Just As I Thought

Policy is personal

An item in Lloyd Grove’s Reliable Source column in today’s Post includes this item:

When he’s not jousting with Seymour Hersh and Patrick Buchanan, foreign policy hawk Richard Perle is bad-mouthing French refusals to support the United States and use force against Saddam Hussein. “France is no longer the ally it once was,” the chairman of the Pentagon’s influential Defense Policy Board recently told the Jerusalem Post. “I have long thought that there were forces in France intent on reducing the American role in the world.”

So we were intrigued this week when a Washington insider reminded us that Perle is an ardent Francophile. So much so that he and his wife, Leslie, spend as much time as they can smack-dab in the middle of the French countryside, at their farmhouse in Provence with its lovely overlook of a vineyard.

“My wife keeps saying to shut up about the French or they’re going to burn down our house,” said the 61-year-old Perle, who bought his rustic vacation home in a charming village in 1982, and tries to visit four to five times every year. “In fact, the French are not like that at all. France’s foreign policy is conducted by its presidents, and this is a Jacques Chirac policy, not a French policy. I have had a surprising number of senior French officials and some parliamentarians tell me privately that they are horrified at what Chirac has been doing. I think French anti-Americanism is largely confined to a small circle of bureaucrats and politicians.”

We sure hope that’s not just wishful thinking.
Interesting. Just as America’s foreign policy is conducted by its presidents. I hope that is understood by the French as well.

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