Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sarko The Disappointment

When he first was elected president to replace the odious Jacque Chirac, Americans were elated and gloried in the nickname given him by the French press, 'Sarko The American'. Based on recent events, I'm afraid, at least from the anti-jihad standpoint that a better nickname for him may turn out to be Sarko the Disappointment.

In Afghanistan, where the French agreed to send troops as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the French contribution remains minuscule so far, in spite of Sarkozy's promises to increase troop levels. They have a mere 400 combat troops stationed in the volatile southern and eastern regions, plus another 40 involved behind the lines training the Afghan army. Along with these forces, the French have another detachment of 650 men that are primarily involved in support duties in the more secure areas of the country.

As a comparison, the French have over 2,000 men stationed in the Balkans and another 2,500 troops, along with 1,500 sailors in Lebanon as part of UNFIL, where they are doing absolutely nothing to implement UN Resolution 1701 calling for an arms embargo and the disarmament of Hezbollah.

While Sarkozy has announced that he wants to bring France back into NATO, so far that hasn't happened, and given the recent revelations on the state of the French military, it's an open question on how much of an asset France would be to NATO even if they were part of it.

In the Middle East, President Sarkozy has made a number of warm public statements about his support for Israel, the Iranian threat and France's commitment to Israel's security, signifying a change from the hostility of the Chirac years. In practice..well, not much has changed.

France still retains a de facto embargo on arms and strategic materials to Israel, as does Britain and a number of other EU states (Germany is a notable exception).

In a recent visit to the Middle East, Sarkozy made a speech before the Israeli Knesset, once again extolling his friendship for Israel and declaring that Iran's nuclear program was "unacceptable". And yet, at the same time, France has made agreements to sell nuclear technology to a number of Arab states, most of whom can be said to be hostile to Israel. Those states include the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Libya and Algeria. Or to put it another way, Moamar Qaddafi is now getting the same sort of aid Saddam Hussein did, and from the same source!

The irony is ummm...murderous.

After signing the deal with Algeria last month, Sarkozy said: "The sharing of civilian nuclear technology will be one of the foundations of a pact of confidence which the West must forge with the Islamic world."

The technology for a civilian nukes program and a military one are exactly the same, and so far we've had two 'Islamic bombs' to deal with already, in Pakistan and Iran. Things have worked out so well, haven't they? The French providing some more of these regimes with nuclear toys could be called a lot of things ( suicidal comes to mind) but a 'pact of confidence'?

In his speech to the Knesset, Sarkozy also decided that he had a right to tell Israelis where they might live and build homes, calling for Israel to halt construction of homes in East Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank).

He also called for the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capitol. "We must tell friends the truth and the truth is that Israel's security can never be assured unless an independent, modern, democratic and viable Palestinian state is established finally beside it...There can be no peace without recognising Jerusalem as the capital of two states and the guarantee of freedom of access to the holy places for all religions."

I recognize that France has already ceded parts of its capitol to the Arabs, but I don't see that it has worked out all that well for the French.

Sarkozy's statement was greeted with wild applause throughout the Muslim world, as you can imagine. Of course, it probably never occurred to Sarkozy that in an independent, modern and democratic Palestinian state, there would be no problem with Jews living there. Or that his description of Jerusalem with freedom of access to the holy places for all religions is what the Israelis have established..and exactly what the Arabs never permitted during their 20 year occupation of East Jerusalem and what the Palestinians have also promised to forbid in the future should the Israelis be silly enough to give them control of it.

As part of Sarkozy's cozying up to the Palestinians, he had his Interior Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, make a pilgrimage to Ramallah to lay a wreath of flowers at the tomb of Yasir Arafat, something even Condi Rice couldn't quite bring herself to do. And of course, pony up with some cash, $21 million to fund an industrial zone in the Bethlehem area supposedly to boost the Palestinian economy.

Based on the famous Palestinian transparency and desire for peace, Its a safe bet that most of that money will be end up being used by Fatah to line the pockets of Abbas' cronies,consolidate its dictatorial hold on the West Bank and to fund the war against Israel. In contrast, French support for Israel so far has been limited to a few innocuous, friendly remarks.

Sarkozy seems to be pursuing this course for the same reason Chirac did - to increase France's influence and make it a global player with weight out of all proportion to its actual power. And it appears that it will continue to pursue this course of action regardless of the ultimate cost to the West, or ultimately, to France itself. This will involve considerable alignment of France with the Arab world policy-wise, just as it did during the Chirac era.

The face and the rhetoric may be a bit different, but the destructive policies remain the same.


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