Wednesday, November 09, 2005

French and American Lessons.

These days a column called 'French Lessons' (in today's Washington Post) may seem a bit too thought-provoking or ironical. It definitely drew my attention... but in fact, Jim Hoagland has an interesting point:
France's upheaval is too important to be explained away by any single factor. And it is too important to be treated as a matter of satisfaction by Americans irritated by the French, on foreign policy or other grounds. France and its beautiful, troubled capital are proxies for all affluent nations that have elevated into an art form the habit of ignoring the world's poor, desperate and criminally inclined.
He concludes :
So there is no single explanation and no single answer. The United States has responded to the collapsing social and family structures of the Muslim Middle East and Central Asia with the fire and brimstone of war. The French respond to a related challenge within their borders with political insincerity and economic handouts. The failures of both countries have more in common than either is prepared to acknowledge today.
I am not sure, however, that either country is ready to admit so much. Not just yet anyway.


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