Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sarkozy Calls for French Intervention in Syria

Tradition has it that ex-presidents do not directly criticize the foreign policy of sitting presidents, but Sarkozy has broken with tradition. "In Libya, at least, I acted." There is all of Sarkozy in a nutshell: "action" is the premier value, whereas "consequences" matter only to the commentariat.

Will there be an intervention in Syria? Pressure for action is mounting in the US as well as France, but to date the abundant reasons for caution still appear to be preponderant. How much longer this will be the case is hard to say. Perhaps Sarkozy has rightly interpreted the signs of an impending shift and wants to be on record as having pointed the way. But then again, the Assad regime may collapse without intervention. The defection of the prime minister is surely a sign, although the massive counteroffensive in Aleppo is a contrary sign. In any case, Hollande does not seem inclined to take the lead in forming a coalition for action, as Sarkozy did in Libya. Is this due to the difference in the temperaments of the two presidents, or to the differences in the two situations? I find it impossible to judge.

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