Saturday, November 05, 2005

Once in France

One of the frustrations about covering events in France is the lack of metrics. There are a few which can be used. The numbers of cars burned on a given night. The number of towns affected by disturbances. The numbers of persons arrested. But there is a lot of critical information that can't be captured in these figures. Here are two reports, one from a site in Brussels and another from a Dutchman which have been cool and collected in the past. Here is what they have to say. The titles are the authors and not mine. I have edited only to shorten the excerpts where necessary

The Brussels Journal

The Fall of France
From the desk of Paul Belien on Sat, 2005-11-05 13:41

If Nicolas Sarkozy had been allowed to have his way, he could have saved France. Last Summer the outspoken minister of the Interior was France’s most popular politician with his promise to restore the law of the Republic in the various virtually self-ruling immigrant areas surrounding the major French cities.

These areas, which some compare to the "millet" system of the former Ottoman Empire, where each religious community (millet) conducted its own social and cultural life in its own neighbourhoods, exist not only in France, but also in Muslim neighbourhoods in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and other countries. ...

The experience of his youth has made Sarkozy ... virtually the only one who understands what second generation immigrants really need if they want to build a future. More important than the so-called “social benefits” – the government alms provided by welfare politicians like Chirac, Villepin and their predecessors – is the provision of law and order. This guarantees that those who create wealth do not lose it to thugs who extort and rob and burn down their properties.

Sarkozy’s decision to send the police back to the suburbs which had been abandoned by previous governments ... would lead to riots was inevitable. Sarkozy knew it, and so did Chirac, Villepin and the others. ...

What happened instead was that Sarkozy's "colleagues" in government used the riots as an excuse .... Bringing down ... Sarkozy ... was told to shut up ... Villepin began a "dialogue" with the rioters. As a result the riots have spilled over from Paris to other French cities. Do not be surprised if this French epidemic soon crosses France’s borders ...

As for Sarkozy, the best thing this immigrant son can do is to resign and make a bid for the 2007 presidential elections ... But this could soon change if he remains a member of a Villepin government which is clearly unwilling to abolish the current "millet" system.

Peaktalk

France's Intifada

It’s hard to find some good reporting on the Paris riots, one of the newspapers here this morning claimed that the violence had abated somewhat. Well, that’s hardly the case. Below I’ve translated an excerpt from the Dutch public broadcasting organization’s report on night number nine, Friday night ... The term "Paris Riots" has become a complete misnomer. There's war going on in France and that is coming from someone who is not given to hyperbole, but the facts have made that conclusion inescapable. ...

Commentary

Paul Belien's headline "The Fall of France" will seem hyperbolic to the average reader. I know it shocked me. But in the historical memory of Frenchmen, the painful defeats of May 1940 were principally due to acting too slowly in the face of a threat, which if properly met could have been contained. One of the most regrettable things about the historical Fall of France was that the Republic had more than enough men, armor and artillery to meet the Nazis, but did not act quickly enough to save itself. And it is to this memory of belatedness that Belien principally appeals. (For a fuller discussion of the role timing in the Battle for France see this site.)

Peaktalk is the site of Pajamas Media contributor Pieter Dorsman, an investment banker by trade and who now helps "early-stage technology companies get organized and financed". He is probably not a man given to wild-eyed exaggeration. Yet he says, "There’s war going on in France and that is coming from someone who is not given to hyperbole, but the facts have made that conclusion inescapable." 

It's possible that the seriousness of the situation has finally forced the principal French political figures to bury the hatchet. The Telegraph reports the French cabinet has met in emergency session on the ninth day.

The French government is holding crisis talks after a night of rioting which saw nearly 900 vehicles torched and at least 200 people arrested. ... into the second week ... appear to have spread beyond the capital ... other French cities. ... now concerns that the violence is being organised by groups of youths using the internet ... de Villepin, has summoned eight key government ministers to his offices, to try and find a political answer to France's worst rioting in decades.

It was this last piece of news -- that de Villepin was looking for a political formula on the 9th day of the riots -- that most disturbed me, almost as if Gamelin on the 9th day of the Blitzkrieg had only then begun looking for his map. How long will it take to come up with a plan? How long to execute?

Looking back, I think de Villepin thought he could contain the riots using police cordons as bulkheads while principally relying on his Minister of Social Cohesion to get the government's tame imams and community leaders into dampening down the riots. The French government has spent a lot of money creating quasi-governmental Islamic institutions in an attempt (in my view at least) to co-opt the more tractable leadership of the ghettos. It also had an infrastructure of social workers and government funded "community groups" which it probably felt could be relied on to bank the fires. Recent newspaper stories report how imams and community "mothers" have been marching against the violence, only to have themselves stoned and jeered. De Villepin unleashed his ultimate weapon and it turned out to be a rubber sword.

What de Villepin's planning probably missed was that the millet system plus the Internet formed a combination that would go through the 21st century "impassable Ardennes" like s..t through a goose. The millet system meant that potentially hostile foci were were already pre-deployed outside the cordon, often in cities outside Paris. And the Internet of course ensured that command and control could be exercised at a distance by command cells despite any number of deployed riot police. My guess is that by day 6 or 7 the French leadership began to doubt whether their impenetrable defenses would hold. By 9th day, I think, a real panic had begun to set in and they are now scrambling for a Plan B.

78 Comments:

Blogger desert rat said...

Fox News reports yet another night of rioting. Intafada redux.
A Cruise ship off the coast of Somalia is attacked by pirates in small open boats.
Oh me oh my
After Katrina, less than 2 days for a US Federal response was considered "SLOW",
Nine days after Paris began to burn Mr de Villepin has a meeting. Mike Brown should be proud, he was only a day behind the curve, not over a week.
Now as the violence extends across France, as reports of riots trickle in from across western Europe, there is, I must admit, a feeling of smug satisfaction.

Can't wait to see how France defines Peace and Justice.

11/05/2005 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

France fell in 1940 because she did exactly what the Germans expected; while the Germans keyed their move against the French lunge into Belgium.

History repeats: The French are totally behind the curve...still fighting the 'last war.'

I can only pray that this goes on and on until France is compelled to change their immigrant policies.

With any luck, this will blow across Europe shakeing up the status quo everywhere.

If Iranian involvement is even seriously suspected by France, et. al. then a gate is opened.

BTW, the local cops deny that they were even chasing the electrocuted youths. Rather, they were responding to the event. I would suspect that the incident tripped the breakers and knocked the power out.

At the voltages found in a substation one can electrocute oneself without even touching the conductors. The juice will jump the gap. The energy thrown hits like dynamite.

The balance of the evidence favors the police account. It is hard to imagine anyone running away from cops to willingly enter a transformer vault; which is built like a jail cell.

11/05/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Rat,

While I am sympathetic with your feeling of Schadenfreude (if I'm right to choose that word here) at what's going on in France, and am tempted to indulge that feeling myself, as the French response to our efforts in Iraq has made me quite angry, I am overcome by a feeling of sadness about France and what is going to happen there.

French was my first "second language," and I have had good French friends and a French Moroccan brother-in-law.

This is very sad and terrifying.

It's our media's refusal to deal with it honestly that infuriates me.

11/05/2005 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

Do the French have a word that is a rough translation of "Schadenfreude"? Well, that's what I feel for Villepin right now.

11/05/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Fjordman said...

I posted this one on my own blog. The question is, can the French be effective in using force against the rioters when a significant part of their armed forces is made up of Muslims?

http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/200511513428.asp

France has been detecting, or at least fearing, loyalty problems among the fifteen percent of its soldiers who are Moslem. The military insists that these second and third generation soldiers of, for the most part, Arab descent, are loyal. But many Christian soldiers, NCOs and officers are not so sure. Harassment of Moslem troops by Christian soldiers is common. There have been no major incidents of soldiers turned terrorists, but the abuse from paranoid soldiers, NCOs and officers might push Moslem soldiers to go bad. This is believed more likely because there are no Moslem chaplains. Thus Moslem soldiers seek spiritual advice from clerics with no military experience, and possible a radical agenda. More worrisome is that radicalized soldiers will leave the army equipped with skills they can use for terrorist attacks.

