March 23, 2009

Does Obama not know who's president of France? Or is he intentionally insulting Sarkozy?

"'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."

Written to Jacques Chirac.

86 comments:

JSF said...

I'm laughing -- wasen't President Bush supposed to be the one who was stupid?

He didn't give our allies DVD sets, and if he did, at least he knew what reigon they were for.

And now, President Obama does not know who is Prime Minister of France.

Which President is stupid now?

Peter V. Bella said...

He knows who the President of France is. This is nothing but that hopey changey thingy. He hopes Chirac runs again and beats Sarkozy to create change Obama can live with.

Another foreign policy blunder by the cartoon character in chief. Next we will hear that Hillary gave the Saudi King DVDs of Babe and Charlotte's Web.

BJK said...

If only the media had spent less time vetting the Republican VP nominee, and more time vetting the Democratic Presidential nominee...

(Lightweight)

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

The only question on this seems to be:

- Are Obama and his staff incompetent? Those 300 Foreign policy advisors :)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/us/politics/18advisers.html

- or was this a willful insult to another Ally? because he is relatively conservative, for France?

Henry said...

Quick! Send Sarkozy some Jerry Lewis DVDs. Remastered!

Methinks that Obama will soon realize that the spotlight is no longer his friend.

Fred4Pres said...

W really will go up in reputation over time. And Obama better change course if he doesn't want to become the next Jimmy Carter.

EDH said...

There is a third possibility.

AllenS said...

As soon as Obama completes the final segment of his tv appearances he'll have more time to learn about stuff like this. Right now it's just not that important.

Eric said...

At this rate he's going to run out of heads of state to piss off after only a year or two. Man's got to learn to pace himself.

mcg said...

Of course he knows Sarkozy is president; after all, he's the one that allegedly accused Obama of having a naive foreign policy or somesuch, right? Oh, I think Obama knew what he was doing. I'm not saying his reasons were good, I'm just saying this was a deliberate act.

fcai said...

Obama stoopid!

Balfegor said...

W really will go up in reputation over time. And Obama better change course if he doesn't want to become the next Jimmy Carter.

You know, I have trouble believing Jimmy Carter was half as stupid as this. At the same time, though, when I read the account in Figaro, it doesn't mention Sarkozy blowing up or anything, so perhaps the French just took it as a bit of smarmy American brownnosing of a global elder statesman or something. Obama could write a letter to Nelson Mandela without Kgalema Motlanthe feeling unduly snubbed, I expect. Of course, Chirac is hardly Mandela. But perhaps the French have a higher view of their politicians.

tim maguire said...

You're talking about a guy who is ignorant of some of the most basic facts about the United States and yet you expect him to be conversant in such obscurities of French politics like who's in charge?

Original Mike said...

I don't know what to think. It's too much to believe he didn't know, so I'm left with i) he wanted to diss Sarkozy, or ii) he didn't realize he was dissing Sarkozy. Either one leaves me feeling a little unsettled.

EnigmatiCore said...

Which answer is worse?

EnigmatiCore said...

"I have trouble believing Jimmy Carter was half as stupid as this"

You must not have been 20 or older in the late 70s.

MadisonMan said...

I will note what hasn't yet been: this is from an unsourced column in Le Figaro.

But don't stray from your narrative just because of that.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

So did he run this past the grown up at the State Department?

Fen said...

Right now it's just not that important.

Yup. There's debate on whether the first jihadi nuclear arsenal will be Paki or French [see demographics]. But we'll first have to wait for our Affirmative Action President to retake and pass redmedial foriegn policy.

Interesting times. I wonder which will be first, NYC or LA? If I was a muslim fundie jihadi, I'd go with LA.

Pogo said...

Obama will never get the Oscar now that he's gone full-on retard.

garage mahal said...

So the Right is now taken sides with Russia, France, and Tibet in less than 3 short months. What's next, nuclear disarmament in Europe?

Hoosier Daddy said...

I will note what hasn't yet been: this is from an unsourced column in Le Figaro.

But don't stray from your narrative just because of that.


Point noted. However, based upon his performance in the foreign affairs department up to now, it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

MadisonMan said...

I agree with you Hoosier. I am just too skeptical.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Having spent the past eight years watching people overrate the importance of having foreigners like us, I can't get too worked up about this. If Sarkozy finds it to his advantage to work with Obama on whatever, he'll do it, snub or no. If not, he won't, snub or no.

