Monday, May 07, 2007

France’s New Prez, Nicholas Sarkozy

The New York Times said this morning: “(Sarkozy) has always been nakedly ambitious, pragmatic, calculating and not beyond betrayal to reach his goals…arrogant, brutal, an authoritarian demagoge, a "perfect Iago" of the most polarizing figures to move into Élysée Palace in the postwar era." What’s not to like? Oh, and he’s a George W. Bush supporter. Quelle surprise! According to the NYT, “(Sarkozy) is full of nervous energy, often rocking on his toes when not at the center of attention — a habit that sometimes makes him look taller than he is in photographs but otherwise draws attention to his small stature.” He’s the grandson of a Sephardic Jew who converted to Roman Catholicism. He’s 52 years old. In 1995, when Sarkozy was budget minister under Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, he betrayed his mentor Jacques Chirac and backed Balladur. Predictably, when Chirac won the presidency, Sarkozy was persona non grata in the new administration. But Sarkozy was a super politician who couldn’t be ignored and Chirac made him interior minister in 2002. "I want to give French people back the pride of being French”, Sarkozy said in his victory speech. He wants to reinvigorate ties with the United States and Europe, he said. He wants to change labor laws and embrace free-market policies like the United States, he said. President Bush called him shortly after his victory was announced and congratulated him, saying he “looks forward to working with president-elect Sarkozy as we continue our strong alliance.” Oh my! Kiss-kiss, slobber-slobber. How long can this romance last? George W. Bush may officially believe in long-term marriages, but Sarkozy doesn’t. His father was married three times and Sarkozy has been married twice. He and his current wife were estranged when she had a very public affair. They are now back together but rumors say he will live in the Élysée Palace alone. Can Nicholas Sarkozy remain faithful to George Bush? Who will betray whom first? The first clue may be in the Bush reference to continuing “our strong alliance” with France. There is no strong alliance with France.

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