In May, I noted how the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as President of France helped debunk myths about the President’s foreign policy. While many on the left (& in the MSM) claim that his policies antagonized our allies and lowered our standing in the world, recent news indicate “dramatically” improved relations between the United States and Europe.
Our problems with “Old Europe” were not so much the actions of George W. Bush, but the determination of former French President Jacques Chirac and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (and, to some extent, former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien) to undermine the American president’s foreign policy initiatives.
Now, with leaders more favorably disposed to the United States in power in each of those nations, we no longer see the transatlantic tension we saw earlier in the decade. While acknowledging that there will be disagreements from time to time, the President of France, the nation once most overtly opposed to the president, said on the eve of his departure from his American vacation: “France is back, there are no problems between France and the United States, or between the French people and the American people.”
Now he’s working to “‘correct’ foreign policy ‘mistakes’ made by his predecessor Jacques Chirac.” And the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Socialist Bernard Kouchner travels to Iraq where he says that “we have to face the reality, including the American view.” (Via Instapundit.)
By sending his foreign minister to Baghdad and making clear his nation’s willingness to work with the United States, “Sarkozy has already repaired part of the damage done by Chirac and his entourage.” The very actions and words of Sarkozy–and his Administration–make clear that they, the leaders of France, recognize that it was not the current President of the United States who was largely responsible for the damage done to Franco-American relations, but the immediate past President of France (and members of his Administration).
As that the American media begin to take note of that, they undermine one of their principle mantras of the past five years.