When Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president one year ago today, the US media was full of praise for him and expected a big improvement in transatlantic relations.
Sarkozy's pro-American rhetoric was very much appreciated, because it was a big contrast to Gerhard Schroeder's US critical election campaigns. With Schroeder replaced by Angela Merkel and Chirac now replaced by Sarkozy, many Americans were looking forward to a new era in transatlantic relations led by a younger generation of pro-American leaders in Europe.
I did not buy all this hype, but have been very critical of Sarkozy (and to a lesser extent of Merkel) and concluded in November that we are witnessing Better Transatlantic Relations in Style, but not in Substance. Kyle has been frustrated by Sarkozy as well: Sarkozy Makes Premature, Unnecessary, Familiar Statement on Kosovo.
In the last few months, however, President Sarkozy announced some policy changes that indicate more support for US interests, so perhaps I should reconsider my position on Sarko. Gaelle Fisher has written a very balanced analysis on the question "Has Sarkozy truly improved the state of transatlantic relations and earned his reputation as the most pro-American president France has ever had?" She presents three arguments in favor and three against in a pro & con feature on Atlantic Community: Sarkozy l' Américain? Here is a snippet:
Sarkozy has agreed to increase France's contribution to the war effort in Afghanistan by adding 1500 to 1700 to the existing French contingent of 1600, sending combat troops to the East, and providing military arsenal. Yet the main new element of French military cooperation with the United States is Sarkozy's commitment to reintegrating France into NATO's military wing.
Or is that Trojan horse?
On Sarko's first anniversary in power, the French are very critical of his domestic policies (and his style), but I wonder what Americans think of his foreign policy. Has he met your expectations? Has he repaired the damage in transatlantic relations as expected by many in the US media? Whether you are an American or not, I appreciate your comments here and on Atlantic Community.