Antiterrorisme: Attention, un débaptême peut en cacher un autre ! (Before denaming US tallest peak, Obama had already denamed America’s enemies)

1 septembre, 2015
Mt._McKinley obama-bows-saudi future-must-not-belong-to-those-who-slander-prophet-islam-mohammad-barack-hussein-obama-muslimhttp://www.theyeshivaworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/dn.jpgIn my language we called it anowara ko’wah which literally means the great turtle or more commonly translated turtle island. viewed from above, north america is roughly shaped like a turtle and it also refers back to our creation story. Kanien:kaha’ka-[]-[]-^-[]-[]
These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews — and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision. George Bush (November 11, 2005)
Personne ne souffre davantage de tout ça  que le peuple palestinien. Barack Hussein Obama (Iowa, 27 avril 2007)
Nous cherchons à ouvrir un nouveau chemin en direction du monde musulman, fondé sur l’intérêt mutuel et le respect mutuel. (…) Nous sommes une nation de chrétiens, de musulmans, de juifs, d’hindous et de non croyants. Barack Hussein Obama (discours d’investiture, le 20 janvier 2009)
… une nation de musulmans, de chrétiens et de juifs … Barack Hussein Obama (Entretien à la télévision saoudienne Al-Arabiya, 27 janvier, 2009)
Nous exprimerons notre appréciation profonde de la foi musulmane qui a tant fait au long des siècles pour améliorer le monde, y compris mon propre pays. Barack Hussein Obama (Ankara, avril 2009)
Les Etats-Unis et le monde occidental doivent apprendre à mieux connaître l’islam. D’ailleurs, si l’on compte le nombre d’Américains musulmans, on voit que les Etats-Unis sont l’un des plus grands pays musulmans de la planète. Barack Hussein Obama (entretien pour Canal +, le 2 juin 2009)
Salamm aleïkoum (…) Comme le dit le Saint Coran, « Crains Dieu et dis toujours la vérité ». (…) Je suis chrétien, mais mon père était issu d’une famille kényane qui compte des générations de musulmans. Enfant, j’ai passé plusieurs années en Indonésie où j’ai entendu l’appel à la prière (azan) à l’aube et au crépuscule. Jeune homme, j’ai travaillé dans des quartiers de Chicago où j’ai côtoyé beaucoup de gens qui trouvaient la dignité et la paix dans leur foi musulmane. Barack Hussein Obama (Prêche du Caire)
L’avenir ne doit pas appartenir à ceux qui calomnient le prophète de l’Islam. Barack Obama (siège de l’ONU, New York, 26.09.12)
Nous montons sur nos grands chevaux mais souvenons-nous que pendant les croisades et l’inquisition, des actes terribles ont été commis au nom du Christ. Dans notre pays, nous avons eu l’esclavage, trop souvent justifié par le Christ. Barack Hussein Obama
Il est tout à fait légitime pour le peuple américain d’être profondément préoccupé quand vous avez un tas de fanatiques vicieux et violents qui décapitent les gens ou qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris. Barack Hussein Obama
Obama demande pardon pour les faits et gestes de l’Amérique, son passé, son présent et le reste, il s’excuse de tout. Les relations dégradées avec la Russie, le manque de respect pour l’Islam, les mauvais rapports avec l’Iran, les bisbilles avec l’Europe, le manque d’adulation pour Fidel Castro, tout lui est bon pour battre la coulpe de l’Amérique. Plus encore, il célèbre la contribution (totalement inexistante) de l’Islam à l’essor de l’Amérique, et il se fend d’une révérence au sanglant et sectaire roi d’Arabie, l’Abdullah de la haine. Il annule la ceinture anti-missiles sise en Alaska et propose un désarmement nucléaire inutile. (…) Plus encore, cette déplorable Amérique a semé le désordre et le mal partout dans le monde. Au lieu de collaborer multilatéralement avec tous, d’œuvrer au bien commun avec Poutine, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, Bachir al-Assad, et Cie, l’insupportable Bush en a fait des ennemis. (…) Il n’y a pas d’ennemis, il n’y a que des malentendus. Il ne peut y avoir d’affrontements, seulement des clarifications. Laurent Murawiec
Obama se croit apte, en raison de son profil, à engager un dialogue avec l’islam, que c’est la véritable raison pour laquelle il a placé les musulmans avant les juifs dans son discours inaugural, puis avant les chrétiens dans son interview du 27 janvier, et que c’est le sens de ses propos quand il dit que “l’Amérique n’est pas l’ennemie de l’islam” : il sous-entend que l’Amérique, sous l’administration d’un musulman de cœur, ou du moins d’un “vrai croyant”, ce qui selon la théologie islamique revient au même, appartenait désormais au Dar al-Sulh, à la “Maison de la Conciliation”, cette zone grise, ouverte à la prédication musulmane, qui sépare le Dar al-Islam, “Maison de la Soumission”, autrement dit le monde musulman, du Dar al-Harb, “Maison de la Guerre”, autrement dit le monde non-musulman. Michel Gurfinkiel
On a beaucoup écrit sur l’absence de Poutine à la cérémonie d’Auschwitz. Mais les médias ont peu parlé de la décision du président américain Barack Obama d’envoyer un relatif inconnu, le secrétaire au Trésor Jack Lew, pour représenter Washington, alors que Obama et de hauts dirigeants militaires américains se rendaient en Arabie Saoudite pour discuter des plans de guerre au Moyen-Orient avec le régime monarchique après la mort du roi saoudien Abdullah. World Socialist Website
As Obama stated in Dreams From My Father, he spent his college years discussing “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism.” And President Obama has obviously attempted to undo many of McKinley’s accomplishments. In kowtowing to the Castros in Cuba, Obama has ensured that America’s Spanish-American War victory ends with perpetual communism in a country America once granted its freedom; in 2014, the Obama Department of the Interior sought to give Hawaiians the same status as Native Americans, forcing separate governance for them based on ethnicity. The only question now: when will President Obama change the name of the American Southwest to Aztlan? Breitbart
Clare Lopez (…) said the global war on terror had been an effort to “stay free of Shariah,” or repressive Islamic law, until the Obama administration began siding with such jihadist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates. (…) when the so-called Arab Spring appeared in late 2010, “It was time to bring down the secular Muslim rulers who did not enforce Islamic law. And America helped.” (…) She also came to the conclusion Obama had essentially the same goals in the Mideast as the late Osama bin Laden: “to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands.” Why would Obama order the killing of bin Laden? Because the president “couldn’t delay any longer,” once the opportunity was presented, Lopez told WND. There were “no more excuses” available to avoid it and he “thought it might look good,” she mused. (…) “Some in the administration genuinely appear to believe the Muslim Brotherhood can act as a foil or counterweight to al-Qaida, although with what’s going on in Syria, it’s hard to understand how they would still think that,” she observed. Lopez felt it was impossible to understand why the president and some of his top appointees, such as CIA Director John Brennan, “consistently seem to apologize for Islam, even in the face of such atrocities as the Foley beheading,” adding, they “take pains to assure the world they don’t think IS, (or the Islamic State, also called ISIS) or whichever perpetrator it was, has anything to do with Islam. How can they possibly believe that genuinely when everything these jihadis do tracks directly to the literal text of Quran, hadiths and Shariah?” “In any case, and for whatever motivations, there is no doubt this administration switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror,” she said. “Even though President George W. Bush was obviously confused and mistaken when he called Islam a ‘religion of peace’ the day after 9/11, he wasn’t deliberately exonerating the perpetrators. Surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood agents of influence, he simply didn’t understand.” She said Obama and his administration “have no excuse” for not knowing better, given the extensive investigation, research and studies done since Sept. 11. Instead, Lopez maintained, it was the Obama administration “that actively purged truthful curriculum about the inspirational relationship between Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture and Islamic terrorism.” In fact, she said, they were told what to purge by groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and even allowed some of those same groups to supervise the purge. All of that, she observed, “would seem to indicate certain knowledge about the Islamic threat, and a determined effort to ignore that threat.” Lopez chastised the Obama administration for what she called beating a hasty retreat, under fire, out of Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing full well they would both fall to Islam, the Taliban and Iran, respectively. “But we’d already written their Shariah constitutions, so the actual ultimate physical domination was already prepared with the legal precedent and foundation,” she observed. By 2014, she maintained, U.S. leadership had purged all its training curriculum and official discourse of any terminology that would accurately identify the Islamic enemy, “and the time was right. Al-Qaida receded and [ISIS] arose. The U.S. couldn’t tell the difference between jihadist militias to save its life anyway, quite literally.” The former CIA operative said, “as Israel fought enemies on all sides to remain free, secure and Jewish, America began to move away from Israel and toward its Muslim enemies. And, as Iran moved inexorably toward a deliverable nuclear weapons capability, America helped.” (…) She said the Obama administration “consistently has engaged with this Iranian regime, pleaded with it to engage, and continue to engage, in obviously fruitless negotiations over their nuclear weapons program. The administration extended deadlines repeatedly, refused to hold Iran to account meaningfully for its terror support, including involvement in Sept. 11, lethal support to Iraqi militias in the 2000s and continuing harboring al-Qaida operations cell on its soil.” Furthermore, Lopez insisted the administration refused to even broach certain key topics in negotiations (such as Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program) and failed to insist that earlier U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding Iran halt all nuclear enrichment be implemented before any further talks. Instead, she said the administration explicitly signaled, in the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action agreement, it would allow Iran to continue enrichment permanently. (…) Like Lopez, Obama said a broader strategy for the region was needed, but notably, he did not state what the goal should be. The goal of the global war on terror, or GWOT, launched after Sept. 11, was understood to be the defeat of jihadism both in the Mideast and globally. Obama articulated no such goal, and has, in fact, declared there no longer is a global war on terror. (…) She names the enemy as jihadis and states the goal should be their destruction. “Above all, we must acknowledge that the enemy is supremacist forces of Islamic jihad,” Lopez told WND. “We must name, acknowledge, confront the enemy as he is – not as we wish him to be.” (…) Lopez explained what she thought was Obama’s real goal: Far from seeking the defeat of jihadism in the Mideast or globally, Obama preferred to let Sunni and Shiite jihadists each have their own spheres of influence in the Muslim world and America should withdraw its troops and influence from the region. (…) But unless ISIS further threatens the interests of the U.S. or its allies, Lopez believes the U.S. should proceed only with extreme caution. “I don’t think the USA should act as cats’ paw for either side of an intra-Islamic sectarian squabble, which has at least a 50-50 chance of winding up a pan-Islamic alliance against us, even as Iran and al-Qaida remain joined in an operational terrorist alliance that began in 1990, brought us Sept. 11, and continues to this day. No one is talking about Iran and its role, whatever it is, regarding [ISIS]. That concerns me.” (…) “I remain concerned that we not tip the balance in favor of either side in this essentially intra-Islamic sectarian fight between Shiites and Sunnis. Both sides are jihadist enemies of the U.S., our friends, allies and security interests,” said the former CIA operative. (…) while countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey may have initially instigated and bankrolled ISIS, those regimes and others, such as Iran and Qatar, “play all sides of the jihadi game” and have “enabled a monster in ISIS” they can no longer control, and “they should be allowed to reap what they’ve sown.” (…) “Right now, I think the most serious threat to the homeland comes from individual or small groups of individual jihadis carrying U.S. or other Western passports, who return home or can easily cross borders, including our own collapsed southern border, and mount attacks in the West, including America.”(…) “In many ways, al-Qaida prepared the ground for the Islamic State. Al-Qaida, which means, ‘the base,’ did its job, which was to awaken the Muslim masses, to prod the ummah to action against the infidel after a long hiatus. It spawned off-shoot franchises across the globe, not to mention in the virtual spaces of the Internet. It did its job and may now be superseded by [ISIS]. We shall see about that.” She described how Sept. 11 accomplished its mission of drawing the leader of the free world, “the greatest obstacle to establishment of a universal Caliphate,” into devastating and costly wars in Muslim lands. (…) “Everybody waits for the U.S. to stumble into the scene once again like some deus ex machine, so the whole charade can begin all over again. American blood and treasure spent, amidst clamor for infidels to exit Muslim lands, boiling Muslim rage about the imperative to strike ‘the far enemy’ again, hit the kuffar (non-Muslim) in his homeland, even while the Caliphate consolidates its rule, begins to govern as the Islamic State it claims to be, and, all the while, the wealthy-beyond-imagination sheikhdoms supposedly most threatened by this ‘un-Islamic’ horde – and the emerging Shi’ite hegemon of the Persian Gulf – respond lackadaisically, if at all. What is wrong with this picture?” (…) “From my perspective, I’m seeing American national security interests steadily eroded, almost everywhere we look, and the forces of adversaries and enemies advancing. But, of course, to see this, it’s necessary first to know who we are as a people, what are our ‘first things’?” She wondered whether Americans were still willing to fight and die for such principles as independence, individual liberty, Bill of Rights freedoms, consent of the governed under rule of man-made law, noting, “At the very least, we are badly off the track envisioned by our Founding Fathers.” (…) “Our current national policy doesn’t even seem to consider ‘first things,’ or know what they are, when formulating and implementing recent foreign policy.” She cited such examples as providing guns to al-Qaida in Libya, backing jihadist rebels in Syria, and what she described as enabling the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions while ignoring the Iranian people’s desperate struggle for liberty. Lopez argued, before U.S. leaders could deduce the right course of action on the other side of the world, first they must figure out the right things to do at home. She asked, “When do we go back to fighting for ‘first things’ again?” WND

Attention: un débaptême peut en cacher un autre !

Alors que le Flagellant-en-chef qui après l’abandon de l’Irak et bientôt de l’Afghanistan et peut-être demain de la Corée  …

A séché l’an dernier à la fois la marche de Paris contre le terrorisme et le 70e anniversaire de la libération d’Auschwitz que le centenaire du génocide des chrétiens turcs …

S’apprête, entre le don de la bombe atomique aux mollahs, la bénédiction à la prison à ciel ouvert cubaine et la porte ouverte à la polygamie, à débaptiser le Mont Blanc américain pour lui redonner son nom indigène …

Avant peut-être de redonner à la Grande Tortue son patronyme d’origine ?

Retour, avec une ancienne agente de la CIA, sur un autre, moins connu, débaptême …

Celui de la fameuse guerre contre le terrorisme du président précédent

Où l’on découvre qu’avec le premier président américain d’origine musulmane et entre deux assassinats ciblés, les Etats-Unis ont largement repris les objectifs de feu Ben Laden  …

Et tout simplement changé de bord !

Mideast expert: Obama switched sides in war on terror
‘America has moved toward its Muslim enemies’
08/28/2014

WASHINGTON – It’s an explosive charge, one that puts the president’s motives into question.

A former CIA officer bluntly told WND, America has switched sides in the war on terror under President Obama.

Clare Lopez was willing to say what a few members of Congress have confided to WND in private, but declined to say on-the-record.

She said the global war on terror had been an effort to “stay free of Shariah,” or repressive Islamic law, until the Obama administration began siding with such jihadist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates.

Why the switch?

Lopez explained, when the so-called Arab Spring appeared in late 2010, “It was time to bring down the secular Muslim rulers who did not enforce Islamic law. And America helped.”

And why would Obama want to do that?

As she told WND earlier this month, Lopez believed the Muslim Brotherhood has thoroughly infiltrated the Obama administration and other branches of the federal government.

She also came to the conclusion Obama had essentially the same goals in the Mideast as the late Osama bin Laden: “to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands.”

Why would Obama order the killing of bin Laden?

Because the president “couldn’t delay any longer,” once the opportunity was presented, Lopez told WND.

There were “no more excuses” available to avoid it and he “thought it might look good,” she mused.

The former CIA operative’s perspective affects her prescription for what the U.S. should do about the terror army ISIS, as she called for caution and restraint.

While there has been a sudden chorus of politicians and military experts calling for the immediate elimination of the terrorist army after it beheaded American journalist James Foley last week, Lopez believes the U.S. should have an overall strategy in place before fully re-engaging in the Mideast militarily.

Any military action would be further complicated, she told WND, if it were not clear which side the U.S. is on, either in the short term or in the overall war on terror.

Lopez’s insights are backed by an impressive array of credentials.

She spent two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer; was an instructor for military intelligence and special forces students; has been a consultant, intelligence analyst and researcher within the defense sector; and has published two books on Iran. Lopez currently manages the counter-jihad and Shariah programs at the Center for Security Policy, run by Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Reagan administration.

What do YOU think? What should be done about ISIS? Sound off in today’s WND poll.

In a previous interview with WND, Lopez described the stunning extent of infiltration of the administration and other branches of the federal government by the jihadist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

She said the infiltration began under former President Bill Clinton but really took hold under the Obama administration, which, she said, “includes various levels of understanding and misunderstanding of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“Some in the administration genuinely appear to believe the Muslim Brotherhood can act as a foil or counterweight to al-Qaida, although with what’s going on in Syria, it’s hard to understand how they would still think that,” she observed.

Lopez felt it was impossible to understand why the president and some of his top appointees, such as CIA Director John Brennan, “consistently seem to apologize for Islam, even in the face of such atrocities as the Foley beheading,” adding, they “take pains to assure the world they don’t think IS, (or the Islamic State, also called ISIS) or whichever perpetrator it was, has anything to do with Islam. How can they possibly believe that genuinely when everything these jihadis do tracks directly to the literal text of Quran, hadiths and Shariah?”

