So much for Sarko?

posted at 9:56 am on May 14, 2007 by Bryan

The French election wasn’t the boon for US-French relations that it seemed:

Nicolas Sarkozy, the right-wing reformer who becomes French President on Wednesday, upset both the United States and his opponents yesterday by offering the job of Foreign Minister to a Socialist veteran with anti-American credentials.

Hubert Védrine, 59 — a former senior aide to the late President Mitterrand — who served as Foreign Minister from 1997 to 2002, was considering the proposal yesterday.

Vedrine’s anti-US credentials go back a ways. He called us the “hyperpower” back as far as 1998, by which he meant that US power was overwhelming and needed to be contained by France and like-minded states. If you’re keeping score at home, 1998 was during the Clinton years, so Vedrine can’t be seen as just another Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferer. He’s anti-American and sees France’s role in the world as mainly opposing us.

The rest of Sarkozy’s cabinet looks similar to what his defeated opponent, Socialist Segolene Royal, might have appointed had she won.

As well as Mr Védrine, other government candidates from the Left included Claude Allègre, the Socialist Education Minister under Lionel Jospin, the last Socialist Prime Minister, and Bernard Kouchner, the rights campaigner and former UN administrator in Kosovo, who served as a minister under Mitterrand. Anne Lauvergeon, a former close adviser to Mitterrand, who now heads AREVA, the national atomic energy firm, has also been approached.

Sarkozy wants French troops out of Afghanistan and wants the military option against Iran off the table too. In appointing so many Socialists to his cabinet, Sarko might be attempting to co-opt the left as he makes the hard moves necessary to keep France from falling apart. Or he might be a weaker American ally than we had any reason to expect. Time will tell. I’d put the champagne away, though. France will always be France.

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No surprise here. Their anti-Americanism amounts to nothing more than jealousy. They haven’t been and will never be the power on the world stage they want to be.

I didn’t hold my breath, while I wasn’t fully aware of his agenda, from what I have been reading he wanted to reform France domestically and let’s be honest, they need that. He’ll attempt to get rid of some of the social nanny-state safety net programs in France but will meet much opposition. I never read anything about his foriegn policy objectives or even that they were pro-US.

I think he’s more concerned keeping Muslim and Northern-African immigrants out of France and less concerned about the WoT.

bentman78 on May 14, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Yeah, but he’s tough on Islam extremists. Right?

Valiant on May 14, 2007 at 10:09 AM

Yes. God forbid we took them away from their fancy coffee and little tea cakes for a moment to, oh I don’t know, fight terrorism. As you said, Bryan, France is France. You can always count on France to be right there next to you, when they need something.

amerpundit on May 14, 2007 at 10:09 AM

Called that one a mile away.

Tony737 on May 14, 2007 at 10:10 AM

Called that one a mile away.

A “conservative” in Fwance is like a moderate here and a “liberal” in Fwance is like one of our moonbat, fall off the left side of the earth commies.

Tony737 on May 14, 2007 at 10:12 AM

Oooooops! My apologies for the partial repeat!

Tony737 on May 14, 2007 at 10:14 AM

Yeah I’m not expecting someone like Australias Howard here, he’s just a step up in the context of replacing Chirac. I give him some latitude to work, we’ll see what the big picture of his time in power is as it forms and I’ll judge then.

Dash on May 14, 2007 at 10:14 AM

In all fairness, many people thought Blair wouldn’t be a pro-American, when taking office as well.

amerpundit on May 14, 2007 at 10:18 AM

Or, option #3, Sarkozy is just an idiot and is following the Bush bungle of “reaching across the aisle.”

Lehosh on May 14, 2007 at 10:34 AM

like i said when he was first elected, i feel that a french conservative is the same as a northeast or california republican

mfnorman on May 14, 2007 at 10:41 AM

It could simply be a reflection of lacking a deep bench of conservative candidates.

SWLiP on May 14, 2007 at 10:43 AM

It could also be that he has to govern within the system he was given. It takes more than a couple of weeks to clean up the rot that is the French system. No instant gratification when you’re dealing with 40 years of decay.

Krydor on May 14, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Disapointing, but not really surprising.

4shoes on May 14, 2007 at 11:13 AM


unamused on May 14, 2007 at 11:19 AM

I knew it was too good to be true.

darwin on May 14, 2007 at 11:24 AM

I’d put the champagne away, though. France will always be France.

What’s that sound? Oh, it’s the sound of France surrendering, to themselves!

CliffHanger on May 14, 2007 at 11:48 AM

C’est La Vie!

It’s not like we have missed France being an ally? Oops, when were they ever an ally? Silly me, nev’er.

moonsbreath on May 14, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Paris is burning. It does that pretty well. City of lights and all that.

