Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ed Davey Part 2

You may recall this extract from Ed Davey’s twaddle a few days ago:

“Third, we must respond enthusiastically to the strong leadership shown by President Sarkozy, not just over Georgia, but in his historic revision of Gaullism, with his proposal for France to join NATO. With Europe’s other major military power for the first time in decades prepared to join the defence pact we have with the US, surely we should be setting aside the lingering doubts some have over the place for the EU’s Defence and Security Policy.”

It was pointed out in the comments that France is a founder member of NATO, and has always been a member of NATO, even if its troops have not always been under NATO’s integrated command. Now we have THIS sad news from Afghanistan, where ten French soldiers have lost their lives.

One can’t help wondering how angry the families of these soldiers would be that a senior party spokesman on foreign affairs from Britain, one of their major allies and closest neighbours, is unaware of that France is not only a member of NATO, but is losing its own sons fighting along side British forces.

21 comments:

mirtha tidville said...

Sincere condolences to the families of the dead soldiers... truely tragic...May they rest in Peace..


As for Ed Davey..no wonder he`s in the Dum Libs...he`s of even lower quality than NuLab

Scary Biscuits said...

Always check your fact before calling other people idiots! ;-)

France was a founding member of NATO. However, apart from brief periods, it was never actually part of the mutual defence pact that is the whole purpose of the alliance. While the rest of Europe united against the Soviet threat, the French government was so full of communists (particularly its foreign ministry) that it never completely joined. (Alternatively, the rest of Europe never allowed it to join fearful that it would veto a military response to a Communist invasion of German.)

The compromise was that France joined the political committee of Europe but not the military committee, a situation that is still the case today. Thus people who say that France is not a member of NATO are just as correct as those who say it is. The real situation? As with much of French foreign policy... who knows?

Ed Davey may well be an idiot but not because he doesn't know whether France is a member of NATO or not. Even France doesn't know.

Anonymous said...

General Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 in protest over American dominance of the Atlantic Alliance. I'd imagine that Ed Davey's comments were referring to Sarkozy's desire to fully rejoin NATO. It remains the case, for example, that no non-French NATO troops are allowed to be based on its soil.

If you are accusing Ed Davey of making the (semantic?) mistake of saying NATO when he meant 'military wing of NATO' then you should perhaps also note that a cursory glance of the internet will reveal that several newspapers (including the Daily Telegraph), Dennis McShane MP, Fleishmann-Hillard, the BBC and a host of bloggers have made the same error.

Personally, if you had an iota of knowledge about international relations the context of Ed Davey's copmments were obvious.

A completley off-beam post. Silly point scoring.

Anonymous said...

Using the death of soldiers to score cheap points against the Lib Dems? Classy aren't you.

Alex said...

I am glad you mentioned this, Iain. That was exectly what I thought when I heard the news this morning. The situation in Afghanistan is an attritional war not a peacekeeping situation and it is primarily due to NATO that there is a multilateral force operating there.

It is incredible that we are at war, yet the Lib Dem foreign affairs wonk doesn't have a clue about the foreign affairs that have brought togerther that fighting force!

Verily, verily, the Lib Dems are as but a bunch of overgrown borough councillors, ill-prepared to govern the country, on their own or in a coalition.

Alex said...

@scary biscuits:
Your spinning (and Mr Davey's follow up on Lib Dem Voice, which I have just looked up), overlooks the fact that French soldiers are fighting and dying alongside our soldiers and yet you don't understand that this is because they are members of NATO.

You fail to understand the difference between NATO and the miltary command structure of Allied Forces, which is controlled from SHAPE. France did not put its forces under the control of SHAPE because that would undermine its independent nuclear capability. Nevertheless, it is still a signatory of The North Atlantic Treaty, and bound by Article 5 to defend any other sigantory that is attacked. That is what NATO membership means, always has been, and always will be.

To the anonymong who criticsed Iain for raising the matter, this is not in poor taste any more than it is in poor taste for Ed Davey to make domestic political points out of the situation in Georgie. Did you criticise him for that? Thought not.

Anonymous said...

Yes, he certainly should know France are in NATO. The libdems really are a shower of s**te aren't they?

