Thursday, February 24, 2011
Hide that Butcher's Hook
After hanging Dominique de Villepin from un croc de boucher, as promised, Nicolas Sarkozy is now meeting with the former prime minister at the Élysée. Only yesterday Villepin splashily resigned from the UMP, saying that it no longer embodied "the values of General de Gaulle." This meeting has occasioned much glee in the commentariat. Among the many ironies of the encounter, as Thierry Desjardins notes, is the fact that France desperately needs a new foreign minister right now, since MAM is totally discredited. And as Dominique Moïsi wrote in Libé on Monday, one of the failings of Sarko's foreign policy has been the incapacity of his two foreign ministers, Kouchner, and Alliot-Marie. Villepin would be a good replacement, and one that Sarkozy might even be desperate enough to swallow, despite the mutual hatred between the two men, but what is the likelihood that Villepin would jump aboard a sinking ship? So what alternative does Sarkozy have? Juppé? Borloo? Raffarin? Or l'ouverture: Védrine? Of course, he'd first have to fire MAM, and we know he isn't very good at firing people--but it must be said, MAM has given him ample cause. In her case, it wouldn't take Donald Trump to say, "You're fired!" Still, with billions of euros of high-tech sales to Gaddafi evaporating before our eyes and a major French oil and gas supplier in danger of descending into anarchy, the foreign policy shop needs beefing up. The president needs to make a move soon, and surely by now it must be obvious to everyone, even at the Élysée, that the presidency of the G20 is not going to do a damn thing to save the sinking Sarkozy.