Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sarkozy, the new Blair

The French president longs to play the newly vacant, thankless role of Washington's sidekick on the world stage.

By Soumaya Ghannoushi
The Guardian

"......The truth is, this is as absurd a policy turn as can be. And its timing could not be more wrong.

Sarkozy is courting Washington's favour at a time when even its traditional allies are turning away from it, keen to be seen to keep their distance, weary of being associated with its president in the eyes of increasingly hostile international public opinion.

What does France stand to gain from this exchange? The answer is, nothing. Drowning in crises in Iraq and Afghanistan, deeply loathed around the world and isolated at home, Bush has nothing to offer France, or any one else. He is now a heavy burden shunned by almost everyone, a sinking ship no one wants to board or cling on to.

France has greatly benefited from its opposition to America's war on Iraq. It was able to increase its international standing and strengthen its soft power in various parts of the world where it had been retreating.....

A sarcastic old Arab proverb says of one who mistimes an action: "Off to pilgrimage when everyone else is back." Sarkozy wants to be Blair when Blair's time is long gone.

All he stands to gain is the dubious honour of being known as Bush's new poodle, and having angry protesters against US foreign policy burn his effigy instead of Blair's."

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