We all remember what the French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared, in his victory speech, shortly after winning the French presidential election in 2007:
I want to issue a call to everyone in the world who believes in the values of tolerance, freedom, democracy, humanism, to all those who are persecuted by tyranny, by dictatorships […] I want to tell them that it will be France’s pride and its duty to be at their side. […] France will be on the side of the oppressed of the world. This is France’s message, it is France’s identity, it is France’s history.
Election promises and sweet talks are notable for often being broken once a politician is in office. We will never forget the lie peddled by Nicholas Sarkosy on his second official visit to Tunisia (April 2008) : “Today, the sphere of liberties [in Tunisia] is progressing (…) I have complete confidence in your will to continue to enlarge the space of freedom in Tunisia.” Not a single word about human rights violations in Tunisia!
Last year I wrote a blog post about how France voted for Ben Ali and how it was accordingly to the traditional “Politique Africaine” of France.
This year, I’m wondering whether under the leadership of Barack Abama, the United States, who enjoys good relations with Tunisia, a country praised as “a counterterrorism ally”, will change its policy? Will Barack Obama have the ability to create better foreign policies based on ideals and respect, and not based on self-interest and safety? Can he stop US assistance to repressive regimes, “soft” dictators and “moderate Arab regimes”?