Courtesy Reuters

The French are undoubtedly not alone among Europeans in their difficulty grasping American policy in the Middle East. Although clear in its objectives -- at least those publicly defined -- it invariably raises questions and sometimes suspicions. Part of the problem comes from cultural differences. The French, without necessarily being cynical, tend to be skeptical of the moralism that America traditionally attaches to its policies. General Charles de Gaulle raised no eyebrows in France when he declared, as a self-evident truth, that the primary purpose of the state, which he characterized as a "cold monster," was to defend the nation's

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