Mon dieu! France’s presidential elections are only two weeks away. President Nicholas Sarkozy, who was trailing in the polls behind Socialist Challenger Francois Hollande, is now running neck-a-neck in the race.

One suspects Sarkozy, has made a pact with the devil.

First, in an incredible stroke of luck for the wildly unpopular Sarkozy, the man who should have been France’s next president, former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn(DSK), was ruined by sordid sex scandals. Disgraced bad boy DSK is now preposterously charged with pimping and sexual criminal conspiracy. The Strauss-Kahn scandal saved Sarko’s goat: polls showed Sarkozy would have been soundly beaten by DSK.

France’s judicial system is notoriously obedient to political power. Sarkozy is clearly beating political dead horse Strauss-Kahn to smear the opposition Socialist Party, whose star the ex-IMF chief once was. French politics are notoriously dirty and sleazy.

Strauss-Kahn’s Viagra-fuelled sexual escapades with ladies of the night and females who came too close proved a major misfortune for France. Strauss-Kahn was likely the only politician who could have imposed desperately-needed reforms on France’s sagging economy and bloated welfare state.

Second, the murder of seven people in Toulouse by a deranged youth of North African background that horrified France. Sarkozy, his allies and the right-wing media launched a blitz of scare stories about alleged “Islamic terrorism,” the suspect’s supposed links to al-Qaida, and fear of foreigners. In a scene straight from the classic film “Casablanca,” Sarko ordered his security forces to arrest the usual Muslim suspects who had nothing to do with the Toulouse massacre.

Third, Sarko played to France’s growing xenophobia and prejudice against Islam by warning of Muslim conspiracies, and demanding the number of “foreigners” in France be curtailed. Pretty rich, considering that Sarkozy has Hungarian and Jewish background. But his rightwing supporters ate this up with gusto. Now, Sarko and his men are crying about the dire threat of Muslim halal meat (though not Kosher. France has 600,000 Jews who are fierce Sarkozy supporters).

Equally important, Sarkozy’s warnings of the supposed evils of the Islamization of France are luring voters way from the far right, neo-Vichy National Front of Marine Le Pen. Sarko fears she may grab enough votes on the right to deny him a first ballot victory on 22 April, or even knock him out of the race. The amazingly coincidental Toulouse massacre may just save the day for Sarko.

I extensively interviewed Marine’s father, Jean-Marie. He was beating the anti-Muslim drums back in the 1980’s and warning that “immigration equals invasion.” He had a great one liner-for me: “You Americans took California away from Mexico. Now, by immigration, they are taking it back.” Many French share his views. In the 1930’s, the France’s right made Jews the enemies of mankind; today, the alleged culprits are Muslims. This noxious tendency has also infected US politics.

The hard left has also come back to life in France, threatening to draw votes from center-left candidate Hollande. Politicians across Europe have been swept from office by a tide of anger over economic woes. Strange things could happen in France which has a tradition of radicalism and anarchism. But as of now, the Sarko-Hollande race still looks close, but Islamophobia is allowing Sarko to nose ahead.

None of the candidates have addressed France’s severe economic problems or its growing lack of competiveness. Both Sarko and Hollande vow to raise taxes. Hollande promises to hire 60,000 new teachers to boost employment, a crazy scheme at a time when France has far too many sociology teachers, bureaucrats, and government employees, and spends 56% of GDP on government. Hollande wants a 75% top tax. The Socialists defend their beloved and quite lunatic 35-hour work week, which has further undermined the competitiveness of French industry and service sector.

The basic problem is that in spite of chronic grumbling, French live in one of the world’s most beautiful, best-run, civilized countries. France must slash government spending, lower sky-high taxes, liberalize the economy and stop borrowing. French don’t want to change but must at some point. Vilifying Muslims or banning halal meat is not going to address these issues.

This post is in: European Leaders


  1. …and the devil in this case is?

    • …not JESUS!
      Eric’s last paragraph “The basic problem…” sums everything up perfectly.
      Our distracted drivers (world governments) in the hammer lane have completely missed the road sign “180 AHEAD”

  2. I don’t think Nicholas will be so “kosy” after the electorate get through with him. Even if he survives to another term, he might have to do some back-paddling to keep fuel in his countries economy. Or maybe he just struck oil under that huge derrick in Paris

  3. Some Canadian says:

    I am going to go off of a tangent here for a sec.

    Frantic discrimination against the Muslims is indeed unacceptable, but the fear of dilution as a result of massive immigration is quite legit when one looks at the birth rates.

