Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 8, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

INDIA VS. FRANCE....Thomas Friedman thinks India should replace France as a permanent member of the Security Council:

Why replace France with India? Because India is the world's biggest democracy, the world's largest Hindu nation and the world's second-largest Muslim nation, and, quite frankly, India is just so much more serious than France these days. France is so caught up with its need to differentiate itself from America to feel important, it's become silly. India has grown out of that game. India may be ambivalent about war in Iraq, but it comes to its ambivalence honestly. Also, France can't see how the world has changed since the end of the cold war. India can.

There's some truth to this, and while I dislike the French-bashing temper tantrums that are regular features of the warhawk community, Friedman is right that it's becoming increasingly hard to view France's actions as motivated by rational thought or even enlightened self-interest.

A little later in the column Friedman makes a good point about the post-Cold War world too:

Today's world is also divided, but it is increasingly divided between the "World of Order" anchored by America, the E.U., Russia, India, China and Japan, and joined by scores of smaller nations and the "World of Disorder." The World of Disorder is dominated by rogue regimes like Iraq's and North Korea's and the various global terrorist networks that feed off the troubled string of states stretching from the Middle East to Indonesia.

More on this later.

UPDATE: Zack Ajmal writes to say that India actually has the world's third largest Muslim population, not the second, behind both Indonesia and Pakistan. Others have emailed to take me (or, rather, Friedman) to task for proposing that India should get a permanent seat on the Security Council, suggesting that their human rights record and violation of nuclear arms agreements make them unfit for a permanent seat. Since I don't know squat about India I will remain agnostic on this question, especially since I think Friedman's bigger point was that France doesn't deserve a permanent seat given its current status in the world, its increasingly erratic foreign policy, and the fact that Europe is overrepresented in the current setup.

I'm not altogether convinced by this, but I do think that France's current behavior is peculiar. My preferred solution would be to expand the permanent seats on the Security Council considerably but to remove the veto power. This, of course, will happen when pigs land on Mars.

Kevin Drum 3:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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