“In any case, and for whatever motivations, there is no doubt this administration switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror,” she said. “Even though President George W. Bush was obviously confused and mistaken when he called Islam a ‘religion of peace’ the day after 9/11, he wasn’t deliberately exonerating the perpetrators. Surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood agents of influence, he simply didn’t understand.”
She said Obama and his administration “have no excuse” for not knowing better, given the extensive investigation, research and studies done since Sept. 11.

Instead, Lopez maintained, it was the Obama administration “that actively purged truthful curriculum about the inspirational relationship between Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture and Islamic terrorism.”

In fact, she said, they were told what to purge by groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and even allowed some of those same groups to supervise the purge. All of that, she observed, “would seem to indicate certain knowledge about the Islamic threat, and a determined effort to ignore that threat.”

Lopez chastised the Obama administration for what she called beating a hasty retreat, under fire, out of Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing full well they would both fall to Islam, the Taliban and Iran, respectively.

“But we’d already written their Shariah constitutions, so the actual ultimate physical domination was already prepared with the legal precedent and foundation,” she observed.

By 2014, she maintained, U.S. leadership had purged all its training curriculum and official discourse of any terminology that would accurately identify the Islamic enemy, “and the time was right. Al-Qaida receded and [ISIS] arose. The U.S. couldn’t tell the difference between jihadist militias to save its life anyway, quite literally.”

The former CIA operative said, “as Israel fought enemies on all sides to remain free, secure and Jewish, America began to move away from Israel and toward its Muslim enemies. And, as Iran moved inexorably toward a deliverable nuclear weapons capability, America helped.”

WND asked Lopez: How did America help Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism worldwide?

She said the Obama administration “consistently has engaged with this Iranian regime, pleaded with it to engage, and continue to engage, in obviously fruitless negotiations over their nuclear weapons program. The administration extended deadlines repeatedly, refused to hold Iran to account meaningfully for its terror support, including involvement in Sept. 11, lethal support to Iraqi militias in the 2000s and continuing harboring al-Qaida operations cell on its soil.”

Furthermore, Lopez insisted the administration refused to even broach certain key topics in negotiations (such as Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program) and failed to insist that earlier U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding Iran halt all nuclear enrichment be implemented before any further talks. Instead, she said the administration explicitly signaled, in the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action agreement, it would allow Iran to continue enrichment permanently.

After the ISIS threat first burst into public view, as the terrorist army sprang from Syria and shockingly began capturing great swaths of Iraqi territory with a savagery evidenced by its many massacres and beheadings, Lopez urged caution before the U.S. re-engaged in the area militarily.

She told WND the U.S. should protect its interests and those minorities facing genocide, but otherwise, let the warring parties sort it out, for the time being.

Obama briefly spoke to reporters Thursday about his options in dealing with ISIS, and sounded, at least on the surface, very much like he is doing as just Lopez has recommended, but with one big difference.

The president resisted calls to escalate airstrikes and destroy ISIS, emphasizing the U.S. is currently engaged in only limited efforts to protect American personnel and consulates, as well as providing humanitarian relief and protection of minorities where possible.

In fact, the president even admitted, “We don’t have a strategy yet. … We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans. As our strategy develops, we will consult with Congress.”

Like Lopez, Obama said a broader strategy for the region was needed, but notably, he did not state what the goal should be.

The goal of the global war on terror, or GWOT, launched after Sept. 11, was understood to be the defeat of jihadism both in the Mideast and globally.

Obama articulated no such goal, and has, in fact, declared there no longer is a global war on terror.

That is where Lopez and Obama veer in entirely different directions.

She names the enemy as jihadis and states the goal should be their destruction.

“Above all, we must acknowledge that the enemy is supremacist forces of Islamic jihad,” Lopez told WND. “We must name, acknowledge, confront the enemy as he is – not as we wish him to be.”

She scoffed at the notion that what others call radical Islam was a “defeated ideology.”

“Oh? What ideology is that? The 1,400-year-old one that’s already made mincemeat out of six or seven major world empires? That one?”

In her previous interview with WND, Lopez explained what she thought was Obama’s real goal: Far from seeking the defeat of jihadism in the Mideast or globally, Obama preferred to let Sunni and Shiite jihadists each have their own spheres of influence in the Muslim world and America should withdraw its troops and influence from the region.

However, the ISIS crisis has caused Obama to re-engage militarily in Iraq, ordering airstrikes even while many commentators clamor for much more.

Ever since the video of the ISIS beheading of American journalist James Foley appeared last week, numerous military experts and political commentators have called upon the administration to wipe out ISIS before it makes good on its threat to attack the U.S. homeland.

Even Obama seemed to take the ISIS threat much more seriously than he did in January when he referred to jihadi factions in Syria as “jayvee teams.”

And, suddenly, an apparent ISIS emergency had set in, with these headlines appearing just over the weekend:

After that barrage, WND asked Lopez if she still believed the U.S. should protect just its interests and endangered minorities, or whether it should try to destroy ISIS (which she referred to as IS).

Lopez held firm, declaring, “It’s remarkable to me how unanimous our intelligence, media, military and political leadership all are about the need to ‘destroy [ISIS].’ It’s like they all were touched at the same moment by some magic wand, woke up to this threat, and fell into lock-step about the solution, without another thought. The epitome of groupthink, in my opinion.”

She did maintain Foley should be avenged, and other captives freed, if at all possible. In fact, she said the captors should be obliterated.

Furthermore, she recommended arming the Kurds and declaring them U.S. partners in the region, who should be supported in their national aspirations.

As for the terrorist army, “If [ISIS] makes one move against our regional partners – Israel, Jordan, the Kurds – we clobber them, then leave. If we determine that [ISIS] is plotting by itself or in conjunction with a nation-state, or other sub-national terror organization like Hezbollah, again – like Iran did with al-Qaida and Hezbollah – we clobber both of them, all of them, then leave. No nation building. They pick up the pieces, not us.”

But unless ISIS further threatens the interests of the U.S. or its allies, Lopez believes the U.S. should proceed only with extreme caution.

“I don’t think the USA should act as cats’ paw for either side of an intra-Islamic sectarian squabble, which has at least a 50-50 chance of winding up a pan-Islamic alliance against us, even as Iran and al-Qaida remain joined in an operational terrorist alliance that began in 1990, brought us Sept. 11, and continues to this day. No one is talking about Iran and its role, whatever it is, regarding [ISIS]. That concerns me.”

Other than protecting American interests and minorities, she recommended something Obama said on Thursday he would look into, inviting regional powers that feel threatened by ISIS to form a plan and deal with it. Lopez dryly noted, “We’ve already sold them enough advanced weaponry to take over the entire galaxy.”

One former Pentagon analyst, who wished to remain anonymous, appeared to speak for an emerging consensus in the defense community, when he told WND the ISIS threat needed to be addressed more vigorously, decisively and immediately, “considering that ISIS is now a full-blown army encompassing territory the size of Great Britain.”

“We, along with the regional powers, need to come up with a strategy to defeat them,” the analyst advised, echoing Lopez.

However, the analyst added, “In effect, we will have to go into full-blown warfare mode to do so, because they’re coming and nothing seems to be stopping them.”

The former Pentagon analyst then went a step further than many other commentators in suggesting, “the U.S. and allies may have to begin working with Syria and Iran to defeat a common threat. It isn’t the Shiites of Iran launching these jihadist groups. It’s the Sunnis under the control and financing of Saudi Arabia and a number of the other Gulf Arab states.”

Lopez disagreed on two fronts. She cited the danger in partnering with Iran, and she urged caution in implementing a short-term plan of confronting ISIS before developing a coherent long-term strategy for the Mideast and to defeat jihadism.

“I remain concerned that we not tip the balance in favor of either side in this essentially intra-Islamic sectarian fight between Shiites and Sunnis. Both sides are jihadist enemies of the U.S., our friends, allies and security interests,” said the former CIA operative.

She noted, at the moment, IS is occupied with taking and holding territory in what used to be Iraq and Syria, while establishing administration and governance (including enforcement of Shariah) in that territory.

Lopez pointed out how ISIS is also fighting at least six adversaries on multiple fronts at the same time: against the Iraqi and Syrian governments; al-Qaida militias in Syria, non-al-Qaida militias in Syria; the U.S. and U.K. airstrikes; the Kurds; and maybe the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or Qods Force, too.

And, she previously told WND, while countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey may have initially instigated and bankrolled ISIS, those regimes and others, such as Iran and Qatar, “play all sides of the jihadi game” and have “enabled a monster in ISIS” they can no longer control, and “they should be allowed to reap what they’ve sown.”

Furthermore, she maintained, U.S. leadership has proven incapable of sorting out who’s who or who’s backing whom.

“Right now, I think the most serious threat to the homeland comes from individual or small groups of individual jihadis carrying U.S. or other Western passports, who return home or can easily cross borders, including our own collapsed southern border, and mount attacks in the West, including America.”

Lopez said she would like to see more consideration given to exactly who and what ISIS is, where it came from and what it represents. She wants to know if it is the leading edge, “the current violent vanguard,” of what she called the 1,400-year-old supremacist forces of Islamic jihad.

“In many ways, al-Qaida prepared the ground for the Islamic State. Al-Qaida, which means, ‘the base,’ did its job, which was to awaken the Muslim masses, to prod the ummah to action against the infidel after a long hiatus. It spawned off-shoot franchises across the globe, not to mention in the virtual spaces of the Internet. It did its job and may now be superseded by [ISIS]. We shall see about that.”

She described how Sept. 11 accomplished its mission of drawing the leader of the free world, “the greatest obstacle to establishment of a universal Caliphate,” into devastating and costly wars in Muslim lands.

Lopez said the steady infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into positions of advice and appointment at top levels of U.S. national security ensured maximum confusion about whom Americans were fighting, why, “and even whether we Americans have anything worth defending in the first place.”

Now, she sees the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, a 57-member head of state organization of all Muslim states in the world plus Palestinians, as “sitting by idly as [ISIS] gobbles up its member states’ territory and threatens the borders of others.”

Lopez said Shiite Iran responded to some verbal threats and barbs by sends some Qods Force advisers to “prop up” what she called its Baghdad proxy, and to protect the Shiite shrines from ISIS attack, but not much else.

“Everybody waits for the U.S. to stumble into the scene once again like some deus ex machine, so the whole charade can begin all over again. American blood and treasure spent, amidst clamor for infidels to exit Muslim lands, boiling Muslim rage about the imperative to strike ‘the far enemy’ again, hit the kuffar (non-Muslim) in his homeland, even while the Caliphate consolidates its rule, begins to govern as the Islamic State it claims to be, and, all the while, the wealthy-beyond-imagination sheikhdoms supposedly most threatened by this ‘un-Islamic’ horde – and the emerging Shi’ite hegemon of the Persian Gulf – respond lackadaisically, if at all. What is wrong with this picture?”

Lopez told WND she was concerned that nobody in American leadership really sees or understands the big picture, and the U.S. seems to be manipulated to fulfill objectives not in its best interests.

“From my perspective, I’m seeing American national security interests steadily eroded, almost everywhere we look, and the forces of adversaries and enemies advancing. But, of course, to see this, it’s necessary first to know who we are as a people, what are our ‘first things’?”

She wondered whether Americans were still willing to fight and die for such principles as independence, individual liberty, Bill of Rights freedoms, consent of the governed under rule of man-made law, noting, “At the very least, we are badly off the track envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

“Our current national policy doesn’t even seem to consider ‘first things,’ or know what they are, when formulating and implementing recent foreign policy.”

She cited such examples as providing guns to al-Qaida in Libya, backing jihadist rebels in Syria, and what she described as enabling the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions while ignoring the Iranian people’s desperate struggle for liberty.

Lopez argued, before U.S. leaders could deduce the right course of action on the other side of the world, first they must figure out the right things to do at home.

She asked, “When do we go back to fighting for ‘first things’ again?”

Voir aussi:

Obama Renames Mount McKinley ‘Denali’
Breitbart
Ben Shapiro

31 Aug 2015

On Sunday, President Obama’s administration announced that he would, by executive order, change the name of Mount McKinley to Mount Denali.
He did not explain the decision, which frustrated Ohio legislators upset at the slap at President William McKinley’s legacy; he is expected to speak on the topic today in Anchorage.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) thanked Obama, however, stating, “For centuries, Alaskans have known this majestic mountain as the ‘Great One.’ Today we are honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as Denali.”

Why did Obama choose to change the name now? Presumably because Obama has now solved all the world’s problems, and decided against his second choice, Mt. Trayvon. But more seriously, Obama likely opposes the legacy of President McKinley, given that McKinley led America to victory in the Spanish-American War and rejected inflation by sticking with the gold standard. By the end of McKinley’s tenure, the United States had taken military control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and annexed Hawaii.

Assassinated in 1901, McKinley, who presided over an economic boom and massive growth in American power, once stated, “We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is manifest destiny.” Regarding the Spanish-American War, McKinley explained that Cuba “ought to be free and independent.” Obama would have opposed both moves.

As Obama stated in Dreams From My Father, he spent his college years discussing “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism.” And President Obama has obviously attempted to undo many of McKinley’s accomplishments. In kowtowing to the Castros in Cuba, Obama has ensured that America’s Spanish-American War victory ends with perpetual communism in a country America once granted its freedom; in 2014, the Obama Department of the Interior sought to give Hawaiians the same status as Native Americans, forcing separate governance for them based on ethnicity.

The only question now: when will President Obama change the name of the American Southwest to Aztlan?

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014).

Voir enfin:

Obama renomme le mont McKinley, les Républicains enragent

BFM TV

31/08/2015

Alors que doit débuter une conférence sur le climat  en Alaska, le président américain Barack Obama a décidé de renommer le plus haut sommet américain. Une décision qui fait débat.
Renommer une montagne ne se fait pas sans heurts. Barack Obama, qui doit se rendre à Anchorage (Alaska) aujourd’hui devrait en profiter pour annoncer le changement de nom du plus haut sommet des Etats-Unis.

Exit le président républicain
Culminant à 6.194 mètres d’altitude, le Mont McKinley, du nom du 25è Président des Etats-Unis, devrait donc désormais s’appeler le Mont Denali. Un mot athapascan utilisés par de nombreux dialectes indigènes qui signifie « le plus grand ». Une manière pour Barack Obama de rendre hommage aux peuples natifs américains avec lesquels les relations ont toujours été tendues.

Citée par le Washington Post, Julie Kitka, présidente de la Fédérations des Natifs d’Alaska, a salué l’initiative, estimant que « c’était un symbole » et que « toutes les cartes et les livres parleraient du Denali, ce qui est une chose magnifique ».

Une décision qui ne fait pas que des heureux
Problème: cette montagne portait le nom d’un président… républicain. William McKinley (29 janvier 1848 – 14 septembre 1901) est en effet le 25è président des Etats-Unis, mort assassiné lors de son second mandat.

Courtney Art Studio – Wikicommons –
Les Républicains estiment que le président Obama mène une vendetta politique sans aucun rapport avec la culture native. Sur Twitter, le Sénateur Rob Portman s’est ainsi déclaré « déçu » de la décision d’Obama.

De son côté, le sénateur Bob Gibbs a déclaré que cette décision était « une insulte » et une « attaque contre la Constitution » appelant tous ses collègues à « faire tout ce qui en leur pouvoir pour contrer cette action ».

La nouvelle a en tout cas rapidement fait le tour du monde puisque le moteur de recherche Google a déjà intégré ce nouveau nom à ses cartes, même si pour les recherches, il faudra encore attendre un peu, ce qui cause quelques incohérences dans les résultats.

