Rarely a presidential election in France no raised abroad such a buzz. Rarely a new President of the Republic had caused such a hope, or the apprehension of a shift of French foreign policy. By promising the rupture, candidate Nicolas Sarkozy even undertook to equip the French diplomacy to a "doctrine", i.e."a clear vision of the world, targets and long term interests we stand for" (1).
A year after his election to the Presidency of the Republic, the balance is more than contrasting, or even on several points, contradictory with the initial intentions. A sort of a step forward, two not back to the President, who wanted a carrier France of universal values (2).
On the main principles of the rights of the human Russia, Libya, or Tunisia, either on the end of the Françafrique, either still on the Franco-German couple in Europe, the main principles of basic clashed with the complex world of the beginning of the 21st century, the "thickness", according to the word of the expert François Heisbourgnot necessarily amenable to brutal changes of cap. Forcing the head of State to return, on many points, to a more traditional French policy.
On relations with the United States that President Sarkozy wanted to mark the more its difference with its predecessors. Before the Congress, Washington, and the great joy of us elected last November, he had celebrated the deep friendship between the two nations. His speech without ambiguity is itself a break from President Chirac, especially human 2003 opposed American military intervention in Iraq, and caused us a hope for a "America's best ally France."
But is this a change of style or a Copernican revolution in French politics The profession of pro-American faith has been accompanied by an important nuance: "Allied but not aligned". A very Gaullist way to stand out from America.
Note the scientist Justin Vaisse, former analyst at the Centre of analysis and forecasting (CAP) of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (3), the personal style of President Sarkozy has nothing of Gaullist, although "as the General, it is basically a pragmatic". General de Gaulle not supported President Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis while distinguished American on other issues such as the Viet Nam and of course, on NATO
The pragmatism of President Sarkozy him so full Summit in Bucharest in April, according to remarks reported by a close to say: "appeasement with the United States gives us room to maneuver most important as well to NATO in the European Union."
Friend but not aligned, and therefore very pragmatically, it is capable of doing common front with the changed Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for later push the project supported by George w. Bush to immediately open negotiations for an extension of the Organization to the Ukraine and the Georgia. Or, it does not hesitate to maintain its opposition to the Turkey entry in the European Union wishes however to his "friend" Texas.
The decision to send an additional contingent of 700 French troops in the East of the Afghanistan has a dual objective in his eyes: "symbolically" to give satisfaction to George w. Bush and to avoid a collapse of the military device ally in this country, and do not dissociate partners Europeans engaged in this war.
Similarly, the return in the military structure integrated in NATO, claironné top and strong, comes acceptance by Americans of a Europe of defence, not competing but complementary to the Alliance. This is by no means be won. In 1997, a similar attempt of President Chirac was met with a refusal of President Bill Clinton, unwilling to surrender command of the fleet in the Mediterranean with the Europeans.
The genuine break is to seek elsewhere: it is to put an end to the France consensus on foreign policy, nuclear deterrence, on relations with Israel or NATO still. Rapprochement with Washington to the Sarkozy did re-emerge a very old left-right divide, between Atlanticist and supporters of a kind of third way to French. Even though, paradoxically, the movement of reconciliation with the United States had initiated by President Jacques Chirac after the start of the war of Iraq, as the return in force in NATO.
The other great rupture is, of course, in the style and the hypermédiatisation of its shares abroad, as the release of the Bulgarian nurses Libyan prisons or even its attempt, at least for the moment, save from the claws of the FARC (revolutionary Colombia Armed Forces) Ingrid Betancourt. Many French were surprised of the warm welcome it has reserved to colonel Gaddafi during his long stay in Paris. His statements on the progression of "space of freedom" in Tunisia before his Tunisian counterpart, the authoritarian Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, in power since 1987 after a coup, left a bitter taste to all those who had thought he saw in him a defender of human rights.
Diplomacy in the blow that gives an impression of a "French civil nuclear VRP" President, as the dubbed press agency France. Because, in Tunis in New Delhi, via Tripoli, Rabat, Algiers, Cairo, Riyadh, or the United Arab Emirates, the speech is designed to promote French in material technology.
It does not change the world in 365 days, regardless of the voluntarism of a head of State, especially if it is at the head of a country has become a power mean. Nicolas Sarkozy also showed caution in excluding to raze the balance sheet of policy of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, "exemplary in many respects", according to him (1). A recognition of the need for continuity The real test for the French President is still to come: from July 1, he must take the semi-annual Presidency of the European Union. He took a step forward for Europe, contributing to unblock la institutional crisis with the adoption of a "Concil", but his project of a Mediterranean Union has already been reduced to la memory portion. Nicolas Sarkozy will now be proven to boost, with the Germany and of course Britain, a Europe of defence. What is not acquired.