The Spectacle Blog

French Pride on Display

By on 2.17.10 | 11:12AM

Today, President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Haiti. It's refreshing to see France step up and, at least, make overtures regarding the well-being of its former colony: 

Some Haitians are welcoming France's new interest in their nation as a counterbalance to the United States, which has sent troops there three times in the past 16 years. But Sarkozy's visit is also reviving bitter memories of the crippling costs of Haiti's 1804 independence.

The United States has too long been first to act and first to blame in regions that were never American colonies, but always, somehow, American obligations.

From the Balkans to Beirut, Americans have spent valuable human and natural resources in the name of world peace. France's visit to Haiti is a good first step for the former colonizer.

And although President Sarkozy's visit to Haiti -- the first ever by a French president -- spoke of the "wounds of colonization," it also spoke of Haitian self-reliance and optimism.

And it spoke of French pride.

 Imagine the audacité. A former colonizer speaking Vive L'France, to a former colony.

But that's exactly what Mr. Sarkozy did.

Ending his remarks, Mr. Sarkozy exclaimed, Vive la France followed by Vive Haiti.

Although, perhaps, he regrets the wounds of colonization, he does not apologize for or diminish the pride he feels in being a French citizen.

And why should he? Rightly, wrongly, or indifferently, he is the President of France. 

Regardless of the international pressures to succumb to the moral equivalence of one nation over the other, a visiting president, should never shirk or shun from exclaiming his nation's exceptionalism. Mr. Sarkozy ought to utter themes of French exceptionalism and longevity. 

That is expected, n'est pas?

Would that the French can follow through on pledges to aid in the reconstruction of their former colony. America should not be required to go it all alone.

And like with the example of President Sarkozy in Haiti, American exceptionalism should never be diminished or excused by any leader on this, or especially, foreign soil.

Not that any American president would ever do that… I'm just sayin'.

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