Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Mondo Chirac

Jacques Chirac, President of France (for those who don't know their foreign policy), has given an interview on Newsnight to celebrate his visit to Britain on the centenary of the entente cordiale. If you wish to watch the whole interview, go to

There were a couple of points that surprised me, as Chirac emphasized unity and downplayed differences over Iraq. One of the first was his description of a multipolar world. Many pundits have often accused France of attempting to undermine the United States with its ad hoc alliances and friendly relationships with other Great Powers, noticeably Russia, Germany and China. There is, no doubt, an element of opportunism in France's diplomacy, but Chirac views the development of a multipolar world as an inevitability, and anticipates the relative decline of the hegemonic power. The United States can also recognise the transatlantic community of values which Chirac endorsed: Europe and America acting in concert due to shared values.

With the next breath, the President undermined this vision and demonstrated the European components of Blair's foreign policy. This multipolar world, which France endorses, would act under set roles through a reinvigorated and reformed United Nations, established as a guardian for peace and democracy.

Honeyed words, but one asks, would France surrender its permanent seat on the Security Council to the European Union? One more reason for Britain to withdraw from all acronyms.

(23.15, 17th November 2004)


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