December 4, 2005


A Transformative NATO (Jim Hoagland, December 4, 2005, Washington Post)

The relative political calm that has prevailed across the Atlantic this year will soon be tested by an ambitious U.S. effort to remake NATO into a global security organization able to go anywhere and do much more than fight wars. [...]

Outwardly, transatlantic relations have improved substantially. A new German government that does not owe its electoral legitimacy to opposing Bush's policies has taken power in Berlin. France's drive to limit U.S. hegemony abroad has been weakened by internal problems. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has turned U.S. sniping at the European Union's negotiations with Iran over nuclear arms into meaningful support for that effort.

"We are in complete agreement on the goals and the means of resolving the Iranian nuclear question," Frank-Walter Steinmeir, Germany's new foreign minister, told me shortly after he met with Rice here last week. "The enrichment of uranium within the borders of Iran is unacceptable to us all, and we are offering a reasonable alternative to Iran . . . .That unity will continue . . . whether Iran seizes this opportunity or not."

But the Bush national security team continues to see a world being swept by radical changes that must be mastered and channeled, while many in Europe see a world standing still -- that is, possessing a rough strategic equilibrium that must be maintained through gradual evolution.

Structurally, this difference shows up in the implicit creation of an alliance within the alliance: Bush's America, Tony Blair's Britain, Silvio Berlusconi's Italy and the formerly Soviet-occupied lands of Central Europe and the Baltics that have deployed troops to Iraq. They constitute a politically coherent group committed to advancing democratic freedoms abroad, through military means if necessary.

So Bush and Blair won the fight with Chirac and Schroeder--not that it was much of one--if France would rather pout about trade and security than be a part of the Axis of Good, why not just dump them?

They collaborated with the Nazis and De Gaulle made no bones about their not being an ally in the Cold War either. Why expect them to do the right thing this time?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2005 9:37 AM

The only problem with your statement is that France is not a part of NATO.

Posted by: dick at December 4, 2005 11:38 AM

http://you don't know, dick?

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2005 11:47 AM

Effectively, I'm with Dick. Let's kick them out totally and then let them stand alone for awhile. They'll eventually nuance their way back in from the cold. However, this time back in only with a military committment.

Posted by: Genecis at December 4, 2005 11:59 AM

Didn't Rumsfeld say going to war with France as an ally was like going hunting with an accordion. Not sure if that's the exact quote, but it's pretty close.

Let them go their own way. If we need any more accordions, we know where we can reach them.

Posted by: erp at December 4, 2005 2:21 PM

What's the difference between a frog and a toad?

Posted by: ghostcat at December 4, 2005 2:36 PM

"De Gaulle made no bones about their not being an ally in the Cold War"

De Gaulle went over to the Russians. I am willing to bet that France's force de frappe is targeted at American Cities. Not an ally, they are our enemies.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 4, 2005 4:18 PM


I have wondered about that myself.

Cut them loose - what are they going to do? Make an alliance with Iran? With Putin? With little Kim? With the inter-galactic warriors that the former Canadian defense minister is worried about?

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 4, 2005 7:38 PM

We "inter-galactic warriors" do NOT want an alliance with the French either.

Posted by: Klakxis at December 4, 2005 9:27 PM