Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Obama seen as weak, meek by French president. Media herd 'naive' about Obama.

When the French call you weak, you're in trouble.TimesOnlineUK, 4/15/09: "Mr Sarkozy is pouring cold water on President Obama's efforts to recast American leadership on the world stage, depicting them as unoriginal, unsubstantial and overrated. Behind leaks and briefings from the Elysée Palace lies Mr Sarkozy's irritation at the rock-star welcome that Europe gave Mr Obama on his Europan tour earlier this month.
  • The American President's call "to free the world of the menace of a nuclear nightmare" was hot air, Mr Sarkozy's diplomatic staff told him in a report. "It was rhetoric – not a speech on American security policy but an export model aimed at improving the image of the United States," they said. Most of Mr Obama's proposals had already been made by the Bush administration and Washington was dragging its feet on disarmament and treaties against nuclear proliferation, the leaked report said.

Personal pique and French politics are also behind the souring of Mr Sarkozy's self-promoted honeymoon with the United States. On the personal side, the French President is needled

whose stardom has eclipsed what he sees as his established record as a world troubleshooter. "The President is annoyed by what he sees as

Mr Sarkozy has put out a version of the proceedings at the London G20 economic summit which casts him as hero, in the classic French role of intransigent defender of principle in the face of the American steamroller.

According to the leaks, Mr Sarkozy shamed Mr Obama into intervening: "You were elected to build a new world. Tax havens are the embodiment of the old world," he is quoted as saying....

Again, according to the Sarkozy version, at the Nato summit in Strasbourg, Mr

  • It took pressure from Mr Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel of Germany to stiffen him up and change his mind, say the French.

Mr Obama's favour for Ankara has irked but also helped Mr Sarkozy as his Union for a Popular Movement campaigns for European Parliament elections in June.

Permanent refusal of Turkish membership is one of Mr Sarkozy's policy planks and one of his most popular with voters. Mr Obama's venture into EU affairs has enabled Mr Sarkozy to make political capital. He has shown that France can still stand up to the United States despite rejoining the Nato command last week. ...

Behind the policy argument, it is easy to detect disappointment over Mr Obama's failure to respond to the Sarkozy charm offensive that began when he befriended the junior senator on a visit to Washington in 2006. Mr Obama showered compliments on France's "hyper-president" in Strasbourg, but the one that has stuck was double-edged: "He is courageous on so many fronts, it's sometimes hard to keep up with him."" TimesOnline UK' Nicolas Sarkozy Puts Barack Obama in the Dog House'

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