One interesting aspect of this story is Sarkozy's view of the United States as "the leader of our side." (Jacques Chirac would never have uttered such an admission.) Gopnik disputed the widespread notion that Sarkozy is "pro-American." He has an American style and a more American disposition to free markets. But he is very French in his view of an independent Europe and of his own nation's central position in that entity, in the promotion of Western civilization generally.
Still, in a recent address on foreign policy, Sarkozy expressed concerns that aren't far out of line with some of Bush's (and other Americans') concerns—about Iran's nuclear ambitions, Russia's growing insularity, and the regional cataclysms that might erupt from the violence in Iraq (even while he called for a U.S. pullout).
Bush—or whoever succeeds him—should embrace Sarkozy's ambitions and ally them to ours. His socialist foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, recently asked Condoleezza Rice, "What can we do for you in Iraq?" The answer should be: Take the lead in mediating a deal with Iraq's neighbors, and put non-American fingerprints on a containment, even a settlement, of the war.
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