I think Obama is playing a dangerous double game with French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Yesterday, we could hear and read the following piece of news :
The President and President Sarkozy had a productive call earlier today on several issues on our shared strategic agenda, underscoring broad agreement on key issues.
The two leaders discussed preparations for the upcoming G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, including the need to address a broad range of regulatory reform issues, including capital and executive compensation. They also discussed ways to reform international institutions to make them more inclusive and effective.
The two leaders discussed the status of diplomatic efforts to bring Iran into compliance with its international obligations on its nuclear program. They also agreed to continue working with key players in the Middle East region on setting the conditions necessary to restart Israeli-Arab peace negotiations.
The President congratulated President Sarkozy on the historic appointment of French General Stéphane Abrial to the post of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, a key post that leads in the transformation of NATO's forces and capabilities to address the challenges of the 21st century.
The United States appreciates the strong French leadership and contributions on these important issues. (source : ISRIA)
But at the same time, a French daily newspaper called Les Echos made a revelation, which showed that this phone call is only a comedy : the two leaders definitely do not get on well.
Worse : Obama has done his best to make Sarkozy fail in his recent trip to Brazil aiming at selling the French military jet Rafale to president Lula :
Les Echos, a French daily, has shown a little of what they say happened backstage during the negotiations between Brazil and France to buy the French military jet Rafale. Trying to upstage his French colleague, American president Barack Obama called Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva twice, says the Paris newspaper.
Les Echos revealed up-to-now unknown information on the Obama administration's efforts to make sure the Brazilian government would choose the F-18 manufactured by Boeing, instead of the French fighter. The planes are for the renewal of FAB's (Brazil's Air Force) fleet
As reported by the publication, "Until the beginning of 2009, the competition was only a French-Swedish duel. Starting in mid-July, however, there was a change of atmosphere: Boeing and the Obama administration deployed the steamroller.
"From his vacation spot, the American president calls Lula to tell him that the United States will go the extra mile in terms of technological transfer and Congress will guarantee it."
According to Les Echos, the US started an "influence battle" and sent the following message to a French negotiator: "We didn't think that this thing would go so far in disinformation."
The newspaper tells that Obama only decided to personally take part in the negotiations after finding out how remote were the chances of the F-18 winning the bid against the Rafale.
The first Obama call happened during his vacation in Martha's Vineyard, between August 23 and 30. According to the newspaper, Obama called Lula and offered himself as guarantor that the technology transfer of the F-18 would be approved by the American Congress. He then promised to call again when he got the confirmation of the Congress approval.
Despite Obama's assurances, the French paper says that Lula called Sarkozy, August 31st, to tell the French president that he had chosen the Rafale. When he arrived in Brazilian capital Brasília, September 6, on the eve of the Brazilian Independence Day, Sarkozy tried to get a public statement that Brazil had opted for the French solution.
On September 7 all the signs indicated that Brazil had made its mind, but it seems that the Obama charm was already starting to work.
Since then the French seem to be in overdrive to secure the agreement. Les Echos tells that Nicolas Sarkozy was awoken at 3 am to agree to the terms that were concocted by the Brazilian Defense minister and the Air Force chief on one side and Sarkozy's chief of staff and Dassault-Aviation boss on the other.
On September 16, Defense minister Nelson Jobim, who had complained in the past about the Rafale's high cost, confirmed his preference for the French war plane mainly because of the promised technological transfer. More than once Jobim doubted the good faith of the Americans. "I'm a lawyer," he said, "and I work with jurisprudence. The precedents I have from the United States are bad."
(source : Brazzil Magazine + Les Echos)
So I ask myself the following question : what was Obama's real motivation when he did that ? Did he really want to sell his military planes to Brazil, (Obama, the pacifist, the anti-war, the man who has just sent a message of peace to Russians :
Today's news : President Barack Obama has abandoned plans for a missile defence system based in Eastern Europe in a move which angered allies but delighted Russia)...
Or did he only want to anger Sarkozy, because he really can't stand him ?