“The French were right on Iraq and now they’re right on Iran.” This online comment, out of many, summarizes what a large portion of the US public opinion seems to think about President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. As the situation deteriorates further in Iraq and Syria, the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 also draw growing interest from the Americans. If groups like ISIS is the second-to-none concern abroad according to most of them, Iran still ranks at a strong 2nd place in their list of top international issues. And for Americans, conservatives as liberals, the shock is tough when they discover that their foreign policy perspective is closer to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’s than to their fellow Secretary of State John Kerry’s.
“I cannot believe I am about to write this, I agree with the French on this (…) When France is the hawk in the room I really get worried (…) I never thought I’d live to see the day when the French government is more realistic, more hawkish than the American.” These comments followed the publishing of Mr. Fabius’ interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on June 1, 2015, saying about the talks on Iran’s nuclear program that “the best agreement, if you cannot verify it, it’s useless.” Aside from the appalling lack of historic knowledge used as a basis for saying the French are “dovish cowards” – most of the Americans still ignore the French people lost a total of 1,950 million men in the two World Wars and fought many wars – such comments illustrate the sentiment of surprise among the US public opinion.
Things come in threes, as the saying goes, and back in 2003 the French warned there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. They were right. The French were ready to attack when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops allegedly crossed Obama’s chemical weapons red line. The French had to call off their military strikes after Obama chose not to act. According to a number of Americans, they were right about Assad too. Now the French have stressed Iran’s nuclear installations should be strictly verifiable in order to make sure the – yet to be reached – agreement between Iran and the P5+1 is not a fool’s game. Once again, according to these Americans, the French will be right.