Chirac Readies Post-Non Strategy: Blame Britain

Now that it appears inevitable that the French people will soundly reject the new EU constitution and reduce French influence in Europe dramatically, Jacques Chirac has readied his new political strategy for the debacle. Chirac will rely on centuries of French tradition — and blame the British for their woes:

Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac will be pitched into a furious six-month dispute over the future direction of the European Union if the French people vote No to the EU constitution tomorrow.
Government sources are braced for the French president to round on the Prime Minister and blame him for making the constitution too “Anglo-Saxon” on economic issues and for plunging Europe into crisis as a result. …
British diplomats believe that Mr Chirac will call for France, Germany and other nations to form a “core Europe” in which they can push ahead with integration without being held back by laggards such as Britain.
However, Mr Blair and Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, want to use Britain’s six-month EU presidency, which begins on July 1, to argue that eurozone economies need flexible British and American-style economies rather than heavy regulation and tax harmonisation.

Actually, if Blair really wanted to destroy France, he should encourage Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder to form that “core Europe” — so that both of their economies can go in their current direction, only much faster. Part of the disaster that the EU has become directly relates to its “core” countries failing to abide by their own economic and budgetary regulations.
The French don’t recognize that, of course, which is why they have so strenuously opposed this draft. The French (and the Germans) believe that socialism and nationalized industry will revive the economy of Europe despite decades of evidence to the contrary. They do not want to face a competitive market which will force them to reform their labor laws and reduce their protectionism, changes Britain made more than two decades ago. After their embrace of private enterprise, the British won’t go backwards to their 1970s stagnation, regardless of whether Chirac approves or not.
The truth is that France and Germany both need Britain in the EU more than Britain needs to enter it. If the French reject this, it gives Chirac the opening he needs to blame the terms of the new constitution on Tony Blair, hoping to take French minds off of the fact that Chirac negotiated these terms and up to now has endorsed it. It’s a bit late for Chirac to point his Gallic finger across the channel and expect anyone but the French to buy his outrage now.
Of course, Chirac is only playing this for domestic consumption. However, earlier reports had Chirac considering another strategy of ignoring this plebescite and having the Assembly ratify the constitution separately, a plan which seems to have gone by the wayside. Chirac surely can’t be seen imposing a British conspiracy to Anglicize France in defiance of French voters. Even Jacques Chirac isn’t that self-destructive.

Has Northern Ireland Chosen A Return To The Troubles?

The fallout from the retreat of Britain’s Labour Party from its previously unassailable majority has implications for Northern Ireland and the Good Friday agreement that has kept the Troubles at bay. Tony Blair’s political dominance had kept Northern Irish politics firmly fixed on the center, where moderate Unionists governed with some cooperation from moderate Republicans and kept the extremists relegated to the fringes. However, the British election resulted in a reversal, with the moderate Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) losing all but one of its seats. The anti-agreement Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by radical Ian Paisley picked up three of the seats, while the moderate republican SDLP took over the South Belfast UUP seat, the first time a republican has represented that district:

The Ulster Unionist party was in meltdown last night after its leader, David Trimble, lost his seat to Ian Paisley’s hardline Democratic Unionist party and what was once the biggest party in Northern Ireland was reduced to only one MP.
Mr Trimble, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had been MP for Upper Bann for 15 years, but lost by more than 5,000 votes, a margin that surprised even the winner, a gospel-singing meat wholesaler, David Simpson. …
The DUP, now the biggest Northern Ireland party at Westminster, finished with nine seats, saying the unionist people had spoken out against the Good Friday agreement and “pushover unionism”.
The DUP leader, Ian Paisley, said Mr Trimble brought the result on himself: “David Trimble took the wrong road.”