11/05/2005 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

As I've said, I live in Paris and have been more or less casually following developments in the banlieus. I'd thus like to think that I have a rather different perspective on things than most of the posters here.

Bref: my impression is that you have rather exagerrated the seriousness of the situation -- until now. Mini-uprisings of this sort are constantly occurring in France, and always with the same actors. The past week, from that point of view, has just been more of the same, which no doubt explains by few people I've spoken to in Paris seem to be sweating it. Or even thinking about it much at all.

What's new and disturbing here -- and it's here that you have a point -- is the national scale of events in recent days. Previously, immigrant neighborhood riots has been an exclusively local and almost always in response to local events -- a drug dealer's shooting by the police, police sweeps of the neighborhood, etc. Things began last week in this familiar way; they now seem to be taking an entirely new turn with the nationalization of violence.

That, in turn, has much to do with the unfortunate political conjuncture. De Villepin and Sarkozy, the frontrunners for the 2007 elections, have both sought to undermine the other since jointly entering Chirac's new government in June. De Villepin's initial hesitation faced with the riots has cost Sarkozy some credibility. Point scored. But it has also encouraged those engaged in the violence to imagine themselves in a larger and more significant event.

Time will tell how things develop. For the moment, it seems that internal rivalries have weakened the government's capacity to put a lid on the situation.

11/05/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Cardozo Bozo said...

I can't imagine this will end well. I don't believe this is the "French Intifada" or any of that mess. France has brewed this cauldron all by itself, and it is a potion made of social 'welfare' and protection from opportunity. Now decades of resentment will boil over.

French culture can absorb these disaffected youth, but the French economy cannot, which gives them dreams without hope. The only 'solutions' are to lance the cause of the infection, "The Third Way", or to cover it up and take lots of temporary pain relievers, like even greater social handouts. Based on the stories quoted above, it seems like France is going for the latter. Assuredly it is the less painful and more fast-acting of the two plans.

Ah well, they're on their 5th Republic for a reason. They don't learn anything until after the revolution is over, and half the time not even then.

11/05/2005 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Burn baby burn! :)

So ends the Fifth Republic.

I really feel like I am sitting in Constantinople watching the Western half of the Empire beginning to fall. Of course, I’d feel much safer if Canada wasn’t so willing to blindly do anything Europe does but to the Nth degree.

11/05/2005 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

here, by the way, is something i wrote back in march on the everday violence of immigrant youth in France:

http://michellemalkin.com/immigration/2005/03/27/11:34.pm

11/05/2005 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger blert said...

Training muslims in modern military methods is very high risk.

Too much in my opinion.

France has proceded most unwisely.

This rising hopefully is just the corrective stimulus she needs.

BTW, we need to segregate our muslims in our military. They are too conflicted in this GWOT/WWIV.

11/05/2005 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

DO,

I originally thought the riots would be over in a week. I did not think they would have much physically disruptive capacity. But from the outset I saw in the riots a disturbing political development. A new and dangerous meme was forming.

The apparent fact that the riots have gone into their second week and spread to other cities in France was something I did not originally anticipate. My own mental scenario was that the riots would mark a date when some "movement" would be born, as in the "Black September Movement" etc nomenclature that is so popular with movements of this sort. Then this movement would be historically invoked to give similar events legitimacy in the future.

Now I see that I was probably right about the memetic danger but didn't appreciate how serious it actually was. Mind that I hope to be proven wrong. But as you say, let's wait and see.

11/05/2005 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I should say, though it isn't directly relevant, that the killing blow in the Historical Fall of France was not marked by any great clash of armies. Paris was wreathed in a kind of eerie calm even as it was doomed. The violence being inflicted on France was of a more abstract kind. Its armies were being cut off; its command and control being severed by the unimpeded passage of the Panzers across the open road. Even Winston Churchill in his famous speeches was deceived by the subtle violence of it, when he spoke of 'armies of millions' not yet engaged. Memes are the Panzers of the mind. They are dangerous.

11/05/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

Wretchard,

In fact, my impression is that there is only one scenario in which things can get truly dangerous: the case in which the far left, hoping to take advantage of the much-hated Sarkozy's momentary weakness, takes to the streets in sympathy with the banlieusards. Recent commentary in France has been trending towards a social apology for rioter violence and away from a Sarkozy-like critique of "delinquance". Whether the left mobilizes around the rioters depends on the degree to which this reading of the violence takes. And that, in turn, depends in large measure on the behavior of the rioters themselves: on the one hand, they need to keep the violence going. On the other, they need to stop doing things like burning handicapped people in busses (a sure way of losing sympathy).

In a general way, most French people have little or no sympathy for immigrant-descended voyous. If recent events are to acquire a genuinely political dimension, that will require the cooperation of established parties (esp. the Greens and student unions). That's why the appearance of a split in the government is so important. The left may take advantage of this -- indeed, the Socialist Party already seems keen on doing so -- to discredit the popular Sarkozy, for now their principal electoral challenge in 2007. But if they do so, it will only be at the price of further violence. And of course at the price of legitimating what has been, until now, an opportunistic and unpolitical affair.

11/05/2005 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Much as French policy for decades has been collectivist, Statist, actively opposed to enterprise and innovation, the country's socio-cultural rot has long been subject to denial, to shrill repetition of left-socialist cliches.

A branch has fallen off the tree. The very trunk stands exposed, so consumed with contagion that only the stately outer bark still holds the once-noble edifice erect.

Probably, it is too late for any remedy. It is certainly too late for one that respects "civil rights" and "liberties" of France's disaffected Muslim population. Politicians' only rhetorical ploy is to justify extreme measures by stating that Muslims' failure to assimilate requires their expulsion.

Nationality is not synonymous with Identity, and these burgeoning nests of arrogant interlopers --a "fifth column" if ever there was one-- must either be dealt with now or exterminated in some horrific civil war. Life and death of La belle France requires it.

It did not have to be this way. But those of us who warned of this, publicly and in private, have been treated as pariahs since the early 1960s. The self-destructive nihilism of modern "liberals" (sic), presciently flagged by Nietsche, is exfoliating to epidemic status. Will France, and by extension all the West, awake in time? In view of Boomer generation dynamics over many years, forgive me if I tend to doubt it.

11/05/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

do reports from France that the Riots are opportunistic and unpolitical.
Then he says there is a political component. The Police say the rioters are not coordinated, then say the rioters communicate with cell phones and internet.
The French Government says tourists are safe, then today a tourist area is firebombed (FOX News).
There seems to be Green lines developing within France. No go areas for French Police and soon there will be many French that are denied access to French Justice, as their suburban ghettos become self ruled, by the self selected "Emirs".
TV News copy tells me that "Muslims & Africans" are rioting. Rarely is the religion of the Africans mentioned but, when religion is mentioned, they are also Mohammedan.
The fact that the riots have spread from the ghettos of Paris to Lyon and Marsailles(sp) is frosting on the cake.
There is no conspiracy, like Dorthy in OZ, we are told we must ignore the man behind the Curtain.

11/05/2005 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

You cannot look at France’s Muslim population collectively. They themselves do not look at themselves collectively. Several times since 1980 the French government has tried to create a dialogue with the Muslim population within the hexagon but such efforts have failed since there is no consensus among the different immigrant populations. The Moroccans don’t want the Algerians to have the power, etc. For there to be a lasting powerful uprising all Muslims have to band together for more than the sake of mob violence. While the riots now have become more violent and widespread, they are still, in essence, mob violence based around the fact that the situation for the average immigrant is horrible.

