September 21, 2007

DIVISION OF LABOR:

France is now more gung-ho than America: As he threatens war on Iran, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner is living up to spiked’s warning that he is ‘the most dangerous man in Europe’ (David Chandler, 9/18/07, spiked))

[T]he foreign policy pronouncements of the new French government of Kouchner and Sarkozy have striking parallels to that of Blair and his foreign minister Robin Cook’s incoming Labour government in 1997. Kouchner, like Blair before him, is able to make grand statements of foreign policy mission in the knowledge that responsibility will have to be taken by someone else – the United States. [...]

Like Blair’s approach to the Kosovo crisis in 1999, this activist foreign policy depends on the fact that the US has already talked up the threat and is the only country with the capacity to carry out the threats that are made by others.

Over Kosovo, the Blair government was free to up the stakes against Belgrade - calling for intervention and, once the war had started, calling for ground troops - because there was little to lose. Blair could sound principled and take the world stage knowing that final policy responsibility would rest with Washington, and if intervention failed to meet the high moral aspirations then the US could always be blamed for policy failings. For many commentators, the biggest success of the Blair government was the 1999 Kosovo war, where Blair could bask in the reflective glory of the US bombing campaign.

Kouchner’s confidence in taking a warlike stance over Iran stems from irresponsibility rather than responsibility. Free from any final decision-making - or any substantial military role if there is a conflict - Kouchner’s warmongering rhetoric can only increase the tensions in the region, further destabilising the relationship between the US and Tehran. Rather than a moral or ethical stand, Kouchner’s position seems both craven and parasitical, both exploiting the US position and willing to risk thousands more lives in a region already torn apart by Western grandstanding.


If all Sarko's France does is provide the same cover for the Crusader State that Thatcher/Blair's Britain has, it will be playing a useful role internationally...for once.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 21, 2007 7:46 AM
Comments

The Middle East, especially Iran, needs more de-stabilizing. France's stand is to tell them they cannot play France against the US any more. Koucher believes that if Chirac had not been such a creep to protect his oil-for-bribe deals with Saddam, but supported the US instead, there would be no Iraq war. Koucher is consistent and true to his belief.

Posted by: ic at September 21, 2007 1:48 PM
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