The recent presidential love fest notwithstanding, France and the US are united in the wrong priorities.
By Stephan Richter, February 13, 2014
France is about the last country that most Americans would ever want to be compared to. And the United States is about the last country most French would tolerate being compared to.
And yet, the two countries share many parallels. Many of them underlie the deep structural crisis which both countries face. I count five parallels that really matter.
The first parallel is the ill-fated belief in the omnipotent powers of the presidential system. True, Francois Hollande is doing his utmost to disabuse his fellow citizens of that notion. Still, the French continue to love the idea of having a “king.”
Their collective hope is that this one person can somehow magically fix things for the people, preferably by decree. This penchant for royalism is accompanied by democratic pretenses. The underlying belief is this: The more we protest and resist, the more benefits we can expect.