One can scold the government for having no real plan but look at how Sarko has dealt with things in the past. He takes a very strong stance and defends it with force. Effective, yes. Alienating, yes. Most immigrants are not fans of Sarko and his policies. A political dialogue won’t do much and this point but starting one is a very good idea and is necessary to prevent further events such as these.

Also, must Muslims in France aren’t fundamentalist. In fact they are quite the opposite. Especially among the younger Muslims there is a greater tendency to work with the government as they feel they are much better off being in France as opposed to their home nations. So while waiting a generation isn’t an option right now, in the long run I foresee the issues with Muslims becoming a lot less pronounced.

11/05/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

"do reports from France that the Riots are opportunistic and unpolitical.
Then he says there is a political component."

You didn't read what I said closely enough. The RIOTERS are opportunistic and apolitical. Those waiting and watching -- among established left parties as well as in the government itself -- are not. A difference, you see.

And I really don't think Islam has anything substantive to do with recent events here. That may change but, again, it depends very much on how events are spun.

11/05/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

So what I don't get is why don't they shut off the power in the riot areas? Wouldn't that turn off the internet that the rioters are using to coordinate it all?

11/05/2005 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger tim maguire said...

At this point, I'm amazed there have been no reports of fatalities--given the extent of the violence.

What scares me is the idea of this spreading to another country. Denmark had riots before anyone took this really seriously. But if it spreads to another country now, France will come under heavy pressure to stop the riots. By any means necessary.

God knows what'll happen then, but the death count will certainly go up.

11/05/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Operation Steel Curtain. Come on, skip France, they made their bed, let them lie in it.

C'mon Wretchard, give us a little Operation Steel Curtain Analysis, or at least, Commentary.

11/05/2005 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Hey!

Who's the "Tony" who wrote this?

So what I don't get is why don't they shut off the power in the riot areas? Wouldn't that turn off the internet that the rioters are using to coordinate it all?

We shouldn't have 2 "Tony" guys on here.

11/05/2005 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

the reason no one has shut off the power grid in the effected areas is that to do would be to give a wonderful opportunity to the rioters to exploit the darkness to burn yet more cars and beat up innocent residents of the same neighborhoods.

11/05/2005 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger johnCV said...

I am no expert on French politics, society or culture. I do not know all of the 'nuances' these 'riots' will bring to French society, but just a few observations from the uninitiated.
Thousands (and perhaps tens of thousands) of 'immigrants and chilfren of immigrants' have taken to teh streets for 9 days destroying propoerty.
We find that large swaths of France are essentially off-limits to non-immigrants.
These same areas are also off-limits to the French Authorities i.e. police).
The 'immigrants', whether through choice or social pressure, have not assimilated into the general society. A ghetto in the truest form.
The 'immigrants' appear to be heavily reliant upon the public largesse for financial support (housing, medical, etc.)
There has been a strong radicalization of islam around the world and especially in France. This will metasticize with the 'angry youth' an give this anger a higher purpose.
The French 'leadership' is internally split and fighting for domestic superiority, with the major faction (chirac, devillapin et.al.) corrupt and entrenched (O-F-F, UN votes).

I have no idea how this will turn out, but given the above observations, I'd be moving my money out of french assets. Even if in the short term things settle down, long term they are doomed.

11/05/2005 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I'm Tony. I changed my name.

anyway...

Can't they do things like cut off phone and electricity to these neighborhoods? Wouldn't that stop or at least slow things down? What did the L.A. police do to quell the Rodney King riots? I would assume the French police could take a page out of that playbook...

Is the French government really this inept?

11/05/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Do,

seems to me like the rioters would be rioting regardless of them having light. Without access to phone service or the internet, they would have no way to coordinate.

11/05/2005 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Anthony,

I always love to meet guys named Tony. Thank you.

You wouldn't want to have your screen name associated wtih my superhawk opinions anyway.

Thanks Tony, Tony

11/05/2005 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

i see a memorial of just lights, just near Notre Dame, underground, of all of the cars that were lost....

11/05/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Paris 2005 = Southern Cal 2020.

The Muslims in the Paris suburbs:

Refuse to learn the National language

Refuse to become educated in useful skills

Provide safe havens for criminal gangs

Have a first loyalty to nations other than their host nation

Have a sense of entitlement because of centuries old perceived grievances.

Any parallels to So Cal?

11/05/2005 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

"Thousands (and perhaps tens of thousands) of 'immigrants and chilfren of immigrants' have taken to teh streets for 9 days destroying propoerty.
We find that large swaths of France are essentially off-limits to non-immigrants.
These same areas are also off-limits to the French Authorities i.e. police).
The 'immigrants', whether through choice or social pressure, have not assimilated into the general society. A ghetto in the truest form.
The 'immigrants' appear to be heavily reliant upon the public largesse for financial support (housing, medical, etc.)."


Yeah, but it's only just now that you guys are hearing about it. That's the way it's been in France for years. That's also why no one here is especially surprised/worried. Things will likely blow over. You're right about the long term, however. Given the distribution of birth rates/continued immigration, things do look bleak for the republican civic order in France.

11/05/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger johnCV said...

I am no expert on French politics, society or culture. I do not know all of the 'nuances' these 'riots' will bring to French society, but just a few observations from the uninitiated.

Thousands (and perhaps tens of thousands) of 'immigrants and children of immigrants' have taken to the streets for 9 days destroying propoerty and injuring many.
We find that large swaths of France are essentially off-limits to non-immigrants.
These same areas are also off-limits to the French Authorities (i.e. police).
The 'immigrants', whether through choice or prejudice, have not assimilated into the general society. A ghetto in the truest form.
The 'immigrants' appear to be heavily reliant upon the public largesse for financial support (housing, medical, etc.)

There has been a strong radicalization of islam around the world with traces found in France. The immigrants are mostly moslem. This anger is metasticizing with the 'angry youth' to give them a higher purpose.
The French 'leadership' is internally split and fighting for domestic superiority, with the major faction (chirac, devillapin et.al.) mostly corrupt and entrenched (O-F-F, UN votes).
There appeared to be a strong sense of denial as to the seriousness of these uprisings, at least until very recently. this suggests a malfunction at the highest levels of gevernment.

I have no idea how this will turn out, but given the above observations, I'd be moving my money out of french assets. Even if in the short term things settle down, in the long term there does not appear to be any mechanism withing France to correct this problem. France has crippled its 'immune system' by creating a nanny state where all 'good' flows from the government. When the government can't provide, people, stripped of thier self reliance, strike at the source of thier trouble.
I consider France about one step above an enemy to the US, but I hope they got the wake up call in time.

11/05/2005 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

and if you don't believe me about people not caring, check out the front page of today's web version of Le Monde, which is about... Research Triangle Park (NC) as a model of intelligent tech investment...

http://www.lemonde.fr/

11/05/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger johnCV said...

Sorry for the double post. The first was only a draft while I fixed typos etc. Didn't know it published.

11/05/2005 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: no casualties. I'm sure there are casualties. Where there's a lack of civil society, these types of numbers are hard to come by.

Looking back, I don't think I ever heard the French criticize the U.S. for "lacking sufficient troops" to give Iraq security. If the local citizens won't stand up and sacrifice for their own safety, no one can give it to them with any number of military doing the policing (but if the rules of engagement are unconditional war, then a very small number of 1st world soldiers can kill and destroy all the means for making war in their path, enemy and, sadly, not). Ditto for "sealing" borders or stopping smuggling. You need the support of the majority of the populace. Which is as true for the U.S. borders as it is for Iraq (and France).

