French Without Tears

March 1, 2005 Topics: Society Regions: Western EuropeEurope Tags: EthnocentrismSlaverySociology

French Without Tears

Mini Teaser: Cet animal est très méchant; quand on l'attaque, il se défend. Quelquefois.

by Author(s): Martin Walker

Sarkozy's call has been highly controversial in France, where Left and Right alike have accused him of undermining the very foundations of the republic. But then Left and Right also accuse him of undermining the foundations of the social economy with his Anglo-Saxon belief in profits, competition and tax cuts. He is unrepentant. France simply cannot continue like this, he maintains, with only 24 percent of its under 25-year-olds in work, with 57 percent of state revenues going to the government's wage bill and interest payments (up from 42 percent 20 years ago.) France faces a triple crisis, he asserts, of its economy, of its sense of social and civic cohesion, and of its Muslim minority. He is prepared to tackle the challenge, or as he said at Le Bourget, "to speak the truth, to have the courage to look problems in the face, to start saying things without incessantly demanding whether they are popular or not." Chirac, it goes without saying, is determined to torpedo Sarkozy's ambitions as he sank President Bush's hope of a UN mandate for the Iraq War. For the next two years, France will be preparing not just for an election but for a highly personal duel.

Essay Types: Book Review