The Meaning of Strauss-Kahn

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn1.jpgThanks to then Embassy of France to the US Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs, and now recently returned Embassy Minister of Finance, Jean-Francois Boittin, I met Dominique Strauss-Kahn for a one-on-one meeting in 1998. Boittin, working single-handedly to correct my over-familiarity with Asia by a productive junket to Paris, said “You must experience Strauss-Kahn; there is no one else like him in France, and perhaps the world.”
As France’s Finance Minister, when I met him, Dominique Strauss-Kahn had emerged in the French Socialist party as its leading, sometimes reluctant, sometimes bullish globalist. Europe was hard-charging into deepening its internal arrangements, and Strauss-Kahn had helped engineer technically and politically his nation’s forfeiture of the French franc and the embrace of the Euro.
But Strauss-Kahn was never a manic neoliberal nor what financier George Soros derisively calls a “market fundamentalist.” Strauss-Kahn, even when we discussed his views of the global economy in 1998, was a storm of contradictions that nonetheless made sense.
He could see deeper global economic dependencies growing and simultaneously increasing the speed and scale of financial transactions but in contrast to the US ruling triumvirate of Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Alan Greenspan, Strauss-Kahn believed in healthy and robust regulation and monitoring. Strauss-Kahn has always been concerned about the human and national victims of an amoral global economic order.
In 1998, Strauss-Kahn said that there was much to admire in what was happening in the US with the boom in information technology and the inspirational aspects of what President Clinton was trying to sell as benign US-led globalization, but Strauss-Kahn feared that America was blind to the downsides of economic deepening around the world and needed to be careful of turning globalization into a religion.
In so many ways, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s thoughts were highly prescient about the instabilities being cooked into an evolving global economic system in which manic deregulation and the triumph of markets were going to bring serious challenges.
Strauss-Kahn has long been the living embodiment of an ideological hybrid between Milton Friedman and Joseph Stiglitz, two antagonists profiled in journalist Michael Hirsh’s Capital Offense: How Washington’s Wise Men Turned America’s Future Over to Wall Street. And this is what the highly regulated world of French socialist-capitalism needed, and also what the world needed and got when Strauss-Kahn became Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund.
Given the global financial crisis of 2009 and the many foreshocks of that crisis that have been brewing around the world in earlier years, the IMF — if to survive — needed someone who would be able to convince the new growing major economies like Brazil, China, Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and India that the IMF could partner with their aspirations and regional financial needs rather than be a rival to them. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, during his tenure at the IMF, has largely achieved this and helped steer the institution and the world through the rough currents of large scale financial deleveraging.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn IMF Kings College INET Steve Clemons.jpgAt the inaugural meeting of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, co-founded by George Soros, held at King’s College in Cambridge, England where John Maynard Keynes used to reign, Dominique Strauss-Kahn spoke as one of the keynote speakers. As his remarks began, anti-IMF protesters had broken into the hall and hung a banner over the stage in front of two hundred or so surprised economic thinkers and writers. I was in the second row and snapped the picture at the side which I quickly fed to Arianna Huffington who in turn had it up as the lead on Huffington Post in about three minutes.
What followed was magnificent. Strauss-Kahn showed no fear at all of these protesters whom he engaged in discussion. He asked them to make clear their concerns — to use his stage to articulate their core fears and demands and make this time that they had taken count. Unfortunately, the folks hanging the banner were not those most intellectually in tune with the protest and they ran off after he asked them to speak. I had communication with the protest leaders later and have no doubt that they would have done well in responding to Strauss-Kahn, but the key then is that he actually did think they should be heard and that the elite who had assembled in Keynes’ former halls should not forget the voices of those worried about the impact of global economic policy making. It was a powerful moment, deftly managed by Strauss-Kahn.
Strauss-Kahn’s latest IMF patient has been Greece, helping it to work through its debt nightmares. Virtually everyone gives the IMF Director high marks for his ability to keep in mind human faces when sorting through and dealing with the tough disciplines wrought by globalization.
I know nothing of Strauss-Kahn’s rumored aggressiveness towards women and think that President Nicolas Sarkozy is right that he should be presumed innocent until the charges against him for sexual battery are sorted out. Nouriel Roubini has publicly speculated that it can’t be discounted that this may be some sort of a set up. I won’t speculate one way or another as I think at the time of this writing, none of us know the truth of what did or didn’t happen.
What is clear is that Strauss-Kahn who is one of the few major economic gladiators in the world to defend the rights and privileges of people is human himself. We sometimes forget that.
If his political career is cut short by the revelations that he assaulted a woman in New York’s Hotel Sofitel, that would be a true loss for France and the world in my view — not necessarily because his faults should be overlooked. They shouldn’t. But because his defining role in globalization — the meaning of Strauss-Kahn — is vital to a world that is still trying to sort out what form of capitalism it can live with.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

