Richard Perle completely loses it


France is no longer an ally of the United States and the NATO alliance “must develop a strategy to contain our erstwhile ally or we will not be talking about a NATO alliance” the head of the Pentagon’s top advisory board said in Washington Tuesday.

Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and now chairman of the Pentagon’s Policy Advisory Board, condemned French and German policy on Iraq in the strongest terms at a public seminar organized by a New York-based PR firm and attended by Iraqi exiles and American Middle East and security officials.

God help us…

I didn’t read the article, but my opinion is that war is bad.

Whoa! Hey Jason is this a one time thing or does this guy have a history of wigging out??


I don’t know about Gerhard Schroeder, he seems…flighty.
Though I’m sure I don’t like the new ‘FOR us or AGAIN’ us’ policy that Bush is spouting, or that this guy is ramming down our throats:

Perle pulls shit like this all the time, talking about invading Saudi Arabia and letting wacko people give “strategic briefings” where they talk about invading literally every country in the region.

I missed that “inciting pacifism” line, that’s funny stuff.

Before everybody starts repainting their “Go Raiders” signs with an anti-Bush rhyming slogan, puts on their berets and hits the nearest McDonald’s to attend a French Fry support rally, I think we can reasonably assume that this guy was totally taken out of context:

From the beginning of the article:

France is no longer an ally of the United States…

The insidious ellipsis there does not indicate any elaboration that makes that statement less precise. The insinuation is that France has just joined the Axis of Evil and, if there was anything besides armpit huffing Euroweenies in France, like oil for Bush’s ultra secret Petroleum Oligarchy, Bush would promptly send over our most ineffectual platoon of Navy Reservists, possibly from Administration, arm them with an intimidating arsenal of harsh language and allow them to take over the entire country.

From Perle’s actual comment:

France is no longer the ally it once was.

Hey, I’m no longer the promiscuous drug fiend I once was, but just because I traded in my crack pipe for some mary jane doesn’t make me any less a drug user. The statement is totally innocuous and true no matter how you look at it: of course, France isn’t the ally it once was. For an exaggerated example, they aren’t the ally they once were when we were preventing the entire Soviet empire from rolling over their country and throwing all 85 members of the Resistance that would have sprung up into a Solzhenitsyn-esque gulag.

But let’s pretend for a second that the statement wasn’t innocuous. Why should we worry about it? He’s not even a member of the Bush Administration. Even Walker grudgingly admits it, then starts pulling out Latin prefixes to make it sound extra creepy:

Although he is not an official of the Bush administration, Perle’s position as the Pentagon’s senior civilian adviser gives his harsh remarks a quasi-official character and reflects the growing frustration in the White House and Pentagon with the French and German reluctance to support their U.S. and British allies.

So, in Martin Walker’s own words, Pearle isn’t reflecting the Bush administration’s desire to transform Carcassone into a castle full of irradiated bat-men at all, but rather reflecting a frustration that the entirety of a multi-partisan Pentagon feels with Germany and France right now. “Quasi-officially”, of course, but what he really means is: not officially.

Pearle got in similar trouble a while back when he said that UN Inspections would not stop America invading Iraq because Hans Blix couldn’t be expected to report on any more than what the Iraqis had let him see. Again, he wasn’t speaking for the Bush administration. This strikes me as a common sense thing to say, but, naturally, it was interpreted by everyone as if Bush had already hoisted a neo-Nazi flag with his Alfred E. Neuman face emblazoned in the middle of the swaztika up the flagpole at the UN.

Again, he wasn’t speaking for the Bush administration.

Then why does he work for the defense department, and why is he always present for all the big dog meetings? He’s not a freelancer; he has more power when it comes to Iraq policy in this administration than Powell does. Seriously, if this is the first you’ve heard of the guy, he’s got his fingerprints on everything.

I don’t see how you spin that “we need to contain France” thing, either.

This is also the same Richard Perle that said the German PM needed to resign for opposing the Iraq war.

I’m not sure why I need to spin it at all: all I see is a first sentence that completely exaggerates what was said about France, then half a quote that is not elaborated upon in the rest of the article. Why should I trust anything in that article when its very first words are seen to be complete out-of-context exaggeration three paragraphs down? Give me the context of the quote, and maybe I’ll agree with you, but that entire article has obviously been twisted to an agenda.

I know you’re aware that people work for the government who aren’t part of the Bush administration, and those people are sometimes asked for their opinion on things, and those people also sometimes spout out their opinions without it reflecting the official line of the government, so I’ll assume that was a rhetorical question.

