A number of Americans are in a tizzy over French government opposition to the American war on Iraq.
Shockingly, a sovereign nation such as France — which is also considerably older and more experienced in diplomacy than the United States of America — has its own opinions on the war.
Americans are outraged that, having helped the French retain their independence in two world wars, the French now dare assert their independence.
And please never mind the mess the United States helped to cause for France in Indochina by arming the Vietnamese to fight the Japanese during World War Two.
Boycott France is the unthinking man’s rallying cry.
But why not boycott everyone opposed to the war?
So far, the Orwellian-titled “Coalition of the Willing” (if you follow the link, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page) includes the following nations:
Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.
The majority of these nations are not producers of goods consumed in the United States.
But, if one must shout “Boycott France,” it would seem that one must also shout “Buy Japanese!”
So let’s hear it, war fans — Buy Japanese!
More to the point, consider that none of the Francophobes have called for a boycott of the Mass. Pope John Paul II, after all, has repeatedly stated that the American war on Iraq is (to use his words), without moral or legal justification.
And so boycott the Mass?
The idea, of course, is stupid. As is boycotting France, Belgium, Germany or any other nation which exercises its sovereign right to determine its own affairs.
Mr. Bush has the war that he wanted. Unless Americans are prepared to buy only goods produced in the “coalition” countries, it is time to let the French go their own way or confess to hypocrisy. Laissez-faire, you might say.
Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
© 2003 David Dieteman