Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Monday, March 22, 2004


From Belmont Club:
Historically, France's 'independent' strategy was based on being able to tilt the balance in an inconclusive struggle in a bipolar world, in the process extracting the maximum benefit for itself. This worked during the Cold War where it could play both ends against the middle, selling its support to the highest bidder, behavior that could be justified as 'realpolitik' and hard-nosed maneuvering in the the national interest.
However, the struggle against terrorism now threatens to become a fight to the finish instead of a Cold War ballet of competition circumscribed by deterrence.
Viewed electorally, France's strategy was to be the dominant swing voter. When the competing sides are at 40% and undecideds (or persuadables) are at 20%, swing voters matter immensely, and both sides take pains to tailor their messages to them, and to avoid giving offense. But there is a tipping point as partisanship increases and each side claims 45-47-48%: as the middle shrinks, swing voters become more scarce and counterintuitively less valuable. They're no longer worth the resources required to attract them. Both sides devote their efforts to firing up and turning out their base. Red meat, not pabulum, becomes the voters' regular fare.

In the United States, true swing voters (who actually are unaligned, and actually vote) are becoming both rarer and less important, and the campaigns reflect this fact. This is beginning to happen internationally to non-aligned nations. With us or with the terrorists is becoming less a choice than a quick description of the serious players.

One thing la France will never be able to endure is irrelevance.

posted by Kelly | 11:14 AM link