March 8, 2009

THE WORLD W LEFT BEHIND:

Sarkozy Embraces NATO, and Bigger Role for France (STEVEN ERLANGER, 3/08/09, NY Times)

The French, who never really left, are expected to rejoin NATO as full members at the alliance’s 60th anniversary summit meeting next month.

The decision, still to be formalized by President Nicolas Sarkozy, has stirred a predictable political debate in France, but it is being welcomed by Washington and France’s European allies.

The full reintegration of France into the command structure of NATO will have little practical impact; France has long contributed money and is the fourth largest contributor of troops. But the decision to rejoin as a full partner carries enormous political and psychological weight, NATO officials and experts say.

It could promise an effective end to an argument that has lasted decades, led by France, about Europe acting as a “counterweight” to the United States in military affairs. [...]

Mr. Sarkozy made closer ties and reintegration with NATO a part of his presidential campaign in 2007. Last month, at a conference in Munich, he repeated his determination to strengthen links with NATO despite opposition at home. He argues that France exercises the most influence within larger institutions like the European Union, NATO and the United Nations Security Council when it participates fully, and that its influence with Washington has gone up as the tension and rhetoric have gone down.


Such are the wages of cowboy diplomacy: the French punt their anti-American leaders, elect a Bush/Blair clone, and surrender.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2009 7:27 AM
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