44 comments on “The Meaning of Strauss-Kahn

  1. A Tango says:

    This was reported on Financial Times, “Bric nations blow to Lagarde

    Reply

  2. Martha Nakajima says:

    Have you heard about “Demi-nique” Strauss-Kahn?

    Reply

  3. drew says:

    Where is Samantha Power when we need her? We have a
    responsibility to invade and protect any country where those such
    as DSK are “a friend to women.” (Henri-Levy)
    Personally, I think it is extremely tasteless, if not morally unhinged,
    to celebrate the professional achievements, and heroic intellectual
    capacity, of someone at the very moment he is outed for a lifetime
    of sexual violence against people who couldn’t do anything about it.
    I just don’t know why one would do that, though I think I do, and
    I’ll leave it at that.

    Reply

  4. A Tango says:

    I saw Steve Clemons on Andrea Mitchell’s show today, May 19, 2011. Clemons mentioned a new vision…sounds good.

    Reply

  5. Julie White says:

    I would argue that your column was full of bias. You write paragraph after paragraph about the worthiness of this man and you devote all of 2 lines at the bottom to the alleged assault. A woman has made an allegation against a man for assault and rape and all you can essentially say is what a shame for the world if this man’s name is tarnished.
    Get your priorities in order. I don’t care if the man is a scout leader or the pope. Let this play out in a courtroom and not rape the victim all over again

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  6. A Tango says:

    I agree with Mark.
    I was thinking about the role DSK played at IMF, rather the person because the author has obviously expressed certain amount of admiration.

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I would argue that your column was full of bias”
    Its a question of values. Washington DC is teaming with people striving for access to gilded doorways that many of us would be ashamed to enter.

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  8. DonS says:

    Not to mention that real people can have two sets of responses active at one time:
    — total compassion for the victim, if that’s the eventual finding
    — interest in the effects on economic/political dynamics with whatever outcome

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  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And if DSK did commit these crimes, what prey tell does that say about you, about Levy, about Stein, and about Roubini?”
    Whats this, guilt by association? Seems to me its pretty natural to have doubts when a freind or associate you’ve viewed fondly is accused of heinious acts.
    Also, seems to me, you’re striving to use the alleged crimes of DSK as an excuse to point fingers in a direction that any ‘ol excuse will do.
    Somehow theres something very wrong with the flagrancy of this alleged crime. This man is either very very sick to think he could get away with such a flagrant attack, OR, he has in fact been the victim of a set-up.
    Personally, I think he did it. But I’m not so sure there wasn’t pre-knowledge of his proclivities, and someone put in place, acting in a manner to incite the alleged behaviour. It doesn’t make it right, but it does help understand how he may have felt he could get away with this. If there was a “come-on” by the maid, its not unreasonable to think it may have been staged, with the perpetrators of the set-up knowing exactly how DSK would react when the come-on was revoked, due to his past history.
    Whatever. Just seems that saying this thing “says something” about Steve is just a bit over the top.

