Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sarkozy: A Good First Impression

As first impressions go, this NYT photo of newly elected French Prez Nicolas Sarkozy is pretty darn positive -- shades of Reagan and W. And not too many shades of the snooty M. Chirac.

It's hard to read today's NYT report on Sarkozy without a smile. Was reporter Elaine Sciolino wincing as she wrote this?

There must have been relief in the White House on Sunday that President Bush didn’t have to call Ms. Royal to congratulate her.

After all, she said during the campaign that she would never genuflect before Mr. Bush the way she suggested her opponent had done. She tried to tar Mr. Sarkozy as an imitator of what she called Mr. Bush’s phony compassionate conservatism. She even told a Hezbollah lawmaker in Lebanon last December that she agreed with him when he talked about the “unlimited dementia” of the Bush administration.
Such well-publicized Bush Hatred Syndrome manifestations of Royal were well known and vigorously discussed prior to the election, and she was creamed in the election. Of course, Bush and America were not the centerpiece of this election; the failure of Socialistic Democracy was, so even though Sarkozy is Bush's new best friend in Europe, it's not going to be a fawning friendship:
Addressing his “American friends,” Mr. Sarkozy said, “I want to tell them that France will always be by their side when they need her, but that friendship is also accepting the fact that friends can think differently.”
Sarkozy has spoken of France's failures in Vietnam and Algeria and said he would never have supported French troops in Iraq.

That's fine, because Iraq is only one front in the hot and cold wars against terrorism. To have a strong man in France, even if it's only to lay out a different course for Europe, is as Chuck Schumer -- Chuck Schumer! -- said, “It would be nice to have someone who’s head of France who doesn’t have a knee-jerk reaction against the United States.”

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