President-elect Sarkozy, who was elected on a pro-American and pro-Israel platform, is considering offering an important job in the new conservative government to a former socialist foreign minister known for his anti-American and anti- Israel opinions. ~The New York Sun
The Sun is referring here to Hubert Vedrine, who famously dubbed America a “hyperpower” and did not mean it as a compliment. Even so, I have been somewhat surprised that Americans took offense at this, since hyperpower really just means superpower, and most of the Americans who don’t like Vedrine or France are just fine with America being described as a superpower. Even though hyper and super have the exact same meaning, one carries a subtle connotation of excess and the other, in conventional usage in English, has the connotation of surpassing excellence. People here love Superman, but the same people would regard Hyperman as a sugar addict with serious control problems. Go figure.
Back to the article. This lede captures perfectly the incredibly self-obsessed way in which many American journalists look at foreign elections and foreign politics. Sarkozy, whose campaign was almost entirely one focused on reviving the French economy, combating unemployment and establishing law and order, did not run on a “pro-American and pro-Israel platform.” Arguably, had he made his campaign so explicitly one of foreign policy questions he might well have lost, since he would have seemed to be preoccupied with all the wrong issues. Of partly Jewish background and an admirer of American economic success, Sarkozy is perhaps less critical of Israel and America, but he is not even as robustly supportive of Mr. Bush’s policies as the German Chancellor. He has stated that France and America are strong allies, but allies can and will disagree with each other. This is only a ”pro-American” position if you rather foolishly believe that Chirac was “anti-American” because he argued against invading Iraq (a position that must now seem quite friendly and helpful to the United States). Sarkozy ran on a platform of domestic reform and economic revitalisation, plus keeping out the Turks. If anyone can figure out how that has anything to do with America and Israel, I congratulate you on your ingenuity.