by Jerome a Paris
Thu Sep 10th, 2009 at 05:58:31 AM EST
The UK press has received advance leaks of archive documents to be released tomorrow about UK reactions to German reunification 20 years ago, and is happy printing scary titles like United Germany might allow another Hitler, Mitterrand told Thatcher or Mitterrand feared emergence of ‘bad’ Germans which underline French hostility to Germany.
As the articles all make clear, the early release of documents are about the Foreign Office trying to show that they were a lot more favorable to reunification than Margaret Thatcher. If you dig deeper in the articles (see the second link), the documents would seem to underline that Mitterrand played a game to goad Thatcher into making more anti-German comments - even if he did not like unification, he knew he could not oppose it.
Again, the Foreign Office presumably wants to display its better understanding of European affairs, but this ends up turning again into yet another screed against the nasty continentals and yet another attempt to sow discord between France and Germany - and it's certainly that angle which is gleefully and unsurprisingly played up by the UK media.
So what else is new? And why should we care? Well, because this is as clear a statement by the Foreign Office that their position is "a good European policy is not to be systematically hostile to all things European - divide and conquer works a lot better" - in other words, they are still in the 19th century, openly, proudly, and they think that it is more sophisticated than what the current crop of UK politicans is able to do...