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Thursday, March 27, 2003

Frog Went a-Courting-I heard excepts of French foriegn minister Dominique de Villepin speaking in London on my way to pick up Eileen at work (car was in shop) this evening; the piece had "Fisk Me" written all over it. Here's a Telegraph rendition of the speech
He seemed more concerned with the need to constrain America's doctrine of "pre-emptive" action than removing the danger posed by Saddam. He spoke more about the "destabilising" effect of America's resort to force than the destabilising impact of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue states.
If the US can set up a democratic Iraq, that will be destabilizing. However, a quick look at the mullahs and sheiks in the region shows that destabilization's not a bug but a feature. However, that isn't going to make the status-quoian French happy.
M de Villepin derided American hawks for believing that "democracy can be imposed from the outside" and that "international legal tools become constraints more than safeguards of international security".
To the first, two words. Germany. Japan. If international security means securing the goons in place, then those legal tools become devices of torture.
We do not oppose the use of force. We are only warning against the risk of pre-emptive strikes as a doctrine. In endorsing this doctrine, we risk introducing the principle of constant instability and uncertainty.
Some people prefer the stability of presidents-for-life, like your boss' favorite, Mr. Mugabe.
M de Villepin argued that the use of force should be subordinated to "law, justice and legitimacy" if it was not to provoke a "clash of civilisations".
Note that freedom isn't one of his over-riding goals. For France, the clash of civilizations might come internally as the Muslim population grows
M de Villepin's central message was that a world dominated by a supremely powerful America was dangerously unstable. Instead, there should be "a number of regional poles" that co-operate with each other.
Translation-be reasonable, do it our way.
One of those would be the European Union and M de Villepin was keen to draw the British Government into a common foreign and security policy that would be dominated by France and Britain.
And in that order, too.

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