Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Ségolène l'Américaine"

David Martin-Castelnau thinks that the real Americanizer of French politics is not Sarko but Ségo.

"The war is lost"

The war in Afghanistan is lost, according to a cable purportedly from the British ambassador to Afghanistan and leaked to Le Canard enchaîné. And Judah Grunstein wonders how long the "coalition of the bankrupt" can sustain its effort.

L'ouverture se referme

First casualty of l'ouverture: Jean-Pierre Jouyet, secretary of state for European affairs, will quit the government in 2009, at the end of the French presidency of the EU. He cites an unwillingness to sacrifice all of his time to politics and a preference for observation over participation when it comes to public affairs. In American parlance this might translate into "wants to spend more time with his family," but in Jouyet's case the standard face-saving alibi seems to be sincere. He is a staff technician who was enticed into a cabinet post by Sarkozy's wish to give his government a bipartisan allure. I was glad to see him there and will be sorry to see him go, but his expertise can still be tapped, and he won't have to waste his time in weekly cabinet meetings.

Too Optimistic

My previous note was too optimistic. Is it possible to sample the opinion of the French, who allegedly "value sophistication above almost anything," without a quote from M. Lévy? Apparently not. As for the value of sophistication in France, I guess Mr. Erlanger doesn't spend his evenings watching Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde or Sous le soleil. He's no doubt hobnobbing with sophisticates like BHL rather than monitoring the audimat.

Imported Methane

Scott McLemee decides that it's worth a try to prick the BHL bubble in the US, and he enlists the help of a voice that FP readers will find familiar.