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Making NATO a peacekeeping force
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jacques Chirac says NATO should be adapted to a more European entity and international peacekeeping force:
The Europeans have relied on their American allies for too long. They have to shoulder their share of the burden by making a national defence effort commensurate with their ambitions for Nato and also for the EU. This is a mark of the solidarity which links the two sides of the Atlantic. This is what France, one of the leading contributors to the alliance, is doing through its Military Estimates Act. The aim is to ensure the ongoing modernisation of its strategic force - in compliance with the principle of strict sufficiency - as well as the equipment, rapid-response capability and deployability of French conventional forces.

Adapting the alliance also means enabling it to work smoothly and on an equal footing with other international organisations whose mission, sphere of competence and means are clearly established, without needless duplication.

Adapting means providing a political framework. France welcomes in this regard the adoption of a global political directive which sets out the transformation for the next 10 to 15 years.
As you see in that statement, he's not saying that Europe should sever the ties it has with the US, but it certainly implies a much more robust role for France and other European nations than they now take in the alliance. And one can only assume, once that more robust presence is reality, leadership demands won't be far behind.

Chirac, who claims early in his article that threat of war in Europe has all but disappeared envisions a much different and international role for NATO's future:
Peace can never be taken for granted, and the first responsibility of any government is security. That is why France wishes to contribute to a political structuring of the world that averts perils. It wishes to help in the exercise of shared responsibility within the framework of strong, legitimate and accepted international institutions, particularly through reforms of the UN and the security council. It is working to build a political Europe capable of meeting its international responsibilities in the service of peace.

The Atlantic alliance has a central place in this project. For 10 years France has been involved in the effort to adapt it to the new realities while preserving its original mission. That is why, at tomorrow's summit in Riga, I shall reaffirm the pre-eminent role of Nato, a military organisation, guarantor of the collective security of the allies, and a forum where Europeans and Americans can combine their efforts to further peace.
Read that carefully. France, per Chirac, is interested in a "political structuring of the world that averts perils." That, of course would require a means for averting those perils: NATO. NATO, per Chirac, then becomes "a military organisation, guarantor of the collective security of the allies, and a forum where Europeans and Americans can combine their efforts to further peace". However in reality, Chirac only envisions NATOs use "within the framework of strong, legitimate and accepted international institutions, particularly through reforms of the UN and the security council."

While he calims that NATO is in fact the "guarantor of the collective security of the allies", he also notes that there really isn't a job for NATO in Europe anymore, war being almost "impossible" there (famous last words). Instead we see the beginning of an EU military which, if Chirac has his way, will become the world's peacekeeper.

Further evidence of that can be found here:
There is progress in the pooling of our assets, particularly strategic transport and officer training. We must now think of giving a permanent dimension to our collective command and operations instruments through the Operations Centre set up in the EU.

This development is necessary because the EU's involvement in peace support is growing. A stronger European defence, more effective and more certain of its assets, enhances alliance capability as a whole and contributes to global equilibrium. We are seeing European defence and Nato complementing each other to the benefit of both. Where Europe is better placed to act for geographical or historical reasons, or because of the nature of the action, the EU is taking on its share of the responsibilities as it should.
When you add that to the two previously cited paragraphs which discuss adaptation of the organization to interface with other international organizations without duplication of mission it says one thing to me: peacekeeping and nation building under international auspices - aka, the UN.

What Chirac is pushing for is a transformation of NATO from an American led alliance for the defense of Europe to a European dominated alliance dedicated to peacekeeping under the UN. Still doubting that?
This development is necessary because the EU's involvement in peace support is growing. A stronger European defence, more effective and more certain of its assets, enhances alliance capability as a whole and contributes to global equilibrium. We are seeing European defence and Nato complementing each other to the benefit of both. Where Europe is better placed to act for geographical or historical reasons, or because of the nature of the action, the EU is taking on its share of the responsibilities as it should.

It is right that the EU should play a major role in the western Balkans, to which it has offered the prospect of membership. The EU also took over from Nato in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Kosovo, it is preparing - as an initial step - to send a police mission that will constitute a key component in the international presence at a critical period, when the future of the province is at stake. In Lebanon, the Europeans, at the UN's request, are the backbone of the new Unifil.
NATO meets in Riga tomorrow and Chirac will propose this official change to NATO's mission and structure. If, in fact, he is successful in having NATO adopt his proposals it will finally be time for the US to begin planning to withdraw its forces from NATO and declining to be a part of any NATO mission which doesn't involve the defense of Europe.

