Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: The American commentary on France's reaction to DSK's alleged sex scandal

DSKNews that IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York City has set opinionators' tongues wagging. The two leading trains of thought: 1) What was France's leading socialist doing staying in an upscale hotel, in a room that cost $3,000 a night, no less? 2) How are the French, who often have a high threshold for politicians behaving badly, reacting?

The Boston Globe's Derrick Z. Jackson takes on the first topic nicely in his column, "IMF chief's double standard."

Now for American reaction to the French reaction:

It's like a natural disaster! He was set up! Blame the women!

Responses to DSK's arrest in France and elsewhere in Europe have ranged from disbelief to despair. Several commentators have used the language of natural disaster -- Liberation titled its story on the arrest, "Shock. Political Bomb. Thunderclap," and political scientist Gerard Grunber said, "It's a political earthquake and a catastrophe for France." Ecology minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet even acted like the country had been sexually assaulted: "As well as the presumed victim, the chambermaid, there is a proven victim … France." […]

Some supporters go further, hinting at a conspiracy. Says Christine Boutin of the Christian Democratic Party, "that he could be taken in like that seems astounding, so he must have been trapped." DSK himself appears to have laid some groundwork for this interpretation -- in an April interview, he said "he could see himself becoming the victim of a honey trap."

Heather Horn of the Atlantic Wire points out another trend in European media: portraying DSK's assault allegations as a problem somehow caused by women. She finds headlines reading (in translation) "Strauss-Kahn, a career threatened by women" and "The parable of Strauss-Kahn, a powerful man haunted by women."

--Anna North, Jezebel

French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy's "victim-blaming" reaction in the Daily Beast should be a national embarrassment

I don't know if he's guilty, and it would be imprudent not to consider the conspiracy theories in a case involving someone who until this week was the single biggest political threat to the sitting president of France, but the only decent way you can arrive at "nothing in the world can justify" Strauss-Kahn's treatment is if you oppose all perp walks equally. Short of that, it's just special pleading for a powerful dick. And another reminder that BHL is 10 times the national embarrassment to France than Jerry Lewis or even Johnny Hallyday ever was.

--Matt Welch, Reason

Even the French are dismayed

Even the French -- so nonchalant about dalliances by public figures -- are shocked at the charges of sex crimes brought against Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York on Monday. […]

Had this been "merely" a report of a consensual extramarital affair -- such as the one Strauss-Kahn had with a subordinate colleague at the IMF –- the French would have turned over in bed and gone back to sleep. Certainly the IMF board did so in 2008, when it took no stronger action against this brilliant economist than to chastise him.

Private affairs are private, the French maintain. Why fuss over Bill Clinton’s philandering? Why be disappointed in former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is now separated from his wife, Maria Shriver, over a child he fathered more than 10 years ago with a household employee?

--Editorial, Christian Science Monitor

DSK is a dinosaur

Commentators in France expressed shock, outrage and embarrassment. Even if the New York allegations turn out not to be true, the incident revived memories of an admittedly improper affair that Strauss-Kahn had with a subordinate. French newspapers quickly produced stories recounting what they described as Strauss-Kahn's long history of aggressive, obnoxious, even predatory behavior toward women.

It's useful to be reminded that there was a time when powerful men could expect such incidents to be dismissed as misunderstandings or indiscretions or peccadilloes, not prosecuted as criminal assaults. Yes, this sounds like the age of the dinosaurs. Dominique Strauss-Kahn gives every evidence of being one.

--Eugene Robinson,  Washington Post

But there is a silver lining

If there is a silver lining to this sordid episode, it is that l’affair DSK provides an opportunity to shine a harsh light on the tacit condonement of sexual abuse in the world's theoretically-charitable institutions ranging from the U.N. to the Peace Corps. While the vast majority of the victims have suffered in anonymous silence, DSK can provide a very famous face and ample publicity to this dirty little secret that has been kept for far too long –- and if this case can force some much-needed reform and accountability then Strauss-Kahn may finally do some good, however unwillingly.

-- Academic Elephant, RedState

For a few more takes, check out:

How could Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a possible presidential candidate, so spectacularly betray his own self-interest? --Andrew Leonard, Salon

The Strauss-Kahn Case: Follow the Evidence, Not Immunity Rules --Andrew Cohen, the Atlantic

The political suicide of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is great news for France's embattled and unpopular president. --Eric Pape, Foreign Policy

PREVIOUS CONVERSATIONS:

Ron Paul: Who cares that he's seeking the Republican nomination?

Raj Rajaratnam: The feeble defense of an insecure billionaire

Returning to the torture debate

Rethinking victory in Abbottabad in Osama bin Laden's favor

Reactions to Osama bin Laden's death

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is arraigned in Manhattan criminal court in New York on Monday, May 16. Strauss-Kahn, accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper, was ordered held without bail by a New York judge after prosecutors argued he presented a flight risk. Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Pool via Bloomberg

 

Comments () | Archives (11)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Gaetane Godin


Monika Lewinsly was in love with Bill Clinton. But she was easily turned down by this powerful man and his acquaintances with all other poweful individuals and institutions. Pour Monika has been scrutinized by all medias in order to reduce her to a pour little girl looking for revenge etc, etc, etc.

Today, with a similar case, the medias seem to target DSK. Of course, nowadays, reporters don't have access to truth as they did before. DSK is a monster and should be punished severely. This is what powerful institutions want the people to be convinced of. Because there is reason behond that that scene: to get rid of an intelligent man who was deeply involved into trying to bring better regulations in the financial industry. And I think that it is the financial industry who want to kill him.

Rigola

Please read your fact the room was NOT 3000$ , he paid it less than 500$ ! And yeah it was all set up ...Believe it or not ..For many reasons ... He knew he would be trapped and mentionned it a few weeks ago in a french news paper named Libération ... He disturbed too many people , he has to be erased...Sarkozy's n°1 rival for 2012 , people in France wanted him as a president for 2012 , the surveys showed it ...The IMF also had a problem ; once DSK would have gotten into the french presidential campaign -after leaving the IMF- he should have elected a new president for the organization...But I guess the IMF or other organization , decided they had somebody elese in mind for that...In case you dont know it , to be the president of the IMF is more important than being president of a country , DSK was one of the most influencial person on the planet ...The trap is good ; the poor maid , 32 yrs old with a 16 yrs old daughter , living the Bronx , poor African immigrant , muslim , maid..And then , the bad bad guy , rich , French , Jewish , assaulting the poor maid.... Too good for media coverage , too good to destroy the man....Plot ...Whatever the dna blah blah , its all a plot...BTW I m not French nor American in case u thought i was oriented.

Dom Giovanni

In spite of the many idiots who can neither spell or write that feel compelled to leave comments on currents states of affair, I leave this. The French are in turmoil because their double standards have been exposed. I think nobody should be sad but Monsieur Strauss-Kahn. The old hypocrite perhaps thought that he had it all but nobody should complain of what he does. French gentlemen are usually sad as night only for wantonness, as we are reminded by the dramatist Shakespeare. I believe there is some truth in that. Let history be the judge.

It is not only Strauss-Kahn that wears fetters, it is France in captivity and socialism confined. Why should they murmur as if jailing were a new thing? If the man's heart is honest he should not fear bondage nor the French. The reason for their fearful jibes at the U.S. is that the French inconstancy for justice has reached a crisis. It is an ingrained habit and not a good one.

Dom Giovanni

audreygreene

uh, if Bill Clinton hadn't lied to a grand jury, I guess he wouldn't have gotten impeached for lying to a grand jury. And if John Edwards had told the truth, the tabloid press wouldn't have bothered staking him out. Also, you might not have noticed yet, but there is no Bush Administra­tion. Oh, and the maid is African, not European. As far as extraditio­n, are you being facetious? Or you really think someone who broke American laws in America should be tried in some other country? Do you think that should be offered only to the upper classes, or to all law-breake­rs written about in the press? Might be costly sending all the perps the Daily News writes about overseas. Or perhaps you believe some are more equal than others. http://bit.ly/kCKdiK

RUMSFELD

IT'S FAKE, WAKE UP

Rebentisch

DSK is an antisemite scape goat of a host nation which fails to protect highest rank staff of the IMF from police inquiries and humilates a well-recognized international figure, adding insult to injury. It's unbelievable that the IMF head does not enjoy diplomatic protection. The IMF should move its HQ over to Europe. The treatment of DSK sents a devastating message across the Atlantic.

trust no one

There was talk of him being on suicide watch. Please, let's end this charade. If he's wanting to kill himself, he must know he's done what he is accused of doing. If that is the case, let's expedite this process. If he does himself in, then that's one less scumbag clogging up our legal system.

