Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Le Cloud Mushroom
by Lee

A major western power threatens to use its nuclear arsenal against rogue states.  The United States?  Nope, it’s those warm and fuzzy pacifists over in France.

France is preparing to change its policy on nuclear weapons to include a threat to unleash first strikes against “rogue states”, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The Elysée palace issued only a partial denial of the article in Libération. It said there had been no shift in “nuclear doctrine” since President Jacques Chirac warned two years ago that the independent deterrent - the force de frappe - could be turned against “regional powers” that threatened to use weapons of mass destruction.

Libération, quoting senior military sources, said this policy was under review and a new position would be expressed - possibly in a speech by President Chirac - by the start of next year. The new doctrine might raise the possibility of a “first strike” if France felt threatened by weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The shift may seem strange in the light of France’s refusal to approve the US-led invasion of Iraq, which was justified by American and British allegations that Baghdad was developing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. But Paris said there was no clear proof that Iraq held such weapons and that, in any case, a military invasion would not set a sensible precedent for controlling the proliferation of WMD.

The debate on a shift in policy, also hinted at in a speech this month by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the Prime Minister, is partly an answer to domestic criticism that M. Chirac has underplayed the dangers of WMD.

What’s sad is that France’s nuclear deterrent is really the only deterrent they have.  They can’t really threaten anyone with military force because they, like every country in Europe except for Great Britain, don’t have much of a military to speak of.  So if they are concerned about attacks from rogue states, the only card they have left in their deck is their nuclear Ace of Spades.

Ah, France.  On the one hand they’re pacifists, models of international diplomacy, always ready to denounce US warmongering; on the other hand they’re threatening to nuke the world.  How typical.

Posted by Lee on 10/30/03 at 07:40 PM (Discuss this in the forums)


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