Perle and Frum

by Chris Bertram on January 14, 2004

The Christian Science Monitor has a helpful summary of the main propositions advanced by Richard Perle and David Frum in a new book:

  1. France is really more an enemy than an ally of the US and that European nations must be forced to choose between Paris and Washington
  2. Muslims living in the US must be given special scrutiny by US law enforcement and other Americans
  3. The US must overthrow the regimes in Iran and Syria, and impose a blockade on North Korea
  4. Palestinians must not be allowed to have a state
  5. All Americans must carry a government issued identity card
  6. The US must explicitly reject the jurisdiction of the United Nations Charter.

It is reassuring to know that such lunatics could never achieve positions of power and influence.

{ 29 comments }

1

Constantine 01.14.04 at 4:44 pm

All Americans must carry a government issued identity card

I am waiting for the day when Bush makes the mistake of actually proposing this. The people who dislike the odiousness of having your local policy bark out, “papers please!” are already not voting for Bush. However, if Bush proposes a required national identity card, suddenly the religious fundamentalists all over the south are going to start screaming, “Number of the Beast!” as they protest against this proposal, and Bush will lose a big segment of his support.

2

john c. halasz 01.14.04 at 5:41 pm

…It’s reassuring to know that such lunatics could never achieve positions of power and influence…:

If I recall correctly, in the case of Richard Perle, you’re about two decades too late.

3

Karl Marx 01.14.04 at 6:29 pm

You obviously don’t have an ear for irony John.

4

Dan Simon 01.14.04 at 7:15 pm

Of the six, only the first looks self-evidently foolish to me. The rest (even the first, if toned down considerably) look like slightly exaggerated statements of perfectly reasonable positions:

1. France fancies itself something of a diplomatic counterweight to the US, and the US should therefore compete a little harder with France for tokens of friendship from fellow allies.

2. Law enforcement should pay special attention to radical Muslim groups, since several of them have been found to be fronts for terrorist organizations.

3. The US government should view “regime change” in Iran and Syria, and the prevention of nuclear exports from North Korea, as important goals.

4. Under the current circumstances, any Palestinian state would immediately turn its territory into an Afghan-style global terrorist headquarters. Its creation should therefore be delayed until these circumstances change.

5. The US should follow the European lead with respect to personal identification.

6. The UN charter is a dead letter, obeyed by not a single nation on earth, and only ever invoked for cynical political advantage. It is therefore time to end this hypocritical charade once and for all.

5

JP 01.14.04 at 7:33 pm

Dan, despite the subtle differences in wording between your version of #3 and Frum’s, the difference in practice seems to me quite large.

6

Dan Simon 01.14.04 at 7:44 pm

Well, when I saw the word, “overthrow” in proposition 3, I was frankly a bit suspicious. If you think about it, it could mean anything from my rather mild formulation to outright invasion, and we don’t actually know from this summary exactly where on this spectrum Perle and Frum stand. (My guess would be, for example, that they have absolutely no desire to see the US invade Iran anytime soon.)

7

Glenn 01.14.04 at 9:09 pm

to some degree, i do think that perle and frum veered off the edge a bit in their advice for the future of america. maybe it helps to sell books. i think a great majority of conservatives (and neocons) would temper their views a bit compared with what these two put out (thats a guess, maybe i’m wrong).

not sure what the problem is with proposal #1. I mean, the French are the French. France is an ally in the same fashion that Saudi Arabia is an ally. politicians like to say it, but can’t seem to tell us exactly what that means. besides our relatively friendly history, there is very little we still share with france. on the economic front, competitor. geopolitical front, competitor. military front, well i guess we still protect them, though the soviet threat is gone. cultural front, have the french ever liked admitted they they like american culture?? i mean, besides jerry lewis. we will probably never get into direct conflict, but i don’t know when the next time when there will be warm mushy feelings between the peoples of france and usa.