Balfegor said...

I will note what hasn't yet been: this is from an unsourced column in Le Figaro.

Very well then. here is an article in which Figaro's report is correct ("L'échange de courrier date de la mi-mars", précise le cabinet de Jacques Chirac, qui confirme également à nouvelobs.com le contenu de l'échange.) And here is another article, although this one does not appear to involve any follow-up and just relies on the Figaro report.

Balfegor said...

in which Figaro's report is correct

Sorry, that should be "confirmed," not "correct."

yashu said...

Garage, "taking sides"?

By that logic, in his message to Iran, Obama should've included a friendly clip of his dog urinating on a Koran. With that kind of diplomacy, he'd have right-wingers like me behind him in no time! Unless I was a hypocrite appeaser, siding with Iran, and criticized Obama for it.

Chip Ahoy said...

I like observing partisans making excuses for this guy. They'll end up redefining themselves as the most generous-minded kindest people on Earth.

Chirac. Ha ha ha ha snort.

Stop already, you're kill'n me.

holdfast said...

You NEVER go full retard!

"Simple Barry" - I like it.

MadisonMan said...

Balfegor, thanks.

Boy, that report at that url about the lady with the disfiguring eye tumors: (shiver).

Michael Hasenstab said...

Next week Obama will send a cowboy hat and a Red Rider BB gun to Premier Khrushchev.

The Drill SGT said...

Interesting times. I wonder which will be first, NYC or LA? If I was a muslim fundie jihadi, I'd go with LA.

Since it will be delivered by container ship, Oakland might give you better effects.

If you talk about NYC, with the prevailing winds, you are better off at a Hudson pier in NJ for your detonation site

garage mahal said...

Interesting times. I wonder which will be first, NYC or LA? If I was a muslim fundie jihadi, I'd go with LA.

USA! USA! USA!

bearbee said...

If Sarkozy finds it to his advantage to work with Obama on whatever, he'll do it, snub or no. If not, he won't, snub or no.

While it may make for a chilly relationship, ultimately nations will do what is in their own best interests.

Obama may be taking a different approach in a somewhat clumsy fashion.

From Volokh.com

If we could see the address on the letter to Chirac, it might be clear whether Obama or one of his staff was confused about the identity of the French President. My guess is that this was just a rookie mistake, i.e., bad diplomacy in wording a letter, not confusion about identities.

UPDATE: More evidence that Obama is intentionally dealing with former heads of state.

Balfegor said...

UPDATE: More evidence that Obama is intentionally dealing with former heads of state.

Maybe he's just using them for dress rehearsal, so he doesn't screw it up as badly as he did with the British PM?

madawaskan said...

Volokh is over there excusing this by saying that it could be-
a "rookie" mistake.

Listen-there's a reason we have career diplomats over at the State Department.

To maintain some semblance of "expertise". Look we could even stretch that further and say-to maintain some semblance of continuity so that -oh say something like a war is started under one President our enemies don't have to just wait it out till a new guy is elected. [and with Obama -boy are we talking new.]

It's become readily apparent that the careerist diplomats at State have been cut out of the loop.

No way in hell one of them would not have loved to handle the appropriate gift exchange and protocol with Brown.
[Hell an eighteen year old military protocol guy would have treated Brown better-at any base Brown would have at least had the flag]

jayne_cobb said...

According to CSM it was merely a reply

madawaskan said...

O/T-

On a personal note.

It has come to my attention that I was namejacked here-most likely by the usual suspect.

That person Michael/LuckyOldson used my handle to cast dispersions on Host with the Most and Joe.

That's just the two that I know of-

For some reason it bothers me-and I would like to apologize to those two commenters-

Host with the Most and Joe because there isn't a damn thing I have ever disagreed with when they comment.

They are bang on-commenters and there is no way in hell I'd start ad hominem with either of them.

Or really anyone else for that matter so if there are other commenters who feel that I have done that to them please consider that it was that poor soul Michael/Luckyoldson.

Thanks in advance.

AJ Lynch said...

Fen:

Why all the comments today of nukes?

Balfegor said...