Publicités

Langues: Excusez mon anglais (No English, please, we’re French: study finds economic development and international engagement go hand-in-hand with English proficiency)

8 février, 2015
https://i0.wp.com/www.bilan.ch/sites/default/files/styles/full__desktop/public/my_tailor.jpg

Une bonne partie de ce que nous observons dans les relations entre la France et les Etats-Unis est le produit d’une structure de relations que l’on doit penser comme la confrontation entre deux impérialismes de l’universel. (…) La France est une sorte d’idéologie réalisée: être français, c’est se sentir en droit d’universaliser son intérêt particulier, cet intérêt particulier qui a pour particularité d’être universel. Et doublement en quelque sorte: universel en matière de politique, avec le modèle pur de la révolution universelle, universel en matière de culture, avec le modèle de chic (de Paris). On comprend que, bien que son monopole de l’universel soit fortement contesté, en particulier par les Etats-Unis, la France reste l’arbitre des élégances en matière de radical chic, comme on dit outre-Atlantique ; elle continue à donner le spectacle des jeux de l’universel, et, en particulier, de cet art de la transgression qui fait les avant-gardes politiques et/ou artistiques, de cette manière (qui se sent inimitable) de se sentir toujours au-delà, et au-delà du delà, de jouer avec virtuosité de tous les registres, difficile à accorder, de l’avant-gardisme politique et de l’avant-gardisme culturel (…) C’est dire que nombre des choses qui s’écrivent ou se disent, à propos de la France ou des USA ou de leurs rapports, sont le produit de l’affrontement entre deux impérialismes, entre un impérialisme en ascension et un impérialisme en déclin, et doivent sans doute beaucoup à des sentiments de revanche ou de ressentiment, sans qu’il soit exclu qu’une partie des réactions que l’on serait porté à classer dans l’antiaméricanisme du ressentiment puissent et doivent être comprises comme des stratégies de résistance légitime à des formes nouvelles d’impérialisme… (…) En fait, on ne peut attendre un progrès vers une culture réellement universelle – c’est-à-dire une culture faite de multiples traditions culturelles unifiées par la reconnaissance qu’elles s’accordent mutuellement – que des luttes entre les impérialismes de l’universel. Ces impérialismes, à travers les hommages plus ou moins hypocrites qu’ils doivent rendre à l’universel pour s’imposer, tendent à le faire avancer et, à tout le moins, à le constituer en recours susceptible d’être invoqué contre les impérialismes mêmes qui s’en réclament. Pierre Bourdieu (1992)
L‘anglais ? Ce n’est jamais que du français mal prononcé. Clémenceau
À la Cour, ainsi que dans les châteaux des grands seigneurs, où la pompe et le cérémonial de la Cour étaient imités, la langue franco-normande était la seule en usage ; dans les tribunaux, les plaidoyers et les arrêts étaient prononcés dans la même langue ; bref, le français était la langue de l’honneur, de la chevalerie et même de la justice ; tandis que l’anglo-saxon, si mâle et si expressif, était abandonné à l’usage des paysans et des serfs, qui n’en savaient pas d’autre. Peu à peu, cependant, la communication obligée qui existait entre les maîtres du sol et les êtres inférieurs et opprimés qui cultivaient ce sol, avait donné lieu à la formation d’un dialecte composé du franco-normand et de l’anglo-saxon, dialecte à l’aide duquel ils pouvaient se faire comprendre les uns des autres, et de cette nécessité se forma graduellement l’édifice de notre langue anglaise moderne, dans laquelle l’idiome des vainqueurs et celui des vaincus se trouvent confondus si heureusement, et qui a été si heureusement enrichie par des emprunts faits aux langues classiques et à celles que parlent les peuples méridionaux de l’Europe. Walter Scott (Ivanhoe, 1820)
We are in France. You speak French. Sébastien Chabal
According to Karlin, English is the key to Proust’s « doubleness », and the grit in the oyster of his French. Snobbery besides, his great subjects included the related one of etymology. He loved the way words are rubbed like old coins, names changing shape, competing and merging with other currencies, and he knew that the Academie’s propaganda about the classical purity de la langue française was simply fishing for compliments (two entries), then as now. That was why Proust was so fond of English, the vigorous bastard of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French, swallower of all known tongues. And this was his view as an outsider, as a Jewish homosexual Dreyfusard bourgeois invalid artist: that English was the global future, more orgiastic than golf itself. Lewis Jones
Un poème écrit par Gérard Nolst Trenite, hollandais connu sous le pseudonyme de Charivarius ( 1870-1946) est une démonstration de toutes les exceptions et irrégularités de la langue anglaise entre l’orthographe et la prononciation . Ce poême est tiré du livre : Drop Your Foreign Accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen (…) Le Chaos représente un exploit de virtuose en composition, un catalogue de mammouth d’Environ 800 des irrégularités les plus les plus célèbres d’orthographe anglaise traditionnelle, habilement versifiée (si avec quelques lignes maladroites) dans des distiques avec l’alternance de rimes féminines et masculines. La sélection d’exemples apparaît maintenant quelque peu désuète, tout comme quelques-unes de leurs prononciations, en effet quelques mots peuvent même être inconnus aux lecteurs d’aujourd’hui (combien à savoir ce qu’ « une studding-voile » est, ou que sa prononciation nautique est « stunsail » ?) . Le poids de la poésie représente un acte d’accusation aussi valable du chaos orthographique en anglais. La créature la plus chère dans création » s’adressant à la première ligne, est comme « Susy  » à la ligne 5. Ce pourrait être une anonyme quoiqu’une version ronéotypée de la poésie appartenant à Harry Cohen soit consacrée « à Mlle Susanne Delacroix, Paris ». Vraisemblablement elle fut l’une des étudiantes de Nolst Trenité. Chris Upward
Les adultes français ont une maîtrise moyenne de l’anglais, mais globalement ils n’ont pas fait de progrès au cours des 7 dernières années. Dans le 1er rapport EF EPI, la France était en ligne avec le niveau moyen d’anglais en Europe mais, alors que la plupart des pays ont fait des progrès sensibles, la France a stagné. Le niveau d’anglais à Paris est le plus élevé du pays mais reste inférieur à celui de la plupart des capitales européennes. Comme dans la plupart des pays, en France, les femmes parlent mieux anglais que les hommes. En France, le groupe des jeunes adultes est celui qui possède le meilleur niveau. Education First
“There are some countries that are still not giving the basic message that English is a necessary skill,” said Kate Bell, a researcher with EF, in Paris. According to Ms. Bell, the level of English proficiency among French adults suffers both from inadequate teaching at high school level and the reality that — despite fears of French culture’s being overwhelmed by American pop culture, very little English is actually used in everyday life. Unlike its smaller northern European neighbors, France dubs most American films and television shows into French. The top English speakers in continental Europe — Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands — all tend to use subtitling. “It’s a vicious-virtuous cycle,” said Ms. Bell: Audiences not used to subtitling tend to shy away from it, which in turn diminishes their capacity to understand English. France’s secondary school system, which has only recently started testing English oral skills as part of the Baccalaureate, is a major reason for poor language skills, she said. Spain, ranked at 23 in the index, has risen in the listing since introducing public English-Spanish bilingual schools. According to EF data, the country has significantly improved its proficiency level since 2007. Eastern European countries are faring much better. Estonia is fourth in the survey, which puts it in the “very high proficiency” bracket, just after the traditional Scandinavian heavyweights. Poland, Hungary and Slovenia — all in the “high proficiency” bracket — are ranked in the top 10, with Hungary showing significant improvement. “English is the de facto language of communication today between people who don’t share a native language,” Ms. Bell. said “Measuring English proficiency is in many ways a proxy measurement of international integration.” (…) Conversely (…) the EF study suggests that weak proficiency in English may correlate with weak integration into the global economy. “The Middle East and North Africa are the weakest regions in English,” the study said, with Iraq ranked 60th, at the bottom of the list. “Poor English remains one of the key competitive weaknesses of Latin America,” it added, with more than half the countries in the region in the lowest proficiency band. NYT
La relation entre les Français et les langues étrangères est ambiguë. Alors qu’ils se trouvent dans la moyenne en ce qui concerne la mobilité géographique vers un autre pays de l’Union européenne, les Français sont remarquablement peu motivés par la mobilité vers un pays étranger dont la langue n’est pas la leur. Autrement dit, ils disent oui à la mobilité européenne, mais non à l’apprentissage des langues étrangères. Ce constat est d’autant plus inquiétant que leur langue recule face à l’anglais et à l’allemand avec l’élargissement de l’Union européenne: parmi les populations des dix nouveaux États-membres, seuls 3% le maîtrisent, contre 12% dans l’ancienne Union européenne à quinze. Si l’apprentissage des langues ne fait pas l’objet d’un débat sérieux, les Français verront leur marché du travail rétrécir dans les années à venir.  Anna Stellinger
En France les gens ne croient pas à la reconversion (…) Un chef de projet ne peut pas plus devenir avocat qu’un mille-pattes se transformer en aigle. L’un exclut l’autre. Bernard (cité par Lauren Zuckerman, Sorbonne confidential, 2007)
C’est la dissertation avec ses exigences incroyablement archaïques qui fait le plus pour écarter de l’enseignement de l’anglais dans les lycées français ceux qui ne disposent pas du capital culturel nécessaire – et en particulier les locuteurs natifs intelligents et expérimentés de l’anglais (…) En théorie, cette épreuve simple et objective permet d’éliminer les critères subjectifs et l’élément humain si souvent accusés d’exclure les étrangers. En réalité, les critères eux-mêmes sont totalement imprégnés de discrimination et sont bien plus efficaces pour éliminer les candidats non-Français de souche que le plus zélé des partisans de la « France aux Français ». Terence Beck (University of Puget Sound, Tacoma)
The present study shows essentially that it is not only the teaching of foreign languages but also the social status given to foreign languages in France which must be challenged. In order to develop a strong foreign language policy within the education system and to integrate it within society at large it will be necessary to conduct a wide ranging reflection. This reflection should not stay within the education system but should also take into account all the political and social implications of the objective that every citizen should have an operational command of at least one foreign language. (…) It would seem that for French teachers of English what comes first for learning a language remains grammatical correctness. This is why the representation given of learning a language is not conducive to communication. Teachers develop a hankering after perfection which hinders pupils. Thus it is necessary, in France, for teachers and for pupils alike, to have a perfect command of grammar in order to pick up the courage to speak, to express oneself. (…) Teachers aim at “perfection” in the message. Gérard Bonnet
De tous les étudiants que nous recevons, les Français sont ceux qui ont le plus d’inhibition, le plus peur du ridicule et le moins d’aisance à se lancer. Or plus on parle, plus on s’améliore. Oxford Intensive School of English (O.I.S.E.)
La France est pénalisée par sa faible exposition à l’anglais. Hormis à Paris et dans les grandes villes, il est par exemple encore compliqué de trouver des films en VO au cinéma. De la pub aux séries télé, tout est traduit. (…) Les pays scandinaves apprennent l’anglais pour peser à l’international et parce que ça leur coûterait trop cher de tout traduire, étant donné leur population limitée en nombre. La France n’a pas ce besoin… Adeline Prévost
Aujourd’hui, même si c’est de plus en plus difficile, on peut encore vivre en France sans jamais entendre de l’anglais. [Pourtant] la situation monolingue de la France est en train de lentement changer. Il y a quinze ans, je ne pouvais pas donner un texte en anglais à lire à des élèves de master. Aujourd’hui, c’est possible. Les jeunes ont l’habitude de regarder des séries américaines en streaming sur Internet. Il faudra du temps mais la prochaine génération sera bien meilleure. Maria Kihlstedt (Université Paris 10)
L’anglais est difficile parce que la graphie et la phonie ne correspondent pas, et parce que la fréquence des sons est différente de celle du français. (…) (…) On n’apprend pas aux enseignants la phonologie et la meilleure manière d’aborder la prononciation de l’anglais. Sans compter la surcharge des classes, qui comptent 35 élèves… (…) [En Espagne]Le gouvernement a décidé que 50% des cours de la moitié des écoles primaires devraient être bilingues, a fait venir des professeurs d’un peu partout, et a même accordé des bourses pour encourager les jeunes à partir à l’étranger pendant deux-trois semaines durant l’été. Adeline Prévost [la France a certes imposé l’enseignement d’une langue étrangère dès le CP] mais elle ne forme pas les professeurs pour ça. Laure Peskine (secrétaire générale de l’Association des professeurs de langue vivante)

Pas d’anglais, s’il vous plait, nous sommes français !

Arrogance culturelle, culture du sans faute, enseignement trop livresque …

En cette 33e édition du salon Expolangues

Alors qu’entre pickpockets, commerçants antipathiques et piètre maîtrise de l’anglais, la première destination touristique du monde continue ses campagnes pour lutter contre une réputation séculaire …

Et qu’hormis la France, la plupart des pays européens voit baisser leur chômage et remonter leur croissance …

Retour sur la publication, en octobre dernier, d’une nouvelle étude d’Education First sur la maîtrise de l’anglais …

Où les Français se voient à nouveau classer au dernier rang de 21 pays européens et, entre l’Indonésie et Taiwan, 29es sur un total de 63 pays testés …

Société
LANGUES «20 Minutes» fait le point sur le niveau d’anglais des Français, alors que le salon Expolangues a lieu à Paris jusqu’à samedi…
Pourquoi les Français are toujours so bad in English
Nicolas Beunaiche
20 Minutes
06.02.2015

«Semble se complaire dans la médiocrité. Peut mieux faire.» Chaque année, le relevé de notes et les appréciations de la France en anglais sont désespérément les mêmes. Dans la dernière étude publiée en octobre, celle d’Education First, les Français se classent ainsi à la 29e place sur 63, et surtout au dernier rang des 21 pays européens testés sur leur maîtrise de l’anglais. Pire encore, ils ne montrent quasiment aucun signe de progrès par rapport aux années précédentes.

Il n’y a pas là qu’une question de génération. Quel que soit l’échantillon étudié, actifs ou étudiants, le résultat est inchangé. «Aujourd’hui, même si c’est de plus en plus difficile, on peut encore vivre en France sans jamais entendre de l’anglais», regrette Maria Kihlstedt, maître de conférences en sciences du langage à Paris 10. «La France est pénalisée par sa faible exposition à l’anglais, confirme Adeline Prévost, qui présentera samedi les résultats de l’étude d’Education First lors du salon Expolangues. Hormis à Paris et dans les grandes villes, il est par exemple encore compliqué de trouver des films en VO au cinéma. De la pub aux séries télé, tout est traduit.»

Les Français et la peur du ridicule

La France tiendrait-elle donc à ce point à sa langue qu’elle serait prête à se tirer une balle dans le pied? Pour certains spécialistes, il faut y voir une question géopolitique. «Les pays scandinaves apprennent l’anglais pour peser à l’international et parce que ça leur coûterait trop cher de tout traduire, étant donné leur population limitée en nombre, analyse Adeline Prévost. La France n’a pas ce besoin…» Pour d’autres, le Français a tout de même l’excuse de la complexité de la langue. «L’anglais est difficile parce que la graphie et la phonie ne correspondent pas, et parce que la fréquence des sons est différente de celle du français», justifie Laure Peskine, secrétaire générale de l’Association des professeurs de langue vivante.

Tous sont en tout cas d’accord sur un point: si les Français ne s’améliorent pas en anglais, c’est d’abord un problème d’enseignement. La France a beau avoir les professeurs d’anglais les plus qualifiés d’Europe, selon Adeline Prévost, la qualité de l’apprentissage laisserait en effet à désirer. «On n’apprend pas aux enseignants la phonologie et la meilleure manière d’aborder la prononciation de l’anglais, estime Laure Peskine. Sans compter la surcharge des classes, qui comptent 35 élèves…» Nombre d’observateurs pointent aussi la culture française du sans-faute. «De tous les étudiants que nous recevons, les Français sont ceux qui ont le plus d’inhibition, le plus peur du ridicule et le moins d’aisance à se lancer. Or plus on parle, plus on s’améliore», explique-t-on à l’organisme de formation Oxford Intensive School of English (O.I.S.E.).
Le pouvoir du streaming

Ces dernières années, la France a vu passer devant elle l’Espagne dans les classements européens. Un pays dont la langue n’est pourtant pas plus proche de l’anglais que le français. «Le gouvernement a décidé que 50% des cours de la moitié des écoles primaires devraient être bilingues, a fait venir des professeurs d’un peu partout, et a même accordé des bourses pour encourager les jeunes à partir à l’étranger pendant deux-trois semaines durant l’été», détaille Adeline Prévost. Et la France? Elle a certes imposé l’enseignement d’une langue étrangère dès le CP, «mais elle ne forme pas les professeurs pour ça», déplore Laure Peskine, qui craint que les enfants acquièrent de mauvais réflexes. Signe de la place que l’Education nationale accorde à l’anglais, le brevet a par ailleurs intégré en 2011 une nouvelle épreuve orale. La langue de Shakespeare? Non, plutôt William Turner, à travers l’histoire des arts.

Il y a donc de quoi être pessimiste. Pourtant, Maria Kihlstedt considère que «la situation monolingue de la France est en train de lentement changer»: «Il y a quinze ans, je ne pouvais pas donner un texte en anglais à lire à des élèves de master. Aujourd’hui, c’est possible.» «Les jeunes ont l’habitude de regarder des séries américaines en streaming sur Internet, poursuit-elle. Il faudra du temps mais la prochaine génération sera bien meilleure.» Croisons les fingers.

Voir aussi:

English Proficiency Falters Among the French
Christopher F. Schuetze
The New York Times

November 10, 2013

MARSEILLE, France — Marseille’s new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations opened in June, part of the city’s celebration of its status as this year’s European Capital of Culture.

Though the museum is European in ambition, many of its exhibits are labeled only in French: English, though firmly established as the global language of business, education and culture, is glaringly absent from most of the signage, though an English-language audio tour is available.

A study released last week suggests that this absence is symbolic of a significant trend. The study, by Education First, an international education company, found that while English proficiency among European adults is generally increasing, proficiency in France is both low and declining.

According to the third EF English Proficiency Index, released last week, France ranked 35th among 60 nations where English is not the main language. The study put the country’s average English language skills in the “low proficiency” bracket, between China and the United Arab Emirates — and last among European nations. It also found that France was one of only two European countries where proficiency had decreased over the past six years. Norway was the other; but there, proficiency remained at such a high level that the change was insignificant.

The rankings are based on the results of 750,000 online assessment tests completed last year — some online, others by English language school applicants.

EF’s English Proficiency Index, based on the test results, compared country scores with the results of a similar study carried out between 2007 and 2009, to identify trends in proficiency levels over the past six years.

“There are some countries that are still not giving the basic message that English is a necessary skill,” said Kate Bell, a researcher with EF, in Paris.

According to Ms. Bell, the level of English proficiency among French adults suffers both from inadequate teaching at high school level and the reality that — despite fears of French culture’s being overwhelmed by American pop culture, very little English is actually used in everyday life.

Unlike its smaller northern European neighbors, France dubs most American films and television shows into French. The top English speakers in continental Europe — Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands — all tend to use subtitling.

“It’s a vicious-virtuous cycle,” said Ms. Bell: Audiences not used to subtitling tend to shy away from it, which in turn diminishes their capacity to understand English.

France’s secondary school system, which has only recently started testing English oral skills as part of the Baccalaureate, is a major reason for poor language skills, she said.

