Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lessons from Outremer

I realize that when an increasing number of Americans are unsure as to our foes during World War II, an appeal to the mists of Crusader history may be meaningless. Nonetheless, I am struck by certain parallels.

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.

France has absolutely no weight in dealing with Russia, China, Iran, India, and others. She no longer has the weight to affect things - only US counts.

As for the European Force: where is it?
France by itself, maybe, anonymous 7:26, but France along with other European states--a bit more. Putin did a number on the US by tying in the major French and German companies in.
Outremer's fate is something better studied closely by Israel and its efforts to maintain itself in a hostile region.
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