With King Sarko's Head
By Pepe Escobar
May 05, 2012 "Information
-- He posed in spectacular grandeur as the neo-imperial
Liberator of Libya - only a few years after Colonel Muammar
Gaddafi helped finance his 2007 election campaign with a cool
from a mysterious alliance between the Holy Ghost and an African
chambermaid in New York, he got rid of the unstoppable
challenger to his re-election, former International Monetary
Fund director general and international sex fiend, Dominique
this Sunday, French voters - in a Facebook-style remix of the
fall of the Bastille - are bound to yell "Off with his head".
Hubris. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, aka neo-Napoleonic
King Sarko, former king of bling bling, "Chouchou" to [Italian]
First Lady Carla Bruni, may be his own worst enemy. 
A ritzy lifestyle
Bashir Saleh is Gaddafi's former chief of staff and former
president of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund. He was the go-to
guy when the regime decided to finance Sarkozy's 2007
King Sarko, predictably, denied everything and said he would sue
the French website, Mediapart, that revealed what many already
knew. Yet this Thursday, former Libyan prime minister Baghdadi
Ali al-Mahmoudi confirmed it all over again. And that's exactly
what Gaddafi's son and former darling of the London School of
Economics, Saif al-Islam, had said in March 2011: "Sarkozy must
give back the money he accepted from Libya to finance his
Saleh is now under Interpol watch, but he remains in France,
authorized by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
rebel regime in Libya that otherwise is pursuing him ... He
happens to maintain a cozy 4 million euro (US$5.2 million) abode
near the Swiss border, with a view to Mont Blanc.
All that protected by the police of King Sarko, who said
everything is going on "with the full agreement of president [of
the Libyan Transitional Council] Mustapha Abdel Jalil". Life is
good; this week Saleh was spotted hanging out at the Ritz in
My vote is for Carla
French presidential campaign came to the proverbial anti-climax
this week in an almost three-hour long debate between King Sarko
and Socialist Party challenger Francois Hollande. Trillions of
bytes hit the screens describing the debate essentially as
"tense". No KO was delivered. Sarko behaved like a Duracell
bunny on crack, while Hollande - with the charisma of a dry
sausage - actually looked solid and relatively precise.
Lies were given free flow. Sarko defended his job creation
record. In April 2007, he was promising only 5% of unemployed
after five years as president. Today, France has 9.4% unemployed
among the active urban population. After five years of Sarko,
the ranks of the French unemployed rose by one million.
As the macarron to complement the cafe, centrist Francois
Bayrou - who got 9.1% of the votes in the first round -
manifested his repulsion towards Sarko's campaign to seduce the
extreme right and announced he would vote for Hollande.
By the way, no less than 33% of French voters sat out the first
round, preferring instead to concentrate on the geopolitical
ramifications of consummate top model Carla Bruni's looks. 
The real winner of the first round - a toxic political Hellfire
missile, no less - was the French extreme right, via the
National Front (18% of votes) "normalized" by savvy
businesswoman Marine Le Pen, the daughter of founder and
certified fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen.
The National Front's growing influence since the 1980s all
across European extreme right circles is simply astonishing. The
cancer has spread everywhere, from France to Italy, Britain,
Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark,
Finland and even Greece.
Xenophobia and Islamophobia are alive and kicking across a
fearful, mired-in-crisis Europe. In Austria, the extreme right,
after years under the charismatic Jorg Haider, is now totally
normalized and legitimized.
In the Netherlands, under uber-Islamophobe Geert Wilders, the
PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid - Party for Freedom) got 24% of
votes in the 2010 elections and was part of a conservative
coalition in power that ended up breaking down because, once
again, of Wilders.
In Scandinavia, the extreme right is on a rampage; in Sweden,
for instance, the Swedish Democrats (nice Orwellian touch) for
the first time entered parliament.
One can't go wrong campaigning as an extreme right-winger in
Europe; it's enough to rail against globalization and "brown"
and "black" immigrants; denounce corrupt elites; demonize Islam;
warn about national identity in danger because of
multiculturalism; and essentially pose as "anti-system". It's as
if the specter of Nazi Germany was hovering from the south of
France to the Carpathian mountains.
No wonder when an extreme right-wing party reaches 15% of voters
nationally, conservative parties scramble to adopt their
policies. That's exactly what King Sarko tried in France; after
losing the first round, he said wily Marine Le Pen was
"compatible with the republic". Yet it didn't gell - because
millions of voters were in fact nursing another kind of fury;
eurozone crisis, countries going bankrupt, non-stop orthodox
"austerity", unemployment, the iron hand of rating agencies and
budget technocrats, widespread economic horror; millions of
French, like other Europeans, blame Brussels for it. And King
Sarko happens to be part of the hated elite - as 50% of the "Merkozy"
couple, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is, in
theory, trying to "save" Europe.
So an extra problem for the bling bling king was that he was
not, and was never, able to sell a political, cultural and
social project, his vision for Europe. Or at least point to how
to recreate post-crisis Europe (assuming the crisis will vanish
soon, which it won't).
Hollande may be a cold cucumber, and his prescriptions may be
"outdated" - as King Sarko and The Economist accused; but at
least this return of the socialists to power in France may shake
up the whole groggy chessboard.
The European Union will forcefully have to re-examine the
Franco-German axis in its "post-Merkozy" stage; this is the axis
that actually rules over Europe. There's a lot of talk in Paris
and Berlin of "continuity". It did happen before, between
Giscard d'Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, and between Francois
Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl.
But the real challenge is what a Hollande presidency could do
for a more social, and more egalitarian Europe. The Economist -
that is, the financial interests of the City of London - has
been so sorry for King Sarko, who was trying to "save" not only
France but also Europe. That's nonsense.
Bye bye bling bling guy - and good riddance.
Jihad bling bling Asia Times Online, August 14, 2009.
Pepe Escobar is the author of
Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid
War (Nimble Books, 2007) and
Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His
most recent book, just out, is
Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at
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