THE SPINE AUGUST 28, 2007
It's amazing what a democratic election can do with the policies of a democratic nation. I write about France, having experienced both idle chatter and the heavy thinking of others about Nicolas Sarkozy and what he has accomplished in a few months for l'esprit of the country. I guess the fact is that France disdained America because Jacques Chirac disdained America and envied it. Now, there's an intricate and subtle article by Elaine Sciolino in today's IHT about a speech by Sarkozy to the French diplomatic corps, in which the president takes his distance from the U.S.and Iraq. He even praises Chirac, whom he despises: "History proved France right." Maybe he thinks, as his foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, apparently does not, that Iraq is actually finished.
But on Iran, which is either in the front of serious people's minds or edging forward to the front, Sarkozy has apparently made up his mind, and made up his mind in a way that neither the leaders of the United States or of Israel--the two relevant powers on this matter--have not. The world faces, said Sarkozy, "Iranian bomb or bombing of Iran." This last statement was uttered before the latest Figaro poll came. But Sarkozy's sentiments about Tehran in the nuclear game were not exactly secret. What do the French people think of Sarkozy? According to Figaro, he had a 71% approval rating.
By the way, he also announced an increased troop deployment to Afghanistan.