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  • France's Grand Strategy

    I know everybody suspects that France's opposition to America in the current Iraqi crisis is essentially motivated by the will to protect her economic interests in Iraq, and that Paris will give way when these interests will have been met sufficiently by Washington. Indeed, France's economic interests probably plays the greatest part, at least in the short term.

    However, in the longer run, there might be much more deep geopolitical interests for France that are totally unrelated to economic issues (the same as for the U.S.: we all know now that there is much more to Iraq than just WMDs and oil for America).

    Here is an article from the Washington Post trying to look further beyond to understand the real strategy of France in the Iraqi crisis. Basically, France knows that she won't stop America, but she is betting on the possible outcomes and aftermath of this crisis to leverage and increase its influence on the European sphere to new levels that she could not have attained without such an opportunity.

    It's a short one, but it was the first time I read such an interesting article on France's strategy:

    Napoleonic Fervor

  • #2
    Re: France's Grand Strategy

    Originally posted by Tzar
    I know everybody suspects that France's opposition to America in the current Iraqi crisis is essentially motivated by the will to protect her economic interests in Iraq, and that Paris will give way when these interests will have been met sufficiently by Washington. Indeed, France's economic interests probably plays the greatest part, at least in the short term.

    However, in the longer run, there might be much more deep geopolitical interests for France that are totally unrelated to economic issues (the same as for the U.S.: we all know now that there is much more to Iraq than just WMDs and oil for America).

    Here is an article from the Washington Post trying to look further beyond to understand the real strategy of France in the Iraqi crisis. Basically, France knows that she won't stop America, but she is betting on the possible outcomes and aftermath of this crisis to leverage and increase its influence on the European sphere to new levels that she could not have attained without such an opportunity.

    It's a short one, but it was the first time I read such an interesting article on France's strategy:

    Napoleonic Fervor
    Do you not think it is simply about being awkward. Just look at their track record. They illiegally ban British beef, they allow Mugabe to visit Europe, they oppose war (for now), etc. Can anyone think of anything else that France is awkward about ?

    Comment


    • #3
      I think its outrageous they are against military response against terrorism given all that they did in Algeria in 1954-1962.

      Sadly, the voices of those in France who had the political will and would have led them to victory in Algeria (and who would support us now) were silenced long ago.
      "Speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own Michael Moore, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities." - Christopher Hitchens

      Comment


      • #4
        Terrorism is a criminal act, not military one. Thus it should be addressed by law enforcement. Military force is only employed when the situation exceeds the limitations of police.

        Military troops can kill and scare terrorists. More often than not, they can not address the social and political issues that incite terrorism. They can't be resolved by force alone.

        I don't suport the United States apparent change of doctrine. The military's role in our efforts to stop terrorism should be very limited. I would much rather see diplomatic and legal action taken to hunt address this problem. True long term success against terrorism will not be achieved through attritioning the various groups. Victory (though never complete) is more likely to come through convincing people that violence is unnecessary to resolve all their political and social issues.
        "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Deltapooh
          Terrorism is a criminal act, not military one. Thus it should be addressed by law enforcement. Military force is only employed when the situation exceeds the limitations of police.

          Military troops can kill and scare terrorists. More often than not, they can not address the social and political issues that incite terrorism. They can't be resolved by force alone.

          I don't suport the United States apparent change of doctrine. The military's role in our efforts to stop terrorism should be very limited. I would much rather see diplomatic and legal action taken to hunt address this problem. True long term success against terrorism will not be achieved through attritioning the various groups. Victory (though never complete) is more likely to come through convincing people that violence is unnecessary to resolve all their political and social issues.

          But i think that is the whole problem, in order to hunt down terrorists you need the permission of the government in which they reside. In many cases the government of the country supports the terrorists actions or at the very least, is unwilling to crack down on terrorism. In that case you have to hold the regime of the nation accountable, since undeniably they are the ones responsible for the actions of terrorists which extends beyond its borders.

          It is simple to say "well we should use diplomacy and work with those nations to apprehend the terrorists", but if the nation
          in question refuses to cooperate.... then the regime must be held accountable militarily.
          "Speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own Michael Moore, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities." - Christopher Hitchens

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kid kool




            It is simple to say "well we should use diplomacy and work with those nations to apprehend the terrorists", but if the nation
            in question refuses to cooperate.... then the regime must be held accountable militarily.
            Hhhhmm....so if the USA is or has supported terrorists and possesses WMD's, we can demand them to be destroyed and if not the rest of the world can strike the US militarily ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kid kool
              in order to hunt down terrorists

              All that can be achieved is the delaying of terrorist activity, but eventually they will succeed again, then what ?

