Many people have watched Sarkozy on Youtube, speaking while drunk at the G8 world leaders in June. Many too have watched him walking out of his CBS interview when asked a simple question about his wife. OK, you might think, even political leaders are human, and can slide over the edge occasionally. But when he was talking to the American Congress yesterday, did you see his eyes? His words were well-chosen and appreciated, but his eyes were talking at the same time. Even for a Frenchman, the guy looked competely nuts.
This piece from the European Foundation Intelligence Digest gives yu the picture – the new French President has walked out of TV interview with the US Channel CBS following a question about his (now ex-) wife, Cécilia. Clips of the aborted interview have been shown on CBS and they are widely available on the Internet: they have generated a storm of blogging in France itself. The interview got off to a bad start when Sarkozy made it clear that he was too busy to talk to the American journalist: he appeared enervated and bad tempered. He was overheard on camera referring to his press secretary as “Quel imbécile!” When the question was put about his wife (it was conducted before the announcement of their divorce) he replied, evidently angry, that if he had anything to say about her he would not do it on this occasion. He then removed his microphone and walked out. This is certainly not the first time that Sarkozy’s famous irascible nature has been visible. He lost his rag with a photographer while on holiday in the US this summer and was filmed apparently drunk at a press conference following the G8 summit in Berlin. (He claimed that he was not drunk, that in fact he is teetotal, and that he was merely tired and out of breath.) But the event has caused many in France to doubt that he has a stable enough character to be President.
While they were about it, they might have also mentioned that Angela Merkel, although clearly more stable than Sarkozy, is probably the dullest political leader in the history of democracy. The one thing you could say about German leaders in the past was that even though their sense of humour was a bit odd (to the British mentality), at least people like Kohl, Schroeder and the rest seemed to think they had one. Merkel doesn’t even pretend. She is a study in emotional vacuity. Henry Kissinger, a Bildeberger who approves of her promotion of the EU Constitution, wrote of her in TIME –
Merkel’s leadership style is the art of accomplishing great goals through the accumulation of nuance. Thoughtful but tenacious, she moves toward her goals with inward assurance.
He might just have said it in simpler language. She’s dull, soulless and cannot communicate. As for the goals, I think we all know what they are, but only through leaks did we find out that she’s prepared to constantly lie about the true nature of the EU Constitution.
Come to think of it, Gordon Brown the supposed possessor of genius, as faithfully repeated by so many loyal or sycophantic journalists and reporters (apparently he reads books) also seems to suffer some embarrassingly large gaps in his emotional intelligence. His IQ is said to be stratospheric. My God, he even has a PhD. (From what I know, holders of PhD were those who could tolerate the boredom of learning and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get on with life – a curious qualty to find in young future leaders when you think about it). But when it comes to EQ, understanding and empathising with others, he’s clearly challenged.
So what is going on? Why have European leaders simultaneously been selected by their electorates, all apparently happy to be led by people who quite obviously either cannot deal with people, like Brown – cannot communicate like Merkel – and cannot maintain stability like Sarkozy.
Brown, you might say was not chosen by an electorate at any point. He is in place through his proximity to Blair and (artfully kept secret for at least ten years) loyalty to Europe. Merkel too came to the fore after a stalemate general election result, and discussions between politicians were the basis of her selection as leader, not as a clear-cut choice of an electorate. She too is studiously loyal to the EU, acting as the ‘champion’ of the electorally-vulnerable Constitution.
Sarkozy on the other hand was clearly elected. But how was he selected? He was the most pro-EU candidate for the French Presidency, and had a big push from the French media.
One of his platforms is said to be his pro-Americanism, but he is more likely making an attempt to deceive the Americans than express genuine fondness. While praising them to the rafters, he’s getting on with establishing the EU, which has the clear ambition of competing with and undermining American power. He might be nuts, but is still, just as are Brown and Merkel, capable of low cunning.
Whatever the cause of it, it seems odd and yet strangely appropriate that at the moment when Europe is about to sign up to a Constitution which eliminates all her nations, the leaders of Europe’s three largest nations are, all at the same time, devoid of leadership qualities. All three are wannabees who should have been passed over. Shrinking nations are, not surprisingly producing shrinking quality in their leaders. Treachery was always easier to locate in the lower ranks.
UPDATE – Dan Hannan shows that Sarkozy has been conning the French (let alone the Americans) by claiming he will be the next Thatcher.