Hubert Védrine on France’s Atlantist ‘Temptation’: Excerpts from the Védrine Report

Hubert Védrine on France’s Atlantist ‘Temptation’: Excerpts from the Védrine Report

PARIS -- There has been much talk of late of impending "changes" in French foreign policy. New French President Nicolas Sarkozy's programmatic speech last month on foreign policy matters -- and especially his remarks on the "unacceptability" of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons -- first spurred such discussions. Then came the publication last week of former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine's commissioned report to the French President on globalization and French foreign policy.

Védrine, a Socialist, served as Foreign Minister from 1997-2002 in the government of Lionel Jospin, in which capacity he famously qualified American counter-terrorism efforts in the aftermath of 9/11 as "simplistic." At roughly the same time, in early 2002, he again courted controversy by dismissing concerns about a series of anti-Semitic attacks in France with the words: "One shouldn't necessarily be surprised that young French people from immigrant families feel compassion for the Palestinians and get agitated when they see what is happening."

English-language coverage of the Védrine's report to Nicolas Sarkozy highlighted his recommendation that French foreign policy adopt a more "modest" tone: a seeming "concession" that some commentators interpreted as further evidence of a potential warming of Franco-American relations. The following passage, in particular, has been widely quoted:

As surprising as it may seem at a time when our country has just emerged from a long period of self-doubt and it has underestimated itself as "medium-sized" power, it continues to be regarded as "arrogant" in a large part of the world.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review