August 19, 2007

KOUCHNER IN BAGHDAD: France’s Foreign Minister visits Iraq and observes: “Now we have to face the reality, including the American view.” Think how much better things would be if the previous French administration had taken that view.

UPDATE: How the French media are responding.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here:

One of the key promises that Nicolas Sarkozy had made during his presidential election campaign last spring was to “correct” foreign policy “mistakes” made by his predecessor Jacques Chirac.

Chief among these was Chirac’s desperate efforts to prevent the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussain’s regime of terror. Chirac failed to save his friend’s regime but managed to do serious damage to relations with the US, Great Britain and more than 40 other nations that joined the coalition of the willing to liberate Iraq in 2003. . . . Kouchner’s visit, full of symbolism, shatters one of the key points in Al Qaida’s analysis: that the Western powers will never find enough unity to develop a common strategy against terror.

At one point, when Chirac invited German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin to a gathering to forge an anti-American triple alliance, Al Qaida’s analysis appeared to have some basis in reality.

Now, however, both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sarkozy understand the stark fact that the perception of Western disunity may be one of the factors that prolongs the conflict in Iraq.

Saddam thought that his bought-and-paid-for support from Chirac et al. would forestall his overthrow. He was wrong, but the whole invasion might have been avoided had the French been pushing him to come clean, instead of helping him cover things up and giving him hope that he could get away with it.

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