Little Green Footballs in this post points us to a fascinating piece by the always insightful and intelligent Victor Davis Hanson. In VDH's attention arresting article titled The Ents of Europe: Strange rumblings on the continent, he proposes a Middle Earth paradigm for Europe based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. My interest was specifically piqued by VDH's question regarding France:
. . . More specifically, does the Ents analogy work for present-day Europe? Before you laugh at the silly comparison, remember that the Western military tradition is European. Today the continent is unarmed and weak, but deep within its collective mind and spirit still reside the ability to field technologically sophisticated and highly disciplined forces — if it were ever to really feel threatened. One murder began to arouse the Dutch; what would 3,000 dead and a toppled Eiffel Tower do to the French? Or how would the Italians take to a plane stuck into the dome of St. Peter?
. . . Things are no less humiliating — or dangerous — in France. Thousands of unassimilated Muslims mock French society. Yet their fury shapes its foreign policy to the degree that Jacques Chirac sent a government plane to sweep up a dying Arafat. But then what do we expect from a country that enriched Hamas, let
Mrs. Arafat spend her husband's embezzled millions under its nose, gave Khomeini the sanctuary needed to destroy Iran, sold a nuclear reactor to Saddam, is at the heart of the Oil-for-Food scandal, and revs up the Muslim world against the United States?
. . . So will the old Ents awaken, or will they slumber on, muttering nonsense to themselves, lost in past grandeur and utterly clueless about the dangers on their borders? [All emphasis mine.]
Yes, indeed, what would 3,000 dead and a toppled Eiffel Tower do to the French? A good indication of the answer to that question lies in the 2nd paragraph that I excerpted above: i.e. France would continue to do pretty much what it is already doing now. However, you can be fairly certain that in addition to all that, a massive terrorist attack on France would merely increase their hatred of and rhetoric against the U.S. and Israel. You see, France is not the quiet, isolated, mysterious, unknown and somewhat feared Fangorn forest. No forgotten ancient power from the mists of the past slumbers there in peaceful isolation while the rest of the world spirals toward darkness.
Jacques Chirac is no Treebeard. He doesn't have the wisdom of long ages of existence, experience and learning. He does not share Treebeard's basic belief in pacifism through isolation and neutrality. Furthermore, he certainly doesn't share Treebeard's feeling of horror that was aroused to a righteous fury at seeing his neighbors hewn down by Saruman.
The French are not Ents. True, like the Ents, the numbers of the French are declining and the world that they once knew in times long past is drastically changing. Perhaps, if one were to be exceedingly charitable and liberal to the point of excessiveness, a case might even be made that like the Ents, the French long only for a now forgotten past and for a slower, less hasty pace of world events that seem to be evolving and changing too quickly, leaving no time for sufficiently lengthy deliberation. However, the Ents did not have their wisdom-worn gnarled twigs and branches stuck in all of Saruman's and Sauron's pies. The Ents were not actively engaged with the enemy. The Ents were not entangled in financially lucrative and politically self-serving alliances with Orcs and Trolls. The Ents were not pursuing a course of obstructionism against Elves, Men, Hobbits, Dwarves and the other free peoples of Middle Earth.
No, the French are not Ents and they are not even Dutch. France is not Holland. No powerful wrath lies slumbering in France, just waiting to be awakened by the right impetus of a grave wrong done to her. If the Islamofascists were to kill 3,000 French citizens, topple the Eiffel Tower and occupy and govern Paris, a hefty portion of the French would collaborate with their invaders while a less sizeable contingent might try to flee, form an underground resistance, or simply wait in servitude and degradation hoping for outside intervention to deliver them.
No, France is no Fangorn forest, Chirac is no Treebeard, the French are not Ents. If push comes to shove, we may very well find that an alarmingly high proportion of the French are Dunlanders, already in league with the enemy, and more than willing to besiege us in Helm's Deep. After all, in criticizing and obstructing and attacking the U.S.'s interests, they are not seeking to destroy the power of the One Ring; they are only subjugating themselves to Islamofascist forces of darkness in hopes of gaining the promise of power of the nine rings given to mortal men, a false promise that in the end would merely subject them to the Evil which is determined to rule them all.
"One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."
You've been told and NOW YOU KNOW.