Statist France Collapsing, It Simply No Longer ‘Works’

Monday, June 20, 2016
By Paul Martin

JUNE 20, 2016

When the so-called student revolution erupted in Paris in May 1968, President Charles de Gaulle was on a state visit in Romania, and Prime Minister Georges Pompidou on a parallel visit in Afghanistan. Both men were asserting France’s “grandeur” abroad and its “world role” as a champion of “national independence” against both “American and Soviet imperialism.”

Within days, they had to shorten their tours and return to Paris unceremoniously to face a chaotic situation at home.

Radical students had turned the Sorbonne University into a “liberated territory” ; there were barricades all over the Latin Quarter, in the very heart of the French capital; strikes were choking the economy to death; red and black flags were being waved on public buildings. So much for “grandeur.”

One cannot help but recall the 1968 precedent now, as France just convened an international conference in Paris to “restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.” Twenty-nine countries and international organizations attended the conference’s grand opening on June 3. However, very few of them did so at a significant level. Secretary of State John Kerry obliged. So did UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. That was it.

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