Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Paved With Good Intentions ...

... is the "road to hell," of course, which the current president of the EU thinks is the road the US is on. But Mr. Topolanek is no longer the Czech PM, which I suppose draws the sting of his remarks somewhat. Still, Paul Krugman is worried about Europe's failure to come to grips with the crisis. Of course, he doesn't like Geithner's bank rescue plan either, so I guess it's a matter of choosing which road you'd rather take to hell, which, like Rome, seems to be the universal destination. ... Heaven help us.

But There's Still a Chill in the Air ...

So, the previous post suggests a thaw in the Washington freeze-out of Paris, but Charles Bremner isn't having it, nor is Nicolas Canteloup:

Sarkozy was gratified last week when Obama welcomed his historic decision to take France back into the military command of the US-led Nato alliance. But the glow vanished when it became known on Friday that Obama had sent an effusive letter -- of all people -- to Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy's bete noire, who did everything to stop his younger colleague succeeding him in the presidency in 2007.

"I am certain that over the coming four years, we will be able to work togetyher in a spirit of peace and friendship in order to build a better world," Obama wrote. Chirac stuck it hard to his successor, saying in public how "sympathique" he had found Obama's letter. It provided obvious fodder for the comedians, who wondered whether Obama might be under the impression that the chief international opponent to President Bush's war in Iraq was still running France.

Nicolas Canteloup, the breakfast radio impersonator, today performed an hilarious sketch on the President's imagined phone-call with Obama. "Allô Barack, this is Nicolas... you know, Little Big Man," said Canteloup-Sarkozy. "You know me, the husband of Carla Bruni, you know, the bombshell."

Sensing the differences with Washington ahead of the London summit, Sarkozy has toughened his rhetoric this week while François Fillon, his Prime Minister, was dispatched to lobby in Washington. Sarkozy is determined at least to get a commitment from the reluctant Americans to start work on new world financial regulations.

In a speech in Saint Quentin on Tuesday night, he warned Washington and other foot-draggers that the G20 must take action to "put morality back into financial capitalism". He added: "I will not associate myself with a world summit which decides to decide nothing." It's not clear what he meant by that.

Obama, France, NATO, and ESDP

Corine Lesnes, Le Monde's Washington correspondent, has posted on her blog a White House communiqué not only welcoming France's reintegration of the NATO command structure but also "the further strengthening of European defense capabilities," which Obama says he looks forward to discussing at the NATO summit. There's also this from General Jones, the National Security Advisor, to the effect that there is no contradiction between being European and belonging to the Atlantic Community. (h/t Justin)

Wasmer on Statistics

A sensible article by Etienne Wasmer on the need for ethnic and racial statistics and the political value of having them. And another piece in Le Monde.

Valls Gets His Knuckles Rapped

The Bureau National of the Socialist Party was mostly critical of Manuel Valls' critique of the party's "antisarkozysme primaire." See my previous post and readers' comments on this subject. Also here and here.

La Journée de la Jupe

Did any of you see this film on Arte? It's not available in the US, but I see that it's attracting a good deal of attention in France, for example, here and here. If you saw it, what did you think?