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  10. Genovese says:

    Very Nice post, sorry for my English that is not perfect.
    When you know the actual political situation in France, and you know the meaning of the work of Dominique SK (DSK in France), you cannot believe what is happening.
    For “Le monde” 57% of people living in France believe that DSK is a victim of a conspiration. I don’t want to comment that. But there are some really strange and dark spots on this affair.
    Speaking in my name, I don’t think DSK is crazy or dumb enough for making a such thing, 30 minutes before going to see his daughter, some are speaking of a political suicide but it just makes me laugh.
    I hope that all the light will be made on this affair and that the media will continue investigating about this fact because it will change the face of the world : as you said DSK (I hope I can still use the present and not the past) is “one of the few major economic gladiators in the world to defend the rights and privileges of people” …
    We’ll see…

    Reply

  11. Mark says:

    Steve,
    I find the charges against DSK troubling and emblematic of what appears to be a behavioral pattern.
    Even worse, however, have been the passionate defenses of Bernard-Henri Levy, Ben Stein, Nouriel Roubini, and yourself regarding DSK.
    Each of you seems to have based your defense of DSK on the same points:
    1. I am a friend of DSK. I do not associate with individuals who attack hotel housekeepers. I am of fine stock, DSK is also of fine stock. Ergo, DSK is innocent.
    2. DSK is an individual of the finest quality. The proper schools. The correct religion. The assigned spouse. The finest bankers. The career accomplishments and Rolodex to match. All of these qualities signify excellence. Ergo, DSK is excellent and far superior to some hotel housekeeper. Ergo, DSK is innocent.
    3. DSK is the head of the IMF. The IMF is one of the world’s, and capitalism’s, supreme institutions. DSK spends his time hobnobbing with heads of state, captains of industry, and titans of finance. Heads of state, captains of industry, and titans of finance are the wisest, wealthiest, most powerful people in all the world. They would not associate with some common criminal. Ergo DSK is innocent.
    Steve, I ask this with all seriousness: Are you concerned that DSK just may have committed the crimes with which he’s been charged?
    OR
    Are you more upset that you may have associated with, admired, and even befriended a man, DSK, who just may have committed said crimes?
    And if DSK did commit these crimes, what prey tell does that say about you, about Levy, about Stein, and about Roubini?

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  12. A Tango says:

    It’s not about him, rather the role of opposition he played at that level of IMF.
    This is the reason why I really appreciate President Obama’s support to Janet Yellen, but that’s a complete different story.
    My question is will MY world will be better off with more representations from yesterday’s emerging markets that are today’s growth engines at IMF?

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  13. Carroll says:

    “If his political career is cut short by the revelations that he assaulted a woman in New York’s Hotel Sofitel, that would be a true loss for France and the world in my view — not necessarily because his faults should be overlooked. They shouldn’t. But because his defining role in globalization — the meaning of Strauss-Kahn — is vital to a world……”
    I think there are people without his “faults” who could do the same job.
    BTW…forcing a woman into a sex act against her will isn’t a ‘fault’ it’s a violent crime.
    You have ‘stayed too long at the party’ Steve.

    Reply

  14. rc says:

    IMF chief a ‘rutting chimp’ says French writer.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/16/dominique-strauss-khan-tristane-banon
    That’s how it’s done in style.
    Old man Clinton, Silvio Berlusconi … and the list of ‘alpha-males’ out of control goes on.
    I suspect the hidden issue with Libya’s Gaddafi is not oil: it’s concubine envy!

    Reply

  15. Jean Demesure says:

    “All of this leads to the following conclusion. He is a typical career politician. All that nice stuff he told Steve, and that supposed openmindedness when an economic meeting is invaded by protesters, is just his public consumption position; none of which he actually deep inside believes. In fact, deep inside he has not a single principle; except the following: whatever will lead to more position and privilege for me is the principled thing to do. ”
    ——————-
    Even if I think Strauss-Kahn has been a douche, I don’t think it’s fair to call him a carreerist politician. Strauss-Kahn has been a good French finance minister but not really a heavyweight neither when the socialists were in power, nor in the French Socialist Party.
    Before he was named by Sarkozy (Sarkozy is from the Right, so they are from opposing political camps !) as candidate to the IMF head, Strauss-Kahn was just deputy-mayor of a small suburbain town (Sarcelles), if he is a power hungry politician, he was hiding it well !
    He is rather popular in France (in polls anyway) specifically because he is seen as detached from the corrupt political establishment. If I should name names, I would call him a competent bureaucrat (yes, you can find some) and… a pervert.

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  16. ... says:

    good post warren metzler.. thanks..