The silver lining in all this is that Europe may finally escape it's 1960's time warp and undergo the same hard lessons that the U.S. learned with its own race riots in the 60s, where our own socialism (LBJ-ism, welfare, etc.) tried mightily to fix the result rather than addressing the cause (a lack of esteem and self-respect due to a lack of (societal demand for) personal responsibility and accountability).

11/05/2005 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger johnCV said...

DO said
Yeah, but it's only just now that you guys are hearing about it. That's the way it's been in France for years. That's also why no one here is especially surprised/worried. Things will likely blow over.

I find that astonishing.
How do people react to this? Is this considered 'just one of those things you get used to'?

11/05/2005 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

I can give you another piece of evidence that the French police weren't chasing the boys. I spent three months in Paris and never saw the police chase anyone. I saw blatant violations of law, such as jumping the turnstiles at the Metro stops, taking place in front of the police. They didn't even blink unless it was a drunk tourist talking too loud. The Metro enforcement squad who made random checks of the trains for tickets were so young and innocent looking that I pitied them. Several times I saw large groups of Muslim men running down the middle of the street with large bags stuffed with something, I know not what. I can't believe that such a sight would go unchallenged in Philadelphia. Young pickpockets ran in crowds around the train stations and metro stops, wherever there were tourists. Lines, such as those at the Eifel Tower were, as nearly as I could tell, easily circumvented by anyone willing to pay a bribe. Blatant ripoffs of tourists were tolerated. Once my wife was harassed by some drunk kids on her way home from work. A group of Brits came to her rescue. The police are all over the city, but I don't know what they do. I admit to being culturally ignorant, but I believe that Paris, at least, is not subject to the rule of law.

11/05/2005 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

immigrant kids have been burning cars, protesting, rioting, beating up passers by and generally engaging in obnoxious public behavior for years. nothing astonishing here and likewise nothing astonishing in the rise of the Front National as a political force (despite its many and obvious political defects). in paris, the voyou (thug) is a fact of life which one learns to avoid, very much as one learns to avoid the ubiquitous dog shit on the side walk.

11/05/2005 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

By the way, I think that schadenfreud is inappropriate. We may have difficulties with the French, but they are part of the West. They are reluctant, but they are allies in the GWOT. It's really a wonderful place and the people are wonderful too, just a little too relaxed.

11/05/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger rasqual said...

It's not schadenfreud with the French that concerns me. It's wondering when the American Left will blame Bush for these riots -- impossible in an enlightened nation like France if not for the mysteriously potent effects of Yankee imperialism.

Sorry -- I'm just in a grouchy mood about the Left tonight. There are times when derisive laughter stops, and a sobering wish for the comet takes hold . . .

11/05/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Louis la Vache said...

Jj mollo wrote: "I can give you another piece of evidence that the French police weren't chasing the boys. I spent three months in Paris and never saw the police chase anyone. I saw blatant violations of law, such as jumping the turnstiles at the Metro stops, taking place in front of the police. They didn't even blink unless it was a drunk tourist talking too loud. The Metro enforcement squad who made random checks of the trains for tickets were so young and innocent looking that I pitied them. Several times I saw large groups of Muslim men running down the middle of the street with large bags stuffed with something, I know not what. I can't believe that such a sight would go unchallenged in Philadelphia."

I am an American living near Paris. It is different now. What you saw was part of the low morale of the Police Nationale, who report to the Ministry of the Interior. Before "Sarko," the Police had given up because their bosses would not back them. The bureaucrats in the Ministry of the Interior had the same "coddle the criminals" mentality of the U.S. left. This was a significant factor in why the police wouldn't even go into some of those "red belt" banlieues. Why risk their lives when their own bosses wouldn't back them?

Under "Sarko," the police are getting their self-respect back. The police know, to use the U.S. term, that "Sarko" "has their back."

Last week before the rioting started, at Gare de Lyon I saw a turnstile jumper chased and apprehended by the police. Coming in to Paris from Brunoy the week before that on the R.E.R., on my car alone the Police Nationale arrested 6 adults in a ticket check.

The regular French here are fed up with lawlessness in the banlieues. The media, not surprisingly, has joined "Sarko's" critics and are doing all they can to discredit him, but the people I talk to back him. People are fed up with ChIRAQ and they are fed up with the political establishment making excuses for all of the lawlessness. The government's dithering over these riots is both emboldening the rioters and those who now exploiting them and making the regular French increasingly fed up with their government. I think things are going to get very hot here.

11/05/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

Cars have been torched inside the city of Paris proper as far as I can understand (link). Also, Theodore Dalrymple paints a wider picture of the lawnessness in Paris and what a potential tinderbox the suburbs are:

"No one should underestimate the danger that this failure poses, not only for France but also for the world. The inhabitants of the cités are exceptionally well armed. When the professional robbers among them raid a bank or an armored car delivering cash, they do so with bazookas and rocket launchers, and dress in paramilitary uniforms. From time to time, the police discover whole arsenals of Kalashnikovs in the cités. There is a vigorous informal trade between France and post-communist Eastern Europe: workshops in underground garages in the cités change the serial numbers of stolen luxury cars prior to export to the East, in exchange for sophisticated weaponry."

Link here.

11/05/2005 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yes many people have said this happens all the time in France.

However this time it has earned geo-political play the world over. It is getting worldwide press and that has not happened post 9/11.

Therefore it has gained momentum. And I suspect the usual suspects (Al Quada, Iranians, etc) will capitalize and organize this into a continuous "new front" in the war on terror.

In fact would it not garner the attention of Zarquawi and his ilk in Iraq? They are, after all, master manipulators of the media. Perhaps they see an opportunity they cannot pass up....

Why continue to be bogged down in a losing situation in Iraq? Bush is President for 3 more years and even Zarqawi has to understand that Bush is not going to abandon it, damn what the media tries.

Perhaps AL Quaeda elements are already beginning to coordinate phases of the riots and plan for more. I certainly would not doubt it. In fact, I would be surprised that if they had not yet had their hands in there.

So yes these riots are different in the fact that they have grabbed worldwide attention. And that is what will intice AL Quada to press for more.

So perhaps the inverse of all this is that Iraq will quiet down as Al Quada shifts precious resources to a the new front of Islamism...France and the rest of Europe.

It is an opening for them that must have them salivating and chmoping at the bit in delusions of what can be achieved....

Riots and rioters, even Muslim, are, after all, useful idiots for the likes of Al Quada.

11/05/2005 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger DO said...

the latest, circa 22h Paris, from Agence France Presse (for those of you who read French):

"Des violences urbaines ont enflammé pour la dizième nuit consécutive des cités-ghettos près de Paris et en province, avec une centaine de véhicules brûlés et une dizaine d'interpellations à 22H00.

"Il est trop tôt pour tirer des conclusions" sur une baisse, un maintien ou une hausse du niveau de violence", estimait-on de source policière alors que les appels au calme et les promesses de fermeté du gouvernement se sont multipliés samedi.

Le début de soirée a été marqué par plusieurs incendies dans l'Essonne: deux écoles, dont la maternelle de La belle au Bois dormant à Grigny, ont été touchées, cette dernière étant détruite à 50%. "Brûler une école, c'est inacceptable mais celui qui a mis le feu c'est Sarkozy", pestait samedi soir un parent d'élève, Yvan Lemaître.

Près de 800 m2 de papier ont également été brûlés dans un incendie qui a frappé une entreprise de recyclage de papier, implantée à Vigneux-sur-Seine, selon la préfecture.

Le McDonald's de Corbeil-Essonnes dans le quartier des Coquibus, a été partiellement détruit par une voiture bélier, sans faire de blessé, selon la préfecture. Son conducteur s'étant enfui à pied.

Une quinzaine de voitures ont également été incendiées dans le département."

