Tag Archives: European Union


1 Jan

eBook Eurasians Grassroots small(Cover Image)


(DOWNLOAD eBOOK FOR FREE by visiting the website with the link above)

ISBN: 9781310573545
Description: Eurasians at the Grassroots – Vol.1 is a collection of short stories regarding Eurasians and the memories of Eurasians. Its purpose is to collect and publish stories as a collective work about Eurasians, by Eurasians and for Eurasians. There are stories about Eurasians contributed from Malaysia, Singapore, as well as from Australia, The Netherlands and USA.
Word Count: 15,150 (approx.)

By Nutmeg Publishing
Co. No. SA0057587-D

**In Support of the Malaysian Dutch Descendents Project (MDDP) ‘The Eurasians at the Grassroots Projects’ under the leadership of Dennis De Witt.**


Review Corner: “Book Review: French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing With LA Grande Nation by Charles Cogan”

20 Sep

Book Review: French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing With LA Grande Nation by Charles Cogan

Reviewed By Simon S. Sundaraj-Keun

            “French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing With LA Grande Nation” is an interesting book on the nature and complexity of French diplomacy. The author Charles Cogan insightful study might not fully explain the French negotiating behavior, but sheds some light on America’s closest ally. Cogan explores the historical and cultural factors that influence French rationalism in their foreign policy of universalism.

            The book starts out with an excellent introduction into America’s difficulty in dealing with France. Things were not always as difficult within the Franco-American alliance. The Americans owe the French for their freedom and vice verse. France supported the independence of American colonies was not motivated in the name of liberty rather in sense to exact revenge on Britain.  The French negotiating tactics are more professional because it deals with the long-term cause and effect. The first chapter touches base on direct negotiating from individuals like De Gaulle and Chirac.

            France has a long legacy of superiority complex in communicating and interacting with the non-Francophone world. Americanism is seen as a renewed Anglo-Saxon invasion on French cultural and international image. French diplomacy is base on rationalism that sprang from Rene Descartes. The philosophies of Enlightenment demand an emphasis on abstraction and the deductive approach. (Cogan 11) Everything that the French do in the arena of diplomacy is base on logical reasoning. This in turn strains its relationship with the Americans.

            The French ability of reach out diplomatically tends to be based on its cultural and historical legacy. French culture and history intertwine with each other on one hand, but on the other hand are separate entities in undermining its foreign policies.  To understand France is to acknowledge that it was a state long before it was a nation. During the French revolution a development on reactionary to the authority of the state but which sought to transform it, not abolish it. (Cogan 24) One example was the Jacobins that wanted to create a centralized, unitary state.  Other influence on French political culture was by the renowned Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of the “general will”. It emphasizes the supremacy of law over rights and a disdain for untrammeled individualism.

             The notion cultural influence on French political ideology is demonstrated in its presidential political system of a strong current of anti-capitalism and a pronounced secularism in public life. (Cogan 25) The French preferred collectivism over individualism because they understand fully of the relevance of “common ground” and “common good”. France is an organism that would only function with its institution ensemble the functions of society. The French tradition of la raison d’Etat it is the action of the state takes for its national security interest. Its public confidence in France never falters even after incidents like the Algiers war of independence and the Vichy betrayal. The French tradition is emblematic of the strength and continuality of its state, and it reaffirmed the French national identity.

            France values the significance of history compared to their American counterparts. The Americans are near-sighted compared to the French who tends to evaluate the entirety of a crisis from a long-term perspective. One example will be the Americans stance on keeping the French out of the negotiation in the Middle East. The United States believed that France has no experience in dealing with the Middle East crisis because they were not involved in the Arab-Israeli peace process in 1993. The French on the other side of the spectrum believe that the Middle East crisis goes back long before 1993. It shows that history for the Americans starts with the current crisis not with its origins.

