Here is the IHT's article for instance:
After years of shunning involvement in a war it said was wrong, France now believes it may hold the key to peace in Iraq, proposing itself as an "honest broker" between the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions.
I wish them good luck, with that. And I am not being sarcastic, when I say it.
I say it because, there's a lot of bad blood between these factions, which is why I have thought the best course of action was to have three autonomous regions, from the start. (But, hey, nobody asked me. I never got a call.)
The shift was one of the most concrete consequences yet of the thaw in French-American relations following the election in May of President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose administration no longer feels bound by the adamant refusal to take a role in Iraq that characterized the reign of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac.
If I might insert my thoughts here, I would say that the reason this policy appears to be changing is simple:
Under Chirac, the underlying philosophy was to not trust the United States. In fact, the passive-aggressive nature of the French government under Mr. Chirac, basically told me that there was a hope that this would somehow weaken the U.S., so that the world would turn to Europe, with France being the driving force. France not ratifying the EU Constitution threw a wrench into this equation, which ultimately led to Chirac's exit from both the world stage and his own country's, as well.
Chirac may have cared some about peace and stability in the Middle East, except when the Americans figured into the equation. His support of a brutal dictator named Saddam Hussein, tells the story here.
But somehow, I think that President Sarkozy has a different view.
He does not envision a revival of the Roman Empire, with France driving the train. But, he sees the need for peace and stability in Iraq, as well as, the entire Middle East. Most importantly, he also sees the need for the U.S. to remain a strong ally of Europe. Because he knows what is looming on the horizon.
Don't think that he doesn't understand there are threats arising in the distance that will only serve to complicate matters more, than they already are. Don't think that his world view is void of reason and understanding about a new power structure that could someday threaten the existences of free nations, everywhere.
What he and his diplomatic corps can do about the violence in Iraq, remains to be seen. It's going to be tough, if not downright impossible. But, it's good to know that we seem to have re-gained an valuable ally that is willing to explore the possibilities, instead of pour salt on the wounds and take potshots at every twist and turn.
The people of France can rest assured there will be no troops sent, I seriously doubt any of that has been discussed. But, opening the door to diplomacy with France being an honest broker in the process, should be welcomed by all parties, especially those that truly value freedom.