August 30, 2007


Running fast, but where is he going?: Pro-American, inspired by morals but pragmatic too: Nicolas Sarkozy sets out his ideas for a new foreign policy (The Economist, 8/30/07)

Some observers even suggest that Mr Sarkozy might be preparing for a return of France to NATO's integrated military command, which De Gaulle pulled out of in 1966.

For the moment, Mr Sarkozy has started to sound more muscular and supportive on some issues that America cares about. This week he described Russia as “playing its trump cards, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality” and accused China of “transforming its insatiable search for raw materials into a strategy of control”. He talked bluntly of the risks of a confrontation between Islam and the West. He spelled out the stark choice over Iran, should sanctions fail: “an Iranian [nuclear] bomb, or the bombing of Iran.”

His second idea is to restore a moral dimension to French diplomacy. The choice of Bernard Kouchner, a former UN administrator of Kosovo and co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, as foreign minister was hugely symbolic. Mr Sarkozy says he wants to end French paternalism in Africa. There is nothing new about a French president insisting that his country carries a “message of values”, enshrined in its declaration of human rights. But, say his supporters, Mr Sarkozy wants to show concrete results. He pushed hard, for example, for the UN Security Council resolution on a new peacekeeping force for Darfur.

There is a third idea, not articulated, but which seems to be guiding this new diplomacy: a fresh pragmatism, based on a more realistic assessment of France's rank, and a touch of opportunism. In his entire speech, Mr Sarkozy mentioned neither French grandeur nor gloire, both staples of Chirac-era discourse, preferring less ambitious terms such as France's “influence” and “role”.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 30, 2007 3:39 PM

Mais Bien sur, he's running towards economic growth!

Posted by: KRS at August 30, 2007 6:51 PM