So it appears to be continuing. The test will be to see whether it survives the weekend...

11/05/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Rioting, burning handicapped women alive, sniping at Police and the like are business as usual for France? And she has the audacity to comment on the societial conditions here and on Justice in the World?

I cannot think of an instance, since September of 1781, when Comte de Gasse and twenty-nine French ships in Chesapeake Bay laid siege to Cornwallis and the British troops in Yorktown, that the French have come to the aid of US. We have, often, since then saved France from Despots, Tyranny and Defeat.

Thanks but no thanks. Allies of US the French are not. I'd rather side with Greenpeace. At least they do not plant bombs, sink ships and kill innocent sailors in the South Pacific, like Pirates.

As to Paris, there was a saying when I was a kid "BURN BABY BURN!"

We can wait and see what rises from the ashes. Maybe they will get lucky, like the Iraqis. Nah, they don't have the spirit of freedom in their sails, like the Iraqis do, today.

11/05/2005 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Just to clarify a bit, there is no doubt that this is not an insurrection which in itself threatens the French state. It's just not on that scale, the perpetrators are right on the margins of society, and as various residents of central Paris have observed this has hardly as yet impinged on their world.

What does threaten the stability of the French state however is the governing political elite's paralysis in the face of the growing lawlessness in its immigrant communities. The most important thing to understand about this very visible paralysis is that it is not new - this crisis, including the routine level of violence which accompanies it has been building very visibly for at least a decade.

The problem for the French governing class, both left and right, is that these developments collide head on with their determination not to do anything about their third world immigrants beyond paying them benefits and mouthing multicultural pap which is in practice dismissed more easily in France than in most other Western countries.

When confronted with a collision between what they are determined to keep saying and the need to give up some of their privileges the current ancien regime is delivering what their forefathers have always delivered: continuing internecine squabbles, overall paralysis and impotence, combined with the hope that somehow the crisis washes over them they will still be in charge. These elements form a black thread which runs continuously through 1789, 1940 and many other points in between.

11/05/2005 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Perhaps as in olden days, the government needs to go under the knife so as to begin again, anew.

The poor are no longer satisfied with bread.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

11/05/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

DO,

"In fact, my impression is that there is only one scenario in which things can get truly dangerous: the case in which the far left, hoping to take advantage of the much-hated Sarkozy's momentary weakness, takes to the streets in sympathy with the banlieusards."

The Left has now called on Sarkozy to resign. This, from Xinuhua:

PARIS, Nov. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The French Communist Party (PCF) called for the resignation of Nicolas Sarkozy from the post of French Interior Minister on Friday, saying his policy is "a total failure".


If they back up the resignation demand with a manifestation, as I think it called, then your scenario will have eventuated.

11/05/2005 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin said...

It's a very bad situation when events make Jean-Marie le Pen look like France's most reasoned, rational politician.

11/05/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Plan B is to deploy roving sniper teams and shoot arsonists on sight. The same tactics used by the US in Iraq and Somalia and in the Balkans have to be used in France.

11/05/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Maria - You cannot look at France’s Muslim population collectively. They themselves do not look at themselves collectively.

They have long ago moved past tribalism. Islamism is transnational. That is part of the inspiration of Al Qaeda. Egyptians, Saudis, Jordanians, Yemenis, Pakistanis, Frenchmen, Kuwaitis, and naturalized Spaniards can all band together for killing Americans on 9/11 with other nations Muslims cheering.

Or in Australia, where packs of mixed Lebanese, Sudanese, Afghans can cheerfully gang rape an infidel "white or yellow slut" as they call them, without any nationality or tribe complaining about sloppy seconds.

For there to be a lasting powerful uprising all Muslims have to band together for more than the sake of mob violence.

"Mob violence" sounds banal. This is not a football riot or a WTO-protest. This is far more significant. Though they have subsaharan black thugs mixed in in some places, a good number of them are as Islamic as their Arab brothers. This is like when blacks burned American cities in the 60s or Germans went after the Jews on Krystallnacht. A hingepoint in history.

He takes a very strong stance and defends it with force. Effective, yes. Alienating, yes. Most immigrants are not fans of Sarko and his policies.

France has integrated past immigrants, accepting even "exotic" Cameroonians and New Caledonians as Frenchmen. The problem with assimilation and alienation appears not to lie with the French, or the Europeans, but with the Muslims themselves. Why comport with infidels as your equals when they are unclean, impure, and inferior? Not to mention accepting terms of Western Civ means giving up control over family breeding stock. Even in Britain, where Irish, French, black africans, East European refugees, and Hindis assimilated sucessfully, Brits are finding the Muslims are alienated from day one, and worse, conversion to Islam is slowing assimilation of Caribbean immigrants.

In Sweden, Muslims are 4% of the population but commit 74% of the rapes and over half the robberies.

among the younger Muslims there is a greater tendency to work with the government as they feel they are much better off being in France as opposed to their home nations. So while waiting a generation isn’t an option right now, in the long run I foresee the issues with Muslims becoming a lot less pronounced.

I hope you are not beaten or pronged in the meantime by a swarm of young Muslims who agree France is much better than Algeria, Maria. If you are, try not to think you and your culture is partially responsible.

11/05/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Just as Guderian and Rommel were inside the decision cycles of the French, so are the arsonists inside the decision cycles of the French.

The key point in 1940 was the crossing at Sedan by Guderian. Up to this point he had flanks, but with the Meuse on his right side, he was able to use the river as both a shield for himself and a hammer against the French and British now trapped in Belgium. He could then pick the point at which he wanted to cross back over and trap the Allies.

The French had adequate forces, but they assumed that things would not move so fast. They imposed their own belief system on the Germans, rather than looking at what the Germans were doing.

The French government now is assuming one thing, but the unrest is fueled by something else - something they cannot bargain with nor comprehend.

The extreme confusion of the leadership and the confused press reports means that the French leadership has entered Boyd Shock and will be incapable of acting because what they observe does not match their internal models, but they act like it does.

The allegory to the Meuse is the line between property damage and violent crime. The burning of cars is just THIS side of not being a crime punishable by sniper fire - the continued nights of this - is the hammer on the French Society. They are shielded by "civilizxed values" and the "law" while they are hammering it into bits.

The only solution is to act with a new value system using new rules and new tactics.

The French need to treat this as Operations Other Than War - similar to the situation in the Balkans in the 90s. They need to strike out and strike hard, targeting the leaders and individuals doing the rioting. They have to use the military or SWAT teams and use real bullets.

11/05/2005 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

They have to employ men who move faster and are very lethal - to get inside the cycle of the arsonists.


They should also deport anyone caught doing this.

11/05/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard mentioned the use of the Internet. It's far more sophisticated, it seems. Where the US Army said it was going 10 years ago in "Future Soldier" program where each grunt is in communication with his buds, other units, and commanders.......high tech savvy protestors and insurgents have already gotten there. And the Islamoids have an additional advantage, their version of Navaho Phone talkers using Arabic that most soldiers & LEOs from Canada to Afghanistan don't understand, made even more difficult by use of ambiguous code words and tribal variants.

In Iraq, we see the bad guys operating as cells, able to disburse and flee, regroup, and coordinate faster than traditional US military coms can counter. The commanders in Iraq admit the foe is quicker and more nimble than the US soldier, with better communications. But the US soldier has better training, firepower, backup support and logistics. So we win the head to head engagements while the Islamoids take their harvest by sniping or IEDs.

In Europe, the fixation on privacy and civil rights also means that it is pretty safe these days to chat back and forth anonymously while attacking targets or police. WiFi and cell phones and SIM cards bought with cash assure no trail.

In the old days, we were taught the advantage of the crowd disbural into parts or the armored column shattering the order of battle of the foe would defeat the foe or mob since the pieces of the opponent were cut off from communications and disorganized and far less effective in actions.

