The Obama administration is not known for its pro-British track record, but this is by far the strongest indication yet that the current White House has little regard for the Special Relationship and its unique role in modern American history. During a White House photo-op with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Obama had this to say:

We don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy, and the French people.

Quite what the French have done to merit this kind of high praise from the US president is difficult to fathom, and if the White House means what it says this represents an extraordinary sea change in US foreign policy. Nicolas Sarkozy is a distinctly more pro-American president than any of his predecessors, and has been an important ally over issues such as Iran and the War on Terror. But to suggest that Paris and not London is Washington’s strongest partner is simply ludicrous. And rather hypocritical after it was recently revealed that the US Ambassador to France had described Sarkozy as “thin-skinned and authoritarian.”

The French president himself is no doubt bemused by President Obama’s warm embrace, not least after making clear his own less than flattering views of his US counterpart in the past. As The Times reported in the early months of the Obama presidency, Sarkozy clearly sees Obama as lacking experience and suffering from delusions of grandeur.

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