The Ally

Posted by John Rosenthal

The following from last Thursday’s (26 January) edition of Le Figaro under the headline “Paris Blocks an Anti-Terrorism Meeting between NATO and the EU”.

France opposed a discussion on terrorism between the EU and NATO that was scheduled for last Monday at the headquarters of the Alliance in Brussels. The Secretary General of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, had requested that an informal discussion on this common subject of concern for both organizations take place following a meeting on Bosnia. But the French delegation objected, arguing that terrorism did not figure on the list of official topics of discussion between NATO and the EU…. “We are asking ourselves if France is really interested in serious cooperation between the two organizations,” an official wondered at NATO headquarters. “We have a common agenda and we are not discussing it: it’s a waste of time and money,” a diplomat from the Alliance complained.

The article continues:

In Paris’s view, “It is not [NATO’s] role to be the global police force.” … “We don’t want NATO to take charge of everything and impose its agenda on the EU,” A French diplomat remarked.

According to the Le Figaro report, the disgust with French obstructionism at NATO was so great that the meeting on Bosnia was likewise cancelled.

[Note: As far as I can tell from the usual searches, the NYTimes did not bother to report this episode. Leave it to the Times, however, via its Parisian edition the International Herald Tribune, to find someone (William Pfaff) to identify the obviously extreme French position – i.e. one should not even talk – with the European position as such and, by way of some amazing non-sequiturs, to put the blame for the entire affair on – who else? – George Bush.]

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