Why I'm excited about the election of an unabashedly conservative politician to the presidency of France I do not know. But Nicolas Sarkozy's victory yesterday marks the start of a new chapter in the Franco-American narrative that I think (hope) will bring a much needed, new voice to the global debate on Iraq, human rights and environmentalism. Plus, the man's kinda cute.
While most Americans' perception of France is of a lazy, sultry country that disapproves of us, our two countries have a long history of support and admiration that as of late has been marred by conflict. It's easy to dismiss France with pop stereotypes, but to hate France is to hate ourselves -- our Constitution is a product of progressive 18th century French thought. The French Englightenment gave us the Universal Rights of Man, the precursor to our notion that "all men are created equal."
As both countries grapple with what the term "equal" means -- equal access to healthcare? an open immigration policy? gay marriage? -- it's clear that soon enough the U.S. will find its equal in what is now being called SarkoFrance -- an outspoken and determined country that is ready to shake things up on the world scene.