David Trimble’s political career looks finished. He couldn’t even hold his own seat in the centenary year of the UUP, a stunning repudiation of several years of peace and relative tranquility in Northern Ireland. He reportedly will consider resigning as UUP leader, which seems almost redundant given the circumstances.
Interestingly, Sinn Fein has suffered no such loss of credibility, despite the involvement of their IRA partners in a brutal, senseless murder and a spectacular bank robbery in the past few months. In fact, SF gained a seat at the expense of the SDLP in Armagh. Gerry Adams, longtime spokesman for the SF and publicly outed as a commander in the IRA just weeks ago, increased his margin of victory in West Belfast by over 4% at the SDLP’s expense.
This appears to demonstrate a rejection of the power-sharing arrangement at the heart of the Good Friday agreement by both unionists and republicans. The two extreme parties made significant gains in both seats and overall vote totals, although the SDLP managed to come close to a wash. If free elections give the electorate that best reflects their mood, it would seem that the Northern Irish have once again polarized into absolutist positions. While that does not mean that they have necessarily endorsed a return to active violence, it certainly rejects the only middle ground compromise yet established in the long Ulster conflict.
The lessons that both Paisley and Adams will take from this election are that the people want victory over accommodation. It threatens to reduce the GFA to nothing more than a footnote in the Troubles, since neither man has ever enthusiastically supported the Stormont Assembly structure. If that is borne out in the weeks ahead, the various militias will start feeling the pressure to re-arm themselves and start planning their war operations all over again. Indeed, one can argue that the IRA anticipated this result and started with its earlier armored-car robbery.
With Labour’s grip on power slowly fading, its moderating influence in Ulster may well be where it is missed the most. Hopefully, wiser heads will prevail before the bombings and shootings begin.

Congratulations, Mr. Blair

It didn’t exactly equate to smooth sailing, but Tony Blair can enjoy a glass of champagne in celebration of his third consecutive term as Prime Minister today after securing a majority win for his Labour Party. While the Conservatives ate into that majority by creating a swing of almost a hundred seats, Blair still has a significant margin of 66 seats despite worries that the Iraq War might force Labour to govern from a minority. Blair focused on the positive as he announced his intention to form the new government:

Tony Blair has said that he has “listened” to the British public and has a clear idea of what they want for Labour’s historic third term in power.
Mr Blair spoke outside Number 10 after visiting Buckingham Palace, where the Queen asked him to form a new Government, following the election victory. …
“The Queen has asked me to form a new government which I will do. It’s a tremendous honour and a privilege,” Mr Balir said.
He told the press gathered outside Downing Street that he had “listened and learned” and his Government would now “focus relentlessly” on the priorities of the British people.
He promised “a radical programme of legislation” and said he would place particular priority on re-establishing respect in classrooms and on the streets.
Mr Blair had earlier acknowledged that Iraq had been a “divisive” issue, but called on the country to unite.
“It is clear that the British people wanted the return of a Labour Government, but with a reduced majority. We have to respond to that sensibly and wisely and responsibly.”

Despite a sense of momentum swinging back towards the Tories and a respectable election result, Conservative leader Michael Howard shocked Britons by resigning his post as party leader after failing to topple the popular Blair:

Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, has announced that he is to step down from his position “sooner rather than later”, and that he will not lead the party at the next election.
Mr Howard had conceded defeat in the general election at about 4.15am, saying that his party had made “a significant step towards recovery” after a strong showing in the polls.
But speaking in Putney, taken back from Labour last night by Justine Greening, he said that he would step aside when “the party has had the opportunity to consider whether it wishes to change the rules governing the choice of his successor”.
Mr Howard said that he was now 63 and that by the next election he would be too old to lead the party.

Howard made a few foolish statements in the campaign’s final days about accepting nothing less than total victory over Labour as anything but a defeat. Trying to rally a party from a 166-seat deficit in one election after the sitting government successfully prosecuted a war is and should be a monumental task, and not one for breezy predictions or standard-setting. Having said it, though, Howard made it difficult to continue his leadership in the absence of that specific result.
In fact, Howard may be right in resigning anyway. After initially supporting the Iraq War, Howard tried to beat Blair over the head with it, issuing contradictory and confusing blasts about supporting the effort but decrying the “lies” that led to it. Howard never made clear why he supported the war effort if he felt that Blair based it on lies, nor did he specifically show that Blair lied about Iraq at all. Howard basically absorbed the arguments of the radical anti-war crowd and grafted them onto the Conservative platform, a strange operation that may have attracted a few more votes but gave most Britons little confidence in Howard’s ability to govern.
Blair now has a mandate to continue his course in Iraq, if he so chooses. The worst of Iraq is behind him, and the next election could be as far off as 2009. It gives him a freedom to act that did not exist in the previous few months, given the tight victory that he achieved last night. Meanwhile, the Tories have an opportunity to select a leader with better political skills and a clearer message to match up against Labour in the next cycle. All of these look like good news for Britain, and good news for the US.
UPDATE: Mark Steyn live-blogged the elections, and gives us his spot-on analysis:

