Saturday, November 15, 2008

Havel Surprised and Worried

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel has said that he's "surprised and worried" by Sarkozy's recent statements on the stationing of American missile defense systems in Europe. Havel says he doesn't understand the French president's objection to a defensive missile system.


Today mark's this blog's 200,000th page view (see counter to right). Thanks to all of you for continuing to read.

Let's Make It Unanimous

Yes, ça y est: they're going to make it unanimous. Laurent Fabius says that "a congress is meant to choose a political line, and a political line is inseparable from the question of alliances. ... We refuse any alliance with the center." But Ségo is having none of it: if they--the emerging Anybody But Ségo coalition--want to make alliances the issue, she'll take it to the militants:

"Bertrand, je t'ai entendu tout à l'heure, je ne doute pas de ta sincérité. J'aimerai te répondre devant tous.

Voilà la proposition que nous ferons: il y aurait une consultation directe des militants sur la question des alliances. Dès lors, cette question ne pourra plus servir de prétexte."

Better still, she'll make herself over into a new Popular Front: "un nouveau front populaire, ça ne vous tente pas?"A rhetorical surenchère worthy of Mitterrand. Do you want to "choose a political line," as Fabius says, or win an election? That is the question.

Sigh ...

Bertrand Delanoë, stung by the perception that he is the "big loser" in the vote of Socialist militants, took the podium today and tried to magnify François Bayrou, that armyless captain, into a scourge of the Left on a par with Nicolas Sarkozy. The ploy was transparent: Ségolène Royal "pals around with" rightists, to borrow the Palinesque idiom, and is therefore unacceptable as a leader of the Left. The crowd, which had greeted the mayor of Paris with lukewarm applause (according to Le Figaro, not necessarily the best source for such an appreciation), responded to this stirring call to arms with thunderous applause, it seems. It is hard to fathom why the innocuous Bayrou inspires such fear and loathing. The Socialists are like teenagers in a perpetual identity crisis, afraid that if they associate with the wrong people they'll lose their bearings. They fail to notice that to define Left as not-Right leaves the Left empty of all content.

Bayrou must be pleased, though. This magical magnification of his meager figure makes him loom almost as large in the Socialist imagination as he does in his own.

Drezner on G20

Only fans of The Sopranos will understand the allusion in all its nuances, but Dan Drezner here compares George Bush to Uncle Junior and puts Nicolas Sarkozy in the role of Tony. Drezner doesn't mention that Junior eventually shoots Tony in the gut. But time is running out for W, whose abandonment of the reality-based community didn't await the onset of senility. He may want to shoot Sarko for his remark to Putin that "you don't want to end up like Bush," but the G20 isn't the place to whack a critic, and opportunities for revenge will probably remain slim through the Christmas season, right through to January 20.