Friday, November 09, 2007

Gary on Sarkozy

“Long Live The United States Of America!”
It’s not every day that a French president earns a standing ovation from American politicians, but yesterday Nicolas Sarkozy had members of Congress rising to their feet as he delivered a stirring speech described as “Reaganesque.” With Veterans Day approaching, I was especially appreciative of his tribute to the sacrifices of America’s heroes in uniform. Below are excerpts of President Sarkozy’s address to Congress.

“From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person. America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who … built the greatest nation in the world: ‘Come, and everything will be given to you.’ She said: ‘Come, and the only limits to what you’ll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent.’ America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.

“…Ladies and gentlemen, the men and women of my generation heard their grandparents talk about how in 1917, America saved France at a time when it had reached the final limits of its strength, which it had exhausted in the most absurd and bloodiest of wars. The men and women of my generation heard their parents talk about how in 1944, America returned to free Europe from the horrifying tyranny that threatened to enslave it.

“…France will never forget the sacrifice of your children. To those 20-year-old heroes who gave us everything, to the families of those who never returned, to the children who mourned fathers they barely got a chance to know, I want to express France’s eternal gratitude. …I want to tell you that whenever an American soldier falls somewhere in the world, I think of what the American army did for France. I think of them and I am sad, as one is sad to lose a member of one’s family.

“Today as in the past, as we stand at the beginning of the 21st century, it is together that we must fight to defend and promote the values and ideals of freedom and democracy that men such as Washington and Lafayette invented together. Together we must fight against terrorism. …Let me tell you solemnly today: France will remain engaged in Afghanistan as long as it takes, because what’s at stake in that country is the future of our values and that of the Atlantic Alliance. For me, failure is not an option. …America can count on France.

“…It is this ambitious France that I have come to present to you today. A France that comes out to meet America to renew the pact of friendship and the alliance that Washington and Lafayette sealed in Yorktown. Together let us be worthy of their example, let us be equal to their ambition, let us be true to their memories! Long live the United States of America!”

The Cost Of Business
Longtime supporters of my work know that I have been critical of our trade policies with communist China. I know the arguments: Free trade with the Chinese will transform them. I’m skeptical, and this week we got more evidence that trade with China is transforming us. While the president of France was praising America yesterday for its defense of freedom, House leaders the day before were publicly shaming American corporate executives for betraying human rights activists in communist China. Evidently, a number of Chinese dissidents have been jailed as a result of Yahoo’s cooperation with the communist state. In one case, a Chinese journalist who e-mailed a government memo prohibiting coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre was sentenced to 10 years in prison after Yahoo turned over the reporter’s e-mail account information to the Chinese government.

Yahoo executives expressed regret, but defended their actions by stating that doing business in China is complicated. If the costs of doing business with the communist Chinese require our companies to sacrifice the principles of freedom, I would hope every American business executive would conclude that such costs are too high. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the only Holocaust survivor serving in Congress, castigated the Yahoo executives, saying, “While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are Pygmies.”

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