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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Articles on France after 2007
Where France leads the way
Sarkozy resumes France's bad habits
What do they want?
A sigh of relief
The French election: another missed opportunity?
Goodbye, Chirac
Articles on France before 2007

  • (november 2007) Where France leads the way is in nuclear energy, which is likely to become one of the most important industries around the world in the 21st century. Western Europeans and the USA are paralyzed by the environmentalist fanatics, but the rest of the world is hungry for nuclear energy. As demand increases, and as oil becomes a more and more hazardous item (because of the political instability of the oil producers), every sensible country in the world is rushing to invest in nuclear energy. It also happens to be the only "clean" type of energy, for those who truly believe in global warming (obviously this category does not include the environmentalist fanatics because they constitute the main opposition to nuclear energy in polluting societies such as Western Europe and the USA).
    This is one case in which the human race has to rely on capitalists to do the job that governments and socially-aware organizations should do. France's Areva was formed in 2001 by uniting two French state-owned nuclear agencies, Cogema, that produces nuclear fuel, and Framatome, that builds nuclear reactors. It was a stroke of genius that created the only company in the world that can sell to a customer all the elements needed to jump-start nuclear-energy production. Now it even sells waste storage (the one controversy that still makes sense to have). France is way ahead of the USA: 80% of France's energy is nuclear, which makes France a lot less dependent on oil than the USA is and will be for a long time. European neighbors of France like Italy and Spain that did not invest in nuclear energy are simply doomed to become French colonies (or Arab or Russian colonies, whichever they prefer to be). France just signed a $12 billion deal with China to provide nuclear reactors to a Chinese city. This is just the beginning. This business is likely to skyrocket during the 21st century and make France a very rich country. Betting that there must be a limit to USA stupidity, Areva has also made deals with USA distributors for when the USA decides to restart investing in nuclear reactors. That day Areva will be the most experienced and reliable provider in the world. The USA may end its dependency on Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil only to start a dependency on French nuclear technology.
    The other nuclear giants have responded by mergers and acquisitions, but they don't have the same enthusiastic backing by their governments: Toshiba purchased Westinghouse for $5.4 billion, General Electric and Hitachi merged in a $2 billion deal.
    A more serious competitor is Atomstroyexport, created in 1998 in Russia out of the old Soviet bureaucracy. The Soviet Union may have been an "empire of evil", as Ronald Reagan famously called it, but it was smarter than the USA at least in one respect: investment in nuclear energy (despite the fact that Russia, unlike the USA, has vast reserves of oil and natural gas). Now that Russia has joined the capitalist world, Atomstroyexport can boast of a 50+ year experience in building and managing nuclear reactors. They too have signed multi-billion dollar contracts with China. It wouldn't be too surprising if, some day, it were Russia to sell nuclear technology to a technologically-backward USA.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (july 2007) Sarkozy resumes France's bad habits. The democratic world had great hopes for the new French president, Sarkozy, who came after the catastrophic presidency of Chirac.
    Those hopes have been rapidly shattered: Sarkozy is nothing more than another imperialistic Chirac, a friend of all dictators of the world.
    His first major international coup has been to pay ransom for six Bulgarian citizens that had been held hostage by the dictator of Libya, Qaddafi, for years. Needless to say, this will have two effects: 1. It will boost Qaddafi's image in his country and around the Islamic world; and 2. It will encourage other dictators to use the same methods with the West.
    The amount that France agreed to pay was in the hundreds of millions of dollars, plus all sorts of direct and indirect benefits for the Qaddafi government (Sarkozy also convinced a few countries to forgive Libya's debts).
    Was Sarkozy moved by inept but good-hearted compassion for the hostages? Of course, no. Like his predecessor Chirac, he was moved by greed and Napoleonic grandeur. France used to be the main supplier of weapons to Libya (and one of the main importers of oil) during the 1970s. Then Libya invaded Chad, and France decided to side with Chad and cut all relationships with Libya after (1989) Libya was accused of engineering the downing of a French airliner over Nigeria. Libya eventually paid compensation to the families of the victims. Today Sarkozy simply paid back the money to Libya. In typical French fashion, Sarkozy is convinced that he just restored France to international grandeur, when in fact France was just humiliated by Libya that first invaded a French ally, then killed French citizens and now gets its money and international position back.
