Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Amateurism, Impulsiveness, Preoccupation with Media Attention"

Scott Sayare sums up a critique of Sarkozy's foreign policy by anonymous diplomats writing in Le Monde: "An anonymous group of former and current French diplomats said Tuesday that President Nicolas Sarkozy’s approach to foreign policy was plagued by amateurism, impulsiveness and a preoccupation with media attention."

That's the succinct version. For the longer version, see Charles Cogan:

As he approaches four years at the helm of France and of France’s foreign policy, three things come to mind with respect to an evaluation of Nicolas Sarkozy’s foreign policy. Firstly, his ambition remains unchecked: to place himself, and his government, at the center, or more appropriately, near the center, of the world stage. In support of this ambition, he has doggedly striven to achieve French commercial advantage, in China, in Russia, and elsewhere. Secondly, he remains unceasingly on the top of his dossier, something that his rivals for the presidency in 2012 will have to look at quite soberly. Thirdly, he has calmed down somewhat, not only in his gesticulations and verbal excesses, but also in terms of what he expects to get out of foreign leaders, in particular Angela Merkel of Germany.

7 comments:

Mark said...

Your first link "Scott Sayare sums up" seems if I am not mistaken to take you to another article on a possible meeting having taken place between Hollande and DSK.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Whoops, sorry about that, fixed now, I hope.

Mark said...

Sounds like a typical case of tension between foreign service professionals preempted by politicians. When things go well the politicians want to claim all the credit and naturally when they go wrong they want the pions to fall on their swords. In this case, being the fan of Sarko that I am, the complaints seem to be justified. I don't know the details, but the blaming of the former ambassador to Tunis for not having apprised Paris sufficiently of the resentments Tunisians had for Ben-Ali must really have rankled. To then make young bully boy Boris Boillon the replacement can only have added insult to injury.

Anonymous said...

And what do you think of the 'année du Mexique" fiasco? Mexican authorities have recalled their cultural loans and entire exhibits are not going to take place. Museums are left to pay the bill. Apparently (and I'm not certain it's true but it sounds enough like him that it could be) Sarkozy had asked that the first sentence of each opening be dedicated to Florence Cassez...

FrédéricLN said...

The diplomats place most of their criticism under a professional concern: amateurism and so on.

But amateurism may be an effect, rather than a cause.

As one of them tells to Vincent Jauvert,…

http://globe.blogs.nouvelobs.com/archive/2011/02/23/pourquoi-j-ai-signe-la-tribune-contre-la-diplomatie-de-sark.html

… the Sarkozy doctrine was very consistent as far as relations to dictators was concerned:

"Dans ces pays, il faut autoriser les diplomates à rencontrer les représentants de l'opposition. C'est ce qu'a fait le Département d'Etat. En Tunisie et en Egypte, les Américains avaient des contacts avec les opposants. Lorsque leurs homologues français souhaitaient faire de même, Paris leur tapait sur les doigts. Il ne fallait pas froisser l'autocrate en place."

These countries have perfectly understood the message, imho.

That a Foreign Affairs Minister be fired just because he spoke in favour of our own Foreign Affairs Minister - did that occur once in the world history?

Cincinna said...

"Anonymous sources" always raises a red flag. Unconfirmed and un named sources should never be used as sources by ethical, responsible journalists.

"Anonymous sources" quoted in the porte-parole of the PS
have absolutely no credibility.

The points that Art makes are IMHO, well taken. The Sarko of 2007 will not be the Sarko of 2012. He has matured and has a great comman of the issues and the dossiers. One may not agree with his conclusions or solutions, but he understands and asks the right questions.

France and the world has very much changed in four years. The Left can dismiss Sarko at its own peril.

So far, I have not seen any potential candidate on the Left with the necessary leadership skills and vision for France.

Francois Hollande seems to me to be the most competent of the lot, but he is not, as of now, anyone's favorite

Mark said...

I hadn't grasped that UK PM Cameron is on an arms selling trip to the middle east AS WE SPEAK and that Britain had sold tens of millions of pounds of armaments to Gaddafi in the last four years! These are now being used to kill, maim and eviscerate Libyan protestors - the UK press is full of this, even the conservative rag, the Daily Mail. This is so outrageous that it beggars any belief. What do we, the west, think we are doing in the middle east? Preaching democracy on the one hand and selling dictators arms to kill their populations on the other! This should make anyone, right or left, apoplectic. What is France's record on arms sales in the middle east or is this vice a specialty of perfidious albion? I am sickened and disgusted.