Gassing game

The Soviet Union has found great quantities of natural gas up in Siberia, and the idea of letting it seep down into Europe is the most original plot since the witch gave a bad apple to Snow White.

One might wonder if the Soviets have invented a more civilized version of gas warfare. Instead of breathing it, you burn it in your furnace. Instead of having it ooze all around you like California smog, you can buy it cheap in easy monthly payments. The fact that the Russians are selling it to Europe in a pipe gives Secretary of State Haig as much concern, if not more, than the mycotoxins he says they are fumigating Aghanistan with.

Just at the time when Russia is making warm friends with gas, President Reagan is losing them with hot air. Just at the time when the United States would like Europe to join in a common front of sanctions against the USSR over Poland, France and the rest of Europe are becoming sheep in sheep's clothing. After all, it's only those offensively vociferous Poles who are going to suffer.

It is probably a case of Europe being so close to the Russian bear that it feels only the warmth of the furry hug. The US is far enough away to see the teeth.

How much effect pointing the gas line at France has had in the recent, rapid socialization of that country is a long-shot speculation. But it is enough to say that, much to the dismay of Western countries, France is once again meeting its problems the opposite of everybody else. Just when the free world is trying to fight the recession by getting government off the backs of the people, France is going piggyback in a big way. In fact Europe is getting so divided no one knows how to color a map anymore.

For Americans, the only thing harder to figure out than a mule on Sunday is a Frenchman. The American tends to think everyone should be like he is and want to breath free enterprise air. The Frenchman will breathe anything so long as it's French.

But probably all this Siberian gas leaking into French homes won't have any lasting effect on the French. Nothing ever does. And the average Frenchman can't look at the average Russian very long without noticing he's not French. And then he will wake up from the pipedream.

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