    Unlike USA and Canada, many European countries were found, held together, and/or identified by the notion of race. It’s not appropriate to have the Republic of the “Franks”, the Republic of “Germans”, or the United “Arab” Emirates to uphold the same standards of multiculturalism that the Americans and Canadians take pride in.

    • But at the same time, France also needs immigrants as most European countries are in a population decline. The winning party in France usually garnishes around 10% of the vote. More muslims immigration means the possibility of a ‘muslim’ party.

  4. Personally I will not accept that a Muslim was behind the attacks. They show more of the hallmarks of a right wing extremist than a Muslim fanatic Maybe Eric should look into that. Remember the Nazis justified the attack on Poland by murdering a German farmer and blaming it on Polish agents. In politics all can be justified, and nothing is too low. In the Documentary The Trial of Henry Kissinger, they accused Kissinger of sabotaging the Vietnamese peace talks in 1969 so Richard Nixon could win the election. The peace treaty in 1973 was under the exact same terms and in the time 10,000 American Soldiers and over 100,000 Vietnamese were killed.

  5. It looks as if in Canada the immigrants are helped alone to become Canadians, even if they wish to keep some aspects of their original culture, or even teach their kids the old language in a Sunday school. Time does the rest. In the European countries, the workers are expected to work and leave when they finished. The fact that they have children who become citizens is overlooked and the population seem to believe themselves to be some how superior to the migrant workers. This causes division and political strife.
    In Calgary, Alberta, people got caught up in the Mayoralty race and forgot that one candidate was actually a Muslim. One day we woke up to find that our choice Candidate was different then the majority and rejoiced. Compare that to, lets say Syria.
    In conclusion: The rest of the world has a lot to learn from Canada.

    • Some Canadian says:

      There are still lots of obnoxious people in Canada (just as anywhere else). I was riding the TTC that other day and a early-mid 20’s blonde girl walked up and told everyone to move. It turns out she has a wheel-chair bound mother following her.

      A few people flat ignored her because she was so rude and patronizing and she started yapping for 10 whole minutes about how people should learn English in Canada to show some respect (those guys she was yapping at were Vietnamese, who are more likely to know French than English, due to Vietnam’s colonial history).

      Bottom line is that, not every Canadian buys into the version of multiculturalism that we like to think of, but rather think more in the lines of the multiculturalism that the Americans adhere to (a.k.a. big pot of cultural assimilation).

      • Multiculturalism is a misnomer. There is either a dominant cultural belief or not. We can have multiple cultures that agree on the same beliefs but you cant have multiple cultural beliefs that arent agreed upon. In other words, I dont think many Canadians are up for the cultural idea that clitoridectomies are ok.

        • Some Canadian says:

          The issue you raised is kind of a given. It’s like saying freedom of speech is a misnomer because one can’t actually say every single possible thing permitted by imagination under every circumstance.

    • Good point. Getting caught up in the immigration debate causes people to forget that the second generation of offsprings will blend into their adopted culture.

  6. makethman says:

    Everybody who has worked in france ( as i did for 12 years )or lived there, knows that DSK was a sexaholic and would gad about banging young women, if possible for ” free”( sponsored ), in Belgum we have a gay PM so,so what?
    If DSK had been really smart he should have had his ‘ PARTY’ in a belgian hotel just 10 miles away as he would have got away scot free, french law doesnt reach into belgium and belgium has not problem with political persons sex parties( think back to the 70s in brussels)
    that his very rich wife(her grandfather was the guy who put piscasso and others to market and made a ton of money) put up with it for years is amazing, but I guess in this top echelon of french society anything goes if you want to remain in the limelight

    Being president or an aspiring presidential candidate in france is the total opposite of the usa
    – you have to be clever eg not reagan, bush, johnson, truman etc
    – you should have at least 1 mistress: being gay wont work, but you could become for example mayor of paris…
    – you should have the tacit support of the all powerful federation of french business owners ( medef=> france’s god makers )
    – you have to surround yourself with the wealthy ( bouyges, pinault etc etc as sponsors )
    in return you give them govt contracts and 50 year licences to exploit the motorway and charge more per mile than your gas costs

    If you can get sponsorship from foreign leaders with pots of money eg the late great wacky MG of Libya so much the better, you can always top then off later on if they remind you of a outstanding debt

    When you are in power you can lie , cheat and defraud( aka as Chirac) but you will never be punished
    If possible get yourself a pretty wife , even if she does come with a long track record of earlier relationships , it adds to the spice

