommend something different, like withdrawal and a ceasefire? Because THAT works so well.

  3. I agree that there is little to be gained, but I would submit that by not using excessive force, there is much to lose. That’s the dimension of this conflict that the West fails to understand. There are no good options for Israel. Peace is unatainable. All they can do is manage the situation as best they can (bomb S. Lebanon back to the stone ages) and hope that eventually, some day, their enemies develop the capacity for rational thought.

  4. Bubba:

    Where do you get “freeloaders”? Um, I think that the “weasel” implication was that they were wimps. Wait, it wasn’t an implication at all…it was on the front page of the New York Post! Click the link. There’s a big difference between “wimp” and “freeloader”. The other “complaint” is that we can’t “count on them” to jump on every single bloody bandwagon.

    In other words, when Hopkins says,

    “[…]does this tell us that there is a permanent change in our diplomatic landscape, in terms of who we can count on and who we can’t?

    she is “complaining” that they don’t agree with us, that we can’t “count on them”. So, when it comes to Iraq, David sayeth,

    “I suppose you have to be a true believer – or at least someone interested in NewsCorp synergy (it owns the Post and Fox News) – to still think France and Germany got the raw end of what happened in March 2003.”

    Raw end. As in, raw end of a deal. And given that France and Germany refused to send troops and support for the war on Iraq, I’d say that David’s choice of wording is apt. Hopkins’ implication was that they “backed the wrong horse” in Iraq, and they’re doing the same here—Weigel refutes that implication pretty succinctly, and no, it has nothing to do with “freeloading”.

  5. I think the complaint is that they are freeloaders.

    You mean they’re getting all the rich and amazing benefits of the invasion of Iraq without putting in any effort? Wow, that is shameful.

  6. “You mean they’re getting all the rich and amazing benefits of the invasion of Iraq without putting in any effort? Wow, that is shameful.”

    But, but…he gassed his own people!!!

    And anyway, you just gotta be patient, Tim. We’ll build us a nice cozy li’l democracy, even if it means bankrupting our entire country and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Gotta crack a few yolks to make an omelette!

  7. …someone interested in NewsCorp synergy (it owns the Post and Fox News)

    Fox News is not the only entertainment channel owned by NewsCorp. There’s SkyOne (etc), which shows, among other programmes, “The Simpsons”. Then there’s FX, with “Penn & Teller’s Bullsh!t”, “Chappelle’s Show”, “The Wire”, “King of the HIll”…

    NewsCorp also owns Sky News, which is fairly middle-of-the-road insofar as its coverage of current events is concerned.

    I suspect that Mr. Murdoch’s various businesses exist more to make money than to spread a political philosophy.

  8. For the french, they DID get the raw end of the deal in March 2003. They had all those lucrative weapons contracts cancelled …

    You didn’t think they were against the Iraq war because they had some foresight we didn’t, did you? They were in it for the money.

    Although it’s completely over-sensationalized by Fox/Post, I think the point is a good one. Are we seeing the drawing of a line in the sand? If so, what is that line? I see it as a line between those nations that want to see dramatic change in the middle east and those that want to maintain the status quo.

  9. “…hope that eventually, some day, their enemies develop the capacity for rational thought.”

    See the world, in glorious black and white!

  10. their enemies develop the capacity for rational thought.

    or more powerful weapons.

  11. “You didn’t think they were against the Iraq war because they had some foresight we didn’t, did you? They were in it for the money.”

    I’m so glad I live in a country that cares for Middle Easterners’ well being and not money.

  12. “suppose you have to be a true believer – or at least someone interested in NewsCorp synergy (it owns the Post and Fox News) – to still think France and Germany got the raw end of what happened in March 2003.”

    Well they did loose out on the billions they were making off of oil for food and the politicians themselves are no longer on Saddam’s payroll. I can definitely see where Germany and France in particular might have been a little bummed to see Saddam go.

  13. Murdoch’s outlets may not “exist to spread a particular philosophy” (although you’d be hard-pressed to explain how FoxNews and the Post are neutral), but Murdoch himself has apparently been balls-deep in high level politics and policy for a long time, esp in the UK. (I direct your attention to a Guardian column by a former member of Blair’s press staff, http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1810123,00.html). I find it difficult to believe that someone with such interests, and influence, would not use their media empire for partisan purposes – indeed, the very fact that Murdoch has influence is proof that he, at the very least, has the capability to provide favourable or unfavourable coverage as he desires, even if he has never actually done so.

