Friday, February 8, 2008

Hello again

Though I haven't responded lately I really do appreciate the very kind comments left here, so thank you! It's been just shy of a month since I stopped updating this site, but between a lightening of work and the incredibly exciting campaign going on here I've decided to start a new site, Sarkozy the American, which will focus on French politics and foreign affairs...and of course the US campaign as well. Hope you enjoy it and suggestions/comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Unfortunately real world obligations have made keeping this blog updated regularly a bit too difficult at this point. Thanks for all who have followed along, and I'll be sure to update this page if anything changes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hold on!

You may have noticed that I have not posted very frequently over the past week or two. I'm working on something that should be done after the holidays...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Kouchner can't win


Whatever he deserves, Bernard Kouchner has had rough sailing lately. First he was lambasted by former socialist colleagues for not condemning the Muammar Gaddafi's visit, and now that he did speak out, he is being attacked by the Libyan foreign minister:

"If he doesn't want to see us, we don't want to see him either...(he is) someone who comes to Libya, who eats with us, who talks to us and who signs (deals) with us, and then when we come to Paris he changes everything, notably the ideas he shared with us in Tripoli.

We were surprised by his latest statements. We have seen him on several occasions make statements in the morning and take them back in the evening.

Libya is not a country that receives lessons...Because human rights in France or in Europe means the marriage of homosexuals and, on the other hand, polygamy is not a human right."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why buy a reactor when you can get a jet?


France appears to be getting tired of being fourth in the global arms trade:

France announced measures to boost its annual €6 billion (US$8.8 billion) arms sales Thursday, spurred by the prospect of the first foreign sale of its Rafale jet fighter.

Defense Minister Herve Morin, flanked by Dassault SA and Thales SA defense chiefs, said in a Paris news conference he plans to bolster France's defense industry by reducing approval times in vetting arms deals and cutting red tape...

"The arms we sell are arms whose principal vocation, and that's why they are sophisticated, is to avoid killing, to kill the minimum of people and to destroy material and not people," (Dassault chief executive Charles Edelstenne) he said.
Nothing wrong with developing weapons systems, but Mr. Edelstenne is a bit cavalier about the whole matter. Does he not read the instruction manuals?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sarkozy steps into Iran "war" debate


Le Nouvel Observatuer snagged an exclusive interview with Nicolas Sarkozy during Moamer Kadhafi's rather controversial visit. Two interesting bits came out foreign policy-wise, the first on the situation with regard to Iran:

...The problem for us is not so much the risk that the Americans will launch themselves into a military intervention but that the Israelis consider their security truly threatened. The danger of a war exists. If Iran allows the IAEA to do its checks, I will be ready to come to Tehran and examine a civil nuclear cooperation. I have the confidence of the Israelis and the Americans on this question. The Americans are not, here, the warmongerers.
Sarkozy certainly hit the nail on the head; the US NIE, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with the Iranian ability to enrich uranium (the hardest part of the bomb-making process), has taken the life out of a concerted UN sanctions effort that actually means anything. Politically, it makes it look like the US has left Sarkozy hanging after he stepped out to voice his support for more sanctions. Militarily, this increases the danger that Israel will feel that once again it's on its own, and might launch a desperate unilateral attack. That being said, Sarkozy's ability to interject French business interests into a fragile geopolitical problem leave me rather speechless.

Second thing foreign policy related, Sarkozy clarified his policy vis-a-vis the US, distancing himself from Bush more directly than usual:
I wanted to reconcile France and the United States, not with the Bush administration. When I delivered my speech in Congress, I was applauded more by the Democrates than the Republicans. By renewing these relations, I obtained two things. Firstly that the American objections to European defense are lifted. The influence of France in Europe is much more great in this way now than when we opposed the United States. Secondly, I obtained advances on the environment and the Kyoto Protocol. If a man like Al Gore comes regularly to France to support me and if the question of the environment has become central in America today, that is also because I made things happen.
I can't tell if he is trying to convince the French that he has achieved something of if he is trying to convince himself.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Kouchner attacked from Lebanon


Perhaps no where else has Bernard Kouchner invested so much credibility in Lebanon, where the deadline to choose a new president has long past. Regardless, a political scientist from the American University of Beirut has an absolutely vicious op-ed against his activities in Lebanon's The Daily Star:

Seven trips to Beirut in six months and seven boycotted parliamentary sessions to elect a new Lebanese president later and Bernard Kouchner, the flamboyant French minister, has done very little except speed up global warming...

French diplomacy is effectively seeking to readjust Lebanon's historic balance of forces, and indirectly change the course of its political future in order to be able to claim success in its endeavor. More worryingly, Paris is suspiciously looking like it is exploiting diminished US influence in the region by tacitly securing concessions for the regime in Damascus and restoring its role as a Middle East patron...

A bad compromise pushed by Paris would have, among other negative repercussions, a dreadful impact on an already crumbling economy. Investments will dry up if the crisis continues to simmer and the Lebanese lose faith in the future. Kouchner, considering his humanitarian past, would not want to be associated with the political and economic impoverishment of a nation and the suffering of its children.