In the old days, we believed that if you broke up the crowd, you won, since the pieces wouldn't reform unless you missed their backup rallying point, obvious as the point everyone was running to and as long as you got there before the crowd organized again, you just had a 2nd, easier disbursal, and you days work was done.

Now with cell phones and tactics first used in antiglobalization rallies by the Left, then the cunning Iraqi foe, police can scatter Islamoids in 4 directions but leaders from at the riot scene - to outside France altogether - can squirt text message orders in coded Arabic that the West can't translate fast enough, to reform packs of fighters at different points and communicate intelligence on the French forces and any change in tactics or targets.

A traditional French Police or American Army confronting netcentric speed, civil libertaran mandated anonymity in communications, and a reasonably secure "secret language" that translators don't exist in numbers adequate enough to let the good guys know what the foe is doing in real time.

Be happy the French did not neglect to guard their conventional weapons depots for a year, as the Americans screwed up on so badly in Iraq - or we would be seeing IEDs.

11/05/2005 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Klaus said...

http://lawnrangers.blogspot.com/2005/11/riots-in-france-what-in-world-is-going.html

I don’t think the riots in France have anything to with religion. Instead, I think they have everything to do with economics and culture.

In particular, I blame the socialist economic policies have brought the French economy to a halt. Unemployment is high, especially in the suburbs, and economic growth is slow so it’s not clear when the economic problems will be resolved. Government intervention in the economy, high taxes and over-regulation have done serious damage to the economy. Unemployment among those under 25 is 23%! Overly generous social benefits have created a welfare underclass comprised primarily of immigrants and their children. Worst of all these policies may be directly responsible for the dysfunctional culture that reigns in these communities.

I submit that these French suburban ghettos are almost identical to the American inner city disasters that were created by 50 years of our own socialist welfare policies. These communities on the outskirts of Paris are dominated by state run or subsidized housing projects where unemployment is higher than in France as a whole.


The only thing that will solve the economic problems of the French suburbs is less government regulation of the economy, greater incentives to work in the form of lower taxes, and fewer restrictions on labor and capital.

11/05/2005 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...


They should also deport anyone caught doing this.


I've been wondering what they're doing with all the bodies they're arresting. 200 one night, 250 the next night, a couple of more hundred some place else. Is it one of those Palestinian Authority revolving door policies, where the gendarmes arrest a bunch of young swarthy boys in front of whatever reporters are skulking about, haul them off to the jailhouse and then release them?

What are they being charged with? Would that be a deportable offense, if they're found guilty? Will there be jury trials, or how will the perp's be found guilty, if they are still incarcerated?

11/05/2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

"Looking back, I think de Villepin thought he could contain the riots using police cordons as bulkheads while principally relying on his Minister of Social Cohesion to get the government's tame imams and community leaders into dampening down the riots." - Wretchard

Yes, Wretchard makes good point.

But, all is not lost. If the French have the guts they will do two things:

1) Read the "riot act"

2) Enforce the riot act!

But, sadly I am inclined to agree with the majority of posters who believe the French will simply acquest to the Mohammedan acts.

The Mohammedan acts of deception and violence, as Churchill noted in his papers is self evident (Rat has consistently noted Winston Churchill's description of the debilitating nature of Mohammendan style of death thinking - google it if you desire).

Further, I agree with RWE on his previous statements (but, time and family prevent me from commenting in-depth).

[We may not know all the facts]

Although, the French riots seem to be based on "race and economic" needs that does not preclude them from being fed by a external sources. It is highly possible that certain entities (al Qaeda, and its extensions) are feeding the frenzy.

Yet, the Main Stream Media portrays the riots as being an "economic racial" problem - a little guy v. the establishment - sure it is possible. But, larger entities are pumping gasoline on the fire for political gain.

As other posters have noticed, the MSM have blandly identified the perps as "poor youths" on a rampage. It could be that said "youths" are actually proxy fighters of al Qaeda or its offshoots and the "rampage" is driven by them.

I would suggest readers take into account the fact that there are French/American security ties and that the French have indeed cracked down on Islamic terrorists.

Hence, a fertile breeding ground for terrorists has been blunted - thus the riots (just a guess but, one with some facts).

See: ledger & RWE posts 75% down tread

11/05/2005 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We may have difficulties with the French, but they are part of the West. They are reluctant, but they are allies in the GWOT.

I absolutely and totally disagree with this, and reject it with a hoot of derision and a snort of disbelief.

The French are NOT our allies. They double-crossed us in the United Nations, they've been taking bribes from Saddam, they sold out their Security Council vote, and Chirac and de Villepin physically toured the whole entire world to dissuade other countries from helping the United States.

Not only did France disagree with what Bush was proposing to do, but prior to that and in the three years following the French have done EVERYthing they could to cause trouble to America, and our real allies, including hiring terrorists to be Agence French Presse reporters and photographers, which means that the French have been paying Arabs to set up ambushes of American soldiers and then to photograph them being shot at and killed.

And let's not forget France's anti-Semitism, and the FACT that the Mohammad Dura story was fabricated and put forth to the world by France2.

If France is burning, it's not schaudenfreud I'm feeling, but justice. And as an American taxpayer, I *refuse* to be drawn into any sort of a rescue effort for either France the country, nor any of its citizens.

11/05/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Nahncee: The French are NOT our allies. They double-crossed us in the United Nations, they've been taking bribes from Saddam, they sold out their Security Council vote...

All the more to suspect that terrorist entities are operating in France. Just look at the MSM. France is politically Schizophrenic.

11/05/2005 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Ledger - The Mohammedan acts of deception and violence, as Churchill noted in his papers is self evident.

Yes, but Churchill was even less complimentary about Jews, who he said were the preponderance of the early Soviet leadership and the architects of the Red Terror that killed millions.

Churchill was an equal oportunity slammer, but has the benefit of historians now seeing him as mostly right...

They are reluctant, but they are allies in the GWOT.

There is no Global War on (the tactic of) Terrorism. It's a stupid Bush slogan that should have been discarded in early 2002.

Nahncee - The French are NOT our allies.

Funny, France was with us in NATO and then went modestly independent with the Force de Frappe in 1964, but still allied with us in the Cold War from 1949-1995. French troops and Americans routinely relieve one another in places like Haiti, Afghanistan, UN peace missions. French and American intelligence work closely together. They bailed on Iraq, but with the US bogged down and borrowing 11-12 billion a month from China to keep us in the war biz, the French look rather prescient. (Yes, the noble purple-fingered people are ready to create a new Islamic nation under partial Sharia, so they may actually have some gratitude one day for America bringing Iran and Iraq closer)...But I like to think of France sort of like Israel - some interests align and we are friends - but they will backstab us in a second if money is to be made. Oil For Food vs. Israels bribes to Congress Reps for taxpayer bucks to prop up Israel and covert sales of US military technology to China.

And let's not forget France's anti-Semitism

It is a pale version of anti-Semitism compared to what the E Europeans and Russia think after living 50-70 years under the totalitarianism the Jewish Marxists created. And some say British anti-Semitism is far stronger than the French type, just more subtle and understated.

And as an American taxpayer, I *refuse* to be drawn into any sort of a rescue effort for either France the country, nor any of its citizens.

Not much of a choice, really. France is at the geopolitical heart of Europe and is a vital American national interest. Far more so than the shitty little nations of the Caribbean, Africa, and the Levant we have had significant taxpayer, military costs, and taken casualties in. Far more than Bosnia or Kosovo. Afghanistan. Or our latest war on behalf of the Noble Muslim Peoples, in Iraq (not interested in oil....no!! Which is good because any smart elected Iraqi wishing to prove they are not vassals of the past American occupier will give the oil deals to the "patient didn't spend a cent", China.

