by Ben P
Mon Apr 23rd, 2007 at 11:20:08 PM EST
My sense of Sarko is that he is not properly understood by the English speaking press who take some his pronouncements at face value without understnding anything about his past, his political affiliations, or even doing the simple thing of actually reading his platform.
I think he is going to disappoint the Economist type folks who think he will a thorough going free marketista and Atlanticist. I think he is much more deeply wedded to the Gaullist tradition thatn is typically recognized - he just realizes it needs to change in order to stay abreast of contemporary realities - globalization, technological change, the end of the Cold War, etc.. After all, his political hero is De Gaulle and his original mentor was Chirac (until an acrimonious split in '95) In this sense, I see him trying to shake up French society through liberalizing its economies workings as a means of reestablishing French prestige and its credibility as a global leader. He is definetly not someone who does this as a means of sublimating France to some sort of American Atlanticist leadership in the way of a Tony Blair.
My sense is he is to Gaullism as Vladimir Putin is/was to Soviet Communism. Indeed, if there is one politician he reminds me of, it si Vladimir Putin (take this as you will - I don't think that Sarko will pull the kind of anti-democratic maneuvers Putin has in Russia - even if he wanted to, the institutional framework within which he operates is very different). My point is that Sarko's attachment to French nationalism is, IMO, very underrated and will ultimately surprise many observers.
In other words, work to reform a system in a neo-liberal direction as a means of regaining FRance's global influence, not as a means of forming a "special" (read poodle) relationship with the United States.