Spain, ranked at 23 in the index, has risen in the listing since introducing public English-Spanish bilingual schools. According to EF data, the country has significantly improved its proficiency level since 2007.

Eastern European countries are faring much better. Estonia is fourth in the survey, which puts it in the “very high proficiency” bracket, just after the traditional Scandinavian heavyweights. Poland, Hungary and Slovenia — all in the “high proficiency” bracket — are ranked in the top 10, with Hungary showing significant improvement.

“English is the de facto language of communication today between people who don’t share a native language,” Ms. Bell. said “Measuring English proficiency is in many ways a proxy measurement of international integration.”

Turkey, though still a “low proficiency” nation, ranked 41st in the index, was the country showing the biggest improvement in the past six years. EF researchers point to Turkey as a perfect example of economic development and international engagement that go hand-in-hand with English proficiency.

Because of its prominence in international business, higher education and politics, the importance of basic proficiency in English can scarcely be overstated. More than just a linguistic skill, adult English proficiency is key to success in the globalized world.

Conversely, the EF study suggests that weak proficiency in English may correlate with weak integration into the global economy.

“The Middle East and North Africa are the weakest regions in English,” the study said, with Iraq ranked 60th, at the bottom of the list.

“Poor English remains one of the key competitive weaknesses of Latin America,” it added, with more than half the countries in the region in the lowest proficiency band.

 Voir également:

International business
Countries with Better English Have Better Economies
Christopher McCormick
November 15, 2013

Billions of people around the globe are desperately trying to learn English—not simply for self-improvement, but as an economic necessity. It’s easy to take for granted being born in a country where people speak the lingua franca of global business, but for people in emerging economies such as China, Russia, and Brazil, where English is not the official language, good English is a critical tool, which people rightly believe will help them tap into new opportunities at home and abroad.

Why should global business leaders care about people learning English in other parts of the world?

Research shows a direct correlation between the English skills of a population and the economic performance of the country. Indicators like gross national income (GNI) and GDP go up. In our latest edition of the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), the largest ranking of English skills by country, we found that in almost every one of the 60 countries and territories surveyed, a rise in English proficiency was connected with a rise in per capita income. And on an individual level, recruiters and HR managers around the world report that job seekers with exceptional English compared to their country’s level earned 30-50% percent higher salaries.

The interaction between English proficiency and gross national income per capita is a virtuous cycle, with improving English skills driving up salaries, which in turn give governments and individuals more money to invest in language training. On a micro level, improved English skills allow individuals to apply for better jobs and raise their standards of living.

This is one explanation for why Northern European countries are always out front in the EF EPI, with Sweden taking the top spot for the last two years. Given their small size and export-driven economies, the leaders of these nations understand that good English is a critical component of their continued economic success.

It’s not just income that improves either. So does the quality of life. We also found a correlation between English proficiency and the Human Development Index, a measure of education, life expectancy, literacy, and standards of living. As you can see in the chart below, there is a cutoff mark for that correlation. Low and very low proficiency countries display variable levels of development. However, no country of moderate or higher proficiency falls below “Very High Human Development” on the HDI.

For business leaders, knowing which countries are investing in and improving in English can give valuable insight into how a country fits into the global marketplace and how that might affect your company’s strategy. Here are just a few of the questions you might consider:

Which countries are aggressively improving their English proficiency in an effort to attract businesses like mine?
Where could poor English hinder the growth of emerging economies?
In which countries should I target my international recruitment efforts?
As we think about expanding globally, where will my existing, native English-speaking employees find it easiest to relocate?
Business leaders who understand which nations are positioning themselves for a smoother entry into the global marketplace will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t.  Your company needs to know how the center of English language aptitude is shifting. Because knowing English is not just a luxury—it’s the sina qua non of global business today.

Christopher McCormick is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at EF Education First and head of the EF Research Network.

Voir encore:

Low English Levels Can Hurt Countries’ Progress
Poor English skills hinder nations’ progress, study says

Charles Anderson

NYT

October 28, 2012

Countries with poor English-language skills also have lower levels of trade, innovation and income, according to a report released last week.

The report ranks 54 countries where English is not a native language, with the top five being Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and Norway. The bottom five were Colombia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Libya.

The results were based on a survey of 1.7 million adults on five continents and released by Education First, an international education company based in Switzerland.

“English is key to innovation and competitiveness,” Michael Lu, senior vice president of Education First, said in the report.

Italy, Spain and Portugal were being held back by the fact that they had some of the poorer English skills in Europe, the report said. In the BRIC grouping, India was ranked the highest, at 14th. It was followed by Russia at 29th, China at 36th and Brazil at 46th.

Women generally scored better than men, and the gender gap was widest in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the report.

SYNTHÈSE
La quatrième édition de l’EF EPI classe 63 pays et territoires en fonction du niveau de compétence en anglais des adultes.
En 2014, la langue anglaise est de plus en plus considérée comme une compétence de base dans une économie mondialisée. Cependant, les différents pays adoptent des approches de l’enseignement de l’anglais bien différentes, avec leurs propres préoccupations, contraintes et solutions. Dans certains cas, un événement international, tel que les Jeux olympiques ou la Coupe du monde, constitue une plate-forme d’initiatives d’apprentissage pour les adultes. Dans d’autres cas, les pressions économiques encouragent les pays à utiliser l’anglais comme catalyseur d’internationalisation et de croissance. Aujourd’hui, tous les pays tentent de déterminer si l’anglais représente une menace pour leur langue nationale, évaluent les moyens de former assez d’enseignants pour créer de nouvelles initiatives dans les salles de classe et s’efforcent autant que possible de mettre en place des outils d’évaluation adéquats.

Alors que la discussion sur l’enseignement de l’anglais fait rage au sein des ministères de l’éducation, des parents investissent dans des programmes périscolaires destinés à élever le niveau d’anglais de leurs enfants, des étudiants diplômés migrent à l’étranger, des professionnels ambitieux passent leurs soirées à étudier en ligne et des entreprises octroient des primes aux candidats maîtrisant correctement l’anglais. Un écart considérable subsiste toujours entre l’apprentissage de la langue anglaise dispensé par la plupart des systèmes scolaires et les attentes des parents, des étudiants et des employeurs.

Dans cette quatrième édition de l’indice de compétence en anglais EF, de nombreuses tendances régionales et démographiques examinées dans les éditions précédentes se confirment. L’élaboration de l’indice international annuel comporte une mise à jour de l’analyse des niveaux d’anglais régionaux et de l’écart des compétences en langue anglaise entre les sexes et les générations. Les dernières données indiquent que :
On assiste globalement à un accroissement des compétences en anglais des adultes, bien que cette augmentation soit loin d’être uniforme dans tous les pays et au sein de toutes les populations.
Les femmes parlent mieux anglais que les hommes dans presque tous les pays sondés. Cet écart de compétences constaté est suffisamment important pour avoir des répercussions sur l’emploi. Pour y remédier, il convient tout d’abord de bien comprendre les causes de la faible maîtrise de l’anglais au sein de la population masculine.

Dans le monde, les adultes en milieu de carrière maîtrisent mieux l’anglais que n’importe quelle autre tranche d’âge. Cette constatation soulève des questions quant à la préparation des jeunes diplômés au marché du travail. Elle démontre également que les adultes peuvent améliorer leurs compétences en-dehors d’un cadre scolaire traditionnel.

Le niveau d’anglais en Europe reste bien plus élevé que dans les autres régions et continue de progresser.

Les pays asiatiques présentent un large éventail de niveaux de compétences, d’élevé à très faible, avec à la fois des progrès spectaculaires et une stagnation persistante.

Dans presque tous les pays d’Amérique latine, du Moyen-Orient et d’Afrique du Nord, la maîtrise de l’anglais est faible, voire très faible. Bien que l’on assiste à une amélioration dans quelques pays de ces régions, ce n’est pas le cas pour la plupart.

Il existe des corrélations solides entre la maîtrise de l’anglais et les revenus, la qualité de vie, l’activité commerciale, l’utilisation d’internet et la durée des études. Ces corrélations sont remarquablement stables au fil du temps.

L’ANGLAIS FACILITE LES AFFAIRES
Un meilleur niveau d’anglais facilite les affaires. Partout dans le monde les entreprises traitent de plus en plus d’affaires en anglais. Celles qui ne le font pas risquent de rester en marge derrière leurs concurrents.

ACTIVITÉ COMMERCIALE EN ANGLAIS
La banque mondiale et l’indice Ease of Doing Business de l’International Finance Corporation classent les environnements réglementaires des économies dans le monde en fonction de leur propension à mettre en place et à exploiter une relation professionnelle. L’indice comporte dix sous-indices, parmi lesquels : la facilité à créer une entreprise, l’exercice d’une activité commerciale transfrontalière, l’exécution des contrats et la résolution de l’insolvabilité. Une très bonne maîtrise de l’anglais facilite également les relations commerciales.

Dans les pays où l’anglais n’est pas une langue officielle, sa bonne maîtrise facilite la mise en place d’une activité commerciale. Aujourd’hui dans le monde, l’anglais est de plus en plus utilisé pour les activités professionnelles des entreprises. Un nombre croissant d’entreprises (p. ex., Rakuten, Nokia, Samsung et Renault) adoptent l’anglais en tant que langue d’entreprise. Celles qui refusent de le faire risquent de se trouver à la traîne par rapport à leurs concurrents.

INVESTIR DANS UNE MAIN D’ŒUVRE MAÎTRISANT L’ANGLAIS
Dans un environnement toujours plus international, les entreprises se tournent vers les marchés mondiaux à la recherche de revenus, d’efficacités opérationnelles et de partenariats stratégiques. La capacité à communiquer et à comprendre les cultures étrangères contribue à la réussite de l’expansion des entreprises à l’étranger. Aujourd’hui, l’anglais est devenu le moyen de communication international le plus courant. Plusieurs raisons expliquent pourquoi la maîtrise de la langue anglaise mène à une compétitivité internationale accrue pour une entreprise.

UNE EXPANSION RÉUSSIE À L’ÉTRANGER
La mondialisation pousse un nombre croissant d’entreprises à s’étendre au-delà de leurs frontières et à internationaliser leur manière de faire des affaires. Une enquête de JPMorgan Chase a révélé que 61 % des entreprises du marché intermédiaire ont été très actives sur les marchés internationaux en 2013, jusqu’à 58 % en 2012 et 43 % en 2011. La communication entre les entreprises et leurs clients, collègues, fournisseurs et partenaires en-dehors du marché national est de plus en plus courante. Les entreprises qui prospèrent dans de telles conditions sont celles dont les employés possèdent les compétences et la formation leur permettant de communiquer efficacement au-delà des frontières.

LA MINIMISATION DES PERTES LIÉES AUX PROBLÈMES DE COMMUNICATION
Selon un sondage de l’Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), près de la moitié des 572 cadres de sociétés multinationales dans le monde a reconnu que des problèmes de communication ont entravé de grands accords internationaux et ont entraîné par là même des pertes importantes pour leurs entreprises. Ce pourcentage est bien plus élevé pour les cadres des entreprises brésiliennes et chinoises : respectivement 74% et 61% d’entre eux ont reconnu avoir subi de telles pertes.

La conclusion est claire : la langue et les différences culturelles sont des obstacles au succès professionnel. D’après cette étude de l’EIU, 64 % des chefs d’entreprise ont déclaré que les différences linguistiques et culturelles rendent difficile l’implantation de leur entreprise sur les marchés étrangers et que les différences culturelles ont nui à leurs objectifs d’expansion internationale. En outre, 70 % ont déclaré rencontrer parfois des difficultés lors des communications avec les actionnaires.

DE MEILLEURS RÉSULTATS
Presque 90 % des cadres interrogés par l’EIU ont déclaré qu’une amélioration de la communication transfrontalière dans leur entreprise permettrait d’augmenter de manière significative à la fois leurs revenus, leurs bénéfices et leur part de marché, avec de meilleures opportunités d’expansion et moins de pertes relatives aux débouchés commerciaux. Selon une autre étude, menée par Illuminas en 2014, une augmentation des ventes a été constatée pour 79 % des décideurs d’entreprises mondiales ayant investi dans la formation en anglais de leur personnel. Parmi les autres avantages commerciaux, on dénombre une meilleure communication entre les salariés, une productivité plus intense de l’effectif et une plus grande satisfaction de la clientèle.

ANGLAIS ET COMPÉTITIVITÉ ÉCONOMIQUE
Dès la première édition de l’EF EPI sont apparues de solides corrélations entre les niveaux de compétence en anglais d’un pays et un certain nombre
d’indicateurs économiques et sociaux.Historiquement, le fait de parler une seconde langue, ou, plus précisément, de parler une seconde langue d’importance notable, a toujours été le marqueur d’une élite sociale et économique. L’Empire britannique et l’expansion économique des États-Unis ont permis d’étendre l’influence de l’anglais. Aujourd’hui, dans de nombreux pays, l’anglais a remplacé le rôle joué autrefois par le français en tant que marqueur de la classe aristocratique instruite. Cependant, la mondialisation, l’urbanisation et Internet ont radicalement changé le rôle de l’anglais ces 20 dernières années. Aujourd’hui, la maîtrise de l’anglais est de moins en moins associée à une élite et n’est plus, comme autrefois, liée aux États-Unis ou au Royaume-Uni. L’anglais devient progressivement une compétence de base nécessaire pour l’ensemble d’une main d’œuvre, tout comme l’alphabétisation est passée, au cours des deux derniers siècles, de privilège d’élite à pré requis de base d’une population éclairée.

UNE BONNE MAÎTRISE DE L’ANGLAIS EST SYNONYME DE REVENUS PLUS ÉLEVÉS
L’anglais est un élément essentiel dans la détermination de l’accès à l’emploi. En Inde par exemple, les employés parlant couramment l’anglais gagnent en moyenne un salaire horaire plus élevé de 34 % par rapport à ceux ne le parlant pas ; même les salariés ayant des connaissances rudimentaires en anglais ont un salaire plus élevé de 13 % par rapport à ceux n’ayant aucune connaissance de cette langue.

L’interaction entre la maîtrise de l’anglais et le revenu national brut par habitant sous-entend l’existence d’un cercle vertueux, par lequel l’amélioration de la langue anglaise fait augmenter les salaires, ce qui permet aux gouvernements et aux individus d’investir plus d’argent dans la formation en anglais. Pour l’anecdote, cette relation s’applique également à l’échelle micro-économique : une bonne maîtrise de la langue anglaise permet aux individus d’obtenir de meilleurs emplois et d’améliorer leur niveau de vie.

Voir par ailleurs:

Le chômage baisse dans la plupart des pays européens… mais pas en France
Marie Bartnik
Le Figaro
05/01/2015

Le nombre de chômeurs a baissé en Espagne en 2014, pour la deuxième année consécutive. Une baisse du chômage est également observée au Royaume-Uni, en Irlande ou en Grèce… Mais pas en France, en Italie et en Finlande.

En Europe, la France fait désormais figure de triste exception. Alors que l’Hexagone a recensé 27.400 chômeurs supplémentaires en novembre et 181.000 depuis le début de l’année, la plupart de ses voisins peuvent se targuer d’avoir inversé la fameuse «courbe du chômage». Avec 253.000 chômeurs de moins en 2014, l’Espagne fait figure, elle, de bonne élève. Mais ces derniers mois, l’Allemagne, l’Irlande, la Grèce, les pays baltes, les Pays-Bas, la Pologne ou encore le Royaume-Uni ont tous enregistré une baisse de leur taux de chômage, selon Eurostat. Et si le taux de chômage portugais est légèrement remonté en octobre et en novembre, il s’établit à 13,9%, contre plus de 15% l’anée dernière. Une spirale positive dont ne bénéficie pas la France, l’Italie ou encore la Finlande.

En cause, dans ces pays, une croissance atone qui peine à créer de l’emploi. Alors que le PIB français, au deuxième trimestre, a stagné sur un an, celui de l’Irlande a progressé, sur la même période, de 6,5%, celui du Royaume-Uni de 3,2%, celui de l’Espagne de 1,2% et celui du Portugal de 0,9%. «Dans les pays anglo-saxons, les principaux freins pesant sur la demande semblent à présent levés», note l’Insee dans sa dernière note de conjoncture. Le reste de la zone euro reste pénalisé par une demande intérieure en berne. Mais la France, l’Italie et la Finlande réalisent des performances particulièrement négatives (respectivement 0%, -0,4% et -0,1%). Difficile, dans ces conditions, de faire baisser le chômage de part et d’autres des Alpes.

Contrats zéro heures
Les pays du Sud de l’Europe – la Grèce, l’Espagne et le Portugal- engrangent aussi le fruit des réformes engagées pendant la crise. Pris dans la tourmente financière ces dernières années, ils ont renforcé la compétitivité de leurs économies. L’Espagne a par exemple réformé son marché du travail, facilitant les licenciements comme les baisses de salaires. Pour créer des emplois, une croissance moins forte qu’avant la crise y est aujourd’hui nécessaire. La piste de la modération salariale a également été empruntée par Lisbonne. Quant à la Grèce, elle retrouve le chemin de la croissance après plusieurs années de réformes drastiques et douloureuses. Le taux de chômage n’en reste pas moins extrêmement élevé.

