Sunday, October 12, 2008

Palling Around

France will not extradite Marina Petrella to Italy. Her lawyer says that Sarkozy's decision was motivated by "reason and heart." I can think of two other motives. Carla Bruni was opposed (her sister Valeria visited Petrella in the hospital). And Sarkozy may well be aware of the backlash in the United States, even among conservative intellectuals, against the effort to use the violent political past of a Sixties radical to mobilize vitriol and hatred.

In some respects, Sarkozy's political persona draws on elements of both American neoconservatism and American populism. But France is different, and in the end there was more mileage to be gained by playing the humanitarian card rather than by following Sarah Palin down the road to neo-McCarthyism. Sarkozy knows which country he lives in.

Late confirmation of my hypothesis: Carla and Valeria went to the hospital together to inform Petrella she would not be extradited. Interestingly, the Bruni-Tedeschis are in France because their family fled to escape the violence of radical groups in the 1970s.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

" you could see in his shining eyes that he loved us back...this man may write a new chapter of history...it was galvanizing..etc "

The author has obviously fallen under the charm and fascination of his subject.

Anyone with a little history background cannot help the parallel with the ecstatic prose coming from some commentators returning from the NSDAP meetings in Nurnberg in the 30's.

The scale is different of course, but the lack of professional distance, the fascination for an emerging populist leader, the willingness to kiss the hand holding the whip, are all too similar.

Imagine the same post written after a meeting by JL Le Pen.
It would immediately be labelled as definetely fascist...

Unknown said...

Did you mean to leave this comment on the Besancenot post? It's not relevant to this one.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course...sorry for hitting the wrong key.

Boz said...

I've never followed this case closely, so perhaps my confusion is justified, but how is Sarah Palin's "neo-McCarthyism", which by that I assume you mean the baseless guilt by association link between Obama and Ayers, at all analogous to extraditing a convicted criminal?

Unknown said...

It's not that complicated, Boz. Both Sarkozy and Palin have tried to associate their present opponents with a "culture of radicalism" from another era. In Sarkozy's case, the attack was more diffuse and less personalized, but it emerged most clearly in his late-campaign speech in which he indicted the "spirit of '68" for undermining France's moral core. Sarkozy no doubt had the legal authority to extradite Petrella, despite Mitterrand's promise of asylum to Red Brigade refugees, but his private motives would have been open to question.

Boz said...

Ah, thank you. Perhaps my contention is more with Mitterand than Sarkozy.