PARIS AIR SHOW….The biannual Paris Air Show is the latest victim of our campaign to punish the French:
With French-American relations still cool over France’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, major U.S. aerospace firms have dramatically scaled back or canceled their participation in the world’s oldest and biggest industry gathering.
….”Almost every company is cutting back because the Department of Defense won’t be there” in large numbers, said Joel Johnson, vice president for international affairs for the Aerospace Industries Assn. “The bottom line is that this will be a reduced show.”
….Moreover, there will be no U.S. generals with huge entourages prowling the grounds of Le Bourget Field, touting U.S. weapons. And not a single congressional delegation is scheduled to attend, in part because some in Congress still are smarting over French criticism of the Iraq war and disparaging remarks made by France’s president about President Bush’s decision to invade.
Fine, fine, we’re showing the frogs who’s boss. I’m down with that.
But can I ask a serious question? What’s the point of this air show? If it’s really an important event and that’s why we usually send loads of people to it, then aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice by cutting back our attendance? Are we risking some aspect of national security just to give the French a black eye?
On the other hand, if it’s not really a very important event, then why have we been sending all these people in years past? Has it just been a big boondoggle?
What’s the story here?