  14. peachy,

    Does George Soros own any news services? Perhaps he’d provide a nice little counterpunch to Murdoch.

  15. I’m not making one iota of an excuse for France and Germany’s oil-fer-food connections, but…

    …how does that really have anything to do with whether or not they are “missing out” by not sending money and troops into the Iraqi investment opportunity black hole? How does it have anything to do with whether they’re “wimps” who we can’t “count on” to agree with us on whatever middle east issue is on the daily news?

  16. Does — does this tell us that there is a permanent change in our diplomatic landscape, in terms of who we can count on and who we can’t?

    If we’re as ass-kickingly powerful as people say we are, then why do we want or need the help of a bunch of cheese-fetishizers and David Hasselhoff fans anyway?

    Folks need to make up their minds; if we need a certain country’s help in Iraq, and that country is filled with wimpy weasels, what the hell does that say about us that we can’t do a job without the help of weaselly wimps?

  17. Fox News. There was a market out there for a simplistic opinion-entertainment channel masquerading as a news channel, and Fox News fills that niche.

    (I can tell you that Sky News, the flagship (if you will) of Sky in the UK, is absolutely nothing like Fox News.)

  18. French economic growth 2005 1.4%

    German economic growth 2005 0.9%

  19. SPD – Soros has put a great deal of money into Dem-affiliated organisations like MoveOn.org, but I’m not aware of any media ownership, although of course he could be a significant share-holder in any number of firms (personally or through his investment funds). Certainly he’s no media baron like Murdoch, who derives his fortune from his media properties. (Murdoch, by the way, apparently considers himself a libertarian…)

  20. Peachy,
    The fact that Murdoch is knee deep in politics should come as no surprise. The regulatory burdens in the media business are enormous. It would be business suicide not sip tea with Tony Blair (or raise money for both GW and Hillary Clinton). Murdoch’s principle concern is his own media concerns. If that means endorsing Republicans in the US while endorsing Labor in the UK while pandering to the Communists in China, so be it. In a truly libertarian world perhaps he’d be able to pursue a more consistent and heartfelt poltical agenda.

  21. Joshua,

    France and Germany’s low economic growth are a red herring when considering the efficacy of their policy on Iraq. It reflects little other than their unwillingness to reform their labour markets. Granted, young French leftists were very effective in blocking recent efforts to do something on that matter.

  22. FDaS – It is certainly true that Murdoch, while consistently right-of-centre (at least since the 70s) is more of an opportunist than an ideologue. And I don’t mean that as a criticism… (Although it is also certainly true that I despise FoxNews, and would probably feel the same about the Post if I ever came across it.)

    (And finally, someone feed the damn squirrels, already!)

  23. France and Germany’s low economic growth are a red herring when considering the efficacy of their policy on Iraq.

    The economies of Germany and France are not improving due to thier stance on the Iraq war.

    That was their intent was it not?

    Oh wait I forgot they actually opposed the war to draw attention away from thier flagging economies…sorry I got it mixed up.

    🙂

  24. joshua corning,

    I dunno about Germany’s economy, but France’s econony has done well in 2006 so far. GDP is up, unemployment is down, etc.

    Bret,

    For the french, they DID get the raw end of the deal in March 2003. They had all those lucrative weapons contracts cancelled …

    Which ones were those?

  25. Although I generally remain aloof when Europe bashing begins, I should note that we technically conquered both Germany and France in World War II. Just something to think about 🙂

    Really, I have little animosity against Europe. I think our bickering is more akin to the kind among siblings. We’re the family West, and, as Jim Morrison said, the West is the best. I have little doubt that if we were ever in real danger, most of Europe (probably all of it) would be on our side. But until that time, we do have competing interests that occasionally result in these little “betrayals”. Big deal.

  26. “Well they did loose out on the billions they were making off of oil for food…”

    Man, wouldn’t it be nice if this little adventure had only cost us billions?

  27. Pro Libertate,

    Well, given that line of reasoning France (and the U.S.) conquered southern France and France (and the U.K., the U.S., Poland, etc.) conquered Italy in WWII. 🙂

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