France and Germany through the Iraqi crisis

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The Franco-German couple has established itself as a serious actor on the international scene, before the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq, as well as during the debate that took place about its reconstruction. France and Germany have always wanted the UN to keep a central role. This position represented, for both governments, the only way to guarantee the respect of international law, to endow the intervention with the necessary legitimacy, and also to keep a hold over the situation. Nevertheless, if France and Germany acted together, their cohesion was also based on each government’s specific motives – on Germany’s part, the assertion of its sovereignty (der deutsche Weg) through a radical refusal of the intervention, while France’s position was founded on the protection of the international relays of its foreign policy, as well as the containment of the American clout in Europe. – Summary AFRI-2004