9.30am BST Yes, Labour’s 60-65 majority was achieved with only 36% of the vote – an all-time low for a winning party in Britain. That reflects an election in which the traditional party labels didn’t quite capture the real divisions in the electorate. Nonetheless, I’d say it’s worse news for the Tories – not just because it’s an unprecedented third consecutive loss for the party but because such recovery as there was was so pathetic. In the days before the election, a lot of Tories told me that the real measure of their success was whether and by how much they’d break the 200-seat barrier. And even that was a conscious effort to lower expectations. The Conservatives are presently on 195 seats. That would have been regarded as a disaster for Thatcher, Major or even William Hague, and swift resignation would have followed. The Tory leadership’s ability to spin this as a great “improvement” is confirmation of just how shrivelled the modern British Conservative Party really is.

And three hours later, Howard resigned. Coincidence, or prescience? I’m opting for the latter, having followed Steyn for quite some time. Be sure to read the rest of his live-blog.

French May Yet Approve EU Constitution

The Guardian (UK) reports that Jacques Chirac has made some progress in turning around what would have been a devastating loss in the upcoming plebescite to approve the new EU constitution. Polling now indicates that the French favor the constitution by a slim but unstable margin, with many who now support it saying they may change their minds:

Opinion polls out this weekend show for the first time that a majority of French people intend to vote in favour of the European draft constitution next month.
The two surveys, carried out for Le Monde and the Journal du Dimanche, found that 52 per cent supported the draft constitution and 48 per cent opposed it.
But a large proportion said they might still change their minds ahead of the 29 May referendum – 24 per cent in the Le Monde poll and 30 per cent in the other survey.

However, with French unemployment now over 10% and the government pressing for further labor reforms to bring France into a market-based economy, that lead looks short-lived. As the Guardian notes, today’s May Day celebrations of labor will undoubtedly include protests over the loss of a holiday on May 16th, which precedes the referendum by less than a fortnight. Many French workers see the new constitution as a further threat to employment as industries will have an expanded ability to relocate to other European locales where the labor force doesn’t expect 32-hour work weeks and the entire month of August as a holiday.
Even more interesting is the polling from the Netherlands, which the French see as a bellwether EU nation. The referendum for ratification takes place on June 1 for the Dutch, and so far the measure looks to be heading for a resounding defeat, with 58% voting no. That may let the French off the hook, as the constitution must have universal approval among all EU nations. If the French see a defeat upcoming in the Netherlands, they may decide that a yes vote carries little risk of immediate application, while maintaining French influence on EU politics. The Socialists are also using British opposition to the constitution as a reason to vote for approval, appealing to traditional Franco-British tensions.
In the end, I’d expect this to squeak by in Paris, but that hardly represents a resounding endorsement of Chirac’s EU policy.

Le Scam Francaise

Arthur Chrenkoff notes that France has quietly surpassed the Canadians in graft, with a corruption trial involving high-level aides of Jacques Chirac that has received surprisingly little attention so far:

A major corruption trial has begun in France involving allies of President Jacques Chirac from his time as Paris mayor in the 1980s and 1990s.
Among the 47 accused are former Sports Minister Guy Drut, who is currently on Paris’ Olympic bid committee.
The trial centres on a system alleged to have been initiated by President Chirac’s Rally for the Republic (RPR).
Companies are accused of paying major political parties to win contracts to renovate schools around Paris.
Prosecutors argue that the RPR and its ally, the Republican Party, received donations worth 1.2% of awarded contracts, while the Socialists got 0.8%.

