France is upset that…
France is upset that we’re not ceding our charitable contribution handling to the UN.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, met here Tuesday with top U.S. officials in an effort to coordinate tsunami aid better and perhaps also to smooth over any lingering resentments about each side’s assistance efforts.

The meetings came after France, in particular, had grumbled over a U.S. official’s suggestion that France was not being particularly generous, and as President Jacques Chirac was reported to be growing increasingly concerned that U.S. aid efforts were designed to circumvent the United Nations in potentially damaging ways.

After all, if Kofi and his son don’t get their cut from all this money, that’s damaging to the UN. Or not.

But a German press account, the general outlines of which were confirmed by a French official, suggested that Chirac was concerned that the U.S. tsunami aid operation had sidestepped traditional UN channels. This followed a U.S. decision to form a separate aid coalition with Australia, Japan and India, all key regional powers with substantial resources.

The account, in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, reported that Chirac, without openly criticizing the Bush administration, feared “that Washington is deliberately circumventing the United Nations and wants to compete with the international organization.”

It said, without citing its sources, that “President Chirac wants to hinder America from using its ad hoc-organized aid operation to set a precedent that will lastingly weaken the role of the United Nations.”

It quoted him as having said publicly that the tsunami had provided proof that the fate of all people “cannot be separated from that of our planet” and that global organizations like the UN must therefore be strengthened.

The UN won’t even call the actions in Darfur what they are; genocide. They were paralyzed when the Rwandan genocide was taking place. They had plenty of time to act and chose not to. But now, all of a sudden, we need to strengthen this organization? Why, so they can waste more time (and money) deliberating? Who’s helicopters are already dropping aid where it’s needed? How much is it costing us to have the USS Abraham Lincoln available for the effort? What country is giving more private donations than any other (total dollars and per capita)? I know private donations don’t really show up on France’s or the UN’s radar, but in America that’s where compassion is understood to really begin; at home, not in DC. Even though it’s not possible for the time being, Americans are also waiting in line to adopt orphans from this tragedy. You can’t put a price on that.

But to Chirac and his ilk, this is all a dangerous precedent. Pathetic.

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