    Greed was also a major factor. Just last may Tony Blair (another European leader that should be ashamed of supporting Arab dictators after invading Iraq to remove one of them) announced a $900 million oil deal between Britain and Libya. Nothing ticks off the French more than rivalry with the British. Sarkozy probably felt that Chirac's stupid antagonism against the Anglosaxons had kept France out of a lucrative market and decided to rapidly change course. Now he will visit Libya and probably come back with contracts for French companies. What he doesn't get is that he has just proven to Qaddafi that France can be intimidated, blackmailed and humiliated without paying any consequences. Not only Qaddafi, but other dictators will have no motivation to deal with France as subjects: it is France that will have to accept their terms.
    The difference, my dear Napoleon, is that Britain won the war and you lost it: Britain got something from Qaddafi without giving him anything. France got nothing from Qaddafi after giving him something.
    Obviously, French presidents cannot be redeemed. Maybe it's time that the European Union and NATO consider expelling France from the community of the democratic world.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (may 2007) What do they want? Nicolas Sarkozy's election has sparked protests across France, many of them violent. Since Sarkozy has not even begun his presidency, the questions for these rioters are simple.
    1. Against whom are you protesting? Against the majority of French people who voted for Sarkozy?
    2. What do you want? Cancel the results of the election and vote again until the majority votes the way you want?
    The answer is "yes" to both. Many of these young people have no interest in democracy. They view democracy as the product of a corrupt and decadent western civilization. They are similar to the Russian youth that started the Russian "revolution" of october 1917 (actually, a coup against the democratically elected government of Karensky). They want to create a dictatorship, except that it would not be a dictatorship of the proletariat but a dictatorship of the minority ethnic groups. They don't necessarily want to rule France, but they want France to grant them the perpetual right not to work and be paid a salary for not working and to be allowed to live according to values different by the traditional French values. They are rioting because they fear what Sarkozy election means: the majority of French people does not want to continue paying them a salary for not working and for creating an alternative society within the French society.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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    What do they want? Nicolas Sarkozy's election has sparked protests across France, many of them violent. Since Sarkozy has not even begun his presidency, the questions for these rioters are simple.
    1. Against whom are you protesting? Against the majority of French people who voted for Sarkozy?
    2. What do you want? Cancel the results of the election and vote again until the majority votes the way you want?
    The answer is "yes" to both. Many of these young people have no interest in democracy. They view democracy as the product of a corrupt and decadent western civilization. They are similar to the Russian youth that started the Russian "revolution" of october 1917 (actually, a coup against the democratically elected government of Karensky). They want to create a dictatorship, except that it would not be a dictatorship of the proletariat but a dictatorship of the minority ethnic groups. They don't necessarily want to rule France, but they want France to grant them the perpetual right not to work and be paid a salary for not working and to be allowed to live according to values different by the traditional French values. They are rioting because they fear what Sarkozy election means: the majority of French people does not want to continue paying them a salary for not working and for creating an alternative society within the French society.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (may 2007) A sigh of relief. Compared with past presidents and presidential candidates, Sarkozy is an outsider (the son of an immigrant, the graduate of a public university). During the Iraqi crisis Sarkozy deplored Chirac's arrogance. Sarkozy thinks that France is facing a big problem in both its economy and foreign policy.
    A sigh of relief can be perceived from Lisbon to Washington. Whether France can recover from the disastrous 12 years of the Chirac presidency, that transformed France from a world power into a joke, is debatable. But certainly it is reassuring to hear a president of France that agrees with the way the rest of the world sees France. In order to solve a problem, one must first admit that there is a problem. Chirac was, in many ways, the embodiment of the French problem, both in domestic policy (stagnation, unemployment, corruption, crime, immigration, Islamization) and in foreign policy (anti-USA stance). The "French problem" may have started before Chirac, but it became an incurable cancer under Chirac.
    The problem, of course, is that 47% of France voted against Sarkozy. One suspects that those French voters did not vote for socialism but simply against change.
    Sarkozy believes in consolidating the European Union, in forging closer ties with the USA, in strengthening NATO, in defending democracy around the world and standing up against totalitarian regimes. Sarkozy appears like the ideal president to team up with Angela Merkel of France. But, more importantly, he appears to be the first French president ever to be the ideal counterpart for a dialogue (not an argument) with Britain and the USA. Regardless of who succeeds Blair and Bush, Britain and the USA tend to share values that were not shared by the previous Franco-German leaership. One can look forward to a much stronger Western front, with the USA, Britain, Germany and France much closer on essential values.
