François Hollande calls emergency meeting after WikiLeaks claims US spied on three French presidents. [more inside]
Fashion to Die For: "Fast fashion might seem like a modern invention, but in the turbulent world of 18th-century France, when Marie Antoinette was calling the shots, fashion moved at light speed." Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, art historian specializing in fashion and textiles, gives a delightfully rich interview to Collectors Weekly. Through the prism of fashion, she touches on class fluidity and lack thereof, gender roles, textile trades, guilds, self-expression – all elements that rapidly metamorphosized at the end of the Ancien Régime and inexorably led to the French Revolution and its Reign of Terror. [more inside]
The French Right Marches against Gay Marriage. Last month, France became the thirteenth nation to recognize same-sex marriage. A large religious and political movement continues to protest loudly against the Socialist government's "Mariage Pour Tous" (Marriage For All) law. [more inside]
“We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,” said Mr. Grandil... “Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.” French president François Hollande's plan to tax income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year at 75% is alarming some.
The Big Three of EU Foreign Policy: Stefan Lehne on the contrasting roles of Germany, France and the UK.
France has a new president. With 51.9% of the second-round vote, François Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy to become the first Socialist president of France since 1995. In his victory speech, Hollande declared that "austerity is not inevitable," but international business interests have already started rumbling about Hollande's plans for higher taxes on the rich and large-scale public sector investment. The change in power is to be effected in next ten days, with Hollande scheduled to appear at the G8 and NATO summits on May 19 and 20.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF and likely French Presidential Candidate, was arrested in New York for sexual assualt today. The Port Authority of New York removed Strauss-Kahn from the first class cabin of an Air France flight ten minutes before it departed for Paris and handed him over to the NYPD, whose Special Victims Unit is handling the case, for questioning. He is expected to be arraigned later tonight. [more inside]
French general strike is going on. It's against a proposal by the French government to raise the normal retirement age for public pensions from 65 to 67 and early reduced pensions from age 60 to 62. All society is concerned. Voilà the manifestations of high-school students, so damn chic.
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
Sarko l'Americain addresses US Congress. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told the US Congress it can count on France's support against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear plan. [Full Text here PDF]. Here also, is a recent take on Franco-American relations [more inside]
Lessons from Past Western Incursions in the Middle East. A speech by Juan Cole at the New America Foundation in which he discusses his new book, Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East, and the relevance and lessons of Napoleon's expedition in Egypt to the current American occupation of Iraq. A shorter version, covering many of the same points, is in this article: Pitching the Imperial Republic.
Joblessness is a major motivating force of these riots, which is why the politicians and the press turn endlessly around the question of job creation in the banlieues. [...] An injection of vigorous enterprise, a big deregulating kick, and racial discrimination would evaporate in the tremendous, creative release of market forces. No race riots in an untrammelled market economy: that’s what Sarkozy really means. It’s an ingenious, high-pressure sales pitch for the ‘Anglo-Saxon model’ – indeed, it’s bordering on blackmail. Jeremy Harding in the London Review of Books goes among the arsonists in Paris and offers some insights on the economic factors and political consequences of the riots.
Solutions For Grandeur Nicolas Sarkozy has become the most popular French politician by diving headfirst into the country’s most explosive political issues. If he has his way, this hyperactive, pro-American, Gaullist, free marketer will transform French politics for good. via
Red State/Blue state France. Les résultats département par département. Remarkable that the U.S. isn't the only country that's split down the geographic middle. No translation, but the picture speaks for itself.
In france, neo-nazis and extremist jews unite against arabs -- so says left-leaning anti-racist group MRAP (view machine-translated page) in a new report. Yeah, the conspiracy theorists sure need more ammo...
French Muslims Influence Government Policy on Iraq This piece from an on-line Arab source helps us to understand the French reluctance to want a war with Iraq. And you thought it was only about French oil interests, but non.
"They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet." Is it wise for France to make opposition to war against Saddam such a central tenet of their foreign policy? Opposing the war may be politically sound today, but this seems a bit heavy-handed, and perhaps short-sighted. Is "European solidarity" just a code phrase for "France and Germany get to call the shots"?
Failed assasination attempt on Chirac at Bastille Day parade. According to police reports, the man who fired a rifle as President Jacques Chirac passed by in the parade celebrating the French revolution is a neo-Nazi with a history of emotional problems. Chirac was unhurt.
There is no far-right Vichyite renaissance in France, no Pieds Noirs uprising, nor, really, is there any antiSemitic rampage (Le Pen is spasmodically anti-Semitic but systematically anti-immigrant; i.e., anti-Arab.), but it's a safe bet that Jean-Marie Le Pen can never peacefully become President of the French Republic. It used to be said that for evil to triumph it was necessary only for good men to do nothing; in France, historically, for evil to enter it is necessary for good men to tell other good men that nothing is the best thing a good man can do. As the French are now being reminded, it is better to muddle through with your pants around your ankles than to die lucidly with your nose in the air. How relevent these words and events are here in the US?
Sacre Bleu! The French presidential election run-off will be between the conservative Chirac and the extreme-right Le Pen. What's a French liberal to do?
A conservative applauds high taxes and socialized French medicine We are often subjected to comparisons (often false one) of medical coverage between the U.S and Canada or the U.S. and Great Britain. Here is a happy Frenchman who loves his medical coverage.