Tag: France

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I don’t know who Wafa Wafus is — I don’t think it means International House of Pancakes — but here’s some charming cell camera footage put up on the web November 20th, 2015 that may put all the action in some perspective. I also don’t read French, so I assume the comments for the video […]

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 In less than a week, our country will gather together for “Thanksgiving”.  We’ll board Planes, Trains and Automobiles (remember the movie?) to make it to our loved ones’ gatherings, come hell or high water. We’ll bring out grandma’s special dessert, polish the silver, use the good china, and bow our heads. We’ll laugh, argue, eat too […]

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In an often diffident West, France stands out for its unapologetic and resolute defense of its culture and its principles. Whether by small gestures or large, and while our own leaders quibble, France declares its superiority to those who would refashion it in their own dark and depraved image. This year, in the last days […]

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French President Hollande took a firm stand for French culture:  The meeting [with Iranian President Rouhani] was supposed to take place over lunch – normally served with an array of French dishes and a top-grade wine vintage as well as cheese. France is hugely proud of its culinary credentials, with its gastronomic meal recently pronounced […]

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Manliness: An Unsung Trait of the Train Heroes

 

When a heavily armed man emerged from the bathroom of a European train and began what was clearly intended as a massacre of innocent, unsuspecting civilians, six men ranging in age from 22 to 62 sprang into action. A banker and a middle-aged academic, both French, were first on the scene. The sound of gunfire awakened three young American tourists: Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler. In a moment evocative of the Flight 93 passengers’ shining courage on 9/11, Skarlatos saw Ayoub El-Khazzani struggling with one of his guns and leapt up, saying simply “Let’s go” to his friends.

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Have you heard the news? Today, this evening, two American Marines stopped a terror attack in France. Another Muslim terrorist having nothing to do with any of the previous ones or the ones sure to follow. The terrorist, a Moroccan man, boarded in Amsterdam & commenced what would have been a slaughter after the train crossed […]

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Anything But Cecil: The Franco-American Iran-Nuclear Diplomatic Mystère

 

Okay, gentle ladies, gentlemen, and wingèd seraphs of Ricochet, today is Anything But Cecil Day. Indeed, it’s Anything But Whatever’s on Drudge Day, because while that’s on the front page, a lot of other stories aren’t being covered. Here’s an item about which, perhaps, you’ve heard, but I figure Cecil might be crowding out everyone’s news feeds to the extent that it might not hurt to bring it up. And I have a bit to add to it.

As Josh Rogan reported for Bloomberg, a senior diplomatic adviser to President Francois Hollande seems to be in a bit of a disagreement with John Kerry about the Iran nuclear deal:

France and the Iranian Nuclear Deal

 

2013-11-24T041744Z_559600050_GM1E9BO0XZ501_RTRMADP_3_IRAN-NUCLEAR-DEALFrance’s agreement to the deal reached between Iran and P5+1 represents a change in position. The endless talks temporarily collapsed, in November 2013, when French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius denounced Iran’s position as “a fool’s deal.” They were widely applauded by those opposed to the deal as clear-sighted and brave; they were impugned by those in favor of a deal as short-sighted and corrupt. This was typical of the latter kind of analysis:

… And what happened to some degree over the summer was that Prince Bandar and other Saudi officials began trolling through Europe, trying to figure out if they could pull away some of the countries of Europe in favor of the Saudi position, and essentially the Israeli position, on issues like Syria and Iran. They seem to have had great success with the French, who, of course, have a serious economic problem. They have been struggling trying to get out of this recession. They’ve had a recent credit downgrade. They’ve had high unemployment. And so when the Saudis began to flash some of their petrodollars around, it was certainly something of interest to the French. And the Saudis have recently been signing up contracts with the French for military assistance. There’s a one-and-a-half billion dollar plan for the French to help refurbish some of the Saudi Navy. And you’ve had other Gulf states making other deals with France in terms of buying their equipment, especially their military equipment. So what you’ve got here is the French having a very clear economic incentive to help the Saudis and the Israelis as much as possible.

