One up on Europe

They envy us our President.

Amélie Nothomb, Belgian-born French novelist, envies us our President, and reports that her fellow Europeans feel the same way:

Mr. Obama’s position on Iran has provoked a more-than-favorable reaction all across Europe, and particularly in France, and nothing seems to be clouding the blue skies of the old continent’s love story with President Obama. Mr. Obama’s anger is portrayed here as something holy. And when he laughs, we laugh.

When our president, Nicolas Sarkozy, gets angry, on the other hand, we laugh. When he laughs, we wonder why. We feel that Mr. Obama confers dignity on his country and its people. We, too, would sorely like to feel dignified.

Note to Francophobic wingnuts: living (or governing yourself) well is the best revenge.

Meanwhile, A. A. Gill reports from London that “Mr. Obama is the only popular politician left iin the world. He could win an election in any of the G-20 countries, and his fellow world leaders will do anything to take home a touch of that reflected popularity.”

If that’s true, it’s a substantial foreign-policy advantage.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com