Understand France and the French

Op-Ed Columnist – Roger Cohen – France on Amphetamines – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com

A few decades back, when we were young, Joni Mitchell sang of “sitting in a park in Paris, France” but dreaming of California because “I wouldn’t want to stay here; it’s too old and cold and settled in its ways here.” ... All our friends saw Reagan era-like restructurings and firings as an immediate effect of a Sarkozy win, but even most leftists felt that a dose of tough love was necessary to bring the young and the unionists to their senses. ... , Sarkozy has circumvented the 35-hour week by slashing taxes on overtime, freed up universities, downsized the state functionary community (and mentality), spurred small businesses, cut public spending and set in motion a radical reform aimed at creating a 21st-century army.