John Cameron

It is said that those like me who attended a Southern Californian college in the years before Vietnam were as close to heaven on earth as humanity is ever likely to get. I have an abiding affection for America but sometimes, such as when the subject of guns comes up or I glimpse a “perv walk”, I feel we have no point of contact. As a Franco-Scot, I am under no illusions about the expectations of powerful public figures such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn but the scenes in New York were disturbing. Anglo-American debate on male sexual mores means that presumption of innocence is lost in accusations against men in general and anyone accused of rape in particular. His treatment by the judiciary has been peculiarly demeaning with cameras recording his unshaven, hunted look in court and the evident glee that he is now on suicide watch.

Pascal

He has not been framed, he has done it, he is guilty.
There was a previous case in France, with a young journalist, Tristane Banon that he sexually assaulted.
She was very close to suing him (she had even consituted a case against him at a lawyer) but was finally dissuaded from suing him by her mother and friends because it was not a full rape, only a rape attempt.
Her mother (Anne Mansouret, a socialist deputy) now regrets it, and says that she should have let her daughter sue him.
What is really shocking in this affair isn't just the violent sexual aggression, which could eventually be put on the count of mental deficiency which made he could not control himself, but it is the fact that, far from presenting excuses to her after the aggression, he sent her instead a mocking texto; I find this attitude absolutely inacceptable; that makes his act a cold blooded aggression, since he expressed no remorse; it is obvious he feels untouchable.
There are many girls in France who can testify he tried to jump them.
When I have heard that he was trying to present his violent sexual aggression as a "consensual sexual relationship", after having first denied it, I have been extremely shocked too.
There are french who think he has been framed and were feeling hurt to see him handcuffed, but personally I feel no pity for him; like we use to say, he reaps what has been hanging to his nose for a long time.
The only solution for him now would be to admit he did the aggression and humbly apologize for it; then may be he could get the minimum sentence (15 years).
But, if he tries to spoil the reputation of the maid by calling her a liar, and the members of the jury answer yes to all the accusations, then the judge might make him pay for his attitude and give him the maximum (or at least quite more than the minimum), that is 74 years.
That would leave him no chance to get out jail alive, that would correspond to a life sentence.
He could also try to buy the maid to make her say he is innocent (he has enough money to make her very rich), but she is a practising muslim who has the sense of honor and dignity, so there are chances he will fail (of course, I may be wrong); furthermore, she is currently protected by the police to prevent the relatives of DSK from approaching her.
I rather see black in DSK's future.
I would be interested to see your reactions to my comment.

Rainer Barthels

Russia Says IMF Chief Jailed For Discovering All US Gold is Gone

Dienstag, 31. Mai 2011 21:37:02
RussiaSays IMF Chief Jailed For Discovering All US Gold Is Gone
By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers





