I have to say, I’m pretty thrilled about Nicolas Sarkozy’s new foreign minister:
Sarkozy has just named Socialist Bernard Kouchner as his Foreign Minister.
What will this mean for French foreign policy — and perhaps US-French relations?
The former is perhaps easier to predict. Kouchner is best known as a founder (1971) of Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), the Nobel-winning transnational medical organization. Most of the cofounders had worked for the Red Cross in Biafra in the late 1960s and were critical of the agency for being too deferential to international law, political neutrality and state sovereignty.
That history provides a huge hint as to Kouchner’s priorities and ideas. In 1987, he published a book with a title that also strongly signals his priorities: The duty to intervene. He declares simply, “mankind’s suffering belongs to all men.”
In Soviet Russia, the whole thing reads you. Basically, though he was unduly hawkish about Iraq, Koucher seems very, very likely to encourage additional Western action on Darfur. This isn’t a good as having Samantha Power as Secretary of State, but it’s pretty close.