On His President’s Secret Service

It is still unclear if President Nicolas Sarkozy will rebound from his abysmal approval ratings after taking the lead in the West’s intervention in Libya.

The UN-approved no-fly zone and the international military strikes on Gaddafi’s forces have broad support among the French today. But based on the results of Sunday’s local elections in France, it would seem bold diplomacy has not paid off in votes for Sarkozy and his party.

But one clear winner —in fact, the Fuss of the town— has emerged in France: Philosopher and media gigolo Bernard-Henri Lévy, who is often invoked only by his awe-inspiring initials “BHL” here.

It was BHL who put President Sarkozy in contact with Libya’s rebel government in the east of the country, and BHL was on hand when Paris announced it would officially recognize the rebels as the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people.

If you read the conservative daily Le Figaro’s March 18 account of the events, you get the sense that BHL didn’t just have a front row seat to the precipitous events that pushed Western powers to wage war on Gaddafi, but that he’s been playing the lead role in a gripping drama in which Sarkozy is supporting cast and foreign minister Alain Juppé a background extra whose name was forgotten in the credit crawl.

“Bond, BHL Bond”

That’s how some are depicting the country’s most dazzling intellectual and sometimes spy hero.

On Europe 1 radio this week, host Dominique Souchier interrupted BHL, his guest on the show, to say “You almost forced France to recognize [the rebel Libyan transitional council] as the real representatives of the Libyan people.”

It wasn’t a question. BHL denied he had “forced” anyone, but declined to offer any other version of the movie script.

For those still wondering why President Sarkozy’s diplomacy seems so erratic in North Africa, rest your dictator-weary minds. With secret agent BHL on the case, who needs policy?

Just watch him in action here, warning Middle East no-gooders that the days of European blow jobs are over!


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