Harold James: France and Frankfurt
Harold James is professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and professor of History at the European University Institute, Florence. He is the author of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle.
PRINCETON -- Over the past two years, financial markets have turned the spotlight on a succession of countries -- Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy -- turning each into the epicenter of a seemingly perpetual European financial earthquake. But politicians always recognized that the heart of the European project was the relationship between France and Germany. Is that relationship now in jeopardy?
There is a falling-domino argument that suggests that the crises on Europe’s periphery will have a knock-on effect on the Franco-German core. France, in the aftermath of a property and asset price bubble, is vulnerable to some of the same combination of banking and public finance problems. Indeed, now France’s presidential election has politicized the link between peripheral dominos and Europe’s French heart.
In his final campaign rally before the first round of the presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy stood in front of a banner proclaiming “la France forte,” or strong France. For much of his audience, Sarkozy’s head obscured the “e” in France, so that the slogan looked more like “franc fort,” or strong French franc -- which sounds like nothing if not “Frankfurt,” the German financial center that is the seat of the European Central Bank....
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History