    Reply

  17. Warren Metzler says:

    I appreciate the comments of many posters here. But I perceive that several issues have not been understood fully.
    What is the salary of a IMF head? Several hundred thousand dollars per year? If you made that much, would you, when by yourself, rent a room for $3,000.00 per night? I don’t think so. So I suggest you consider this man is engaged in some serious graft and corruption, especially when you add the fact he travels first class; not business class, which lets you sleep horizontally overseas, FIRST CLASS. And can a man seriously believe he is a socialist when he rents hotel rooms for that price and flies first class? I suggest impossible.
    Also realize the request for bail was based on he was not in NYC this time as a diplomat, but ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. What socialist with integrity, who is the head of the IMF, goes to NYC on personal business, rents that level of room, and flies first class? None I suggest.
    Further, this man left is such a hurry, headed for the airport, that he forget his cell phone. All of you who travel a lot, and especially those of you who travel on business, know you would sooner forget your underwear than your cell phone.
    All of this leads to the following conclusion. He is a typical career politician. All that nice stuff he told Steve, and that supposed openmindedness when an economic meeting is invaded by protesters, is just his public consumption position; none of which he actually deep inside believes. In fact, deep inside he has not a single principle; except the following: whatever will lead to more position and privilege for me is the principled thing to do.
    I further suggest that almost all world wide career politicians today are just like this. Certainly Obama is, and Bush jr., plus Bill Clinton is, and Hillary in spades.
    I first realized this about Bill Clinton during his first election run, when I learned from a reporter he had five points about every issue. And I asked myself the question, “what at the odds a person can have the exact same number of points regarding every issue?” And the answer came loud and strong, “ZERO!”. Followed by another observation, none of his points on any issue was actually held, all points were for public consumption. An empty shell, great at acting, devoid of integrity and sincere actions.
    We have got to learn not to get sucked into these people trying to be our leaders, believing in nothing except their own advancement, repeatedly making decisions that lead us further and further into disruption, chaos, and destruction. Wake up world, living a good life is serious business, not a passing fancy.

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And, of course, sex trumps a nuclear meltdown every time!
    THREE, count ’em, THREE, compromised nuclear cores.
    Sssshhhhhh.
    Doncha know we’ve we’ve got a serious sex scandal do deal with?

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    OK, nothing to see here folks. Eenie meany, miney moe, sex scandal…..
    …..or……
    …..just another AMERICAN CITIZEN…..
    SHOT IN THE HEAD BY IDF FORCES WHILE ENGAGED IN FILMING A PEACEFUL PROTEST…….
    Israeli Forces Seriously Injure American Student Filming Nonviolent Protest
    A 25-year-old American student named Christopher Whitman was seriously injured in the West Bank on Friday when he was shot by a high-velocity tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces. At the time of the shooting, Whitman was recording video of a weekly nonviolent protest against the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank. Whitman

    Reply

  20. Cee says:

    IMF chief Strauss-Kahn caught in “Honey Trap”
    By Mike Whitney
    May 15, 2011 “Information Clearing House” — I have no way of knowing whether the 32-year-old maid who claims she was attacked and forced to perform oral sex on IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is telling the truth or not. I’ll leave that to the braying hounds in the media who have already assumed the role of judge, jury and Lord High Executioner. But I will say, the whole matter smells rather fishy, just like the Eliot Spitzer story smelled fishy. Spitzer, you may recall, was Wall Street’s biggest adversary and a likely candidate to head the SEC, a position at which he would have excelled. In fact, there’s no doubt in my mind that if Spitzer had been appointed to lead the SEC, most of the top investment bankers on Wall Street would presently be making license plates and rope-soled shoes at the federal penitentiary. So, there was plenty of reason to shadow Spitzer’s every move and see what bit of dirt could be dug up on him. As it turns out, the ex-Governor of New York made it easy for his enemies by engaging a high-priced hooker named Ashley Dupre for sex at the Mayflower Hotel. When the news broke, the media descended on Spitzer like a swarm of locusts poring over every salacious detail with the ebullient fervor of a randy 6th-grader. Meanwhile, the crooks on Wall Street were able to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to doing what they do best; fleecing investors and cheating people out of the life savings.
    Strauss-Kahn had enemies in high places, too, which is why this whole matter stinks to high-Heaven. First of all, Strauss-Kahn was the likely candidate of the French Socialist Party who would have faced Sarkozy in the upcoming presidential elections. The IMF chief clearly had a leg-up on Sarkozy who has been battered by a number of personal scandals and plunging approval ratings.
    But if Strauss-Kahn was set up, then it was probably by members of the western bank coalition, that shadowy group of self-serving swine whose policies have kept the greater body of humanity in varying state of poverty and desperation for the last two centuries. Strauss-Kahn had recently broke-free from the “party line” and was changing the direction of the IMF. His road to Damascus conversion was championed by progressive economist Joesph Stiglitz in a recent article titled “The IMF’s Switch in Time”. Here’s an excerpt:
    “The annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund was notable in marking the Fund

