The Limits of Bonapartism

At a stroke, President Nicolas Sarkozy has returned France to NATO’s unified military command, overturning a four-decade-old pillar of French policy. This, however, is consistent Sarkozy's manic style of government – essentially an electoral campaign, not a government – which virtually guarantees that almost nothing else of real importance can be accomplished.

PARIS – After four decades, France has returned to NATO’s unified military command. At a stroke, President Nicolas Sarkozy overturned one of the pillars of French policy – and of the legacy of Charles de Gaulle, the founder of Sarkozy’s own political party.

The decision is consistent with the way Sarkozy has governed since his election in 2007. Whether he is seeking to reform France’s judicial system, redrawing its administrative map, proposing a new alliance of Mediterranean countries, or seeming to end France’s ambiguous foreign policy of being both aligned and not aligned with the United States, Sarkozy is nothing if not ambitious.

The problem is that far too many of Sarkozy’s decisions have proved purely symbolic, like the ill-fated Mediterranean Union; badly conceived, such as judicial reform, which is opposed by virtually the entire legal profession; or nakedly self-serving, like the administrative reform, which somehow managed to abolish only those departments and regional administrations controlled by the opposition Socialists.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/Grb12tE;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.