We are told that the issue is the protection of Turkey. To assume that Turkey needs to be protected from retaliation by Iraq is to assume a military intervention against Iraq. This means we are, in fact, requested to support Nato's endorsement of the principle of a preventive war against Iraq. We cannot back Nato's involvement in a war against Iraq even before the question of the use of force has been put to the Security Council, let alone authorised by it. This would mean putting the Nato cart before the UN horse.
France is not posturing. Neither at Nato, nor at the UN. As for the argument that France is chickening out, I would merely suggest trying it out on the families of the French soldiers who paid the price of blood in the Balkan wars, in Afghanistan against al-Qa'ida and the Taliban, or in the Gulf War. France was the first European supplier of air power during the Nato-led operations in Kosovo. She remains the largest single contributor of troops to Nato operations in the Balkans. Together with Britain, France has undertaken a major increase in defence spending to face the new threats and challenges confronting us all. These facts speak for themselves.
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