Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unhelpful France

So much for the French being all sorts of excited about Obama's election as President of the United States. The French were mouthing rhetoric at the time that his election marked the dawn of a new era of U.S.-French relations.

The actuality has not exactly matched up to the lofty words proffered. If the French were really considering a new tack in foreign policy they would be trying to find ways to help Obama defuse tension, especially in Eastern Europe, where it has a direct impact on them, because of the areas proximity, and in some cases countries' membership in the European Union. Not so much, instead, the French are stirring the pot, by attempting to once again cozy up to Russia.

The BBC reports the the French are negotiating a deal to sell an autocratic Russia a Mistral-class assault warship which is capable of transporting and deploying up to 16 helicopters, 13 tanks and 450 troops. France would be the first NATO member to go ahead with weapons sales to Russia. Obviously, this particular piece of hardware is for offensive not defensive purposes.

The BBC notes, "Russian generals have said that, had they had such a warship during the August 2008 conflict with Georgia, they would have been able to reach its shores within 40 minutes - rather than the 26 hours the country's navy took after setting off from their base in the Ukrainian Crimean port of Sevastopol."

This is just the kind of support Obama was hoping for from the EU for the fledgling country of Georgia.

The BBC also quotes a French military expert at the Sorbonne, "It's obvious that such weaponry would allow Russia to mount aggression against its neighbors. It looks like France is giving Russia a green light for new imperialistic wars."

Helpful, France, very helpful.

No comments: