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2013 Man of the Year: Laurent Fabius

Laurent Fabius
Laurent Fabius / AP
• December 24, 2013 2:00 pm

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Ten years ago, France was a leading member of the "Axis of Weasels," and freedom-lovers rightly revoked its association with a deep-fried potato snack. But after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius boldly stood up against a disastrous Iranian nuclear deal last month, true American patriots like Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and the Wall Street Journal editorial board were moved to proclaim "Vive la France."

As the United States, Britain, and other world leaders played footsie with Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif in Geneva, Fabius met with the press to publicly smack down the preliminary agreement as "a con game" and a "sucker’s deal."

Like many great men before him, Fabius was scornfully attacked as a "Zionist agent" by Tehran. And, regrettably, France did not block a final agreement when talks resumed. But Fabius’ Real Talk earned France new respect around the world.

The 67-year-old divorcé—who was rumored to have had a "passionate relationship" with Carla Bruni before she wed former French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy—also stood strong against Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad, arguing for military intervention even as David Cameron and Barack Obama punted their decisions to parliament and Congress.

John Kerry, take notes. When the French socialist is the tough guy in the room, it may be time to reevaluate your negotiating strategy.