Sunday, April 15, 2012

Does Anyone See Anything Wrong with This? Because I Don't

Zut alors!

Gee, I remember learning that phrase back in the late 60s as a high school student learning French. I always wondered when or if I'd ever use it. When I got to college, learning proper French, I never heard it uttered by any of my professors, all of whom were French to the core. Whenever I've visited France - and I live about 30 miles, as the crow flies, from that country, I've never heard it, but I've dug it up now, because it so fits the mountain-in-a-molehill moment engulfing French politics at the moment.

Once again ... zut alors! President Sarkozy has been caught filming a tele-conference with Monsieru le President Obama, and the French are revolting. (Sorry, that's an old British joke - har-dee-har-har).

Here's the offensive article:-

According to The Observer (that's The Guardian dressed in its Sunday best), Sarkozy has now officially embarrassed France in front of the whole world.


Well, this is also an election year for Sarkozy, who isn't very popular in France for various reasons, and he's facing stiff opposition from little Miss Le Pen, who - had she been alive at the time - would have welcomed Hitler into France with opened arms and roses. Sarko is everything previous French Presidents have not been - a first generation Frenchman, Jewish, married to an internationally famous beauty who's counted Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger as notches on her lipstick case. He also had a famously public bust-up with Wife No 2 (who lives in New York); he's practiced a wee bit of nepotism in appointing his oldest son (from Wife No 1) to a lucrative public post; and he's blatantly pro-American in a way no President of France has been before.

Although the French are grateful for our help and have been in the past, we're still that Trans-Atlantic upstart who ensured that English, instead of French, became the international language of diplomacy. They're still smarting over the Louisiana Purchase and the fact that Monsieur Du Pont decided to immigrate to America. (And did you know that Napoleon's great-great nephew was in Teddy Roosevelt's Cabinet and founded the precursor of the FBI?)

Zut alors!

Anyway, the French are revolting, because they think it a crass move and rather tacky of Sarkozy to film a teleconference he had with our President. Why? Because - mon Dieu! - Sarkozy will do the unheard of thing of using this film as campaign fodder, and it just might help him win!

Days before the 22 April first-round vote in the French presidential election, the rare glimpse of banter between world leaders shows Obama saying of the campaign, "It must be a busy time." He adds: "I admire the tough battle you are waging." Sarkozy replies, grinning and with arms folded: "We will win, Mr Obama. You and me, together." The cameras leave before the presidents talk about Syria, Iran and oil.

The Socialist party accused Sarkozy of breaking diplomatic protocol and embarrassing France on the world scene in order to boost his struggling campaign for re-election, saying the images "weakened France's credibility in Washington and across the world".

The SNJ-CGT journalists' union at the state broadcaster France Televisions condemned what it deemed "a grotesque communications operation" by Sarkozy, calling it a "surrealist sequence" of electoral media strategy.

French media questioned whether the White House knew the footage would be made public or whether Obama was set up. But Washington told Le Monde it had indeed been aware that cameras were authorised to film the first few minutes of the video conference.

In answer to the French concerns, don't be so worried about our President. He's not the type to be set up so easily. That's a bit naughty and condescending to assume otherwise. And, of course, the President knew very well that Sarkozy was filming what amounted to be only the welcoming banter of a teleconference. Sarkozy knew that Obama would benefit from this because he could use such a film clip to emphasize his esteem, his standing and his ability to deal with other world leaders. In other words, it enhances his foreign affairs credibility against Willard's bluff and bluster.

As for the French Socialists' claims that Sarkozy embarrassed France in front of the world, I would have thought Dominique Strauss-Kahn pretty pretty much accomplished that.

I like Sarko's words ... "We will win, Mr President ... together."

I wish him well.

1 comment:

  1. The day Sarko is a problem for Obama is a happy day indeed, because it means the 2309409436830497856 bigger problems Obama faces, have all been addressed.