Saturday, February 17, 2007

Neocons take notice

The American neoconservative magazine The Weekly Standard has stepped into the French presidential race with a pretty good overview of how the election has gone and where it will end up.

Although UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has been keen to distance himself from socialist claims that he is an "American neoconservative with a French passport", it is obvious that these neocons see him as one of their own.

The key moment in his (Sarkozy's) rise came in 2002, when he was appointed minister of the interior in Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's government, at the age of 47. Overnight, he became the proponent of something entirely new in French politics--a no-nonsense conservatism in the manner of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Rudolph Giuliani.

It also had a rather interesting ending, saying that:

The fact is that both Sarkozy and Royal were selected because of their conservative appeal. It tells a lot about the present state of mind of the French. And it is perhaps a good omen for the future of Europe.

Here they might be wrong; Royal's recent manifesto is anything but conservative, and Sarkozy's penchant for reform is certainly not what the dictionary defines conservatism as: "disposition in politics to preserve what is established, a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change."

In fact what we're probably seeing is two liberal candidates, each with his/her own blend of pragmatism. If The Weekly Standard is looking for a new friend for George Bush, they would do well to look elsewhere.

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