Has France Lost its Touch in North Africa?




Leftwing French commentators like Pierre Haski (founder of of Rue89.com) are critical of the way the French Foreign Ministry is reacting to the current upheaval sweeping North Africa and the Near-East.

Haski told FranceInter that Paris, which has long touted its (colonial-era) expertise in and deep knowledge of the area, was making a total hash of reading current events as the collapse of despots and dictators rolls along.

Policy confusion reigns too in Washington and London where the Panglossian meme seems to be “All hail the triumph of Democracy”.

The optimists could do no worse than pause and view this gloomier assessment of how things might yet turn out in Egypt. The history of revolutions is far from happy, says British historian and Newsweek columnist, Niall Ferguson.

These of a supremely optimistic bent might also care to contemplate this column in the UK’s Spectator magazine.

UPDATE: A group of anonymous French career diplomats released a venomous attack on President Nicolas Sarkozy in Le Monde February 23, saying his efforts at world diplomacy were marked by “Amateurisme” and “impulsivité”.

France after the US runs the world’s largest foreign service and has the greatest number of diplomatic missions abroad.

The UK’s Guardian newspaper has a full report here as does Nouvel Observateur

….Meanwhile here is a clever use of Google-mapping to produce a video tagged overview of the spreading protests in (French-speaking) Morocco.



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