Mistral Warships: U.S. Congress should ban defense contracts with France until Hollande guarantees non-delivery to Russia

Developing

For the latest machinations by France and Russia regardind delivery of “The Vladilovstok” Mistral-class attack warship to Russia, see

www.nomistralforputin.com

, and here.

The registration of “The Vladilovstok”, the Mistral-class warship, has reportedly passed to the Russian federation and then back to France again, while the ship itself has “disappeared” from the maritime vessel satellite tracking system several times during the last week.

Former President Nicholas Sarkozy, who pushed the Mistral deal through when he was in office, is now shamefacedly pushing for delivery of “The Vladilovstok” to Russia. In doing so, he has demonstrated that he is not fit to play an important role in determining the defense policy of France, or NATO.

Current French President Francois Hollande, who has a treacherous record vis-a-vis his NATO allies in dealing with Russia regarding the Mistral warships, could easily connive with other officials, both French anf Russian, to pass the warship to Russian possession at any hour.

To date, NATO has done nothing to protect itself from the loss of the ten-year technological advantage in naval warfare that will occur if “The Vladilovstok” ends up in Russian hands. A Russian crew capable of sailing the ship has just been trained by the French at Ste. Navarre in France, where they remain.

To forestall a defense disaster that could take place literally at any minute, the following steps should be taken immediately:

1. Legislation should be introduced in the U.S. Congress, and adopted, that will immediately halt the performance of or entering into any defense contracts of any kind with French companies, until French President Francois Hollande orders the departure from France of the Russian navy crew of the “Vladilovstok” that has been trained in France, and definitively cancels the contract for the delivery of two Mistral-class warships to Russia.

2. Other NATO member states should adopt similar legislation at the eraliesr possible date.

3. Officials such as U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel should think three times before ever repeating again the statement that the decision to deliver the Mistral-class warship is a matter exclusively within the perogatives of French national sovereignty.

4. NATO should immediately convene an emergency ministerial meeting to adopt decisions recommending a ban the sale of the Mistral-class warships to Russia, while the EU should immediately add a ban on the performance of the Mistrals contract, and any delivery of “The Vladlovstok” to Russia.

These steps may take some time, while France and other states friendly to Russia could block any further EU sanctions related to the defense industry. That is why steps (1) and (2) need to be taken immediately.

If NATO can’t defend itself from its own members, how can it ever defend its members against Russian military aggression?

NATO members will not be able to rest until the decision to deliver or not deliver the Mistral-class warship is taken out of the hands of Francois Hollande, whose perfidious character has already been amply demonstrated with respect to Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the Mistral deal itself.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, The Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, The Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

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