A new report prepared for Prime Minister Putin by the Federal Security Service (FSB) says that former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn [photo with Putin top left] was charged and jailed in the US for sex crimes on May 14th after his discovery that all of the gold held in the United States Bullion Depository located at Fort Knox [photo 2nd left] was ‘missing and/or unaccounted’ for.
According to this FSB secret report, Strauss-Kahn had become “increasingly concerned” earlier this month after the United States began “stalling” its pledged delivery to the IMF of 191.3 tons of gold agreed to under the Second Amendment of the Articles of Agreement signed by the Executive Board in April 1978 that were to be sold to fund what are called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as an alternative to what are called reserve currencies.
This FSB report further states that upon Strauss-Kahn raising his concerns with American government officials close to President Obama he was ‘contacted’ by ‘rogue elements’ within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who provided him ‘firm evidence’ that all of the gold reported to be held by the US ‘was gone’.
Upon Strauss-Kahn receiving the CIA evidence, this report continues, he made immediate arrangements to leave the US for Paris, but when contacted by agents working for France’s General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) that American authorities were seeking his capture he fled to New York City’s JFK airport following these agents directive not to take his cell-phone because US police could track his exact location.
Once Strauss-Kahn was safely boarded on an Air France flight to Paris, however, this FSB report says he made a ‘fatal mistake’ by calling the hotel from a phone on the plane and asking them to forwarded the cell-phone he had been told to leave behind to his French residence, after which US agents were able to track and apprehend him.
Within the past fortnight, this report continues, Strauss-Kahn reached out to his close friend and top Egyptian banker Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar to retrieve from the US the evidence given to him by the CIA. Omar, however, and exactly like Strauss-Kahn before him, was charged yesterday by the US with a sex crime against a luxury hotel maid, a charge the FSB labels as ‘beyond belief’ due to Omar being 74-years-old and a devout Muslim.
In an astounding move puzzling many in Moscow, Putin after reading this secret FSB report today ordered posted to the Kremlin’s official website a defense of Strauss-Khan becoming the first world leader to state that the former IMF chief was a victim of a US conspiracy. Putin further stated, “It’s hard for me to evaluate the hidden political motives but I cannot believe that it looks the way it was initially introduced. It doesn’t sit right in my head.”
Interesting to note about all of these events is that one of the United States top Congressman, and 2012 Presidential candidate, Ron Paul [photo bottom left] has long stated his belief that the US government has lied about its gold reserves held at Fort Knox. So concerned had Congressman Paul become about the US government and the Federal Reserve hiding the truth about American gold reserves he put forward a bill in late 2010 to force an audit of them, but which was subsequently defeated by Obama regime forces.
When directly asked by reporters if he believed there was no gold in Fort Knox or the Federal Reserve, Congressman Paul gave the incredible reply, “I think it is a possibility.”
Also interesting to note is that barely 3 days after the arrest of Strauss-Kahn, Congressman Paul made a new call for the US to sell its gold reserves by stating, “Given the high price it is now, and the tremendous debt problem we now have, by all means, sell at the peak.”
Bizarre reports emanating from the US for years, however, suggest there is no gold to sell, and as we can read as posted in 2009 on the ViewZone.Com news site:
“In October of 2009 the Chinese received a shipment of gold bars. Gold is regularly exchanges between countries to pay debts and to settle the so-called balance of trade. Most gold is exchanged and stored in vaults under the supervision of a special organization based in London, the London Bullion Market Association (or LBMA). When the shipment was received, the Chinese government asked that special tests be performed to guarantee the purity and weight of the gold bars. In this test, four small holed are drilled into the gold bars and the metal is then analyzed.
Officials were shocked to learn that the bars were fake. They contained cores of tungsten with only a outer coating of real gold. What's more, these gold bars, containing serial numbers for tracking, originated in the US and had been stored in Fort Knox for years. There were reportedly between 5,600 to 5,700 bars, weighing 400 oz. each, in the shipment!”
To the final fate of Strauss-Kahn it is not in our knowing, but new reports coming from the United States show his determination not to go down without a fight as he has hired what is described as a ‘crack team’ of former CIA spies, private investigators and media advisers to defend him.
To the practical effects on the global economy should it be proved that the US, indeed, has been lying about its gold reserves, Russia’s Central Bank yesterday ordered the interest rate raised from 0.25 to 3.5 percent and Putin ordered the export ban on wheat and grain crops lifted by July 1st in a move designed to fill the Motherlands coffers with money that normally would have flowed to the US.
The American peoples ability to know the truth of these things, and as always, has been shouted out by their propaganda media organs leaving them in danger of not being prepared for the horrific economic collapse of their nation now believed will much sooner than later.
© May 31, 2011 EU and US all rights reserved. Permission to use this report in its entirety is granted under the condition it is linked back to its original source at WhatDoesItMean.Com.
www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1489.htm

Shlomo

Another one of "God's chosen" scumbags thought he could get away with brutal rape and lying. What's new? Happens everyday.
Disgusting pervert.....rot in hell


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


Categories


Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »

Archives
 


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



In Case You Missed It...