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French Diplomats Mobilized To Calm War Danger

PARIS, July 11, 2016 (Nouvelle Solidarité)—Besides the July 7 call published on Le Figaro’s op-ed page on July 8, Le Monde published a signed call on July 8 by members of the Club des Vingt, (Club of Twenty), comprising former French foreign ministers, such as Roland Dumas and Hervé de Charette, ambassadors and other top-level career diplomats, and political figures, such as Rony Brauman, former President of Médecins San Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

Here is our translation of an excerpt of the Le Monde call:

"Let us acknowledge that Russia is not without faults, let’s even admit that it scares: does this justify going so far as political [efforts] (meeting in Warsaw) and moves (military deployment of combat forces next to Russian borders) for which the coming summit will create the occasion? To that, add nonstop enlargement, the NATO Drang nach Osten in the direction of Russia’s borders; the deployment of ABM systems in Romania and Poland, and the recurring noise about NATO expansion to Georgia and Ukraine, if not also Kosovo and Montenegro; there is something in all of this which cannot help but seem to the Kremlin as another step in the escalation of provocations.

"The very people who are bringing back the Cold War are the first to protest that they don’t want its return at any cost. They would be far more credible if they should assure Russia at the same time as they are assuring the Baltic States and Poland. There are only two things they have to do: First, declare that the force deployments are exceptional and have no intention to become permanent; the second, that NATO has its maximum number of members and will in any case not expand in any direction and accept any new member.

"France should seize the opportunity and take pride in taking for its own these two affirmations. NATO’s unanimity rules give France the means to prevent what it rejects. But is it already too late to demand such a diplomacy which, for so long, has forgotten how to say ‘no’? Our return into the integrated military command of NATO shouldn’t deprive us of the independence we once used to have."

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