Posts tagged ‘Sarkozy’

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sovereign Debt Crisis, hence no Conflicts of Interest

Huanqiu Shibao, April 23

French Pesidential Nominees play the China Card, Sarkozy says he Pays Close Attention to Tibetan Issue  (法总统竞选打出中国牌 萨科齐称关注西藏问题)

From our France, Germany, Britain, U.S., Russia correspondents

Huanqiu Shibao reports that an anti-Chinese overseas exile Tibetan website reported on April 21 that during the April 22 presidential elections, Dalai supporters and French paper “Nouvel Observateur” addressed the Tibetan issue. From ten nominees, nine affirmed that they would meet with the Dalai. The report says that Sarkozy told the “Nouvel Observateur that “he frequently addressed the Tibet issue in talks with Chinese leaders”, and that “Tibet is an important topic for the French people, and for me”. Hollande said that the Dalai was a “respected religious personality, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and he abandoned all political roles. Therefore, I have no reason to refuse a meeting with him”.


A Chinese person living abroad told “Huanqiu Shibao” on April 22 that some countries in Europe have not abandoned “democratic” etc. issues as means of pressure on China, and provocative intentions. However, under the current difficult economic difficulties, some comparatively reasonable politicians could exercise some restraint. China’s tough stance could leave some politicians with no choice but to face the realities. If they were provocative, they would certainly have to pay a price.


Beijing Normal University Political Science and International Relations department deputy director Zhang Shengjun told “Huanqiu Shibao” that these presidential elections wouldn’t change French China policies on the whole. Chinese-French relations didn’t show great conflicts of interests, and all of Europe was actively seeking cooperation with China to solve the European sovereign debt crisis.


Le Nouvel Observateur, April 17, 2012

Dalai Lama – what the Candidates say (Ce qu’en disent les candidats)

Question five: Once you are president, will you receive the Dalai Lama? (Question n°5 : Une fois Président, recevrez-vous le dalaï-lama ?)

Nicolas Sarkozy:

I remind you that I’m the only president of the French Republic who talked with the Dalai Lama. That was in 2008. I also had the opportunity on several other occasions to talk about the Tibetan situation with the Chinese president. Of course, I intend to continue doing so. Tibet is an important topic for the French, just as for me. As far as the Dalai Lama is concerned, as a matter of principle, I’m not forbidding myself anything.

“Je vous rappelle que je suis le seul Président de la République française à m’être entretenu avec le dalaï-lama. C’était en 2008. J’ai par ailleurs eu à plusieurs reprises l’occasion de parler de la situation du Tibet avec le Président chinois. Mon intention est bien sûr de continuer à le faire. Le Tibet est un sujet important pour les Français, comme pour moi. S’agissant du dalaï-lama, par principe, je ne m’interdis rien.”

Francois Hollande:

The Dalai Lama is a respected religious personality, and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He has abandoned all political functions. I have no reason to refuse meeting him a priori. This will, of course, depend on the context of the appropriate time.

“Le dalaï-lama est une personnalité religieuse respectée, prix Nobel de la paix. Il a abandonné toute fonction politique. Je n’ai pas de raison de refuser a priori de le rencontrer. Cela dépendra évidemment du contexte le moment venu.”

Francois Bayrou:

If the Dalai Lama wishes to meet me, I will receive him, of course.

“Si le dalaï-lama souhaite me rencontrer je le recevrai naturellement.”




The Patriotic Road Abroad, August 15, 2009


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How can we keep Franco-German Relations “Natural”?

nannynewsnannynews –

The German chancellor held an unprecedented joint TV interview with the embattled French president, and said it was only “natural” to support a fellow conservative,

the Telegraph quotes Angela Merkel. But if that’s so natural, why did no previous German chancellor get involved in French elections?

Gerhard Schröder probably came closest to that kind of brazen interference in French internal affairs when he

pitched into the French domestic debate in 2005, telling French voters that

We will reproach ourselves later if we let slip this historic opportunity to advance Europe […]  Our children, our children’s children, will reproach us. France and Germany have a very special responsibility for the success of this process.

