Friday, September 19, 2008

Attali Makes Sense

Une fois n'est pas coutume: for once Jacques Attali makes sense. He notes that the ruckus over Georgia and NATO will soon repeat itself in magnified form with Ukraine. He remarks, rightly, on the influence of Polish and Ukrainian organizations in the US in pushing both presidential candidates into ill-considered positions on the issue. And he raises the pertinent question of what NATO's function is in the post-Soviet world. If it is an international antiterrorist police force, then it should be reorganized on that basis, and Russia should be invited to join; its good offices are essential. If it is to be an instrument of American interests vis-à-vis third parties such as Russia and Iran, then European nations should rethink their participation.

Unfortunately, Attali also neglects the internal divisions in the EU that would render his specific proposals unworkable. Still, his basic proposition is correct. NATO's mission has become impossibly confused. US-European cooperation should be organized around new organizations with clearer missions. Europe can then choose which aspects of US policy it wishes to support and which to reject rather than being enlisted in the crusade to "defend the Free World," the definition of which is sufficiently plastic to subsume a host of ulterior motives.


Anonymous said...

Two comments very quickly.
Attali rises the question of lobbying in foreign policy, specifically between small states and great powers. This is something I am professionnally interested in, and American reactions (notably john MacCain's...) to the Georgia crisis seemed to me like a textbook example of the effect of "ethnic" lobbying (a French would have spoken of "le lobby des nationalités" at the turn of the century). Support organizations for various countries on the Western rim of Russia (for example the Baltic lobbying organizations)have reactivated the Cold war linguo they used in the good old days. What role will they play if Russia turns for example to the Ukraine?

On your conclusion, isn't it what Sarkozy is after? A renegotiation of NATO's function, Europe's role into the organization, etc? How far can he push it?

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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