Sarkozy wrong

States should only care about the interests of their own citizens

There is much to admire about Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s energetic president. But what he said to the Russian president after ‘mediating’ in Russo-Georgian war was simply wrong:

“It’s perfectly normal that Russia would want to defend the interests both of Russians in Russia and Russophones outside Russia,” Sarkozy said. [AFP, emphasis added]

There is no question that Russia is entitled to defend the interests of its citizens in Russia or anywhere else on and over the planet. But to extend this to Russian-speaking people around the world would be to strike at the fundamentals of the international system. Now France does attach importance to Francophones—allegedly going to the extent of abetting a genocidal regime in Rwanda to keep Anglophones at bay—but that’s no reason for it to become some sort of an international norm.

Would Mr Sarkozy appreciate Saudi Arabia intervening in French riots on behalf of Arabic speakers? Clearly not—during his earlier job as interior minister, he created special institutions to ensure that what happens in France stays in France.

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