            La Grande was French idealistic dream in creating a greater France. It soon learned the error of its ego through the Napoleonic Wars. Aggressive diplomacy in the form of armed conflict was not the answer. France ambition of a greater state did not start after the revolution but it begun during the Hundred Years War. This also led it to seek revenge on England in the War of American Independence after it was denied greatness in the Seven Years War.

            French pride was its undoing in the nineteenth century. It could not challenge England who dominated the high seas and on land it had to be vigilant of Prussia. There was a struggle domestically among the French vying for power. The most explicit example was its motivation to punish Germany harshly and without mercy after World War I. This French vendetta unwittingly set the stage for World War II.  History was France lesson in dealing with its neighbors and the rest of the world.

            The process of French negotiation pays little attention to the procedural matters. It is suspicious of diplomatic process norm unlike the Germans, Russians, Brittan, American and China. “French policy express France” (108) France does not want to shape or change this but to preserve it national identity. The American businesses and governmental agencies exchange thoughts or opinions in dealing with an issue, but the French never share or exchange thoughts within its different sectors. France based their diplomatic on direct negotiation and sometimes this could be a heated point of confrontation with its allies.

            The issue over NATO and Iraq has shown France that America does not share its aspirations. France vigorously negotiate to place a French in charge of NATO Southern Command but it’s plead fell on deaf eyes. President Chirac directly negotiated with President Clinton but it did not budge the American into a policy change. The American believes that the Seven Fleet should remain in its command. The French on the other hand saw that French troops should be under the command of a Frenchmen.  It was France self-interest that brought it head to head again with Brittan and American over Iraq. The old allies of France attack Iraq without the consent of the UN Security Council. France saw it as an attack against reason and even logic. France is unlike capitalistic America because it took tough negotiation to gained French approval for Uruguay to join GATT. The French was looking out for its agricultural industry instead of profiteering from another nation with the lost of its French identity.

            To negotiate with France is to understand its culture and history. Then negotiate with them as equals rather that taking a higher ground and placing political pressure on them. Finally one has to recognize the French rationality of logical reasoning. The French invest in time and have an outlook for the future. They know the only way to even the economical and political gap between it and the United States of America is a strong European Union. France needs to place it pride aside and work with England in developing a European military arm. This new policy of France to be the unifier of Europe it needs to change its old belief system into one for French as Europeans.

            The significance of “French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing with LA Grande Nation” paints a greater insight of France’s diplomacy. France diplomatic implications on the global arena are as important as America’s foreign policy. It is a major player in the UN Security Council and European Union.  One argument that stood out was the War in Iraq. The French was furious with the American and British attack without the green light from the UN Security Council. France belief its self-interest in Iraq and her position on UN Security Council was attack.

            France believes that they have the same rights as the United States who earned super power status from the Cold War era. So the French push themselves to project their alternate democratic ideology through the European Union. This was done to strengthen the European Union as a counterweight against the United States on the global arena. They showed their true nature by aggressively conducting direct negotiation with America for the control of NATO southern command. In which it was a complete failure on the French part to get any results from the American. The other was the preservation of its agricultural interest when it conducted negotiation for the entry of Uruguay into GATT.

            Personally, I conclude that the French behavior is base on their drive for self preservation in the ongoing world of globalization. They fear the threat of an Anglo-Saxon cultural, political and economical invasion on the French identity. France’s pride depends on her ability to project its policy around the globe in order to self preserve. The French may think the world threatens her national identity but France greatest enemy is from within.

Finally, I state that sometimes the simple nature of the national identity has the most complex historical and cultural reasoning for its diplomatic interaction.

Review Corner: Article Review II

17 Sep

The Unbearable Lightness of Being French: Law, Republicanism, and National Identity at the End of the Old Regime. By David A. Bell. The American Historical, Vol. 106, No. 4. October 2001, pp. 1215-1235.

From Mercenary to Citizen Armies: Explaining Change in the Practice of War. By Deborah Avant. International Organization, Vol. 54, No. 1, Winter 2000, pp. 41-72.

