....for France’s long-starved reformers, who saw Mr Sarkozy as the country’s best hope for a redynamised economy, the first three months have been something of a disappointment. He may have tried to free the labour market by abolishing tax on overtime, but he has bought peace with unions by compromising on a pledge for minimum service in public transport during strikes. He has given France’s flagging university system much-needed autonomy, but has surrendered to union resistance on student selection and fees. For the critics, such compromises bode ill for the dramatic rupture Mr Sarkozy himself said was needed to put France’s over-regulated economy back on the path of strong growth.
Amir Taheri in the Gulf News is much more positive towards Sarkozy and takes a backhand slap at Chirac:
[Foreign Minister] Kouchner's visit, full of symbolism, shatters one of the key points in Al Qaida's analysis: that the Western powers will never find enough unity to develop a common strategy against terror.
At one point, when Chirac invited German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin to a gathering to forge an anti-American triple alliance, Al Qaida's analysis appeared to have some basis in reality.
Now, however, both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sarkozy understand the stark fact that the perception of Western disunity may be one of the factors that prolongs the conflict in Iraq.
Taheri also refers to one of the worst kept secrets in Europe, that Chirac was in the tank with Saddam Hussein, who paid him handsomely for Chirac's backstabbing the US policy through Saddam's half-brother who was Iraq's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva:
One of the key promises that Nicolas Sarkozy had made during his presidential election campaign last spring was to "correct" foreign policy "mistakes" made by his predecessor Jacques Chirac.
Chief among these was Chirac's desperate efforts to prevent the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussain's regime of terror.
Chirac failed to save his friend's regime but managed to do serious damage to relations with the US, Great Britain and more than 40 other nations that joined the coalition of the willing to liberate Iraq in 2003.
Sarkozy's moves to correct the mistake started even before his election when he met President George W. Bush at the White House in 2006 and described Chirac's policy as "arrogant".
The surprise visit paid to Iraq by France's new Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner this week is another move by Sarkozy to shed Chirac's disastrous legacy.
No better man than Kouchner could have been chosen to signal France's change of policy. For Kouchner is one of a handful of people in the West who recognised the murderous nature of Saddam's regime and called for its overthrow as early as the 1980s.
It will be interesting if Chirac's peculations and behind-the-scenes treachery will ever be revealed by the US foreign policy community, dominated by the Bush-hating CFR and Carnegie Soros-oriented rags like Foreign Policy. Gold Napoleons d'or buys a lot from Chirac who first hooked up with Saddam during his first and only trip to Europe, when Chirac was a young nuclear affairs minister. It was Chirac who was behind Osirak, the Iraqi reactor that the Israelis bombed in '81, thus preventing Iraq from eventually building a nuclear device.
Supposedly the bags of gold French coins came to Chirac via the diplomatic pouch from Geneva's Iraqi UN mission.
Who says the UN doesn't play a role in Middle East diplomacy?