This clever little money-laundering scheme bears a strong resemblance to the Adscam scandal in Canada, except that the French corruption involves multiple political parties instead of just the ruling party, and the kickbacks were more blatant. The structure of the con revolved around a government program, just like in Canada, which awarded millions of Euros for works to support a public good — in this case, renovating Parisian schools. Jacques Chirac initiated the Rally for the Republic program in 1989, and it ran for eight years, almost exactly the same amount of time as Adscam.
The French twist shows up in the contracts that the winners had to accept. Each contract contained a “voluntary” 2% kickback to the political parties, which eventually got split on a 3-2 ratio between the Republican and Socialist parties, respectively. This did not mean that contractors could not “voluntarily” make life easier on Chirac’s aides as well in order to win these multi-Euro contracts, and the trials of several Chirac cronies allege that they reaped significant personal benefits from these contractors.
So why does this scandal get so much less play than its Canadian counterpart? Probably because we have so much lower expectations of ethics and integrity of the French. Perhaps, though, the French might surprise us with their own expectations of their leaders. (via CQ reader Bruce Chang and Media Lies)

Honor Killings Rising In Europe

Police across Europe report that Muslim honor killings have increased significantly on the Continent, and only now do they recognize the phenomenon. AFP reports that Britain has provided leadership on this issue and that the killings may be more numerous than any of the nations presume:

Known cases of murder and rape committed to protect a family’s honour are on the rise across Europe, forcing police to explore the reasons behind such crimes and how to stop them.
At a two-day conference in London, British police have been spearheading a campaign to fight so-called honour-based violence, typically committed against women to protect a family’s reputation.
The problem is greatest in Islamic communities in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, but it has spread as families migrate, bringing their traditional values with them. … British authorities have started to properly recognise honour crimes over the past three years, but it is a problem that affected countries throughout Europe, where police are only just becoming aware, according to Richards.

Where Muslim communities have been allowed to remain insular through political correctness, like in Germany as I posted earlier, they have brought with them their customs and traditions. Among the less noble of these are the chattel laws that reduce women to commodities in Islamist communities. Their families force them into marriages at young ages, and when they resist, the women wind up beaten, raped, or worse. In some cases, women become the vessel through which clans receive punishment, like Mukhtar Mai’s gang-rape in Pakistan.
When Europe experienced Muslim migration in asnwer to its chronic shortage of cheap labor as well as the inevitable result of its colonial history, the scolds of the left warned against efforts to get the new migrants to assimilate into Western culture. The result, especially in the most leftist of these countries, are Muslim communities with little loyalty to their countries and almost no connection to the laws and norms of traditional European society and justice. European leadership has remained so clueless that they can’t even know for sure that honor killings and rapes have increased — just that they have learned to distinguish them better.
This should provide an object lesson for countries like the US and other Western nations that take in large amounts of immigrants. Allowing segregated societies to flourish especially by providing services in multiple languages as the norm only creates interest groups with less connection to the central society. In the extreme, it means that the governments cannot conduct their basic raison d’etre — the protection of its citizens. Assimilation should always be the goal, not undue accommodation.

EU Changes The Rules For France And Germany

The European Union pushed through a change in their economic policy that will allow France and Germany to escape punishment for outspending EU limits on debt. Both countries have long defied the EU deficit limits, and instead of enforcing the limits and prompting some reform of the cradle-to-grave social spending that the limits required, the EU simply threw in the towel:

European finance ministers agreed late on Sunday to ease the Growth and Stability Pact rules which eurozone members must abide by.
The new rules will make it easier for eurozone countries to keep their deficits within 3% of national income. … Under the deal, Germany can exclude its reunification costs and France will leave out military and aid spending.

Reunification costs? German reunified fifteen years ago. I’ve heard of long-term depreciation, but this sounds ridiculous to me. It’s a license to cook the books, as the bond markets have already discovered this morning. The BBC included a reference to its own analyst warning that this deal could cause an increase in interest rates and a decline in bonds, two events that an investment-hungry EU can ill afford, but as the Financial Times reports, that’s exactly what they will get:

Eurozone government bond prices fell on Monday and yields rose as the market reacted to an agreement reached over the weekend to rewrite the European Union’s stability and growth pact.

The EU fancies itself as an economic powerhouse that will rival the US for growth and prosperity. However, until they create a stable environment for investors and resolve their deep problems with funding their creaky social systems, the EU will simply drag its members to the economic bottom by tying the albatross of Franco-German economics around their necks. So far, they haven’t shown any capacity to address that meaningfully.
UPDATE: My good friend and brilliant economist King Banaian explains this much better than I do. Thank goodness he agrees with me, or I’d have to buy him breakfast the next time we meet before the Northern Alliance Radio show. Be sure to read all of King’s instructive post, and if you don’t already have SCSU Scholars blogrolled — especially for economic commentary and first-hand analysis of Eastern European developments — don’t hesitate do so now.