Dans plusieurs pays européens, la baisse du chômage ne va d’ailleurs pas sans contreparties. Au Royaume-Uni, où il ne dépasse pas 6%, les contrats de travail ultra-flexibles, comme les contrats «zéro heure» (le salarié peut être convoqué à la dernière minute) se sont développés, et avec eux le nombre de travailleurs pauvres en situation précaire. «En Espagne, outre la baisse des salaires, les contrats de travail à temps temporaires et à temps partiel ont progressé. Mais avec un taux de chômage qui culmine encore à près d’un quart de la population active, difficile pour les Espagnols de refuser une opportunité de travailler…

Les 10 commandements de l’apprentissage des langues
Le Café du FLE

Kató Lomb (née à Pécs le 8 février 1909 et morte à Budapest le 9 juin 2003) était une traductrice, linguiste et interprète hongroise.
Elle a appris 17 langues (!) tout au long de sa vie.
Comme elle était plutôt expérimentée dans ce domaine, elle nous a laissé les 10 commandements de l’apprentissage d’une langue étrangère. Vous êtes prêts ? C’est parti !

I – Pratique tous les jours
Pas le temps ? Mais si, voyons.
Il suffit par exemple de se lever un tout petit peu plus tôt tous les jours et de se lancer dans un monologue de 10 minutes.
II – Si ton enthousiasme fléchit, ne force pas, n’abandonne pas tout mais bascule.
Ex : Tu apprends le français et n’en peux plus de cet article et de chercher dans le dictionnaire. Fais une pause en écoutant une chanson francophone que tu apprécies.
III – N’apprends pas de mots isolés. Ne les laisse jamais seuls.
Il vaut mieux apprendre directement des groupes de mots ou des phrases.
IV – Note des éléments de phrases dans la marge des textes que tu lis.
Ils formeront autant d’éléments complets à réutiliser lors des prises de paroles ou lors d’une rédaction.
V – Lorsque tu es fatigué(e), utilise le divertissement pour continuer d’avancer
On peut toujours être en train de pratiquer linguistiquement : par exemple, traduire une publicité dans le bus.
VI – Mémorise seulement le contenu qui a été corrigé par un enseignant.
VII – Mémorise les expressions idiomatiques à la première personne du singulier.
Cette habitude a deux avantages : ne pas tergiverser dans la prise de notes et rendre facilement utilisable l’expression pour plus tard.
VIII – Sois convaincu(e) que tu es fort(e) en langue ! Quand ça ne marche pas, c’est que les connaissances sont en train de se construire, de faire leur chemin, de se mettre en place !
IX – Ne crains pas les erreurs, parle. Parle en demandant à ton interlocuteur de te corriger. Dis-lui que tu apprécies le fait d’être corrigé(e), que tu ne seras pas vexé(e).
X – Une langue étrangère est un château. Il faut l’attaquer de toutes parts, et avec toutes les armes : la radio, les conversations, les manuels, le ciné, le journal, la télé, la radio !

Voir encore:

Gestuelle de l’enseignant : « Le geste permet d’accéder au sens et renforce la mémorisation lexicale ». Entretien avec Marion Tellier
Café du FLE

Bonjour Marion, pourriez-vous nous présenter votre parcours ?

Bonjour. J’ai commencé par faire des études d’anglais. Après une maîtrise de littérature britannique, j’ai fait une maîtrise FLE car je voulais enseigner les langues. Après cela, j’ai poursuivi en DEA (l’ancien équivalent du Master 2 recherche) où j’ai commencé à travailler sur la gestuelle des enseignants de langue. Ce sujet m’a passionnée et comme il y avait peu de travaux sur le sujet, j’ai poursuivi avec un doctorat de linguistique, obtenu en 2006. J’ai ensuite été recrutée comme maître de conférences en didactique des langues à Aix Marseille Université où j’enseigne la didactique et les études de la gestuelle. Je suis également membre du Laboratoire Parole et Langage du CNRS.

Pourquoi vous êtes-vous intéressée à la gestuelle ?

J’étais enseignante de FLE et d’anglais et je voyais bien que le geste était une technique pédagogique très pertinente notamment pour l’accès au sens et pour la mémorisation lexicale. Cependant, quand j’ai cherché des informations sur le sujet, j’ai constaté qu’il y avait très peu d’études. Dans les ouvrages pédagogiques ou dans les instructions officielles, on conseille souvent aux enseignants de « faire des gestes » mais personne n’explique comment ni pourquoi. Et surtout aucune étude n’avait cherché à montrer si c’était efficace. Alors, j’ai essayé de le faire.

Pour illustrer cet entretien, auriez-vous 3 techniques à essayer en classe pour les enseignants qui nous lisent ?

Il faut déjà expliquer de quoi il est question lorsque l’on parle de gestes pédagogiques. Il s’agit de la façon dont un enseignant utilise son corps pour faire passer du sens en langue étrangère. Au lieu de traduire ce qu’il dit dans la langue première des apprenants, il utilise son corps pour véhiculer du sens. Par exemple pour expliquer « conduire », je vais mimer le fait de tenir un volant, pour dire « travaillez par groupes de 3 », je vais faire un geste de rassemblement et indiquer le chiffre 3. Ou encore, pour féliciter un apprenant qui a bien répondu, je vais sourire et acquiescer, peut-être même applaudir. On peut donc utiliser les mains, les postures, la tête, le visage, etc.

La première chose à savoir, c’est que pour que la gestuelle soit efficace, elle doit être visible. L’enseignant est comme un acteur sur une scène de théâtre, il doit être vu et entendu de tous. Donc, de la même façon que l’on projette sa voix pour être entendu, on doit produire une gestuelle ample et dans le champ de vision des apprenants pour être vu. Il faut aussi éviter de parler en se tournant vers le tableau, de restreindre ses gestes, par exemple en tenant des feuilles de papier ou un livre des deux mains.

La deuxième chose est importante notamment lorsque l’on enseigne à des apprenants qui n’appartiennent pas à notre culture (par exemple lorsque l’on est un enseignant de FLE natif). Il faut savoir que certains gestes (pas tous, attention) sont marqués culturellement et s’ils ont une signification pour nous, ils n’en ont pas forcément pour les membres d’une autre culture. On appelle ces gestes des « emblèmes », ils ont une forme fixe et chaque culture en possède un répertoire d’environ 200, ils sont un peu comme des expressions idiomatiques gestuelles. Des gestes typiquement français que l’on peut citer en exemple sont ceux qui vont avec les expressions : « être bourré », « passer sous le nez », « c’est rasoir », « mon œil », etc. Il peut aussi arriver que le même geste existe dans deux cultures avec deux sens différents et là, bonjour les situations d’incompréhension !!! Voici quelques exemples que des enseignants de FLE m’ont rapportés : « En fait, ce sont mes élèves qui ont été choqués quand j’ai utilisé le geste « Dépêchez-vous ! « . Au Mexique, cela fait plutôt penser à une invitation à des relations intimes. » / « Dans un cours de langue, une étudiante indienne me faisait un signe de tête qui à mon sens signifiait « non » à chaque fois que je demandais si elle avait compris. J’ai réexpliqué trois fois avant de lui demander ce qu’elle ne comprenait pas (car ce n’était pas difficile) et elle s’est exclamée : ‘Mais ça fait trois fois que je vous dis que j’ai compris !’ »

Comme on peut le voir dans ces deux exemples, le même geste a des significations différentes entre les cultures, ce genre de quiproquo peut être une très bonne occasion d’aborder le sujet des emblèmes comme contenu de cours (notamment dans une perspective interculturelle).

Troisième chose, et là je reviens sur le geste pédagogique du type « mime », il faut savoir que le geste peut avoir un impact sur la mémorisation du lexique ou de la prononciation. Lorsque vous faîtes des gestes pour expliquer un mot ou pour montrer un contour prosodique, vos apprenants visuels et kinesthésiques (c’est-à-dire la majorité de vos apprenants) en bénéficient grandement. Plusieurs études et notamment une que j’ai faite avec des enfants, montrent que le fait de reproduire un geste en répétant un mot renforce la mémorisation lexicale. Ainsi, si on fait répéter le mot « livre » en mimant l’ouverture et la fermeture d’un livre avec les mains jointes, la mémorisation en sera renforcée. Bien sûr, ça marche surtout pour les mots concrets.
Comment peut-on en savoir plus sur ce thème et sur vos travaux ?

J’ai un blog « Sur le bout des doigts » où j’annonce les conférences et formations que je donne ainsi que mes publications.

Et surtout ma page professionnelle où tous mes articles sont en ligne gratuitement.

Et voici un ouvrage sur le corps et la voix de l’enseignant écrit avec Lucile Cadet  !

Merci Marion et à bientôt !

Merci à vous !


Cinéma: On ne peut calculer le nombre de vies sauvées (As the American left lashes out at the most lethal sniper in US history with 160 confirmed kills)

26 janvier, 2015
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18:31 – Bon boulot – Dominique, quinquagénaire, a applaudi « un tireur d’élite » quand elle l’a vu « perché sur un toit »: « on est contents qu’ils soient là pour protéger le bas peuple pendant la manif ». « Les gens ont une mauvaise opinion de la police en général, mais ils bossent dans des conditions difficiles, et quand il s’agit de sauver des êtres humains, ils font bien leur boulot », renchérit Joël, 64 ans, qui tenait « absolument » à les applaudir. Annick, elle, souligne « leur dévouement et ce qu’ils ont perdu comme vies aussi, et leurs blessés ». « Pour une fois qu’on les remercie… » Le Nouvel obs
Malgré la violence la plus crue, les explosions sanglantes et, littéralement, la boucherie humaine qui y est montrée, The Hurt locker est l’un des plus efficaces films de recrutement pour l’Armée américaine que j’ai jamais vu. Tara McKelvey (American prospect)
Mon oncle a été tué par un sniper pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. On nous apprenait que les snipers étaient des lâches. Qu’ils vous tiraient dans le dos. Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont pires. Michael Moore
Je viens de voir American sniper. C’est un film puissant, le pendant de Coming Home (film sur la vie d’un prisonnier politique chinois après sa libération, ndlr). Bradley Cooper est sensationnel. Bravo Clint Eastwood. Jane Fonda
Quelle fin tragiquement ironique pour ce tireur d’élite qui a survécu à quatre déploiements en Irak. J’étais contre l’intervention américaine là-bas mais c’est une toile de fond intéressante pour y situer une histoire. J’ai déjà réalisé des films ayant la guerre comme sujet, mais pas comme celui-là, sur un conflit aussi controversé et montré ici sous un autre jour. À travers le regard de ce tireur d’élite, engagé volontaire, patriote invétéré rongé par le regret de n’avoir pu sauver plusieurs de ses frères d’armes, et dont le retour à la vie civile n’a pas été facile. Quand on tue autant de gens, même si on est entraîné pour et qu’on finit par être insensibilisé, ça doit forcément laisser des séquelles. Ça n’a pas été un film facile à faire, sans doute l’un des plus ardus de ma carrière. Le scénario était très complexe, avec plein de ramifications… Clint Eastwood
Les Irakiens, Chris Kyle ne les aime pas. Doux euphémisme. À ses yeux, ce sont tous «des sauvages» qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot. Ses deux premières victimes furent une mère et son fils, justement. La première s’avançait vers un check point de marines, bardée d’une ceinture d’explosifs. Elle venait de confier une grenade à son rejeton. Chris Kyle dut abattre les deux, contraint et forcé, après avoir reçu le feu vert de ses supérieurs. Ce furent ses deux tirs les plus difficiles. «Après, confie-t-il, tuer des gens n’est pas très compliqué», surtout quand, selon lui, «ils incarnent le Mal», puisqu’ils veulent abattre des soldats américains. Le politiquement correct n’est pas le style de Kyle. Il avoue «aimer la guerre» et regrette seulement de «ne pas avoir abattu plus de salopards». En quatre séjours en Irak, il a bâti sa légende sur des tirs mémorables. À Sadr City (Bagdad) en 2008, juché sur un toit, Chris aperçoit un homme armé d’un RPG (lance-roquettes). À près de deux kilomètres de distance, le sniper fait mouche et atteint une notoriété quasi instantanée parmi ses pairs. «Dieu a soufflé sur cette balle et l’a touché», sourit le Texan, qui revendique fièrement sa culture chrétienne. Sur le haut du bras gauche, en dessous de l’épaule, à côté du trident des Seals, il a fait tatouer une énorme croix de templier rouge vif, qu’il dévoile volontiers. Élevé dans l’amour de Dieu, de la patrie et de la famille, Kyle assume: «Là-bas, je voulais que tout le monde sache que je suis chrétien, et que je suis un féroce guerrier de Dieu.» La foi chevillée au corps, il pense qu’il devra «peut-être patienter un peu plus longtemps que les autres en salle d’attente au purgatoire», mais garde la conscience tranquille. Ses «exploits», il a fini par les relater dans un livre*, qui caracole depuis trois mois en tête des ventes: 419 000 exemplaires déjà vendus. Devenu une légende vivante au sein de l’armée, Chris Kyle passe pour avoir sauvé des centaines de vies, armé de son seul fusil à lunette. L’usure nerveuse finit cependant par le rattraper lors de son quatrième déploiement en Irak. Il cède alors aux pressions de sa femme Taya, qui ne supporte plus ses absences prolongées. Un ultime coup de chance lors d’une fusillade dans Sadr City, dont il réchappe miraculeusement, lui font réaliser qu’il n’est «tout compte fait pas invincible», malgré ce fidèle «ange gardien» qui a longtemps veillé sur lui. Dans la foulée, il quitte l’armée pour «se consacrer enfin à sa famille». Mais il n’en a pas fini avec une notoriété grandissante. De retour au pays, des inconnus viennent le remercier pour leur avoir «sauvé la peau» tel jour à Faloudja. D’autres anonymes paient discrètement la facture lorsqu’il dîne au restaurant avec Taya. De partout, les sollicitations affluent. La Navy et la Garde nationale du Texas n’ont pas renoncé à le convaincre de rempiler. Les édiles locaux font des pieds et des mains pour qu’il s’engage en politique. Mais Chris Kyle n’a guère plus d’estime pour les hommes politiques que pour les insurgés irakiens. «Républicains comme démocrates, ce sont tous des escrocs», affirme-t-il sur un ton péremptoire. À défaut de carrière publique, c’est le monde du cinéma qui le courtise. Un scénario circule depuis quelque temps à Hollywood. Mais Kyle a posé ses conditions: il mettra son veto à tout acteur qui lui déplairait pour incarner son rôle. «Je ne veux pas d’un acteur comme Matt Damon et tous ces types qui ont exprimé leur opposition à la guerre en Irak», confesse ce grand nostalgique, qui préfère nettement Chuck Norris ou… Ronald Reagan. Le Figaro (09.04.12)
The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation. I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. More than half the time, the snipers didn’t need to shoot; over-watch and guidance to the ground troops was enough. But when called upon, snipers like Chris Kyle engaged enemy combatants and “cleared the path” for exposed troops to move effectively and safely in their arduous ground missions. These small sniper teams pulled the trigger at their own risk. If their position was discovered, they had little backup or support. Rorke Denver
The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for. But you can’t calculate that. Chris Kyle
At this point I’d never killed anyone, so it definitely made me pause. But also the fact that it’s not a man — it was difficult. So we tried to radio the Marines to let them handle it. I didn’t want to have to be the one who had to take the woman’s life. We couldn’t raise them on the radio, so I ended up having to take the shot. Chris Kyle (about his very first kill in Iraq — a woman trying to blow up advancing Marines with a hidden grenade)
I don’t remember Michael Moore or any other Hollywood grandees objecting much to the 2001 war film Enemy at the Gates, which was supposedly loosely based on the controversial (and perhaps less than verifiable) career of the deadly sniper Vasily Zaitsev. That movie portrayed the expert Zaitsev as a hero in trying to cut down Wehrmacht officers and soldiers on behalf of the Soviet cause. It reminded audiences not just that Zaitsev’s sniping could save his fellow Russians, but that it was also a very dangerous business for the shooter: As the hunter, Zaitsev often very quickly became the hunted. Nor did Moore et al. object to the positive portrayal of the sniper Private Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper) in Saving Private Ryan. Jackson, from his hidden perches, kills lots of unsuspecting Germans with his telescopic sniper rifle, saving members of hero John Miller’s company—until he himself is blown up by German tank fire. In Captain Phillips Navy SEAL snipers are portrayed as “marksmen” who nonetheless stealthily blow apart Somali pirates, and thereby save Phillips’s life. Hollywood and film critics were also quite enthusiastic about that movie, apparently including the final rescue of Phillips by skilled “snipers” (i.e., the targeted pirates never knew that they were being targeted and never knew what hit them). What has more likely caused some controversy over American Sniper is not the sniper profession per se of Chris Kyle (since snipers were not de facto deemed suspect in prior films), but three other considerations: a) American Sniper often portrays the Islamist insurgents as savage, and Kyle as complex, but nevertheless both patriotic and heroic in protecting other Americans from them; b) the movie does not serve as a blanket damnation of the Iraq war, at least as is otherwise typical for the Hollywood Iraq film genre; in this regard, unlike many recent Hollywood film titles with the proper noun American in them (e.g., American Hustle, American Gangster, American Psycho, American History X, American Beauty, etc.), the film quite unusually does not dwell on American pathologies; and c) perhaps most important, the film is very successful, and has resonated with the public at the precise time when other recent movies more welcomed by the establishment, such as Selma, have so far not. Victor Davis Hanson

Attention: une propagande peut en cacher une autre!

