The essay is amusing in its portrayal of Levy's ego and surprising in its revelation of the influence Levy had with President Sarkozy. Here's a sample quote from the article:
Wars are no longer supposed to begin like this. They are exercises in national interest and self-defense, not personal morality and valor. They are the product of military plans, not proddings from celebrity philosophers. And yet Libya — so far the most aggressive humanitarian intervention of the 21st century — depended not on any broad public movement nor any urgent security threat.Levy is a well-known celebrity in France, something of a Christopher Hitchens character, a public intellectual. Because of his personal flamboyance and sometimes quixotic causes, however, he's often the butt of ridicule in the media. The mockery leaves him unfazed:
There was instead a chain of private conversations: Hillary Clinton moving Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy moving Dmitri Medvedev, and at the chain’s inception this romantic propagandist, Bernard-Henri Lévy. “I think this war was probably launched by two statesmen,” Lévy told me. “Hillary Clinton and Sarkozy. More modestly, me.”
“They have no effect on my narcissism,” Lévy wrote in 2008 of his critics. “In the face of assaults, my ego is fireproof, shatterproof.”His high self-esteem is apparently matched by his naivete. Being Jewish he was convinced that once the world's Muslims saw what had been done by a Jew on behalf of fellow Muslims in Libya it would produce a rapprochement between the two groups. Wells writes:
He was convinced, he says, that a NATO campaign could help bring Muslims and Jews together—a project he calls a “battle of my life,” and one in which he spotted a role for himself. On the front lines, he told the rebels and jihadists of his religion, believing history might move because a Jewish writer “has given a hand and helped a Muslim country.” Since the sixties, he says, “I have dreamed of this reconciliation of the sons of Abraham. I will have achieved my duty of being a man, if I contribute.”Anyway, the article is a very good read, offering interesting insights into the life of an interesting man. He reminds me a bit of the late congressman from Texas, Charlie Wilson, who, with only a couple of CIA agents, was able to equip the Afghanistan Mujahideen to defeat the Soviet Union back in the 1970s. A movie (Charlie Wilson's War starring Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Julia Roberts) was made about Wilson's exploits in 2007.
Maybe they'll make a film about Levy as well. I think it would please him.