They also said the closure of French bases in Africa was misguided, as the continent was certain to see European military intervention in the coming decade.
The serving officers said the new defence policy was, above all, a cost-cutting exercise. They criticised the plans to slim down the army to an operational force of 88,000 personnel, saying the conflicts on the future would demand more ground troops.
Their certainty is eerie…But as they go down a neoliberal shock treatment path such acquisitive colonialism might well be on the cards. Expect France’s enviable Gini index to rise as the haves, get more. As a US admiring workaholic corporate technocrat tells France “Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves.”
The second thing, which is actually a real process that we went through, is to try to remove the obstacles to growth. To that end, President Sarkozy has an interesting process. He gives his Ministers a big job to do, so you’re so overwhelmed by the job. For instance, it is the first time ever that there is a Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment; that had never occurred before. Then he appoints a commission with some very competent people, with a chairman to make additional proposals so that the Prime Minister who is overwhelmed with work has actually somebody at his sides saying “Hey! You forgot something, you should do this, do that, you should add to the list”. That’s actually a great way to stimulate thinking – I’ll come to the innovation and the creativity in a minute- that’s almost putting corporate methods into public life and government actions, by having those consultants on the side, to suggest what pretty much everybody knows, except it needs to be a little more refined; the mission is quite specific by having those consultants on the side to make additional suggestions.
Now what does that remind me of?