100 DAYS OF BEING A LAUGHINGSTOCK IN PARIS
Paris, France. It is very cool to be a French intel guy. A spectacular meal at a Parisian bistro with $90 entrées and a $200 bottle of Bordeaux? No problem. I'd known this fellow since he got me out of a jam in Sudan years ago. His James Bond days are over, but still, riding a desk for the DGSE -- Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (General Directorate for External Security), France's military intel agency - in Paris has its decided benefits.
One of them is not being infected with Obamamania. "My agency considers him a joke," he confides. "Every day there is some fresh lunacy that we cannot believe. Mr. Bush would often make us angry. But at this man we just laugh."
"In truth, it also makes us sad," he continued. "French resentment towards America is strong, so being able to laugh at your country feels good. But it is such a sad and strange thing to see America - America The Great! - do something so crazy as to elect this ridiculous man."
"There are many people in America who think he isn't a legitimate president as he wasn't born in the US and isn't a natural citizen. What do you think?" I asked.
He shrugged. "I wouldn't know. I've never had reason to make an inquiry."
"There are a lot of people convinced he is a traitor who hates America and is actively determined to destroy it. Any opinion on that?"
He didn't shrug at this. After a long slow sip of wine, he mused, "I would not go that far. Many of his actions, however, are very puzzling because they are so counter-productive regarding America's best interests. There seems to be a consistent pattern in that direction."
"What does Sarkozy think of him?"
"Nothing but contempt."
After a pause he asked, "And Langley?"
"Well, if you thought the war they waged against Bush was intense, it was nothing compared to how they're going to screw Obama. He has tried to gut them with the ‘torture memo' release and slashing their budgets. The morale is depressed, sullen, and enraged. You know what a left-wing outfit Langley is. They thought he was their boy and they feel betrayed. All kinds of damaging stuff on him will be appearing via their media friends."
He nodded. "And in Tel Aviv City?"
He was referring to the huge underground city complex of Langley's underneath the US Embassy in the Israeli capital. "That's an interesting question. You know how vast and deep the relationship is there. Langley is making every effort to overcome the total and massive distrust their Israeli colleagues have for Obama, whom they know is selling them down the Jordan River. So far though this effort is in words. The Israelis are waiting to see what Langley does."
He said nothing. I smiled. "You guys wouldn't be Langley's cutout for thwarting BO regarding Israel, would you? I'd never suspect that..."
He continued to say nothing, gave me only a slight smile in return, and poured me another glass of wine. "The Bordeaux is good, yes?" I nodded.
"You know, the French media worships this man the same as yours in the US. All of this ‘100 days' talk, it is impossibly stupid. Most anyone in the French elite, the business leaders, Sarko's people, they all know this. They all think this is some crazy joke of the Americans. But it is a very, very dangerous joke. For 100 days your president has been a laughingstock among the tout le monde No one may be laughing 100 days or 10 months from now."
He leaned forward. "The world can go - how do you say - sideways with this man very quickly. No one he has working for him knows what they are doing - possibly excepting Mrs. Clinton - and he certainly does not. All of us in our little community are worried - us, our friends in Berlin, London, Tel Aviv, and Langley too as you say. It is not like the barbarians at the gates. It is everythere are no gates. The Somalis, Chavez, Iran, Putin, Beijing, the ‘Norks" as you call them, the list is long and it is growing. We are not sure what to do."
It took me a moment to respond. "The best thing that has happened now is Obama making Langley his enemy. They will be cooperating with you more, be more a part of your worried community. Working together, you can undermine his efforts more effectively, block and maybe even repair the damage."
It was my turn to lean forward. "Then again, all together you could be more pro-active. The man is a mystery. Nobody can make public his actual birth certificate, or even the particular hospital he was born in, or his college grades, or how he got into Harvard, or how he made editor of the Harvard Law Review and never wrote a single article for it. It goes on and on. He really is a Zero. I think all of you guys should find all of this out and make it known."
I added, "The quicker the better, before the laughing stops and the real dangers begin."
"What is that phrase you use?" he asked. "Something to consider?"
I laughed. "Yes, there is much to consider - and much that you can do. I mean, really, if the Soviet Union could be dismantled, so can this presidency."
It was a beautiful April afternoon in Paris. He walked me back to my hotel. It could be that the times we live in may get even more interesting.