Via Kevin Drum, this sure is interesting — France is moving to establish a military presence in the Persian Gulf which, as Marc Lynch says, “challenges American exclusivity, and potentially undermines the fundamental architecture of the hegemonic American position in the Gulf.”
I’d put that in my “it’s a good thing” file. The United States doesn’t have any fundamental clashes of interest with France or other Western European countries. But the current nature of our relationship with them is dysfunctional. We try to play a hegemonic role in parts of the world that they take an interest in. Thus, we wind up acting unilaterally. They get upset with our policies and with our hegemony. Then we whine back that we’re doing it, in a sense, for their own good and they’re free-riding on our costly military posture. Then they retort that we’re doing it all for our own reasons.
At the end of the day, everyone’s right. It’ll be a healthy US-European relationship if the Europeans both do more and, in exchange, wind up getting more say.