But I shouldn't think the families of these French soldiers would give a flying f**k whether or not a spokesman for the third placed British party knows what role their country plays in international affairs. They, surely, have more important concerns?

Anonymous said...

The role of Blair in 1999 with the St Malo agreement in furthering the aims of the EU in its creation of a Union Defence force should not be missed.

We have, without much public awareness, a wholly EU oriented defence procurement policy - and the 'harmonising' is moving into the actual armed forces.

France wishes to create (and lead) a rival to the USA. To that end the Galileo Satellite project is integral; ironically it is to be financed by 'Pay as you drive' car tolls - so as to hide its real purpose.

NATO has been a good thing, we separate from it at our peril.

Yes, I'm also sorry to read about the deaths - the Taliban seems to be on the attack in Afganistan.

It is all reminiscent of General Westmoreland in South Vietnam who proclaimed in 1968 that the Viet cong were a spent force just before the Tet offensive...

Simon Lamb said...

When told US troops had to leave French soil (when France left Nato in 1966) President Johnson questioned whether that included those under it.

stuart said...

Not sure you should use this tragic event to reopen an argument with Ed Davey.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I'm really not sure that the death of ten troops is worth this sort of party political cheap shot.

I think anyone with half a brain (Ooops - Sorry Tories !), would have understood the point Ed Davey was making.

Very cheap Iain.

oaten cakes said...

Iain, take no notice of all the Lib Dem apologists claiming poor taste over a tragedy. This is war, not a skiing accident or an earthquake. The Frenchies are in Afghanistan because they are members of NATO - and respect to them for doing so.

Davey should have known better, but then apart from Ashdown, Lib Dems never took much interest in these things.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the families of these soldiers would find this article crass in the extreme.

When I was at Sandhurst, I remember a senior officer talking of the French "not being in NATO" meaning not in the military wing of NATO.

Labour Matters said...

Georgia on my mind...

So the Tories think they have one up on silly Ed Davey do they?

Remove yourselves from the European Democrat Group on the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly - chaired by the Russians and backed up by Cameron's crew - and you remove yourself from the glasshouse.

Until then you're just a vacuous lot, full of hot air, who are throwing stones.

This one is going to come back and bite your arses, mark my words!

http://www.labourmatters.com/2008/08/19/crafty-cameron-talks-tough-on-russia-but-fails-to-act-at-home/

Scallywag said...

Little Britain...

Alasdair W said...

That is a truly desperate and appauling way to throw punches at another party. I think Ed Davey just has principle. Nato is a military alliance, it has been rediculous for France to be part of it but not in a military way. It didn't make sence. Davey was making a very good point. I'm really not convinced the families of the soldiers would actually be too shocked by the comment.

Anonymous said...

Ah Westmoreland. He who got really excited about the 12 to 1 kill rate in the 7th Cavalry's first engagement with the NVA and how they'd soon send the little bastards home.

The 7th Cavalry commander told him that kill rate showed how determined the NVA was and it would be difficult to send them home since they were at home.

Mind you the VC actually did become a spent force after Tet but it's thought that this was a means for the NV to wash out it's non-Communist elements.

DavidM said...

I trally stretches the imagination to believe that you "can't help wondering" about how angry the relatives of the French forces killed in Afghanistan are about what Ed Davey says.

If you really think that French relatives of killed servicemen have even heard of Ed Davey, let alone that they care to tease apart the nuances to be read into his latest press statements, just to find something to get angry about, then you just prove how completely detached from reality political bloggers like you have become.

Labour Matters said...

And so it starts!
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/08/cameron_accused_of_hypocrisy_o.html

Cameron's on a very sticky wicket with this one, but where is Cam? On holiday with Lords and Ladies in Turkey!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Mind you the VC actually did become a spent force after Tet but it's thought that this was a means for the NV to wash out it's non-Communist elements."

They became a spent force because they got trashed by American forces. An American victory that the American press then spun into an American rout.

Cicero said...

Iain- your attacks against Ed Davey are not realy appropriate. While "there is more joy in heaven at one sinner who repenteth" etc, I would remind you that I talked to you about this over a year ago: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/aug/20/conservatives.foreignpolicy?gusrc=rss&feed=uknews