Analysis: why France has become hawkish on Islam
Charles Bremner, Times Paris correspondent
Bernard Kouchner tried to soften his remarks about declaring war on Iran as soon as he made them on a Sunday television talk show.
"Of course military planning is a long way off, we must negotiate right to the last," he said, in a hasty qualification of his bellicose comments that the world must prepare for the worst over Iran's nuclear ambitions, "and the worst is war".
His mention of conflict was being seen in some quarters in France as just another example of the undiplomatic, emotional language that is typical of Kouchner.
A life-long humanitarian activist with a showman's style, Mr Kouchner is unlike any recent French Foreign Minister. He had to apologise a couple of weeks ago after he visited Baghdad and said that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraq Prime Minister, must be removed from office.
But Mr Kouchner was only using more unvarnished terms for a thought that President Sarkozy expressed earlier this month, when he said that there were two possible bad alternatives over Tehran's nuclear programme - an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.
Unlike President Chirac, with his sanguine view of a multipolar world, Mr Sarkozy believes that the biggest international danger at the moment is the threat of a confrontation between Islam and the West. In his first big foreign policy speech he said: "We would be wrong to underestimate the possibility of this happening: the affair of the (Danish) cartoons of the Prophet was a warning sign of this."
Mr Sarkozy is expected to put his worries about Islam-Western conflict at the heart of his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York next Monday.
On the rest of the Middle East, Mr Sarkozy is maintaining France's policy of supporting a Palestinian state while also backing Israel. But the President, who is part Jewish, has moved France closer towards the United States than any president for decades, and he enjoys warm personal ties with French and American Jewish leaders.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
France, like America will in 2008, turned to a candidate who will keep us safe, not a bunch of appeasing double talkers
France, like America will in 2008, turned to a candidate who will keep us safe, not a bunch of appeasing two faced double talkers who voted for the war, then proceeded to cheap shot and back stab the war while our military is being killed.....
Posted by moderationist at 4:06 AM