Only France could manage to lose a war in which it did not fight.
Just ahead of the big Iranapolooza at the UN, France announced that it no longer supports sanctions against the Islamic Republic and that there is in fact now a split on the Security Council on the question of whether Iran has to freeze its enrichment programs as a precondition to entering talks. This abrogates France’s previous support for sanctions, and gives the Russians and Chinese an out on sanctions both clearly were reluctant to support. Like its backdoor support for Iraq in the run-up to that war, France’s move combined with its veto power on the UNSC all but guarantees that either a) Iran gets nuclear weapons, or b) there will be a nasty war to make sure that Iran doesn’t get nuclear weapons.
Why did France suddenly switch sides on such a dangerous question? Besides just wanting to wreck another US effort to deal with extreme Islamism and the proliferation of WMDs, it comes down to cowardice.
The French President is the first European leader to state publicly that a freeze by Iran is not a precondition for opening talks. The concession to Iran seems to be linked to events in Lebanon, where there had been concern that French soldiers may be targeted by Iran’s proxy militia, Hizbollah, over France’s previously hardline stance in the nuclear negotiations. (emphasis added)
It’s not at all clear even now who won the summer war. Israel is still reeling from the war’s inconclusiveness. Much of Lebanon is in ruins and its nascent democracy in danger of falling apart. Hez leader Hassan Nasrallah is planning a party to celebrate a victory so resounding he can’t come out of hiding long enough to attend. And Iran is out several thousand missiles that were fired, for the most part, ineffectively if you look at it from a purely military point of view.
Yet the Iranians now have France by the short hairs, because French troops are within shooting distance of Nasrallahs goons, and it’s clear to everyone that Nasrallah’s goons will fire if told to do so. This gives Iran an important wedge on the UNSC. That probably wasn’t the outcome the Iranians hoped to achieve when Hezbollah kidnapped Israeli troops and started launching those Khaibar missiles. But for the Iranians, it’s not a bad outcome. Not bad at all.
(h/t Stanley Kurtz)