Academic Backwardness of the Political Elite January 5, 2007Posted by The Writers in Culture.
The backwardness has no limit and even respectable people display it. For example, in an information report done by the french foreign affair committee (no 2567) of the ‘Assemblee Nationale’ (the parliament), the document chaired by former prime minister of France, Edouard Balladur and presented by Axel Poniatowski is dealing with the relationship between Europe and the US.
They bring 7 proposals to improve the relation between the US and French relation. The first one sets up a framework of action that is so unbelievably backward I am obliged to quote it in length:
‘Proposal number 1 aims to set up a French foundation for transatlantic relations. There is no doubt that France needs professional capable of defending her position and dissiminating her message: the purpose of the proposed foundation is therefore to strengthen and extend the work od state-run bodies by launching three initiatives: firstly an invitation to American leaders and opinions-formers to increase their awareness of French opinion on a range of subjects (foreign policy, insitutional structures, public policies…) by spending several weeks in the country; secondly, defending France and promoting her image in the US by various means including public education campaigns; finally, the creation of French cultural centers in American Universities – a form of ‘intellectual diplomacy’.
There is no qualifying for this patronising attitude which shows a complete misunderstanding of international relationship, the real position of France and the dealing with the US. First, if the some French politicians wants to install French cultural center in the middle of a US campus, they should know that every best US campus possess a department of French studies. It generally employs one or several world specialists of France, which publications are made publically and largely available. They may even be able to teach French politicians about their own countries since the degree of academic specialisation has largely overtaken superficial information.
It is also amuzing to see that right wings politicians have comdemned the French communists for their autoritarian ideology but still carry on to try to convince, in the same authoritarian style (patronizing is more adequate) other people that there is a proper way to understand France. Those politicians seem naively to think that they represent the opinion, which of course is impossible. They decide and govern with an official line of thought (reminicent of the russian communist party congress).
The final point about the coldness of US- French relationship is that the US officials (due to their special configuration of the Bush’s administration at this moment in US history) don’t care to show the veneer of respect that former US official have nicely kept. The difference between French’s rightwings and US couterpart is that French’s spend their energies in rhetoric and other artefacts of power (similar to the kings, see French’s castles or rather Italian cities to see what I mean) to subdue its people, whereas the US right wings (today’s most nasty kind, not the good old Eisenhower) use rhetorics and using the reservoir of powerless people in the real deployment of armees to serve a set of more or less norrow vested interests.