As we've pointed to, ad nauseum, peacekeeping is an inappropriate mission for the military. It is a mission best left to a real and properly structured peacekeeping force trained to do the job (think law enforcement, civil affairs, etc.). If Jaques Chirac and France are serious about such an entity, they should pursue it separately from NATO. But if they succeed in subverting NATO from a war fighting organization to a peacekeeping organization, we should let them do so without US military participation.

UPDATE: From a Bush speech in Riga:
Over the past six years, we've taken decisive action to transform our capabilities in the Alliance. We created a new NATO transformation command, to ensure that our Alliance is always preparing for the threats of the future. We created a new NATO battalion to counter the threats of enemies armed with weapons of mass destruction. We created a new NATO Response Force, to ensure that our Alliance can deploy rapidly and effectively.

Here in Riga, we're taking new steps to build on this progress. At this summit, we will launch a NATO Special Operations Forces Initiative that will strengthen the ability of special operations personnel from NATO nations to work together on the battlefield. We will announce a new Strategic Airlift Initiative that will ensure that participating NATO members have a dedicated fleet of C-17 aircraft at their disposal. We will launch the Riga Global Partnership Initiative that will allow NATO to conduct joint training and joint exercises and common defense planning with nations like Japan and Australia — countries that share NATO's values and want to work with our Alliance in the cause of peace. We will launch a new NATO Training Cooperation Initiative that will allow military forces in the Middle East to receive NATO training in counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation and peace support operations. And as we take these steps, every NATO nation must take the defensive — must make the defensive investments necessary to give NATO the capabilities it needs, so that our Alliance is ready for any challenge that may emerge in the decades to come.

The most basic responsibility of this Alliance is to defend our people against the threats of a new century. We're in a long struggle against terrorists and extremists who follow a hateful ideology and seek to establish a totalitarian empire from Spain to Indonesia. We fight against the extremists who desire safe havens and are willing to kill innocents anywhere to achieve their objectives.

NATO has recognized this threat. And three years ago, NATO took an unprecedented step when it sent allied forces to defend a young democracy more than 3,000 miles from Europe. Since taking command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, NATO has expanded it from a small force that was operating only in Kabul into a robust force that conducts security operations in all of Afghanistan. NATO is helping to train the Afghan National Army. The Alliance is operating 25 Provincial Reconstruction Teams that are helping the central government extend its reach into distant regions of that country. At this moment, all 26 NATO allies, and 11 partner nations are contributing forces to NATO's mission in Afghanistan. They're serving with courage and they are doing the vital work necessary to help this young democracy secure the peace.
Everything is cool until you get to the last paragraph. What is it describing when it talks about "25 Provincial Reconstruction Teams"? Certainly not military operations, but, instead, civil operations or nation building.

Look, NATO is a military organization. Do we really want to see it transformed into a European dominated peacekeeping force which operates mostly under the auspices of the UN? Do we want our military participating in nation building exercises given how well Kosovo and Iraq have gone?

I have no problem with Europe committing to an international peacekeeping force and putting one together, but I'm not at all interested in our military participating in it whatsoever. And I don't see that as an acceptable adaptation of NATO.
 
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Those teams are essential to winning the hearts and minds...they are not a civilain group, but military units...I am suprised you do not know this.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Those teams are essential to winning the hearts and minds...they are not a civilian group, but military units...I am suprised you do not know this.
They are only nominally military (CMO) and are not warfighters. I’m talking about NATO as a warfighting entity.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"As we’ve pointed to, ad nauseum, peacekeeping is an inappropriate mission for the military. It is a mission best left to a real and properly structured peacekeeping force trained to do the job (think law enforcement, civil affairs, etc.)."

The French know this. It is no coincidence, comrade, that they wish to take a leading role in NATO now that it faces no opponent more formidable than Kosovo, Chad, etc.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
NATO is not a war fighting organization. It may have had the capacity to be one during the Cold War when the threat was clear and American dominance needed. Even then, the only war it could fight would be purely defensive. But now based on its decision making rules, it does not have the capacity to military alliance that is focused on fighting wars. If you want proof, look at Kosovo, and the difficulties created in terms of getting approval for targets, changing tactics, etc. I believe it was Gen. Jackson of the UK simply ignored an order from NATO’s commander General Clarke at the end of the war, and was backed by the British government. NATO was also created primarily as a political alliance (Acheson stressed that when trying to convince rather isolationist Senators to approve the treaty), but was militarized due to Korea.

