Friday, May 18, 2007

Sarkozy's plan for a Mediterranean bloc

The new French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to form a Mediterranean Union, which will include also the Arabs states in the region and Israel, has received no attention in the media here. As someone who has called for an increasing role for the European Union in the Middle East and Israeli accession into the EU, I'm very interested in Sarkozy's idea. According to the IHT:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also on Sarkozy's mind. In his speech Sunday, he described the Mediterranean as the region "where everything is being played out." He added: "We must surmount all the hatreds to make space for a great dream of peace and civilization."

In Israel, where Sarkozy's Toulon speech was circulated in diplomatic circles, the reaction was also positive. When Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres called Sarkozy on Monday to congratulate him on his election victory, he said that the idea of a Mediterranean Union was "very important" and that he was interested in discussing it further, diplomatic sources said.

A senior Israeli diplomat, who declined to be identified, said: "My feeling is that there is every reason to believe that Israel would be interested in this because it gives us another opportunity to have a dialogue with countries that we sometimes have difficulties holding a dialogue with."

It seems to me that Washington, as I proposed in my writings, is going to gradually disengage from the Mideast. The mess in Iraq is just going to increase the pressure to lower U.S. profile in the region. So this will be a perfect time for France and the EU to play a more activist role in their own "strategic backyard." Bonne Chance, Sarko!


Brian said...

Certainly if the Israelis and Arabs learned to take a glass of wine at lunch and perhaps a siesta now and again they might not find as much time for fighting.

"We can fight manana."

Comment said...

Sarko's idea is excellent - it will also help Turkey save face as EU rejection becomes inevitable and apparent to all.

It's good for the USA too because we should be focused more on China, India, Central Asia, and Latin America.

Fighting over religion, land, and fossil fuels - like we are doing now, is not good for our country or theirs.

Global Paradigms said...

I'm not suggesting that France has a better chance of solving the conflict. But in terms of U.S. interests, the time has come for the Europeans to share some of the burden in dealing with the Mideast.

Brian said...

Also, kissing on both cheeks when you meet realy helps you feel close to you fellow man (or woman).