According to CSM it was merely a reply

Yes, and I've linked the Nouvel Observateur piece that says so. But the insult to Sarkozy -- even if Figaro didn't emphasise it -- has registered with some commentators. Look at the JDD article I linked:

Et même s'il a présenté durant la campagne présidentielle américaine Barack Obama comme son "copain", c'est Jacques Chirac qui est distingué aujourd'hui en premier par le nouveau président. Vexé, Nicolas Sarkozy?

David said...

Next: Senate Majority Leader Jimmy Carter.

Hoosier Daddy said...

My guess is that this was just a rookie mistake, i.e., bad diplomacy in wording a letter, not confusion about identities.

I thought the rookie had been replaced by a an eloquent and articulate President? Isn't it fair to wonder how someone who was the editor of the Harvard Law Review could make such an unfortunate faux pas?

Fen said...

Why all the comments today of nukes?

Nothing specific or actionable.

Perhaps simply the realization that Obama's foreign policy will lose Pakistan and its nukes to the jihad.

Jay said...

What we have here is a case of The Obama snubbing Sarkozy for giving Sarah Palin an endearing phone call before the election. I think that someone forgot to tell him that the call was actually a prank...

BJM said...

DSGT said: Since it will be delivered by container ship, Oakland might give you better effects.

Actually Long Beach would be a better choice as is the main west coast cargo terminal, Oakland is pretty much small potatoes thanks to our loss of the Navy. A hit on Long Beach would also take out our remaining CA naval resources, LAX TRANCON and symbolically the Great Satan's cultural factory: Hollywood.

Nuking Oakland takes out Silicon Valley, Onizuka (The Blue Cube) Travis AFB and the GG Bridge. While Onizuka and Travis are key military resources it would not be not on the same shock scale as wiping out LA. Plus LA has the largest Persian population outside Iran, so Iran's Arab enemies might find that an appealing side bennie.

traditionalguy said...

The One must see the world as Soros allies or Bush allies. He takes pokes at any former Bush ally and is lovey-dovey to the commited friends of Soros. I did not expect our President to openly suck up to the international "blame America first groups", but then Obama may be against any policies that put America first. Now that is funny. If Obama cannot change us into Soros internationalists, he plans to help our enemies destroy us. Is that Treason Demos? We better Cling to all the guns and religion we have left no matter how much this "amateur" smiles for the camera while he reads us a sweet speech.

The Drill SGT said...

Actually Long Beach would be a better choice as is the main west coast cargo terminal,

I was thinking about fallout patterns rather than cargo facilities.

around he West foot of the Bay bridge, gets ou a bg chunk of SF the south bay, and a nice fallout pattern over the East Bay (and some blast there as well). Lots of rail and road bottle necks, panic etc.

short and long term problems.

Long Beach? You get the harbor sure, but then you just get ranch houses to Pomona. an al that grea fallout ends up in the desert.

Methadras said...

Soon the Teleprompter is going to put in its resignation papers and the spotlight will walkout in protest.

Joe said...

I think Obama got mixed up between the office of President and Prime Minister and assumed Chirac was one and Sarkozy the other. Yes, I do think he's that dumb and there is plenty of evidence to support that.

(For the record, the current Prime Minister of France is François Fillon.)

Joe said...

By the way, once Obama is educated on the President/Prime Minister thing for France, he'll probably realize he made a major faux pas with Britain and invite the British President over for a meeting.

garage mahal said...

Look on the bright side, it isn't like he got punked thinking he was talking to the president of France instead of two radio jocks in Canada.

Balfegor said...

Look on the bright side, it isn't like he got punked thinking he was talking to the president of France instead of two radio jocks in Canada.

Yes, but they haven't tried yet, have they?

Larry J said...

Slate used to post "Bushisms". In response, Hot Air is publishing the Obamaturism of the Day. Good name given that Obama is proving his amateur level executive skills on a distressingly regular basis. There isn't a day that goes by where I regret voting against him.

garage mahal said...

Yes, but they haven't tried yet, have they?

Why yes I believe they have.

BJM said...

DSGT, I hates to tell ya, but there really is no there there anymore. Other than the food/wine culture, Silicon Valley and an exaggerated self-importance the Bay Area is fast becoming a spent force. I say this rather sadly as a native.

As to highways and railroads, not of much import left since the military was run out of town. The freeways are only key to metro area transportation.

Sacto taxed the inventory based bidnesses into NV years ago and most of the timber is shipped to Japan from the PNW, so we don't ship shit anymore.

