In little-publicized remarks Dec. 1 — buried under Nicolas Sarkozy’s gloating over placing a Frenchman in a European Union post with potential oversight on the run-and-gun British financial sector — the French president announced that he would seek to create a new international monetary system that doesn’t solely revolve around the U.S. dollar.Incidentally, the Europeans' hype for Obama had all to do with a person they thought would bring America down while elevating all others (something some of us still have reason to fear, but which they — the Europeans — are feeling increasingly resentful that he isn't doing).
“A new international monetary system is required,” Mr. Sarkozy said. “Following World War II, there was a single superpower in the United States, and it was normal that there was a single great currency. Today, we have a multipolar world, and the system must be multimonetary. In the world as it is now, there can’t be submission to what a single currency dictates.”
Mr. Sarkozy, speaking just ahead of regional elections in March, gave a time and place for enacting his plans — 2011, when France holds the presidency of the Group of 20 global economic consultative body, and, not entirely by accident, the year before presidential elections here and in the United States.
The issue was also present in an essay published in the leftist newspaper Libération in mid-November by Zaki Laidi, a professor at Sciences Po here, who said — could Mr. Sarkozy have noticed? — that after a year of global economic crisis, the United States retained not only its world economic and strategic dominance but also what he called its “instinct for power.”
Mr. Laidi wrote, “We’re being told that America is on the decline and Barack Obama is the representative of an America that voluntarily accepts playing a multipolar world game. These two hypotheses, at best, are highly questionable. It’s impossible to see why Washington would accept structuring a world order while it continues to have sizable advantages.”
…Mr. Sarkozy is not an anti-American, but he may regard standing up to the Yanks as a multipurpose tool in the campaign to come. In his incomparable book, “L’Ennemi Américain,” Philippe Roger describes anti-Americanism as a constant of French political life, “halting hostilities between factions in the face of supposed common enemy” and in “manufacturing a tissue of consensus.”