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France and the UK should be ashamed of their immature squabbles

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The writer is special adviser to the Institut Montaigne and a visiting research professor at King’s College London 

In the Suez crisis of October 1956, France and the UK were punished like misbehaving adolescents by the US and the Soviet Union, the superpowers of that era. The Franco-British attempt to reset the imperial clock in the Middle East was at once futile and anachronistic.

Sixty-five years later the UK and France are at it again, but this time lashing out at each other in a no less childish game of blackmail, deceit and retribution. Should London and Paris really apply the kind of pressure against each other that one would expect from Moscow and Beijing? Have we lost our common sense and the ability to prioritise the larger challenges that face us both?

To borrow language used during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, it is high time to “de-escalate”. As the world confronts the prospect of a new cold war between China and…

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