Sonntag, Mai 20, 2007

France reborn...

Those who have read this blog for a while know that I've been rather down on the French.

My mistake: what I really should have been down on was the France of Chirac.

The new President, Sarkozy, is not a believer in politics as usual.

According to the Times, Bernard Kouchner, one of the founders of Médecins sans Frontières, will be the new Foreign Minister.

Let's try to put this in perspective: in terms of politics, it's a stunning, complete reversal of politics. Up to last week, French politics were nothing less than a sop to French commercial interests, i.e. they would be supportive of anyone buying from France, regardless of the actual politics involved. Chirac and his cronies were more than happy to do business with people whose hands were almost literally dripping with blood, merely pausing to wipe their hands off between courses of their diplomatic wooing of anyone who could be part of the French defi americaine. This meant that they besmirched France's own internal philosophies, those that have made France for most of its history a partner of the US: freedom, liberty, human rights.

The first thing that happened to Kouchner is that he was then excommunicated from the Socialist Party. Kouchener had been the Minister for Health and Humanitarian Action under the Socialists, and the fact that he has now been denounced as a traitor by that party underscores exactly how bankrupt the socialists have become.

Further changes: apparently Sarkozy will be selling the French government's shares in the parent company of Airbus, EADS, probably to Dubai, meaning that Airbus may actually have a chance of survival as a functioning commercial company, free of the pernicious meddling by the French - including forcing the decision to build that white elephant, the A.380 - and perhaps able now to compete without subsidies: if the sale does go to Dubai, expect an infusion of capital into Airbus to get the company back on its feet.

Further personnel changes: super-ministries for the economy and the environment and seven women in the cabinet.

But the real change is the rediscovery that Realpolitik, ruthlessly practiced by the French under Chirac, is being replaced by a foreign policy that will also have a moral aspect to it: Kouchner has already called for a potential boycott of the Chinese Olympics if China doesn't rethink its amoral foreign policy, which is pure Realpolitik.

Big changes abound here: as Austin Bay puts it, some may see it as too little too late, especially for Iraq, but it's a damn good start for actual cooperation in the future...

Stay tuned...

hat tip: Austin Bay.

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