French Intrasigence

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.


3 Responses to French Intrasigence

  1. ooghe says:

    it sounds as if this might be anticipating the “non-aligned” sphere- although globalization and organizing transnational economic systems were indeed brought into vogue by Valery Giscard d’Estaing at the first meeting of the G6 in Rambouillet in 1975 (or, possibly, the first Davos forum in 1971). I am curious as to whether you believe these post-Keynesian ideas of transferring traditionally national powers to supra-organizations like the EU- were a good idea or a bad one? I had thought that resistance to such trends were an unsettling sort of isolationist crypto-fascism?

  2. I believe transferring power to higher levels without a direct connection from the people is dangerous. In the case of the UN, it means that dictatorships have equal standing with democracies. In the case of the EU, it means a bureacracy with little accountability to the people it affects.

    See the later post on A Nation Worth Having.

  3. ooghe says:

    I would even go a step further to add that transferring power to higher levels without direct connection from people is, eventually and ultimately, impossible…

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