8

glenn 01.14.04 at 9:14 pm

“I am waiting for the day when Bush makes the mistake of actually proposing this.”

this proposal for a national id will probably never happen with the bush administration. believe it or not, i think there are a large number of conservatives who hold these strong libertarian principles. ever listen to drudge? savage? the conservatives do. and those two rail against proposals like this.

i think i remember watching alan dershowitz support this proposal on tv, says it doesn’t necessarily have to infringe too far on privacy, and that there always is a balance between privacy (which is not a civil right in itself) and national security.

9

Dan Simon 01.14.04 at 9:17 pm

Saudi Arabia provides massive funding to terrorist organizations actively planning large-scale murderous attacks on the US. France gripes a lot about American hegemony and often votes against the US at the UN. There’s a difference.

10

baa 01.14.04 at 9:32 pm

So Dan Simon is right. The boogey man propositions listed here are just hyperbolic versions the sensible (if debatable) positions articulated by Frum/Perle. Again, they may be wrong, but they aren’t lunatics, unless “lunatic” means someone whose positions can be misunderstood by the paranoid or willfully obtuse. Don’t belive me? Watch their their presentation to the American Enterprise Insitute here: http://www.aei.org/events/eventID.704,filter.all/event_detail.asp

And no, they don’t call for military action against syria. Sorry to disappoint.

11

glenn 01.14.04 at 9:40 pm

france does alot more than gripe and vote against the us at the un. they actively worked to prevent passage of the second un resolution against american interests, offering incentives to those who went along with them and threats to those that wouldn’t. this is but the latest example.

12

Jimmy Doyle 01.14.04 at 9:50 pm

Glenn:

“cultural front, have the french ever liked admitted they they like american culture??”

Absolutely. There was nothing in the least reluctant about the veneration of Hollywood gangster movies and films noirs by most of the French ‘New Wave,’ and they were not out of step with their national culture (especially youth culture) in this. Did the huge number of French jazz afficionados in the ’50s secretly hate themselves for worshipping Parker, Davis etc? Come on.

Chris:

I heard Perle and Frum interviewed about their book on National Public Radio (supposedly a key player in the ‘liberal media conspiracy’). The supinity of the interviewer was gobsmacking; his whole attitude was one of fawning fascination, treating the authors’ hysterical fantasies as ingenious and plausible. Made me yearn for Humphreys and Paxo!

13

glenn 01.14.04 at 10:03 pm

jimmy, i guess i’ll concede on the cultural front. its nice to hear that they appreciated american jazz in the 50’s.

by the way, i’m sure they do secretly hate themselves, at least for every time they go to mcdonalds to get le big mac. hehe. just a joke.

14

Jon H 01.14.04 at 10:06 pm

glenn writes: “france does alot more than gripe and vote against the us at the un. they actively worked to prevent passage of the second un resolution against american interests, offering incentives to those who went along with them and threats to those that wouldn’t. this is but the latest example.”

First, the US was doing the same thing.

Second, they aren’t obligated to give rubber stamp approval for American aggression.

You would have a stronger case if WMD had actually been found in Iraq, and if Iraq had actually been a threat.

Sorry, but being an ally doesn’t mean being a toady.

And I certainly don’t understand how you can possibly think that France is an enemy because they tend to scorn American culture, at least at an official level.

If someone doesn’t like your necktie, does that make him a threat?

15

Jon H 01.14.04 at 10:09 pm

Actually, if I’m not mistaken, a good number of black jazz and blues artists moved to France (at least temporarily), because they were treated better there.

16

ahem 01.14.04 at 11:15 pm

i don’t know when the next time when there will be warm mushy feelings between the peoples of france and usa.

Not only is that an idiotic generalisation (unless you’re using ‘people’ as synecdoche for ‘governments’, in which case ‘January 2005’ is a good guess) but it also indicates the amount of media brainwashing that has gone on in recent years.

It’s as intellectually defensible as ‘Blame Canada’.

17

im center-right 01.15.04 at 2:32 am

Hey Glenn: A was walking along North Street today when a guy gave me a weird look. I shouted out, “what’s the matter with you, (are) you French or something!” That showed him.

18

Glenn 01.15.04 at 5:34 am

“First, the US was doing the same thing.

