Monday, May 14, 2012

Hollande's Foreign Policy Challenges

Stéphane Trano paints a rather dire picture of the international minefield into which François Hollande is about to step. Cannon to the right of him, cannon to the left ... David Cameron is said to be out to punish him for his promise to withdraw early from Afghanistan. The Obama administration is said to be smarting still from Sarkozy's decision to sell arms to Russia. The Turks are still angry about Sarkozy's pandering to the Armenians. Even Rahm Emmanuel is annoyed, because Israel has been disinvited from the NATO summit ...

Rahm Emmanuel? Seriously? Surely François Hollande has more important things to worry about than Rahm's fit of pique. Trano darkens the picture unduly. The Turks, for all their public bluster, know that Sarkozy was just being a politician and that Hollande is not Sarkozy. Obama of course recognizes that Sarko l'Américain was no more or less reliable an ally than France generally is: always with the US on the major issues yet often going its own way when it feels it can or must. And Cameron is in a very fragile position himself and hardly in a position to inflict any real pain on the new French president.

Viewed more calmly, Hollande's international début comes at a rather quiet moment on the international scene--the euro crisis excepted, of course. That is the only major issue on his plate and the one that must be addressed forthwith. And then there is Iran and the nuclear question, which Trano omits. Michel Rocard is off on a mysterious "personal mission" to Teheran. We will see what he brings back, but it's difficult to believe that his trip is entirely "personal." Does he carry a message from Hollande? And if so, what is it?


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't entrust much to Rocard himself. Probably an adviser went along. I heard him twice, and both times he barely made sense.

The TVs and Radios are talking a bit like Trano; this week is a minefield which will make or break Hollande, or rather, will likely make him explode, but of course if he comes back in one piece it'll show that in fact once again he was underestimated. Pundits have been saying he's failed before he's even started and thus raised the stakes.
"Will Hollande self implode during his very first week?" must be akin to kids at the circus, looking at the trapeze artist and wondering whether he'll crash.

bernard said...

I am not sure I would call the internatioanl scene calm, precisely due to the Euro crisis which will become paroxistic in the coming few months.

As for Rocard, "il plane" ever since he got too close to his analyst. I would not believe for a second that he is on any kind of sanctioned mission.

Stephan Trano said...

Dear Arthur Goldhammer,

I read with great interest your post related to my article in the French newsweekly Marianne.

I regret that you give a wrong picture of my work. However, this is your choice.

All my best,

Stephan Trano