It's pretty rare that a politician does an about-face as flagrant and publicly documented as French President Nicolas Sarkozy's stance on human rights in the conduct of foreign policy. Here he is back in the summer of 2007, just before his first meeting with Russia's then-President Vladimir Putin:
Here he is yesterday before his meeting in Paris with Chinese President Hu Jintao:
Now, it so happens that I tend to agree with Sarkozy 2.0, especially if you define progress in terms of bilateral trade deals signed and nuclear reactors sold. That's meant only half-jokingly, because trade and strategic industries are a major indicator of a nation's power, and their promotion is a compelling concern of any head of state.