The only way NATO can be relevant is if it takes a direction like that promoting by President Chirac. Should the US stay on board? If the US wants to be an aggressive militarist state bent on revolutionary change, then no. The US won’t be able to launch wars in this kind of NATO structure. If Americans believe that looking at Iraq, growing problems in Afghanistan (I talk about that in my blog today — events there suggest NATO is far, far from what Chirac wants), war has changed and the only way to deal with threats is through international cooperative military and political ventures, Chirac’s NATO ideas should be embraced as the way in which western values can remain globally relevant in the 21st century.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If the US wants to be an aggressive militarist state bent on revolutionary change, then no.
Yeah the whole Democracy thing is quite revolutionary. Well then no NATO, for me then.

The US won’t be able to launch wars in this kind of NATO structure.
Why we did in Kosovo.

war has changed and the only way to deal with threats is through international cooperative military and political ventures,


War has changed. IF I had a DOLLAR FOR EVERY TIME I’VE HEARD THAT LINE...

Chirac’s NATO ideas should be embraced as the way in which western values can remain globally relevant in the 21st century.
Those values being ELF-TOTAL-FINA oil concessions, trade, and anti-Semetism? ’Cuz that’s what I get from watching the French at work, oh and Neo-Colonialism in Francophone Africa.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Provincial Reconstruction Teams are not "war fighters?"

They sure are in counter-insurgency. Same as truck drivers find themselves in combat in Iraq.

But I get your general drift since France is always a leader in ways to water down Nato.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Provincial Reconstruction Teams are not "war fighters?"

They sure are in counter-insurgency. Same as truck drivers find themselves in combat in Iraq.

But I get your general drift since France is always a leader in ways to water down Nato.
No, they aren’t warfighters ("trigger pullers" if that makes it any clearer). They are civil-military teams whose job has no warfighting role (other than defending themselves in a hostile area). As you point out, they’re in the "hearts and minds" business.

Thomas PM Barnett breaks out the warfighters and CMO types into two different groups ... the "Leviathan" (warfighter) and "Systems Administration" (CMO). Each have completely different missions, one associated with warfighting and the other associcated with peacekeeping and nation building.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
NATO meets in Riga tomorrow and Chirac will propose this official change to NATO’s mission and structure. If, in fact, he is successful in having NATO adopt his proposals it will finally be time for the US to begin planning to withdraw its forces from NATO and declining to be a part of any NATO mission which doesn’t involve the defense of Europe.
Fine by me. Europe SHOULD field NATO, and we should be free to do whatever we need to do in an ad hoc manner with other partners or allies. Chirac is missing a point here, "ya gotta pay the cost to be the boss" and he doesn’t quite understand what bag he’s gonna be holding when he tries to convert NATO into EUTO.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark, he understands, he wants France to lead, not pay, not provide troops.
Those tasks will fall to ’other’ countries in the grand alliance. France will
provide high quality officers, as it did in the days of Napoleon the 1st.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
No, they aren’t warfighters ("trigger pullers" if that makes it any clearer). They are civil-military teams whose job has no warfighting role (other than defending themselves in a hostile area). As you point out, they’re in the "hearts and minds" business.

Thomas PM Barnett breaks out the warfighters and CMO types into two different groups ... the "Leviathan" (warfighter) and "Systems Administration" (CMO). Each have completely different missions, one associated with warfighting and the other associcated with peacekeeping and nation building.
I was going to bust out the Barnett on this as well, but you’ve opened the door.

While Barnett does make that split between permanent warfighters and peacekeepers, don’t forget where Barnett opted to "place" the Marines in his vision- in the "System Admin." force. Why? Because, to quote Barnett, "I don’t want this to be a ’p*ssy force’" System Administration is not meant for the kind of high-impact, network-centric warfare the Leviathan force is designed for, but it is clearly meant to have fighting capacities (even if it is mainly oriented towards policing and counter-insurgency operations).

But that’s a side-issue.

