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Wednesday, January 22, 2003


I honestly cannot imagine what our former allies France and Germany think they're doing by setting up a Security Council resolution for failure. Germany's position is minimally comprehensible (if foolish): figuring his re-election demagoguery has poisoned the well for German-American relations for the next two years (at least), Schroeder has decided to use the temporary chairmanship to play to a wider audience – knowing that a non-veto NO vote won't have any meaningful effect. France, though, doesn't compute at all: it's their undeserved permanent seat that allows France to continue punching out of its weight class; why in the name of all that's non-simplisme is France trying to hasten the UN's irrelevance, parading around in public to reveal the UNSC's complete lack of clothing?

Update: Now I understand. All politics is local – in this case, intra-European. The money graf in Safire's NYT column Thursday (titled 'Bad Herr Dye', tackily enough):

In a stunning power play in Brussels, Germany and France moved to change the practice of having a rotating presidency of the European Council, which now gives smaller nations influence, to a system with a long-term president. This Franco-German czar of the European Union would dominate a toothless president of the European Commission, chosen by the European Parliament. Little guys of Europe hollered bloody murder this week, but will find it hard to resist the Franco-German steamroller. France then had to repay Schröder by double-crossing the U.S. at the U.N.

One thing recent history has proven about the French is, they can be bought. The question for Germany has to be, will they stay bought? And for both, is political dominance of the EU – a catbird seat atop its demographic time bomb – really worth the collapse of the UN?

posted by Kelly | 8:34 PM link