We Ain’t Got No Steenkin’ Friends

sorabji.com: Do you have any regrets?: We Ain’t Got No Steenkin’ Friends

By Phil Brennan on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 11:09 am:

    The villains of the moment are 1) La Belle France and 2) Hollywood celebrities.
    In the case of France, my e-mailbox is crammed with such anti-French jokes as the one about the French government banning fireworks displays at the Disneyland park outside Paris because the other night 5,000 French soldiers at a nearby army base threw down their arms and surrendered when they saw the Disney pyrotechnic display light up the skies.

    I haven't heard any jokes about that sad confederacy of fools who inhabit the sound stages in Hollywood when they aren't divorcing one another or demonstrating for some Marxist cause, but that's probably because there's nothing funny about them or their sick delusions.

    Observing the wave of anti-Gallic sentiment now sweeping the nation leads me to think about certain delusions aided and abetted by the U.S. mainstream media and most American politicians who prate on and on about our "friends" abroad as if foreign nations are capable of the kind of friendship that exists between individuals.

    That kind of friendship implies a kind of thick-or-thin relationship – the "I'm with you all the way, no matter what it costs me" kind of friendship.

    Nations are not capable of that sort of relationship. Nation states exist to protect their national interests. That's rule No. 1, and the country that ignores it ceases to be a meaningful state.

    Nations can act out of selfless motives, but only when altruism costs them nothing. When one nation's interests conflict with those of a so-called friend and ally, friendship moves to the back of the bus, or goes out the window.

    This is what George Washington was getting at when he warned his new nation about getting involved in entangling alliances. They inevitably cost something, and that something is often one's national interest.

    Thinking about world affairs in that sense should lead us never to be surprised when one of America's "friends" refuses to go along with us and make common cause with whatever our cause happens to be. If it costs them nothing, they'll probably go along with us, but if it conflicts with their national interests it's so long, pal, you're on your own.

    Why, then, are we not only surprised but also enraged when the government of France decides that backing the U.S. in the case of Iraq is not in the national interest of France? They may be dead wrong, their national interest in this case may be based on totally corrupt reasoning, but they are only doing what comes naturally to any nation state: looking out for themselves.

    Don't get me wrong – I think the French government is badly mistaken. But that opinion is based on what happens to be our national interest, not the national interest of France.

    One reason why we have this furor about France is the fact that the French are not easy to like. They have this absurd notion that they are the world's most superior race, while they see us as a bunch of backward cowboys and all-around ignorant yahoos who don't even know what wines should go with what entrées.

    This infuriates them because they can't accept the fact that this bunch of backward cowboys and all-around ignorant yahoos have somehow managed to become the world's only superpower. That really galls the Gauls.

    America needs to learn a lesson from all of this: We have no friends. None. Not a one.

    No nation has friends – all they have are allies of convenience. Eliminate convenience and you're on your own, or at each other's throats.

    A case in point: Turkey.

    When we started negotiating with them, there was a dispute about how much money it was going to cost us to get permission to launch an attack on Iraq from the north. The Turks seemed not to have much to say about the idea of hosting a U.S. invasion force one way or another.

    They appeared to be more concerned about doing what they really want to do – do to the Kurds in Northern Iraq what Kemal Ataturk did to the Armenians almost a century ago. (When a friend of mine asked the legendary head of the Young Turks why he was slaughtering the Armenians, Ataturk replied somewhat pragmatically, "Because if I didn't, who would?")

    Turkey's national interest suddenly came into play after the legislature turned thumbs down on the U.S. request. With all those billions the U.S. was offering in return for Turkey's hospitality seemingly no longer in the offing, Turkey's economy got basted like a Thanksgiving gobbler, and the Turks suddenly recognized what was really in their best interest.

    In this case Turkey's national interest was in concert with America's national interest.

    It's a different story with France. Their national interest, they believe, conflicts with ours – and for the first time in many years, we finally have a president who acts on and protects what he sees as our national interest. Clash inevitably follows.

    Better to be friendless than to live under a delusion that we have any real friends in the world. They're with us as long as it suits their interests to be. When it doesn't ... well, take a look at France, Germany and Belgium for the answer.

    As for those Hollywood dolts – well, let's just do to them what they seem to spend a lot of time doing to each other … screw 'em.


By Antigone on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 12:21 pm:

    Way to set up an attitude of justified world domination! "We have no friends in the world" slides easily into "We can invade anyone we want."

    Great site, btw. Did you see the other lead story, Mexican Army Invades U.S.? What crack journalism!

By Sir mixalot on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 12:28 pm:

    go to the newsmax store. you can buy all sorts of swass reagan gear.

    give all them rootypoot liberals their what-for.

By trace on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 01:41 pm:

By Antigone on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 02:01 pm:

    I'm not disputing the facts. But this is hardly an invasion.

By trace on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 02:13 pm:

    well, that is true.


    Sorry. Uncontrollable urge....

