(On Screen): I dunno, maybe I'm the suspicious sort. But I've always been leery of someone who tries too hard to tell me how close of friends we are. It's the kind of thing that makes me wonder whether he's trying to set me up for something. It makes my "used car dealer" detector go off.
Real friends don't have to explain to each other how close their friendship is. They know it, and they demonstrate their friendship through their actions. But if someone fucks me over (or tries to), and then tells me that I should forget all about it and act as if it never happened because we're such good friends, I find myself getting suspicious that he's trying to get close to me so that he can try to take advantage of me again.
It's almost as if there's an inverse relationship between how hard someone tries to convince you of his friendship and how close of a friend he actually is. Real friends don't have to do that, perhaps because real friends don't do things to you that make you doubt that friendship.
I guess that's just my unsophistication as a crabgrass Jacksonian. It must be some sort of unsophistication; if not that, some other kind. After all, we Americans are unsophisticated rubes. It must be something like that, because to my unsophisticated eye, in the few months it's looked as if Chirac and the French seem to have been doing everything they could to try to make my nation fail and to cause us to be defeated and weakened. But surely that can't have been what they were trying to do, since they've also spent that entire time telling us what good friends they are.
Chirac is doing it again.
"Events over the past few months have led to tension in relations between our countries. I want to share my personal conviction with all of you, however, that the friendship between France and the United States is deeply rooted in our history," [Chirac] told several hundred parents, teachers, and French and American dignitaries.
"This friendship between our people will always prevail over our differences."
Never mind that there's much less to the "historic friendship" between the US and France than he'd like to pretend. Never mind that for the last hundred years the relationship has been one of the US giving and the French taking. Never mind that we've saved their bacon three times in the last hundred years but haven't needed them at all and still don't, and that they've never forgiven us for it.
And never mind that it's been the center of Gaullist foreign policy since the founding of the Fifth Republic to try to impede and impair the US whenever possible. (They've managed to go through five republics while we're still working on our first. I guess they're better at it than we are. It's yet another sign of their sophistication.)
No, deep down I'm convinced that the French are truly our friends, and indeed they're the best friends we have in the entire world. They show their friendship by their willingness to tell us when they honestly think we're following the wrong course of action. It takes a true friend to do that, right? It's sort of like taking the bottle away from an alcoholic; you've got to be cruel to be kind. France has opposed us and tried to scuttle our plans because of a paternal worry that we're taking on too much. They only have our best interests in mind, and everything they've done in the last two years has been a sign of true friendship and a demonstration of their concern about us. I really believe that, because Chirac says so and I know he wouldn't lie to us about it.
I also believe that pigs have wings and are actually pigeons in disguise. Or if they're French pigs like Chirac, chickens in disguise.
Or maybe skunks in disguise.
Update: I also totally believe that Arafat wants a complete truce with Israel because he's totally dedicated to peace. Yeah, right.
Update: And the French are really ready to work with us in the UN, too. There's just a few small points they'd like changed about how it's all managed – details, really, nothing important – then they'd be really happy to support it.
Update 20030924: Ralph Peters has no doubts about French loyalty and friendship. (He's certain they're non-existent.)
Update: Doug writes:
There may be an explanation for Chirac's behaviour.
"Events over the past few months have led to tension in relations
between our countries. I want to share my personal conviction with all
of you, however, that the friendship between France and the United
States is deeply rooted in our history," [Chirac] told several hundred
parents, teachers, and French and American dignitaries."
Here in Australia, "root" is a slang word for sexual intercourse. If we
review his statement above in that context, Chirac's comments may be