"Why replace France with India? Because India is the world’s biggest democracy, the world’s largest Hindu nation and the world’s second-largest Muslim nation, and, quite frankly, India is just so much more serious than France these days. France is so caught up with its need to differentiate itself from America to feel important, it’s become silly. India has grown out of that game. India may be ambivalent about war in Iraq, but it comes to its ambivalence honestly. Also, France can’t see how the world has changed since the end of the cold war. India can.
Mr. de Villepin also suggested that Saddam’s government pass "legislation to prohibit the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction." (I am not making this up.) That proposal alone is a reminder of why, if America didn’t exist and Europe had to rely on France, most Europeans today would be speaking either German or Russian."
The fact that France is still a permanent Security Council member is an anachronism, and an insult to India which has about 18 times the population, and nuclear weapons, too. France accounts for 1% of worldwide population, it’s aging, and its economy isn’t getting any better (until very recently when Chirac campaigned on French decline to unseat the Socialists, most French officials conveniently forgot to use purchasing power parity to make GNP comparisons between countries, in order to convince the electorate that we’re still the 4th economy worldwide.) There is no reason France should have or even aspire to such a prominent place in international politics. Believe it or not, the rationale brought up by politicians here is that France has a Universal Message inherited from the 1789 Revolution and the Humanist "Siecle des Lumieres." Talk about building our credibility on a swamp: the revolution was a fraud and Rousseau didn’t even take care of his own children.
02/12/03 update: Plague of Frogs, Dubious Council.