A Choice for France

Noodling around on Boz's French Election 2007 site, I ran across this post. Apparently there is real fear among France's corporate elite that if the socialist candidate Segolene Royal is elected in May, there will be a exodus of business talent from the country. Already, you can't check into an hotel in London without running into a Francophone. With more government control over the French economy, there is fear that French emigration will go more upscale.

This reminds me of a statement that Condi Rice made after France's UN ambassador tried to force a second vote in the UN prior to the Iraq War. As a result of the vote, she said that the American policy should be to "punish France, ignore Germany, and forgive Russia."

At the time, someone suggested that the best way to punish France would be to offer French doctors American green cards en masse. As our doctors make more than twice what their French counterparts do, it would certainly be tempting for French medical doctors to become economic refugees, dealing a crushing blow to the French public health care system.

I don't advocate this kind of thing, although at the time I thought it was a pretty innovative way to punish France for its duplicitous UN vote. But it is clear that in this election France is going to have to confront the reality of its politics in the context of a global economy. The candidacy of Segolene Royal versus Nicolas Sarkozy is bringing that to the fore.