With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia, Mr Levitte said.
“I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin replied.
Mr Sarkozy responded: “Hang him?”
“Why not? The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein,” said Mr Putin.
Mr Sarkozy replied, using the familiar “tu”: “Yes but do you want to end up like (President) Bush?”
Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah, you have scored a point there.
Looks like Sarkozy has a habit now of talking smooth but tough to the Russians. More evidence here (h/t T Barnett). Or when he showed some real guts recognizing that Jerusalem is going to have to be shared.
It’s a rare thing on this blog to hear my praise the French government especially on foreign policy (intelligence is another matter where they are excellent). So here it is. Yeah he likes to showboat around quite a bit and has a sorta weird man-crush on Obama, but the guy’s instincts are pretty sound seems to me and his touch is quite deft. Brown as Barnett says is the more the brains on the global finance regulatory side, but Sarkozy might be the better salesmen.
[Full story of the Sarkozy-Putin encounter here.]