Sunday, August 26, 2007

Three Questions to André Glucksmann

Paris Le Nouvel Economiste

by Benoit Delmas.

[Delmas] Why this outburst? [reference to his defense of the US intervention in Iraq in his new book, "Ouest contre Ouest," "West Versus West"]

[Glucksmann] France took a wrong turn when it allied with Russia, whose hands are bloodied by the war waged in Chechnya, and with China, a communist dictatorship, instead of engaging in debate with the United States. I am accustomed to being in a minority: when I defended Solzhenitsyn in the 1960s I went against the predominant line of thinking.

[Delmas] Are the (French) democrats doomed to confrontation, for lack of an adversary?

[Glucksmann] It is democrats' lot to argue. At present the debate is being mishandled. The Iraqi crisis has created a united front that extends from Olivier Besancenot [Revolutionary Communist League] to Jean-Marie Le Pen [National Front], from Francois Hollande [Socialist Party] to Jacques Chirac [Union for a People's Movement], from Noelle Mamere [Greens] to Arlette Laguiller [Workers' Struggle], and so forth. In this book, I try to present an opinion, to speak for the 43 percent of French people who approve of the military intervention and even the 25 percent of Greens who share this opinion.

People like debate, but the problem lies in what we have in our heads: we prefer to vilify the United States rather than certain dictatorships; we cannot hear the Iraqis breathing sighs of relief following Saddam's downfall...

[Delmas] Is the West choosing the wrong enemy?

[Glucksmann] It is obscene and counterproductive to think that terrorists' sole target is the United States. Nobody escapes terrorism -- the United Nations, moderate Arab countries such as Jordan, the Shiites... Remember the hijacking of the airbus at Marseille in 1994: the aircraft was supposed to crash into Paris.

It is immoral to think that terrorism has only one enemy. We have experienced compassion over Manhattan but are in a state of denial with regard to the danger threatening us. We prefer to sleep easy. Chekhov used to say that "the wish to sleep prevails over vigilance."

The 21st century will be the century of terrorism, just as the 20th was the century of nuclear.