Vieille Europe

The Traité de l'Elysée is 40 years old today. It marked a cornerstone in the relationship between France and Germany, definitively burrying the hache de guerre between the arch-rivals after three bloody wars (including two wordlwide ones). The 900 representatives of both the German and the French parliaments gathered together at Versailles (the very same place where the Traité de Versailles crushed Germany and set the path to the second world war twenty years later). The two countries' governments also sat together for a joint session. This couple seems to piss off the US governement big time. The va-t-en-guerre Donald Rumsfeld said today that the Germany-France axe is the "old Europe". His point was that European members of the NATO where not going the French or German way, but the American way against Irak. A few months ago, after the German elections, the just re-elected Chancelor Gerhard Schröder went straight to London to see his friend Tony Blair -- who supported him during his campaign -- and hence sent a clear message of coldness to the just re-elected President Jacques Chirac who supported his opponent. It is worth noting that just a few months later, now that Tony Blair is more pro-Bush than any American could ever be and that the majority of European citizens are against a war in Irak, the Schröder-Chirac relationship has never been better. France has coined a word to describe the USA: hyperpuissance. Hopefully France is not the only country in the world wondering how far the US can go alone and ignore the U.N. France has a veto right in the U.N. security council -- there are millions of people, including Mr Rumsfeld, wondering how it will use it. May be that is the point of Mr Rumsfeld's ranting, not just a blatant ignorance of Europe's history. Usually when American politicians rant about Europe, it means Europe is going the right way.

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