Friday, March 28, 2008

Chinese Move to Euros

The Chinese are beginning to quote prices and invoice non-US transactions in euros and other currencies rather than the dollar.

Hollande Handicaps the PS Race

François Hollande runs down the strengths of the various PS courants: "The PS has not changed much since the Congrès du Mans. Roughly a third of the votes are cast in stone. Fabius? 10 to 15 pct. The Strauss-Kahnians? Also 10-15 pct. Hamon-Emanuelli? 10 tops. Mélenchon? 4 or 5." About "Ségolène" and "Bertrand" he is more reticent, but he claims 25 pct of the party for himself. Bottom line: nobody can win without forming a coalition with another courant. So Hollande remains the kingmaker--or so he hopes, unless in his heart of hearts he still dreams of becoming king.

Sarko's Speech to Parliament

Sarkozy's speech to the British Parliament went over well, and why not? He flattered the Brits no end. Without you, no parliamentary democracy. Without you, no shining European example of a successfully reformed liberal market economy. Without you, no European Union. Wait a minute? What was that last? Did he really say that "the European Union--I mean this because it is my deepest conviction--is our joint effort, yours and ours"? Did he really mean to insult Germany with this wet kiss planted on Euroskeptic Albion's stiff upper lip? Or by "ours" did he mean to say nous autres Européens du Continent who built Europe while you fiddled with your "special relationship" with the Yankee hegemon? Well, no matter. It was Albion who needed to be seduced, and though the shy lad seems to have been smitten more with Mme Sarkozy, her husband nevertheless laid on the soft soap: "The United Kingdom has shown that in the global economy there was a way to achieve strong growth, full employment, and solidarity. That way was the way of reform. ... For us the challenge is to take inspiration from a successful experience--your experience."

Really, the Brits must be awfully susceptible to Gallic charm to fall for this line of patter. And wasn't he only recently cooing the same sweet nothings in the ear of the American Congress, which fell just as hard? Well, no matter: the bloom is off the rose, le flagorneur continues on his merry way, but Lady Liberty has her memories and a promise of a thousand more French troops in Afghanistan to show for her fling.