Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Could Go Wrong?

After we've appeared to kick Britain to the side of the road, ending our "special relationship" under this administration, it is perhaps understandable that Britain is looking for another defense partner.

But France? Really? Britain would like to mesh their two militaries to save money and maintain capabilities?

This AUSA paper defends Britain's choice and seems to go out of its way to vouch for France's steadfastness. Quote one:

In its opening, the 2010 French-British declaration addressed past disagreements by looking toward a common future, stating, “We do not see situations arising in which the vital interests of either nation could be threatened without the vital interests of the other also being threatened.” This is the foundation upon which cooperation between the two countries rests.

Um, Iraq 1998? Iraq 2003? Afghanistan now? The French have either refused to go or lag behind with caveats that make their troops more war tourists than actual contributions to the war effort. This is the foundation for entrusting British interests, in part, to French decisions?

Quote two is from the French president:

Addressing British skepticism, French President Nicolas Sarkozy also asked, “[I]f you, my British friends, had to face a major crisis, could you imagine France simply sitting there, its arms crossed and saying, "This is none of our business’?”

The association doth protest too much, I think.

Again, as much as Sarkozy is an improvement over Chirac, I surely can image France simply sitting there. Heck, toss in a sneer along with the crossed arms, and I can picture it easily. Indeed, I remember allegations of French officers in NATO cuing in the Serbs about our bombing operations during the Kosovo air campaign. So it is more than just rude indifference Britain might have to face.

Granted, I'm shamed to say that our government trumped that Gallic betrayal with our own by giving the Russians information on Britain's Trident missile arsenal during the New START negotiation. But this administration will hopefully be the exception that proves the rule about the special relationship.

The British are making an error by throwing in their lot with the French. And it won't help us. In time, getting help from Britain, whose military will be yoked to France for full capabilities, will require the request to meet the standards of the French, too.

This isn't in our interest. It isn't in Britain's interest beyond this administration. The French will love tying down the British and hoping that it hobbles us as well in the process.

Come on Britain! Has the Obama administration screwed you over so much that you'll flee to the arms of that continent for comfort? Have some patience and hold off making a decision we'll both regret in time.