Le Figaro has published a leaked internal Presidential note which severely criticises President Obama’s Prague speech on nuclear disarmament. The note gives the lie to French declarations of support made at the time Obama spoke.
Those official declarations declared that France judged “100 percent positive the propositions of the American President in view of the elimination of nuclear weapons.” But the note consists of a pessimistic analysis of the speech in terms of its effects on denuclearisation as well as its implications for France’s own nuclear policies. There are deep disagreements. The general impression of its content indicates that the French are worried about being seen as being hostile to denuclearisation because they have no intention of reducing its nuclear capability, and do not consider “Global Zero” as being an option. It states that France does not have lessons to learn from America on the disarmament process, a process to which France considers that it has largely contributed. It abrasively judges Obama’s speech as consisting largely of fluff. Anonymous Presidential sources here say that the speech was largely a public relations job intended to improve America’s image in the world, and not a serious declaration concerning American security policy. According to the Élysée Palace, the speech was an effort to divert attention from America’s stalling on disarmament because of its gigantic cost, and that most of the general themes contained within it had already been floated by George Bush. Moreover it was noted that the renewal of Start, which stipulates a reduction of ten thousand warheads each for America and Russia, has still not been ratified. The same relativism applies to the complete Test Ban treaty, which has still not been ratified by the US Senate. France stopped nuclear testing in 1998 and considers that it is the Americans themselves who are most to blame for the treaty’s non-application. Concerning the cessation of the production of fissile material, it was noted that Bush had already submitted a draft treaty on this subject to the Disarmement Conference and that America and China still have this capability whereas France dismantled its own production sites years ago. Concerning increased sanctions for countries who infringe the nuclear rulebook, the French estimate that existing sanctioning options would be more than enough to do the job if they were strictly applied. They also point to the G8 summit on Sea Island in 2004 during which it was decided to suspend co-operation and apply sanctions to offenders. Thus Obama’s reference to this issue is seen as being largely meaningless in concrete terms. Finally, on the subject of nuclear terrorism, the French dismiss Obama’s promises to ensure total control over all nuclear material in four years as being unrealistic and impossible to fulfil. At the time of writing, there has been no official reaction from the Elysee to the publication of the content of the note, and analysts here are trying to decide whether the leak was deliberate or not. The only sure conclusion to draw from this note is that what is said in public and what is said in private on the subject of Obama’s speech, as well as on the extent of Franco/American agreement on nuclear issues in general, are two completely different things. It will be interesting to see how America reacts.Read more: http://m.digitaljournal.com/article/270770?doredir=0&noredir=1#ixzz2b7yzzmgo