Does Tony Blair Want To Be The British Putin?

The Telegraph reports tonight that Tony Blair has pushed through a new bill granting extraordinary emergency powers to the Home Secretary that allows the executive branch to hold terrorist suspects for weeks without any due process or judicial review. Conservatives howled and Labour MPs began to defect as Blair argued that civil liberties would have to take a back seat to security:

Protecting Britain against a terrorist attack must take priority over civil liberties, Tony Blair states today.
Writing in The Telegraph, he mounts a strong defence of the Government’s decision to take powers unprecedented in peacetime to curtail the activities of British citizens and foreign nationals suspected of terrorist activities.
During last night’s Commons debate on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, disclosed that the Government was braced for an attack during the election campaign.
Emphasising that it needed the ability to “move rapidly” against terrorists, he said: “The Madrid atrocity took place during the Spanish election campaign and it may be that such things can also be possibilities here too.”

The Home Secretary didn’t do a great job of convincing MPs of the necessity of suspending civil liberties, regardless of the high level of threat the UK believes it faces in its upcoming election. Labour lost over half of its gap over the Tories in Parliament. His own party made references to apartheid in speaking about the bill, while others noted that the government already had the power to detain terror suspects for fourteen days without a judge. Blair argued in his editorial that the new bill only allows for seven days before an arrest gets forwarded to a High Court judge.
Without seeing the bill, it’s difficult to know exactly how much this impacts on British civil liberties. However, I am struck by the rhetoric coming from Labour’s leader on the issue of civil liberties. Can you imagine the outcry from Democrats or Republicans here if the head of state tried to sell a new criminal process by telling Congress that America should put safety ahead of civil liberties? We still have people crying about the Patriot Act, and all that did was to allow intelligence gatherers and law-enforcement agents to share information and for investigators to use the same processes four counterterrorism that are alreay allowed for child-pornography and Mafia cases.
The British don’t sound particularly enthusiastic about Blair’s newest anti-terror initiative. While I am usually a supporter of strong enforcement of our laws governing terrorists, I don’t much care for the elimination of habeas corpus.

Friedman: Listen — To The Same Old Song

Thomas Friedman advises George Bush to make a silent tour of Europe when he meets with leaders on the Continent in February. Friedman believes that the only way for Bush to get people to like him is for the President of the United States to do his Marcel Marceau impression:

Let me put this as bluntly as I can: There is nothing that the Europeans want to hear from George Bush, there is nothing that they will listen to from George Bush that will change their minds about him or the Iraq war or U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Bush is more widely and deeply disliked in Europe than any U.S. president in history. Some people here must have a good thing to say about him, but I haven’t met them yet.
In such an environment, the only thing that Mr. Bush could do to change people’s minds about him would be to travel across Europe and not say a single word – but just listen. If he did that, Mr. Bush would bowl the Europeans over. He would absolutely disarm and flummox people here – and improve his own image markedly.

His rationale? If Bush gives no public speeches and instead sits while Europeans gripe about American policy, then “pundits” will have no ammunition with which to write clever editorials picking apart Bush’s words. Apparently, all European op-ed columnists do is peruse transcripts of Bush speeches for subject matter. Likewise, European politicians would fight over what to say to Bush, even though mouthing off at America has never been a shrinking industry in Europe.
Friedman then goes on to cite examples of Eurowhining that the Silent Treatment will somehow improve. Mostly, they seem to bemoan the fact that we woke up to the twenty-five year attack on American interests by Islamist terrorism:

Tim Kreutzfeldt, the bar owner, said to me: “Bush took away our America. I mean we love America. We are very sad about America. We believe in America and American values, but not in Bush.[“] … The Bush team, he added, is giving everyone in the world the impression that “somebody is coming to kill you.”

Did Kreutzfeldt consider the fact that people are coming to the US to kill us? Perhaps he missed that fact on 9/11, when 3,000 of us died in four attacks by people who came to the US, ostensibly as visitors. We continue to catch people coming into our country to kill us, Tim, which is why we’re getting serious about making sure we do catch them first. I don’t feel like getting killed by Islamist nutcases just so you can feel better about America.
The only other person Friedman includes in his piece has the exact same complaint, which undercuts the notion that the European reaction to Bush has any merit or breadth at all:

Stefan Elfenbein, a food critic nursing a beer at our table, added: “I know many people who don’t want to travel to America anymore. … People are afraid to be hassled at the border. … We all discuss it, when somebody goes to America [we now ask:] ‘Are you sure?’ We had hope that Kerry would win and would make a statement, ‘America is back to what it was four years ago.’ We hoped that he would be the symbol, the figure who would say, ‘[America] is the country that welcomes everybody again.’ [But] now we have to wait four more years, hopefully for somebody to give us back the country we knew and liked.”