I know you’re aware that people work for the government who aren’t part of the Bush administration, and those people are sometimes asked for their opinion on things, and those people also sometimes spout out their opinions without it reflecting the official line of the government, so I’ll assume that was a rhetorical question.

Perle is not one of those people. The europeans treat his statements as the all-but-in-name-official opinion of the Bush administration for a good reason: they are. He has an office in the Pentagon a floor away from Rumsfeld, and he’s been a close foreign policy advisor to Bush for years.

And the “misquoting reporter” thing doesn’t make much sense, as this is the moonie UPI we’re talking about here.

I think the basic sentiment he’s trying to get across is accurate, though. France is not the ally it once was. It used to be that France and the US had largely similar interests. Now our interests are largely divergent. America wants to sell American products worldwide; France doesn’t want them. America wants to take Saddam out of power because they think he’s a world threat; France wants to keep trading with him because (at least for now) Saddam is giving them sweet deals in exchange for messing with the US’s invasion agenda. Obviously those are oversimplified, but you see what I mean. There’s just no point in trying to compromise with France anymore. Our stances on a wide range of issues are just too different. France’s relevance has been fading for centuries…but it’s really becoming apparent now.

Interesting how in the eyes of certain patriotic, xenophobic young men France’s “relevance” is apparently directly proportional to how much they agree with the United States.

If this were the case we wouldn’t be wooing them as hard as we have been over Iraq.

Oh please, France has always been a shitty ally. Remember DeGaulle practically bailing on NATO, and getting his own nukes, and being a pain in the ass? Remember them suckering us into Vietnam?

I suppose they agree with us a little bit less, but I’m not sure how this translates into “fuck it, lets blow up NATO.” Bush is going to destroy the entire postwar diplomatic order because he’s getting so huffy about Iraq.

And it’s not like pissing off France is a necessary component, either; a decent fucking diplomat wouldn’t have started off by telling them we’re going to invade no matter what. Gah.

I dunno Jason, France was a pretty good ally in the latter half of the eighteenth century…

I think that France’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council, with the ensuing veto power over UN resolutions has more to do with the wooing than France’s overall relevance. Come on? France? As a permanent Security Council member? Please. Let’s replace them with at least Germany. At least they know how to go into a fight without white flags on the barrels of their guns. (Pardon the weak attempt at humor, but really, FRANCE? What were we thinking?)

France’s relevance has nothing to do with their agreement or lack of agreement. It has to do with the fact that they are militarily and economically not that important anymore. The fact that they keep trying to throw their weight around makes it more and more apparent that they’re irrelevant. France has a permanent seat on the Security Council–itself becoming less and less relevant because it’s so unwilling to take any sort of action–and they have nukes. If not for that, nobody would care what they think at all.

And Jason’s argument that France has always been a lousy ally is well-taken, but doesn’t change the fact that there’s no point in paying that much attention to them anymore.[/list]

France is #6 in GDP. Though I wonder how reliable those China numbers are…

Perle is (as always) the ultra-right wing of Republican Party, arguing for the US being right no matter what (provided there’s a Republican administration) and trying to shove US value judgements down the craw of our various allies. He’s always been that way, and he always will be.

Perle was, incidentally, extremely influential in the Reagan Administration and the first Bush Administration, and you’re smoking crack if you don’t think he’s highly influential in this administration, too.

However, when you get down to it, Perle plays the role of a stalking horse. By taking a position so far out to the right it’s laughable, he moves the entire debate somewhat to the right – and that much closer to the Administration line. Not a bad political play at all.

Good point. I thought their economy was smaller than that.

Please note that the chart Jason linked to ranks GDP as per purchasing power parity which is really irrelevant for determining economic power or influence derived from that. I didn’t find a real GDP chart on that site.

PPP is useless? What, pray tell, is better?

GDP at official exchange rate vs a standard currency such as the US dollar, obviously. That’s how GDP is usually measured in comparison tables.

I mean, you did notice that according to that funny PPP table, India had a higher GDP than Germany or France, and China had nearly half the GDP of the USA, right? You think an evaluation method that gives such bizarre results is in any way useful?

GDP at PPP can be amazingly high for the poorest country, as long as they have lots of extremely cheap basic necessities, which can be produced for instance by very low standards of quality or government intervention. That doesn’t mean the country is wealthy in any realistic sense.