The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Car, Kudos Italy and France Tries to Make Up


Thanks for everybody using the comments!

CB made a comment saying that I was an insecure jerk covering my inadequacies by blaming them on a nameless stranger! And fair enough I'm not the best driver as I'm sure Kev/Stev will tell you.

This made me feel sad...

...and even some existential angst.

I'm sure he wasn't a bad guy, but he didn't do much to endear me to him. He left 5 minutes after the cops did and didn't even recognise we'd been clipped on the left side (which was absolutely certain from my POV) before being hit head on. It's not like that necessarily meant he was at fault (it was compatible with his story that I'd pulled out in front of him) but suggests he hadn't seen or felt us when we were clipped.

Luckily I was on my mom's insurance, and if I understand correctly because I was driving they won't jack hers up. Though obviously if I ever need car insurance in France (Europe?) I'll have to declare the accident and it will make mine more expensive.


As Israel recently attacked Hezbollah despite the ceasefire (allegedly to stop probable Syrian-Iranian rearmament of Hezbollah) , and it looked as though France would scuttle efforts to build the Multinational Force, Italy has boldly offered a very respectable 3000 troops for Lebanon (1/5th of the total required force). I can't think of any particular Italian interest in the country other perhaps that Prodi's personality who generally seems in line with good-internationalist centre-left parliamentarians (like old French socialist leaders like Jean Jaures who tried to stop WW1 through a general strike and Leon Blum who started France's rearmament for WW2).

At this point, I can't imagine any French president with Gaullist (= France should be important) pretensions not committing at least as many troops as Italy. Interestingly Chirac has become much more active in recent weeks (after a rather depressing past few years of high unemployment, unilateral America, failed EU constitution, lost local elections, the riots bladebla) appearing more in public, an active diplomacy, no vacation and generally taking over from his floudering PM Dominique de Villepin. Le Monde even suggests he's doing it in a serious bid to put himself to the fore for another presidential election (if that's what he's thinking it seems absurd to me, he's still got abysmal approval ratings and would mean he's trying to rule for 17 consecutive years, beating Mitterrand's record of 14, crazy).

France has recently called for an EU summit on Lebanon (to convene probably Wednesday) to coordinate contributions. France called for "European solidarity" and Finland, who currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, immediately accepted. Given Italy's bravery and all the pomp of an EU summit I can't conceive of Chirac asking for so much attention and not making a more substantial contribution than the current 400. This summit would be a good opportunity to stress European unity on a foreign policy issue (!!!) which he might be able to take credit for.

If France seemed to be looking for a graceful opt-out of Lebanon a few days ago, calling for an EU summit makes that impossible.


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