I think Nicholas is among my readers who believes that better diplomacy would have corralled the French into supporting the war in Iraq. To me this seems really dubious. French policy has been to balance the Anglo-sphere for at least a generation. Via a comment at “The American Thinker, Here is the origin document.
The current issue of the Hoover Institution’s Policy Review has the first English translation of a remarkable document (“Outline of a Doctrine of French Policy”) written in 1945 by French philosopher Alexander Kojeve, and given to Charles de Gaulle. This appears to have become a guiding light to French diplomats and politicians over the last 60 years.
The thesis begins with an understanding that the post WW II world will be split into a US-dominated bloc and a Russian-dominated bloc. Kojeve called on France to develop a third bloc — which he called the Latin bloc. This bloc would be composed of groups of nations bordering the Mediterranean and which share a certain cultural sensibility. He advocated for an economic alliance which presciently resembles the European Union. Tellingly, he also called for an accommodation and partnership with Islamic nations, and stated that this unity can be based on a mutual opposition to other trends (the enemy of my enemy is my friend).
In the glorious future he foretold, France would reign over this transnational alliance of nations as primus inter pares. Only this transformation would ensure continued French power in opposition to the Anglo alliance lead by America.
A worthwhile read-even if studded with occasional flights of philosophical fancy.