February 13, 2003


Fresh blow dealt to Nato's credibility (Judy Dempsey, February 12 2003, Financial Times)
Nato's credibility Wednesday night suffered another blow after France, Belgium and Germany again blocked plans to make contingency plans to defend Turkey against any attack from Iraq.

Lord Robertson, Nato secretary-general, had been warned by France it would not consider any of the US requests to provide security guarantees to Turkey.

Paris had wanted to wait until Thursday's meeting in New York when Hans Blix, United Nations chief weapons inspector, will deliver another report to the UN Security Council.

Lord Robertson, however, called yet another meeting of the North Atlantic Council - the alliance's highest political body, which is headed by the 19 ambassadors - despite being told agreement was not forthcoming.

France, supported by Gerhard Schršder, German chancellor, insisted they wanted to pursue all diplomatic efforts before committing Nato to taking any military decisions.

France believes the US is using Nato as a cover for US troops in Turkey in addition to providing a diplomatic and political prop to US war aims in Iraq.

Two questions:

(1) Why does France have a say in this if they aren't part of the NATO military structure?

(2) Why do people consider a nation that won't commit its military to that structure to be an ally?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2003 12:35 PM

Stop me if you've already heard this, but it was new to me (and probably significant that it came in an interview about local retailing): "Thank God for the French, always there when they need us."

Posted by: Harry at February 13, 2003 6:49 PM