Thursday, December 02, 2010

"Sarkozy identifies with America; he sees his own rise in the world as reflecting an American-like saga"

…on Tuesday Mr. Sarkozy told cabinet ministers that the release of the documents was “the height of irresponsibility”
writes Katrin Bennhold regarding the WikiLeaks scandal as well as the release of documents pertaining to French diplomacy and to the French president.

President Nicolas Sarkozy is an unusually solid French friend of America. He is also a “mercurial” man operating in “a zone of monarch-like impunity” surrounded by advisers often too fearful to give honest counsel, according to leaked cables from the United States Embassy in Paris. …

Five years of correspondence between Paris and Washington chronicle a spectacular post-Iraq turnabout between one of the West’s most complicated diplomatic couples. Mr. Sarkozy, who took office in May 2007, was described even last year as “the most pro-American French president since World War II” and a “force multiplier” for American foreign policy interests. …

Paul Patin, an American Embassy spokesman, said Tuesday: “President Sarkozy has proved, time and time again, that he is a true friend of the U.S. France is one of our closest allies, and our partnership has only gotten stronger during his presidency.”

In general, few foreign policy disagreements surface between France and the United States under Mr. Sarkozy. … The delight among American diplomats at the arrival of a self-professed pro-American candidate after years of difficult relations with Jacques Chirac was evident in correspondence well before Mr. Sarkozy’s election.

In 2005, Mr. Sarkozy, then the interior minister, told Craig R. Stapleton, then the American ambassador, that although he would have advised against the Iraq invasion he still felt it “personally when American soldiers die in combat.” Mr. Sarkozy said he took it as a personal responsibility that “no U.S. Embassy or Consulate was so much as touched” in anti-American protests.

“Very much unlike nearly all other French political figures, Sarkozy is viscerally pro-American,” said a cable signed by Mr. Stapleton. “For most of his peers, the U.S. is a sometimes reviled or admired, but decidedly foreign, other. Sarkozy identifies with America; he sees his own rise in the world as reflecting an American-like saga.”