October 28, 2007


The Special Relationship Tries to Swim the Channel (DAN BILEFSKY, 10/28/07, NY Times)

In recent weeks, in fact, it has seemed as if a mirror has inverted the two sides of the English Channel: France has cast itself as America’s new best friend while Britain, America’s special buddy, behaves like an embarrassed relation.

Many in Europe have watched with bemusement as Mr. Sarkozy’s Socialist foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, has entertained the possibility of war against Iran and Mr. Sarkozy talks of France rejoining NATO’s military command structure after an absence of 40 years. Meanwhile, his tax-cutting finance minister, Christine Lagarde, quotes Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” and admonishes the French to “stop thinking so much,” work harder, earn more and get rich.

And things could get chummier next month, when Mr. Sarkozy is to go with President Bush to George Washington’s mansion, Mount Vernon — a reminder that France helped Americans break their original bonds with England.

At the point where the Pope is a Tocquevillian, even the French could figure out the Anglo-American model has prevailed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 28, 2007 10:22 AM
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