Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sarkozy Gets It

French President Sarkozy is taking his position and stating it, rather clearly and it leaves nothing to the imagination. Look at what is being reported in the IHT.

In his first major foreign policy speech as president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that Iran could be attacked militarily if it did not live up to its international obligations to curb its nuclear program.

Addressing France's ambassadorial corps, Sarkozy stressed that such an outcome would be a disaster. He did not say that France would ever participate in military action against Iran or even tacitly support such an approach.


I think he did well in saying this, because it needs to be said. (That is not to say that I think we should be in a hurry to do so.) And, I do agree with the assessment in the second paragraph.

The real beauty in this is not the fact that he said it. He said it, and he said it for a reason. But the real effectiveness is in what he didn't say. He's a skilled politician, no doubt he figured his statement would be featured for the next news cycle (or two). No doubt he knew the message would get to the Iranian leaders. I am positive he knows that others will get it, also.

He knows the Iranians need to hear it. Imagine how concerned they must be, knowing that they aren't dealing with Jacques Chirac and his policy of inconsistency, anymore.

You see, I think Sarkozy gets it, for a good many reasons. I think he understands that Iran's nuclear program is a threat. But more importantly, think he knows there's a real risk Hillary may very well get elected next year, putting the U.S. in a weaker position (and if she doesn't, the GOP could get someone elected that doesn't know squat, about foreign policy). Knowing this as he does, Sarkozy wants to be in a position to take the lead, should the next American President be capable of dropping the ball on this Iran issue. He knows it's that important.

He gets a lot of things that many Frenchmen do not give him credit for. He sends his Foreign Minister to Iraq to help, because he knows things have to get on track. (His FM gets it too.)

He knows that the instability is not good and he wants to help. He's not burying his head in the sand or wagging his finger in judgment about either the inefficiency of the effort (or the reasoning behind it). He knows that's not important now. What's important is the "here and now", as it pertains to the future. He understands the current reality in the international world and thankfully, his critics can be damned.

And wouldn't you know that after this statement was reported, Iran has made a move in the right direction?

Not a real strong move, but it's one that is minutely measurable. It may be just words, but you have to put all of this into proper perspective. Iran is used to saying it's not going to do anything, but now it is. That's no reason to celebrate, but we still have something to work with. We see an opportunity.

Not only does he show he understands Iran and Iraq, look at what he has to say about Russia:

In another break with the Chirac regime, Mr Sarkozy hardened his tone against Vladimir Putin, saying Russia was using its oil and gas wealth with "brutality".

Does anyone really think Chirac would have the courage to say something like this?

Before, Chirac didn't give a damn about anything, if it didn't have to do with embarrassing the United States. He wouldn't have openly helped us for anything, and for sure he didn't much. In fact, him and some of his countrymen actually love to take public pleasure in gloating about the stalemate that had become Iraq, prior to the surge. Now, France has someone that is in a position to help and is actually trying to get a feel for things, so that he may be able to assist in preserving Western freedoms that we all enjoy.

He takes a lot of heat from those that aren't fans of the U.S. and/or its policy. But despite that fact, he's still carving out his niche because he knows that if the U.S. fails in Iraq and Iran gains nuclear capabilities, France will not benefit. He knows it and he believes it.

I think he's read the old quote from FDR:

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway.”


Don't think he has the same motives Chirac did. This is a very different man with a very different ideology and worldview. He knows that all of us that enjoy freedom must be able to work together, if we will be successful in creating a real peace. He may be liberal by American standards in many issues, but when it comes to the well-being and security of the free world, he's with us. He may disagree with specifics, but he gets the big picture. He's the man France needed. If America makes the wrong choice in 2008, he may turn out to be the man the world will need.


14 comments:

Greg said...

LAS, beware the temptation to think Sarkozy is our new best friend. AFAIK, he's still planning to pull all troops out of Afghanistan. For all we know, the tough talk on Iran is just a way to make the Afghanistan policy more palatable for the Americans. And in the end, this isn't too much of a departure from Chirac's policy. Although much was made of Chirac's comments to the effect that an Iranian bomb wouldn't be such a big deal, France's official policy during his tenure was to work against an Iranian bomb (by talking endlessly in circles with the mullahs, but still)....

I'm watching Sarkozy with a mix of cautious optimism and guarded skepticism. Certainly, the talk and attitude is a whole lot better than that slug Chirac, but actions speak louder than words....

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//beware the temptation to think Sarkozy is our new best friend.//

Good point. Always expect the worst, yet hope for the best, I always say. My assessment on him is purely based on what I have seen up until now. I can certainly change my mind if he screws up.