              Comment


              • #8
                Robert Kagan's article

                He is wrong when he says that France is marching toward another Waterloo. France has already won what she could win in this crisis. When she saw that its participation in this war will give her nothing or quasi nothing (and nothing to Europe), she understood that the best thing to do was keeping Europe away from American unilateral decisions and hegemony. That’s done. Now the course of events is no more a problem. And a quick victory is in the interest of French economy because of the oil price.
                But France could do nothing alone, and would have brought into alignment with America if Germany hadn’t shown any opposition to war. The bad surprise for the American is not the attitude of France but the Franco-German couple. Why do you think there was this petition affair and the Rumsfeld’s speeches about Old Europe just after Germany and France made a common stance ? Germany is not France’s toy in this affair. Maybe the Americans need to believe that, but it’s insulting for the Germans and not the true.
                Some months ago, despite their differences and some antagonisms, Germany and France understood that working together was in their best interest. That the real victory, and it’s not a French victory alone.
                Of course the “struggle” for the control of Europe is not finished, and for the most part this “struggle” is between the triumvirate Germany, Great Britain and France. The problem for the British and the French is who is going to be in the couple with the Germans. For the moment it’s France, maybe tomorrow it will be Great Britain.

                The American media try to show France being alone, which can prevent a just war in Iraq only because of her treachery (which has no limit). Well, it’s very positive for France’s self-esteem to see herself as the only barrier to America, but it’s not the true. The February 14 there were 11 countries with the same goals as France in the Security Council. And if the Americans think that happened because France deceived these countries, they really overestimate France’s capabilities. France is smart enough to take advantage of the situation, that’s all.

                La Palice.
                Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                Mort devant Pavie.
                Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                Il était encore en vie...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Didin't you know La Palice that if you don't play ball the American way then you are not worthy ? I admire the French stance on Iraq, and I really do not care why they are doing it the fact remains they are an independent country and they fully justified and fully entitled to disagree with the US.

                  IMO Turkey have done it best when it comes to US demands, you want to use our land then you will pay, they are not ashamed of it, they obviously do not want to entertain America at all - but everyone has their price, in Turkeys case $26 billion dollars, ha ha.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kid kool



                    But i think that is the whole problem, in order to hunt down terrorists you need the permission of the government in which they reside. In many cases the government of the country supports the terrorists actions or at the very least, is unwilling to crack down on terrorism. In that case you have to hold the regime of the nation accountable, since undeniably they are the ones responsible for the actions of terrorists which extends beyond its borders.

                    It is simple to say "well we should use diplomacy and work with those nations to apprehend the terrorists", but if the nation
                    in question refuses to cooperate.... then the regime must be held accountable militarily.
                    The biggest "investor" in Al Qaeda is Saudi Arabia, so why isn't the US invading SA instead of Iraq ? Because this has nothing to do with fighting terrorism or WMDs but is plain and simple a war (and I'm sure it'll come to war) to strengthen Americas strategic position in the middle east and thereby securing the oil flow of the entire region, not only Iraqs oil.
                    "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

                    Henry Alfred Kissinger

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      my thoughts concerning the inner european relationships:

                      over the last coupe of decades the dominant powers and the so called engine of europe was the france-german tandem, with the british always standing aside suspiciously following the actions at the continent and politically closer to the US than the EU. Spain can be considered a junior partner, not one of the weakest states in the EU but with less power and influence than they'd like to have.

                      The today situation sees again an increased cooperation between France and Germany and Spain, probably fearing that their influence will decrease even further tries to gain some power by alligning with the US, hoping that this crisis will leave France & Germany isolated and therefor weakened with Spain in a strog position and bigger weight in the 'new' EU.

                      The way I see it, although the governments in europe are split between supporting the US and suppoerting france/germanys position Spains, Britains and Italians position is getting weaker because they feel the preassure from the street and governments cant totally ignore these voices if they want to be reelected. Especially Aznars position is getting criticall, he was already under a lot of pressure following the oil catastroph along Spains costs and the failure of the government to react appropriate, also over 80% oppose a war in Iraq and the next local elections are soon to come. I guess Aznar is gambling on a quick and bloodless victory that'll change world opinion and save his ass. Otherwise he and the conservatives are probably toast.

                      So of course the Iraq politic has a lot to do with inner EU struggls for power and was alway something really difficutc for the US to cope with. I think it was Kissinger who said that all he wanted was one EU foreign minister he could speak with and not having to deal with every nation individually.

                      Europe can't be compared with the US, it's note one big nation but many very different nations. It's still a long way to go for Europe to unite and speak with one voice.
                      "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

                      Henry Alfred Kissinger

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Marko


                        Hhhhmm....so if the USA is or has supported terrorists and possesses WMD's, we can demand them to be destroyed and if not the rest of the world can strike the US militarily ?
                        First of all Marko - it's responses like this that anger those of us on this message board that are Americans, and why many of us don't like you. It's not a matter of the fact that you don't agree with us, as there are many others on here that post opinions that oppose what most Americans feel about the chance of war with Iraq.

                        Secondly - if you think are any of the world's largest countries that DON'T fit into that category than you are more of a fool than I ever thought. All governments perform actions that most of us don't agree with and are better off not knowing about. Don't pretend to put your country above anyone elses.


                        Third - if you want to bring some of your tree-hugging European friends over here for a fight, I believe that most Americans have had enough bs from Europe to entertain just such a match at this point.

