How Times Have Changed: France, Not England, Joins US Coalition of Willing
The British Parliament has decided war is not in the UK’s national interests. The United States and her stalwart ally, France, will press on.
Reuters (“U.S. and France prepare to act on Syria despite UK no vote“):
France said on Friday it still backed military action to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for an apparent poison gas attack on civilians and Washington pushed ahead with plans for a response despite a British parliamentary vote against a military strike.
An aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a close Assad ally, seized on Thursday’s British “no” vote which set back U.S.-led efforts to intervene against Assad, saying it reflected wider European worries about the dangers of a military response.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said his country would keep seeking an international coalition to act together on Syria, where hundreds of people were killed in last week’s reported chemical attacks. Syria denies using chemical weapons and says rebels perpetrated the attacks.
Any military strike looks unlikely at least until U.N. investigators report back after they leave Syria on Saturday.
The timing of any strikes may be complicated by Obama’s departure late on Tuesday for Sweden and a G20 summit in Russia. He was not expected to order the strikes while in Sweden or Russia.
French President Francois Hollande told the daily Le Monde he still supported taking “firm” punitive action over an attack he said had caused “irreparable” harm to the Syrian people, adding that he would work closely with France’s allies.
Britain has traditionally been the United States’ most reliable military ally. However, the defeat of a the government motion authorizing a military response in principle underscored misgivings dating from how the country decided to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Could anyone have imagined a decade ago a scenario when the United States would go to war with France by our side and England on the sidelines?
I anticipate English muffins being renamed Freedom muffins any day now. And jokes about kippers eating surrender bulldogs or some such.
More seriously, perhaps recent experience has provided us a rule of thumb: if Washington can not persuade both London and Paris of the advisability of military action, perhaps said action is inadvisable?