Thursday, May 24, 2007


It will not come as a surprise to those who know me that I supported Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential race: in addition to the appeal of several of his campaign themes (encouragement of hard work, toughness on crime, pro-Americanism, etc.), his rival, Mlle Royal's proposals on the economy were truly appalling, and she didn't strike confidence in foreign policy either). Nonetheless I have no great expectations of his presidency, as truly thorough and positive reforms will likely enrage and outrage a vast majority of French people (although I must say that it would be fun to see the French labour unions – the "enemy within" as Maggie would say – being cut down to size).
Having said that I have been impressed with Sarkozy's swift and impressive moves since he was inaugurated on May 16th. His cabinet appointments were mostly a welcome breath of fresh air, as well as being politically shrewd.
And now he also seems to be starting to show his mettle in international affairs. The Jerusalem Post reports:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Wednesday for sanctions on Iran to be tightened if the country does not adhere to the West's demands to cease its nuclear agenda.
If Iran attains nuclear weapons, Sarkozy warned, a road to an arms race will be paved that could endanger Israel and southeast Europe, he said during an interview with a German magazine.
Sarkozy announced that France will join the official US-led struggle against head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei, who recommended that Iran be allowed to enrich uranium in some of its nuclear plants.
On Tuesday, American officials urged allies to back a formal protest against ElBaradei, saying his comments could hurt UN Security Council efforts to pressure Teheran over its enrichment program.
"We were indeed surprised by several comments from Mr. ElBaradei over the weekend," said French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei. "We share the gist of concerns expressed by our American partners - along with several other partners, for that matter."
As I said, my expectations are quite low, but the initial signs are certainly encouraging. It's early days yet, but you never know!

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