Thursday, September 23, 2010

Uncle Sam Reaches out to the Banlieues

Scott Sayare has an interesting piece in The New York Times about US embassy outreach efforts to the Paris suburbs. (Full disclosure: Scott is a reader of this blog and visited me earlier this year to discuss French politics.) He notes that Uncle Sam has moved in where the French government has moved out. What one wonders after reading the article is how the French government is reacting to this effort. The following sentence in particular raises a host of questions:

Since Mr. Obama’s election, the Americans have helped organize seminars for minority politicians, coaching them in electoral strategy, fund-raising and communications. 

One can only imagine what the reaction of, say, John Boehner would be to the news that the French embassy was coaching, say, Haitian-American politicians on how to knock off their no-doubt Republican opponents. This is really quite an extraordinary intervention for the American embassy, and I can't imagine that the UMP, whose idea of a "minority politician" is an Auvergnat deputy, is pleased. But maybe the French government is so indifferent to the suburbs that it doesn't even know what the Americans are up to. Which suggests a good follow-up story for Scott Sayare.

No comments: