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December 23, 2003
Le Spin, C'est Nous

The French have discovered that looking in from the outside on the Libya deal makes them appear less than dominant in foreign affairs:

Dominique de Villepin, the foreign minister, took his hat off to London and Washington's "exemplary" diplomatic efforts over the past few months that led to the Libyan leader Col Gaddafi's surprise announcement on Friday, calling it a victory for "the entire international community".

But he was forced to admit in Le Figaro that France knew nothing of the nine months of secret negotiations. "We were not kept informed," M de Villepin said. His disclosure underlined the continuing mistrust in relations between the English-speaking powers and France, which made much of its opposition to war in Iraq.

It seems that even the French are starting to see that its obstinacy in opposing all things American may have cost it an inordinate amount of influence on world affairs:

Even the normally pro-government Le Figaro described the Libyan deal as a "semi-failure" for France, which has been against tough action against rogue states. Annick Lepetit, the Socialist party spokesman, said it signified "the isolation of France and French diplomacy in an area where it is traditionally influential".

Bear in mind that if you read the rest of the article, the expression of French disappointment in these setbacks expresses itself mostly through either spinning their isolation as a "victory for an interdependent, multi-polar world," or blaming les Americains for punishing their stance against the war in Iraq. To which I retort: if you can't stand the heat, you should have stayed out of the kitchen in the first place. (via Terrestrial Musings)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 23, 2003 7:55 AM

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