May 19, 2003

French Diplomacy: "Irresponsiblity, Futility, Vanity"

Françoise Thom, lecturer at the Sorbonne, on The choices French diplomacy made. English translation available here.

The first explanation for the behavior of our leaders is irresponsibility — they believe that they will not have to answer to anyone.

This irresponsibility is driven so far that they seem to be surprised at the consequences of their acts: thus they were not expecting the flare-up of francophobia in the United States, convinced they could persist in their provocations of Washington without risking retaliation. The habit of impunity in internal politics ended up giving rise to a disastrous foreign policy, as was exactly the case for the late USSR.

In the case of France, one must add futility and vanity, permanent factors in our diplomacy.
We declare that France does not believe in the "clash of civilizations," as if denial were enough to erase it. For greater security, we go as far as abolishing the idea of civilization. This is why we seek to deny at all costs the fact that France shares the same civilization as the United States, by cultivating with some fanfare our overflow into extra-legal zones. Anti-Americanism plays a central role in this mechanism.

Thom equates the foreign policy of the French with the determined obstructionism of the Soviet Union. Worth reading.

Posted by campbell at May 19, 2003 10:12 PM | TrackBack