François Hollande at the UN: a prodigy of diplomatic blindness

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Ronald ZONCA

In Boulevard Voltaire
October 1, 2015

Translated from French by Tom Winter

We don’t know what to make of his presentation. He is like a schoolboy who skipped the prerequisites and has to cover up his ignorance.

In few words, Vladimir Putin designated the ones to blame for the chaos in Europe (without ever naming them) and reminded of the principles of international law.

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For his part, Barack Obama drew his Colt and declared that he owns the mightiest army in the world. We appreciate the wording — packed with all the finesse of a Chicago gangster in the days of Prohibition. The UN is a place for peaceful resolution of conflict, and not for menacing states that would reject the American hegemony. 

There weren’t any threats in the Russian president’s speech, and that is doubtless a factor in its success. A power that does not threaten other countries lets us understand the heads of state applauding at the close of his talk.

The countries are well aware that the conventional forces of the American armies are structured for being projected, with the result that any country is under threat of the United States. Recall that the Russian Army for its part, is structured for defending its own national territory and not for intervening in the entire world.

We were treated to François Hollande like a movie star, an American one. We don’t know what to make of his presentation. He is like a schoolboy who skipped the prerequisites and has to cover up his ignorance. He kept on demanding the departure of Bashar al Assad as if not realizing that the situation changed two years ago, and that the position of Big Brother has evolved. His speech was a prodigy of diplomatic blindness mingled with the stubbornness of a donkey. A positive: it was more moderate than his minister of foreign affairs: he didn’t demand Assad’s head. 

Plainly, after the so-so presentation of his president, Laurent Fabius intended to make his follow-up voice heard. He condemned Russia for its positions and demanded distinct action against the Islamic State, and not just wind for the media. The US will, no doubt, approve, wanting to keep its hands on the controls of military ops in Syria.

Fabius ought to be pleased that Vladimir Putin has ordered air strikes. We note that Russia is intervening at the request of Syria, thus respecting international law. Our diplomat allows substituting the idea of “legitimate defense” for international law. Laurent Fabius has apparently gotten infected with the virus of American exceptionalism.

The UN General Assembly has permitted us to observe that a number of states are attached to their sovereignty and want a multi-polar world. Vladimir Putin is in that set. A world of sovereign states bound by reciprocal interests and where interference from outside are banned. A world where the UN would play its role of conflict mediation, and not the role of support for American hegemony.

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