Over at Rootless Cosmopolitan, Bernard Chazelle comments intelligently on the election of Nicolas Sarkozy . France isn’t doomed for any of the reasons people say it is, but it does have problems, and Sarko — who, by the way, is neither a racist nor a free-market conservative — might just have some solutions.
On a personal note, I can never forgive Mitterrand for intentionally boosting Le Pen’s fortunes at the ballot box in a Machiavellian divide-and-rule strategy. On the other hand, as someone who did not vote for Sarko, I am still grateful to him for dealing Le Pen his biggest electoral blow. I also note that while other politicians regurgitate the same tired “solutions” to the crisis of the banlieues—namely, building more community centers named after great poets—Sarko has suggested somewhat more adventurous ideas, such as a restructuring of labor relations, a more flexible labor market, hiring incentives, and even that big French bugaboo, affirmative action, all the while reaffirming France’s traditional rejection of communautarisme.
Chazelle takes down at least one myth per paragraph. As they say on the Internets, go read the whole thing.