Rama Yade, who at the beginning of the week referred to Kadhafi's presence in Paris as the "kiss of death," said today that "the president of the Republic has consistently and successfully sought assurances in the realm" of human rights from the Libyan guide. One has to think back to the Moscow Trials to recall anything like such a speedy and complete repudiation of private convictions for the sake of the party line. Yade's reversal is all the more surprising in light of Kadhafi's denial, in an interview with David Pujadas on France2, that the subject of human rights had ever been broached in his discussions with the French president. To be sure, we have the assurance of Claude Guéant that the subject did indeed come up twice, once in a business session and again over dinner. The impression made on Kadhafi seems to have been limited, however.
I should perhaps make it clear that I think Sarkozy was right to receive Kadhafi in France. Kadhafi's evolution is to be encouraged, and it is usually a mistake to humiliate an adversary. But I also thought it was right for Yade and Kouchner to voice a protest against the decision, and I thought it was a mark of maturity that the French government was capable of tolerating such open dissension within its ranks. The war between morality and raison d'État is perpetual, inevitable, and may as well be conducted in the open. It's a step backward, I believe, that the whip has been cracked over Rama Yade and unfortunate that she thought her job sufficiently worth clinging to that she renounced her principles to keep it.
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