France Takes Lead In Coalition Strikes Against Libya France was one of the most strident countries against the invasion of Iraq so it's unusual to see that country taking the lead in the strike against Libya, according to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley. Still, the French seem to be proud of how diplomatically Nicholas Sarkozy has handled the effort. The French president has said that, there are some risks, but they are calculated and there is great moral authority to go in and protect people.

France Takes Lead In Coalition Strikes Against Libya

France Takes Lead In Coalition Strikes Against Libya

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France was one of the most strident countries against the invasion of Iraq so it's unusual to see that country taking the lead in the strike against Libya, according to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley. Still, the French seem to be proud of how diplomatically Nicholas Sarkozy has handled the effort. The French president has said that, there are some risks, but they are calculated and there is great moral authority to go in and protect people.

GUY RAZ, Host:

And as we said, French warplanes had been taking the lead in this military campaign. President Nicholas Sarkozy spoke in Paris earlier today.

NICHOLAS SARKOZY: (Through translator) As of now, our aircraft are preventing planes from attacking the town. As of now, other French aircraft are ready to intervene against tanks, armored vehicles threatening unarmed civilians.

RAZ: And, Eleanor, are you there?

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: I am, Guy.

RAZ: This seems to be a different kind of role for the French taking the lead in an international military campaign, at least it appears to be at the moment.

BEARDSLEY: And so the French mindset at this point seems to be that, you know, obviously, the military is far superior, nothing to talk about even. But there seems to be this feeling that the risks are calculated, and they're just great moral authority to go in and protect people. And so no one has really delved into how it could go wrong yet.

RAZ: Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Paris for a meeting - European, U.S. and Arab leaders - to talk about the crisis there. What did Secretary Clinton have to say?

BEARDSLEY: I spoke with a defense expert. He said, yeah, I mean, even if the U.S. didn't plan to initially fly, you know, fighter jets, F-18s, over Libya, they weren't going to always, you know, use the air fleet in the Mediterranean to attack air bases on the coast around Tripoli.

RAZ: Eleanor, thank you so much.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you, Guy.

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