Good news from Sarkozy

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Nikolas Sarkozy seems just too good to be true for a President of France. No longer the foreign policy antagonist of the United States, France looks forward to stabilizing Iraq, and strongly supports pressuring Iran to end its nuclear weapons program (even hinting that Iran will be attacked if milder measures do not dissuade it).

In his first foreign policy speech, he spoke  these words, notable because of the anti-Israel sentiments that animate many in the French diplomatic and political establishment:
"I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it's true. I will never compromise on Israel's security,"
He even spent his vacation in New Hampshire, sparking a boom of interest by French tourists in the Granite State.

At home, he is tackling the malaise afflicting the French economy with energy and insight. He's pushing for tax cuts and labor market deregulation:
In an address before French business leaders in Jouy-en-Josas, France, Mr. Sarkozy also called for overhauling the unemployment system and urged changes in European Central Bank policy.

He also criticized France's mandated 35-hour workweek. The law is an "economic mistake," he said. [snip]

Why should we forbid all shops to open Sundays? Seventy million tourists find half of the Champs Élysées closed on Sundays," he said.

Mr. Sarkozy said he wants to cut taxes. "In the world of today, directly taxing production, work and capital is to condemn us to less work, less production, less growth, less purchasing power," he said.
He is so popular with the French that the Financial Times wrote today that
...the French left is in disarray. The new president is highly popular and hyperactive. The socialist leadership, meanwhile, is divided, depressed and deprived of any vision or perspective.
The opposition is reduced to blaming him for the rising price of the baguette, the crusty white bread loaf that remains a staple of the French diet, a symbol of the high cost of living, even though the price of wheat has been going up internationally.

Now he is promising to cut half of the senior civil service posts in France!  This in a country whose senior civil servants have been used to running the country with near autonomy. And telling French business that it is time to globalize, albeit in a French way, collectively.

Not to be too starry-eyed, he does have to cope with the deeply-ingrained instincts of the French to manage their economy more closely than les Anglophones, and has made it clear that such projects as Airbus and its workers will have a call on the French treasury. He is also attempting to manage the price of the euro for competitive advantage, pressuring the European Central Bank to lower its value.

Given how much Sarkozy is taking on, he is not guaranteed success. The opposition is not going to fold up and go away. But perhaps it is time to encourage our French friends in their reforms, and even reward France for its good behavior when they bear fruit. We might even have quite a bit to gain from France, which generates a huge portion of its electricity from nuclear power plants with an excellent safety record, and from which we could learn a lot.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Nikolas Sarkozy seems just too good to be true for a President of France. No longer the foreign policy antagonist of the United States, France looks forward to stabilizing Iraq, and strongly supports pressuring Iran to end its nuclear weapons program (even hinting that Iran will be attacked if milder measures do not dissuade it).

In his first foreign policy speech, he spoke  these words, notable because of the anti-Israel sentiments that animate many in the French diplomatic and political establishment:
"I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it's true. I will never compromise on Israel's security,"
He even spent his vacation in New Hampshire, sparking a boom of interest by French tourists in the Granite State.

At home, he is tackling the malaise afflicting the French economy with energy and insight. He's pushing for tax cuts and labor market deregulation:
In an address before French business leaders in Jouy-en-Josas, France, Mr. Sarkozy also called for overhauling the unemployment system and urged changes in European Central Bank policy.

He also criticized France's mandated 35-hour workweek. The law is an "economic mistake," he said. [snip]

Why should we forbid all shops to open Sundays? Seventy million tourists find half of the Champs Élysées closed on Sundays," he said.

Mr. Sarkozy said he wants to cut taxes. "In the world of today, directly taxing production, work and capital is to condemn us to less work, less production, less growth, less purchasing power," he said.
He is so popular with the French that the Financial Times wrote today that
...the French left is in disarray. The new president is highly popular and hyperactive. The socialist leadership, meanwhile, is divided, depressed and deprived of any vision or perspective.
The opposition is reduced to blaming him for the rising price of the baguette, the crusty white bread loaf that remains a staple of the French diet, a symbol of the high cost of living, even though the price of wheat has been going up internationally.

Now he is promising to cut half of the senior civil service posts in France!  This in a country whose senior civil servants have been used to running the country with near autonomy. And telling French business that it is time to globalize, albeit in a French way, collectively.

Not to be too starry-eyed, he does have to cope with the deeply-ingrained instincts of the French to manage their economy more closely than les Anglophones, and has made it clear that such projects as Airbus and its workers will have a call on the French treasury. He is also attempting to manage the price of the euro for competitive advantage, pressuring the European Central Bank to lower its value.

Given how much Sarkozy is taking on, he is not guaranteed success. The opposition is not going to fold up and go away. But perhaps it is time to encourage our French friends in their reforms, and even reward France for its good behavior when they bear fruit. We might even have quite a bit to gain from France, which generates a huge portion of its electricity from nuclear power plants with an excellent safety record, and from which we could learn a lot.