Belfer Center Home > Publications > Articles and Op-Eds > Op-Eds > Toujours de l'Audace!

EmailEmail   PrintPrint Bookmark and Share

"Toujours de l'Audace!"

Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi protesters hang the French flag in Benghazi, Libya, Mar. 11, 2011. French President Nicolas Sarkozy faced increasing pressure from fellow leaders for suddenly giving a Libyan opposition group recognition.
AP Photo

"Toujours de l'Audace!"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

March 15, 2011

Author: Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security


"Be bold, always!" This is one of the mottos of French culture. But there is a counterpoint slogan, which comes out of the cynical bouche of Prince Talleyrand, the club-footed but elegant lothario who was a survivor of the Revolution in France: "Above all, not too much zeal." ("Et surtout, pas trop de zčle").

Nicolas Sarkozy, French to his fingertips despite his heteroclite background (two parts Hungarian, one part Greek/Jewish and one part French/French), seems to have absorbed the first, but not the second, of the above two maxims.

As a British civil servant put it, as I interviewed him for my book on French negotiating behavior, the French like to take the floor first, come up with a grand idea or concept, and then let others to fill in the details....

Continue reading:


For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.

Full text of this publication is available at:

For Academic Citation:

Cogan, Dr. Charles G. "Toujours de l'Audace!." The Huffington Post, March 15, 2011.

Bookmark and Share


Receive email updates on the most pressing topics in science and int'l affairs.

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.