    Actually, President Fox has no control over the Mexican Military.

    They have a "you leave me alone, I leave you alone" understanding

By semillama on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 04:39 pm:

    Quick! Protect the Alamo!!!!

    Or at least the Alamo Rent-a-Car nearest you!

    It's just like when Britain invaded Spain a year or two ago.

By Spider on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 10:40 am:

    I am breaking my form to post a link to (saints preserve us!) something political...


    ...though I only want to say: I wish my president's neurons could fire this rapidly.

    JEREMY PAXMAN: So when people say you're a poodle..

    TONY BLAIR: Yeah, well you know, you can do that and be the Right Hon Member for Texas and all that. Look, it depends whether you want to deal with this at the level of humour and satire or whether you want to try and make sense of what are difficult issues.

    Hee! If only my speakers worked...I want to hear that iciness for myself.

By Antigone on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 11:21 am:


    Sorry. Uncontrollable urge....

By trace on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 11:30 am:

    I do wish Bush would do something like that.
    It appeared that the audience was sincere, not plants

By semillama on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 11:55 am:

    Looks like a distant relative of mine was involved!

    I liked this:

    JEREMY PAXMAN: And you believe American intelligence?

    TONY BLAIR: Well I do actually believe this intelligence -

    JEREMY PAXMAN: Because there are a lot of dead people in an aspirin factory in Sudan who don't.

    Of course, that was kind of a dickhead way to put it. Blair's a good sport at least. I don't think Bush could stand up to that level of questioning. I'm not sure that many folks in th elast few administrations could.

By eri on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 12:07 pm:

    "I'm not sure that many folks in th elast few administrations could."

    I will have to agree with you on that one.

    These questions are sincere and well thought out. Although some of them I find laughable still some of them have serious merit. In order to answer these, the person speaking would have to have thought about these things a lot and be honest and sincere and willing to take whatever comes at them with a degree of class and understanding. I don't think I am getting across what I am trying to say because the right words are just escaping me right now. I know what I want to say, but it isn't working yet.

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 12:07 pm:

    someone NEEDS to be a dickhead to these people.

    they are about to drop da bomb on innocents. the least they can deal is have some cockmouth reporter be a complete ass.

By Spider on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 12:29 pm:

    Paxman is notoriously hard-assed. I am so proud of Blair for standing up for himself.

    "But I don't feel that I'm doing the wrong thing and I may not be doing the easy thing but I do believe I'm doing the right thing."

    "Now hang on a minute. I just want to finish this thing. Because this is the reason I'm doing what I'm doing, even though I know that it is difficult and unpopular in certain quarters."

    "And, I've said this before, it may be, even if I'm the only person left saying it, I'm going to say it."

    See, this is what makes me admire him. He may be wrong after all, but I appreciate the strain he's under -- what with all his own party members dissenting against him and Rumsfeld exposing his position in a recent press conference (I'll find the link) -- and I admire his courage to stand alone and defend his position vigorously.

By Spider on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 12:31 pm:

By Spider on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 12:33 pm:

By trace on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 12:36 pm:

    "someone NEEDS to be a dickhead to these people"

    There are plenty out there, patrick

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 12:55 pm:

    maybe, but ari fleisher takes most of the bullets because george is too pussy and too stupid to make an intelligent case himself.

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 01:23 pm:

    that interview rules

    male audience memeber: "I would say to you Prime Minister that the war is to get rid of a despotic dictator who has no real democratic mandate, who's very destabilising, who commits human rights violations. Is Mr. Bush next perhaps? '


By heather on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 02:07 pm:

    the problem with the fact that they're all so clever is that for the most part the uk accomplishes nothing
    [well at least it's a really slow process]

    maybe that's a good thing

By Spider on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 02:15 pm:

    Yeah, I've heard it said that while Blair is a good speaker, that's all he can do -- he's all talk and no action.

By semillama on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 02:25 pm:

    It does seem like he likes to ride the US' coattails, that's for sure. The problem with that is you don't get much chance to leap off when we start runnin' with something.

By trace on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 02:39 pm:

    Forget the UK and Blair being all talk and no action.

    What about the UN?

    They did vote on 1441 and approve it completely.

    That gave Iraq 30 days from the day the resolution was signed to declare their stock and destroy it, or, as it reads "face serious concequences".

    What are the serious concequences? Everyone standing around shouting Rabble Rabble Rabble?

    It has now been 6 months as of yesterday.

    It just proves the point that the UN is just a debating society and nothing more.

    All talk and no action.

    The UN cannot really be counted upon to take firm action on almost any issue. In the past ten years, the UN has addressed genocide in Rwanda, ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, slavery in Sudan, Turkish predations in Cyprus, and the rule of warlords in Somalia with a few high-sounding words, but failed to take any firm action.

    All words and no action

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 02:58 pm:

    "It just proves the point that the UN is just a debating society and nothing more."

