Continuing on the Sarkozy theme what, exactly, is supposed to be the significance of the man’s alleged “pro-American” views? The way my colleague Andrew Sullivan put it is that “Sarko is not a visceral anti-American, unlike many of his peers” and “In that sense, we have gained a new and stronger ally in the war against Islamism.” Now my recollection of events is that the whole idea that Europe in general and France in particular was full of “visceral anti-Americans” is that many European governments and the vast majority of European citizens took the view that an invasion and occupation of Iraq was unlikely to produce beneficial results.
In that opinion they were, of course, vindicated.
So what is it that we think Sarkozy will do — follow the United States blindly into a new war? It seems not. Sarkozy addressed France’s American friends by saying “I want to tell them that France will always be by their side when they need her, but that friendship is also accepting the fact that friends can think differently.” And, of course, under Jacques Chirac’s presidency France did cooperate with the United States in Afghanistan and has cooperated with us broadly on intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism. So what’s the difference supposed to be?