Thoughts on Nicholas Sarkozy
Well, if you read my post yesterday, you know that I am ecstatic about the election of "pro-American conservative" Nicholas Sarkozy as President of France - and most conservatives share my joy. But not much has been said about "Sarko" other than that he is a "pro-American conservative". So, who exactly is this guy, anyway?
For starters, let's make sure that you're pronouncing his name right (most of us Yanks aren't). If you watched French coverage of the election, you would have noted that his surname is pronounced SAR-kuh-zee, not sar-KOH-zee. His first name is pronounced NEE-koh-lah.
As far as policy is concerned, he's amazingly good in comparison to previous French presidents, especially on economics, where he wants to take a more "Anglo-American" approach. He is also openly friendly with the Bush administration. In fact, in his victory speech, he said, "I want to issue an appeal to our American friends, to tell them that they can count on our friendship...I want to tell them that France will always be by their side when they need it."
That said, he is not exactly George Bush with a French accent. For one, he wants a timetable for American withdrawal from Iraq. He also said in the above mentioned victory speech that, "the United States has a duty not to put obstacles in the way of the fight against global warming, but on the contrary to take the lead in this fight." He is a staunch advocate of the European Union (which some conservatives dislike), and he wants to form a "Mediterranean Union" for trade between Europe and Africa . Though, I doubt he wants to take that idea to the extreme to which the EU has progressed: "What was done for the union of Europe 60 years ago, we are going to do today for the union of the Mediterranean."
So, I say Nicholas Sarkozy is about the best thing to come out of France since french fries, and you can expect him to have a very warm relationship with Washington. Furthermore, his economic plans will do a world of good for the faltering French economy. Still, you should be prepared for him to say a few things that might not be what the US wants to hear - especially concerning global warming.
What is going to be very interesting is to see how Euro-American relation evolve in the next few months. As Sarkozy takes the reigns in France, Tony Blair is preparing to hand Britain off to his top lieutenant, Gordon Brown. Brown is to Blair's left and, while not exactly hostile, is not as friendly to his allies across the pond as his predecessor was. It is possible that Sarkozy's France could become America's #1 ally in Europe, while the Brown's UK becomes a less reliable partner. Now THAT would make for an interesting sea-change in international affairs!
To see all of the action surrounding Sarkozy's victory, check out Patrick Ruffini's "Sarkovideowall", a massive wall of TV clips showing everything from jubilant Sarko supporters, to news reports, to videos of the insane anti-Sarko mobs that have torched several hundred cars in the streets of France....Note: I'm beginning to note a world trend indicating that conservatives tend to be graceful losers, while Socialists tend to turn violent when they don't win elections.
Stay tuned here for more on the changing face of European politics.
Tags: Nicholas Sarkozy, France, French Elections, Gordon Brown, Europe, EU, Atlanticism, UMP, Conservatism, Euro-American Relations