kolmapäev, september 03, 2008

sarko at the crossroads

Considering all the out of control spin that has come out of the Russia-Georgia crisis, including the bizarre and conflicting statements from the Russian foreign ministry, I figured that one more helping of pure BS wouldn't hurt.

And here is my take on the results of this week's EU summit. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is not happy with his Russian colleagues.

It's not just that Russia set up Georgia for in invasion in August; it's not just that it has illegally recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia; it's not even because more hawkish Europeans are comparing the man who called Parisian rioters "scum" to long-dead British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. {"Peace in our time," they taunt Sarkozy. "Peace in our time!"}

No, Sarkozy is not pleased with Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev because Sarkozy lives in Paris with his chanteuse Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and doesn't take it lightly when his summer vacation is interrupted by a crisis on the non-EU side of the Black Sea.

He probably didn't appreciate it that he had to fly all the way to Moscow and then all the way to Tbilisi and negotiate with gangs of hotheaded politicians with highly unreasonable demands until they signed a six-point ceasefire. And now those unscrupulous Russians have the nerve to have wasted all of his time? They have the nerve to make him fly all the way back to Moscow on Sept. 8 so he can tell them to abide by the agreement they signed just weeks before?!?

People try to make the Russians out to be masters of this game. But there is a strong whiff of improvisation coming out of Moscow. After the EU announced it would suspend talks on a new partnership agreement, the Russians first criticized the decision. Then they praised it. At least they didn't agree on sanctions, the Russian spindoctors said. Putin praised his little lemmings for making a "responsible decision." {Of course they didn't authorize them -- sanctions are a last resort before turning off ones own gas supply in protest.}

Putin may be vain and arrogant, but Nicolas Sarkozy may be as well. And my gut tells me that, deep inside, Monsieur President is more than slightly annoyed. It's not just about international law. It's not just about disproportionate use of force. It's the fact that he has been inconvenienced by Vladimir and Dmitri. We spoke earlier of the Estonians sticking out their feet to trip the Russians on the way to the front of the class. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the future, a few more countries, including France, do the same.

4 kommentaari:

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Doing the spinning. What if the 'Russians' are not one: Doing the splits If there is a split, then I would focus on that.

martintg ütles ...

Sarkozy is the son of a Hungarian refugee who fled the Red Army occupation of Hungary.

I think he already understands the Kremlin's hegemonic intent, even before the Russian invasion of Georgia.

It is no coincidence that Sarkozy decided earlier this year that France should re-join NATO....

Andrei ütles ...

Hello from Vilnius! The saddest thing about all this is that the West is not ready to go harsh on Russia. Just read an interesting analysis in the New York Review of Books about the Russia-Georgia conflict. Have a look - http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21772.


K ütles ...

I guess one may well ponder on the motivation of Monsieur Sarkozy on his eagerness in this situation. I too have my guesses – and they are for sure not far from G’s :-)
Somehow I can not restrain from admire his enthusiasm in this case – similar as the work he is doing in the Middle East. I do not think we are used to this activity level ….