As far as whether NATO should be shifted into such an organization...I think the idea has some merit. Shifting NATO into a European dominated peacekeeping force does very little to injure the US’s ability to engage in warfighting activities, and I doubt that such a shift would enervate European armies any further than they already are. And while politics and corruption will likely continue to hamper reconstruction efforts in future sitautions, that doesn’t mean to me that we should further hamstring such operations by not designing a military force that is actually meant for the task of nation-building.

I’m trying to seperate out the question of would such a force be of use from would the EU actually use such a force in an appropriate manner...

 
Written By: Some Guy in Chicago
URL: http://
The US won’t be able to launch wars in this kind of NATO structure.

Why we did in Kosovo.
When you do this and snip out the very next session of my post where I explain how Kosovo proves my point, that smacks of dishonesty.

The rest of your post contains silly insults of the French, a glib comment that seems to suggest that it is OK to launch wars of aggression to force democracy on states because we have it and are convinced its the right system for everyone, and you seem to dismiss the fact war has fundamentally changed just because you hear it said a lot.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Seriously, what fundamental change has taken place?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
...to force democracy on states because we have it and are convinced its the right system for everyone
Scott,

Can you provide a few examples to us of other systems that may be "right for others"? And how do you test for their "rightness for others"?
 
Written By: Some Guy in Chicago
URL: http://

Can you provide a few examples to us of other systems that may be "right for others"? And how do you test for their "rightness for others"?
There is no objectively right system. As Edmund Burke noted at the time of the French revolution, if the governmental system doesn’t fit the culture, it will likely fail. We don’t get to develop a test for whether a system is right or wrong; no such test exists. Reality provides clues — the failure in Iraq should give us some humility about thinking our system will be welcomed by others if only we could get rid of the dictators.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So, you don’t specifically know our system was wrong, until it tests and fails.

Yeah, that’s a great method Scott, thanks for the useful words of wisdom.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
So, you don’t specifically know our system was wrong, until it tests and fails.

Yeah, that’s a great method Scott, thanks for the useful words of wisdom.
Well, you don’t seem to be bringing much to this issue. I am taking a default position that one society cannot assume its preferred system is best for another society to the point that it justifies invading and trying to impose that system. The burden of proof would be on the aggressor.

I think that in some cases there may be cause for such aggression, but if one state simply uses its power because it thinks it is right that use of power is arbitrary and illegitimate. Something along the lines of what Chirac suggests — with the UN involved, and agreements/international law, you could get legitimacy. For instance, it’s wrong if I see someone driving his car in a manner I think dangerous for me to chase after him, pull him over, and rip money out of his wallet. But if a community passes laws about driving safety and a police officer acting within the rule of law sees violations, he can do so.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Thank you for the clarification of your point.

I still think you are reading these tea leaves too finely and trying to ascribe meaning to them too much. For example, before mentioning the reconstruction teams at all, Bush said:

"NATO has expanded it from a small force that was operating only in Kabul into a robust force that conducts security operations in all of Afghanistan."

That sounds like war fighting to me, and then he goes on to the training mission and civil missions...

Also France is pretty much committed to a parallel EU and NATO force...and it looks like Chirac wants the EU forces to do peacekeeping while NATO does war fighting. No big deal and these are the French talking anyways. Let’s see what happens if Sarkozy wins.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
There is no objectively right system. As Edmund Burke noted at the time of the French revolution, if the governmental system doesn’t fit the culture, it will likely fail. We don’t get to develop a test for whether a system is right or wrong; no such test exists. Reality provides clues — the failure in Iraq should give us some humility about thinking our system will be welcomed by others if only we could get rid of the dictators.
Well, you don’t seem to be bringing much to this issue. I am taking a default position that one society cannot assume its preferred system is best for another society to the point that it justifies invading and trying to impose that system. The burden of proof would be on the aggressor.

I think that in some cases there may be cause for such aggression, but if one state simply uses its power because it thinks it is right that use of power is arbitrary and illegitimate. Something along the lines of what Chirac suggests — with the UN involved, and agreements/international law, you could get legitimacy. For instance, it’s wrong if I see someone driving his car in a manner I think dangerous for me to chase after him, pull him over, and rip money out of his wallet. But if a community passes laws about driving safety and a police officer acting within the rule of law sees violations, he can do so.
Scott, I think you are ducking my questions for specific examples by trying to offer vague subjectivism...but in following up on your dodges you undermine even those points.