The United States has no friends. It didn’t have them under Clinton, and it doesn’t have them now. At least now we’re not crippling ourselves on the outside chance than someone might throw us a crumb of good will. George Washington was correct. Nations do what is in their own interests, and that is the only motivation we can count on from France, Great Britain et al.

spmat on May 14, 2007 at 12:21 PM

At least the French are consistent…they never fail to live down to expectations.

serenity on May 14, 2007 at 12:30 PM


The Franco/American alliance is older than the British one. Saying that you two were never allies is incorrect.

Krydor on May 14, 2007 at 12:31 PM

This is bad news. I don’t like it one bit. If it’s any comfort, many french who voted for Sarko don’t like it one bit either. I was reading comments on Sarkozy’s website today and and a number of people had already written in to ask him wtf was going on here??!!

Aylios on May 14, 2007 at 12:34 PM

Predictable ….

And as part of this new alliance, he’ll be sending French combat troops into Anwar province when? Walking the walk is different from talking the talk.

Sarkozy’s using the phrase “accepting that one’s friends can act differently” should be a giant red flag to our State Department. We already have a “friend” who acts differently, name of Putin. I’d like an ally who acts and thinks like we do, when it comes to fighting the war on terror. That would make them ……. an ally!

I sincerely hope you’re right Jaibones, but with the infusion of millions of Muslims in France, I fear you’re wrong. IMHO a quasi-friendly alliance with us will stir the pot of France’s non-voting age “youth”, and strengthening international relationships will take a back seat to appeasing the volatile masses on the home front. The French have a history of caving-in to threats, rather than standing up to them.

Words and deeds. Time will tell.

fogw on May 6, 2007 at 10:14 PM

Well that didn’t take long, did it?

fogw on May 14, 2007 at 12:43 PM

He wants to win big in the parlamentarian elections coming up soon, so that he can actually govern.

He’s just a lesser ‘devil’ than Royal would have been. There was no 3rd option. At least he will still shake Mr. Bush’s hand at the G8 Summit, whenas she wouldn’t have. Not mucht, but it’s a little bit above zero.

Europe doesn’t evolve rapidly, contrary to their elitist assumptions.

Entelechy on May 14, 2007 at 1:28 PM

Entelechy on May 14, 2007 at 1:28 PM

Still wearing those merlot colored glasses, my friend?

fogw on May 14, 2007 at 1:33 PM

I’d put the champagne away, though. France will always be France.

Sarkosy defeats the enemy…and then surrenders. How very French.

Jaibones on May 14, 2007 at 1:37 PM

If anyone thought that a Sarkozy-led France was going to suddenly become the best friend the U.S. ever had, THEY were the ones wearing “merlot-colored glasses”.

Entelechy’s analysis is appropriate. Less left DOES equal more right, however small the distance. And Sarkozy, if he might not be our best friend, is far closer to a friend than Royal would have been. I’d say at this point that still says a little bit about not Sarkozy, but the French people. Maybe they weren’t so ready to surrender to complete soc*alism. Yet.

Freelancer on May 14, 2007 at 2:10 PM

He’s making the same mistakes that W did in thinking that “reaching out” to the Left will get him anything but a bitten hand.

TBinSTL on May 14, 2007 at 3:01 PM

Still wearing those merlot colored glasses, my friend?

fogw on May 14, 2007 at 1:33 PM

Heh, fogw, indeed my friend, with pride (your wit floors me often), I look good in colored glasses :) However, I’m nothing if not a realist.

On a serious note, Freelancer, my other friend, defended me correctly. I didn’t put much celebration into the “rediscovered friendship” part of the speech. I don’t recall commenting on that at all, bacause it wasn’t in my focus.

Yes, I was/am happy that Monsieur Sarkozy won – primarily because Madame Royal lost. It was/is a big deal for Europe and the NYT; never forget that. They all assumed that because Mr. Bush has low ratings, this wouldn’t be possible.

Reality is, as I commented on this topic previously, that in Europe the difference btw. the socia*ists and the conservatives is minimatesimal. It’s just a matter of degree. They are both for high taxes, high government interference/do-gooderism in all aspects of life, lamb-like approval of that from the electorate, world-peace-lovers, anti-Americans from the Government (not so much the people, not all the people, anyway), collectivism versus individualism, idealism, anti-Capitalism, nationalism, colloquialism, and other -isms, I’m not fond of.

Chirac, all of his reign, was a disaster and I’m happy it’s over. However, I don’t expect too much going forward. Just a tad bit more than from Royal.

Glasses still off :) Regards,

Entelechy on May 14, 2007 at 3:37 PM

Does this mean that the French boycott is back on?

Entelechy nails it, but I’ll add that it won’t be long before France comes to us for assistance. Their diplomats had better watch their steps.

DannoJyd on May 14, 2007 at 3:59 PM

This guy (?) has the backbone of a frenchman…
….oh wait… never mind

Wade on May 14, 2007 at 5:03 PM