Freedom Fries?

Finally, a French official with a penchant for easing strained relations.

France’s foreign minister paid an unannounced and highly symbolic visit to Baghdad on Sunday — the first by a senior French official since the war started and a gesture to the American effort in Iraq after years of icy relations over the U.S.-led invasion. Bernard Kouchner said Paris wanted to "turn the page" and look to the future.

And it gets better:

Kouchner said he was not in Iraq to offer initiatives or proposals but to listen to ideas on how his country might help stop the devastating violence.

I was never one for endorsing the whole "freedom fries" phenomenon, although I did find it amusing, but there have definitely been some serious issues to bat concerning France and other European nations and their lack of support regarding Middle Eastern issues.

It’s uplifting to see a French leader who is looking for ways in which the estranged nation can help America stabilize the Middle East.

All past feelings aside, it’s in France’s best interest to examine the issue, seeing as the bloodbath in Iraq could easily spill over into other areas of the Middle East — and beyond.

"We are ready to be useful, but the solution is in the Iraqis hands, not in the French hands," he said, adding "I’m not frightened of the perspective of talking to the Americans."

Phew, I’m glad they’re finally ready.  I’ve been increasingly offset by European nations (like France) who have stood by and watched Iraq unfold.  Sure, they were against it from the start, but what’s happened has happened — events have played out and it’s time that the world unites to fix this immense problem.  It’s in everyone’s best interest.

I’m glad to see a world leader stand up and say, "Hey, we may just have to help here," instead of sitting back and sporting a na-na-na-boo-boo we told you so persona.

It’s time to unite.  Seriously.