Roger Cohen is obsessed with the idea that Sarkozysm is going to revolutionize to americanize France. In his column, he gives a flattering portrait of one of the leaders of the Sarkozy Revolution, Christine Lagarde, the French Finance minister. Cohen calls Lagarde, an “American” and praises her plans to have the French think less and work more. Sugary excerpt:
France, she suggests, is changing in the image of a president whose approach "is not being constrained by rules, principles, protocol, straitjackets."
The country, long hung up in a left-bank bubble filled with quaint notions of reversing globalization, now wants "to take advantage of a globalized world, rather than be defensive."
To which I say, Hallelujah. Without a dynamic France, Europe cannot be revitalized, and a Europe in a Gallic funk is bad for everyone. If an overbearing America has been a problem, an underperforming Europe has been its complement.
[…] This revolution, she insists, must begin in the French head. Lagarde has become the anti-Descartes by declaring the French should think less to work more.
"What has escaped my critics," she says with a smile, "is that clearly before action, there must be thinking. But we have been splitting hairs and talking about the sex of angels for long enough. We know the solutions to all our evils. So let's roll up our sleeves."
Hallelujah - and, as we Anglo-Saxons say, Vive la France!
I wonder if Roger Cohen has read Mark Twain’s Great Expectations not let’s use a more current and French book, I wonder if he has read Dominique de Villepin’s new book on Napoleon Le Soleil Noir de la Puissance, 1796-1807 (The Dark Sun of Power). If Cohen had read those books, he would understand that great aspirations have not enough and that they almost lead to paralysis when one refuses to give them up when confronted with reality. Too many Americans such as Cohen who suffers from American-centrism only love revolution when they happen in other countries because they only like great changes when it doesn’t affect them. My contention is that Cohen wouldn’t like an American politician to call for another American revolution and would then be arguing that s/he was realistic and being to pompous by believing that s/he had to power to change who Americans are. The point is that it is easier to love radicalism when it has consequences on other people and when it is happening in a land that isn’t one homeland.