Friday, June 11, 2010


It's one thing to cancel dinner with a friend because you've had a spat. It's another to put out the word that the friend canceled on you. Sarkozy appears to be guilty of such goujaterie:

The circumstances of the last-minute cancellation of a dinner between Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France on Monday threaten to become a minor diplomatic incident, with French concerns about German budget cuts emerging as the real cause.
"The appointment was postponed at France's initiative, with mutual agreement," Ulrich Wilhelm, the chancellor's spokesman, said on Wednesday. There was no disagreement between the governments and nothing political about the reasons for postponement, he said.

Ms Merkel has gone further by insisting that the Franco-German relationship "is not stuttering".
However, Mr Sarkozy told his cabinet on Wednesday that he wanted to delay the meeting because he would not have been sufficiently well briefed about Germany's austerity package to be able to discuss it with his German counterpart.

The real difficulty, however, is not the dinner but the disagreement. Merkel seems to be determined to retrench her way out of the crisis. Sarkozy thinks this is folly. The euro, and Europe, hang in the balance. That is not an overstatement, alas.

My (World) Cup Runneth Over

I'm a sports curmudgeon, so "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" whether France beats Uruguay. But America's leading poll analyst, Nate Silver, has calculated the odds, for those who are interested. For those who aren't, here are some choice words from another sports curmudgeon:

Bref, soyez heureux dans les bidonvilles d’Uruguay (ou d’Afrique du Sud !), vous aurez toujours de quoi bricoler une baballe pour passer le temps. Pourtant, les études sociologiques dignes de ce nom montrent bien que le foot est un vecteur de haine dès qu’il s’institutionnalise, les clubs se formant avant tout sur les appartenances ethniques ou sociales (voir en guise d’introduction Racism and Xenophobia in European Football, sous la direction d’Udo Merkel et Walter Tokarski, Meyer&Meyer, 1996). Rien là-dessus dans ce très modeste texte introductif, encore moins dans les extraits de la deuxième partie.