Sarkozy into the breach

From a July profile on Nicolas Sarkozy in Foreign Policy:

Stéphane Rozès of the polling institute CSA compares Sarkozy to Napoleon during the famous Arcole bridge battle, in which Napoleon charged ahead urging his soldiers to trust him despite not knowing what was on the other side. “Sarkozy charges ahead, begs his supporters to follow him and defy adversity but he does not tell them what lies ahead,” says Rozès. “In his mind, the movement creates the destination.”

Discuss…

26 thoughts on “Sarkozy into the breach

  1. From Wikipedia:
    The event on the bridge was depicted in a famous painting by Horace Vernet where Bonaparte can be seen holding a battered flag valiantly leading his troops across the bridge; however, in reality, a French military officer feared for his leader’s safety, and pushed him into the river. Bonaparte almost drawn in this event.

    Villepan is of course the French military officer, but he worries not for Sarkozy, but his own shallow skin.

    Sarkozy is the only person calling a spade a spade, yet is chastised for his ‘violent’ words by the governing establishment. The 2007 elections will be most interesting.

  2. IMO the impression being gained by remote foreign observers – like myself – is that policy is driven by the respective presidential ambitions of Sakhozy and Villepin who are playing on what each takes to be the most vibrant cords in the sensitivities of France’s electorate.

    There seems little regard for any professional or academic assessment of how France’s malfunctioning labour market stoked the discontents that have fuelled the riots.

  3. There might be some truth to this: some have suggested that Sarko’s strategy here is to try to court Le Pen voters. So he’s leading half the country into the territory occupied by US Republicans: free trade, privitization, plus law and order and a bit of unstated racism. No one’s really there in France.

    I’m not sure it’ll work. My impression is that FN voters are motivated more by a hatred of “delocalization” than racism. They voted against the EU constitution, after all.

  4. Maybe I’m missing something here, but where is President Chirac? Seven minutes in a preschool isn’t anything like ten days while Paris burns. Isn’t the position of French President famously powerful for an EU executive?

  5. There seems little regard for any professional or academic assessment of how France’s malfunctioning labour market stoked the discontents that have fuelled the riots.

    Well, defined ‘fueled’. If you mean the events immediately after those boys were electrocuted, then from what I’ve read and from the words of the rioters themselves, it’s due to Sarkozy’s ‘harsh’ words( and that mosque tear gas incident ).

    If you mean the years prior to this event, well there has been much assessment of just what you speak, so I can’t possibly imagine what your talking about.

    It’s clear to me that what’s stoking these riots are many things. The ‘youth’ may be unemployed, but unemployment in and of itself doesn’t cause violence. Nor does poverty, which, due to the generous welfare state, does not exist.

  6. Chirac is a cynical political hack who sees no advantage in stepping into this, especially now that his man seems to be looking much better than Sarkozy. But yes, he should probably try to stop the squabbling. A pox on both their houses, I say.

    There’s a longish thread on this at CT, although not everyone seems to understand French politics.

  7. “If you mean the years prior to this event, well there has been much assessment of just what you speak, so I can’t possibly imagine what your talking about.”

    If so, how come France’s continuing budget deficits requiring the shredding of the Eurozone’s Stability and Growth Pact of 1997, and the persistent high unemployment rates – especially of the under 25s?

    Is there nothing constructive that can be done to address these endemic problems? No wonder that talk of EU policy harmonisation has gone quiet.

  8. This is what deregulation is coming to in Britain:

    “SUPERMARKETS and other large shops are set to be allowed to open for extra hours on Sundays. Alan Johnson, the trade and industry secretary [=minister], said it was ‘sensible’ to consider the step after supermarket chains argued that Sunday was now their busiest day of the week. He has commissioned an analysis of the costs and benefits of the change, which would require legislation. It would bring England and Wales into line with Scotland, where Sunday shopping hours are not restricted. . . ”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1859511,00.html

  9. If so, how come France’s continuing budget deficits requiring the shredding of the Eurozone’s Stability and Growth Pact of 1997, and the persistent high unemployment rates – especially of the under 25s?

