Sarkozy’s Club Med: Desperately Seeking Relevance

Sarkozy’s Club Med: Desperately Seeking Relevance

Some of the most important moments in modern diplomacy live on in photography. That's why this weekend French President Nicolas Sarkozy -- in the presence of news photographers -- made sure to simultaneously grab the hands of the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestinian Authority President and triumphantly stand as the link between the two. The image, symbolizing the power of diplomacy to bring enemies together could have made history, except that we had seen it countless times before. That was just one of the problems with Sarkozy's weekend summit of Mediterranean nations, a gathering filled with potential, but light on results.

Even before this weekend's summit of 43 nations (roughly) bordering the Mediterranean, the nascent organization had already been dubbed Club Med. The term conjures frivolous holiday making, rather than ponderous history shaping. Shaping history is precisely what Sarkozy had in mind during his days as candidate and in his inauguration speech when he described his plan to create a Union for the Mediterranean. Sarkozy's ambitious plan immediately ran into difficulties and what was salvaged from the grand design is what came to life on July 13 in the splendor of Paris' Grand Palais.

The idea itself was brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that it had already been proposed and set in motion more than a decade earlier. That was one only of the problems.

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