France is no longer an ally of the United States and the NATO alliance “must develop a strategy to contain our erstwhile ally or we will not be talking about a NATO alliance” the head of the Pentagon’s top advisory board said in Washington yesterday.
Richard Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and now chairman of the Pentagon’s Policy Advisory Board, condemned French and German policy on Iraq in the strongest terms at a public seminar organized by Iraqi exiles and American Middle East and security officials.
Mr. Perle is not an official of the Bush administration. But his position as the Pentagon’s senior civilian adviser gives his harsh remarks a quasi-official character.
While dismissing Germany’s refusal to support military action against Iraq as an aberration by “a discredited chancellor,” Mr. Perle warned that France’s attitude was more dangerous and more serious.
“France is no longer the ally it once was,” Mr. Perle said. He went on to accuse French President Jacques Chirac of believing “deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor.”
France has insisted it will oppose any military action against Iraq without a second resolution by the U.N. Security Council, where it holds veto power.
“It is now reasonable to ask whether the United States should now or on any other occasion subordinate vital national interests to a show of hands by nations who do not share our interests,” Mr. Perle said.
“I have long thought that there were forces in France intent on reducing the American role in the world. That is more troubling than the stance of a German chancellor, who has been largely rejected by his own people,” Mr. Perle said, referring to the sharp electoral defeat suffered by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s party in state elections Sunday.