France in an Age of Globalization by Hubert Vedrine, Dominique Moïsi

By Hubert Vedrine, Dominique Moïsi

This provocative booklet takes the shape of a discussion among French overseas Minister Hubert V?drine and diplomacy specialist Dominique Mo?si. V?drine expresses his frank perspectives of the U.S. "hyperpower," France's position on this planet, Europe's destiny, the present constitution of the overseas method, and the position of ethics in foreign affairs. Probing the old, diplomatic and cultural matters that unite and divide historic allies, the publication supply distinct insights into French puzzling over the realm, and France and America's respective roles in it.

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V: We have spoken about this already. International civil society, in the positive sense of the term, is not only made up of the media, though you’re right to emphasize their role. The global audiovisual media today do indeed have unprecedented power to transmit their message and to influence. We know that watching or listening call upon the same parts of the brain that reading does. Everything happening in real time, as the events themselves are taking place, can really bring emotions to a boiling point.

Political leaders or judges? The media, scientists, or engineers? What is clear is that all this requires a foreign policy that is not static, nor defensive, nor merely declaratory. Nor can it be arrogant, since you need allies— who may vary depending on the subjects and the projects you’re trying to accomplish—to constitute blocking minorities or consensus. You need a policy that’s clear, creative, and flexible. You spoke about a Maginot line. Let’s not use this simplistic and disparaging reference to our cultural policies.

And I could give contemporary examples in areas like dance, cinema, literature, street art, etc. Here, too, the French people’s internalization of their “decline” is excessive and not a good basis on which to make decisions or actions. It’s as if they still link it to their nostalgia for a Napoleonic France, compared with which no secondary role for their country would be acceptable. The link with foreign policy is neither immediate nor direct but indirect, and its long-term effect is very powerful.

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