That, however, was a European topic – a “constitutional treaty” for Europe, frequently referred to as a “constitution”. And if Schröder didn’t damage then French president Jacques Chirac‘s and their common cause, he didn’t really help it either: on May 29, 2005, a majority of voters rejected the treaty anyway.

If  François Hollande, Mr. Sarkozy’s socialist challenger, will win the presidential elections is a big “if” anyway – especially if the Front National’s frontwoman, Marine Le Pen, shouldn’t manage to gather 500 signatures from elected officials. Most of those who would vote for her otherwise are more likely to vote for Sarkozy, if the only alternatives are further to the left.

But if Hollande should win, Merkel will have to work with a new French president – one whom she will have snubbed only months earlier.

Under these somewhat unfortunate circumstances, JR sees no other choice but to throw himself into French internal affairs, too. My advice would be that Mr. Hollande should be generous, and, if he happens to defeat Mr. Sarkozy, dedicate a few lines of his victory speech to the German chancellor, for loosening up what could otherwise be a somewhat cool beginning. He might say something like:

Thank you – thank you all. I would also like to thank Mrs. Merkel, who didn’t fail to contribute to this wonderful election result. I’m looking forward to our cooperation in the coming months and years, which, I’m sure, will be as fruitful and effective as it has been to date. Nothing is lost for Europe, if we continue to work side by side.

Everything else will develop naturally. Hollande may not be exactly as keen as Sarkozy to strangle Greece’s economy into oblivion (or out of the Eurozone), but Eastern Europeans will probably see to  that.

To date, all French and German leaders have found ways to work together – after 1949, anyway. This isn’t going to change, even if the French people should dare to part the current dream team.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Daily Dose of Pain: On Vous l’avait Bien Dit

Someone has just read JR‘s latest entry and asked him why he is doing this to himself. The person who asked has a point. I usually enjoy translating, and I admitted that I’m not enjoying it in this case. Besides, while I’m doing this to myself, I see other  interesting articles in Chinese floating by without recovering them.

I haven’t found a full translation or account of the 17th central committee’s cultural reform decision elsewhere on the internet yet, and just as in my first translation installment, I might abstract a number of the original’s paragraphs again when doing part four, and all those following bits, provided that I’m leaving nothing important out.

But  I’m not wasting my time either way.

After all, I’m curious. If even the CCP website, which is usually very proud of all the party’s hard ideological work, doesn’t bother to publish an English version, I’ll need to read the Chinese original. That takes time anyway, so I might as well translate it.

But above all, I believe that this document will have a noticeable effect on China’s future. Many foreigners*), even with a strong interest in China, won’t take note of the “cultural reform” document – they probably won’t take note of party congresses either.

Unless, that is, a party congress seems to prove their point that “they” – the Chinese – become “more like us”. When Deng Xiaoping started advocating “reform and opening”, and when the party adopted economic reform policies known as the Four Modernizations, foreign observers were all ears. When Gustav Amann note in the 1920s that the foreigners saw nothing but what they could attribute to their own influence on the Manchu government, he had made an observation that wasn’t really spectacular, but one which described a lasting pattern of foreign, or certainly European, perception of China. Just as it was back then, most published foreign observation seems to be based on conceit, or wishful thinking. China may be modernizing, but if it is up to the CCP – there is little reason to believe that it will be up to any Dangwais (within or without the United Front) -, there will be no individual human rights.

This has an effect on competition between China’s and Western political systems, too. The CCP’s emphasis on social efficiency points into that direction – there will be no individual human rights on the one hand, but a lot of – possibly very successful – harnessing of “the people’s productive power” on the other.

That won’t mean a lot in terms of “culture”. The CCP might as well scrap everything in its CCP plenary session document which relates to “soft power” – the CCP’s soft power is as attractive as athlete’s foot. But in terms of economic planning, social efficiency can mean a lot.  Advanced democratic societies should take note. It doesn’t take “soft power” to be influential – hard power and a long-term strategy can do the job for the CCP, too.

