Some random thoughts on the events in France (and Europe) herewith:
First: the absolutely wonderful sense of schadenfreude after listening to the pompous lectures of the Europeans as well as some of my francophile expat friends on American failures during the recent spate of natural disasters; its admittedly juvenile but it does feel good.
Second: confirmation in my own mind that the French elites (Sarkozy, de Villepin, Chirac et al have purposely subjected the French government to immoblisme because they appear to me to be more concerned about winning the presidential election next year than making a large mistake than already made in dealing with the rioting.
Third: thought number two seques into this one--a political elite more concerned with its status goes a long way toward explaining how they could have marginalized a significant part of their population for so long.
Fourth: the big picture question: is this simply an exercise in economically and socially based frustration? or does it have a muslim foundation. I dont know the answer, but these two points seem to have emerged among our colleagues and ourselves as the polar positions. I believe it was Knuck that pointed out the question is really irrelevant, because even if it is strictly an economic protest, it does create a fertile foundation for jihadist recruiting: I mean, isnt that the left's view of the success among the theocratic/authoritarian middle east regimes that are all muslim to start with? Certainly, if their argument is correct there, why is no less correct among "les jeunes" of France? At any rate, I think the longer term consequences are more ominous than those speaking to the economic argument are willing to confront. It will also be interesting to see if this same sort of conflict spreads to the industrial areas of Germany with their large populations of Turks and Slavs.
Fifth: The failure of the whole western left's focus on multiculturalism--It looks to me like that whole philosophy is in shambles; I dont care if the US model is a melting pot or a salad--whatever the case, it seems to be preferable to what is going on in Europe.
Finally, what appears to me to be the failure of the MSM to really report on this with the same elan they did on the situation in New Orleans following Katrina--I hear long periods of silence among that commentariat who are always willing to demonize American for its failings but somehow unwilling to come to grips with an equally, if not more serious situation in the--ahem--"European Union."
I am sure there are even more issues involved, but these seem to be the most salient to me at this time.