PS - The 1st 3 wars we fought for the "noble Muslims" were necessary for European unity and rooting out Al Qaeda. Iraq is of course looking more problematic.

11/06/2005 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

France may indeed be headed for a period of prolonged civil unrest. But the parallels to 1940 are not merely premature, but are somewhat exaggerated.

Roving bands of street toughs with Molotov cocktails are not the modern equivalent of the 7th Panzer Division knifing across the Meuse.

That said, we may be about to see a side of France we haven't since since the 1950s. Water boards anyone?

11/06/2005 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Roving bands of street toughs with Molotov cocktails are not the modern equivalent of the 7th Panzer Division knifing across the Meuse.

No, but they may turn out to be the modern equivalent of certain events that passed in France somewhat before the blitzkrieg, if the two prongs of the assault can not be met.

The first prong is the reality of the violence being perpetrated across France. As Wretchard and others have pointed out, the collective experience gained by the perpetrators is the foundation of a collective identity. Maria has suggested that Muslim immigrants in France may have been relatively disunited by sectarian identities. However Cedarford has countered that the existence of Al Qaeda and organizations like it shows how Islam provides a foundation for collective experience and identity beyond mean tribalism. The synthesis of the two is that while Muslim immigrants in France, beyond the influence of fundamentalist Islam, have heretofore been divided by sectarian interests, the perpetual violence across France has provided them with a foundation for collective experience; the manning of the barricades, camaraderie and the spirit of revolution.

The second prong is the memetic assault founded on the success of the first. Our discussion itself contributes to the popular conception that a new order might be stirring in France. So ends the Fifth Republic, says Bill. Maria is not so sure. In fact, while Cedarford and others including myself may dispute her analysis, she has contributed a memetic defense of the status quo by asserting, in effect, that nothing much will come of this. Meanwhile other Belmonters cheer as France burns. So long as popular conceit maintains that the current arrangement is intractable, something will be done about it. And this is what Muslim immigrants have been up to the past ten nights; asserting their de facto command of sectarian enclaves within France. Meanwhile the nominal government remains trapped between French nationalism as manifested through Sarkozy, the indeterminacy of de Villepin, and the Socialist appeasers demanding that the government officially recognize the enclaves by withdrawing their authority- the police- from these areas.

The longer the violence continues, the stronger the meme becomes. A revolution must be aborted before it can be born.

11/06/2005 02:35:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Not to be overlooked - as of yet, no serious blood has been spilled by the rioters . Until things do get bloody some form of "peace" (ceasefire/normallacy) can be restored (this being essentially appeasement).

But blood will beget blood and then riots are liable to become an intifada.

Hence the French government is in a lose/lose situaton.

If the government insists on restoring order then blood is inevitable, and (considering the culture of the rioting parties) an armed insurrection is likely.

Nasty, but better fight it out now than later.

11/06/2005 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger Huan said...

Whether France is a US ally or not is largely irrelevant if she falls from diplomatic schizophrenia into instability. This will destabilize much of Europe, especially Germany. Both have large Muslim immigrant population, both fails to integrate, and both and faltering economies.
We must also remember that while the ethnicities of the terrorists may have been Arabs, most also have lived and trained in Europe. In the Middle East, Muslim countries have only themselves to blame, and contain sufficient counterweight to extremism and fundamentalism. And in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have suffered under violent oppression to understand that fundamentalism is not the solution. But Muslims in Europe are disenfranchised and radicalized and fundamentalism can be perceived as “empowering”. More so, they have westerners to blame and even worse, they will have western collaborators to assist and vocalize their grievances and anger.
Finally, the US and its true allies in the GWoT will not have the resources short of full mobilization to contain and salvage Eurabia. A destabilize France-Eurabia will be very bad for us, and a lost we may not be able to recover from. While Schadenfreude is tempting, it is shortsighted.

11/06/2005 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger jake-the-peg said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/06/2005 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger jake-the-peg said...

I think it would be helpful to increase the frequency of presidential elections. Seven years is just too long. Malcontentment festers without a political escape valve.

11/06/2005 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

Several things about W.'s post come to mind.

(1) The rioters are organized--to make molotov cocktails, to plan attacks, etc. N.B.: NOT to create businesses, organize education, articulate a political substructure to mediate disagreement and create vehicles for change.

IOW, these rootless muslims can organize, but only to act out their conviction that their problems are always and only others' faults. This is the middle-east in a microcosm. It has arrived in western Europe, and the deadly synchronism between marxoid conviction that the only evil on the face of the earth is the creation of "Other People," and Islamist grievance culture has coalesced into a fecund symbiosis, each part feeding off the other.

(2) Unfortunately, this narrative in which the same plot plays out eternally and everywhere--the only evil is to be someone who doesn't possess something that someone else does--is the common currency of the leftist press. Like any conceptual screening device, it lets in what fits the narrative and blocks anything that does not. So of course, as in America in the race riots of the 1960s, which historians of Civil Rights Legislation and the foredoomed "Great Society" have shown were triggered by TV pictures of police dogs in Alabama, so in France: people only burn automobiles because they are the victim of social injustice. Another turn on the above-mentioned plot line.

(3) I doubt that France will "fall," if only because given where it is right now, it can't be a very far drop to reach bottom.

11/06/2005 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Sophia Phoster said...

That's a good summary of the thread Nathan.

The Muslim identity issue is what makes this violence more akin to an insurrection than a riot. Kalus and others have said this has nothing to do with religion and that's probably correct so far as it goes. Islam is the danger not because of its spiritual aspects but because Islam is above all else a political ideology as totalitarian in nature as any of the 'isms of the 20th century.

Islam comes complete with a hierachial system of governance, a civil and criminal code and the courts to apply them. There's no need to muck around with the crazy ideas from competing bands of revolutionary hotheads. The framework to replace the Fifth Republic already exists, has been tried and tested for 1,400 years, and needs only the lack of opposition to be put in place. I don't think that will happen but who knows. Profound events are almost always totally unexpected.

Mohammed was the geatest salesman ever and knew more than a little about leadership. Perhaps the most powerful feature of Islam is the concept of the ummah, the Islamic bond of shared experience and kinship that trencends tribe and nation. This identity is reinforced all over the world five times a day at prayers. That's powerful stuff.

Anything short of defeating the rioters sothey know they've been beaten, by any means necessary, leads only to the resumption of the battle at another time more favorable to the Islamists.

11/06/2005 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I wonder how long before we see targeted assassinations being employed. Though given French history and preference to a secretive approach, expect a more discreet method than hellfire missiles to be used as one by one our muslim rioters just disappear.

11/06/2005 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger EddieP said...

The submarine wolfpack Islam, slamming torpedoes into the hulk of the French Ship of State and the Good Ship MultiCulti. Sorry about the first, delighted about the second.

11/06/2005 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

France will not fall this month. The rioters will not replace Mr Chirac, tomorrow.
They are though at the beginning of the process, or perhaps, if reports that this type of thing have been going on, unreported, for a decade, the end of the beginning.

As to whether the rioters are economic or political, they are most likely both. At best the rioters are "useful idiots" at worse active Insurgents. A mixture of the two is not out of the question. How many Jihadist instigators are required to fan the flames of burning resentment.

France still has time to recover, she may not have the fortitude.

When C4 says that French security of ammo depots has limited IEDs in France, I have to chuckle. In this early phase of Insurection, landmines and satchel charges are premature. It would end the debate on cause and effect. Gasoline is explosive enough, for now.

How one sees these riots is, of course, affected by a World View. If one believes that there is a "Clash of Civilizations" and global conflict, this is a manifistation of that conflict.
If ones World view sees Mohammedan Jihad as primarily caused economic and political dominace by the West of the Mohammedans, then that is what they see in Paris.

