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Sarkozy to Putin: ‘Do you want to end up like Bush?’

By Matt Duss  

"Sarkozy to Putin: ‘Do you want to end up like Bush?’"

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The London Times’ Charles Bremner has identified one positive aspect of President Bush’s foreign policy legacy:

put.gifWith Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr. Sarkozy told Mr. Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia’s Government. According to [Sarkozy’s chief diplomatic adviser, Jean-David] Levitte, the Russian seemed unconcerned by international reaction. “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr. Putin declared.

Mr. Sarkozy thought he had misheard. “Hang him?” — he asked. “Why not?” Mr. Putin replied. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”

Mr. Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?” Mr. Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah — you have scored a point there.”

Fear of “ending up like Bush” now functions as a deterrent.

Update

Glenn Greenwald has more.

‹ Obama and McCain to meet on Monday.

Luntz: Congressional GOP Leadership Should Not Be ‘Reappointed’ After ’06 And ’08 Losses ›

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