First, my point in asking for examples was not to attempt to get you to admit to some objectively right system (I don’t think my question could even be interpreted to have implied that), but I was hoping you could define your granularity of differences between right for some and not right for others. In making such a broad statement, you set up an equivocal dodge that, I think, allows you on one hand to offer up reasonable samples of structural differences (indeed we could argue all day whether the particulars of the English parliamentary system could work in America) while implying that some cultures are just, well, ok with Dictators.

While I find such an implication unreasonable due to Sartrian principles, let’s assume for the moment I accept it. If true that some systems of government are better for some cultures than other, I’d simply ask by what datum are we going to identify as "better" and "worse". On the one hand you offer there is no test, but then you immediately propose that clearly we have failed this non-test in Iraq. If you want to say security and stability are the datum (or even a major datum), then just say it. I suspect, however, that you don’t want to offer that as a test for a number of reasons. First, it sounds crass and differential to the rights we assume all people enjoy. Second, just as the question of whether Iraq is in a Civil War has an ambiguous answer, the question of how stable is Iraq also has an ambiguous answer. How many people have voted in the previous elections? How many Iraqis are not involved in violence or would prefer not to be? If a majority of regions in Iraq are existing in relative peace and stability while Baghdad is beset by unusually high violence, does that speak to the Country’s rejection of democracy, or simply to an unusual circumstance in Baghdad? As Jeff Goldstein would ask, who is the spokesman for "Iraqi" culture that gets to declare "Iraqis don’t want democracy"? However, I think the real reason you don’t want to list it is because, in the end, the stability argument cuts both ways. As Christopher Hitchens has well documented, to call Iraq prior to invasion stable is to read global politics by squinting. Internal civil order was maintained by violence and coercion. Economic activity was barely maintained by a corrupt oil-for-food program that still left thousands to starve. And Iraq’s external borders were defined and protected by the US military’s enforcement of no-fly zones. Iraq was not stable prior to invasion, we just didn’t have to see the signs of instability on our nightly news before we invaded.

To return to the beginning- if Saddam was only barely and artificially maintaining stability, what right did he naturally have to not expect someone to come in and try to do a better job? Is it the support of the people? Clearly we have to rule that out- as requiring the people to support the government voluntarily is not the "bag" of Iraqi culture. Is it simply historical momentum?

But wait, there’s more. You then further muddle your position responding to looker. Now, according to you, while an outsider State (singular) is engaged in hubris in attempting to change another country’s method of government- as it couldn’t possibly understand the complex culture of another nation- it is legitimate for a group of other nations to mandate it. At no point do you address how the group of other nations somehow gained new insight into that other country’s culture and what government would work for them- you instead shift the discussion from invading with the purpose of altering another country’s government to invading due to the other country violating international law by using your dangerous driver example. To this I suppose you could respond "A-ha! But I only support intervention in another country for the purposes of punishing them for violating international law!" All well and good, I suppose, but you have simply kicked the reconstruction question down the road, unless you intend your punishments to these criminals to result in the continuing to control their countries...or perhaps you simply intend to play "Guess Who?" with Dictators; we identify problems ones and knock them down but let whatever warlord is mulling around fill up the power vacuum.

Since you left yourself open to it, I’ll appoint myself to interpret the meaning of your statement. Scott, I think you believe that Dictators rise to power due to a culture being sympathetic to such ruling structures and remain in power due to similar cultural reasons. The primary method by which you can determine if a culture is sympathetic towards dictatorship is "stability", which in your case primarily revolves around whether that government, their activities, or the activities of their citizens becomes a general nuisance to you. Furthermore, while one nation cannot put itself into the position of making such determinations for another, a multinational organization may be able to...but likely not. Rather- if the culture has spoken in previous iterations, perhaps it would be best if we simply opted to replicate the previous situation as closely as possible, only this time trying to find such a strongman who will fit our needs on an international basis.

I seem to remember, immediately post 9/11, a number of "deep thinkers" like Chomsky proclaiming we got what we deserved because of decades of supporting awful, oppressive regimes for our own short term gains during the Cold War. While I agreed with little of what Chomsky wrote regarding the subject, there was a nugget of truth in his analysis- that playing realpolitik calculus with human lives engendered much hatred across the "Third World". However, those calculations were made in the honest belief that such risks and such deals-with-the-devil were necessary to battle the USSR and win the Cold War. Replaying such a calculus now, however, simply strikes of laziness.



