David Warren on Islam and French "Youths"

Thursday, November 10, 2005
Those who wish to cling to the notion that whatever is happening in France, its connection to Islam and Islamists is only incidental, will want to examine carefully the arguments of Canada's David Warren:
Perhaps the biggest absurdity, at the moment, is the continuing, somewhat distracted response of the international media -- especially the French media -- to the revolution that has begun in France. They persist in characterizing the revolutionists as “disadvantaged French youth”, and pretend their uprising has only incidentally to do with Islam.

I see Dominique de Villepin -- the French prime minister who, as foreign minister, was so generous with advice to the U.S. and Israel -- has now prepared the rewards package for the rioters. Lots of new spending on social services and "opportunities" programmes in the 751 “sensitive urban zones” -- which is the official state euphemism for Muslim ghettoes. Also, special favours for the imams who agree to sign limp-wristed fatwas against rioting after curfew. This is a joke, I refuse to report it seriously.

And part of the joke is that, since long before they were born, the Muslim young raised in these ghettoes were in fact prevented from getting the usual sorts of jobs, and thereby insinuating themselves into bourgeois French society. And this because the powerful, leftwing unions of France -- themselves quite willing to riot for results -- have long since achieved 30-hour weeks, high pay, and perpetual employment for three-quarters of the labour force. It is an arrangement, secured in a form of “social contract” with the French state, that shuts out everyone else. Tamper with THAT, and the rest of France will be back on the streets.

And, to his credit, Warren does not minimize the unfortunate effect of French racism ("racialism") on the catastrophe:

[The Arab / Muslim youths'] ostracism from French society is completed by overt racialism. The contrast between the hypocritical liberalism of French public speech, and the overt racialism of private behaviour, is such as no North American will fully comprehend. We come from the society of the melting pot. The European melting pot froze and hardened -- quite literally, more than a thousand years ago. And that racialism is mutual. What the Muslims feel for their aging French “hosts” -- whom they consider to be perverts, by every Islamic standard -- is expressed by the way they torch their cars.

The joke is completed because, except for the odd media-savvy poseur, the rioters aren’t asking for improved welfare arrangements. They are asking e.g. for Nicolas Sarkozy’s head. They want French policemen dead. They are demanding that the French state recognize that parts of France are “Islamic territory”. They want French laws replaced with Sharia. And their chant, in each of the many hundred locations where the rioting continues every night, is “Allahou Akhbar! Allahou Akhbar!” It is impossible to imagine a more complete disconnect between them and the French society that is now looking for ways to appease them.

And they will not be appeased -- any more than the Palestinians will be appeased, by anything short of the disappearance of Israel. I do not even think de Villepin’s extravagant offer to hurl money will make things worse. It will have no effect whatever. The rioting will stop and start, for the rioters’ own tactical reasons, like the West Bank Intifada. It is not “senseless”.

For anyone not yet aware of his writing, I recommend Thomas P. M. Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map and his follow-up book, Blueprint for Action. Both volumes lay out a strategy for enlarging what Barnett labels the "Core," and shrinking what he labels the "Gap."

Until recently, France had clearly been a part of the Core.

It may be falling into the Gap.


David Thomson said...

“They are demanding that the French state recognize that parts of France are “Islamic territory”. “

David Warren and I seem to be in complete agreement. There is a possibility, though, that he hesitates to be quite as blunt as myself. I adamantly, without any hesitation whatsoever, believe that France is finished. We are literally witnessing the death of a once great country. The country’s economy will collapse and its economic winners will emigrate in huge numbers. Only the losers---and the Islamic nihilists will remain. Why am I so pessimistic? One merely needs to do the simple math. These crazed youths do not number in the mere hundreds, but in the thousands. Maybe even in the hundreds of thousands! There are too many of them. The crisis is out of control. And yes, some of other European countries may also be rapidly dying.

Peter UK said...

The process of ceding territory is potentially endless once it has started.With immigration and Human Rights laws as they are no control can be maintained on the size of immigrant populations.
Why don't we stop shilly shallying and call it what it is neo-colonialism.

Knucklehead said...


There are a couple things about Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map that have bothered me. I think his general ideas regarding the Core and Gap are solid and provide a useful vocabulary. I also prefer to look at this sort of global future from the "optimistic" (i.e, these are problems but problems can be solved if one recognizes them and works toward solving them) perspective.

One problem I have with Barnett's vision, however, is that he seems to assume that the Core is something its members inherently recognize and accept as is and that all Core members agree about what the Gap is and that it should be shrunk, and all that needs to happen is that the US develope the proper international "briefing" and all will be forever hunky-dorey.

The UN, France, and the EU offer ample evidence that these assumptions are very suspect.

France, an essential piece of the Core, is thrice problematic to the health of the Core.

They want the Core reshaped and brought to heel according to their vision of it and reject any US vision of the Core. They don't like the Core as it is constructed and want it rearranged. This creates instability within the Core.

Next, France apparently does not view the Gap as something requiring "shrinking" and eventual integration/connection into the Core. They seem to view the Gap as a dangerous toybox where large amounts of money can be made provided one is sophisticated enough to manage the toys properly. The Gap is corrupt and France is perfectly happy to join and use that corruption. They have no interest in shrinking the Gap unless those bits which are removed come under their influence within the Core as they wish to reshape it.

Thirdly, France is a central and essential bit of the Core that shows signs of rot. The US cannot possibly keep France a solid piece of the core against their will. If they cannot stop the rot then the Core is in trouble.

I've long wanted to do an extensive discussion re: Barnett's book (there are a couple other things about it which I find bothersome - odd to say since I like the overall ideas he puts forth) and I'd like to explore the role of the UN within the Core-Gap ideas as well as exploring ideas re: China which I generally agree with Barnett about but have more serious concerns about China's ability or desire to remain within the core. China could splinter and add huge new pices to the Gap or they could go a route similar to France and seek to subvert the core to their will (or both).

MeaninglessHotAir said...


I agree with you. Barnett's view is interesting, but clearly flawed. It's a classic example of a philosopher creating a vast system which leads to the answers he wants instead of the answers that are true.

Buddy Larsen said...

It's mind-boggling how many times--just since the Dark Ages--that French malapoliticism has brought the world to great grief. Hate to sound like a liberal victim-blamer, but a state does bear some international responsibility to guard itself somewhat, one would think.