June 21, 2004


The Allies Must Step Up (Ivo Daalder and Robert Kagan, June 20, 2004, Washington Post)

One would think, therefore, that the new U.N. consensus on Iraq would offer real hope not only for putting Iraq on the right track but also for healing some of the rifts between the United States and its European allies. France and Germany demanded a significant U.N. role, and they've gotten it. They demanded a rapid turnover of sovereignty to the Iraqis, and they got that, too. With the two countries having gotten their way in the negotiations on the resolution, the time has come for them to pitch in and join in the effort to build a peaceful, stable, democratic future for Iraq. After all, French, German and other European officials have insisted all along that the success or failure of Iraq is as much a vital interest for them as for the United States. They've also insisted, understandably, that if the United States wanted their help, it would have to give them a say over policy in Iraq.

Unfortunately, now that the Bush administration has finally acquiesced to their requests, it appears that France and Germany are refusing to fulfill their end of the bargain. Leaders of both countries have declared they will not send troops to assist in Iraq under any circumstances. Still more troubling was French President Jacques Chirac's declaration at the Group of Eight summit last week that he opposed any NATO role in Iraq, even though the resolution France supported explicitly calls on "Member States and international and regional organizations to contribute assistance to the multinational force, including military forces."

The positions staked out by the French and German governments are an abdication of international responsibility.

The next time the French or Germans accept an international responsibility will be the first, but guys like these two keep looking to them...

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 21, 2004 11:24 PM

Can someone please clarify for me France's position in NATO? It is my understanding that they are a member of the political structure but not the military structure, but via google I see some references that claim they joined the military command in 1993. I seem to recall, however, that in the runup to Iraq some votes were moved to military committees to isolate Belgium and Germany from France and overcome their objections. So what's the deal? And how exactly can one be a non-military member of NATO?

Posted by: brian at June 21, 2004 11:52 PM

France is Lucy and Kagan Charley Brown.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at June 22, 2004 12:07 AM

Unfortunately, now that the Bush administration has finally acquiesced to their requests, it appears that France and Germany are refusing to fulfill their end of the bargain.

Gee, where have we seen that before....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 22, 2004 2:13 AM

"Admittedly the United States hasn't been the best of allies over the past two years."

Thank goodness for that.

I count ten uses of the words "allies" and "alliance" in this article, and one or two "international community's". These are now synonyms for "containing the U.S". Kagan himself recognized that NATO and the Cold War gave Europe more power than it warranted because they made European security and contentment tests of American foreign policy, so what is he on about here?

What possible advantage would a Europe that spent more money on defence and was more engaged in the world's hotspots be? Does Kagan really think honing diplomatic skills and playing nice-nice to the Euros will bring back the good old days and make them into cheerleaders for the U.S.? He should think again">http://www.techcentralstation.com/061804Y.html">again

Posted by: Peter B at June 22, 2004 6:51 AM