mistral
© Reuters/Stephane Mahe
The two Mistral-class helicopter carriers Sevastopol (L) and Vladivostok are seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, western France.
So, France and Russia had a deal. France was to produce a couple of state-of-the-art helicopter carriers for Russia. Russia would make some of the ships, then send them to France to be completed. The deal was signed in 2011. Money was paid ($1.25 billion). The first carrier was supposed to have been delivered in November 2014. But since then, for the past several months, France has been engaging in a prolonged geopolitical hissy fit, delaying the shipment and putting out the idea that maybe they will not honor their end of the deal after all.

All of this has occurred under pressure from the masters of the hysterical hissy fit: the US and the EU. What? Sell Russia stuff? But they're mean! We forbid it. Absolutely forbid it! And don't you get any ideas -- remember, we have those pictures of you doing you know what with you know whom! So, like the cowering, timid, collaborationist little surrender monkey it is, France has caved in, taking orders from its masters like a good little slave.

Russia -- who doesn't really need the ships, but a deal's a deal -- has been understandably upset, saying that if France refuses to give Russia what Russia paid for, then they want their money back, plus €300 million in compensation. Now, as US anti-Russian hysteria continues, it's looking increasingly likely that France will cancel the contract. Officially, Hollande is open to giving Russia its money back. A lot of people see this whole pathetic debacle as a public disgrace for France's international business image, but I'm not so certain. At least they've got a money-back almost-guarantee! So what are they considering doing with the ships after they have paid Russia back?

Sink them.

Yep, you read that right. Sink them. The French government is seriously considering dismantling, then remodeling or simply sinking the parts in open sea, according to Le Figaro. The ships had been custom made for Russia, so they're useless to the French military. Russia has said it isn't opposed to the carriers being sold to a third party, and potential clients include Canada, Egypt and 'another northern country'. But nah, just sink 'em.

Now, Russia's deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin is saying that France can't sell the ships to another country without Russia's permission. After all, Russia built the stern parts of the carriers, and it has an end-user certificate for those parts. Thus, France's stellar idea to just scrap the ships and be over and done with it. France, oh France, there is a very simple solution to this hole you've dug for yourself: grow a pair, show some back bone, some actual independence, show you're not really playing Igor to the US Dr. Frankenstein (*YES Master!).

News of this latest example of French idiocy has apparently angered many, including a 'high-ranking French military official', who told Le Figaro that the idea was "unacceptable", citing the work put in by the shipbuilders at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard. RT quotes a couple of seemingly sane Frenchman:
The decision by the French government is causing concern amongst French business leaders, who believe Paris' inability to fulfill the contracts could hurt the economy in the long run.

"I am very unhappy with the fact that France has decided not to supply Mistral ships to Russia," said Sanches Encerra, a member of the French National Assembly said in March. "I think this is a mistake from all points of view. This undermines the credibility of France as a reliable partner, and we, the MPs, strongly promote the idea that sanctions are quite a harmful phenomenon."

Jean-Pierre Thomas, a former adviser to ex-president Nikolas Sarkozy, told RT than any decision to sink such costly ships would be absurd.

"It would be completely nonsense. We will lose employment for 1,000 workers at Saint-Lazare, which are building these two ships. France will lose money and lose employment, that's the business part. The second loss is the image. The Mistrals have to be delivered; it has to be mixed with diplomacy. Politics and diplomacy is one thing and business is another thing," he said.
Good points, but I think the damage has already been done as far as France is concerned. Honor the agreement with Russia and you might salvage some respectability, but the French government cannot now escape the fact that the civilized world knows it is an EU/US puppet. But, even going by scripted, superficial appearances, yeah, this whole fiasco has been a gong show for France. Is there a word for making a really stupid decision, then compounding that mistake exponentially by offering up an even stupider solution to the problem caused by the first mistake? Well, there should be.