We just drove across country on 10 and took 17 to 40 in AZ and none of the semi's we'd been playing tag with since Baton Rouge went north with us. I was surprised how few trucks were on 40. There were plenty of U-Hauls heading east at every fuel stop.

Geographically the Bay Area is pretty small and due to the ocean thermals the wind drifts due west so you'd only pick-off a couple of counties and depending on the time of year and the tonnage they might not even get Travis and Sacto.

Actually Seattle and Bremerton would be a better strategic target than Long Beach but the splodydopes go for maximum economic and cultural impact so it would have to be NYC, DC or LA with Chicago and SF as secondaries.

Reminds me of a story back in the day when Reagan's people were pressing then Mayor Dianne Feinstein for a nuke evac plan, embarrassing her on national TV as a typically unprepared Dem. DiFi responded that if the WH hadn't noticed, the Bay Area was in the tactical vaporize zone and she didn't plan to waste time and scarce funding on a nonsensical plan. Shut 'em up pronto. So we're accustomed to living in the danger zone, both actually (straddling 2-3 earthquake faults) and strategically, prolly why we're all a touch nuts.

Balfegor said...

Why yes I believe they have.

At work, so I cannot listen, but I'll stand corrected anyway! Obama is slightly savvier than I gave him credit for.

BJM said...

Garage, that's your standard? Not much to brag about is it?

Hector Owen said...

Garage: your link goes to the call made last fall to Sarah Palin. Not to a similar attempt on Obama.

The Drill SGT said...

BJM,

Not that I dont agree with what you said, but for the record, I was born in Chico, raised in Sacto, unergrad at Davis, mom still has a beach place nar Watsonville. However, I live just South of the Pentagon now. What scares me is that my wife works downwind of the WH.

and I used to do nuclear (bad nukes, not ours) effects planning.

JSF said...

Obama doesn't not know who's president of France.

WHO is the President?

Hoosier Daddy said...

WHO is the President?


He's on first. I don't know (Biden) is on third.

Peter V. Bella said...

UPDATE: More evidence that Obama is intentionally dealing with former heads of state.

Maybe he is doing things in the grand tradition of those paragons of the Democrat Party, JFK and LBJ. He is courting former heads of state to see if there is a way the US can replace the current ones with people he can deal with. JFK and LBJ did quite a bit of that in places like Africa. The results speak for themselves.

Of course that would assume that Obama has read history books instead of comic books.

Balfegor said...

JFK and LBJ did quite a bit of that in places like Africa. The results speak for themselves.

And, ahem, South Vietnam. Kennedy, at least. I think LBJ gets a bit of a bad rap since he had to spend his entire presidency cleaning up messes like Vietnam that Kennedy left behind.

Kirk Parker said...

CrankyProf,

Love the singular!

BJM,

"Actually Seattle and Bremerton would be a better strategic target..."

Shut up!

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

I have trouble believing Jimmy Carter was half as stupid as this

Carter isn't stupid. He's evil.

Peter V. Bella said...

The more important question is-
Does Obama know who the President of the United States is?

Free Range Steve said...

wrong wrong wrong.. again...

http://features.csmonitor.com/politics/2009/03/23/obama-writes-letter-to-chirac-blogosphere-goes-crazy/

teh stoopid echo chamber lives!

Free Range Steve said...

For those of you too lazy to check:

Obama was replying to a letter Chirac had written to him. As the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.

So... Who's stupid?

blake said...

I think LBJ gets a bit of a bad rap since he had to spend his entire presidency cleaning up messes like Vietnam that Kennedy left behind.

Wait a minute, wasn't JFK withdrawing troops from Vietnam when he was assassinated? Didn't the first plane load come back the very week he was killed?

Wasn't that why he was killed?*


*ref "The Men Who Killed Kennedy", Bill Curtis

Balfegor said...

Re: blake:

Wait a minute, wasn't JFK withdrawing troops from Vietnam when he was assassinated? Didn't the first plane load come back the very week he was killed?

I don't know if you're serious, but JFK was killed by a demented Communist.

My point re: Vietnam is that in all likelihood, we would not have had to go in if JFK had not backed the CIA's cockamamie scheme to eliminate a friendly local strongman and replace him with -- I don't know -- another slightly more friendly strongman or something. Anyhow, as Kennedy ought to have anticipated, given what happened with the Bay of Pigs, things went rather badly, people got killed, and we ended up destabilising the South Vietnamese government, sending them through a succession of weak, ineffectual presidents for five years. Unfortunately, those were five years in which South Vietnam was at war with North Vietnam. The war did not go well for the ally we'd just screwed over, so we were obliged to step in and defend them. Well, until we stopped and they got overrun and everyone was hauled off to reeducation camps to be tortured.