 
Written By: Some Guy in Chicago
URL: http://
"Iraq was not stable prior to invasion,"

Perhaps it could be referred to as being in a state of unstable equilibrium, giving the appearance of stability but only because it was restrained by force.

Nice post, Mr. Some Guy. Very readable.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Scott, I think you are ducking my questions for specific examples by trying to offer vague subjectivism...but in following up on your dodges you undermine even those points.
OK, I think I see where you’re coming from, and thanks for laying out your ideas in more explicit terms.

For space sake, let’s cut to the chase. You and I believe dictatorships are bad. We would prefer people live in freedom and prosperity. We are each, I’m sure, certain we are right on this, even if we can’t prove it (because it’s an ’ought’ statement, not an ’is’ statement). We can choose to either take on: 1) a crusader mentality — we know what’s right, let’s bring it to everyone; 2) a relativist mentality — it may be right for us, but it’s not our business to say what’s right for someone else (realism is relativist in this way); or 3) a pragmatic mentality — figure out the most effective way to promote our values, recognizing that this will require accepting that we’ll have to tolerate continued evil in the world.

I would opt for number 3 — perhaps you would too. Then the question becomes one of making judgments on what will work best. Cast in those terms, I can give you a test, but it’s not always a clear one: When we determine that the outcome of our actions is likely to succeed in promoting our values without causing consequences that undermine our values, we should act. ("Act" means anything from diplomacy, trade, war, sanctions, etc.)

I agree that we far too often have supported dictators, and I fully support a policy that does not do that. On the other hand, it’s also true that when you trade and increase interactions with states like China, that usually increases pressure on them to change; isolated states remain the most totalitarian. War is rarely a good option because the consequences can rarely be known, and the danger of unintended consequences doing more harm than good is huge.

As far as realism regarding Iraq, I’m absolutely convinced that we need to pragmatically engage Iran and Syria to stabilize the region and ultimately allow means other than warfare empower moderate Muslims to reform the region from within. I think when we go to war we actually harm both their cause and our own, and create problems that are harder to solve than otherwise would be the case. In short, the issue is about what will work best to promote our values and interests.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I seem to have lost count-was that zero, zip, nada, or null specific examples of other systems that might be right for others?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I seem to have lost count-was that zero, zip, nada, or null specific examples of other systems that might be right for others?
How do you determine if any system is "right"? You’re asking a meaningless question. Perhaps you should read the two longer posts above and think about the complexities of the issues involved. Sometimes trying for sound bite size understanding isn’t enough.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Let me translate Chirac for you:

After what has happened in Iraq, France doesn’t trust the US to make good decisions, and we are scared of what they might decide to do next.
We want to stay as far away as possible from the aggressive attitude of the US, lest we be tainted or drawn into conflicts we wish to avoid.
As long as NATO is US lead, ours will be an unwilling commitment to it.

We might not like his position, but there it is. That’s the price of Iraq.
Unfortuanely, Chirac does not speak for France alone.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Heh - France - yeah, let em be in charge. I await their next Oil-for-food operation under NATO sponsorship instead of UN sponsorship.

Other countries (and you) may think Chirac is not speaking for France alone, but he is. They’ve been trying to get the EU under their thumb for a while, and now they’d like it if they could get the military elements of the EU under their thumb (and out from under our thumb) too.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
LOOKER;
I’m not saying France is right. They still miss Napoleon and would like to recreate the glory of that era. It’s every nation out for itself, not surprisingly.
I’m just saying we are not well liked or trusted anywhere much. That’s just an unhappy fact.

Our ’friends’ are represented by the coalition in Iraq, and they are bolting from the scene one by one.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Other countries (and you) may think Chirac is not speaking for France alone, but he is. They’ve been trying to get the EU under their thumb for a while, and now they’d like it if they could get the military elements of the EU under their thumb (and out from under our thumb) too.
Impossible, and Chirac knows it.

What’s intriguing about his idea is that it is essentially Gaullist in tone and basic argumentation, but unlike De Gaulle, he’s shifted from a focus on France to an embrace of the EU, NATO and institutional cooperation. This neo-Gaullism reflects Chirac’s recognition that the sovereign state in Europe has been transformed into a post-sovereign state mixing traditional rights of sovereignty with intense, deep, complex interdependence. France will play a role, but Chirac, cagey conservative Gaullist that he is, certainly knows France could never have the EU or the military elements under its thumb!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Laime,

Your translation of Chirac is extremely wrong.

