But Mr. Fillon, like Mr. Sarkozy, spoke cautiously about any military intervention in Libya, which Western diplomats said France has opposed inside NATO and at the United Nations. Mr. Fillon said the prospect of a no-flight zone over Libya needed a United Nations Security Council resolution, “which is far from being obtained today,” and would require the involvement of NATO.Now, this is interesting for two reasons. First, is it really the "bitter history of European colonialism" that is Fillon's concern? Or is it that he wants France, which has stepped up its humanitarian aid to Libya's liberated zones, to retain its national brand on any further operations, including military ones--which he is right to approach cautiously?
“No one today in Europe has the means to carry out this operation alone,” Mr Fillon said. “It would be necessary to involve NATO, and I think that has to be thought about. Should NATO get involved in a civil war to the south of the Mediterranean? It is a question that at least merits some reflection before being launched.”
He questioned whether NATO should get involved in a civil war in a North African country, in part because of the bitter history of European colonialism there. But he said that a no-fly zone is an option under study.
Second, just the other day, Henri Guaino said that foreign and military policy is and always has been la chasse gardée of the president in the Fifth Republic. But this is the prime minister speaking out forthrightly on the major foreign policy issue of the moment, as if to rebuke Guaino in public. It's worth noting.
Finally, on the dilemmas of intervention, I commend this piece by Judah Grunstein. A less cautious response is outlined here.