There is some awareness in Europe that Chinese help in solving the euro zone debt crisis may not come without “strings attached”. But when Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former French prime minister, suggests that

we cannot go it alone. China has taken over the baton and become banker to the world. That’s the new deal of the 21st century,

it seems to suggest that even the political strings don’t matter to European politicians.

European relations with Taiwan – it’s a rather shabby protocol already – may suffer further. Speaking out on human rights, and be it only for some self-respect? Umm…

Maybe European politicians haven’t taken note of the political side – and quite possibly, their “rescue plan” is built on wishful thinking anyway.

One can only hope that Raffarin is one of the worst examples – but given the matter of course in which European leaders are trying to raise Chinese funding, I’m not exactly sure about that. Anyway:

China has left the dictatorial road,

Raffarin announced in 2008. Sure?

Absolutely! Because, in 2008, too, China was

the world’s banker. The Chinese are financing the American deficit. China has left the road of dictatorship (La Chine est le banquier du monde. Les Chinois financent le déficit américain. La Chine a quitté la route de la dictature).

So, in a way, JR‘s spiteful side is at work here. In the future, you can’t say that he hadn’t warned you.

But I’m not enjoying it. It’s my Europe, too.


*) I’m restricting my speculation / observations to foreign, rather than Chinese observers here. The latter may be objects of speculation /observations on another day, or in the commenter thread.



» Trying to Translate, November 7, 2008


Thursday, October 20, 2011

So, M. le Président, …

you’ve become father again today. I wish you a lot of time to devote yourself to your family life – starting next year. Even earlier, if that can be done.



» … his presidency might provide some clues, Aug 20, 2011
» L’Homme du Midi, January 14, 2010


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sarkozy can’t Explain the British Riots, but his Presidency might provide some Clues

The lasting dangers to a free society don’t stem from hoodies or looters – not even from no-go areas. The Economist‘s  Lexington column, not directly related or not necessarily intending to relate to this issue, as it was published some three months before the Birmingham, London, and Manchester riots erupted, pointed to America and had this to say, under a headline which read

Save the fourth amendment

It is only a mile or so from the colonnade of the Supreme Court to some of Washington, DC’s most dangerous neighbourhoods. But these two parts of the nation’s capital could be in different countries. On any given night, armed police prowl north-east Washington in search of guns or drugs. So routine are these patrols that black men sitting on stoops or standing on corners will reflexively lift their T-shirts when the police approach, to show that they have no pistol tucked into their waistbands. Often the police will frisk them anyway, and search their cars as well. You might almost forget, in light of these encounters, that the fourth amendment to the constitution establishes the right of the American people to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Large-scale riots in the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois erupted six years ago,  when three boys who rightly or wrongly believed that they were being chased by the police reportedly tried to hide in a power substation, where two of them were fatally electrocuted.

There are no easy answers when it comes to the challenges of social tensions on the one hand, and civil liberties and human rights on the other. But one of the immediate answers given to the Clichy riots should have disqualified the man who uttered. His answer should have disqualified him, in the eyes of the voters, from any further career in national politics:

“Dès demain, on va nettoyer au Karcher la cité. On y mettra les effectifs nécessaires et le temps qu’il faudra, mais ça sera nettoyé” (From toorrow, we will clean the city up with a Kärcher. We will make the deployments as needed, and spend the time it will take, but this will be cleaned up),

Nicolas Sarkozy, then France’s interior minister, said on June 19, 2005, referring to the rioters as racaille (probably best translated as rabble). He assumed the office of president of the French Republic on May 16, 2007, barely two years later.

Kärcher is a German manufacturer of cleaning systems and equipment, known for its high-pressure cleaners.

That the French people voted Sarkozy in doesn’t in itself provide an answer to the question of social tensions, and a public desire for law and order on the one hand, and human rights and civil liberties on the other. But I do see the French presidential vote of 2007 as a vote against the latter, and only seemingly for law and order.

