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France's Mistral Helicopter Carrier: to deliver to Russia or not to deliver?

By       Message Jean-Luc Basle     Permalink
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French President François Hollande postponed the delivery of the Mistral, the helicopter carrier, France is building for Russia. For several weeks, the United States and other NATO countries pressured him to cancel the delivery. The $64,000 question is: Should the ship be delivered or not? On what basis should the decision rest? Is international law a solid foundation? Doubtful after the most powerful nation ignored the United Nations to invade a country in 2003. What about the right to interfere? Unlikely considering the state Libya is in today. The decision must rest on national sovereignty. No convention links France to Ukraine. But, a contract links France to Russia for the delivery of the Mistral. France has a legal obligation to fulfill. The United States wants her to renege on it. Why? The neoconservative hegemonic vision is an open secret. It is under this light that the American obstruction must be viewed.

Ukraine is a crucial square on the grand chessboard. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security adviser to Jimmy Carter, puts it this way: "Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire." (1) He is walking in Harold Mackinder's footsteps who stated that: "Whoever controls central Europe for any length of time controls Europe, and whoever controls all of Europe ultimately dominates the world". (2) For the United States, controlling Ukraine means weakening Russia permanently. The second element to consider is the personal relationship which developed over time between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, until the Ukraine incident. The trust thus established between the two leaders made it possible for the United States to refrain from intervening militarily in Syria -- an option General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was opposed to. (3) It might also have led to a peaceful resolution of the American-Iranian conflict -- an unpalatable option for the neoconservatives. Established on an equal footing, the trust between the two men annoyed them greatly. They saw it as a challenge to their hegemonic vision (vision which their fellow Americans do not share, isolationists as they are). (4)

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The conservatives' solution to the Russian challenge: the opening of a new front. (5) That was Ukraine. Shortly after Viktor Yanukovych's resignation, Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State, boasted to have spent $5 billion to achieve this result. (6) The same Nuland shouted an expletive over the phone: "F" the Europeans", giving an accurate, if undiplomatic, view of the neoconservatives' contempt for the Europeans. (7) Thus, to satisfy the hegemonic vision of a country telling her to go get "f"", France must default on a contract won fair and square after a rough competition with two neighbor countries.

All along her history, France fought to assert and preserve her sovereignty with men such as Richelieu and Talleyrand. Charles de Gaulle fought tooth and nail against Winston Churchill, his mentor and adversary, to that end. Today as in times past, France must act as a sovereign, un-entangled nation, and honor its contractual obligations.

(1)"The Grand Chessboard", Zbigniew Brezinski (1997).

(2)"Democratic ideals and reality", Sir Harold Mackinder (1919).

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(3)"Forgetting Cheney's legacy of lies", Ray McGovern, Consortium News, 27 August 2014.

(4)"Putin, not Ukraine, is vexing America", Finian Cunningham, 6 Sept., 2014, Information Clearing House

(5)"The whys behind the Ukraine crisis", Robert Parry, 3 September 2014.

(6)Victoira Nuland is married to neoconservateur Robert Kagan.

(7)Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the "old and new Europe".


Mistral March 2014
(Image by Internet)
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Former Vice President Citigroup New York (retired) Columbia University -- Business School Princeton University -- Woodrow Wilson School


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