Funny, Stefan, most of us voted against John Kerry for that same exact reason. Kerry, Kreutzfedlt, and Elfenbein all want to live in that September 10th world, where most of America remained ignorant of the threat to its citizens and the world could exploit our open borders for their own purposes. This is the so-called “squandered goodwill” that the Left loves to bemoan about the aftermath of 9/11. Europe loves us when we don’t ask anything of them, but they adore the idea of America’s passive victimization and loathe our refusal to play that role.
Too long have we remained silent about global threats before 9/11. The solution to the problem isn’t silence, but continually challenging the European electorate to rouse themselves from their defeatism and knee-jerk pacifism. They don’t like George Bush because he reminds them that the European public can’t even defend themselves any more, let alone assist us in our security issues.
But if Friedman likes the idea of silence so much, I recommend he follow his own advice — especially when he has so little to say.
UPDATE: Read Outside The Beltway’s hilarious parody of Friedman.

A Turkish Checkmate?

The long-proposed entry of NATO member Turkey to the EU has generated much controversy, especially in the context of the war against Islamofascist terror and the Muslim population explosion in central Europe. While the EU powers have stalled Turkey’s application, time had started to run out on their delays. However, today France played the genocide card, complicating the politics to such an extent that Turkey’s EU entry may be a dead letter:

France has said it will ask Turkey to acknowledge the mass killing of Armenians from 1915 as genocide when it begins EU accession talks.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Turkey had “a duty to remember”. … Mr Barnier said France did not consider Turkish acknowledgement a condition of EU entry, but insisted his country would raise the issue once talks opened.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss plans to invite Turkey for accession talks, Mr Barnier said Turkey “must carry out this task as a memorial”.

France started out softly, not couching the demand as an ultimatum but informing the Turks that they will be expected to answer the question. However, the Turks do not care to revisit the Armenian genocide/uprising of 1915, when Armenians allege — and historians generally concur — that the Young Turks movement that precipitated the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the doddering Islamic caliphate slaughtered 1.5 million restful Armenians in the 20th century’s first genocide. As historian David Fromkin put it in his history of the region, A Peace To End All Peace, the Turks left Armenia as quiet as the grave.
Ever since, the Turks have vehemently denied that they did anything except put down an uprising by the accepted military method. Of course, their denials have more at stake than just a defense of national pride. Admitting the slaughter would create a moral if not legal obligation to provide some reparations to the survivors of the 1915 victims and their descendants, as well as to the now-independent nation of Armenia. France appears to have gambled that the Turks will simply find the price too steep and withdraw from its EU application.
It’s a crime that Turkey has yet to acknowledge its part in the mass murders in Armenia. Positive action on their part could have defused a major issue with the West (and the East as well). It remains a black spot on the history of the Turkish people. But what price will all concerned pay for France’s gambit?
First, once this card was played, there really is no way to bury it again. Either Turkey will have to acknowledge some form of responsibility, or the EU entry is dead. Now that France has raised the issue of 1915, no Western nation will openly support disregarding a genocide for political and military expediency. (Can you see Germany openly supporting Turkey without some contrition for the Armenian genocides?)
Turkey’s moderate Islamist executive is highly unlikely to budge, mostly because any admission would result in their ejection from office, and possibly a more radical Islamist government forming in its place. That has some implications for the war on terror, potentially destabilizing an important ally and resource to combat al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups. A disconnect between Turkey and the West at this point does more than just remove the intelligence assistance of the Turks; it isolates Pakistan in the Islamic world in the terror fight as the only major Muslim player against AQ. Alienating Turkey could also have major implications for the western border of Iraq and the Kurds who populate both sides of that border.
Much depends on how offended the Turks become at the late French demand for humility on the world stage, no matter how well-deserved. While I applaud the call for Turkish accountability, I can’t help but regret the timing.