Monday, February 10, 2003

12 Years too late

With this vote against helping Turkey to defend herself against Iraqi incursions, NATO has unofficially ceased to exist. The cornerstone of this pact was a Musketeers pledge "one for all, and all for one" which meant that an attack on Turkey would be treated as an attack on France or Belgium.

Now this made sense in the Cold War when there was one nasty enemy who needed to be stopped so that it could decay. In today's climate, where we choose the enemies rather than them choosing us this is impractical and against the interests of its members. As a good sovereign state France saw no interest in a treaty obligation - after all Iraq only threatens her in the ever less real minds of the neo-conservatives - and reneged on it.

This should be a lesson to us all. International agreements are merely the sum of the states that make them up. If the agreement is not in a nation's interest, and is not likely to be in the future it can and should tear it up - if it can get away with it. The Americans rightly did this over Kyoto and SALTII. There was a time when British statesmen instinctively knew this. How humiliating that we need a bunch of snail guzzlers to remind us.


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