Posted by: bklunk | November 6, 2006

Is That Why They Wanted to Call Them Freedom Fries?

Here’s an interesting one from aembrey:

US denied new NATO force

In an article from the news source The Independent
France has blocked the United States notion to create a new umbrella of
NATO specifically for fighting terror. According to the article, France
claimed “The development of a ‘global partnership’ would riskdiluting
natural solidarity between Europeans and North Americans … and above
all, send a bad political message: that of a campaign, at the intiative
of the West, against those who do not share its conceptions.” This is
bad for the US image in NATO as it is a blow they were not expecting.

According to a blog (

what_the_i.html) the user stated: Thank heavens for France, they seem
to have blocked the US from turning
Nato into some sort of nutty “war-on-terror” organization – in effect
the USs own extra-territorial reserve of mercenarie. And further “It
was starting to look all too much like one of those famous
“slam-dunks” for the US to change the alliance into a proxy military
arm for US foreign policy.” I agree with this user. I feel that now the
US is starting to use organizations that it donates a lot of money to
(like NATO) for its own purposes instread of a joint effort. France was
able to see that with the creation of such a group, the US could pursue
its own interests in a joint organization and this would look bad for
the organization, making the other countries seem weak.

A couple thoughts come to mind: First, this is an interesting approach for an administration that has mostly preferred to go it alone.  It seems reminiscent of the “burden sharing” debates between NATO and the US during the Cold War.  Second, if we are to pursue a long war on terror or extremism or whatever, wouldn’t it be good for some aspect of that to be mulitlateral?  This speaks to the loss of U.S. soft power.

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  1. This was interesting news to me probably because it was not written about in the US media, I suppose if the US was not blocked we would be hearing about it. I don’t believe the US made a good choice by going to NATO to promote their own needs and agendas. NATO was formed in the best interest of all members, I don’t believe the US was thinking of other nations when proposing a new branch for fighting terror. For one, how is a terrorist defined, it differs from country to country, so to propose a branch to fight terrorism is going to be very difficult and murky. I believe that to fight terrorism a country needs allies and cooperation, earlier the US didn’t get the cooperation it wanted in Iraq, now the US is getting allies by trying to get countries through an international treaty organization.

  2. I do think that the U.S. was wrong for trying to impose its own policies within NATO. Although this is a legitimate organizaion for the most part, not everyone is going to agree with how each country conducts its foreign policy and/or other policies. I do agree with Margaret that it is interesting that this story was not in the U.S. news. However, with how slanted the media is in the U.S. especially with its anti-Iraq war undertones, I am even more surprised that this wasn’t a headliner. This definitely could have been used as a slap in the face to the current administration. However, I do disagree that it was wrong for the U.S. to relay their own needs and agendas. I think that for an organization to be successful and open, all views and opinions can be heard regardless of whether or not they are all agreed upon or implemented. I think that the approach brought on by the U.S. may have seemed self-interested, but generally speaking, there is a terrorism issue, and it does not just affect the U.S. So, I do see the point of proposing this fight for terror. And, with all of the terrorist activity in France, it would seem that they would have a more helpful tone regarding the proposal.

  3. I disagree with bklunk’s comments. At no time has the current administration “preferred to go it alone.” In every move in the war on terror, the US has sought the support and contributions of the international community. The most significant move the US made that was a largely “go it alone” approach was the war in Iraq. Even this was done with the support of a handful of countries and was done only after significant attempts to persuade the UN and the world to participate. To claim that this administration has preferred to “go it alone” is absurd. What this administration has preferred is pursuing the route it thought would achieve the best result for the US and the world. If that meant after much consoltation and deliberation that it would go forward without the support of much of the world community, then so be it. This administration has recognized throughout that it is best for the war on terror to be conducted multilaterally, but what the administration has not done is make this a priority that overrules all other concerns. The attempted moves in NATO are just an extention of the approach this administration has taken throughout.
    I disagree with the war in Iraq, but we ought to at least dispense with the inaccurate descriptions of this administration.

  4. I agree with Jim completely. “Go it alone” is certainly referring to the willingness of the Bush Administration to move ahead with what it believes is appropriate foreign policy measures, i.e. the war in Iraq, even if they are unable to sell other countries in the U.N. on the importance of their mission. I for one would not care at all when a country like France announces they will vote against any resolution brought forth by the United States, before even reading the resolution! That kind of close mindedness should have no place in politics but unfortunately it does at the United Nations. Certainly this closed minded proclaimation by France had something to do with their involvement in the Oil for Food corruption with Iraq. I’m glad that the Bush Administration refuses to give into countries like France.

  5. I should maybe note that I don’t agree with Jim “completely” as I mentioned before. Upon rereading his post I noticed his last sentance about disagreeing with the war. I have always agreed with operation Iraq freedom and still to this day believe it is necessary to fight terrorist over their and not here. The fact that no major terrorist attacks have occured on U.S. soil since 9-11 cannot be overlooked as “good luck.” However it is hard to give the President and his advisors credit for nothing happening but nothing, in my opinion, is a great accomplishment when you are talking about terrorist attacks.

  6. I find it ironic to criticize the U.S. for seeking NATO support in the war on terror and then accusing it of employing a “go it alone” strategy. Regarding the U.S. trying to “use” NATO for it own purposes; what country doesn’t try to use any organization it belongs to in a way to promote their own national interests. That’s the very reason for their creation. The U.S. was simply proposing an idea, if it were truly using NATO in the way the article suggests than wouldn’t the U.S. cease to fund it? By accepting such a rejection but continuing to fund and be apart of the organization the U.S. demonstrates that it truly values international co-operation, even though it doesn’t always get what it wants.

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