President Nicolas Sarkozy heads to Asia this week to broach the idea of bringing India and China together with G-8 nations in a 'Bretton Woods II' framework of economic rules.
A year ago, France's new president raced around Europe looking frenetic. Nicolas Sarkozy's wife had left him, critics pointed to a lack of discipline and a royal style of rule – a man who moved but didn't shake – and his popularity nosedived.
This week Mr. Sarkozy worked with President Bush to set up a series of meetings to reform the global economy, and he's now off to Asia to broach the idea of bringing India and China together with G-8 nations in a "Bretton Woods II" framework of economic rules. This comes just weeks after he moved with alacrity to broker a cease-fire deal to end the Georgia-Russia war.
Critics still point to Sarkozy's proclivity to turn politics into a show and to unashamedly take credit whenever possible. Yet in the space of a summer he has consolidated his power and blended substance with showmanship, and is now winning praise as a crisis leader in a more multipolar world.
"I think today that everyone, even those who had misgivings, acknowledge that [Sarkozy] not only has great political energy, but also exceptional leadership qualities," commented José Manuel Barroso, the EU chief who accompanied Sarkozy to Camp David this weekend.
The French president's peripatetic style is proving useful for a major crisis with multiple elements – which plays into his ability to do many things at once.
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