It didn't take President-Elect Nicolas Sarkozy of France very long to draw a new line where the foreign policy of France parts ways with the foreign policy of the U.S. But Sarzozy is already expressing the sort of independent streak that could well be expected from France, as well as fitting to Sarkozy's personal style of political independence.
Sarkozy is already suggesting that a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is imminent. This certainly cannot be good news to the Bush Administration which is suffering from a lame duck foreign policy as well as a lame duck presidency. More cooperation on Bush Administration goals on issues ranging from Iran to Afghanistan and Iraq are likely on some back burner with most nations as they choose to wait to see what the next White House is like.
The situation in Afghanistan has to be very worrisome to U.S. officials as NATO has committed far less troops than what are really needed as Taliban activity steps up. The U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan can hardly afford the loss of any of the meager forces there as the units are already extremely thin in this large land mass nation.
France cannot be entirely faulted to place their foreign policy in areas of higher priority. France has many troops acting as peacekeepers among the 15 world troublespots that are deploying more than 83,000 UN peacekeepers worldwide. In the Ivory Coast for example, as many as 7,000 French troops and 5,000 UN peacekeepers are keeping the government and rebels from renewing combat. The Ivory Coast might provide as much as 90% of the world's chocolate supply, and is not only vital to the world's need for this product, but the best hope of this nation to keep people employed and keep schools and hospitals open.
But one message remains clear to the U.S.; they are somewhat isolated right now and cannot expect a great deal of help with their current foreign policy from Europe.
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