Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Menage A Six
We know that Nicolas Sarkozy has increasingly re-aligned French foreign policy to a pro-American stance, most notably on the Iran standoff. So Paris and Washington are all smiles and George and Nicolas are buddy-buddy. Except that France will very likely be selling Pakistan air-to-air missiles and radar for use with its Chinese-made fighter jets, a move that will (potentially) provide China with access to the weapons and insight into effectively countering them. Which will strengthen the Chinese hand vis à vis Taiwan, whose French Mirage fighters are equipped with the same missiles, thereby royally pissing off Washington. So, no smiles after all. No playdate for George and Nicolas.
To complicate matters even more, while France (and the rest of the world) not-so-secretly covets the Chinese weapons market, they also covet the Taiwanese and Indian weapons market. And both Taiwan and India are likely to be royally pissed off about the Pakistani deal, too. Keep your eyes on this one. Whether or not the deal goes through will be a good indication of who's really in the driver's seat in the emerging Franco-American rapprochement.