Given that they’re the most philosophical of nations, it is perhaps inevitable that French politics would follow the old dialectical law that a thing becomes its opposite.
Prior to the election that catapulted Nicholas Sarkozy to power, France remained one of the last places in the West where anything resembling an actual difference between the major parties could be felt.
Sarko’s comprehensive victory thus triggered a much faster and more rapid collapse of left politics than any we saw in the 80s in the UK and elsewhere. That dialectical moment was reinforced by the decision of key Socialist grandees to take up ministerial positions.
But none was more momentous than Bernard Kouchner, ex-68er, founder of Medicin Sans Frontieres, whose acceptance of the post of Foreign Minister stunned many and gave the Socialists a kick in the guts from which they may never recover.
Now Kouchner has surprised the world again by announcing that the world should prepare for war with Iran and that “we will not allow a nuclear weapon to be built”. The former doctor, the angelic figure of salvation supporting war? Can this be true?
Actually it’s been that way for sometime. Kouchner crossed from the idea of borderless medical care to the denial of national sovereignty quite some time ago. He’s supported just about every “intervention” the West has mounted, up to and including the Iraq invasion, surely visible now as one of the great crimes against humanity of our times.
When you start down this road, the capacity for mayhem is unlimited. If the abstract end is saving humanity then actual people can be wantonly killed in their millions, and quailing at nuclear attack is just for les petits chats. Kouchner is the perfect fusion of the messianic complex that gripped the pro-war liberal left, with France’s obsession with a force de frappe.
The irony of a someone from FRANCE suggesting that a country should not have an independent nuclear deterrent because it is allegedly anti-semitic is too blackly funny to detain us long.
What is truly through the looking glass about this is not that the hero doctor has become an angel of death – that happened a long time ago. It’s the way in which he has become so wholly an agent of the imperial western interests under the guise of it being for suffering humanity.