A l’heure où des policiers et des tireurs d’élite sur les toits parisiens se voient pour une fois …

Non hués mais salués par la population …

Comment ne pas voir pour ce qu’elle est …

La nouvelle polémique, après celles The Hurt locker et de Zero dark thirty, de nos gauchistes de service …

Contre le nouveau film de Clint Eastwood et hommage posthume (victime il y a deux ans d’un sous-officier de marine de 20 ans souffrant de stress post-traumatique dont il s’occupait) …

Au tireur d’élite le plus décoré de toute l’histoire militaire des États-Unis …

A savoir de la pure propagande ?

The Ideal Thing Would Be If I Knew the Number of Lives I Saved’: Chris Kyle Defends His Record

Brendan Bordelon
NRO

January 19, 2015

Michael Moore called him a “coward.” Peter Mass of Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept slammed him for calling Iraqis “savages.” Former Daily Beast reporter Max Blumenthal described him as a “mass murderer” — a sentiment later echoed on a defaced billboard that’s advertising the most popular movie in America.

The American Left is frothing at the mouth over Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in American Sniper.

Murdered by a mentally ill veteran he was counseling in February 2013, Kyle is no longer here to defend himself. But a C-SPAN video from April 2012 does a pretty good job of putting the lie to the Left’s portrait of a remorseless sociopathic killer.

The most lethal sniper in American history, Kyle is credited with 160 confirmed kills during his four tours of duty in Iraq. But while his detractors would claim Kyle obsessed over that number as a badge of honor, the real American sniper’s focus for his work lay elsewhere. “The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for,” he said. “But you can’t calculate that.”

Kyle also described his very first kill in Iraq — a woman trying to blow up advancing Marines with a hidden grenade. And while liberals have made much of Kyle’s written admission that he “enjoyed” taking lives, that was not at all the sentiment he expressed during the interview.

“At this point I’d never killed anyone, so it definitely made me pause,” he said. “But also the fact that it’s not a man — it was difficult. So we tried to radio the Marines to let them handle it. I didn’t want to have to be the one who had to take the woman’s life. We couldn’t raise them on the radio, so I ended up having to take the shot.”

Voir aussi:

What American Sniper Reveals About the Soldier at War and at Peace
Peter Simek

B+, Movies.

Jan 15, 2015

The best films about the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have been movies that are as concerned about the home front as they are about the field of battle. The latest is Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, a film based on the life of Chris Kyle, the “deadliest sniper in U.S. history.” Kyle’s real life played out like a movie in its own right. For more on the real Kyle, check out Michael Mooney’s 2013 D Magazine feature here. For the purposes of this piece, though, I’m just going to reflect on the semi-fictional Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper in Eastwood’s new movie.

With American Sniper, Eastwood has used Kyle’s life to take a broader look at what it means to be a soldier. Kyle offers a readymade hero. A down-and-out guy from Texas who, after 9/11, decides to leave the bar and get serious about his life. He joins the Navy and eventual becomes a Navy SEAL. Even though he ends up in the most elite fighting force, importantly, the arc of Kyle’s military career is typical: he is not coming from much and has nothing to lose by signing up. He is driven by a sincere pride of country matched with a strong drive and sense of purpose provided by the military. It also turns out he is a good shot. And he discovers other hidden talents — a razor-sharp focus, fidelity to his fellow soldiers, and fearlessness — that make him uniquely lethal in the field of battle.

Before he’s sent off to war, Kyle meets his future wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and their relationship helps frame Eastwood’s interest in exploring what it is like to be both a highly trained killer and a husband and (eventually) father. In the field of battle, Kyle is unstoppable. In a number of high-energy action sequences, American Sniper can feel like a well-made, if somewhat rudimentary action flick, replete with some cheesy G.I. Joe-style dialogue. Kyle kills bad guys just at the right time; he leads platoons of grunts into buildings and roots out the bad guys; we watch him get in and out of jams and melodramatic showdowns. Kyle kills to save lives — that much Eastwood wants to make extremely clear with these high-tension shoot-out scenes. Eastwood has to make sure we understand that Kyle’s killing is an act of saving because what makes American Sniper really click is the way it begins to register the weight of just what it means to kill, even when the killing seems to be entirely justified.

As we follow Kyle through successive tours, we begin to see the cost of war on his life, family, and psyche. He is distant to friends and family; he and his wife begin to fight. Cooper does a great job of slowly receding into himself. His speaking turns to grunts, and his posture and demeanor reflect an unspoken, unbearable weight of life at home. Kyle keeps returning for more tours, and he justifies it by saying he can’t stand being at home when he knows his fellow soldiers are in the field of battle. He is good at what he does, and he wants to do it and help his buds. But it also becomes obvious that he suffers from something many soldiers have described about their experience returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The mundane everyday no longer seems like living when compared to the intense life-and-death reality of the field of battle.

This disconnect is brought together in most dramatic fashion in a scene when Kyle is on a satellite phone with his wife while perched in his sniper’s nest in Iraq. As they chat, a young Iraqi boy is dragged into a square by fighters and executed in front of his family. In the mayhem that ensues, Kyle drops his phone, and his wife stands on a suburban street in Texas listening to the hell of the firefight unfold through her cellphone. The scene is so emotionally wrought, so melodramatic, it almost feels garish and overdone. But at the same time, isn’t this how most of us have experienced these wars, with this paradoxical mix of intimacy and disconnect supplied by modern-day media?

This disconnect seems to be at the heart of what Eastwood is trying to work out in American Sniper. How can someone trained to excel in the field of combat adjust to life after combat? It is an ancient concern of war literature, going all the way back to Homer. Here, Eastwood approaches it through the lens of a society that continually honors and praises its troops, dragging them out to sporting events and sticking bumper stickers on cars, and yet, a society that, at the same time, has never been more insulated to the intimacies and costs of war.

In the end, as we know from everything that has been written about Kyle’s life, there is a gross irony in that he is eventually killed by a fellow veteran. In the movie, Eastwood doesn’t gloss over this tragic twist. Just when it looks like Kyle may be able to come to grips with life after war by mentoring fellow vets, he is killed by someone who can’t overcome his own psychological turmoil. It’s what makes the film’s closing moments, the actual footage of Kyle’s monumental funeral at Cowboys Stadium, both moving and difficult. Yes, we support our troops. We honor our fallen. Our soldiers have done heroic, important work. But as we watch Kyle honored on the Cowboys blue star on the 50-yard line, Eastwood reminds us that we still don’t seem to grasp the real solemnity and human cost of all of it.
Not sure which movie the author saw, but his writing contains enough factual errors (relative to the movie) to make me lose interest in whatever it is he’s trying to express. In the movie, Chris Kyle enlisted after seeing the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi on TV. He had been in the service for three years by the time 9/11 happened.

Likewise, in the movie when Kyle drops his satellite phone during a firefight, his wife was listening in from a sidewalk in front of a medical facility she had just exited. There was no « suburban street » in that scene and it’s unclear if she was in Texas, California or elsewhere.

These might seem like minor points, but when the author cannot be counted on to get the minor points right it diminishes the strength of his entire message.

Voir également:

Snipers, Correct and Incorrect
Victor Davis Hanson

NRO

January 21, 2015

Were a confused Michael Moore and others faulting American Sniper on the argument that Chris Kyle was a sniper per se, or that he was an American sniper?

I don’t remember Michael Moore or any other Hollywood grandees objecting much to the 2001 war film Enemy at the Gates, which was supposedly loosely based on the controversial (and perhaps less than verifiable) career of the deadly sniper Vasily Zaitsev. That movie portrayed the expert Zaitsev as a hero in trying to cut down Wehrmacht officers and soldiers on behalf of the Soviet cause. It reminded audiences not just that Zaitsev’s sniping could save his fellow Russians, but that it was also a very dangerous business for the shooter: As the hunter, Zaitsev often very quickly became the hunted.

Nor did Moore et al. object to the positive portrayal of the sniper Private Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper) in Saving Private Ryan. Jackson, from his hidden perches, kills lots of unsuspecting Germans with his telescopic sniper rifle, saving members of hero John Miller’s company—until he himself is blown up by German tank fire.

In Captain Phillips Navy SEAL snipers are portrayed as “marksmen” who nonetheless stealthily blow apart Somali pirates, and thereby save Phillips’s life. Hollywood and film critics were also quite enthusiastic about that movie, apparently including the final rescue of Phillips by skilled “snipers” (i.e., the targeted pirates never knew that they were being targeted and never knew what hit them).

What has more likely caused some controversy over American Sniper is not the sniper profession per se of Chris Kyle (since snipers were not de facto deemed suspect in prior films), but three other considerations:

a) American Sniper often portrays the Islamist insurgents as savage, and Kyle as complex, but nevertheless both patriotic and heroic in protecting other Americans from them;

b) the movie does not serve as a blanket damnation of the Iraq war, at least as is otherwise typical for the Hollywood Iraq film genre; in this regard, unlike many recent Hollywood film titles with the proper noun American in them (e.g., American Hustle, American Gangster, American Psycho, American History X, American Beauty, etc.), the film quite unusually does not dwell on American pathologies; and

c) perhaps most important, the film is very successful, and has resonated with the public at the precise time when other recent movies more welcomed by the establishment, such as Selma, have so far not.

Voir encore:

American sniper : le film de Clint Eastwood divise l’Amérique
Europe 1

21 janvier 2015

Le film American sniper de Clint Eastwood remporte un grand succès aux Etats-Unis. Mais il suscite aussi les critiques de certains qui l’assimilent à une œuvre de propagande pour l’armée.
Succès économique et source de polémique. Pas besoin de faire l’unanimité pour amasser des millions de dollars au box-office. Pour American sniper, le nouveau film de Clint Eastwood, c’est même l’inverse. Son énorme succès en salles depuis sa sortie outre-Atlantique -105 millions de dollars soit 90 millions d’euros en un week-end, ce qui en fait l’œuvre la plus rentable du célèbre acteur-réalisateur- s’accompagne de débats houleux qui divisent l’Amérique.

160 victimes au cours de sa carrière. La pomme de discorde ? Le traitement cinématographique privilégié par Clint Eastwood de l’histoire de Chris Kyle, tireur d’élite au sein des forces spéciales, les Navy Seals. Ce sniper, aujourd’hui décédé, est connu sous deux surnoms qui résument bien le personnage : Chris Kyle est « la légende » pour ses frères d’armes et « le diable » pour ses ennemis. Bien que ce titre soit difficilement vérifiable, ce soldat américain est en effet connu pour être le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’histoire militaire du pays. Le Pentagone lui « crédite » 160 morts, tandis que lui en revendique 255 dans son autobiographie dont le scénario s’inspire.

Un « féroce soldat de Dieu ». Chris Kyle est incarné par Bradley Cooper dans American sniper. Au long du film, le spectateur est confronté à la violence des scènes de guerre, mais aussi au difficile retour à la vie civile et familiale de ces soldats, souvent sujets au stress post-traumatique. Héroïsé par certains, largement médiatisé, Chris Kyle s’est fait connaître par ses sorties violentes. Au Figaro, il expliquait en avril 2012 que les Irakiens étaient des « sauvages, qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot ». Il se considérait également comme « un féroce soldat de Dieu », content de savoir que chaque personne qu’il tuait « ne risquait pas de planter une bombe artisanale sous une route au passage d’un convoi américain ».

Hollywood divisé. Ajoutez à ces déclarations fracassantes un tatouage en forme de croix de templier rouge vif et un accent texan prononcé. Il n’en faut pas plus pour diviser les Etats-Unis autour du film qui campe le personnage. D’un côté, de nombreux médias et personnalités ont critiqué une œuvre qui esthétise la mort et joue le rôle de propagande de l’armée américaine. Parmi eux, le réalisateur de Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore, grand opposant à la guerre en Irak et au libre port d’armes aux Etats-Unis. « Mon oncle a été tué par un sniper pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. On nous apprenait que les snipers étaient des lâches. Qu’ils vous tiraient dans le dos. Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont pires », martèle-t-il.

Avant Michael Moore, Jane Fonda avait été la première personnalité du cinéma américain à réagir, positivement elle, au film. « Je viens de voir American sniper. C’est un film puissant, le pendant de Coming Home (film sur la vie d’un prisonnier politique chinois après sa libération, ndlr). Bradley Cooper est sensationnel. Bravo Clint Eastwood. »

Campagne marketing ciblée. Comme le montre le Wall Street Journal (en anglais, édition abonnés), le film a été proportionnellement drainé moins de spectateurs dans les grandes aires urbaines des côtes est et ouest, majoritairement démocrates et libérales, comparé au franc succès qu’il a remporté dans le sud du pays et dans le Midwest, résolument républicains et conservateurs. Un phénomène logique, et même voulu par le studio de production, comme en atteste le témoignage d’un employé dans The Hollywood Reporter cité par le blog du Monde Bigbrowser : une campagne marketing, tournée vers un public conservateur via des publicités sur Fox News et dans des magazines militaires a permis de faire de ce succès un « phénomène culturel »

Un phénomène culturel, mais aussi politique, puisque l’ex-sénatrice de l’Alaska et figure de la droite radicale américaine Sarah Palin a elle aussi réagi contre les « gauchos d’Hollywood » qui « crachent sur les tombes des combattants de la liberté qui vous permettent de faire ce que vous faites ».

Clint Eastwood dépassé ? Pourtant, dans un débat lors d’une avant-première le 8 décembre dernier, Clint Eastwood affirmait ne pas vouloir faire l’allégorie de la guerre avec American Sniper, commel’explique Première. Il avait même réaffirmé son opposition à la guerre en Irak, en parlant de « l’arrogance de vouloir entrer en guerre sans même se poser la question de sa justification, ni des conséquences tragiques qu’elle aurait pour tant de monde ». Le ralisateur rappelait qu’il avait grandi pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, dans l’espoir qu’elle « finirait toutes les guerres ». Bradley Cooper, l’acteur principal du film, a lui aussi affirmé qu' »American sniper n’était pas un film politique » dans le Guardian.

Une Amérique coupée en deux ? Médias et opinion publique voient en American Sniper la ligne de fracture entre une Amérique de l’intérieur, conservatrice et républicaine, et une Amérique des côtes, élitiste et démocrate. Une opposition manichéenne que refusent de légitimer de nombreux éditorialistes américains. « Une partie des spectateurs du film l’ont-ils regardé à travers un prisme xénophobe et belliqueux? Sûrement. Et ces gens sont haineux et simplets. Mais ceux qui font de ces gens une population cohérente et identifiée qu’ils regardent avec mépris sont tout aussi bêtes que ceux qu’ils critiquent », peut-on lire notamment sur Flavorwire.

American Sniper ne laisse décidément personne indifférent, puisque le cours de la justice lui-même pourrait être perturbé par la sortie de ce film. En effet, Chris Kyle avait été tué près de chez lui au Texas en février 2013, lors d’un gala en faveur des vétérans de l’armée touchés par le syndrome de stress post-traumatique (PTSD). L’accusé, lui-même victime de PTSD, doit être jugé le 11 février prochain dans un procès où il risque la peine de mort. Son avocat estime que le film pose problème puisqu’il « pourrait influencer le jury », explique BFMTV.

Voir également:

Pourquoi le film American Sniper fait polémique
Victor Garcia

L’Express

20/01/2015

En salle le 18 février en France, American Sniper défraie déjà la chronique aux Etats-Unis. Entre succès au box-office et critiques, le film ne laisse pas indifférent. Certains lui reprochent d’être un film de propagande de l’armée américaine.

Succès et polémique. American Sniper nourrit les passions. Nommé six fois aux Oscars, dominant le box-office, le film réalisé par Clint Eastwood a engrangé 105 millions de dollars dès son premier week-end d’exploitation.

Au-delà de ce succès incontestable, plusieurs voix s’élèvent aux États-Unis, notamment celles de réalisateurs, qui estiment qu’American Sniper est un film de propagande pour l’armée américaine. D’autant plus malvenu compte-tenu du bilan de l’intervention américaine en Irak.

Quel est le scénario ?
American Sniper s’inspire de la vie de Chris Kyle, le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’histoire militaire américaine -mort depuis-, incarné par Bradley Cooper. Un tireur d’élite qui a été envoyé à quatre reprises en Irak, et qui a revendiqué 255 ennemis tués. Le Pentagone, quant à lui, en décompte 160.

American Sniper retrace le quotidien de cet homme sur le champ de bataille, les atrocités dont il est témoin, mais aussi sa vie de famille, avec laquelle il n’arrive plus à vivre normalement une fois de retour au pays. Le film reprend directement le scénario du livre autobiographique de celui qui est surnommé al-Shaitan (« le diable ») par ses ennemis et « La Légende » par ses frères d’armes des forces spéciales américaines, les Navy SEAL.

Que lui reprochent notamment Michael Moore et Seth Rogen?
La glorification de l’armée américaine et des forces spéciales ainsi que de son rôle en Irak n’est pas du goût de tout le monde. Michael Moore, le réalisateur de Bowling for Columbine et militant contre le port d’armes, n’y est pas allé de main morte. « Mon oncle a été tué par un sniper pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. On nous apprenait que les snipers étaient des lâches. Qu’ils vous tiraient dans le dos. Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont pires », a-t-il lancé sur Twitter, remettant en cause directement l’intervention américaine en Irak.

Le réalisateur de The Interview, Seth Rogen, a de son côté estimé que American Sniper lui faisait penser « au film qui est montré dans la troisième partie d’Inglorious Basterds », réalisé par Quentin Tarentino.

