Monday, May 14, 2012

Hollande's Foreign Policy Challenges

Stéphane Trano paints a rather dire picture of the international minefield into which François Hollande is about to step. Cannon to the right of him, cannon to the left ... David Cameron is said to be out to punish him for his promise to withdraw early from Afghanistan. The Obama administration is said to be smarting still from Sarkozy's decision to sell arms to Russia. The Turks are still angry about Sarkozy's pandering to the Armenians. Even Rahm Emmanuel is annoyed, because Israel has been disinvited from the NATO summit ...

Rahm Emmanuel? Seriously? Surely François Hollande has more important things to worry about than Rahm's fit of pique. Trano darkens the picture unduly. The Turks, for all their public bluster, know that Sarkozy was just being a politician and that Hollande is not Sarkozy. Obama of course recognizes that Sarko l'Américain was no more or less reliable an ally than France generally is: always with the US on the major issues yet often going its own way when it feels it can or must. And Cameron is in a very fragile position himself and hardly in a position to inflict any real pain on the new French president.

Viewed more calmly, Hollande's international début comes at a rather quiet moment on the international scene--the euro crisis excepted, of course. That is the only major issue on his plate and the one that must be addressed forthwith. And then there is Iran and the nuclear question, which Trano omits. Michel Rocard is off on a mysterious "personal mission" to Teheran. We will see what he brings back, but it's difficult to believe that his trip is entirely "personal." Does he carry a message from Hollande? And if so, what is it?

No comments:

Post a Comment