Anyhow.

I blame Kennedy. And am very thankful that nitwit didn't get any bright ideas about having Park Chung-hee assassinated.

Re: Steve:

Obama was replying to a letter Chirac had written to him. As the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.

So... Who's stupid?


Um, you? If you'd actually read through the thread, you'd see the CSM article had already been linked. It's still a pretty stupid faux-pas on Obama's part, since, as I pointed out, some French are taking it as insulting to Sarkozy (contra the CSM article, which seems to have been written by someone who does not read French). In any event, I've linked the Nouvel Observateur article above, so you can read for yourself what it says, and you can read the JDD article needling Sarkozy over it.

Balfegor said...

In fact, if you look at the comments to the Nouvel Observateur article, there's a whole bunch in there gloating over Sarkozy's humiliation.

Maguro said...

My point re: Vietnam is that in all likelihood, we would not have had to go in if JFK had not backed the CIA's cockamamie scheme...

In fairness, it was really the South Vietnamese Army's cockamamie scheme.

In retrospect, backing Diem to the hilt would have been the smartest thing to do. South Vietnam never produced another leader with his tenacity and willingness to fight.

I can understand why Kennedy and Henry Cabot Lodge washed their hands of him, though...backing a sectarian Catholic in a 90% Buddhist country probably didn't look too promising at the time.

Revenant said...

If you'd actually read through the thread, you'd see the CSM article had already been linked.

The moral of this story is, don't mess with Balfegor.

Peter V. Bella said...

I don't know if you're serious, but JFK was killed by a demented Communist.

Um, I do not know if you are serious or just plain stupid. Lee Harvey oswald was never, ever charged with the murder of JFK. He was charged with the murder of a Texas police officer. Oswald was murdered before any investigation into the Kennedy matter could begin. Maybe you should have studied some history.

As to who exactly killed Kennedy, that is still open to some speculation, as most of the files of the investigation are sealed- for no0 good reason- as long as the Kennedy money holds out.

Funny, isn't it. Forty five years later and the files are still sealed?

Peter V. Bella said...

BTW,
The shot that killed Kennedy; it took over several tries with every type of gun- from garbage like Oswald used to the latest in sniper tech- and twenty five years to replicate the shot that killed Kennedy. It has only been done a few times since by professionals.

Maguro said...

PVB- Kennedy was killed only 81 meters from the book depository. It would have been a relatively easy shot for any trained military marksman, which Oswald was.

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter V. Bella said...

Maguro,
It was not the distance, it was the angle of the shot. You should read up on this. Pro snipers have failed to duplicate this shot over the years. The few who have, attested to the difficulty and the constant repetition until they finally got it. Oswald was using a garbage gun, not a sniper rifle and he supposedly made the shot the first time.

Sorry, it does not fly. But hey, if the Kennedy family ever goes broke and they stop bribing the government, maybe the files of the whole investigation will be released and we will learn the truth-in about a hundred years.

Jeremy said...

Laurent Belsie, New Economy blog at the Monitor:

French newspaper, the New Observer, explained that Obama was merely replying to a Chirac letter who was writing him as the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.

The foundation is promoting access to water and medicines in west Africa, combating deforestation in the Congo Basin, and trying to save dying languages in Polynesia, according to a spokesman who helped set up the foundation.

Revenant said...

The shot that killed Kennedy [...] has only been done a few times since by professionals.

What has proved difficult to "duplicate" is the feat of firing three shots in five and a half seconds. But Oswald fired three shots in around eight seconds, which is an easily duplicated feat.

MadisonMan said...

So now that it's been shown the letter wasn't written to the President of France, and ergo shouldn't have been addressed to Sarkozy at all, the question becomes: Will althouse frontpage an explanation?

My own opinion is that, given the tag, one is warranted.

Ann Althouse said...

Huh?

There's nothing wrong with the post.

MadisonMan said...

Is it really an Obama stumble?

MadisonMan said...

But I'm not insisting on anything. That would be taking advantage of your blissful state! :)

And it's not like insisting would work!