Second, they aren’t obligated to give rubber stamp approval for American aggression.”

i’m not even talking about who’s right and who’s wrong. i’m talking about “are we allies or enemies or somewhere in the middle?” Did you guys even watch the presidential debate where that question was posed to john kerry? “the french are the french” was his reply. what the freak does that mean?

“Sorry, but being an ally doesn’t mean being a toady.”

no it does’t. but that doesn’t mean that france has to stick a fork in america’s eye to make its freakin’ point. it was not some tremendous moral stand by chirac and de villepin in the run-up to war. for them as for us, it was about lotsa things, but money was a big factor.

“Actually, if I’m not mistaken, a good number of black jazz and blues artists moved to France (at least temporarily), because they were treated better there.”

that may have been true in the 50’s but its NOT true today. no ones been running from usa to france except maybe some rich white hollywood stars. france can take ’em.

ahem, it’ll be difficult to believe that there will be much mushy feelings between the american people and the french people while they think this and later this year, we see a victory by gwb in the presidential election.

im-center right, not sure if you’re kidding or not. i have nothing against the french people as a whole, but i do get disturbed by those people in france, usa and anywhere else in the world who think bush is the #1 source of evil in the world. i do believe that there just so happen to be lots of them in france.

19

Ruth Hoffmann 01.15.04 at 9:12 am

The fact that dan simon considers that “Muslims living in the US must be given special scrutiny by US law enforcement and other Americans” is a “slightly exaggerated” formulation of “law enforcement should pay special attention to radical Muslim groups, since several of them have been found to be fronts for terrorist organizations” is just…just…stunning.

“special scrutiny by other Americans”? What the heck?

20

Ruth Hoffmann 01.15.04 at 9:16 am

Oh, and many African American classical musicians also relocated to, or focused their careers on, France (and to a lesser extent Europe) in the 40s and 50s, because (especially in classical music) they just weren’t getting hired to sing opera or concerts here. The glorious Marian Anderson is one famous example of this.

21

raj 01.15.04 at 9:42 am

“The US must overthrow the regimes in Iran and Syria, and impose a blockade on North Korea”

Looks like Perle is looking to make a few more bucks off of US foreign adventures. As he did with the adventure in Iraq. I guess some people have no shame.

22

david j 01.15.04 at 2:29 pm

“cultural front, have the french ever liked admitted they they like american culture??”
I’d also add that the French enthusiastically embraced American novelists – Dos Passos, Faulkner, etc… heavily influenced a whole generation of French writers – And how about Woody Allen?!! And French critics today anoint Philip Roth as one of the world’s greatest authors.

glenn writes: “france does alot more than gripe and vote against the us at the un. they actively worked to prevent passage of the second un resolution against american interests, offering incentives to those who went along with them and threats to those that wouldn’t. this is but the latest example.”

Oh and how about the U.S. actively putting a stop to the British-French-Israeli action at Suez? Didn’t the U.S. ‘work actively against” the interests of these three nations and even humiliate them publicly and support a resolution against them at the UN – Please grow up and spare us your hypocritical one-sided self-righteousness.

23

Glenn 01.15.04 at 2:38 pm

Is there ANY DOUBT that you are all living in the past???

I mean, i talk about french dislike for american culture and you guys bring up jazz musicians in the 50’s. then two of you make comments about black entertainers moving to france in the 40’s and 50’s where they received better treatment. give me a break! No doubt, this was true back then. But America has changed directions a bit since the 50’s, no? just a teensy-weensy drop?

and then david j brings up the suez crisis? once again, that was 50 years ago!! perhaps the usa was trying to prevent war with the soviet union, which was threatening to enter the fray on the side of its client state, egypt? does that matter at all to you, david? i don’t even want to get into it because the bottom line is, IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO!!

“Please grow up and spare us your hypocritical one-sided self-righteousness.”

once again, i am hardly even touching on the subject of who’s wrong and who’s right. i am making a point that france and usa are no longer allies, and may even be enemies. somewhere in the middle, i guess. The French are the French, and you all know what that means (at least kerry thinks you do).

