President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain have deliberately raised the stakes in the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme by dramatising the disclosure that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant. Their shoulder-to-shoulder statements of resolve, less than a week before Iran opens talks with six major powers in Geneva, raised more questions than they answer.
After just six weeks as NATO secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen has his first crisis. The alliance may be slowly bleeding in an intractable war in Afghanistan, but the immediate cause is the U.S. administration’s decision to shelve a planned missile shield due to have been built in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The announcement that the major powers, including the United States, are going to open talks with Iran on Oct. 1 ought to be a source of rejoicing. After all, isn’t this what much of the world has been urging for several years, while the European Union conducted a frustrating, low-key dialogue like the warm-up band at a rock concert?
Ho hum! Another G20 summit, another Sarkozy walkout threat.
The French president’s menaces to throw his toys out of his pram have become a regular feature of the run-up to each meeting of the world’s leading economic powers, making them a much debased coinage. Sarko’s strops are now as routine a precursor to G20 gatherings as the vacuuming of red carpet or the deployment of flower arrangements.