Seth Rogen fait en fait référence à Nations Pride, un film -parodique- de propagande nazie imaginé par Quentin Tarentino dans Inglorious Basterds. Dans Nations Pride, un sniper nazi, perché en haut d’une tour, abat des centaines d’ennemis. Il devient alors le héros de toute la nation… Voir ci-dessous:

La réponse des « patriotes »
La réponse des défenseurs du film s’est faite notamment par le Daily Caller, rapporte le site Inquisitr.. Dans son éditorial, le journal estime qu' »Hollywood est majoritairement de gauche et a produit une série de films anti-guerre et anti-militaire qui ont été des flop au box-office. Dans ce monde, American Sniper est une anomalie. Il montre la vie de Kyle sans fard et sans jugement. Son succès est la preuve que les gens sont venus voir la vie de celui que la plupart considère comme un héros ».

Le site Metacritic.com, site référence de compilation de critiques de la presse américaine, attribue la note de 72 sur 100 à American Sniper, qui récolté 33 critiques « positives » et 12 « partagées ». 191 spectateurs ont également notés le film de Clint Eastwood, qui obtient une note de 7,1 sur 10, avec 142 critiques positives, 22 partagées et 27 négatives.

Voir encore:

Polémique
« American Sniper » accusé de propagande

Kahina Sekkai

Paris Match

22 janvier 2015

«American Sniper», le film de Clint Eastwood, relance le débat sur Chris Kyle, le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’armée américaine, et les tireurs d’élite. Certains spectateurs ont écrit de violentes insultes racistes sur les réseaux sociaux, mais les Républicains ont volé au secours du long-métrage.

Près de deux ans après la mort de Chris Kyle, la sortie du film «American Sniper» a déclenché une polémique aux Etats-Unis. Le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’histoire de l’armée américaine était-il un héros de guerre ou un «lâche»? Le film, selon de nombreux critiques, glorifie le rôle des snipers. Le réalisateur engagé Michael Moore a été un des premiers à dénoncer ces tireurs d’élite: «Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont les pires», a-t-il écrit sur son compte Twitter, racontant que son oncle avait été tué par un sniper lors de la Seconde guerre mondiale.

Sur le site de microblogging, certains spectateurs ont vanté les mérites du film, mais du côté de la haine: « »American Sniper » me donne envie d’aller tirer sur des putains d’Arabes», écrit ainsi un certain @dezmondharmon. « »American Sniper m’a fait apprécier les soldats 100 fois plus et détester les musulmans 1 million de fois plus», complète #ItsReeceyYh. «Il est bon de voir un film où les Arabes sont représentés pour ce qu’ils sont vraiment –de la vermine pourrie qui veut nous détruire», assure de son côté @harshnewyorker. Ces commentaires ont été compilés par @LeslieK_nope:

Les Républicains défendent Chris Kyle et le film
L’acteur Seth Rogen a écrit sur Twitter qu’«American Sniper» lui «faisait un peu penser» au film de propagande tourné par les nazis et montré dans «Inglorious Basterds», de Quentin Tarantino.

Sarah Palin a rapidement pris la défense du film et de Chris Kyle, qu’elle connaissait personnellement: «Alors que vous caressez des trophées en plastique qui brille, que vous vous échangez en crachant sur la tombe des combattants de la liberté qui vous ont permis de le faire, sachez que le reste de l’Amérique considère que vous n’êtes pas dignes de cirer les bottes de combat de Chris Kyle», a écrit la candidate malheureuse républicaine à la vice-présidence sur Facebook. Newt Gingrich, l’ancien chef des Républicains à la Chambre des représentants, a pour sa part estimé que «Michael Moore devrait passer quelques semaines avec EI et Boko Haram, il apprécierait « American Sniper »».

La personnalité de Chris Kyle est depuis longtemps controversée. Il aurait tué plus de 255 personnes pendant ses dix années de service, et avait été surnommé «le diable de Ramadi» par les insurgés irakiens qu’il prenait pour cibles. Le directeur adjoint de la rédaction de Match l’avait rencontré en mai 2012, au Texas, où il avait fondé une société qui avait pour devise: «La violence résout les problèmes». «Quand je vois les massacres, les tortures et toutes les horreurs que nos ennemis ont commis, je n’ai aucun regret. J’ai fait ça pour mon peuple, pour défendre mes camarades et empêcher ces ordures de commettre davantage d’atrocités. Si j’avais pu en tuer davantage, je l’aurais fait.» «La guerre n’a rien d’amusant, pourtant il se trouve que je m’amusais», poursuivait-il.

Il était en 2012 en négociations afin que son livre «American Sniper» soit porté sur grand écran. Sur le choix de l’acteur qui l’interprétera, Chris Kyle avait rejeté en bloc Matt Damon: «Certainement pas. C’est moi qui décide, et ce n’est pas un opposant à la guerre qui jouera mon rôle.» Bradley Cooper a finalement été choisi –et figure parmi les nommés à l’Oscar du meilleur acteur. Le premier weekend de sa sortie en Amérique du Nord, «American Sniper» a rapporté plus de 90 millions de dollars.

Entre 1999 et 2009, Chris Kyle a été l’un des militaires les plus récompensés pour son service, recevant notamment deux Silver Stars et cinq Bronze Stars. Après avoir quitté le combat, il était devenu instructeur pour des équipes spéciales avant de quitter la Navy en 2009 et avait même écrit le manuel des snipers des Seals, le «Naval Special Warfare Sniper Doctrine». L’aide aux vétérans était l’un des piliers de la vie de Kyle, qui a notamment aidé à fonder l’association FITCO Cares Foundation. Il a été tué en février 2013 par Eddie Ray Rough, un frère d’armes victime du syndrome de stress post-traumatique qu’il tentait d’aider dans un stand de tir.

Voir aussi:

American Sniper dans le viseur de Michael Moore
Pierre-Emmanuel Mesqui
Le Figaro

19/01/2015

VIDÉO – Le réalisateur de Bowling for Columbine, connu pour ses prises de position controversées, a critiqué le nouveau film de Clint Eastwood.

Après avoir milité contre le port des armes dans son documentaire Bowling for Columbine et contre la guerre en Irak, Michael Moore revient à la charge en fustigeant le film American Sniper de Clint Eastwood, avec Bradley Cooper.

Sur Twitter, le réalisateur âgé de 60 ans est revenu sur un épisode marquant qui a touché un membre de sa famille: son oncle a été tué par un sniper lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Il explique pourquoi ces soldats «ne doivent pas être considérés comme des héros».

Quelques heures après l’envoi de ce message, Michael Moore a néanmoins tenu à clarifier ses propos.

D’autres personnalités américaines d’Hollywood ont exprimé leur admiration devant l’œuvre de Clint Eastwood, comme Jane Fonda:

Pour le réalisateur de The Interview, Seth Rogen, le film American Sniper lui rappelle un passage d’Inglourious Basterds de Quentin Tarantino, lorsqu’un sniper allemand (Daniel Brühl) tue héroïquement de nombreux ennemis, dans un film de propagande.

American Sniper est l’adaptation du livre de Chris Kyle, un tireur d’élite des Navy SEAL, intitulé American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (William Morrow, 2012). Ayant servi pendant la guerre d’Irak, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) est connu pour être le sniper le plus prolifique de l’histoire des États-Unis. Surnommé «La Légende», il aurait tué 160 personnes. Le film suit également son retour au pays et les conséquences de la guerre sur son moral et sa vie de famille.

Le long métrage de Clint Eastwood est un grand succès au box-office US. Il a déjà remporté plus de 90 millions de dollars de recettes ce week-end. Il a également été nommé aux Oscars 2015 dans six catégories dont celles du «meilleur film» et du «meilleur acteur» pour Bradley Cooper.

Voir encore:

Chris Kyle, le roi des snipers américains abattu au Texas
Maurin Picard
03/02/2013

Ex-membre des Navy Seal, ce tireur d’élite qui s’est illustré en Irak a été tué par un vétéran.

De notre correspondant à New York

Il s’attendait à connaître une fin violente, lors d’une embuscade en Irak, mais avait fini par croire en sa bonne étoile. Après onze ans de bons et loyaux services au sein des Navy Seals, les troupes d’élite de la marine américaine, Chris Kyle, le sniper le plus redoutable de l’armée américaine (255 «kills (ennemis tués)», dont 160 confirmés), avait raccroché son fusil de tireur d’élite, pour mieux se consacrer à sa famille.

Il a été abattu samedi près de chez lui au Texas par un de ses compatriotes, lors d’un gala de charité organisé à Glen Rose, près de Fort Worth, et consacré aux vétérans atteints de syndrome post-traumatique (ou PTSD, dans le jargon militaire). L’assassin, Eddie Ray Routh, était un de ces vétérans que Kyle se faisait un devoir d’assister lors de leur difficile retour à la vie civile, en organisant des week-ends de «réintégration» dans des ranchs du Texas ou de l’Oklahoma appartenant à d’anciens Seals. Agé de 25 ans, Routh serait retourné chez lui après avoir abattu Kyle et un de ses voisins, avant d’être arrêté par la police après une brève course-poursuite en voiture.

Prime sur sa tête, 80 000 dollars mort ou vif
Chris Kyle, 38 ans, avait reçu Le Figaro l’an passé (voir nos éditions du 10 avril 2012) à Dallas, pour la sortie de sa biographie en France. Il qualifiait les Irakiens de «sauvages, qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot», une ceinture d’explosifs autour de la taille, et retroussait volontiers la manche de son bras gauche, recouvert de tatouages impressionnants. Un trident des Navy Seals y côtoyait une énorme croix de templier rouge vif, symbole de sa foi chevillée au corps. Élevé dans l’amour de Dieu, de la patrie et de la famille, Kyle, père de deux jeunes enfants, ne faisait pas mystère de ses motivations: «Là-bas, en Irak, je voulais que tout le monde sache que je suis chrétien, et un féroce guerrier de Dieu.» Il avait sa conscience pour lui car chaque insurgé qu’il éliminait «ne risquerait pas de planter une bombe improvisée sous une route au passage d’un convoi» américain.

Après ces exploits, Kyle avait hérité d’un surnom flatteur venant de l’insurrection sunnite, «al-shaitan Ramadi (le diable de Ramadi)», ainsi qu’une prime sur sa tête, 80.000 dollars mort ou vif. Pour ses camarades du «Navy Seals team 3», il était «The Legend (la légende)», depuis un tir à 1 800 m, en 2008 dans les bas-fonds de Saddam City (Bagdad), contre un Irakien sur le point de tirer une roquette contre un convoi de marines.

«Salle d’attente au Purgatoire»
Après avoir quitté le service actif en 2009, Kyle avait fondé Craft International, une firme spécialisée dans la formation des snipers. Son aura et son entregent lui avaient permis de transformer rapidement son entreprise en business lucratif.

Flairant le filon, les édiles républicains texans avaient bien tenté de le convaincre d’embrasser la carrière politique, mais lui n’affichait que mépris pour ceux qu’il qualifiait d’«escrocs», qu’ils soient républicains ou démocrates.

Chris Kyle avait confié au Figaro qu’une adaptation au cinéma était en cours de négociation avec des «majors» de Hollywood mais qu’il s’opposerait à ce qu’un «traître gauchiste» comme Matt Damon, coupable à ses yeux de s’opposer à la guerre en Irak en contestant lui aussi l’existence des armes de destruction massive (thème repris dans le film de Paul Greengrass, Green Zone en 2010), ne l’incarne à l’écran. Il avait finalement donné sa bénédiction au comédien Bradley Cooper et la société de production de ce dernier, 22nd & Indiana.

Relatant avec difficulté cette usure nerveuse qu’il avait ressentie lors de son quatrième et dernier tour d’opération en Mésopotamie en 2008, Chris Kyle reconnaissait avec un brin de mauvaise conscience qu’il devrait «peut-être patienter un peu plus longtemps que les autres en salle d’attente au Purgatoire».

Voir encore:

Le « diable » de Ramadi, héros américain

Maurin Picard
Le Figaro

09/04/2012

Chris Kyle, sniper d’élite de l’armée américaine, s’enorgueillit d’avoir éliminé 255 « terrotistes » en Irak. Sans l’ombre d’un état d’âme.

De notre envoyé spécial à Dallas

La barbe rousse et drue, les yeux rieurs qui dépassent d’une casquette de baseball bien vissée sur la tête, Chris Kyle ressemble à tous ces jeunes Américains sportifs et débonnaires, auxquels on donnerait le bon Dieu sans confession. Les apparences sont trompeuses. À 37 ans, Kyle est en réalité un vrai «badass» : un dur à cuire, en argot américain. Un tueur, au sens propre, comme en attestent les fusils d’assaut alignés derrière lui, un véritable arsenal dans ce bureau du quatorzième étage d’un immeuble d’affaires, en plein centre-ville de Dallas. Et un héros «bigger than life», hors norme, dans une Amérique éreintée par dix ans de guerres lointaines et impopulaires.

En onze ans de service actif au sein des prestigieux Navy Seals, les commandos de marine à l’origine de la mort d’Oussama Ben Laden en mai 2011, et quatre déploiements en Irak de 2003 à 2009, ce tireur d’élite a abattu 255 «terroristes». La Navy, très sourcilleuse sur les critères de validation, ne lui en reconnaît «que» 160. Cet étourdissant «palmarès» lui confère une place de choix parmi les plus célèbres snipers de l’histoire, derrière le Finlandais Simo Häyhä, qui tua 542 soldats soviétiques durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Si bien que, lorsqu’il a quitté le service actif en 2009, le sergent Kyle n’a eu aucun mal à fonder une firme spécialisée dans la formation des snipers, Craft International, avec le soutien enthousiaste de ses anciens frères d’armes. Dans l’armée américaine, il jouit d’une immense réputation, ce qui lui a permis de transformer rapidement Craft International en un business très lucratif. Chez les Seals, une fraternité pourtant avare en tressage de lauriers, le surnom qui lui colle à la peau en dit long sur son aura: «The Legend». Mais celui dont il est le plus fier, c’est le sobriquet décerné par les insurgés irakiens eux-mêmes, au plus fort des combats dans le triangle sunnite en 2006: «al-shaitan Ramadi», le diable de Ramadi. «Celui-là, j’en suis fier, sourit Kyle en lissant sa barbe. Ça veut dire que je les ai vraiment décimés.» Au plus fort de la bataille, les services de renseignements lui apprennent que sa tête a été mise à prix: 20 000 dollars, mort ou vif. Vers la fin des combats, elle en vaut 80 000.

«Des sauvages»
Les Irakiens, Chris Kyle ne les aime pas. Doux euphémisme. À ses yeux, ce sont tous «des sauvages» qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot. Ses deux premières victimes furent une mère et son fils, justement.

La première s’avançait vers un check point de marines, bardée d’une ceinture d’explosifs. Elle venait de confier une grenade à son rejeton. Chris Kyle dut abattre les deux, contraint et forcé, après avoir reçu le feu vert de ses supérieurs. Ce furent ses deux tirs les plus difficiles. «Après, confie-t-il, tuer des gens n’est pas très compliqué», surtout quand, selon lui, «ils incarnent le Mal», puisqu’ils veulent abattre des soldats américains. Le politiquement correct n’est pas le style de Kyle. Il avoue «aimer la guerre» et regrette seulement de «ne pas avoir abattu plus de salopards». En quatre séjours en Irak, il a bâti sa légende sur des tirs mémorables. À Sadr City (Bagdad) en 2008, juché sur un toit, Chris aperçoit un homme armé d’un RPG (lance-roquettes). À près de deux kilomètres de distance, le sniper fait mouche et atteint une notoriété quasi instantanée parmi ses pairs. «Dieu a soufflé sur cette balle et l’a touché», sourit le Texan, qui revendique fièrement sa culture chrétienne.

Sur le haut du bras gauche, en dessous de l’épaule, à côté du trident des Seal, il a fait tatouer une énorme croix de templier rouge vif, qu’il dévoile volontiers. Élevé dans l’amour de Dieu, de la patrie et de la famille, Kyle assume: «Là-bas, je voulais que tout le monde sache que je suis chrétien, et que je suis un féroce guerrier de Dieu.» La foi chevillée au corps, il pense qu’il devra «peut-être patienter un peu plus longtemps que les autres en salle d’attente au purgatoire», mais garde la conscience tranquille.

Courtisé par le cinéma
Ses «exploits», il a fini par les relater dans un livre*, qui caracole depuis trois mois en tête des ventes: 419 000 exemplaires déjà vendus. Devenu une légende vivante au sein de l’armée, Chris Kyle passe pour avoir sauvé des centaines de vies, armé de son seul fusil à lunette. L’usure nerveuse finit cependant par le rattraper lors de son quatrième déploiement en Irak. Il cède alors aux pressions de sa femme Taya, qui ne supporte plus ses absences prolongées. Un ultime coup de chance lors d’une fusillade dans Sadr City, dont il réchappe miraculeusement, lui font réaliser qu’il n’est «tout compte fait pas invincible», malgré ce fidèle «ange gardien» qui a longtemps veillé sur lui. Dans la foulée, il quitte l’armée pour «se consacrer enfin à sa famille».

Mais il n’en a pas fini avec une notoriété grandissante. De retour au pays, des inconnus viennent le remercier pour leur avoir «sauvé la peau» tel jour à Faloudja. D’autres anonymes paient discrètement la facture lorsqu’il dîne au restaurant avec Taya. De partout, les sollicitations affluent. La Navy et la Garde nationale du Texas n’ont pas renoncé à le convaincre de rempiler. Les édiles locaux font des pieds et des mains pour qu’il s’engage en politique. Mais Chris Kyle n’a guère plus d’estime pour les hommes politiques que pour les insurgés irakiens. «Républicains comme démocrates, ce sont tous des escrocs», affirme-t-il sur un ton péremptoire.