    Oh come. Are you seriously saying that the above mentioned problems shouldn’t exist because of the obvious social upheavals these problems would cause to French society? Remember the 14,000 French who died last a couple of summers ago while the French population was galavanting away on month long vacations paid for by a 35 hour work week? Me either. It’s human nature to defer problems as long as possible or to curry short term gain without thinking of the consequences.

    Political/social inertia doesn’t allow for change. Nor does arrogance or hubris. All of which the French government and peoples exhibit at every opportunity. The cherished ‘French social model’ if you will. There are reams of articles and books written over the last 10 years speculating on France’s and Europes large *unassimalated* Muslim minority, the consequences of a welfare state, and the refusal of France to enact painful reforms.

    As a counterpoint, Poland exhibits similar unemployment rates for it’s youth, and yet, curiously, there are no riots. This is both an economic and social phenonmenon, and a rather obvious one. Economics won’t explain this away. Although I rather expect the usual suspects to try and do just that.

  10. I would like to comment, but, please, adapt your posting pad, so that it accepts French and Belgian keyboard settings… This is an American programme / European Bloghosts exist.
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  11. Without minimizing the drab situation of the French economy, I’m not sure the unemployment being lower would make such a difference. After all the riots are caused by a few thousands hooligans who are a tiny minority of the youth living in poor suburbs and who are not really feeling concerned about getting a proper job when they can earn much more thanks to the black-market economy. Anyway whatever your situation is, there’s absolutely no excuse for burning down schools or throwing stones at firemen.

  12. It is hard to feel respect for the State and its building and employees when all the State says about you are insults, from Karcher Sarkozy to the daily harassment of the local cops checking your ID, several times a day.

  13. Hervé, I understand about the priority of restoring order but the national average unemployment rate for the under 25s in France of 22.2% is high compared with most other EU countries:
    http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/PGP_PRD_CAT_PREREL/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2005/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2005_MONTH_09/3-01092005-EN-AP.PDF

    And remember that 22.2% is the national average rate for the under 25s so the corresponding rates in those housing estates at the periphery of the big cities in France is likely to be much, much higher. I have seen unemployment rates quoted of up to 70% in those bleak surburbs where the riots started but I cannot vouch for such figures, of course.

    Almost all the government rhetoric has been about about cracking down and restoring order with very little about addressing the what has been driving the riots. The most encouraging is this recent quote of Chirac:

    “French President Jacques Chirac has broken his silence on the riots that have rocked his country’s suburbs over the last ten nights.

    “‘Right now the absolute priority is to re-establish security and public order,’ he said alongside his prime minister Dominique de Villepin.

    “‘But we also realise that, in the long-term, the objective must be to create a climate of respect in our communities, and to pursue equal opportunities and social justice. We are committed to this aim and we will invest the effort that’s needed to achieve it.'”
    http://euronews.net/create_html.php?page=detail_info&article=318102&lng=1

  14. Sarkozy is the only person calling a spade a spade, yet is chastised for his ’violent’ words by the governing establishment. The 2007 elections will be most interesting.

    He seems to be treated unfairly by the media:
    It appears that Nicolas Sarkozy was deliberately demonized in the TV reports of him using his strong language earlier in the week. In fact, there was footage available showing Sarkozy using the word “racaille” (riff-raff) while speaking to an inhabitant of Clichy-sous-Bois who herself had just used the word while expressing how fed up she was with local crime.

    Sarko answered her using her own words. In politics, that’s a way of communicating empathy. Her words were edited out and never shown in the insuing days. His weren’t. “Arrêt sur Images” showed the whole exchange today.

  15. And remember that 22.2% is the national average rate for the under 25s so the corresponding rates in those housing estates at the periphery of the big cities in France is likely to be much, much higher. I have seen unemployment rates quoted of up to 70% in those bleak surburbs where the riots started but I cannot vouch for such figures, of course.

