Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Lessons from Outremer
Here I see the "West" or the "Euro-Atlantic community" as equivalent to the Kingdom of Jerusalem: both clearly territorially defined and both having clear lines of authority, but also composed of individual units with sovereign freedom (in the case of the Crusader kingdom, the various communes, military orders, fiefs, etc.) Both have a clear sense of ultimate aims, but the units differ in terms of strategy and approach.
This line of thinking was sparked by listening to France's ambassador to the United States Pierre Vimont when he spoke yesterday. France, he noted, is ready to return to the "integrated military organization" of NATO, for instance, but wants a number of points clarified, including the scope of the alliance in terms of its geographic mandate and its missions, and its relationship to the EU's own military capacities. Then the discussion about how France and the U.S. share common objectives vis-a-vis Russia, Iran, Lebanon, etc. but a clear sense of a different way to achieve them.
Today the Nixon Center will unveil its report on Russian Energy and European Security, and there is, in my opinion, a similar disconnect. There is no unity of approach.
Not predicting that the West will share the fate of Outremer--but its inability to reconcile its divisions may be an instructive lesson.
As for the European Force: where is it?