Chirac has alway stood against a mono polar world. He wishes the EU to become a counter pole to the USA. He often flies to Beijing and says these exact words to China. This is his position before and after Iraq.

Since NATO is more of Europe helping the Hegemon than hindering it, he needs a more independent EU force which parallels and duplicates NATO but leaves out the USA. This has nothing to do with Iraq and all to do with Chirac’s goal of leveraging France’s power through the EU to become a superpower balancing the USA.

By the same token, they also wish to hold a veto power over the USA in the UN, mainly so that they can hinder the US. You might claim this is because they fear our decision making ability or prefer international agreement on security issues, but unfortunately Kosovo proves that untrue. France was willing to use NATO to bomb Serbia without UN approval (as Russia would have vetoed) since it was in Europe’s interest.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Scott,

The Chinese have a great saying that Mr. Chirac should contemplate:

Better to be the head of a chicken, then the butt of a cow.

I guess he’s aiming for head of the cow, but I don’t think he’ll make it.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Since NATO is more of Europe helping the Hegemon than hindering it, he needs a more independent EU force which parallels and duplicates NATO but leaves out the USA. This has nothing to do with Iraq and all to do with Chirac’s goal of leveraging France’s power through the EU to become a superpower balancing the USA.
Two points: Chirac’s term is up in 2007 and he’s not running for re-election. At best he’s stating visions of future directions, trying perhaps to leave a legacy.

Second, France talks the Gaullist talk, but they work closely with the Americans on a variety of issues, especially intelligence, and they are an important but nowhere near dominating actor in the EU. The EU states do not want to be separate from the US; even the French and Germans who opposed Iraq would prefer to work with the US to promote western ideals. They just disagree on how to do it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Chirac, cagey conservative Gaullist that he is, certainly knows France could never have the EU or the military elements under its thumb!"
===
He may know it, but he doesn’t like it. I think his idea of a EU was one with France calling all the shots. That’s why he was unhappy about the EU expansion; it diluted his vision and his control too much.

The people I speak to in France feel exactly the way I stated. There is ego involved, of course, but they really are afraid that US actions will bring more havoc on the world. They also get nervous about the current US confrontational style of diplomacy, fearing it will doom any prospects for successful negotiations at the UN.

I can tell you that these feelings are largely echoed in Denmark and Spain, to my personal knowledge. They all feel that the more Bush publically lambastes the Iranians, the more recalcitrant the Iranians become. They fear that Bush and his rhetoric will doom whatever chance the nuclear negotiations have.

At this point, Bush is right. He can’t go to the Iranians about Iraq. Bush, with his tough guy talk, has managed to box us into a corner, and whatever helpful thing Iran could do would come at one heck of a price.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
"The EU states do not want to be separate from the US"
==
I think you are too soft-hearted in inerpreting their thinking. I think they feel they NEED some ties, for mutual interests.
And it’s true, that Chirac was looking fo counter balance US power before Iraq, as HARUN said.

The tone has changed, however. Now, the French actually fear that a close association with the US will make their lives more dangerous in this age of terrorism.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
close association with the US will make their lives more dangerous in this age of terrorism.
Now there’s a point I won’t argue against and they’re going to be busy in the near term dealing with their homegrown muslims too.

France wants to call the shots in the EU and are perfectly willing to be the man behind the curtain in order to do it. The other members can feel free to pretend they are helping control things if they like.
That may not be reality, and may never work out to be reality, but don’t kid yourselves, it’s Chirac’s intent.

"Impossible" - but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. Refer to one of your own definitions of imperialism Scott, ’attempt’ was a key word in it.

I think the ’counter-balance to the US’ philosophy is right on target.
There’s different ways to implement being in charge. Europe won’t send it’s yearly tribute to Paris, but if you followed the strings that control things, the French would like them to originate in Paris.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
LOOKER: ’counter-balance to the US’ philosophy is right on target."
———
I’m not sure what your agreement means.
It’s not a bad thing to have checks and balances. in any institution.
I think France could learn from the US and vice-versa, and if they’re smart, they will. Will they?- that’s another story.

In so many ways, France and the US are alike, as each believes in its own superiority in all things and expects the rest of the world to bow in obeissance. When they fail, they gain a measure of wisdom, hopefully, and the opportunity to maneuver in new ways.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://

 
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