Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Sarkozy was gratified last week when Obama welcomed his historic decision to take France back into the military command of the US-led Nato alliance. But the glow vanished when it became known on Friday that Obama had sent an effusive letter -- of all people -- to Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy's bete noire, who did everything to stop his younger colleague succeeding him in the presidency in 2007.
"I am certain that over the coming four years, we will be able to work togetyher in a spirit of peace and friendship in order to build a better world," Obama wrote. Chirac stuck it hard to his successor, saying in public how "sympathique" he had found Obama's letter. It provided obvious fodder for the comedians, who wondered whether Obama might be under the impression that the chief international opponent to President Bush's war in Iraq was still running France.
Nicolas Canteloup, the breakfast radio impersonator, today performed an hilarious sketch on the President's imagined phone-call with Obama. "Allô Barack, this is Nicolas... you know, Little Big Man," said Canteloup-Sarkozy. "You know me, the husband of Carla Bruni, you know, the bombshell."
Sensing the differences with Washington ahead of the London summit, Sarkozy has toughened his rhetoric this week while François Fillon, his Prime Minister, was dispatched to lobby in Washington. Sarkozy is determined at least to get a commitment from the reluctant Americans to start work on new world financial regulations.
In a speech in Saint Quentin on Tuesday night, he warned Washington and other foot-draggers that the G20 must take action to "put morality back into financial capitalism". He added: "I will not associate myself with a world summit which decides to decide nothing." It's not clear what he meant by that.