You know there will be push-back and resistance against the new France, and against the notion that austerity has gone too far — a key message from Sunday's French elections and incumbent conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy's loss to Socialist party head François Hollande.
Where will the push-back come from? What shape will it take?
■ Here's a clue — this, from Rahm Emanuel. AP via Buzzfeed:
Former White House chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared underwhelmed by Francois Hollande, elected yesterday to lead France, according to a report in the left-wing French newspaper Liberation.The article goes on to talk about "Sarko the American" and how helpful he was to Obama in the Libyan War. (It's not entirely clear when Rahm made his comments.)
"To me, [Hollande] has more of the head of a prime minister than of a president," Emanuel reportedly said at a reception at the residence of the French Ambassador in Washington. When French diplomats suggested that Hollande could grow into the job, Emanuel reportedly shot back with his "professional" opinion that he couldn't imagine Hollande "grow[ing] in office."
The report is one of a series of ripples of the election of Hollande, a little-known figure here who didn't visit the U.S. during his campaign, over Sarkozy, known domestically as "Sarko the American." ...
■ Which brings up the question of Obama and Hollande.
We know that Obama is a classic Clintonian NeoLiberal — a fan of Robert Rubin from way back, a free-markets maven, a lover of austerity (in the US, "austerity" calls itself of "Simpson-Bowles").
We also know that Rahm is, to quote the linked Liberation article, Obama's former "right arm" ("ex-bras droit d’Obama").
Back to the AP:
In France, Obama was perceived to be supporting Sarkozy; in particular, Liberation writes, the White House, at the request of the Elysee [French presidential residence], allowed Sarkozy's aides to film the French side of a telephone conversation between the presidents. The U.S. Administration has, however, been formally neutral[.]Is it surrogate time again for Rahm? Is this a signaled preview?
You know there will be efforts to derail the end of austerity in France. What form will they take? The usual method of dealing with a client state is to starve it of funds until their "rulers" are brought to heel — deploy your businessmen, in other words, to make their economy tank until the necessary submission.
France is hardly a client state, but there are still arrows in the quiver of US NeoLiberals and German bankers that can be used as weapons. It will be interesting (and instructive) to see how Obama-Cameron-Merkel work against Hollande and the new France. What method? What means? Stay tuned.
■ Side note — There are interesting early indicators from Hollande regarding the new relationship with the US. This is from another site linked in the AP story, Slate.fr. Hollande in a question-and-answer session (my humble translation):
▪ Les relations avec les Etats-Unis [(About) relations with the US]And finally, this fun dig:
«Je veillerai à affirmer l’indépendance de la France sans compliquer la tâche de Barack Obama.»
[I will make sure to affirm the independence of France without complicating the job (task) of Barack Obama.]
▪ Le nucléaire iranien [(About) nuclear Iran]
«Je n’admettrai pas que l’Iran puisse utiliser cette technologie à des fins militaires.»
[I won't admit that Iran can utilize (nuclear) technology for military ends.]
▪ [In English] Mister Hollande, do you speak English?Obviously just the start of a conversation that's going to last a while. (I hope he doesn't have a roving eye ... and use it in New York.)
«Yes I speak English, more fluently than the former President. But a French president has to speak French!»
UPDATE: That was fast. From the original Buzzfeed article, this update. Apparently Emanuel's office has a response:
"What the mayor said was just the opposite," his spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton told BuzzFeed. "What he said was: He doesn't know him, but through the U.S. press coverage, he looks more like a prime minister than a president, but everybody grows into their job."Yep; just the opposite of what he is reported to have said. Smooth.
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