Monroe County (New York) Legislator Mark Assini is running for Congress.
In his bid for Amo Houghton’s seat in Congress, Assini has taken on Houghton’s noble attempt at building a bridge across the Atlantic Diplomatic Divide.
When former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur and political rival of Jacques Chirac, was in Washington recently as head of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Commission, he was received by Colin Powell and officials of the State Department. During a luncheon, Amo Houghton announced his creation of a French-American Friendship Caucus; an act of courage when one considers the barrage of Anti-French activity that had originated on the Hill.
Mark Assini articulated his attack on Amo Houghton using the spent ammunition of Anti-French Rhetoric. Applying with much attention the « Us vs. Them » dogma of the White House Administration, Assini states that Houghton is not supporting « George W. Bush, but French President Jacques Chirac ». Assini goes on to claim that France is an untrustworthy ally in the war on terror, thus assuming the War in Iraq had something to do with fighting terrorism in the United-States.
In regards to fighting terrorism, does Assini ignore that in August 2001, when the United States had in its custody a man named Zacarias Moussaoui, that they brushed aside warnings from the French Intelligence Service about this individual? Does Assini ignore that France was, and remains a willing ally in Afghanistan, a country where Terrorist Organisations where factually present?
About Iraq, does Assini know that there were no WMD and that there is no link, despite Administration wishful thinking, between Islamic fundamentalist Ben Laden and Secular dictator Saddam Hussein, except maybe for the fact that they were both once Allies of Washington?
Articulating classic neo-conservative thought, Assini associates criticism of the Bush Administration Policy with Anti-Americanism, an accusation he throws at French Ambassador Levitte with little regard for fact. He mocks Levitte’s denunciation of a disinformation campaign aimed at sullying France’s image and misleading the public.
Had Assini bothered to read Levitte’s letter he would have realized that at no point was President Bush accused of anything and that the Ambassador’s criticism was aimed at specific and well-documented cases of disinformation.
Mark Assini must work harder at understanding the issues at hand if he wants to have any influence in the world of international relations.
Diplomacy, a French word by the way, is about using tact and sensitivity with others, something the American Administration would do well to apply.
Marc Saint-Aubin du Cormier