Urbin Report

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Here is some good stuff from the Wall Street Journal on our Friends the French:
"French President Jacques Chirac, making his first visit to Polynesia since ordering a final round of nuclear tests in the South Pacific in 1995, on Saturday defended the decades of testing that some islanders claimed gave them cancer," the Associated Press reports from Papeete, Tahiti:

Chirac, making a five-day visit to the French territory of Tahiti, said the atomic tests that generated international outrage helped establish France as a world power.

"Without Polynesia, France would not be the great power that it is, capable of expressing in the concert of nations an autonomous, independent and respected position," he said.

And so what if a few island-dwellers got cancer? Meanwhile, the New York Times reports from Paris that France and Germany are belatedly considering how they can help in Iraq. "One senior French official" tells the paper: "The French Army would feel humiliated to go to Iraq and be put in the same category as the Poles or the Uruguayans as part of the cleanup team." Does French arrogance know any bounds?

The Associated Press reports that "the number of American tourists visiting France has dropped dramatically this year, by as much as 80 percent in the first half of 2003." The reason? France's Tourism Ministry attributes the decline "mainly to the weak dollar." Yeah, that must be it.