The election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of
Is it that bad? I don’t speak French, so I’ve had to rely on English-language news media and bloggers and the picture I get is one of Bush circa 2000, the very face of friendly fascism planning much mischief without scaring the people— au contraire, he actually won them over.
On BBC World this morning, French pundits were talking about how good it was that
George Bush reportedly phoned Sarkozy to congratulate him as soon as the results were known. On a visit to the US, Sarkozy was practically worshipped by right wing Republicans and had been invited to the White House, an unusual move for a mere minister. By contrast, departing French President Jacques Chirac has never been invited back after being the first foreign leader to fly to
Curiously, the report on
It has to be said that
It has since been revealed that then-French President François Mitterrand personally ordered the attack, though this wasn’t known at the time. Nevertheless, when Mitterrand left office, no one in
President Chirac decided to renew French nuclear tests in the Pacific, and NZ-French relations soured again. Afterward, he did seem to make an effort to make amends up to a point: He wouldn’t apologise for the nuclear testing programme, nor for the act of terrorism in
We’ll have to wait and see if NZ-French relations under Sarkozy will be more like Chirac or Mitterrand, or if he can move beyond both. Personally, I’m not optimistic because it seems to me the last thing the world needs is another right wing head of state, regardless of country.
Footnote: French translations in this post, including the headline, are from AltaVista Babel Fish Translation; blame them if the words are wrong...