Roger L. Simon

France's (more or less) neocon president

It’s fascinating to read the New York Times report on Sarkozy’s foreign policy address, in which the French president seemed to countenance violent action against Iran unless the mullahs abandon their nuclear weapons program. Elaine Sciolino writes:

Although Mr. Sarkozy’s aides said French policy had not changed, some foreign policy experts were stunned by his blunt, if brief, remarks.

“This came out of the blue,” said Francois Heisbourg, special adviser to the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris and author of a coming book on Iran’s nuclear program. “To actually say that if diplomacy fails the choice will be to accept a nuclear Iran or bomb Iran, this is a diplomatic blockbuster.”

Indeed it is, but it should be no surprise to those who have followed Sarko and I doubt it will be any surprise to the French people who no doubt have had enough of Islamism. No doubt too there will be a plethora jeers from their fuddy-duddy media, but I will await Nidra Poller’s report on that from PJM. (Saves me struggling with Larousse. They like big vocabulary words at Le Monde.)

I am looking between the lines at the venerable NYT. On 44th Street, they too are struggling, but not with Larousse. They are struggling with events. They don’t know how to deal with the Surge. Some of their own reporters seem to think it may be succeeding, although that knowledge has not infected the editorial page (and must give Frank Rich fevers). And now there’s Sarko. Despite pay the usual obeisance to global warming and American unilateralism in Iraq (how could he not?), he is proceeding as if he were an adjunct of the American Enterprise Insitute.

Mr. Sarkozy, who is often faulted for being too pro-American, proudly restated France’s friendship with the United States, where he spent a two-week vacation this summer.

In a move that is certain to be welcomed in Washington, he announced that France would send more troops to Afghanistan to train the Afghan Army, despite his statement during the campaign that France would not remain in Afghanistan forever. The Defense Ministry confirmed that France would send 150 additional troops.

He sounds like Rudy Giuliani’s new-best-friend. Or maybe Fred Thompson’s.