August 22, 2007

Actual News, For a Change: France to Mediate in Iraq?

Hatched by Dafydd

One serendipitous benefit of the recent regime change in la Belle France is that LBF no longer reflexively launches a "Chirac attack" against anything American.

Until former French President "Crock" Jacques Chirac departed, making way for Nicolas Sarkozy -- who is not America-phobic -- France refused to have anything to do with post-invasion Iraq.

Under Chirac, France was a close friend and partner in corruption with Saddam Hussein, protecting him from American sanctions and invasions and such in exchange for billions in oil leases. When Chirac's magic frog leg finally failed, and they could no longer stave off the inevitable ouster of Hussein, the French fled Iraq in a snit (which I believe is a French automobile made by Peugot; the rival huff is from BMW, of course).

But now, under Sarkozy, the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, is said (by the International Herald Tribune) to be interested in trying to broker a deal between Shia, Sunni, and Kurds in Iraq, bringing the factions together in a national agreement:

After years of shunning involvement in a war it said was wrong, France now believes it may hold the key to peace in Iraq, proposing itself as an "honest broker" between the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions. [Yes, that's really what the article says: an "honest broker."]

The shift was one of the most concrete consequences yet of the thaw in French-American relations following the election in May of President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose administration no longer feels bound by the adamant refusal to take a role in Iraq that characterized the reign of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac.

I hope Kouchner is allowed to try, and I truly hope he succeeds; such an agreement would benefit everybody:

  • The Iraqis, who could unify against their common enemies: Islamist terrorists of al-Qaeda and Iran;
  • The United States, which could more quickly draw down troops in Iraq;
  • France, which could begin developing and selling Iraqi oil again;
  • George W. Bush and the Republicans, who could point to victory to vindicate their perspicacity and perseverance;
  • The Democrats, who could... oh, wait -- no benefit to the Democrats at all. My bad.

I rather like this possibility. The French have been known as diplomats since the rocks began cooling; and I'm perfectly sanguine (which literally means "bloody," as in a ruddy complexion , I believe) with the arrangement that America does all the fighting in the world, and France and other European countries do most of the talking... so long as the sword always retains right of final refusal, as of course it always does. A France that sees itself as an American ally, not competitor or enemy, could be a tremendous boon in taming the Non-Integrating Gap, where the wild things are.

And that would actually be a blessing for everyone who matters. Even the Democrats, if they could but believe it.

Nevertheless, as Sir William S. Gilbert said, having a ruddy complexion is not at all the same as having a bloody cheek.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 22, 2007, at the time of 4:05 AM

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The following hissed in response by: howardhughes

It is sweet to see the Democrats argument that America has lost its reputation and standing with our allies being swept away in a wave cooperation between ourselves and France and Germany over Iraq, former meddlesome critics. And it is also galling to see France getting into a warm bath that was drawn for someone else.

The above hissed in response by: howardhughes [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2007 5:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mutt

Well as John McClane said in the first Die Hard “Welcome to the party.” But I take a little offense to the words used (its’ probably just me). "honest broker” makes it sound like we haven’t been honest or competent in our efforts to help the peace process. I guess if you look at it with the idea that peace existed when the French were involved (before 2003) then we have been incompetent. But then again the Shiite and Kurdish factions were systematically being destroyed in a peaceful manner back then.

Don’t get me wrong I am glad the French government is now willing to be part of the process and I do think they can help. I also believe they have a responsibility to do so, since they have to balance all of the damage that had been cause by those who enabled Saddam.

One question though,with both France and Germany now having elected country leaders that are more pro American, does this mean we didn't actually hurt our world reputation?

The above hissed in response by: Mutt [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2007 5:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 08/22/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2007 8:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: k2aggie07


Ed at CQ linked this story which may have serious potential. Maliki may have been able to "tie it all together".

Just an fyi! I'm hesitantly excited.

The above hissed in response by: k2aggie07 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2007 1:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Times are changing.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2007 2:47 PM

The following hissed in response by: DaveR

France as "honest broker"? Sure, all they have to do is fight their way into the conference room. Nobody gets in free.

The above hissed in response by: DaveR [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 23, 2007 10:23 PM

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