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Sunday, July 13, 2008

France demonstrates her influence on World affairs.

French President Sarkozy The US and UK's world standing is in tatters and they have about the same level of influence as a gnat has when it strikes the wind shield of a jet liner. Let's be generous and say "marginal".

Meanwhile the much maligned, by certain US and UK commentators, France has pulled off three significant foreign policy successes in the past week. That is three more than George W Bush managed in his 8 year term. One more than New Labour has achieved in it's 11 years in government in the UK (credit for Kosovo and Sierra Leone).

1. The historic establishment of diplomatic ties between Syria and Lebanon mediated by France and Qatar.

2. Setting up an encouraging environment between Israel and Palestine for future peace talks.

3. The inaugural summit of the Union for the Mediterranean.

OK we have been optimistic regarding Palestine many times in the past as various US presidents have sought the foreign policy holy grail without success. Also the effectiveness of the Union for the Mediterranean has yet to be seen. The point however is that the vacuum left by the US and UK is being filled by France and this has to be good for world stability.

Until Afghanistan and Iraq are stable, safe, countries the US and UK will continue to struggle to influence anyone as exemplified by their recent failure to persuade the UN to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

A change of US President may reinvigorate US foreign policy. Unfortunately any incoming President is going be hamstrung by the legacy of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is difficult to see how the US/ UK coalition can draw a line under operations and withdraw in a timescale of anything less than 20 years. So until then it will be France who exert influence around the world. This should be applauded because the alternative is Russia and China filling the vacuum left by the US.

1 comment:

  1. France is only trying to build up brownie points in a shabby effort to minimise any bad press the next time they NEED to let off some nuclear warheads just to see if they still work!

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