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  21. Mr.Murder says:

    So the protestors were not very subtle, thought the sign would claim IMF is not the final solution. Guess they weren’t Tea Partiers or Paul supporters, after all.
    Bad joke, feel free to delete that comment, Steve.
    As per story, spare the indignation over his accusation. Save it for the interrogator’s room. The IMF director can get run out roughshod over this, but Obama continues to cozy up with his Coalition of the Bribed and the unabated crimes of occupation.

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  22. sanitychecker says:

    In a cartoon I saw, the alleged victim tells the cops, “… and he even tried to make me believe he was a socialist!”
    You’ve got to love those neoliberal “lefties” who rent a $3,000 hotel suite to rape an impoverished maid. Their empathy for the poor is touching.
    Yes, the US justice system is an abomination and a disgrace, but please spare us the crocodile tears about an alleged rapist. I’m sick and tired of the infinite amount of tolerance for the powerful and the indifferent brutality toward the weak.

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  23. Bill Pearlman says:

    You have to love socialists in $3000 a night hotel suites.

    Reply

  24. Pietr Hitzig says:

    Your column brings to mind this famous E.M. Forster quote:
    >If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the decency to betray my country.
    I wish that I had a plethora of friends who acted as you.

    Reply

  25. Dan Kervick says:

    The neoliberal era continues to crash and burn, including what’s left of the French “socialists”. The Clintons, Blair, now Strauss-Kahn all toast. The current crop of European austerity-mongers will ultimately be held accountable for driving their economies into prolonged stagnation. Obama and his retro Third Way administration might survive, but only because of a lack of alternatives.
    Has the West, in living memory, ever faced such doldrums, with so many unimaginative technocratic incompetents at the helm?
    We’re definitely living at the end of something. And the future is not looking bright.

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  26. davidt says:

    Steve,
    Appreciate you’re taking the time to respond to my comment. And its always easy for us in the fray to criticize.
    That said, what I meant is not that you should join the mob, I would probably have been hard on you if you had (sometimes one can’t win :)). What I meant instead is being sympathetic with him politically puts you in a bind. Being as sympathetic politically with him as you apparently are makes the bind tighter. Again, not in general but in situations of such a severe accusation and added to how it fits his profile (though, again, innocent until proven guilty, though I gather his profile / the narrative about him will be enough with the accusation to end his political career or pretty close).
    I agree that’s its a terrific tragedy. It reminds one of Clinton who unnecessarily hurt his cause in a mammoth way due to his lack of self-restraint. Oh well. Lucky you for having met him.

    Reply

  27. brigid says:

    So much sympathy for sexual assault on a woman here, so ready to forgive the leftist politician. The maid in hotel is a throw-away, while the French politician with the $3000 a night suite is lionized. And since when is ripping the clothes off of a woman, forcing her to commit oral sex after attempted rape first, since when is that “womanizing” ? He was denied bail after undergoing a forensic examination. He is toast, and he should be!

    Reply

  28. Alice Molloy says:

    “What is clear is that Strauss-Kahn … is human himself. We sometimes forget that.”
    No. What is clear is that he’s male, and such behavior is not a bug in patriarchy, it’s a feature. As singer Delores Keane says in a song, “you don’t know what a man is until you have to please one.”