But for now, I remain optimistic that he understands the things, I have outlined. Or else he would have pulled a Merkel, becoming silent after getting elected.

Rocket said...

Love that Bernie Chazelle! I think he got his hands slapped a few years ago from Princeton University for his stupid ant- american remarks that he hid under the guise of anti - Bush and we didn't hear from him for years. Now he's back and braver than ever.

Being a superior thinker he will always cloak that under anti Bushism.

IMHO This is the kind of person who rejoices in American losses.

As his citizenship was being bestowed upon him Bernie bellowed out to the judge:

Judge! I love the United States

The judge told him to never forget his country of birth and as we say. You can take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man.

Bref encore un autre qui pète plus haut que leur cul sur la site des anal retentives.

As per Sarkozy. I like the guy but be careful before judging him as an all out friend of America. France has a long history of anti - americanism and it is pretty deep rooted. I still believe alot of the current trend it has to do with the Liberation and the impossibility of a part of the French population Left and Right to comes to terms with the fact that no they (the French) did not liberate themselves. But whoa is me it has existed long before.

The French are very good in finding blame for their own shortcomings in others. Even Sarkozy's team has admitted to this character trait. (enfin!)

That said. Sarkozy's speech yesterday was anything but diplomatic. So he is threatening Iran and practically calling Russia a rogue state.

When the bombs start going off in Paris like London, we'll see how well he stays the course.

Plus. Who is going to bomb Iran. France?

Ah get real please!

Sarkozy represents a breath of fresh air because he is from the generation after the war. Yet he has his weak points. For example his wife. However, I do not think for one moment that he will not use a challenge to the US if political expediency and reelection calls for it. It's a natural for French politician as it is to eat Peanut with butter (peanutbutter)for us americans.

The American press has shown itself to be naive with all of this Sarko, L'Américain crap that I have been reading for the last 3 months. Also be careful as this gentleman has a very strong grip on the press in France.

LA, you also stated that

"He gets a lot of things that many Frenchmen do not give him credit for. He sends his Foreign Minister to Iraq to help, because he knows things have to get on track. (His FM gets it too.)"

Please! His FM states the the Iraqi PM must go and then backtracks and apologizes.

France has been absent from Iraq, they have no casualties in Iraq. BUTT OUT!

Then Sarkozy today calls for a timetable for withdrawal. Oh excuse me. A timetable for cut and run!

Get into Iraq ok but ease in. Don't start dictating as is so easy for the French politician.

This is so French politics. Absent and then all of a sudden they want to control.

I won't even talk about the Bulgarian nurses.

So let's follow the official French leitmotif and wait and see but I don't think that we will have much of a change with Sarkozy once the season comes into swing. As with all politicains everywhere he will lose his political capital and then the reality will set back in.

Yet I do wish him success as there is always room for change in France

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

I agree with much of what you say, most of the time, on a wide variety of topics. But please, let's not take this to a personal level.

Bernard has the right to express his opinions, be they right or be they wrong. I only wanted to use his post as an example of gloating, not to make an issue of the man, himself. I would prefer we take his words and arguments to task, instead.

Even if what some Frenchmen think and say is dead wrong, even if they are bitter towards America's people and her policies, and even if they express their opinions in a mean-spirited manner; if we act like they do in our responses, we are really no better than they are.

As for Sarkozy, I may be dead wrong about him. He may pan out to be no better than Chirac, when all is said and done. But despite my skepticism and cynicism about certain things, I always maintain a certain level of hope. If I didn't, I'd be a miserable person and would live in a world of bitterness, like many public figures that I criticize here on a regular basis.

Right now, Sarkozy seems to be getting it right, despite the fact that there's some waffling and disagreement on certain specific issues. It's doubtful that France and the U.S. will ever see eye to eye 100%, on anything. But if we can agree on the big picture, there's opportunity to improve the similar, but somewhat different worlds, we live in.

I think the goal here is to protect Western civilization, as we have come know and love it. I wish we could go back to the time, where we could argue about whose culture is better, whose this or that is better, and other things.

I take no pleasure when people who do not understand the potential consequences of their attitudes and actions (or inactions), suffer ramifications of their disinterest. I did not gloat about the fact that the French have had their share of difficulties, along the way.

If they ever get attacked like the U.S, Britain, and others have been, I will not pile on. I will stand in solidarity with them and grieve with them, just the same as if it was America or those that have stood with her, in a time of crisis.

Rocket said...

LAS

Problem is that these people take pleasure in seeing flag draped coffins arrive at Andrews just so they can say they were right.

Believe me I know the nature of the beast.

No problem solution, just egotism to prove they were right which in itself is debateable.

