District of Corruption

Political Death of a Champagne Socialist

Interesting development at the International Monetary Fund, is it not?

Over the past few days we have seen news reports about IMF head, 62-year-old Dr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, having been embroiled in sex crime allegations. Yesterday we found that he had been charged by the New York police of ‘criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment, and attempted rape’. The criminal sex act, apparently, consisted of forcing a hotel maid to give him oral sex.

Formerly an academic, Left-wing politician, and French finance minister, he was regarded as a possible Socialist candidate for the French presidency, a position for which he was expected to announce his intention to run soon. He hoped to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as the French head of state.

Now, as per the tradition in Anglo-Saxon countries, a man is innocent until proven guilty (unless, that is, he is facing the tax authorities, in which case he is everywhere and always guilty until proven innocent, and even then he remains under suspicion and kept secretly under the microscope). Yet, when we consider that this gentleman, who is married, was already criticised in 2008 for a steamy affair with Piroska Nagy, a married economist and subordinate member of staff; that the IMF board acknowledged at the time that many female members of staff were unhappy with his behaviour, even after being cleared following an investigation into his role in Mrs. Nagy’s departure and severance package; that around this time the press carried reports about his having acted ‘like a gorilla’ after inviting an unnamed actress to his Paris flat; that in 2007, Tristane Banon, a then 27-year-old French journalist and writer, accused him of attempting to rape her in 2002, an accusation against which he pressed no charges and but which she has now decided to pursue; and that he had to fight charges of corruption in two financial scandals in 1999, related to Elf Aquitaine and a student mutual insurance—when we consider this past history, things do not look very good.

Unless there is a spectacularly rapid denouement in his favour, we can safely consider him finished in French politics. This is the verdict of not only his opponents on the Right, including Marine Le Pen of the Front National, but also those on the Left, who have spontaneously effervesced with theories of a Right-wing conspiracy (Americans who lived through the sordid revelations of Clinton presidency will find this has a familiar ring).

In Europe voters tend to be slightly more forgiving of politicians’ ‘amorous peccadillos’, which I would rather call gross personal betrayals. In the United States, at least until the advent of the Bill and Monica affair, the suggestion of marital infidelity resulted automatically in political fulmination. At least, that is how it was traditionally seen from Europe. But in Europe, a politician could survive revelations of marital infidelity, the latter being regarded, perhaps self-servingly, as a personal matter, unconnected with ability to do the job.

Technically that may be the case in some cases. But my view is that if someone in a position of responsibility cannot at the very least remain faithful to his spouse, despite having sworn eternal honour and fealty in front of family and friends and the law, if that person is capable of this level of betrayal, motivated by nothing more than base instinct and momentary pleasure, how can we expect him to remain faithful to his principles, to put base temptations for the sake of moral rectitude? Irrespective of whether or not he is found innocent now, a man in Strauss-Kahn’s position, one of immense responsibility, involving and affecting thousands of millions of people, would be expected by those of us with a traditional outlook to be of far, far better character than the average man—almost a Hyperborean. Not, in other words, a servant of the Demiurge.

New York Police Department spokesman, Paul Browne,

said the allegations had been made by a 32-year-old woman who worked at the hotel, which has been identified as the Sofitel near Times Square. His accommodation there was described by the New York Times as a luxury suite costing $3,000 per night (£1,900).

"We received a call that a chambermaid in a hotel in midtown Manhattan had been sexually assaulted by the occupant of a luxury suite at that hotel, and that that individual had fled," Mr Browne told the BBC.

"The maid described being forcibly attacked, locked in the room and sexually assaulted," he said.

Speaking to Reuters, Mr Browne gave more details on the allegations against Mr Strauss-Kahn.

"She told detectives he came out of the bathroom naked, ran down a hallway to the [suite] foyer where she was, pulled her into a bedroom and began to sexually assault her, according to her account."

"She pulled away from him and he dragged her down a hallway into the bathroom where he engaged in a criminal sexual act, according to her account to detectives. He tried to lock her into the hotel room."

Mr Strauss-Kahn then made his way to the airport but left his mobile phone and other items behind, Mr Brown said.

"It looked like he got out of there in a hurry."

By the time police established that the occupant of the room was Mr Strauss-Kahn, the IMF chief was on board an Air France plane at John F Kennedy airport, about to depart for Paris.

"Our detectives requested of the airport authorities that they stop the plane from leaving, went to the airport and took him into custody," Mr Browne said.

"If our officers had been 10 minutes later he would have been in the air and on their way to France."

The woman has been treated at hospital for minor injuries, said Mr Browne.

Plato—he who argued for eugenics to breed a better race of leaders—would have stroked his beard and thought, ‘I told you so.’

