Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chowing Down with the Obamas

Barack Obama wouldn't break bread with Benjamin Netanyahu--a symbol whose importance shouldn't be underestimated. The political courage it took to make this calculated gesture of retaliation for the insult inflicted on Joe Biden and the U.S. by Israel was considerable. But Obama is about to make another carefully calibrated dining decision: he's going to sit down with Sarkozy:

After a year of frostiness, Barack Obama is finally granting Nicolas Sarkozy the gesture that he craved. The French President and Carla Bruni are to sup on Tuesday night in the White House family dining room.

Of course this was planned some time ago, but it couldn't come at a better time for Sarkozy: Obama is once again the man of the hour, and Sarko is badly in need of a boost after taking "a thumping" (to borrow a word from George W. Bush) in the regionals.

Justin Vaïsse offers a few thoughts on the president formerly known as "Sarkozy the American" in JDD. If I were Sarkozy, I'd want to know more about the American arms deal with the Russians. And I'd want to know what Obama is thinking about the revelation that the Iranians are building two hardened uranium enrichment sites inside mountains. And what about the Israeli tension? Beyond "dinnergate," what about Petraeus' comments regarding Israeli intransigence? These are issues in which French vital interests are at stake. The past imbroglios over Copenhagen and perceived personal slights are water under the bridge. The future involves issues of the greatest magnitude. That should be challenge enough to get Sarkozy's head back in the game. For the past week, since the election, he has seemed unusually subdued, not to say irritable, and at times almost bewildered, like a stunned prizefighter. But he can still pick himself up off the mat.

2 comments:

MYOS said...

Well F2 tonight announced that Nicolas Sarkozy was going to the US to see his son, while President Obama was going to Afghanistan. And only when Obama comes back, Sarkozy will be invited for dinner.
Made it all sound worse than it is - an indication that the media perceive Nicolas Sarkozy was a lame duck rather than a fighting rooster. Of course, he's got plenty of time to pick himself up.
In fact, one easy solution to his woes would be to call for new legislative elections; Martine Aubry would be named Prime Minister after a victory of the left, but the left is in such shape that it could not govern well, Aubry would botch the job, and in late 2011 voters would once again think he's great. :)
Of course his pride won't let him do that, but right now even the right doesn't like him.

Boz said...

Of course he couldn't break bread with Netanyahu, it's practically Passover!

Kidding aside, Sarkozy will speak tomorrow morning at Columbia (http://www.worldleaders.columbia.edu/events/president-nicolas-sarkozy-france). The big thing he and Obama will need to discuss is Iran. The French presidency of the security council went by without any progress. Total continues shipping gasoline to Iran. The EU has basically said it is scared to death of applying unilateral sanctions. And Congress is breathing down Obama's neck to get a move on.

Of course it would also be interesting if Afghanistan came up, but that might be the last thing Sarko wants to talk about...