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Obama Snubs Sarkozy with Chirac Overture?

Fresh off the heels of snubbing Gordon Brown by not holding a joint press conference with him and giving him a gift that could have been purchased at Wal-Mart, Barack Obama has annoyed Nicolas Sarkozy by sending a mash note to former French president Jacques Chirac asserting that, “I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.”

A minor furor has broken out over this in the American blogosphere.  As I note in my New Atlanticist piece, “Obama Reaches Out to Chirac – Another Snub?,” the administration hasn’t explained the letter.  I’m sure the intent was benign but it’s not at all clear how Obama plans to work with a 76-year-old out-of-power politician.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    At this point I can only conjecture that his underlings are deliberately setting out to undermine him.

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  2. PD Shaw says:

    At this point I can only conjecture that his underlings are deliberately setting out to undermine him.

    That’s how it happened in the original team of rivals.

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  3. Bithead says:

    Clearly, Sarkozy, who dared to move away from the overt socialism of Chriac, needs to be put in his place.

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  4. Steve Verdon says:

    Whiskey tango foxtrot?

    Okay, I am now absolutely convinced my wife is right, President Barack Obama is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

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  5. JKB says:

    And the note would have meant nothing if they hadn’t been giving Sarkozy the run around over scheduling a meeting. And would have meant less if Obama hadn’t blown off Gordon Brown.

    You just don’t expect so many “smart” people to be so incompetent. Sure Obama might be weak on experience, but does the rest of his staff have to be? The fundamental skill of a good leader is hiring good people to cover your weaknesses not make them worse.

    Amateur hour on the economy, amateur hour with foreign relation (even with Hillary) and amateur hour making jokes at the expense of disabled atheletes, Jimmy Carter must be loving it, seeing his failed legacy overshadowed in his lifetime, sweet.

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  6. sam says:

    A minor furor has broken out over this in the right-wing American blogosphere.

    Fixed that for you, following memeorandum.com. And it’s pure hackery that right-wing bloggers have their pantaloons in a bunch (with emphasis on the ‘loon’) because O may have pissed off the leader of a nation of cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

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  7. Christopher says:

    Great post, JKB!

    And Dave, how can you think that Obama’s underlings want to undermine him? Obama is The MAN to them! They worship him, as do many (most? all?) of your fellow liberals.

    I will give any new admin a learning curve. Clinton esp. since dems had been out of power for 12 years. But its only been 8 since Clinton, and there must be plenty to people that know how to run things.

    I think its like everything else with Obama: he believes he can do no wrong, so doesn’t try hard enough to hire and listen to people who know how an administration should be run. Policy is another matter, but there are certain ways things are done, from diplomacy to proper presidential behavior, such as not appearing on TV shows. (what’s next, Survivor? MTV’s Cribs? Chelsea Lately?) Arrogance and amateurism, the hallmarks of the next 4 years. Maybe Obama can learn to play the fiddle, as the country burns.

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  8. A minor furor has broken out over this in the right-wing American blogosphere.

    Fixed that for you, following memeorandum.com. And it’s pure hackery that right-wing bloggers have their pantaloons in a bunch (with emphasis on the ‘loon’) because O may have pissed off the leader of a nation of cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

    The funny thing is that this says a lot more about the hackery of the non-right-wing bloggers than you seem to think.

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  9. Michael says:

    it’s not at all clear how Obama plans to work with a 76-year-old out-of-power politician.

    Perhaps through the Jacques Chirac Foundation for Sustainable Development and Cultural Dialogue?

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  10. sam says:

    The funny thing is that this says a lot more about the hackery of the non-right-wing bloggers than you seem to think.

    I’m up for a laugh, Charles. Enliven me.

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  11. Bithead says:

    Enliven me.

    (Cue: Gene Wilder)

    GIVE MY CREATION …. LIIIIFIFFFFEEEEEEEE!!!!

    Ok, never mind.

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  12. sam says:

    Ok, never mind.

    Done.

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  13. sam says:

    Ooops, sorry, Bit, left out the smiley:

    :)

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  14. Brett says:

    Good lord. Aren’t Obama’s advisors supposed to be foreign policy people with actual foreign policy experience – you know, the type of people who wouldn’t make a boneheaded mistake like this?

    I wouldn’t quite jump to “his underlings are deliberately sabotaging him” yet; it’s quite possible that two consecutive stupid mistakes were made. If a third such snub happens, then I really will suspect that something is going on.

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  15. Brett says:

    Upon reading more, this sounds more like a misinterpretation. As James points out, Obama may have simply been writing a letter in response to Chirac over working with Chirac’s foundation. Of course, it would have helped had he been more specific, and said something like “We look forward to working with you and your foundation, blah, blah, blah”, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

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  16. bartkid says:

    >I’m sure the intent was benign but it’s not at all clear how Obama plans to work with a 76-year-old out-of-power politician.

    Y’mean McCain?

    As sam already noted, the furor is rwh.

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  17. [...] Obama Gaff and embarrassment has to do with a letter he sent to French President Jacques Chirac that read: “I am certain that [...]

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  18. sam says:

    @Christopher

    I think its like everything else with Obama: he believes he can do no wrong, so doesn’t try hard enough to hire and listen to people who know how an administration should be run.

    So, Chris, when you sending in your resume? You’ll have to have someone type it up, though. I’m pretty sure block printing in crayon won’t cut it.

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  19. georges says:

    Most probably it’s just the US administration that does not know much about what is happening outside of the US.

    After all, it’s just Americans who work in the American administration, don’t expect them to be intelligent ;)

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