America: No longer feared, but the nut you walk away from!

Nicolas Sarkozy, now President of France for three months: The (American) catastrophe in Iraq has had an unlooked-for effect: Not to stoke anti-Americanism in a new generation but to make America seem almost marginal....when people in Paris talk about manufacturing might, they talk about China; when they talk about tall buildings, they talk about Dubai; when they talk about foreign takeovers, they talk about Gazprom, the giant Russian oil and gas company. (After acquisition of Sibneft, with 119 billion barrels of reserves, it ranks only behind Saudi Arabia as the world's largest owner of oil and natural gas.)

America is no longer very important in the world. What Brown (Britain), Merkel (Germany), and Sarkozy have in common is that they do not want to be defined by their response to America. Its military weakness has been exposed in Iraq, its economic weakness by the rise in the Euro, and its once-great cultural magnetism has been diminished by post-9/11 paranoia and insularity.

To a new European leadership class it is no longer the human bomb you have to diffuse, but the nut you walk away from. (Thank you, President Bush!)

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