    What is amazing about france is that despite a political system as corrupt as ancient rome’s, the country is actually a rather pleasant and safe place to live, with the worlds best hi speed rail system and a very decent road and air transport infrastructure, this is of course is thanks to the grandes ecoles that produce the best engineers ( who can soundly beat boeing for example) and who dont give a fig for political twaddle

    greetings from belgium

  7. I have nothing much to add here except that,as Mr. Margolis righfully pointed out,the Jews were the ‘evil’ ones during the course of history,primarily post WWI…when things go horribly wrong,no matter where in the world or whichever country,a scapegoat was always needed to “educate” the electorate on where to “put the blame”.This has always worked very well for politicians,of which I am not fond of,except maybe Dr. Ron Paul.Now it’s the Muslims’ turn to take on this punching bag role….and it really came into full fruition back on that horrible day in September 2001.I guess you might say Sarkozy tore a page out of this sad point in American history and now he’s using the “bad Muslims” to scare the sheep into thinking that they are their real enemies at a critical point in time where Western economies are in total shambles,France’s included.Sarkozy and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu,among others,come from the same league.
    The influx of Muslims primarily from Turkey were a hit in then divided (West)Germany back in the 60’s and 70’s and even later where they were allowed to work as “Guest Workers”,because the Germans and other western countries just could not see getting their hands dirty doing manual and meaningless jobs such as cleaning.A lot of Muslims were able to work for many years and their hard earned money went back to their home country where they were able to build their homes and eventually retire comfortably.It was primarily because of this that there are so many Muslims living in Western countries.They should be content these hard working people who did all the dirty manual labour….not blame them for all their countries’ woes…those woes were caused by self serving politicians over the past decades who “bought” votes to get into power by borrowed money,creating ridiculously expensive and insane and unsustainable social programs, which has now ballooned into massive debt with the magic of compounded interest,hence near bankrupt countries today.Yes of course blame it all on the Muslims.

  8. Mike Smith says:

    The scary thing is the upcoming French election has many wide ranging consequences that will be felt outside of France.,1518,824873,00.html

    ” German Chancellor Angela Merkel still hopes Sarkozy will ultimately win, having found in him a dependable ally, despite their personality differences. Particularly during the euro crisis, she and Sarkozy have stood side by side, most recently in advocating Merkel’s pet project, the European fiscal pact, which obliges the 25 EU member states who have signed up to pursue greater budget discipline.

    Meanwhile, Sarkozy’s challenger Hollande has already announced that as president he would immediately try to renegotiate parts of the fiscal pact. From Merkel’s perspective, that would be fatal, as it could destabilize the complete financial architecture of the new European Union. ”

    Of course Sarkozy’s behavior has given Germany pause,1518,822170,00.html

    While the status quo seems without much appeal, as a outsider I would suggest that Marine Le Pen would cause too much internal division for France and Hollande may bring not only the French economy to ruin, but also the rest of Europe as well.

  9. “ an incredible stroke of luck”, Mr. Margolis or false flag intelligence operation? How interesting that a man who has consistently trailed in the poles has an opportunity to bounce back because of a “terrorist” threat. Same script, same plot, same result……namely that the population rallies around the incumbent. The old Soviets would be proud.

    As for the Islamic xenophobia, I would like quote Jesus on this Easter weekend. “You reap what you sow”, Last time I read history, it has France that was a Colonial power exercising its dominance over North Africa and the Middle East. It was France that fought Colonial battles in Syria, Algeria, and Libya. It was France (along with Britain) that was in the for front of last year Libya operation which disposed the dictator only to replace it with the tyranny of Al Qaeda. Now it is France that is complaining about too many Muslims in France, can anyone say irony?

    • Some Canadian says:

      Not really, because you lumped all the Muslims into one category.

      The majority of the Muslim immigrants come from Northwestern Africa (namely former French colonial subject nations such as Morocco and Algeria). The Al Qaeda organization is largely a middle-eastern establishment (if it exists) and Libya is not a major source of immigrants.

      Colonialism is not a crime exclusive to Europeans. It is something almost any country would’ve done under various form if given the resources. The Chinese had its share. The Africans had theirs. As did the Aztecs (to their neighbours prior to Spanish arrival).

      Now, you can call it somewhat of an irony when the French protest against immigration from former colonial possessions. But do note that the French were accepting these immigrants by consent (which they can withdraw given domestic political support), which is different to enforced cultural genocide that is/was widely practiced.

      Finally, I’d also note that this form of Islamophobia is surfacing in many European countries other than the former colonial powers. We see this in Norway and Germany as well.

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