NO JOY AT THE SUMMIT -- To French President Nicolas Sarkozy's disappointment, Barack "One-president-at-a-time" Obama stuck to his word and refused to meet with any of the world leaders who attended last week's economic summit in Washington. The French pressed hard, arguing that as current president of the European Union Sarkozy had hoped to be the first transatlantic leader to meet the American president-elect. Throughout the week-end, Sarkozy had a plane on standby to leave for Chicago at a moment's notice. But no summons came from the Windy City.
Meanwhile, there was no sign in Washington of the warm relations of two years ago, when Sarko visited the Bush clan in Kennebunkport, Maine. Le Monde called the G-20 summit "a theater of Franco-American discord." The Americans rejected Sarkozy's insistence on blaming Wall Street for the global financial collapse. "The crisis may be global, but we know very well where it started," the French president said on Nov. 7 in Brussels.
"The Americans didn't appreciate Nicolas Sarkozy's explanation that the summit was being held [in the United States] because that was where the crisis originated," a senior French source said last weekend. The delegation from Paris complained that the wording of the five-page summit communiqué was too technical and could not be sold to the French public. For example, hedge funds -- a "street term" the French said the public understood -- were described in the communiqué as "complex and opaque financial products [with] consequent excessive leverage."