Sarkozy's Stolen Victories

Nicolas Sarkozy is a man constantly on the move. He practically hops around in his suit. He shrugs his shoulders, jerks his head and raises his eyebrows. In his manner, he likens a bouncing ball, full of energy but completely unpredictable. Since his election in early May, the French president has been ricocheting through European diplomatic circles like an out-of-control comet.
...The small-statured Sarkozy has assumed the role of the great statesman. Slapping shoulders, patting backs and distributing kisses, he leaves the impression of success in his wake. His approach is allowing the French to breathe a collective sigh of relief. After many years of near-paralysis, the country is assuming the leadership of an increasingly lethargic EU.

This, at least, is the impression Sarkozy would like to make. His European partners can only look on in speechless astonishment as Sarkozy rushes ahead. The crowing of the Gallic rooster is replacing the European anthem as Europe acquires a leader who has shown himself willing to flaunt tradition. His will, it appears, is the road to success.

There is only one problem: Sarkozy's victories are stolen victories. He is steadily co-opting successes which, in some cases, others have spent years diligently preparing. His policies are intended to radiate dynamism and energy. But in reality, he jumps from one issue to the next -- with apparently no system or coherence, but with a great deal of fanfare and fireworks...

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Since March 29th 2006