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France about-turns into a bigger military mess August 27, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News, Politics.
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France about-turns into a bigger military mess – Sunday Times – Times Online
The French believe that what they say is at least as important as what they do. They spin grandiloquent phrases and strike postures. Rhetoric is away of life and if you point out it is divorced from all strategic reality that is thought to be nitpicking.

The British, on the other hand, get engrossed in tedious detail like: “Is this practical? Who is going to supply the troops? What will be their rules of engagement?” With Lebanon the French have discovered phrase-making is not enough. In recent days they have become very practical, bleating that there are no established rules of engagement (governing what the soldiers can do and when they can fire) almost as though they were British.

If any country could have settled such important details in advance it is France. It took the kudos for working up the UN resolution. It acted as spokesman for the Arab world within the permanent five members of the council. It insisted that the resolution should not be made under chapter 7 of the UN charter, which would have given the troops the right to impose their will by force.

When France was invited to provide leadership over Lebanon, it vacillated. Its offer of 2,000 soldiers remains underwhelming. Chirac’s pro-Arab policies have not even bought off Muslim discontent at home, as the urban riots showed.

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