Monday, April 18, 2011

France, or rather Sarkozy, Emerging as Europe's Leader

Here's lookin' at you, mes amis

Roger Cohen isn't my fave NYT Op-Ed writer---that might be Douthat, if it's anyone at all [I'm disgusted with David Brooks' endless simpering and equivocations every Friday on PBS Lehrer News Hour which I watch to see Mark Shields sink into senility.]

But Cohen has a great article in Sunday's NYT, where Sarkozy is finally giving France back its pride after seven decades of shame due to its siding with the Nazis in 1940 after Churchill offered the French joint-citizenship with the British. The Popular Front & other decadents chose Hitler, since he must be invincible to have crushed the French so handily in SIX WEEKS. Despite De Gaulle's posturing and Mitterrand & Chirac's treasonous cowardice, France still has a backbone, as Sarkozy is beginning to demonstrate:
Only in recent weeks has the distance traveled come into focus: France, reintegrated in 2009 into the command structure of NATO, spearheading the United Nations-backed NATO military operation in Libya; providing armed muscle to the U.N. forces in Ivory Coast; and giving its pacifist-trending ally Germany a lesson in 21st-century Atlanticism.

Adenauer and de Gaulle must be turning in their graves. Here was Germany standing wobbly with Brazil, Russia, India and China — and against its closest allies, France and the United States — in the U.N. vote on Libyan military action. And here was France providing America’s most vigorous NATO support.

This was a dramatic inversion of postwar roles. It revealed the drift of a navel-gazing Germany unprepared to lead despite its power and impatient with Adenauer’s Western anchoring. It also demonstrated France’s break under Sarkozy from the posturing Gaullist notion of a French “counterweight” to America. These are seismic European shifts.

In Benghazi, the capital of free Libya, when they see a NATO aircraft they say, “There goes another Sarkozy.” After the French shame of Rwanda, a genocide where Mitterrand let time do its fullest work, that’s something.

Perhaps it’s only now with Sarkozy that another, deeper French shame is passing, one Mitterrand and Chirac knew: the “strange defeat” of 1940 with its paralyzing subsequent obfuscations.

And Nicolas turned around decades of the strange anti-American policies that crypto-Commies Mitterrand and the spectacularly Berlusconi-like Chirac [who took mountains of Napoleons d'Or from Saddam' half-brother UN Ambassador in Geneva, in diplomatic sacks marked for the Elysee Palace.] This happened when his first vacation as le President was in Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire, a state that Mark Steyn also finds congenial to his Franco-Flemish tastes.
Sarkozy has intuited three things. First, the democratization of the Arab world is the most important European strategic challenge of the decade. Second, it was time “to take the training wheels off,” in the words of Constanze Stelzenm├╝ller of the German Marshall Fund, and have Europe rather than an overextended America lead in Libya. Third, the U.N. cannot always be an umbrella that folds when it rains. If its “responsibility to protect” means anything, it must be when an Arab tyrant promises to slaughter his people.

While Britain remains staunchly in the US camp despite the bizarre Anglophobia of our present pseudo-POTUS whose daddy was a former Kenyan descended from Arab slavers, it is Germany where the beleaguered Angela Merkel flails after losing two important state elections in the last six months---seeking to find a mddle ground between her former reincarnation of Metternich as the New "Coachman of Europe" and just another minimalist participant in the EU descent into fiscal mediocrity.
We stand at a high point in French postwar diplomacy and a nadir in German. There were strong arguments on either side of a Libyan intervention, but with a massacre looming in Benghazi, Germany had to stand with its allies. Angela Merkel has proved herself more a maneuverer than a leader. Germany often conveys the sense that it now resents the agents of its postwar rehabilitation — the European Union and NATO.

I don’t think Germany believes its future lies with the BRIC countries, as the U.N. Libya vote suggested. I do think Germany has entered a new era of ambivalence and nationalist calculation.

That means several things. European integration is on hold, and as long it’s on hold the future of the euro is at risk. The German-French alliance will remain under strain. Obama should look to Sarkozy, not Merkel, for strategic support.

A last thought. This restless French leader is at his best with his back to the wall. He’s shown that. The same quality means it would be foolish to count him out next year
I'm hoping that Nicolas gets another six-year mandate to lead France out of the doldrums of 140 years of reaction to Prussian & Nazi militarism followed by relapse into a socialism which may be necessary in order to keep the country out of the grasp of the OPEC monsters [remember that Qaddafi was one of the original instigators of OPEC in 1971-2] with its nuclear and hydro alternatives to the fossil fuels the crazed petrostates control.

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