M. Jacques Chirac, the former president, astutely positioned his country to avoid the quagmire of excessive involvement in the middle eastern adventures of George W. Bush. And successive French administrations of whatever political coloration have avoided at least some of the worst mistakes of Anglo-Saxon de-regulated finance. M. Sarkozy thus inherits a stronger position than France has enjoyed for many years. In general the quai d'Orsay exhibits a cautious and understated policy which makes M. Sarkozy's comments all the more startling.
France's rejoining of NATO centralized command, and temporary (and very limited) subordination of her military to the Americans reflects M. Sarkozy's and his confederates' calculations that the days of US empire are numbered. The location of French military personnel within the NATO structures will give them the needed experience and connections to play a big role in whatever alliance the Western European nations create after the collapse of US financial, and thus military power. But the seemingly intemperate remarks of the astute French leader about Obama are spot on.
We have just had in the USA a round of demonstrations nation-wide called Tea Parties. These were organized by the Republican Party, its corporate sponsors and religious base. They served very well to show that even though former president Bush has done wonders in the general population to cause the discrediting of the sorts of conservatism that has dominated US politics for so many decades, still the right controls by far the largest single bloc of organized voters. Even if this bloc as it always has been, is a minority.
Add together the ownership by magnates of the media, the unlimited resources of big money, the weirdo churches, and good old 100% American racism and you have a pretty big tent.
Obama represents a badly-fragmented opposition, temporarily in power due to Bush's militaristic excesses. Had the spectacular bankruptcies on Wall Street and all the other financial disasters with which we are all so familiar not occurred until after the elections, instead of just before, John McCain would be president.
Furthermore, Obama has not much personal courage. He is by inclination a man of the center, and seeks compromise and consensus. He always avoids confrontation, unless with four teenagers in a row-boat. This in despite of the the fact that a real leader, operating from principle, could weld of this medley of not-white citizens, opposed to aggressive war, disgusted with Elmer Gantry-style religiosity, and not-rich a permanent coalition which could govern the USA for generations, given the scandals which have wrecked the conservatives.
What is a fatal flaw for the US opposition is that Obama's core supporters are a tiny liberally-educated part of the state and corporate professional bureaucracy. These classically mediocre people are essential to the functioning of the state system and have been disturbed for years at the Fascist-style populism of the conservative Republicans. But this group is just as militant as any corporatist in not wanting to concede to mere working people any social or economic advantages.
Without some opening to the enormous numbers of the disadvantaged and discontented ... without some actual attempts to address their grievances ... there can be nothing to sway voters from listening to the preachers of church and media. And all these voices need do is to remind the congregation (since there is nothing offered them by any possible constellation of power), to stay home on election day. Thus the Obama government, since it cannot organize, say around the issue of a National Health Service, a powerful bloc of its own within US democracy, must remain weak. And is doomed.
But, for Venezuela and the rest of Latin America, this is a very fortuitous set of circumstances.
The empire which covets Venezuela's resources, and has so often attacked Venezuela to steal them, now can only be governed by utter cretins on the one hand or by a weak coalition of fatuous and ineffective Hollywood-style mediocrities on the other. Carpe diem.
From the imperial capital