Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Several commenters to my previous post about DSK's troubles at the IMF suggested that the disclosure of the investigation was a deliberate attempt to oust him from the post because he favors stricter regulation of international finance. I was initially skeptical. But now it seems that the Wall Street Journal really is out for his scalp. They have broken a second story about supposed nepotism in the appointment of a young intern--a matter too trivial to have spilled ink over, one would have thought. They are also raising the issue of a double standard (h/t Boz), asserting that while they see nothing in DSK's behavior that would warrant removal, the same can be said, in their opiniion, of Paul Wolfowitz's behavior, and he was removed, so DSK should go too. Although such partial logic is characteristic of the WSJ editorial page, it is hard to avoid the inference here that they wouldn't be devoting so much attention to the matter if they didn't feel there was something at stake in pushing the Frenchman out. There is also the question of the timing of the article, since several journalists, including Charles Bremner and Jean Quatremer, have said that they were alerted to the accusations against DSK by the woman's husband months ago and chose not to write about it. The WSJ would have heard the same rumors and sat on the story, presumably not considering it important enough to bother with until the presence of a pro-regulation IMF head became a more salient concern.

French observers should refrain from attributing these charges to "American puritanism," however. In fact, DSK's frasques have barely made a ripple in the US press. The public is indifferent, and virtually no one outside the Beltway knows his name. This is a purely inside play.


gregory brown said...

Interesting question: in terms of French politics, who would benefit or lose from DSK actually leaving his post. If, as was widely assumed, Sarkozy pushed for the appointment to move him away from France, would it follow that Sarko and his supporters would not want to see him return, especially given that his presence could offer the divided socialists at least one clear, credible unity candidate?

And if thats the case, does the WSJ edito position suggest a rift between neo-con propagandist Murdoch and neo-con acolyte Sarkozy? (yes, that formulation is deliberately provocative...)

Leo said...

Gregory, you are way off the mark.
Rather than on Murdoch, you should be focussing on DSK's one night affair who is called Piroska Nagy. You should remember that Sarko's father is called Sarkozy de Nagy Bocsa. There is more than a coincidence here.
The plot thickens...

MYOS said...

Guys, "Nagy" is a common name in Hungary, so don't look for common points where there ain't none :)

There's a double take on this, I think.
1° DSK DID sleep with (at least) one female under his command. I don"t see how that can be defended.
(Quatremer says that he pursued the woman 'heavily' which I take it means "persistently", until she gave in.)
2° DSK's behavior does not seem to be shrouded in mystery. So the WSJ gathered evidence and chose the moment that suited them best to reveal the breach of conduct.

The WSJ may be after DSK and using the affair as a pretext, but DSK is also wrong for having an affair with a person under his command. Not mutually exclusive ideas.

On the other hand, who wants to read Askolovitch's essay
(if you've missed it:
http://www.lejdd.fr/cmc/international/200842/dsk-un-economiste-doue-pour-le-bonheur_158348.html )

Leo said...

Myos, thanks.
A good lesson, not so much about Nagy's (maybe you are not as old as I am to remember Imre Nagy the Hungarian premier bust by the Soviets in 1956), but about humor on the Internet. Without smileys, things never look humorous. ;)
As for "le fond de l'affaire", just a tempest in a teapot.