Sunday, August 13, 2006

France's impressive, Machiavellian diplomacy

One can be reasonably skeptical of the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. Surely, it was approved by both the Israeli and the Lebanese governments but the Lebanese Cabinet meeting set to discuss implementation of the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah was postponed, and the battle continues to rage ahead of the ceasefire deadline on Monday,August 14 at 0500 GMT.
In the meantime, here's an interesting perspective from Steve C. Clemons (via his blog, The Washignton Note) )on the disucssions that led to the UN Resolution:

On a break during the show -- but here is the scoop on France's impressive, Machiavellian diplomacy.

First, during the first UN Resolution that was cobbled together, the French signed on to the U.S. language. While that first resolution favored Israeli interests disproportionately and did not call for an immediate Israeli military withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, it laid the groundwork for a ceasefire and for a deal on the Shebaa Farms.

The French encouraged the Arab League and Lebanon to object to the resolution -- particularly over the failure to call for an immediate Israeli withdrawal. The French then jumped ship and sang in unity with Lebanon and the Arab League -- and then pushed Hezbollah to accept something reasonable between the original US/French position and the later French/Arab League position.

In the end, the French maneuvered American agreement on the ceasefire and Israel's troop withdrawals -- and left Israel diplomatically cornered.

If John Bolton wants to take credit for any of this, let him -- but it was the French all the way.

The situation is still incredibly fragile -- but what the French did to outrun and outmaneuver Americans and Israelis who could not set the pace or terms of an endgame was needed and impressive.


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