Monday, December 10, 2007

Sarkozy Implementing Etzioni's Advice?

Despite a firestorm of criticism both at home and from abroad, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has welcomed Libya's Muammar Qaddafi in an official visit to France.

Certainly the lucrative contracts being signed between France and Libya provide a reason for the red carpet--but there is another motive as well. Sarkozy believes that linking clear rewards to changes in the behavior of "rogue states" is a necessary tool of statecraft--a theme echoed in Amitai Etzioni's Security First. As Sarkozy puts it, "If we don't embrace nations who take the road towards respectability, what do we say to those who take that road in the opposite direction?"


I agree that holding our collective noses and rewarding “rogue heads of state” for good behavior is a good thing all in all, and few cases are more more deserving of such treatment than Mr. Qaddafi’s. I also believe that there is an element of a more specific quid pro quo for the release of the Bulgarian nurses (and the Palestinian doctor). But the link between Mr. Etzioni's words and President Sarkozy's actions would be more evident if France did not have a particularly good track record for selling anything to anyone that is not under sanctions and making good use of its government offices and diplomatic missions to help the deal along.

The Tokyo Cynic
Land of the Transistor Salespersons
"road towards respectability"? You have to explain that to us sometime.

The relationship among states is not based on that quaint middle-class notion. Sarkozy must be aiming his remarks to the domestic French public opinion regarding Mulsims in general and Libyans in particular.
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