I expect the commentary will quickly reverse itself: Those who support the deal will now applaud France for taking a brave risk for peace; those against the deal will explain French behavior in terms of the same logic. French firms have been making that kind of analysis easy by openly salivating at the the thought of the business prospects should sanctions be lifted:

On Versailles, the Gypsy Circus, the Jews of Europe, and the “Relocation” of the Tomb of Suleyman Shah

 

bassins_versailles_statue (1)I spent the weekend with my family: my father, my brother, and my nephew Leo (age five, and a typically healthy, energetic five-year-old boy.) My brother and his Italian wife Cristina are now on a rotation to Brindisi, waiting for Cristina — a UN Peacekeeper — to be deployed to the next kind of place UN Peacekeepers get deployed.

I determined that we must all to Versailles, this on the grounds that it is rare for us all to be together on a brilliantly sunny Sunday afternoon in Paris; it would be fun and educational; it would get us all out of the house; that this would be the first time in years all of our immediate family (or what’s left of it) had gone on an excursion; and that one day I want Leo to remember — however dimly — his grandpa David, his Daddy, and his Weird Aunt Claire the Cat Lady doing something fun together in Paris.

Now, I had fully intended to write about that, but events have overtaken me, so I must compress that one down to the essentials. Ladies and Gentlemen of Ricochet, if you have children, I am in awe. That is hard work. And that’s the most understated way I can put it.

Whoa, Look at the Euro!

 

shutterstock_106463024For those of you thinking a life in Paris is glamorous, let me explain how I spent my typical glamorous morning: carefully going over the gas, rent, electricity, and grocery bills.

For those of you wondering, “How do I get to be an expert political analyst?” Well, that morning is kind of key. I’m paid in dollars, but I pay my bills in Euros. So “the falling Euro” is anything not an abstraction to me. If it really reaches parity with the dollar by the end of the year, as some predict, then I somehow managed, though the weirdest luck in the world, to move to a city I can afford to live in — this as opposed to Istanbul, which was too expensive for me — and my life gets a lot easier (by sheer dumb luck, as it happens, but I’ll say I predicted it, anyway. That’s how you get to be an expert analyst).

But I’ll be happy enough with being “a good enough analyst.” Things like European deflation, Syriza’s victory in Greece, consumer price indices in France, and Greek debt restructuring are very interesting to me. Enough so that I might bother to really care about the details — because it’s personal — and then, with a bit of marketing, I’ll be an informed expert.

How the News Gets Totally Distorted–Without any Conspiracy or Journalistic Malfeasance

 

As you can imagine, my Twitter feed is selected — like most peoples’ — to keep up with news that matters to me. Since I’ve moved a lot, I see news from many countries, and also see how people react to that news in many places. So this item caught my eye. Just a bit of context, first: Agence France-Presse is an international news agency headquartered in Paris. They claim — I have not verified this — to be the oldest news agency in the world; they also claim to be one of the largest, which I reckon is true.

Two days ago, they did what they usually do. They, or one of their photographers, took a photo. They also did what they also usually do: They captioned it correctly. Here’s the photo:

One French Soldier’s Opinion of American Troops

 

French military prowess is often mocked, especially by American hawks such as myself. It’s fun to ridicule the “cheese-eating surrender monkey” stereotype, but quite unfair to judge Gallic martial history on their quick collapse in the Second World War. All in all, the Frogs have a decent track record in eliminating baddies.

This stereotype is also a reaction to the knee-jerk disdain the French show for U.S. culture and policy. It’s nothing personal, America; the French hold everyone in contempt.

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Let’s talk about the Louisiana Purchase! No doubt, everyone else fed up with modern politics has taken up the same topic… perhaps around some good cognac or fried alligator, as the case may be.  The half of modern Americans who don’t hate themselves for living under the stars and stripes sometimes cite the Louisiana Purchase as an example […]

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