Malaka Of The Week: Nicolas Sarkozy

The Sarkozy mugshot variations.

Disgraced former presidents seem to have an affinity for Putin and Russia and antipathy for Ukraine. And that is why Nicolas Sarkozy is malaka of the week.

Nicolas Sarkozy is an abrasive center-right politician who was president of France from 2007-2012. He was defeated for reelection in 2012. His record as president was a mixed bag: right-wing on most issues but surprisingly green on climate change. He is not now nor was he ever a warm and fuzzy guy.

Sarkozy was convicted on corruption charges in 2021. He still loudly maintains his innocence, but he’s always been a loudmouth. The former French president currently faces more charges with the possibility of jail time.

Despite taking French in school, I neither speak nor read the language very well so my expertise in French politics is limited. Shorter Adrastos: A thumbnail sketch is all you’re getting. I’m also thumbnailing his name from Sarkozy to his nickname, Sarko. Malaka Sarko, it is.

Malaka Sarko recently published a book to a storm of criticism. He’s not a supporter of neo-Fascist leader Marine Le Pen but he’s drunk the same populist Kool-Aid in regard to Vladimir Putin and his war on Ukraine:

“In an interview to promote the 560-page book last week, Sarkozy defended Vladimir Putin and called for Ukraine to accept the Russian occupation of Crimea and other disputed territory. He also insisted Ukraine should not be allowed to join Nato or the European Union and should remain “neutral” to appease Russia’s fears of being surrounded by “hostile neighbours”.

In an advance copy obtained by the Observer, Sarkozy goes further, describing both sides of the conflict sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “belligerents” and criticising EU and US support of Kyiv.

“It is said we are fighting a war against Russia without fighting it. Clearly we are not engaged on the ground, but we are delivering weapons to one of the belligerents,” he writes. “Russia will remain our neighbour whether we like it or not. We must find ways and means to re-establish neighbourly, or at least calmer, relations.

“Russia has to renounce all military action against its neighbours … Ukraine must pledge to remain neutral … Nato could at the same time affirm its willingness to respect and take into account Russia’s historic fear of being encircled by unfriendly neighbours.” He described the return of Crimea to Ukraine as “illusory.”

The timing of Sarko’s ode to Russia is awkward because of the suspicious death of Yevgeny Prigozhin. I call it the Dead Man Flying incident: Prigozhin was a dead man from the minute he mutinied against Putin. I’m only surprised it took so long for Putin to deal with his ally turned enemy. Vengeance is as Russian as borscht, vodka, and thousand-page novels.

Back to Malaka Sarko. In addition to his more general comments, he defended Putin personally:

“People tell me Vladimir Putin isn’t the same man that I met. I don’t find that convincing. I’ve had tens of conversations with him. He is not irrational,” he told Le Figaro. “European interests aren’t aligned with American interests this time,” he added.”

Tens of conversations? That must sound better in the original Russian French. Why is it in Europe’s interest to appease Russian aggression? Appeasement never ends well.

Sarko’s comments are reminiscent of those made by a certain former American president* who is also facing legal difficulties. I’d never lumped Sarko with Trumpo before because he’s intelligent and left office without fomenting a coup. But if the shoe fits, kick them with it.

If you like multi-party politics, France is the place for you. The shelf life of their political parties is limited. Sarko was elected president on the UMP ticket, which is an acronym that has nothing to do with umpires. But Sarko still fancies himself a political kingmaker who’s calling balls and strikes for Les Republicans. I cannot keep the parties straight without a scorecard: I preferred it when the Gaullists, Socialists, Communists, and National Front dominated the French political scene. They don’t care what I think and why should they?

I remain baffled as to why so many right-wingers revere Putin and his thugocracy. It’s reminiscent of the delusional leftists who were apologists for the Soviet Union. Sarko’s Putin love and Zelensky hate is another example of how the far right and far left always seem to converge on Russia. And that is why Nicolas Sarkozy is malaka of the week.

One of Sarko’s redeeming characteristics is his Elvis fandom. If only he had a suspicious mind when it came to Russia. The last word goes to The King:

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