At the Munich Security Conference, while Russia and Iran look forward to “a new approach” from the Obama administration and
Russia’s deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov urged Washington to renew a key nuclear disarmament pact known as START
Nicolas Sarkozy essentially said, thanks, but we’re keeping our nukes.
Max Boot, writing at Commentary:
Sarkozy Outshines Biden
Amid the usual drone of cautious, boring, and often inane rhetoric, he delivered a humdinger of an address. For instance, while many of the speakers (including, sadly, Henry Kissinger, who should know better) were genuflecting before the starry-eyed notion of abolishing nuclear weapons, Sarko said forthrightly, “We will maintain our nuclear deterrent along with the British,” and told the delegates that France was less dependant than they were on Russian natural gas because of its nuclear energy program.
He also challenged the growing pacifism of the continent, saying: “Does Europe want peace or do we want to be left in peace?” If the former, he went on to argue, Europe will have to provide for its defense. If the latter, it can “blindfold” itself to the world’s dangers but will likely pay a high price for such foolish behavior. “Europe isn’t simply a market or an economy,” he argued, but also a set of values that need to be defended. “Do you know anyone who can be rich without an assured defense?” he demanded.
Now, just who do you think that question was addressed to? All the NATO countries, yes, but the NATO countries generally expect to leave the heavy lifting to the Americans, as they have in Afghanistan.
Joe Biden, at the same conference, made a mostly symbollic appearance, which included a
special podium on the stage for him complete with a vice presidential seal and he walked off after his prepared remarks without taking any questions
while forgetting to address directly the administration’s goals for Afghanistan, which is a NATO mission. This will certainly not encourage our allies to invest more time, ordinance and human capital in the country, considering how today’s headlines read, Obama puts brake on Afghan surge, while at the same time
The United States has been pushing Britain to send several thousand more troops but there is just as much disagreement and confusion among British defence chiefs over the long-term aim. Gordon Brown is set to receive a full briefing this week.
While at the conference Sarko, by the way, has repeated his intention that “France should improve its links with NATO, by being an independent ally, a free partner of the United States.”
Sarko has already made it known that he considers Obama’s stance on Iran as “utterly immature.”
Obama’s mixed signals are not the way to prove Sarko wrong.