Rocket said...

Your link

"VIENNA, Austria - Iran on Monday offered some cooperation with an International Atomic Energy Agency probe of an alleged secret uranium processing project linked by U.S. intelligence to a nuclear arms program."

I remember about 7 or 8 or maybe 10 years ago the world was heralding the breakthrough of France England and (Germany???) in getting Iran to provide nuclear concessions. And where are we today?

We've already been through this

Because they (Iran)say they are going to do something doesn't mean that they that as we may in the West.

Japanese will shake there heads yes at your proposal and 5 minutes later reject it.

I..N..T..E..R..P..R..E..T..A..T..I..O..N

Greg said...

I just read that Ahmadinewhackjob said Iran is ready to fill the power vacuum in Iraq when the occupiers are chased out. So much for them moving in the right direction.

Rocket is correct to note the Iranians track record of agreeing to something small, then backtracking. The object is to gain enough time, before real tough sanctions are adopted, to build a handfull of atomic weapons. We all know it's going to happen....

Rocket said...

Here's a timeline

http://tinyurl.com/25pygv

The reason I remember is that I used to put a lot of miles on the car and often listened to French news "France Infos" and for one week straight they broke my balls with how the nuclear situation in Iran had been resolved. I do remember that the US remained skeptical which turned out to be right.

A.C. McCloud said...

Ok, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Sarkozy just say he was ready to help in Iraq? Could oil be entering the picture again--ie, those contracts Chirac negotiated with Saddam might come back on the table if the French help us take a stand against Ahmadinejad? I know it's not all about oil and the French have legitimate security concerns (and their own nuke program), just sort of a wild guess on the sudden change.

Rocket said...

AC.

Yes France wants in and here's what they've done in the last two days to prove it

1° A timetable for US withdrawal

http://tinyurl.com/3ahe8q

2° French FM apoligizes for asking for Iraqi PM removal.

http://tinyurl.com/32f6mu

That seems to be quite a bit for a country which did nothing but try to sabatoge the US and then give lessons to the US for so long. Now they want back in and they want to control what is going on.

Even with a new French foreign policy a bit of discretion should be in order.

It's not their troops who are fighting and dying.

But it's a French thing

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

//Problem is that these people take pleasure in seeing flag draped coffins arrive at Andrews just so they can say they were right.//

In many cases, I think you are right. There are people that want us to fail. Some do in this country. The only reason they want this is so they can demean the President, for his decision to remove Saddam.

We all know why many of the French do, their "oil for food" cash cow dried up. Otherwise they wouldn't give a damn, one way or the other.

What I find hypocritical about the Europeans is, when the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo was going on, they wanted the US to do the heavy lifting. They invited us to clean up the mess they had let get out of hand. They pressured Clinton into participating in spite of the fact that it was Europe's problem.

Now, many of those same people are criticizing us for what we are doing. That's the reality, that's the hypocrisy of the situation.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//Rocket is correct to note the Iranians track record of agreeing to something small, then backtracking.//

Absolutely. But now they see Chirac is not the man calling the shots in France, they must also realize that the support for their is dwindling. Maybe they aren't in the mood to care much right now.

I am not overly optimistic about them keeping their word on much of anything they say. But there are no easy answers here, either.

If Sarkozy is sincere in wanting to avert this tragedy, it is important for him to understand that he has to have the courage and the will to carry it to the next level, if necessary. That level will be sanctions. I am sure that Russia and China wouldn't support or participate in them, but if America, France, Germany, Britain, Japan, Australia, and other Western nations would get behind them, there's a lot of damage that can be done to their economy.

As far as Ahmadinejad's vaccuum statement is concerned, he's really said nothing that we didn't already know.

Time will tell if Sarko is serious or pulling a Chirac. But from what I have seen, there's reason to be optimistic that he will be very serious. I think he understands it's in France's best interest, for this thing not get out of hand.

If I am wrong, there has been no harm in hoping.

LASunsett said...

AC,

//Could oil be entering the picture again--ie, those contracts Chirac negotiated with Saddam might come back on the table if the French help us take a stand against Ahmadinejad?//

I am sure that there will be something in it for France, if they could pull something off for the better. If they are successful, truly successful, wouldn't it be worth it?

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

//Yes France wants in and here's what they've done in the last two days to prove it//

He has to be careful not to give the appearance of being Bush's puppet. He has to do it in a maverick style that will reassure the French people that he is not his puppet. Otherwise, France will have the same thing going on internally in the States.

You've heard of BDS (Bush Derangment Syndrome)? Well a widespread outbreak of Sarkozy Derangement Syndrome won't work any better for France.