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  29. DakotabornKansan says:
  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What is it about the United States that makes for harsh prosecutions over sex crimes but lets leaders off the hook when it comes to war crimes?”
    Bingo. But considering these two categories of crimes as separate is a big mistake. The issue, really, is one of excess and entitlement. Far too often wealth and power exclude the elite from accountability.
    If in fact it becomes evident that this person DID act in the manner described by his accuser, who can doubt that he believed he would walk away scot free, due to his personal “status”? After all, are not all of us, including Mr.Strauss-Kahn, privy to an ongoing media presented parade of elitist criminals who escape accountability for crimes you and I would fry for?
    Who can forget the round of applause, the standing ovation, that was given to one of our Congress criminals recently as he left, found guilty of grave ethical misconduct? Applauded, when he should have left in disgrace.
    Too bad we can’t stand more of these elitist criminals before a judge. Maybe we coulda saved this once great nation.

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  31. questions says:

    BBC breaking news headline — DSK denied bail as a flight risk.

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  32. DonS says:

    erichwwk says he is “troubled at the extent with which detailed information is asymmetrically available to those in power”. Though tangential to the post perhaps, it’s an important point.
    A huge problem in the ‘information age’. And one might easily link ‘available’ with ‘manipulated’. With those in power claiming ‘yes, but’ information is now more democratically available. I’d have to ask Juian Assange about that calculus and how well that works when the powers that be are leery of a bit too much information being democratically shared.
    On the other had, we see the WH stumbling over itself to seemingly release as much (selectively damning, though there may not be another kind) information from the bin Laden trove as fast as they can. Can’t have enough propaganda to support the national security state and the ideology of endless war, can we?
    The Strauss-Kahn mess makes a big and important splash — certainly with implications on an international scale — not the least because the media loves ‘human interest’ stories when they involve prurient elements. But as others above have noted, the crimes that the powerful, specifically here in the West, have wreaked on the world dwarf in scale, though not personal impact perhaps, what is alleged here; yet the perpetrators walk scot free.
    The West likes to congratulate itself for having a relatively free flow and availability of information. That’s nice, and conveniently distracts the peasants from noting the gaping holes in the ‘911 changed everything’ charade. Are we supposed to feel grateful that the damage of our managed information environment has wrought, from Iraq to Wall Street, hasn’t been worse?

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  33. Matthew says:

    Whenever a prominent politician is accused of a rape (Katsav, DSK), we get the “what a tragedy” line. If DSK did, in fact, rape this women, there is no tragedy, there is only a crime.
    Sometimes the cocktail party worldview is a little nauseating, Steve.

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  34. DakotabornKansan says:

    Yes, none of us know the truth of what did or didn’t happen.
    Yet, Dominique Strauss-Kahn now stands guilty in many minds until he proves himself innocent.
    There are reports of Strauss-Kahn’s alleged womanizing surfacing everywhere. Also reports of an alleged previous attack. He has been reduced to disgrace in wild YouTube videos.
    One is no longer innocent until proven guilty. One is guilty until proven innocent.
    Even if Strauss-Kahn were to be found not guilty, his reputation and career is in ruins.
    And so it goes. How many examples are there?
    There was a recent article in The Washington Post about rape/molestation accusations when they prove to be completely fabricated.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fairfax-teacher-sean-lanigan-still-suffering-from-false-molestation-allegations/2011/03/04/AFVwhh3G_story.html?hpid=z4

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  35. Paul Norheim says:

    The principle of “innocent until proven guilty” is of course a far less “dangerous territory”
    than the contemporary barbary potentially threatening all of us: a unison taifun of
    accusations, condemnations, rumors and suggestions produced, distributed and amplified
    through a global mass media environment in the weeks and months before the case is
    brought to a courtroom.

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  36. questions says:

    Steve, I think this is a correction to your post above, and is the same as the FT.com story I linked to above. This from DailyBeast:
    “Anne Mansouret, a local official of France

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  37. Steve Clemons says:

    David,
    Thanks for your note. I don’t agree with you that I don’t express
    the importance of holding him accountable for his views. I do
    say that. But there is no need for me to bandwagon on the wave
    of accusation that is already drowning Strauss-Kahn. What is
    more interesting to me was an articulation of why he is so
    important — and to some degree, such a larger than life
    character. I do believe — and reiterate that point now — that if
    the accusations are true, that his behavior was abominable and
    disqualifying from the important role he might next have had.
    That makes the situation more tragic. His step daughter from a
    previous marriage has also come out and accused him of
    attempted rape, so his hole has grown larger. Thanks for your
    thoughtful comment though — and in general I agree with your
    basic point about him. Your larger point about me “sounding
    sympathetic to him” I’ll take mild exception to as I am
    articulating his key strengths which make his fall from the
    heights even more dramatic. best regards, steve

