How Hollande has single-handedly led us astray over Syria


US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris late on Saturday to discuss what increasingly appears to be an imminent US-led military attack, with the active support of France, upon the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Kerry said the international community was now before a "Munich moment", referring to the appeasement that failed to stop Nazi Germany in the 1930s. "We in the United States know, and our French partners know, that this is not the time to be silent spectators to slaughter," he said. The present crisis will, whatever the outcome, be recorded as a turning point for French President François Hollande. Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel argues here that Hollande has alone decided to lead his country to war in a simplistic and precipitated manner, while turning his back on the two challenges left by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, namely a renewal of the democratic process in France and the establishment of a new approach to international relations.

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It is obviously a vision of utopia but, far from being a distraction, it clearly points to a horizon of expectation and hope. Written in 1795 by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, amid the shock created by the French revolution,  Perpetual Peace: a Philosophical Sketch, was, during the age of the Enlightenment, the first, decisive attempt to think up a notion of “international law”, founded upon “a federation of free states”, and a “cosmopolitan law” creating the conditions for a “universal hospitality”.