I had the pleasure of participating last Friday in France 24's panel discussion program, The World This Week, along with the IHT's Eric Pfanner, Newsweek's Christopher Dickey and the AFP's David Clarke. The topics were the G-20 summit, Ireland's debt crisis, the newly formed Iraqi government and George W. Bush's return to the spotlight. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.
I had the pleasure of participating on France 24’s discussion panel, The World This Week, on Friday to recap the stories of the week: the G-20 summit, the McChrystal firing, the elections in Guinea, and the politicization of soccer. The other guests were Matthew Saltmarsh of the IHT, Célestine Bohlen, and Michael Kirtley. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.
This was one of the rare times I’ve participated on this program where, upon leaving the set, I wasn’t immediately struck by everything I should have said, or how I might have expressed what I did say more clearly. So nothing more to add, really.
France 24 just posted last Friday’s panel discussion program, The World This Week, which I had the pleasure of participating in. The other panelists were Matthew Saltmarsh of the IHT, Paul Taylor of Reuters and Pierre Haski of Rue89.com. We discussed tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Europe’s ongoing economic woes, Jamaica’s unrest, and the Gulf oil spill. Part one is here. Part two is here.
One thing I’dd to why the Gulf spill is not comparable to Katrina. In addition to resonating with the President George W. Bush’s troubled relationship with facts and credibility, Katrina also underlined the lack of accountability in the Bush administration. No one suffered any consequences for having mismanaged the post-invasion occupation of Iraq, for instance. And the way in which Bush initially congratulated those responsible for mismanaging Katrina was the bridge too far.
I once again had the pleasure of appearing on France 24’s week-in-review program last Friday, “The World This Week,” along with IHT Executive Editor Alison Smales, RFI’s Philip Turle and the Sunday Telegraph’s Anne-Elizabeth Moutet. The subjects were the U.K. election, the Greek Debt Crisis, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to China. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.
I’ll also, once again, take the opportunity to add some subsequent thoughts that the discussion triggered. With regard to the British elections, I can’t make any predictions based on detailed knowledge of the politics involved. But based on human psychology, I’d wager that Nick Clegg peaked too early and will ultimately end up handing the election to David Cameron and the Conservatives. Why? Because as much as voters often sound like angry adolescents, they act like pre-adolescents: Both want to “get rid of” their parents. But the former are willing to engage in self-destructive behavior to do so, while the latter still have too great a need for safety and security to do anything drastic.
So in “change elections” like this, an outsider like Clegg serves as a conduit to articulate voter anger with the status quo. But his lack of a trusted party structure behind him, the chaos that would result from a hung parliament, and his own relative lack of a public profile will in the end drive many who supported him in opinion polls to ultimately vote for the more dependable and secure change represented by Cameron. I saw the same thing happen here in France in 2007, where François Bayrou’s “third man” candidacy benefitted from voter resentment, but not enough to carry him over to the second round. As for those who say, What about Obama? The difference between Obama and Clegg is that Obama was an outsider on the inside of one of the major parties. So not the same thing.
Another thought that the France 24 discussion triggered had to do with the idea that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico might somehow become “Obama’s Katrina.” This is to be expected from a political culture that slaps “-gate” on the end of anything that remotely resembles a scandal, as if somehow that’s all that Watergate was. But Watergate was not just a scandal. It was a traumatic breach of public confidence in the office of the president, which had collectively engaged in criminal actions to sway the outcome of an election, and then obstructed justice to avoid being held to account for it.
Similarly, a brief recollection of the context in which Katrina occurred should make it clear that its impact was not just a reaction to poor disaster response on the part of the federal government and executive branch. Katrina was the last of a series of contested factual accountings by the Bush administration, beginning with Iraq’s WMDs, but continuing on to the lack of post-invasion planning and the administration’s insistence that the exploding sectarian violence in Iraq was not significant. Katrina conclusively destroyed the Bush administration’s credibility on matters of fact, by demonstrating that an average citizen watching CNN was better informed than the president of the United States. Coming, too, in the medium-term aftermath of the 9/11 trauma, the sense of betrayal was palpable, even to an expat on the other side of the ocean.
Whatever else the Obama administration’s reaction to the Gulf oil spill might be, it does not represent anything that remotely approaches that order of magnitude.
I had the pleasure of participating last Friday in France 24’s panel discussion week-in-review program, The World This Week. The other participants were Matthew Saltmarsh of the International Herald Tribune, Paul Taylor of Reuters, and Esther Leneman of the French radio station, Europe 1. You’ll have to sit through a patch at the beginning where we all struggle to find something intelligent to say about the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandal. (Saltmarsh got called on first since, uh, well . . . Let’s just say that Judah and Esther are giveaways, and Paul apparently is of the Tribe as well.) But after that it picks up as we discuss the Greek debt crisis, President Barack Obama’s resuscitated presidency and the latest tensions in the U.S.-Israel relationship. Part one is here. Part two is here.
I again had the pleasure last Friday of appearing on France 24’s panel discussion week-in-review program, The World This Week. The other panelists were Tom Redubrun of the IHT, Stefan de Vries of RTL, and Laura Dagg of Toute l’Europe. Topics included the Iraqi elections, the Greek debt crisis, and U.S.-Turkey relations in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide bill. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.
I had the pleasure of participating in France 24’s week-in-review program, The World This Week, on Friday, along with the IHT’s Tom Redburn and France 24’s Armen Georgian. Topics included the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the military coup in Niger and U.S.-China relations. Part one can be seen here. Part two can be seen here.