    Reply

  38. Kathleen says:

    This was all over the MSM this morning, BBC world news, Msnbc’s Morning Joe. Ay yi yi.
    Anyone see and listen to Richard Haass and Kagan on Chritianne Amanpours “This Week” on Sunday. They were almost giddy with glee that there are no I/P peace efforts. Israeli firsters have been repeating for months now that Arab countries can quit pretending that the oppression of Palestinians and illegal occupation of their land actually matters to them.
    Haass and Kagan were repeating this mantra

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  39. Davidt says:

    Steve,
    By all means, “innocent until proven guilty.”. However, while I
    know you like to be a contrarian, this is very dangerous
    territory. I have no reason to quarrel on his value as a
    political force, but your write-up, though not a rationalization,
    doesn’t address the accountability every public figure needs
    to be held to. There are too many people in my book,way
    way way too many people eager to find something to use
    against those who have the guts to enter the public arena
    and stand for something rather than against so many things.
    But when someone who you are particularly enthusiastic with
    crosses a certain line (or at least is accused of so doing and
    the stories also suggest the accused of having an unsettling
    reputation that precedes him) be very careful not to sound
    overly sympathetic to him without actually going after him
    (rather than saying that it might really be bad) or at least
    calling him out if the story is true for his abominable behavior.
    No?
    Thanks. Hope you are well.

    Reply

  40. rc says:

    “But the widows and orphans of Iraq cannot hope that the New York police would similarly frog-march George W. Bush off his first-class flight and arrest him for crimes against humanity.” (Paul Norheim, May 16 2011, 7:26AM)
    Something a few billion other decent humans around the planet would like to see as well I bet!
    And add in the three amigos Cheney, UK’s Blair and Australia’s John Howard for good measure!

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  41. questions says:

    FT.com, gated….
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d76eaaf2-7f6a-11e0-b239-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1MStqJL78
    They seem to be coming out of the woodwork.

    Reply

  42. erichwwk says:

    From Reuters:
    Analysis: Strauss-Kahn arrest removes Sarkozy’s toughest rival
    http://reut.rs/kht7Ia

    Reply

  43. erichwwk says:

    Very nice post!
    Once we have our SR titillation fix, we are still left with rather substantive issues, ones in which Strauss-Kahn was a significant player. I recall the INET incident well, from your TWN reporting.
    In the world of hardball politics, one can also not rule out that Sarkozy “doth protest too much”, and there may be more to this than has been reported this far. (I too have no clue, but am troubled at the extent with which detailed information is asymmetrically available to those in power).
    Also, it is not only GWB that might be frog-marched off, but also a whole slue of others. I find it beyond reprehensible that Americans “may” think Madame Albright, not only responsible in the death of over 500,000 Iraqui children under the age of five, but stating publicly that “she thinks the price is worth it”, is somehow less of a war criminal and terrorist that Osama bin Laden.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8iQ5eVrdPk
    Do they, or is this just another attempt of “perception control”?
    P.S. Thanks for the Michael Hirsch book tip.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    Kudos for providing a fascinating account of his views and achievements while the world is focused on the
    scandalous aspects, Steve. This may or may not have been a trap. We are not in a position to know yet.
    Here is a quote from Juan Cole’s blog comment yesterday:
    “What is it about the United States that makes for harsh prosecutions over sex crimes but lets leaders off
    the hook when it comes to war crimes? New York police rushed to arrest Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head
    of the international Monetary Fund, on Saturday on learning of charges against him by a hotel maid of
    sexual assault. This quick action against a wealthy and powerful individual, seeking justice for a person at
    the bottom rung of the American social hierarchy, is praiseworthy. It affirms the principle that no one is
    above the law.
    But the widows and orphans of Iraq cannot hope that the New York police would similarly frog-march
    George W. Bush off his first-class flight and arrest him for crimes against humanity.”

    Reply

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