    The losers are countries like Italy and Spain, that will be marginalized by the emergence of this new solidarity among the four great western leaders.
    Sarkozy was largely elected on the basis of his domestic vision (fighting crime, containing immigration and creating jobs), but the the first beneficiary of the new presidency might be the world outside France.
    A testament to how little Chirac matters in the new world is that the two candidates had one thing in common: they wanted to change France. compare with Britain, where none of the two candidates for succeeding Blair wants to change Britain.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (april 2007) The French election: another missed opportunity? After a first round of voting, the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and the socialist Segolene Royal won the right to confront each other at the second round of the French presidential elections. However, French voters would dispute the words spoken by the defeated "third man", Francois Bayrou: "Sarkozy, through his proximity to business circles and media powers, through his taste for intimidation and threats, will concentrate power as it has never been before... policies that will give an advantage to the richest." And: "Royal's economic program perpetuates the illusion that the state can take care of everything... the opposite of the orientations needed for our country".
    The French masses agree. Nonetheless, Bayrou only won 18% of the vote in the first round, coming in third after the two very candidates that most French seem to dislike and distrust.
    The French masses probably agree with fascist LePen's sarcastic comments after his humiliating fourth place: "Well, I was wrong. The French are very happy. The proof is that they have just re-elected the parties that have been in power and which are responsible for France's situation." A lot of French people share his sarcasm: here we are, voting for the same crooks who caused the very problems that we are angry about.
    So why did the French voted for the two parties that are responsible for the stagnating economy, high unemployment, social and racial riots, cultural decline and diminishing French influence abroad?
    One possible answer is that the establishment (those two parties) own most of the media. France does not have the separation of politics and media that is the norm in Anglosaxon countries. Most media are either owned by a party, or funded by the government. Even making a movie is difficult in France without money from the government. Imagine if the New York Times or Hollywood were funded by the Bush administration: would you be reading the articles you are reading today in the New York Times and seeing the movies that you will see this friday in the movie theater near your house? Probably not.
    Le Monde, that used to be France's most respected newspaper, is emblematic of this class of government-paid intellectuals: Le Monde published a front-page editorial begging electors to vote for either of the two leading candidates. It basically asked the electors not to vote for Bayrou. The fact that Bayrou still managed to win 18% of the vote, despite having the entire media against him, actually speaks volumes about how fed up the French are with their establishment.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2007 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (march 2007) Goodbye, Chirac. France has been cursed with 14 years of Mitterrand and 14 years of Chirac. Each lasted at least ten years too many. Each came to power warning against the decline of France and promising change. Each presided over further decline and no change. What is truly impressive about France is how little it has changed over the last 28 years.
    What has certainly changed is the mood of the French people. If 28 years they were simply concerned about their future, they slowly became apprehensive and they are now desperate. They have never heard their president explain what could be the solution to the High unemployment and mushrooming public debt that have become endemic features of their society. "La Grande France" is being surpassed by China and India, but soon will be left behind even by South Korea and Brazil.
    In the first six years of the decade, Germany's exports to the non-European world have increased by 15%. France's share has decreased by 18%. This is the result of a policy of stagnation that has frustrated education, investment, innovation.
    And, yet, Chirac is the French president who once said that the French social system was "perfectly adapted" to the modern age.
    Very little is rational about Chirac's foreign policy, except his obvious desire to counter the USA's superpower, and to use the European Union as a nouvelle French empire.
    No wonder that today Chirac is (according to the polls) the most unpopular French president of all times.
    What all the candidates to the coming presidential election have in common is simple: they all reject Chirac's policies.
    All truth be told, Chirac is not the only one to blame for France's problems: it is the French, ultimately, who never wanted reform. Chirac gave the French people what the French people were demanding. He opposed the Iraqi war because it was popular to do so (and because he had already signed contracts with Saddam Hussein for billions of dollars). He canceled most of his reforms because the French people were demonstrating and rioting in the streets. Maybe Mitterrand and Chirac is precisely what the French electorate desired: leaders that do not lead.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • Articles on France before 2007
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