Friday, September 3, 2010

Poisson d'Avril en Septembre?

See here.

Another Comment on the French and the Roma

This one by Olivia Miljanic and Robert Zaretsky.

France Buys US Drones and Missiles

From Judah Grunstein:

A few more eyebrow-raisers in terms of France's defense purchases: The head of France's procurement agency traveled to Washington over the summer to discuss the purchase of Reaper UAV drones, and the French military is anxiously awaiting delivery of a batch of already purchased Javelin missiles for use in Afghanistan.

Quiggin Compares EU and US

An interesting, if rough, comparison between the EU and the US is offered by John Quiggin. The whole post is worth reading, but here is the bottom line:

Within the inevitable margin of error, we can reaffirm the conclusion from the earlier post that there is no significant difference between the US and the eurozone leaders on output per hour worked or on employment population ratios. The big differences between the two are
(a) Employed Americans work longer hours (offset by the fact that Europeans do more household work)
(b) In both the EU and US, ordinary income earners receive about half of total market income as private disposable income. In the US, however, a much larger proportion of the other half goes to those in the top 1 per cent, while in the EU it is mostly tax revenue.

On the Roma

Eolas has an excellent, truly excellent, post on the Roma (h/t Louis). In particular, note this passage:

Une question se pose, et je ne tiens pas à l’éluder : celle des Roms et de la délinquance. Le lien est certain, les chiffres ne mentent pas. Partout en Europe, les Roms sont bien plus victimes de la délinquance que les autres populations. Destructions de biens, agressions racistes, sur lesquelles les autorités ferment bien volontiers les yeux, d’autant plus que les Roms, on se demande pourquoi, ont développé à leur encontre une certaine méfiance, quand ce ne sont pas des pogroms. Sans compter les crimes contre l’humanité subis par ce peuple, que ce soit le génocide nazi ou la réduction en esclavage en Valachie et en Moldavie —oui, des esclaves en Europe— jusqu’à la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle.

France and the G20

A Times analysis. Not much to say, really. In my view, domestic pressures will be intense and prevent Sarkozy from showcasing his G20 role as he might once have hoped. It would have made a nice lead-in to the presidential election season had things gone better on the domestic front. But as it is, he's going to have his hands full at home.

Complexities

David Bell weighs in on the Roma expulsions (h/t Passerby). Meanwhile, however, things have become more complicated in France. In Lille, a camp of Roma was removed from a site it had occupied, apparently illegally, and apparently, according to the government, at the explicit request of Martine Aubry's city hall. And Aubry is not denying the fact but rather trying to differentiate "evacuation" from "expulsion." Meanwhile, François Rebsamen, the Socialist mayor of Dijon, urges the PS not to oppose expulsions as such but to insist on "dignity" and discretion (no spectacle).

These two incidents show, as I suggested the other day, that Sarkozy has found the perfect wedge issue. Not only are the expulsions popular with the masses, but they also put local officials in a difficult position--and most local officials are Socialists. Illegal occupation of land is--well--illegal, and illegality is not supposed to be tolerated. The debate will therefore not turn on the issues of principle cogently described by David Bell but rather on the false dichotomy of "laxism" vs. "complicity," which is precisely where Sarkozy wants it: either you're with him or you're with "them." The possibility of searching for a more humane way of dealing with "them" is taken off the table.

The creation of false dichotomies has been a hallmark of Sarkozy's politics throughout his career. There's no likelihood he will stop soon.