President Obama and French President François Hollande
on the grounds at Camp David:
Thirty years after Reagan
Administration shock over the election of France’s last
socialist leader, cooler
heads have prevailed.
Francois Hollande: A French Socialist in Washington (Le Monde,
“Thirty one years
ago, the arrival of a socialist president to power in France provoked astonishment
and nervousness in Washington. A generation later, what a difference! Hollande was received by Barack Obama on Friday. And no
more prejudice toward the French left remains. Mitterrand had already been
there, and he showed that a socialist president, even one in a coalition with
the French Communist Party, knows to be a strong ally when necessary.”
Translated By Pierre
May 18, 2012
– Le Monde – Original Article (French)
Thirty one years ago, the arrival of a socialist president to
power in France provoked astonishment and nervousness in Washington. It was the
Cold War, and François Mitterrand had just ushered communist ministers into the
government. A ritual - and expensive - sacrifice, it was more about political
symbolism than serious economic policy, but then Mitterrand nationalized some French
industrial groups. Unbelievable!
The United States expressed its fears. It questioned the
behavior of Paris within NATO. It questioned the security of its investments in
France. It was also a personal matter. François Mitterrand was an enigma in the
eyes of the Americans. This odd scholar-politician who could hold forth for
hours on the issues of plants, flowers, and the mysteries of the jack ass and the
soul – was not the usual style of the political class encountered across the
A generation later, what a difference! Francois Hollande was received by Barack Obama on Friday, May 18, at
the White House. And no more prejudice toward the French left remains. François
Mitterrand had already been there, and he showed that a socialist president,
even one in a coalition with the French Communist
Party, knows to be a strong ally when necessary.
Even better, America has welcomed Hollande’s
position on economic policy. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the new tone heard in Paris: a
focus on growth as much as on fiscal austerity in Europe.
One can see a kind of ideological confluence between the
Democratic Party and Europe’s social democrats. Team Obama has repeatedly
denounced, in public and in private, the downside of austerity in Europe. She [the
U.S.] sees a threat to growth. She fears more than recession in the Old World will
pummel economic activity across the Atlantic and threaten Barack Obama’s
This also means that the American president is as much
concerned about the status of the eurozone as he is
about Mr. Hollande’s intentions in Afghanistan. The Americans
are paralyzed by the notion that a Greek exit from the euro could trigger a
financial earthquake of a magnitude equal to the summer of 2008. These will be Obama’s
priorities in his discussions with the French President.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
SEE ALSO ON THIS:
Le Figaro, France: Obama, Hollande Say What Merkel Doesn’t Want to Hear
Le Figaro, France: No Panic Across Atlantic, But ‘Contentious Issues’ Await
White House, U.S.: VIDEO: Obama
Hollande to the White House
Die Welt, Germany: Romney, Obama and the Future of Europe
Toronto Star, Canada: After
Afghanistan, NATO Should
Reform or 'Call it Quits'
Deutsche Welle, Germany: NATO Summit to Debate
Deutsche Welle, Germany :
Why Moscow says 'Nyet'
to NATO Defense System
Obama Caught Between
Competing Visions for
Fixing Eurozone Crisis
Moscow Times, Russia :
Why Putin Skipped
Out on G8 Summit
Ruusia Today, Russia: VIDEO - Demonstrators Descend for G8 'Showdown'
The Afghanistan dossier is ripe for compromise. Washington
would prefer French troops not leave the country before the end of 2013. Mr. Hollande prefers a withdrawal by the end of 2012. But the moment
and the modalities exist for a deal. What matters most to Mr. Obama is that
Paris is committed to sustainable financial assistance for the Afghan
So will Washington’s relations with Mr. Hollande
be as they were with Nicolas Sarkozy? Even if they
only have eyes for the Asia-Pacific and "emerging" markets, which
represent the future in their view, the Americans still appreciate the
strategic assets that their old and declining allies in Europe still represent.
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