Green Room

Why are Obama, Hollande trying to steal credit from Bush and Sarkozy?

posted at 2:46 pm on February 10, 2014 by

The two world leaders paired up for a Washington Post op-ed today, celebrating their efforts to restore the Franco-American alliance from its sorry state of 2002-3. No doubt the relationship hit a nadir when Jacques Chirac balked at a UN resolution that would have approved the invasion of Iraq, and perhaps even lower when the extent of corruption in the oil-for-food program became known — and how much of it enriched the French. My friend Olivier Knox, who worked for Agence France-Presse at the time, recalls just how ugly it got.

Unfortunately for Obama and Hollande, he also recalls when it improved, too:

President Barack Obama and visiting French President Francois Hollande said in a rare joint op-ed published Monday that the world benefits from a France-U.S. alliance that “is being made new again.” But they didn’t give any credit to George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy, who did most of the work to repair a relationship that soured in the run-up to the Iraq War. …

At Agence France-Presse, we joked we should change our name to Agence Freedom-Presse. Over at The New York Times, which rarely misses an opportunity to knock the French, foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman harrumphed that France had ceased to be merely “our annoying ally” or “our jealous rival” and was now “becoming our enemy.”

But even during this ugly period, the two countries cooperated on counterterrorism policy, and French troops continued to serve as part of the coalition in Afghanistan. By June 2004, Bush was insisting that relations were “excellent” and publicly marveling at how many cheeseburgers France’s then-president, Jacques Chirac, could eat in one sitting.

By September 2004, the two leaders had joined forces to help drive Syria’s roughly 14,000 troops and intelligence agents out of Lebanon — a major bilateral diplomatic push.

And that was before the pro-American Sarkozy succeeded Chirac, when relations improved markedly.

The only way to ignore that is to compare two points in time while ignoring everything in between. This is a case of two world leaders stealing credit for accomplishments in order to hide the fact that they have very few of their own. Be sure to read all of Olivier’s essay.

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Zeke Miller ‏@ZekeJMiller 1h

RT @JimAcostaCNN: Senior admin official on conference call on Hollande visit:

“We’ve come a long way from freedom fries.”

canopfor on February 10, 2014 at 2:41 PM

canopfor on February 10, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Socialists dig each other.

John the Libertarian on February 10, 2014 at 3:13 PM

When you blame someone for your failures, You can’t let them claim their successes.

RickB on February 10, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Obama just wants to get close to Hollande so he can pick up a few pointers. “So, tell me about this 75% tax rate.”

Megyn Kellys Lipstick on February 10, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Why give credit when one can take it? Recall these two are uber politicians.

ojfltx on February 10, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Pettiness.

thebrokenrattle on February 10, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Why are Obama, Hollande trying to steal credit from Bush and Sarkozy

This is a trick question, right?

It’s easier to steal credit than earn your own.

Marcola on February 10, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Uh, DUH! Everyone hates Bush!

CycloneCDB on February 10, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Because they’ve already ripped everyone else off to the max.

WryTrvllr on February 10, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Because they got nothin’.

mchristian on February 10, 2014 at 10:12 PM

^ what he said

besser tot als rot on February 10, 2014 at 10:38 PM

‘Why’?

That’s all they have; there are no personal accomplishments they can point to that aren’t figurative train wrecks.

Midas on February 10, 2014 at 11:27 PM

No surprise, they have not accomplished anything on their own so must try and steal from their predecessors to give some idea of competence, they both fail miserably. Integrity and credibility is totally lacky in both men and administrations.

John21 on February 11, 2014 at 7:31 AM

“That’s the good thing as a President, I can do whatever I want” he quipped, walking to the terrace with his guest and Ms. Bowman.


Here is your answer to all things Obama.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 11, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Well, maybe (though I doubt it) if Obama knew anything about history…

right2bright on February 11, 2014 at 9:29 AM

It is a sop to the US and European Left, with this outburst of
Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Swedish Patriot on February 11, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Hollande is the one world leader who I rank lower than BHO (there are probably others, too, but I don’t know the scene perfectly).

It’s nice that they can have their own little mutual admiration society.

Deafdog on February 11, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Don’t they make a darling couple?

tenore on February 12, 2014 at 4:42 AM