The Times's France-blogger Charles Bremner speculates about the motivations behind France's recent overtures to Russia, which include an elaborate state visit to Paris by President Dmitry Medvedev, a gas deal between GazProm and France's GDF Suez, and the planned sale of four Mistral warships to Russia:
Sarkozy's calculations are simple, they make sense for France and they are being welcomed by both left and right. Sarkozy's overtures to Barack Obama have failed. The American leader looks down on him -- though he has finally invited him for his first White House visit later this month. Sarkozy received nothing from the Americans for resuming full Nato membership. Germany has so far beaten France hands down in reaping benefit from trade with Russia. So France is reverting to the old Russia card that was first played by President Charles de Gaulle in the 1960s.
A longtime Sarko-watcher, Bremner also suspects the president finds Medvedev easier to deal with than the pricklier Vladimir Putin.
For a very different take on the Mistral sale, see Georgian National Security Advisor Eka Tkeshelashvili's inverview with FP from last week.
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