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Does the English Language Press Properly Understand Sarkozy?

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.


According to Robert Shiller, Sarko is pretty traditionalist on economic policy too (h/t Mark Thoma's Economist's View):

Robert Shiller, Project Syndicate: The Taming of 'Speculative Capitalism'

Nicolas Sarkozy . . . contender in the French presidential election, recently lashed out against what he called "speculative capitalism," and says he wants to "moralize the financial zone" created by the euro . . .

Sarkozy has called free trade "a policy of naivete," and wants to take . . . steps that would stand in the way of economic globalization. . . . Protecting France from speculative capitalism seems to mean interfering with free trade to protect local jobs.

by TGeraghty on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 01:28:13 AM EST
Just 2 points :
  • Under Sarkozy, the axis Paris-Berlin-Moscow is buried for good. Not that he'll turn towards Washington, just that he has no strategic outlook. He'll act on a case by case basis.
  • Sarkozy is all for state intervention. Look up what he did for example at Alstom or Aventis. Don't expect a free for all here.
by balbuz on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 07:29:22 AM EST
  1. Thank god.

  2. Thank god.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Apr 25th, 2007 at 11:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think he's put a lot of work into making sure they think of him as "their boy." All those Anglosphere right-wing think tank events he's been at. All those informal promises to open various French public services to "competitive tender" and the like...

He's painted a careful picture in the Anglosphere. How true is it? I fear we will get to find out in just a little while...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 09:07:20 AM EST
further proof that sarkozy is entirely untrustworthy.  he is saying anything to get elected. it's absurd!  

i think the evidence, eg his record governing, is that he will be completely absent and is a "small government" type.

by paving on Tue Apr 24th, 2007 at 07:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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