Obama Upsets Sarkozy With Letter to Jacques Chirac. And why would Sarko be upset?
Because the letter said that “we look forward to working together over the next four years in the spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.”
«Je suis certain que nous pourrons au cours des quatre années à venir collaborer ensemble dans un esprit de paix et d’amitié afin de construire un monde plus sûr»
The Christian Science Monitor comes to Obama’s defense: Obama writes letter to Chirac – blogosphere goes crazy
Our handy colleague, Laurent Belsie, who writes the New Economy blog here at the Monitor, speaks French. (We don’t hold that against him.)
Well, isn’t that nice of them. I read French. Let’s hope they don’t hold that against me.
With his help we found out that another French newspaper, the New Observer, explained that Obama was merely replying to a Chirac letter who was writing him as the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.
The foundation is promoting access to water and medicines in west Africa, combating deforestation in the Congo Basin, and trying to save dying languages in Polynesia, according to a spokesman who helped set up the foundation.
The CSM says
there is no evidence that the language has upset President Sarkozy or anyone else in France.
Indeed, the letter may not have “upset” anyone anywhere. However, that does not make for good foreign policy. Let me explain why.
The CSM doesn’t link to Nouvel obs, but that’s what you have me for. Here’s the item in the original French:
Cette relation épistolaire peut-elle déboucher sur des projets communs? Pour l’instant, aucune rencontre n’est prévue entre les deux hommes, qui ne se connaissent pas personnellement. Mais les objectifs de la Fondation Chirac – développement durable et dialogue entre les civilisations – rejoignent les préoccupations du président américain.
Les deux hommes ont également en commun de s’être opposés à la guerre en Irak, qui a débuté il y a tout juste 5 ans, le 20 mars 2003.
My (very!) rough translation:
Will this correspondence lead to joint projects? For now, no meetings are in the works, and they have not met in person. But the objectives of the Chirac Foundation – sustainable development and dialogue between cultures agree with the American president’s.
Both men also share their opposition to the Iraq war, which started exactly five years ago, on March 20, 2003.
OK, so here are the facts:
- Obama’s letter was sent on March 20, the anniversary of the Iraq war.
- The US still has troops in Iraq defending that country, and those troops are not only fighting but actively engaged in building a civil society.
- Each and any action by the Obama administration will be closely examined. Publicly approaching a private foundation with language that can be interpreted as being against the US presence in Iraq actively undermines that effort.
- Nicolas Sarkozy came to power by running not only against the Socialists, but by actually running against Chirac within Chirac’s own party. Is it a good idea to publicly “extend a hand” to Chirac, then?
- Chirac in fact, was allegedly involved in the affaire Clearstream
- Chirac’s administration as mayor of Paris was marked by corruption, from the water works contracts to other kinds of graft, and let’s not forget about his lunch money.
- Back in 2006 I was posting about Chirac’s own secret service. You may also recall Chirac’s support of Hugo Chavez.
And let’s not forget that Chirac’s foundation strongly promotes the globalisation tax, a tax on wealth generated by globalization:
“It could be a tax on airplane tickets, on carbon dioxide, on health products sold in industrialised countries, and indeed on international
financial transactions,” one source said.
So, pray tell, why send the letter in the first place?