There are some significant, and quite incompatible comments on the French situation from two distinct ruling class quarters – both of which I would see as neo-con and globalist. The first, from Thomas Barnett’s blog, is indicated below. The second is contained in Steven Steinlight’s comments to a recent panel on the subject held by the Center for Immigration Studies. It should be on either this group’s website, or on NPR’s.
The competing analysis on the Paris riots
■"Why France is burning with anger," comment by Dominique Moisi, Financial Times, 98 November 2005, p. 13.
■"Why Singapore hums as riots sweep France," by Roger Cohen, International Herald Tribune, 9 November 2005, p. 2.
■"A revolt of youth without religious motivation," by Roula Khalaf and Martin Arnold, Financial Times, 9 November 2005, p. 2.
■"Strife adds to familiar concern: Economic impressions," by Dan Bilefsky, International Herald Tribune, 9 November 2005, p. 6.
It ain't about religion, but about economic connectivity. The 'new proletariat' can't turn to Marxism, because that's too discredited. So when you're radicalized today, the one package that's both anti-capitalist and anti-Western is jihadist Islam.
No, it's not about religion and, quite frankly, it never is. It's about identity in a world where you're defined by your job.
Singapore works because Singaporeans work. Lee Kuan Yew's genius isn't just his clever use of affirmative action programs, its his ability to make Singapore an FDI magnet. The place has the highest inflows and outflows of foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP in the world, because it's the most trusted government on trade and investment in the world, as captured in Economist polls of corporate CEOs.
So please, no clash of civilizations.
Not yet, at least. But expect Islamist parties to tap into that economic unrest and anger. If they represent that pain effectively, we'll see economic and political connectivity arise. France will do this against it's will, but it will do it to protect the country's own connectivity to the global economy.
Posted by Thomas P.M. Barnett at November