    Just because they arent rushing to war doesnt mean they are ineffective. they are ineffective to US demands. "Consequences" does not spell out war.

    Saying they are all words and no action is a pussy, whiny, petulant take of the matter.

    As the US grows stronger, more dominant of the rest of the world, the UN's role because ever more important and think this is the key reason of France, Russia and Germany's insistance on not approving war, to counter balance US dominance.

    You sound that redneck Helms who basically threatened to renig on our UN dues because they didnt give us carte blanche what we wanted. The UN represents the world, not the US alone.

By trace on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:31 pm:

    30 days really means 6+ months.

By trace on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:32 pm:

    As long as you keep referring to me as a red neck, I will continue to refer to you as a pacisfist

By Spider on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:40 pm:

    Back in the WWI days, that was quite an insult.

    (I've got WWI on the brain.)

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:45 pm:

    mmmmok that doesnt really mean much.

    being called a pacifist isnt like somethingi take offense to no matter how incorrect your usage of the term is. whatever.

    im referring to the language you use. the tone you take.

    im not calling you a redneck just that your point of view is reminescent of jesse helms in dealing with the UN. i deem him a fucking red neck to the umpteenth degree.

    if you take that as me calling you a red neck. ok fine. but usually when i call someone a red neck (or anything for that matter) im pretty direct.

    when you say 30 days, arent you referring to the 12,00 page report they had to file within 30 days? they did that.

    "consequences" doesnt mean "war" trace.

    and when your dealing with the catastrophic consequences of the needless and innocent deaths in a country that does not pose any direct threat to the US as of now and the fact that the war will in fact bolster terrorist ambitions and make life more dangerous for us....then yes fine, 30 days does equal 6 months, a year, 2 years.

    meanwhile N Korea is about to nuclear. al qaida is still a threat right here on our soil.

    so, just because the UN, on the whole, doesnt agree with america's threat assessment, doesnt find any merit in the "intelligence" the US has provided thus far about weapons and hasnt found any substantial link between al Qaida and Saddam doesnt make them as a world body irrelavent.

    the UN is a democratic. their existance and relevance couldnt be more substantial right now in keeping american imperialism, unilateralism and Bush and Rumsfeld's adventurism in check.

    Id like to reiterate again what a cock Rumsfeld is. I mean really, what an arrogant, evil cockmouth sonofbitch.

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:46 pm:

    but can you jitterbug spider.

By Spider on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:49 pm:

    I used to. :) One of my aunts taught me how.

    I'd rather waltz or tango.

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:50 pm:


    thats it.

    i command you to come to californy and jitterbug for my daughter's entertainment.

    we'll pay you.

By trace on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:50 pm:

    what does "serious consequence" mean?
    More debate?

    And from what I understand, not taking that to mean war is idiotic

By trace on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 03:52 pm:

    "Id like to reiterate again what a cock Rumsfeld is. I mean really, what an arrogant, evil cockmouth sonofbitch."

    Um, if your job is (and sorry but secdef has to be) to possibly send 1/4 million of america's men and women to their death, you have to be

By patrick on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 04:03 pm:

    trace i suspect the word "consequences" was used specifically NOT to authorize war ding dong, because in case you havent noticed...(HELLO!!) a majority of the UN does not approve of going to war at this time.

    its intentionally vague and to interpret that as a call to war is bullshit you fuckin war monger.

    i think its safe to say we arent dropping bombs as of yet to due to international opposition.

    Bush is fucked because he's painted himself in a corner, the dumbass.

    War is starting to become a liability, not a feather in his hat for re-election.

    there have been defense secretaries who no where near possessed the amount of arrogance and bullshit bravado that rumsfeld possesses. he's motherfucker who is working hard to isolate the US from the rest of the world, burning bridges left and right.

By spunky on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 04:25 pm:

By Nate on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 05:06 pm:

    i'm against the war if it means i get more of the free money i deserve from the government.

By Rowlf on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 05:25 pm:

    Newsmax called the protesters "Hitlers Children"

    They have no credibility.

By semillama on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 05:26 pm:

    I'm for the war if it means that one of the companies short listed for the rebuilding of Iraq is the one that my company gets subcontracts from sometimes. Maybe we could design culturally-sensitive strip malls or something.

    Maybe we could afford a nicer building. You'd think architects would choose a good-looking building to have an office in, but not this dump.

By Rowlf on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 05:31 pm:

    I'm for the war if we can have a coloring contest to determine the new leader. Coloring contests are the shit.

    Know what I wanna know? If the US is going to go into such incredible defecit, why not go completely crazy and spend even more? more money for education, welfare, the arts...

    Segways for everyone!

By semillama on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 09:40 am:

    I'm for that!

    But I want an all-terrain segway.

By Nate on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 05:12 pm:

    you should hold out for something like ass fucking the children of the third world.

    because that is what CORPORATE AMERICA does.

    socialism or death! hand me the life i deserve!


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