24

dave heasman 01.15.04 at 3:09 pm

Glen says : –
no ones been running from usa to france except maybe some rich white hollywood stars. france can take ‘em.

And Richard Perle, who has a house there.

25

davidj 01.15.04 at 4:38 pm

glenn writes: “I mean, i talk about french dislike for american culture and you guys bring up jazz musicians in the 50’s. then two of you make comments about black entertainers moving to france in the 40’s and 50’s where they received better treatment. give me a break! No doubt, this was true back then. But America has changed directions a bit since the 50’s, no? just a teensy-weensy drop?”

Well, Glenn, welcome to 2004 (not 1950):

Ever heard of the Festival du Film Americain?
http://www.festival-deauville.com/

And:

This week’s culture section in the French weekly L’express (the equivalent of Time Mag) includes a lengthy article on American gospel:

http://www.lexpress.fr/express/info/culture/

The book section has articles on

– Pourquoi il faut aimer l’Amérique
Why America is Great
by AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE author Dinesh D’Souza

– Le Vengeur (The Avenger)
by AMERICAN author Frederick Forsyth

http://livres.lexpress.fr/

And the Top 4 Book sales in France last week …
http://livres.lexpress.fr/palmares/default.asp?nomrubrique=palmares

Une seconde chance
by AMERICAN AUTHOR Mary Higgins Clark

Un nid de mensonges
by AMERICAN AUTHOR Elizabeth George

Lumière morte
by AMERICAN AUTHOR Michael Connelly

Origine suspecte
by AMERICAN AUTHOR (I think) Patricia MacDonald

And which book received the second most prestigious book prize in France last year? It’s called “A Lover’s Dictionary of America” (or A Dictionary for America Lovers) Check it out at
http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/2259194044/402-8065749-0142562

I’m not making this up. You live in an alternate reality. Keep on watching O’Reilly and other self-righteous pundits who panders to your prejudices.

26

glenn 01.15.04 at 5:24 pm

dave, if you checked out my site at all, you would know that i have a strong liberal background, just wish it was less infested by the far-leftists.

on perle, woody allen, etc., there’s nothing wrong with having a house in France, I hear it’s very beautiful. I’m just saying that black entertainers are NO LONGER FLEEING from usa to france. i feel like i must repeat myself over and over with you guys. jeesh.

you guys keep hammering on the cultural issue, one which i already conceded (and don’t really care much about) in this same comments section! wake up and read! but if you want me to say it, i will: The people of France LOVE American culture! They LOVE it LOVE it LOVE it! okay, does that satisfy everyone?

27

baa 01.15.04 at 9:46 pm

glenn, why do you keep insisting that the french hate american culture? this one claim logically implies that everything else you will ever say about anything is false.

28

Glenn 01.15.04 at 11:11 pm

“glenn, why do you keep insisting that the french hate american culture? this one claim logically implies that everything else you will ever say about anything is false.”

not sure if you are kidding baa, but your statement is both false and illogical.

False: I will repeat ANOTHER FREAKIN’ TIME –

“you guys keep hammering on the cultural issue, one which i already conceded (and don’t really care much about) in this same comments section! wake up and read! but if you want me to say it, i will: The people of France LOVE American culture! They LOVE it LOVE it LOVE it! okay, does that satisfy everyone?”

Illogical – if i had made a false statment, a ‘lie’ if you will, it does NOT logically imply that ‘everything else [I] will ever say about anything is false.’ bill clinton lied about monica, this fact DOES NOT imply that ALL future statements made by Clinton will be false. it may imply that you won’t trust my future statements, but that is it. that is for each person to judge on his/her own.

you haven’t impressed me with your wit at all, baa, so i’ll repeat one more time for you.

The people of France LOVE American culture!

29

baa 01.16.04 at 5:01 pm

i was kidding, glenn. i tried to go so over-the-top that it would be obvious, but i suppose in the insane mini-world of the comment box no hyperbole is hyperbolic enough to exclude the possibility of sincerity. i do agree, however, with the earlier point that americans who don’t like french culture are just like hitler.

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