    Two points:

    1. You don’t know what’s driving the rioting. Your engaging in circular reasoning by first claiming it’s unemployment that’s driving the rioters and then wondering why no one is talking about it. Logical, you are not. You are also the one, as I recall, who wondered why no one was talking about the high rates of male sodomy in Birmingham, England, where a number of the London suicide bombers were, inferring that sodomy was somehow related to the motivation that drove those born and bred Englishmen to blow themselves up. Hilarious.

    2. The unemployment rates for the under-25’s in Poland is a whopping 35%, in Slovakia its 25% and Estonia it’s 20.5 % and gee, there’s no rioting. So there is obviously other reasons here.\

  16. “he’s leading half the country into the territory occupied by US Republicans: free trade, privitization, plus law and order and a bit of unstated racism.”

    Unstated racism? What a ridiculous slur to attach to either Sarkozy or US Republicans. Calling people who kick a MUSLIM man to death “scum” is hardly racist. As far as US politics goes, it is Democratic pundits that are explicit in their racism, caricaturing black Republicans as “house slaves” and “Sambos”.

  17. “Your engaging in circular reasoning by first claiming it’s unemployment that’s driving the rioters and then wondering why no one is talking about it. Logical, you are not. ”

    How exactly is that circular reasoning?

  18. How exactly is that circular reasoning?

    Because he is assuming what he is trying to prove, namely that unemployment is causing the riots.

  19. unemployment rate for the under 25s in France

    Is that just me, or is there little to no correlation between youth and general unemployment? Furthermore, am I imagining a cluster in the latin countries?

  20. Unstated racism? What a ridiculous slur to attach to either Sarkozy or US Republicans.

    Not really. I’m not going to say anything definitive about Sarkozy, because I don’t know enough. As to the GOP, they built a governing majority in good part on coded appeals to subconscious and explicit racism on the part of the American public. Nixon’s “law and order” campaign, his decision to coopt Wallacite voters through the “southern strategy,” endless attacks on quotas, busing, welfare, tough on crime talk, etc over several decades. This was all in many ways response to the radicalization of the civil rights movement and the urban unrest of the 1960s, and predicated on peeling away Dixiecrats and suburban white moderates from the Democratic camp.

    I’d argue it wasn’t until the last few years – prob. Bush’s 2000 campaign – that this kind of thing has stopped. Indeed, Ken Mehlman recently apologized for the Southern strategy.

  21. “You are also the one, as I recall, who wondered why no one was talking about the high rates of male sodomy in Birmingham, England, where a number of the London suicide bombers were, inferring that sodomy was somehow related to the motivation that drove those born and bred Englishmen to blow themselves up. Hilarious.”

    Absolutely nothing to do with me – I known nothing about male sodomy in Birmingham and have no opinions on the subject. Your memory is plainly failing. The majority of the London bombers of 7 July – three out of the four – came from West Yorkshire, a long way from Birmingham. As best I know from press reports, none engaged in sodomy.

  22. Absolutely nothing to do with me – I known nothing about male sodomy in Birmingham and have no opinions on the subject.

    No, it was you. My details were wrong, point is the same: http://fistfulofeuros.net/archives/001709.php

    To better understand social pressures in Yorkshire which might well have motivated the bombers who lived there …. “There were significant regional variations in the number of sex offenders as a proportion of the population. The lowest was in Hertfordshire with 27 for every 100,000 in the population, while the highest was in West Yorkshire with 67.”

    But at least that time your were asking the question instead of presuming it.

  23. No it was you: http://fistfulofeuros.net/archives/001709.php

    To better understand social pressures in Yorkshire which might well have motivated the bombers who lived there, try these recent news reports about events in their local region completely unrelated to the London bombings:
    There were significant regional variations in the number of sex offenders as a proportion of the population. The lowest was in Hertfordshire with 27 for every 100,000 in the population, while the highest was in West Yorkshire with 67.

    At least your not presuming the question this time.