 Reviewed by Simon S. Sundaraj-Keun

For enthusiasts fascinated in the French psyche during the Revolutionary Era, The Unbearable Lightness of Being French: Law, Republicanism, and National Identity at the End of the Old Regime and From Mercenary to Citizen Armies: Explaining Change in the Practice of War are articles that dive into the trials and tribulations of France during the First French Republic. These articles are essays written by David A. Bell and Deborah Avant elaborates of the political, military, and social crisis of Revolutionary France. The authors, Bell and Avant compiled numerous insights in order to encompass the psychological, political, emotional, and economical responses during the Revolutionary Era and the establishment of French national identity.

David A. Bell is a professor of history at John Hopkins University in Baltimore authored The Unbearable Lightness of Being French: Law, Republicanism, and National Identity at the End of the Old Regime. Dr. Bell has also taught at Yale University and specializes in eighteenth-century France history. He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic and the London Review of Books. Deborah Avant is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute for Global and International Studies authored From Mercenary to Citizen Armies: Explaining Change in the Practice of War.  Dr. Avant has contributed numerous journals to the International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, Review of International Studies, and Foreign Policy. She is an expert in international relations, military organizations, national security, transnational security, role of private sector in conflict and security.

            The main theme of these articles is to depict the cost of allegiance that set a Frenchman apart from the rest of Europe. It also focuses on French military and government responses on key events during the tumultuous time of the Revolutionary Era. The Unbearable Lightness of Being French: Law, Republicanism, and National Identity at the End of the Old Regime and From Mercenary to Citizen Armies: Explaining Change in the Practice of War exams the philosophical notion of nationalism to the early forms of organize conscription French civilians into France’s National Army. These articles bring to light the sense of urgency to defend France’s survival from invading aristocrat hordes. The articles coincide with the main theme of exploring the subject of nationalism in order to build a stronger French national identity.

            Furthermore, these articles elaborate on the reluctant of some elements of the French leadership to put an end to the war. Bell elaborates in his article by referring to the French as revolutionaries or reformers who struggle in gaining acceptance within Europe and even more internally among each other. Avant’s article focuses on the important of developing citizen armies in order to promote the sense of national prestige and honor, which in turn became a beacon of French identity.

 These articles were very informative in dealing with the issue of nationalism. It also demonstrates that foreign policy can be exceptionally difficult to execute due to one’s reliance of others for defense. The benefit of having a citizen army is to be able to contribute to the defense of one’s state in the face of overwhelming odds. The flip side of the coin is that a clash between political and military interest could be devastating to the economic or military activity of a state if the leadership is unable to prioritize its national goal. It is important for a nation-state to place its military in the hands of its people for national security and the promotion of a national identity. The caution is one not to place its national interest and security in foreigners for a long period of time in order to prevent the questioning of one’s allegiance.

Furthermore, these two articles is the key in understanding how nationalism and national identity intertwine in a state or nation formation. For example, the Boer Wars and its end brought about the cohesion of Afrikaners as a single entity in order to dominate South African politics till the mid-1990s. The notion of a Kurdish nation-state which has its own army based in Northern Iraq is creating stir in the border regions of Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Also one has to keep in mind of the Kurdish lobbyists within the European Union (EU) who gather political support in blocking Turkey accession into the EU. Besides the Kurds there are the Tibetans who exist as a political entity outside their own nation-state with a significant presence within the Indian military and politics institution.

             Bell and Avant articles are based on primary and secondary sources with a brief description and it also contains a comprehensive bibliography, which is useful for further research. The strength of these articles reminiscences the French sense of security lost during the Revolutionary Era and the hope of portraying a united France in face for counter-revolutionary onslaught by the rest of Europe. It also offers some vital information on the sacrifices and misfortunes of France in the Revolutionary Era. It also portrays the French soldier as a common person who was torn between their neighbors and the nation-state. Personally, I recommend these articles for historians, sociologists, and enthusiast in general.

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