With Russian tanks only 50km from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia's Government. According to Mr Levitte, the Russian seemed unconcerned. "I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls," Mr Putin declared.
Mr Sarkozy thought he had misheard. "Hang him?" he asked.
Mr Putin replied: "Why not? The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein."
Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: "Yes, but do you want to end up like (US President George W.) Bush?"
Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: "Ah - you have scored a point there."
Because NO ONE wants to end up like Bush!