FP – Foreign Policy
The Arab world’s revolutions have exposed the moral bankruptcy of France’s foreign policy.
BY ERIC PAPE | FEBRUARY 25, 2011
Masonic Gestures: Hand on Shoulder, Hand in Jacket Breast
The year in French foreign policy began rather well, with a feeling of a fresh start as the new minister of foreign affairs, Michèle Alliot-Marie, returned home rejuvenated from her Christmas holiday to provide renewed strength and focus at the Quai d’Orsay, the home of the ministry. As it turned out, neither her return, nor the vacation itself were such a great idea.
Two months into 2011, the transformation of North Africa has exposed a slew of moral failings in French policy in the Arab world, and raised a flurry of questions about Alliot-Marie’s ethics, judgment, and veracity. By Feb. 27, Alliot-Marie was gone, replaced in a cabinet reshuffle after less than four months in office. The rest of the French diplomatic corps is increasingly turning on the president as his Middle East policy continues to disintegrate.
Sarkozy, in a mea culpa of sorts, recently explained that France did not take “full measure of the hopelessness” of the Tunisian people because the two countries have been so intimate. “When you are so close, when the individual and collective destinies [of Tunisia and France] are so thoroughly intertwined,” the French president told journalists at the Élysée presidential palace 10 days after Ben Ali and his family fled, “you can’t always have the necessary perspective.”