Quite erroneously, Americans, French, Germans, and many Britons, too, seem to believe that abuse of state power will “only” be directed against black or colored people (see the Economist quote at the beginning of this post), against Maghrebians (see Sarkozy), or against justifiable targets in a “war on gangs” (Britain this month).

Not so fast. The Writing Baron, a Briton living in Taiwan, and most probably no particularly “anti-social” contemporary, describes some earlier unpleasant encounters with the British police (see ii. Police and some personal experience).

Encounters with German police can be pretty unpleasant, too – and there isn’t much reason to expect these to become nicer in the future.

Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace, Amelia Earhart, an American pilot, wrote early last century. It won’t be the courage of our political leaders alone – if at all – which will lead to both peace and freedom in our societies. Liberty and peace will depend on each of us, personally.

But in certain cases, just a minimal sense of fairness and decency, or mere judgment,  could prove helpful, too. Nicolas Sarkozy shouldn’t be the president of the French Republic. That much is for sure.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Libyan No-Fly Zone, my fearful Country, and its big Mouth

Demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute “crimes against humanity”, the Security Council this evening imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace — a no-fly zone — and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters,

writes the UN department of public information. Resolution 1973 (2011), the one which imposes the no-fly zone,

authorized Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi,

but excludes a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory – not one inch, as the information department quotes Lebanon’s speaker at the United Nations security council (UNSC).

Just another German press review

Just another German press review

Just as on Iraq early in 2003, Europe presented itself divided once again. But different from then, I’m not so sure today that Germany’s government made the right decision in the resolution 1973 vote. I’d have preferred to see Germany supporting it.

I can sense some of the risks. Nobody seems to know if the resolution’s scope  will be wide enough to protect the Libyan population effectively. Not only Libyans, but other Arab countries supportive of the resolution, too, will blame any failure on America and Europe. A divided Libya may turn into a another failed state, close to the borders of the European Union. We don’t know who the anti-Gaddafi forces are – and after all, the resolution helps them more than Gaddafi and his connections.

In fact, the European-Gaddafi coexistence had been quite comfy during the past few years. The Great Socialist Jamahiriya‘s leader had kept North African refugees back on the African continent, and Western business people fell over each other to strike lucrative deals with the dictator and his connections.

But not knowing if the people who would replace Gaddafi are worse or better than him creates no obligation to stay on the sidelines and to watch Gaddafi’s revenge on his opponents (including scores of suspected opponents) unfold. We don’t know who the oppositionals are, but we do know what kind of “leader” Gaddafi is. By now, any suggestion that he should bring the entire country back under his control has become an unreasonable demand on the Libyan people.

There is no institution like the Egyptian military in Libya. If the no-fly zone, plus all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, but minus an option to occupy Libyan territory, will be successful in stopping Gaddafi’s forces (many of whom aren’t Libyan nationals, but mercenaries from elsewhere in Africa), either all Libyans, or those outside the reach of Tripoli, will have to find agreement among themselves before they can build such institutions. It’s looks like an adventure, rather than like a project.

Therefore, a government may abstain in the UN security council’s vote, and be proven right in the end.

But even if that should be the case, Berlin would have chosen its position for the wrong reasons, and in contradiction to messages it had sent during the past months. The German government cited some which one may find convincing indeed, but most crucially, it abstained because it was afraid of public opinion at home. The government  finds it hard already to maintain our country’s existing military commitment to Afghanistan.  German pacifism*), an attitude based on the experience of the second world war,  plays a big role here.  It helped for the short term in 2002, that then chancellor Gerhard Schröder succeeded in making the public believe that the Bundeswehr was basically sent to Afghanistan to rebuild bridges and protect little girls on their way to school. The rude awakening since wasn’t really that helpful. Afghanistan looks like a never-ending story, and involvement in Libya could become a quagmire, or a failure.

