Update: July 2nd 2011: The judge freed Strauss Khan today pretty much at the request of the prosecution. It seems the alleged victim is not credible. Personally, I think something happened in that hotel room that is still going to ruin Strauss Khan’s political career. It was not something deserving 25 years in the slammer though.
Update: 5/18/11: I heard legal experts on two different channels, Fox News and CNN, assert that there was no extradition treaty between France and the US. I think they are in error. Here is a link to a treaty ratified in 2002: http://www.peinedemort.org/document.php?choix=201
The French daily Le Figaro asserted today that the alleged victim of Mr Strauss Khan was six-foot tall.
Original editorial, posted May 16 2011.
I am a conservative anti-statist (libertarian). I have disliked the French Left with special intensity for years because of its intellectual hypocrisy. On my radio show, on this blog, and in the coffee shops, I spend a good deal of my time ridiculing conspiracy theories from the Right as much as from the Left. Until yesterday, you could have bet that I would never get caught suggesting a conspiracy to down a prominent member of the French Socialist Party. Yet, the arrest of Dominique Strauss Khan , the International Monetary Fund chief, and the allegations that prompted it, stink like a herring two weeks out of water, I think. Here are the sources of my skepticism and some commentary.
Early reports were that Mr SK was charged with what is technically defined as “sodomy.” In the State of New York, that means one of two things. The same early reports suggested that he tried to force a 32-year old chambermaid to perform oral sex on his person. There was no mention of a weapon of any sort being brandished. To be starkly realistic, trying to force one’s penis into the mouth of a woman who has any teeth at all sounds extraordinarily dangerous. Even if he succeeded, what would stop her from inflicting severe mutilation on him?
Mr SK is a sixty-two year-old portly bureaucrat. How he could force anything on a normally healthy thirty-two year old woman is difficult to imagine unless she were very frail. But the work of a chambermaid is physically demanding. Frail women can’t do it unless they are unusually strong. Same problem. In the absence of an exercise in brute strength, it’s difficult to imagine what means of pressure he could have exercised to have his way with her. The only means I can think of is money, of course.
I don’t see the spontaneous sexual stamina in a man that age that would be necessary to assault a strange woman he was not even expecting. When I try to picture the scene of the old man jumping out of his bathroom naked, with sex on his mind, I see a cheap movie of demonic possession. The fact that Mr SK has a history of ordinary sexual indiscretions makes the scene even less credible. Powerful French politicians commonly wander. The rules are clear: They are supposed to get what they want by talking willing women into it. At worst, they pay prostitutes. French sexual culture has no tolerance for sexual assault. It’s viewed as a confession of un-manliness. The assault described in the press would be starkly out of character.
The report that New York police tracked Mr SK to an airliner minutes before it was due to take off is not completely incredible but it’s a little hard to take. That is, absent tips from a well-informed source about Mr SK’s whereabouts.
Mr SK’s arrest has transformed radically the forthcoming French presidential race. That’s true irrespective of the ultimate disposition of the charges. Here is why: The French electorate is largely tired of Pres, Sarkozy. His administration did not fulfill its economic promises and his personal behavior embarrasses many French people. Yet, the Socialist Party had not rid itself of the failure to be credible it earned over many years of rule. Mr KS was a Godsend because he was going to run as a Socialist who no one believes is a socialist. He is a professor of economics with a good record as a minister in two Socialist governments. If I lived in France, I wouldn’t have much of an objection to SK as President (largely, because, in the French context, one could do worse). Incidentally, there is a third party in the race, it’s a right-wing party whose sole platform seems to be that its followers don’t like immigrants. It has the potential to make the main race more complicated. I don’t think it can win the presidency.
Both President Sarkozy, and pallid rivals of Mr SK within the Socialist Party stand to gain ground by his elimination.
The alleged victim is from Guinea, the Wall Street Journal reports. Guinea is a former French colony. Guineans go to school in French. France never severed past colonial ties with its former colonies in Black Africa. Heads of services and retired heads of services in the French state bureaucratic class by the hundreds can generate thousands of small-time African agents. Among other things, the widespread desire of young Africans to live in France legally provides a myriad means of pressure on their relatives.
So, what am I suggesting?I don’t know exactly; it’s too early to tell. This story just does not hang together. You read it here first.