                        Why do we bother?
                        Last edited by arkai88; 25 Feb 03, 11:16.
                        Take away Pearl Harbor and Marko would be writing in German Today.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kraut
                          my thoughts concerning the inner european relationships:

                          over the last coupe of decades the dominant powers and the so called engine of europe was the france-german tandem, with the british always standing aside suspiciously following the actions at the continent and politically closer to the US than the EU. Spain can be considered a junior partner, not one of the weakest states in the EU but with less power and influence than they'd like to have.

                          The today situation sees again an increased cooperation between France and Germany and Spain, probably fearing that their influence will decrease even further tries to gain some power by alligning with the US, hoping that this crisis will leave France & Germany isolated and therefor weakened with Spain in a strog position and bigger weight in the 'new' EU.

                          The way I see it, although the governments in europe are split between supporting the US and suppoerting france/germanys position Spains, Britains and Italians position is getting weaker because they feel the preassure from the street and governments cant totally ignore these voices if they want to be reelected. Especially Aznars position is getting criticall, he was already under a lot of pressure following the oil catastroph along Spains costs and the failure of the government to react appropriate, also over 80% oppose a war in Iraq and the next local elections are soon to come. I guess Aznar is gambling on a quick and bloodless victory that'll change world opinion and save his ass. Otherwise he and the conservatives are probably toast.

                          So of course the Iraq politic has a lot to do with inner EU struggls for power and was alway something really difficutc for the US to cope with. I think it was Kissinger who said that all he wanted was one EU foreign minister he could speak with and not having to deal with every nation individually.

                          Europe can't be compared with the US, it's note one big nation but many very different nations. It's still a long way to go for Europe to unite and speak with one voice.
                          Yes, Europe has a voice per member, and that can be a real cacophony when she tries to say something. All the members understand that nobody can be alone the leader (even when two or three states try to speak in one voice), and that there isn’t definitive alliance. Each one knows how to play with that and how to profit from the situation. But it’s positive in the long term, because with this absence of a “big boy”, European countries are less afraid to make concessions to Europe. And there are at the same time a few number of countries which can give a cap to Europe : Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain…
                          In my humble opinion European countries see America as a card in their game in EU. America is a huge counterbalance against any country or group of countries pretending to play the first role in Europe. It was one of the reasons why the 8 countries signed the petition. Of course it’s only a part of the relations between America and Europe, these relations are largely more complex !
                          I don’t think that Spain has a great influence in Europe, the most important countries are France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain. The richest regions in Europe form a strip from England to the North of Italy, going through Benelux, West Germany and East of France (with Paris). That doesn’t mean that Spain has no influence of course. And you are right about Aznar, his political situation is critical.

                          As you say it, Europe is Hydra for America. If she satisfies some countries, the others are going to complain and say that America attacks Europe, and vice versa if she tries to listen what the seconds have to say. She should find the way which could satisfy everybody. Good luck…
                          But in another way I don’t think America would like to have an Europe speaking in one voice in front of her.

                          La Palice.
                          Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                          Mort devant Pavie.
                          Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                          Il était encore en vie...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            i would like to thank arkai88 for saying everything im not allowed to, cheers. Also i think that chirac is starting to look even worse than Bush internationally, and perphaps he doesnt have quite as much support as he thinks he does.
                            Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by arkai88


                              First of all Marko - it's responses like this that anger those of us on this message board that are Americans, and why many of us don't like you. It's not a matter of the fact that you don't agree with us, as there are many others on here that post opinions that oppose what most Americans feel about the chance of war with Iraq.

                              Secondly - if you think are any of the world's largest countries that DON'T fit into that category than you are more of a fool than I ever thought. All governments perform actions that most of us don't agree with and are better off not knowing about. Don't pretend to put your country above anyone elses.


                              Third - if you want to bring some of your tree-hugging European friends over here for a fight, I believe that most Americans have had enough bs from Europe to entertain just such a match at this point.

                              Why do we bother?
                              Here we go again. The USA is starting this war, not the Cameroon, not Algeria, not Russia, not the Gabonese - but the USA. Okay do you comprehend that ? The US has sponsored terrorism, like many other countries, but at this time in history it is the USA that is about to start a war, if it was Germany I would be opposing it in exactly the same way and citing their various failings. If you cannot handle criticism to your countries administration then you should not really be at a current affairs forum should you ? It is not a case of not liking me either, you do not like what I say or my views that is why you get upset, you don't know to say you don't like me, do not be so shallow and ridiculous. If you have read any of my posts you will realise that I am fully aware that no country is exempt from doing things in its own interests, that DOES not mean I HAVE to AGREE with them. Are you one of these sad, insecure people that when ever anyone writesd anything opposing the US stance then they are labelled as anti-american ? I bet you are. If war was justified I would agree with it, and would quite happily fight in it, as I am an ex-soldier who may occasionally hug trees but that does not mean that I can't fight. But killing women, children and third world soldiers is not my idea of a fight -is it yours big man ?

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