What strikes me about the BBC’s news reports their sensitivity. In the midst of all the bloodcurdling allegations, we find that they still have time to think about Dr. Strauss-Kahn’s emotional state, and report his lawyer stating that he was ‘tired but fine’. In fact, the reports I have looked at have been extremely temperate and punctiliously balanced, even obscurely sympathetic, given the nature of the allegations and past behaviour.

Who is Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

Of Sephardic and Azhkenazic Jewish origin, he was born in 1949 in a wealthy Paris neighbourhood, son of a legal tax lawyer and member of the Masonic order Grand Orient de France and of a Russo-Tunisian journalist. During the 1970s, Dr. Strauss-Kahn was an academic, having obtained a degree in public law and a PhD and an agrégation in economics.

In his youth he joined the Union of Communist Students (Union des étudiants communistes, UEC), which is part of the Mouvement Jeunes Communistes de France (MJCF, Movement of Young Communists of France), and which is close to the French Communist Party. He subsequently joined the Centre d'études, de recherches et d'éducation socialiste (Center on Socialist Education Studies and Research, CERES), and later became involved with the Socialist Party, led by his friend Lionel Jospin, also founding Socialisme et judaïsme.

He became an elected deputy in 1986, then Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Finances, and then again Minister for Industry and Foreign trade. Defeated in the elections of 1993, he was appointed Chairman of the Groupe des experts du PS (Group of Experts of the Socialist Party), founded a law firm (DSK Consultants), and worked as a business lawyer.

But not for long. The following year, Raymond Lévy, director of Renault, invited him to join the Cercle de l’Industrie, a Brussels-based industry lobby. Billionaire Vincent Bolloré and Louis Schweitzer entered his circle of friends. Bolloré is a well-known corporate raider and industrialist with media interests and substantial positions in the economies of Ivory Coast, Gabon, Cameroon, and Congo, and also a long-standing friend of Nicolas Sarkozy. Schweitzer was Lévy’s successor at Renault, of which he was CEO until 2005, and also Chairman of AstraZeneca, and non-executive director of BNP Paribas, Electricité de France, Volvo AB, and L’Oréal.

As Minister of Economics he implemented a wide privatisation and a partial deregulation programme, despite this running against the Socialist Party’s official ideology. An increase in GDP and reduction of public debt resulted in personal popularity. In the late 1990s he joined, as finance minister, Lionel Jospin’s socialist government, ‘responsible for steering France towards the era of the Euro’.

He supported the infamous European Constitution of 2005, so arrogantly promoted by bureaucrats and politicians at the time (there was no real examination, just promotion, despite its wide-ranging powers). Said constitution incorporated the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which banned eugenics, prohibited collective expulsions, guaranteed the right to asylum, and adopted totalitarian equality and humanism as a core principle.

As head of the IMF, Dr. Strauss-Kahn proposed giving Special Drawing Rights a stronger role as a method of stabilising the global monetary system, and as a possible replacement for the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency. Some have seen this as a move towards a world currency, consistent with Dr. Strauss-Kahn’s earlier championing of the Euro.

The BBC profiles him as a man of ‘easy charm’ who ‘seduce[s] with words’.

No doubt Kevin MacDonald would find Dr. Strauss-Kahn a case worthy of his attention, but, that aside, the picture that emerges here is clearly that of a typical ‘champagne socialist’: a globalist, former communist, who nevertheless stays in luxury hotels; rubs shoulders with powerful industrialists, billionaires, and heads of state; and lives a fabulously privileged and rarefied lifestyle, out of the public purse—a suave, elegant, smooth-talking philanderer, aligned with a political party whose policy is to take from the talented and hard-working in order to give to the talentless and the indolent, who all the same draws a six-figure salary (plus an opaque pension scheme), in a nearly all-powerful position obtained through presidential favour.

I doubt any of my readers will be surprised by any of this. All the same, it bears highlighting, for the fact that a man with such obvious character flaws, with such glaring contradictions between stated ideology and real-world behaviour, has been so handsomely rewarded by the system, funded out of our collective and individual pockets, is symptomatic of the system’s level of corruption. In a non-corrupt system, where character was as important as ability, such a person would not have been able to talk his way undetected into the highest echelons of international finance; such a person would have been weeded out long before. Champaigne socialists—Bill Clinton and Tony Blair are famous examples—are but one of the various miasmic bacteria that contaminate the Western body politic in our Iron Age. Indeed, the French establishment now worry about the effect this this affair could have at a time of unprecedented distrust for politicians.

Whatever the outcome of this specific crisis, I will not be shedding tears for the political death of this champagne socialist.