Mine enemy’s enemy

I haven’t found enough information on the riots in France, to make any useful comment on what’s happening, except an obvious one, that the Chirac government has made an awful mess of things.

In this context, there’s an expectation about that leftists should defend Chirac and his government, and therefore be embarrassed by his failures. The first time this expectation arose was when (thanks to poor performance and co-ordination on the left) Chirac ended up in a run-off against Le Pen for the presidency in 2002. Hence it was necessary for the left to campaign for a strong vote against Le Pen and, necessarily, for Chirac. Then in 2003, Chirac’s government led the opposition to the Iraq war at the UN, by virtue of its permanent membership of the UNSC, rather than because of its great moral standing. Still, the war had to be opposed, and Chirac therefore had to be supported.

But the argument that ‘mine enemy’s enemy is my friend’ can only go so far. Much of the reason why French Gaullists annoy US Republicans is that they have so much in common. There’s little doubt that, if Chirac had the kind of global power that Bush does, he’d abuse it in exactly the same way. Australians and New Zealanders, who’ve seen Chirac and his predecessors throwing their weight around in the South Pacific (long used as the site for French nuclear tests), are well aware of this. The same kind of heavy-handedness is evident in domestic policy and seems to have contributed to the riots.

29 thoughts on “Mine enemy’s enemy

  1. Jack : I think you’ll find a fair few of the rioters are from African countries that are at least partially Christian. The Africans from Cote d’Ivoire [Ivory Coast] are a good example, as are those from Togo. How are they different, in terms of mentality, from the nominally Muslim Arabs rioting ? It also isn’t the people with a strict Muslim identity who are likely to annoy you, it is the second generation that don’t.

    The obvious reason why East Asians don’t cause such problems is that they are by and large rich by the second generation (for whatever reason). Discrimination against them might be bad for the countries with them as a whole (losing potential talent — just look at the Jewish people Germany lost), but few rich individuals complain even if they might be otherwise richer.

  2. Jack,
    To put my understanding of the problem in France into your terms I believe that the problem is a (particularly French) combination of the Nationalist and the Globalist views – French chauvinism assumed that, because French culture is the best then anyone moving there would subscribe to it, at least given some time. The globalist policy of unrestricted immigration (at least from the now former colonies) gave them a large pool of identifiably non-indigenous French – large enough that there was no real need for the immigrants to integrate.
    This has tested to and past breaking point the naive assumption that they would become culturally French, given time.
    France has never really tried multi-culturalism because of the integration assumption. It was always believed that it was not needed.
    Australia’s case is different. Immigration, because of our distance from the main centres from which ‘our’ immigrants arrived, was normally controlled, slow and picky. The only major exception may have been the Vietnamese in the ’70s – I am not sure of the numbers, though.
    Immigrant integration here was a must for most of the immigrants – and for their children it was simply unquestioned. Australian culture has also adapted to pull in elements of each large ethnic group to come in, making the integration easier for them.
    In France this was not the case – ergo these riots of the both socially and culturally alienated.

  3. Andrew Reynolds Says: November 9th, 2005 at 3:43 pm

    France has never really tried multi-culturalism because of the integration assumption. It was always believed that it was not needed.

    France has always followed a dejure settlement policy of assimilation for ethnics willing and able to integrate according to French norms. But France’s defacto settlement policy is one of state-segregation by the New Right mustering factory fodder and New Left filling welfare rolls.

    Britain and Australia rely on multiculturalism for non-C/C ethnics. This effectively licences self-segregation for those ethnics who are unwilling or unable to integrate.

    I am not aware of any examples of a European state which has a large population of Islamic ethnics that has not wound up segregating them. The nature of settlement policy seems to be irrelevant.

    It looks like it is the people – natives v ethnics – rather than the policy – assimilation v multiculturalism – that is important. And numbers are of the essence.

    Australia’s case is different. Immigration, because of our distance from the main centres from which ‘our’ immigrants arrived, was normally controlled, slow and picky. The only major exception may have been the Vietnamese in the ‘70s – I am not sure of the numbers, though.

    I agree. I am fine with multiracial immigration. I hate multiculturalism because any social structure that divides society is immoral: reinforcing ethnic identity reduces the flow of social sympathy. Multiculturalism is analogous to class division, with results even more destructive. The end point of ethnic segregation is a caste society.

    Most non-Caucasian/Christian ethnics came here for a better life, not to reproduce the worse life they had in the Old Country. And many of the non-C/C ethnics were carefully selected and are integrating without too much fuss.

    However many ethnics were selected to fit the political or commercial needs of domestic vested interests. And they have been settled according to a reactionary and divisive social philosophy.

    The Vietnamese are a partial exception. They were selected in a haphazard way, basicly as mass refugees fleeing communist tyranny. And they have been settled in a bad way, with an abnormal amount of multicultural hanky-panky. Australia’s first political assasination appears to have been carried out by an ethnic lobbyist.

    However Vietnamese students are high IQ, roughly up to the East Asian standard. So I anticipate that the next generation of Vietnamese will integrate successfully. In spite, not because, of multiculturalism.

    In many ways the real settlement policy is carried out by the schools. Schoolyards are the most conservative and authoritarian settlement authorities that one could possibly imagine. If ethnic children can pass muster by hanging out and getting accepted by the cooler native children then their future looks bright. If not, then the French disaster beckons.

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