Our Helpul French Allies

Steven Den Beste, one of the best bloggers ever, wrote to point out this article in the International Herald Tribune, on a proposed international conference on Iraq:

France said Monday that it would take part in a proposed international conference on Iraq only if the agenda included a possible U.S. troop withdrawal, thus complicating the planning for a meeting that has drawn mixed reactions.
Paris also wants representatives of Iraq’s insurgent groups to be invited to a conference in October or November, a call that would seem difficult for the Bush administration to accept.

Well, yes, that could be a little difficult. Would we want Colin Powell to be sitting down with Zarqawi to discuss the withdrawal of American troops? I don’t think so.
The Herald Tribune continues:

The proposed conference aims partly to enlist the help of neighboring countries like Iran and Syria to block any cross-border attempts at destabilizing Iraq or interfering with elections.
But given the difficult conditions in Iraq, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier of France said Monday that a U.S. withdrawal “is a question that should figure on the agenda of such a conference, if one wants it to take place.” Barnier, in an interview France Inter Radio, described the situation as one of “chaos in Iraq, with generalized insecurity, including in the ‘Green Zone,'” the heavily guarded area in Baghdad that is home to many U.S. and British offices.

That’s consistent, of course, with the Kerry campaign’s current position. But I doubt, somehow, that most Americans will agree that working more closely with the French is the key to a successful outcome in Iraq.


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