In the end it comes down to the collective will of the French people, and the conditions they accept to live with.
In the past they have capitulated at every opportunity. From Indochina to Algiers. Now in the heart of Paris, de Villepin may well surrender Honor in the name of Peace, again.

11/06/2005 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Huan said...

Lets not forget that there are already terrorist cells in Europe. They would be fools not to co-opt these riots. More so, they have westerners to blame and even worse, they will have western collaborators to assist and vocalize their grievances and anger.

France will have to crack down, and likely harshly. There are little cultural, political, or economic offerings available as alternative. How will the disenfranchised will react will depends on how much their cause and action have been co-opted by the terrorists. But even acts of terrorism will not destabilize France if France retains the will to fight. This has remained the case for numerous countries fighting an insurgency that has resorted to terrorism, whether it be countries in Latin America (Colombia), the Middle East (Algeria, Iraq), or Europe (Spain). But if France will to fight is undermined by actions on France’s political left, and the political naiveté of France’s youth, then instability is certain.

11/06/2005 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/06/2005 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

The French have always excelled at fighting the last war. The Dyle plan was well conceived to stop a WWI-style Schlieffen plan, but was a fish out of water when it when head to head with the blitzkrieg-powered Manstein plan.

It may just now be dawning on Villepin, Chirac and the others that this is not 1968, and the avatar of Sedan might find itself in the suburbs of Paris.

11/06/2005 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Right now, the actions in France at most still seem to be a battle of opportunity for the local disaffected. We do not know if it has been initiated, or is in the process of being assumed, by Islamist forces. It is a misuse of the word ‘war’ to ascribe it as such. The problem for France is that the assumption can occur quickly - and that they have dithered in the normal Leftist indecisiveness to the point that others can capitalize on the situation.

Since the Global War on Terror has been ongoing for 20 - 40 years, and since the War is truly global, and since Europe has in fact previously been a front in the conflict, we must watch for an opportunistic attempt to make France a Front or a Theater. France is the Sickest Man in Europe - but she is by far not the only ill patient in the region.

European appeasement in the GWOT may in fact lead to the war being fought here (as in Europe) rather than there (as in the Middle East).

We shall soon see how organized militant Islam is.

The frightening thing about this rioting is that France's 'Fifth Republic' may fall in something as small as a regional battle. It may not take a theater campaign to collapse the surrender monkeys.

11/06/2005 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger dave in boca said...

PHONY WAR

The NYT and WPost are mouthing the same tiresome economic and victimization mantras most mini-Marxists recite to blame everything on institutions and absolve individuals from any responsibility. I continue to read Le Monde and the French press, and lived several years in France and from my experience, it is pretty obvious the elitist dirigiste left-wing political class is now scheming to undercut Sarkozy. He is guilty of calling for law and order without the kowtowing the social/political mandarinate in Paris demands toward the poor disadvantaged arsonists.

"Dialogue" demonstrates the demand of the Minister of Social Cohesion. Yeah, stopping the Germans in 1940 with dialogue [remember the “Phony War?] didn’t work, but the French always pretend to know better.

The brilliantined stick-insect de Villepin does a good imitation of Christopher Walken's "continental" as he tries to craft appeasement strategies with the reptile Chirac. These two want to exclude the half-Jewish Sarkozy from their effete parleys as much as possible.

The International Left is struggling to control the narrative. These social engineers in Brussels want to replicate in the USA the hyper-leftist social & economic catastrophe that produces 10% unemployment in France and Germany. Franco-frauds in the USA [Kerry comes to mind] don't want these Franco-inspired social planners backed into a corner.

The best MSM comment so far is from Mark Steyn in the Sun-Times who correctly describes France as the flashpoint for the Eurabian Civil War. He also deftly points out the decades-long assaults on Jewish stores and businesses in France by Arabs as a reflection of the deep anti-Semitism of the French citoyen.

The real victims besides the French are the Turks, who now see their aspirations for EU membership going up in flames.

But the Europeans are always the last to get the REAL message, which consists of realizing that they have spawned a mini-intifada through their inability to assimilate. Al-Qaeda franchise outlets are springing up aided by the Internet just as I write this.

We in America cannot gloat, because indigestible unassimilable immigrants are now dotting our own civic landscape..

And the final joke may be on the ENA golden boy de Villepin and his reptilian godfather Jacques Shh-iraq. If Sarkozy plays his political cards right, he could benefit from the Le Pen phenomenon and grab the Presidency two years from now.

11/06/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Guys; I keep telling you: It's "France." Throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave, pop a beer, and enjoy the show.

"It's just France!"

11/06/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Yes, but Churchill was even less complimentary about Jews, who he said were the preponderance of the early Soviet leadership and the architects of the Red Terror that killed millions....

And let's not forget France's anti-Semitism...

It is a pale version of anti-Semitism compared to what the E Europeans and Russia think after living 50-70 years under the totalitarianism the Jewish Marxists created....


Good grief! I do not contest that some individual Jews (or half-Jews) took leading roles in the Bolshevik revolution. However, I would like to point out that these men and women did not have the support of their religious community or Jewish society; few, if any, were religious Jews, and a number of them altered their names to hide their backgrounds. In short, they felt themselves to be as Russian as Catherine II, "the Great".

I think most Russian Jews at first thought the Revolution would lead to more freedom, but quickly grew disenchanted. Certainly there was division among Jews, and some individuals resorted to violence: consider Fanny Lipsky, who tried to assassinate Lenin.

Any impact of individual Jews - there was never any "Jewish influence" - at the level of the Soviet leadership pretty much died with Trotsky, and remaining like-minded cadres were rooted out by Stalin in the purges of 1937, years before the Soviets established satellites in Europe.

In the thirties, all Jewish schools were closed. Any Jews who wanted to maintain a sense of community were invited to travel to Birobidzan, near the Chinese border. There were few takers. And just before Stalin died, he was planning a Hitler-like extermination of the the Jews.

Bottom line: Anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union was manipulated by the authorities to their own ends, and exported abroad whenever the Communists found it useful. It wasn't "the Jews" who made Communism inhuman, but the system itself.

And yet, there is a bitter way to look at Cedarford's comments constructively. The Nazis ignited an anti-Jewish fury that resulted in the slaughter of millions of innocents. Europe recoiled and sought safety and prosperity through greater immigration and tolerance of minorities. But Europeans didn't realize, and then didn't want to realize, that courting minorities who aggressively advocate their own view as the only one permissible to hold in society is to encourage a new totalitarianism. For the Muslim rioters in France today do not seek just equality but superior treatment, in effect the right to power and dominance over France as a whole.

In the past, whenever someone pointed out problems with the France's minority Muslim population, people cried, "Nazi!" - i.e., comparing the observant party of being an anti-Jewish racist who wanted to kill millions of people belonging to an innocent minority. Now, thousands of people belonging to a minority are rioting. They are not innocent. They are feeling their oats and exploring the limits of their power, as far as they can go. Will their totalitarian urge be checked, or will it be encouraged by further cat-calls of "Nazi" aimed at critics of France's pro-immigrant policies of the past 35 years?

11/07/2005 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

During the era of the Reformation, Imperial Germany did hit upon one "solution" to the fractious religious conflict between Papists and Protestants: Controlled exile, or "Persuasion follows Prince": If the religion of a prince changed, his subjects had a year to either convert, or sell their property and move to another, more-favorable statelet.

The nightmare of fractured religious communities building to murderous civil conflict is enough to make this alternative, expulsion, look good once more.

11/07/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

In the past, whenever someone pointed out problems with the France's minority Muslim population, people cried, "Nazi!"

Dutch virtue of tolerance under strain

11/07/2005 12:58:00 PM  

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