According to a survey quoted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday, 90 percent of the German public support the government’s position on Libya. Government and population seem to share the feeling that our allies could ask for a German fighter jet’s involvement, and the feeling that this would be asking too much.

Some German papers have criticized our government’s – and oppositional parties’ – siding with countries such as China or Russia. That doesn’t bother me. If I was convinced that the resolution 1973 on Libya was wrong, I wouldn’t mind our government’s company. Besides, one could say that China’s and Russia’s positions are pretty consistent with their previous views on the northern African revolutions.

Berlin? Not so. Here is some of Guido Westerwelle‘s (German foreign minister) exhilarated bushwah in Egypt, in February this year, according to an official German website:

“A movement for freedom has started here, and we intend to do our bit to help ensure that it brings success for the people.”


“Tahrir Square is to the Egyptians what the Brandenburg Gate is to Germans,” Westerwelle said, adding that Germany had a noticeably good reputation in Egypt – “perhaps in part because we made such a good job of our own peaceful revolution for freedom.”

That, plus some comments by Westerwelle on Libya, in a radio interview, also in February – i. e. shortly after Benghazi and other Libyan cities ousted the pro-Gaddafi forces (and therefore took the risk of being treated as “traitors”, should those forces return):

“This regime is hitting out like mad; it is waging war against its own people; it is threatening the people with a protracted civil war – and that’s why I have decided that we will again call for an emergency session of the UN Security Council. I believe sanctions are inevitable in the light of these severe human rights violations and the massive use of violence. These might include travel bans for the ruling family, but also the freezing of assets.”


We Germans made our position crystal clear right at the beginning of the week – along with other colleagues, may I say, France for instance – and this will not have been lost on our other colleagues. This morning I will be meeting my Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini, whom I value very highly, and whom I know to be a compassionate man who is completely aware that Europe’s foreign policy must be interest-based, but above all value-oriented. And we as European democrats stand on the side of democratic change.

Where is my country standing now?

To be fair, one should add that Westerwelle didn’t want to take a stance on possible military intervention then. But at that time, late in February, he didn’t need to. The situation in Libya was different from now, and without Britain, France, but above all America supporting military action, Germany’s position wouldn’t have made a difference anyway.

But Germany’s position now appears to be that, while it will always do “its bit” to “encourage” change, the risks will be exclusively for the people south of the Mediterranean themselves to take – even when Germany would be quite capable to take a share in it. That stinks.


*) I don’t think that my use of the word pacifism in this context is really doing justice to the concept. But as genuine pacifism and genuine callousness (plus lots of other mindsets in between) are habitually lumped together as “pacifism” anyway, I’m doing likewise here.

Reactions to the Fukushima I Disaster, March 15, 2011
LSE and “Biased Media”, March 4, 2011
Angela Merkel calls Kadafi Speech “frightening”, L. A. Times blogs, February 22, 2011


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Renault “Spying Scandal”: not so Chinese, not so Spy

French Intelligence

French Intelligence

Noticed ? JR hasn’t  lost a single word about the Renault “spy case” ever since January (or maybe somewhat earlier, who cares), when those  claims became public.

And all that even as you all know that  JR is never shy to say unharmonious things about China. Why wouldn’t he bother to  re-report the “suspicions” that “fell on China”?

Well, after all, he’s a China expert, and a France expert.

JR ‘s Beautiful Blog – the World’s Refe the World’s Reference Point, where you will only find the news that really matters.

L’ Homme du Midi, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Le Temps des Cerises

(French idealism)

Nicolas Sarkozy isn’t an idealist, anyway. Tunisia was considered a safe destination for riot-control gear just as long as Nick’s good friend Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was in control.

This comes sort of late.

Sarkozy never connected easily with the French people, either. Le Temps des Cerises will hardly be his favorite song.

Lyrics in French »

Lyrics in English »

A rendition in French …


… and a few words about revolution and the gentle force of reason, plus the song again, by Wolf Biermann (video above).

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