It is a strange but undeniable fact that France, with its limited means, its high unemployment, its foreign trade deficit, its habit of coming uncoupled from the train of globalization, is playing the role that one might have expected of the powerful United States. France is setting the geopolitical tone, a function normally preempted by the “official” great powers: the United States, Russia, and China. It is heading up, in other words, another form of globalization, a virtuous, generous variant: the globalization of democracy and peace. It could well become the world’s leading exporter of rights or, if you will, the world’s leading anti-totalitarian power.
The world does not know what to think.
Our larger allies, stunned, are reduced to watching events unfold and expressing support, willingly or grudgingly, for the new direction of international relations. Can an intellectual not known for his chauvinism be forgiven for observing that his country appears to be reconnecting with a form of greatness?
Is this not an occasion for all French citizens—whatever their political allegiance, regardless of their ideological proclivities—to be proud of their country and to say so out loud for all to hear? And, for Americans, it is good to know that the nation has a partner that is not only reliable and fraternal—but also fully capable to take over when isolationism looms.