The Sarkozy Option

France under Nicolas Sarkozy is attempting to incarnate what might be called “the West by default,” making maximum use of the opportunity created by America’s long presidential transition. More importantly, in a world where the rise of China and India means that there is less America and less Europe, France, according to Sarkozy, must clearly define itself as part of the West.

PARIS – From the Caucasus in August 2008 to the Middle East in January 2009, is France under President Nicolas Sarkozy attempting to incarnate what might be called “the West by default,” making maximum use of the window of opportunity opened by America’s presidential transition?

Or is Sarkozy simply trying to capitalize on his global visibility to reinforce his popularity at home, where a majority of French citizens continue to support their hyperactive president’s diplomatic leadership? Despite his failed bid to orchestrate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, was he not right to try?

For the French, Sarkozy’s determination to act, despite the odds, seems far superior to the passive cynicism of those who preach abstention or satisfy themselves with empty words.

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