Monday, March 12, 2007

The European choice and the elites - a la' mode Française

Cézanne, `Still life with skull'


An item caught my idea that says volumes about Europe's options...and the ostrich-like attitudes of the American and European elites when faced by the grinning skull of history.

In this `Newsweak' piece, their reporter, Chris Dickey examines the French elections and snidely seems to relish the fact that France's Nicholas Sarkozy is perceived as too `American' by some of the French...as opposed to Socialist Ségolène Royal, who embodies the America-hatred of the European and American elites:
"Rarely has a foreign dignitary—especially a French one—gushed so effusively about what's right with America. When Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy spoke at the headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington last September, he was Mr. Apple Pie—à la mode. He lauded Madonna, Hemingway, Hollywood movies, the New York art scene, American scientific research—even U.S. immigration policies. "Every parent in France dreams of sending his child to an American university," Sarkozy proclaimed in his paean to Yankee Doodledom. Sniping from French elitists is mere "jealousy in the face of your brilliant success," he said. "Nobody in France dares to say the truth: the United States is the greatest economic, military and monetary power in the world."

...the conservative Sarkozy is caught in a tightening three-way race for the presidency against Socialist Ségolène Royal and center-right candidate François Bayrou. As the first round of voting nears on April 22, Sarkozy's opponents know, and so does he, that pro-Americanism counts among his greatest political liabilities. One of the Socialists' most acid commentators, former prime minister Laurent Fabius, suggests Sarkozy could succeed Britain's Tony Blair as "the future poodle of the president of the United States."

Meanwhile, rivals mouth platitudes about wanting warm "people to people" ties with average Americans, yet attack Sarkozy for pandering to the much-hated man in the White House. "My diplomatic policy will not consist of going to kneel before George Bush," Royal declared after Sarkozy was granted an informal audience with the U.S. president last fall. "When Nicolas Sarkozy aligns himself with George Bush, it means he accepts this theory of war between good and evil. It means he tolerates all of these attempts at destabilization in the world." {....}

The `Newsweak' reporter then goes on to claim that Sarkozy is changing his pro-American position to court French hatred of the US and will be less pro American as president...based on a few off-the-cuff quotes by one of Sarkozy's advisors, Patrick Devedjian:

According to adviser Patrick Devedjian , a former minister of Industry, the United States could expect "a change of tone" if Sarkozy goes to the Elysée Palace. "We can disagree without conflict," he says, striking an unmistakably coolish note.

That new tone shows up in various issues. On Iraq, for instance, Sarkozy sounded pro-American last year when he suggested that the Chirac government's threat to use its veto in the U.N. Security Council before the U.S.-led invasion smacked of "arrogance"—an adjective usually reserved for America. But as American forces sink ever deeper into the Mesopotamian mire, would Sarkozy help? "France doesn't plan to take part in the conflict in any way whatsoever," says Devedjian. "The situation in Iraq is modifying attitudes in the United States, not here."
As if anyone, at this point, would expect the French to send troops to Iraq?

Completely absent from the article is the major issue in the campaign..France's problems with its restive Muslim population and how to deal with it, which is why Sarkozy is leading in the polls and Royale is a distant third, especially among French women. The question comes down to this: which resonates more with the French electorate? Fear and loathing of the US or fear and loathing of jihad? Of course, I wouldn't expect that kind of candor from a publication that caused widespread rioting and death with phony `Qu'ran flushing' stories.

An article like this is useful in that it clearly spells out the attitude of the elites on both sides of the pond, especially when it comes which side of the War on Jihad they're on and the choices the French and other Europeans are going to have to make if they want to survive as free peoples. And for that matter, it's a choice people like Newsweak's Chris Dickey are going to have to make down the line as well.

1 comment:

Canker said...

ff,
A very nice post.
I really hope that Sarkozy wins. He may not be perfect, but he's got a heck of a lot better attitude than Royale.