No, I am not kidding.
From Le Figaro:
Barack Obama a écrit à Jacques Chirac
Le président américain vient d’adresser une lettre «très sympathique » à Jacques Chirac, selon l’expression de ce dernier. «Je suis certain que nous pourrons au cours des quatre années à venir collaborer ensemble dans un esprit de paix et d’amitié afin de construire un monde plus sûr» , écrit le successeur de George W. Bush au prédécesseur de Nicolas Sarkozy. En évoquant le mot de « paix», Obama rend un hommage implicite à l’action de l’ancien président français qui s’était opposé à la guerre en Irak. Une intervention américaine contre laquelle le futur président américain s’était opposé comme sénateur, lors du vote au Congrès.
And for those of you who parle Anglais, my colleague at the AOL Political Machine Mark Impomeni has the “Obama Snubs French President Sarkozy” story – where he reaches out not to Sarko, but to Chirac:
French press outlets are reporting on another foreign policy gaffe committed by the Obama Administration. President Obama recently sent a letter to French President Jacques Chirac (French) expressing Obama’s desire “work together…to build a safer world.” It’s a nice sentiment. The only problem is that Chirac has not been president of France for over two years. The current French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is not a fan of Obama’s foreign policy plans, especially in regard to Iran, and now is reported to be upset by the president’s outreach to his predecessor.
The snub is the third in a string of recent foreign policy missteps by the Administration. In the first, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a symbolic “reset” button, which was meant as a lighthearted ice-breaker from the new Administration to the former foe. But the humor fell flat when Lavrov informed Clinton that the gift was emblazoned with the Russian word for “overcharge,” not reset. Next came the disastrous visit by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier this month. British officials were reportedly taken back by the Obama Administration’s refusal to adhere to standard protocol, declining a joint press conference, and hastily scheduling a brief Oval Office appearance of the two leaders. That was followed by revelation of the president’s embarassingly minimalist gift to Brown, a set of 25 DVDs of classic American films. The DVDs were coded to play only in North America, making them virtually useless to the leader of America’s greatest ally. Now, the Obama Administration has apprently angered the president of France.
The Obama Administration may be too preoccupied with handling the economic downturn here at home to pay much attention to foreign policy courtesies. But American administrations are expected to be able to manage multiple tasks at once. Thus far, the White House has been neglecting foreign policy, as the mistakes show, after promising during the campaign to rekindle ties with America’s allies abroad. The president would be well advised to spend more of his time tending to relationships with foreign leaders before his Administration’s early clumsiness becomes an international liability.
Instead of “Breaking News” alerts, there should “Broken Promise” alerts, given all of Obama’s promises about restoring “credibility” to the Oval Office. My money is on German Chancellor Angela Merkel being next in Obama’s trail of tears.