“I have suggested that an alternative road may bypass the main path of history, short-circuiting the organic stages of consensus, value formation, and the experiences of common enterprise generally believed to underlie political community. This relies on a grave crisis or war to bring about a sudden transformation in national attitudes sufficient for the purpose. According to this version, the order we examine may be brought into existence as a result of a series of sudden, nasty, and traumatic shocks. But does this sufficiently lay the basis for genuine community, adequate to create a durable World Order? The transforming experience, whether evolutionary or revolutionary, must, to achieve the foundation of consensus requisite for community, be enough to reach and move great masses of people, many of whom are not now touched by governmental processes, or a fortiori by international relations. In the end, the question of feasibility can only be answered with a prediction: once critical mass had taken place, however tentatively or suspiciously, a new and essentially unpredictable dynamic would have been set in motion…”
– In “A World Effectively Controlled By The United Nations”, prepared for the Institute for Defense Analyses Feb 24, 1961 by Lincoln P. Bloomfield, currently (in 2007) Professor of Political Science Emeritus at MIT. He developed the RAND/MIT political game, and directed MIT’s Arms Control Project as well as the UN and Interdependence projects. Bloomfield also co-authored International Military Forces, Outer Space: Prospects for Man and Society, Controlling Small Wars and Management of Global Disorder. From 1989-1992 Bloomfield hosted the national TV program “Fifty Years Ago Today”. He worked in the the State Department 11 years and was Director of Global Issues in the National Security Council.
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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said yesterday that the world needed to “prepare for the worst, which is war” in confronting Iran’s nuclear programme.
Kouchner was speaking as the UN Security Council five plus Germany are preparing to draft a new resolution on sanctions against Iran, which continues to defy UN calls to halt its uranium enrichment programme. China and Russia have resisted tougher measures against Tehran; Kouchner and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent remarks demonstrate that the new regime in Paris is determined to take a hard line on the nuclear programme Tehran insists is purely for civilian purposes.
France’s chief of diplomacy appeared to echo the US line that diplomacy and negotiations are the preferred means of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He said that negotiations must go on “right to the end” but added that an Iranian nuke would be a “threat to the entire world.” Earlier in September, Sarkozy spoke of two catastrophic outcomes – Iran having a bomb, or Iran being bombarded.
Iran has already denounced what it calls the “extremism” of Sarkozy and Kouchner.
Kouchner took things further. He said that “major state plans were in preparation”, but quickly corrected his remark, adding that nothing was happening “tomorrow” and that the French army was not associated with any such plans.
Israel warmly welcomed Kouchner’s statement. A spokesman for the foreign ministry said that it was important that the world showed it would not sit with its arms folded while Iran developed a bomb. “Iran will cease its nuclear arms program only when it understands that the international community is serious, united and determined in its opposition”, he added.
Clearly, the US will welcome this change of heart by France.
Late into Jacques Chirac’s Presidency, he argued that the world might have to accept an Iranian bomb, adding that it wouldn’t be much use to Iran anyway, as using it would guarantee the destruction of the country. Nevertheless, if Washington is indeed planning a strike against Iran, it would be wise to make its plans without factoring in French involvement.
Despite reports in the newspapers, we believe that a US strike on Iran is unlikely. And if it did happen, the prospect of French aircraft or ground troops fighting in Iran is even more unlikely.
France has long seen Iran as a serious problem. Only a year or so ago, a poll showed that the French believed Iran to be the biggest threat to peace in the world – remarkably for France, even more of a threat than Israel and the United States (who came second and third). This does not mean that France would support a war on Iran, any more than they fancy lining up against the Israelis and the Yanks.
Kouchner, unlike previous French foreign ministers, does not have an anti-American reflex. Indeed, he did not oppose regime change in Iraq and his written about the west’s duty to intervene in genocide and human rights crises.
He is one of France’s most popular politicians, but one who is, it could be argued, slightly out of step. He is a leftist who joined the conservative Sarkozy’s cabinet. He is a member of the Socialist Party who argued for the removal of Saddam Hussein – moreover, he is a Frenchman who supported the removal of Saddam Hussein: A view shared by only around 8 percent of his countrymen when the US invaded in 2003.
The President traditionally takes the lead in French foreign policy. Sarkozy has stocked his cabinet with people who are likely to argue with him. (Kouchner and other leftists, as well as the Prime Minister, are reported to oppose plans for DNA tests to ensure immigrant families are not making fraudelent claims.)
But while Kouchner and Sarkozy are at odds on some domestic issues, they share a vision of international politics.
Sarkozy, who would have the last word on these matters, has talked tough too, as we noted before. However there is no discussion whatsover in the French press about the possibility of war against Iran. Certainly, like other European newspapers, France’s press discusses US plans or the possibility that Israel might try to knock out Iran’s weapons facilities. But France fighting Iran? You can get an idea of just how alien this prospect is for the French – even for Kouchner’s enemies – from that fact that no-one has yet to condemn him for yesterday’s speech. It is almost as if the opposition is dumbfounded by this sudden step up in France’s rhetoric, and needs to find its bearings before replying.
Similarly, it is hard to imagine the French public reacting warmly to government proposals to join the US in another Middle Eastern adventure, especially as Britain has all-but-ruled-out the use of force.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in New York next week for the UN’s General Assembly. He is also expected to meet other international leaders and some Iranians living in the US.
As YNET News reports, the fundamentalist President feels the hand of god on his shoulder when he visits the UN:
“Following his first visit on September 2005, (Ahmadinejad) told one of Iran’s radical clerics that during his speech at the UN someone had told him that he was “surrounded by a divine halo” and that the attention of all the world’s leaders was focused on him.
“Ahmadinejad had said at the time, “I also felt that, and I sensed that the atmosphere had suddenly changed and that all the leaders did not even blink for about 27 or 28 minutes, and I’m not exaggerating.”
He flies to Venezuela to meet his ally Hugo Chavez after the two-day visit, his third since winning power in 2005.