Roman Nomenclature
Michael Kinsley Drives Ezra Klein into Shrillness

I Do Wish Somebody Would Respond to Martin Wolf re Sarkozy

Martin Wolf says that he doesn't know what will happen. Neither do I. But I do wish somebody who does have an informed view would comment...

Economists' forum: Why Sarkozy’s triumph portends strife in Europe: What does the election of Nicolas Sarkozy mean for France, the European Union and the world? The answer will depend on whether what now emerges is a European France, a French Europe or a France set against Europe. Any of these three outcomes is possible. Only the first would be desirable. Which it will be depends on Mr Sarkozy’s true identity. Will he be an economic liberal or a populist interventionist? It is probable that he will turn out to be a mixture of the two. If so, his arrival is likely to deliver the last of the three alternatives: France against Europe.

The French agree on few things. But on one thing, they have close to a national consensus: free markets and free trade are a diabolical Anglo-Saxon plot. In a thought-provoking book on the challenge for French policymakers, Georges de Ménil, himself an American-trained liberal economist, ascribes this hostility to the legacies of Catholicism, Cartesian rationalism, revolutionary utopianism, nationalism and the dominance of the state.

For a modern politician of the right, such as Mr Sarkozy, it is the last two elements that are most important.

I would guess that a "French Europe" is most likely. I've talked to too many Frenchmen, Germans, and Britons over the past five years who say that George W. Bush has made it very clear that Europe needs, for its own safety, to start acting like a superpower. And I suspect Sarkozy is of that faction. And that would mean a "French Europe."