The True Paper Tigers?

The International Herald Tribune has an article entitled "Europeans seek role in training Iraq police". Good! I thought. It's about time our old allies came around. They certainly did hold their noses and applaud the Iraqi elections. Then, once you read it, you find that it's mostly Eastern Europeans that are doing the right thing:
Several European countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands, intend to play a substantial role in training Iraqi Army and police forces, in addition to providing security for these new missions, military officials and diplomats said this week.
As for our erstwhile allies?
The question of sending people to Iraq is a central one, according to NATO officials and diplomats. France and Germany, the two biggest opponents of the Iraq war, have so far declined to offer training except outside Iraq.
Surprised? I didn't think so. Seems like nations more recently freed are more likely to take on higher risks, while France and Germany limit themselves to training police. Don't get me wrong, that's a very important task, and Americans will appreciate good faith help. Some might argue that this is the limit of what France and Germany can contribute, because their militaries are weak. I would reply that their militaries are not so weak as to be incapable of sending large contingents of police trainers and peacekeepers into Iraq, especially when Poland and Ukraine, not usually seen as having modern militaries, are going in there.

I thought about it, and I think the answer is that France and Germany are, indeed, paper tigers, especially when it comes to the foreign policy efforts of their co-civilizationists. If anybody learned the lesson from Vietnam and Somalia that when a Western power is faced with risk, it had better run, none have learned it better than France, the original instigator of the Southeast Asia War. Not only that, but they're far more ruthless than American soldiers: French Troops Fire Into Crowd in Ivory Coast. Captain Ed shares his two cents:
Perhaps this might be the French Amritsar, but the video shown doesn't prove it; it merely suggests it. Before we leap to conclusions, we need a bit more evidence than these videos provide.
Oh, and you're welcome, France, for thanking American boys for laying their lives on the line to protect the remnants of your Colonial territories.

Fortunately for the French, they have a pretty country, and some beautiful women.

[Cross-posted from Between Worlds as Fair Weather Friends?]

PS - Thanks to Mike for inviting me to contribute here; I hope you'll enjoy my offerings as much as I'll enjoy making them!

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