À défaut de carrière publique, c’est le monde du cinéma qui le courtise. Un scénario circule depuis quelque temps à Hollywood. Mais Kyle a posé ses conditions: il mettra son veto à tout acteur qui lui déplairait pour incarner son rôle. «Je ne veux pas d’un acteur comme Matt Damon et tous ces types qui ont exprimé leur opposition à la guerre en Irak», confesse ce grand nostalgique, qui préfère nettement Chuck Norris ou… Ronald Reagan.

* «American Sniper», Éditions William Morrow (2011), traduction française sortie en mars aux éditions Nimrod.

Voir de plus:

The United States of ‘American Sniper’
Liberals’ criticism of my SEAL teammate Chris Kyle has had the ironic effect of honoring him.
Rorke Denver
WSJ

Jan. 26, 2015

‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.

The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.

My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.

The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.

I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement.

More than half the time, the snipers didn’t need to shoot; over-watch and guidance to the ground troops was enough. But when called upon, snipers like Chris Kyle engaged enemy combatants and “cleared the path” for exposed troops to move effectively and safely in their arduous ground missions. These small sniper teams pulled the trigger at their own risk. If their position was discovered, they had little backup or support.

As Navy SEALs, we have the privilege of using the best hardware the military has to offer. We have access to, and train with, the latest elite weapons. We operate with the world’s finest aviators, from multiple services, who transport us to and from targets and protect us from above with devastating firepower. Advanced drone platforms are at our disposal and wreak havoc on our enemies. The full complement of American battlefield ingenuity and capacity is at our disposal. Our enemies the world over know this well. They have experienced this awesome power and respect it.

But every U.S. fighting force possesses a weapon that frightens our enemies today more than any of those above. The Taliban, al Qaeda, Islamic State, jihadists everywhere—all those who oppose us fear and hate this weapon, and are haunted by its power to stop their own twisted plans for the world.

What is this weapon? The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

It was written long ago by leaders of astonishing foresight and courage. It is what men like Chris Kyle fight and die for. It is what I immediately think of when someone burns a flag, shouts some hateful remark during a protest or criticizes the men and women who have volunteered for military service and willingly go into harm’s way.

When Seth Rogen and Michael Moore exercise this right, it is a tribute to those who serve. While I am revolted by their whiny, ill-informed opinions about Chris Kyle and “American Sniper,” I delight in the knowledge that the man they decry was a defender of their liberty to do so.

Mr. Denver, a commander in the U.S. Navy SEALs Reserves, is the author of “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior” (Hyperion, 2013).

Voir encore:

Michael Moore is wrong about ‘American Sniper’

Don Mann

CNN

January 23, 2015
As Americans, we are fortunate to have the right to speak our minds. Filmmaker Michael Moore did just that with his attack on the use of military snipers in warfare just before the release of the Oscar-nominated and devastating war/anti-war movie « American Sniper, » directed by Clint Eastwood.

Moore obviously has the same freedom of speech right that all Americans do. Some of what he has publicly stated in the past is opinion, some is fact and some is absolutely ludicrous. In an apparent reference to Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, credited with 160 enemy kills — the most in U.S. history — and the movie « American Sniper, » Moore commented on Twitter that his « uncle was killed by a sniper » and that he was « taught that all snipers were cowards. »

Moore explains snipers are ‘cowards’ tweet

To begin with, the reason Americans have the freedom of speech Moore was exercising is because brave men such as Kyle and other active-duty personnel and military veterans have fought to protect this precious right.

As far as the comment that « snipers are cowards, » that is beyond ludicrous and it is difficult to understand just how anybody could make such a comment.

Let’s look at some of the basic facts surrounding Kyle’s life as a Navy SEAL sniper. Kyle either trained for war or was deployed in war zones for more than 300 days a year during his service in the SEAL teams. SEAL wives basically raise their children alone. The divorce rate for SEALs is incredibly high. Many of the guys have been married multiple times. The children grow up not really knowing their dads because the dads go on frequent and often back-to-back deployments to war zones.

These guys seldom know when they are leaving or for how long. Their work involves going in harm’s way and fighting an enemy that is determined to do whatever it can to take away our way of life. After returning home from a deployment, these guys immediately go back to work preparing for the next deployment. Some are not so fortunate and are wounded or killed in the line of duty.

A sniper, who operates behind enemy lines, has one of the most demanding and dangerous duties in the Special Operations community. Snipers operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and a host of other countries often must crawl and make their way through treacherous urban or desert war-zone terrain for hours just to reach their position undetected, a position of over-watch, cover and concealment. Once they are on site, they sometimes stay in their position for days on end waiting for follow-on orders.

Why ‘American Sniper’ is a smash hit

Military snipers are not sociopaths, coldblooded killers. Snipers believe in their hearts that when they neutralize, or « take out, » a threat that they are saving the lives of their teammates, other military personnel or other innocent people. Their target hit lists typically include terrorists or people preparing to cause grave harm or death to the innocent.

As I cite in my book « The Modern Day Gunslinger, » Lt. Col. David Grossman uses the analogy of wolves, sheep and sheepdogs. Grossman, in his book « On Combat, » compares the average citizen as basically peaceful and nonthreatening — like sheep.

These are the majority of people and do not want to cause harm to others; they wish to live peacefully. The terrorist — the enemy, the « bad guy » — strikes terror and threatens to harm and kill the innocent, like the wolf who threatens the sheep. Fortunately, there are brave men and women who sacrifice much to protect those who wish to live day to day in peace. These protectors are the community sheepdogs.

Chris Kyle was a champion sheepdog. Every time Kyle pulled back on his trigger and fired a shot that neutralized a « wolf, » he was saving countless lives and protecting the sheep. Every wolf he put down was no longer capable of causing harm or death to the sheep, the innocents.

I ask, how can anybody consider a sniper, a Navy SEAL sniper, to be a coward? As much as I try to keep my mind open to all viewpoints — from the far left to the far right — I can only reach the conclusion that Michael Moore has no idea what he is talking about. His unfounded comments could not be further from the truth.

I am confident that if Moore had the courage to spend just one day in a war-zone « sniper hide, » waiting for the go signal to take out an enemy target his opinions on snipers and the military would change 180 degrees. I would go so far as to say if Moore would simply attend a one-day sniper-training course in the United States, his opinion would drastically change.

Yes, of course, he has the right to say whatever he wishes, but when a guy like Moore has the pulpit and the attention of the media, he should have a moral obligation to speak only on topics in which he has some basic knowledge of the facts.

Chris Kyle is an American war hero who has been credited and awarded for saving countless American and innocent lives. After what he did for our country, after all of his sacrifices, Kyle decided to get out of the Navy and assist those brothers in arms who returned from overseas with post-traumatic stress disorder. How incredibly sad and ironic that in February 2013, Kyle was killed and shot in the back, police say, by a former Marine suffering with PTSD whom he was trying to help and mentor.

Michael Moore, tell me: How was Chris Kyle a coward? How are snipers cowards?

When Kyle was killed, he left his loving and devoted wife, Taya, behind. She feels that « American Sniper » did a good job at portraying the struggles that Kyle endured as a Navy SEAL sniper as well as his roles as a husband and father. The movie illustrates the real-life story of heroism, patriotism and self-sacrifice of a remarkable American war hero.

Bradley Cooper, who portrayed Kyle, told NPR that the role was « nothing short of life-changing. It’s just not about me or Clint (Eastwood), or anybody else. … It’s a real human being. … So there’s a huge responsibility. But I saw it as an honor. … I felt like I lived with him for those six months in a very intimate way. … (H)e was the first voice I heard every morning and the last voice I heard going to bed. »

Kyle joins the elite ranks of other American sniper icons such as Carlos Hathcock, who was credited with 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War. Hathcock felt the same as Kyle did when it came to taking out threats. He simply understood that he was protecting his fellow Marines and other innocent people.

If there were not people like Kyle and Hathcock protecting our freedoms, Michael Moore, along with the rest of us, would live in a much more dangerous world. I remain deeply honored and humbled to be an American and to have been part of a community where heroes like Kyle have served.

Voir enfin:

The Legend of Chris Kyle
The deadliest sniper in U.S. history performed near miracles on the battlefield. Then he had to come home.
Michael J. Mooney

D Magazine April 2013

There’s a story about Chris Kyle: on a cold January morning in 2010, he pulled into a gas station somewhere along Highway 67, south of Dallas. He was driving his supercharged black Ford F350 outfitted with black rims and oversize knobby mudding tires. Kyle had replaced the Ford logo on the grill with a small chrome skull, similar to the Punisher emblem from the Marvel Comics series, and added a riot-ready aftermarket grill guard bearing the words ROAD ARMOR. He had just left the Navy and moved back to Texas.

Two guys approached him with pistols and demanded his money and the keys to his truck. With his hands in the air, he sized up which man seemed most confident with his gun.

Kyle knew what confidence with a gun looked like. He was the deadliest sniper in American history. He had at least 160 confirmed kills by the Pentagon’s count, but by his own count—and the accounts of his Navy SEAL teammates—the number was closer to twice that. In his four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle earned two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor. He survived six IED attacks, three gunshot wounds, two helicopter crashes, and more surgeries than he could remember. He was known among his SEAL brethren as The Legend and to his enemies as al-Shaitan, “the devil.”

He told the robbers that he just needed to reach back into the truck to get the keys. He turned around and reached under his winter coat instead, into his waistband. With his right hand, he grabbed his Colt 1911. He fired two shots under his left armpit, hitting the first man twice in the chest. Then he turned slightly and fired two more times, hitting the second man twice in the chest. Both men fell dead.

Kyle leaned on his truck and waited for the police.

When they arrived, they detained him while they ran his driver’s license. But instead of his name, address, and date of birth, what came up was a phone number at the Department of Defense. At the other end of the line was someone who explained that the police were in the presence of one of the most skilled fighters in U.S. military history. When they reviewed the surveillance footage, the officers found the incident had happened just as Kyle had described it. They were very understanding, and they didn’t want to drag a just-home, highly decorated veteran into a messy legal situation.

Kyle wasn’t unnerved or bothered. Quite the opposite. He’d been feeling depressed since he left the service, struggling to adjust to civilian life. This was an exciting reminder of the action he missed.

That night, talking on the phone to his wife, Taya, who was in the process of moving with their kids from California, he was a good husband. He asked how her day was. The way some people tell it, he got caught up in their conversation, and only right before they hung up did he remember his big news of the day: “Oh, yeah, I shot two guys trying to steal my truck today.”

A brief description of the incident appeared in fellow SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s 2012 book Service: a Navy SEAL at War— but not Kyle’s own best-seller, American Sniper—and there are mentions of it in various forums deep in the corners of the internet. Before Kyle’s murder at the hands of a fellow veteran in February, I asked him about that story during an interview in his office last year, as part of what was supposed to be an extended, in-depth magazine story about his service and how hard he worked to adjust back to this world—to become the great husband and father and Christian he’d always wanted to be.

He didn’t want to get into specifics about the gas station shooting, but I left that day believing it had happened.

• • •

By the official count, Chris Kyle racked up 160 confirmed kills as a Navy sniper. He pegged the actual number as twice that.

The offices of Craft International, the defense contractor where Chris Kyle was president until his death, were immaculate. You needed one of the broad-chested security guards from downstairs as an escort just to get to that floor of the building. Sitting under thick glass in the lobby, there was an exceptionally rare, original English translation of Galileo’s Dialogue (circa 1661). A conference room held a safe full of gigantic guns—guns illegal to own without a Department of Defense contract.

At 38, Kyle was a large man, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, and the muscles in his neck and shoulders and forearms made him seem even bigger, like a scruffy-bearded giant. When he greeted me with a direct look in the eye and a firm handshake, his huge bear paw enveloped my hand. That day he had on boots, jeans, a black t-shirt, and a baseball cap. It’s the same thing he wore most days he came to the office, or when he watched his daughter’s ballet recitals, or during television interviews with Conan O’Brien or Bill O’Reilly.

This was one of the rare chances when he’d have a few hours to talk. Over the next three days, he would be teaching a sniper course to the Dallas SWAT teams and he had three book signings, one at a hospital in Tyler (for a terminal cancer patient whose doctor reached out to him), one at Ray’s Sporting Goods in Dallas, and one at the VA in Fort Worth. He’d also have to fly down to Austin for a shooting event Craft was putting on for Speaker of the House John Boehner and several other congressmen.

“We are not doing this for free,” he said, anticipating a question. “We accept Republicans and Democrats alike, as long as the money is good.”

A few weeks later, he would have to cancel a weekend meeting because he was invited to hang out with George W. Bush. “Sorry,” he said, when asked if anyone else might be able to join. “Not even my wife’s allowed to come.”

He loved the Dallas Cowboys and the University of Texas Longhorns. He loved going to the Alamo, looking at historic artifacts. The license plate on his truck had a picture of the flag used during the Texas Revolution, with a cannon, a star, and the words COME AND TAKE IT. Being in the military forced him to move a lot, and neither of his children was born in Texas. But for each birth, he had family send a box of dirt from home—so the first ground his kids’ feet touched would be Texas soil.

He was outspoken on a lot of issues. He believed strongly in the Second Amendment, politely decrying the “incredible stupidity” of gun control laws anytime he was asked. He said he was hesitant to see the movie Zero Dark Thirty because he’d heard that it was a lot of propaganda for the Obama administration. Once, he posted to his tens of thousands of Facebook fans: “If you don’t like what I have to say or post, you forget one thing, I don’t give a shit what you think. LOL.”
chris-kyle-wife-tanya-wedding.jpg Chris Kyle and his wife Taya on their wedding day. Courtesy of Taya Kyle

He didn’t worry about sounding politically incorrect. The Craft International company slogan, emblazoned around the Punisher skull on the logo: “Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems.”

His views were nuanced, though. “If you hate the war, that’s fine,” he told me. “But you should still support the troops. They don’t get to pick where they’re deployed. They just gave the American people a blank check for anything up to and including the value of their lives, and the least everyone else can do is be thankful. Buy them dinner. Mow their yard. Bake them cookies.”

“The best way to describe Chris,” his wife, Taya, says, “is extremely multifaceted.”

He was a brutal warrior but a gentle father and husband. He was a patient instructor, and he was a persistent, sophomoric jokester. If he had access to your Facebook account, he might announce to all your friends and family that you’re gay and finally coming out of the closet. If he wanted to make you squirm, he might get hold of your phone and scroll through your photos threatening to see if you kept naked pictures of your girlfriend.

Kyle liked when people thought of him as a dumb hillbilly, but he had a remarkable ability to retain information, whether it was a mission briefing, the details of a business meeting, or his encyclopedic knowledge of his own hero, Vietnam-era Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock. While on the sniper rifle, Kyle had to do complicated math, accounting for wind speed, the spin of a bullet, and the curvature and rotation of the Earth—and he had to do it quickly, under the most intense pressure imaginable. Those were the moments when he thrived.

The most common question he was asked was easy to answer. He said he never regretted any of his kills, which weren’t all men.

“I regret the people I couldn’t kill before they got to my boys,” he said. That’s how he referred to the men and women he served with, across the branches: “my boys.”

He said he didn’t enjoy killing, but he did like protecting Americans and allies and civilians. He was the angel of death, sprawled flat atop a roof, his University of Texas Longhorns ball cap turned backward as he picked off enemy targets one by one before they could hurt his boys. He was the guardian, assigned to watch over open-air street markets and elections, the places that might make good marks for insurgent terrorists.

“You don’t think of the people you kill as people,” he said. “They’re just targets. You can’t think of them as people with families and jobs. They rule by putting terror in the hearts of innocent people. The things they would do—beheadings, dragging Americans through the streets alive, the things they would do to little boys and women just to keep them terrified and quiet—” He paused for a moment and slowed down. “That part is easy. I definitely don’t have any regrets about that.”

He said he didn’t feel like a hero. “I’m just a regular guy,” he said. “I just did a job. I was in some badass situations, but it wasn’t just me. My teammates made it possible.” He wasn’t the best sniper in the SEALs teams, he said. “I’m probably middle of the pack. I was just in the right spots at the right times.”

The way he saw it, the most difficult thing he ever did was getting out of the Navy.

“I left knowing the guy who replaced me,” he said. “If he dies, or if he messes up and other people die, that’s on me. You really feel like you’re letting down these guys you’ve gone through hell with.”

Kyle said he didn’t feel like a hero. “I’m just a regular guy,” he said.

The hardest part? “Missing my boys. Missing being around them in the action. That’s your whole life, every day for years. I hate to say it, but when you’re back and you’re just walking around a mall or something, you feel like a pussy.” It nagged at him. “You hear someone whining about something at a stoplight, and it’s like, ‘Man, three weeks ago I was getting shot at, and you’re complaining about—I don’t even care what.’ ”

There was also the struggle to readjust to his family life. “When I got out, I realized I barely knew my kids,” he said. “I barely knew my wife. In the three years before I got out, I spent a total of six months at home. It’s hard to go from God, Country, Family to God, Family, Country.”

But three years after he left the SEALs, he had a job he liked. He could do (mildly) badass things: shoot big guns, detonate an occasional string of explosives, be around a lot of other former special-operations types. His marriage was finally back in a good place. He had a book on the best-seller list. And he had the chance to help veterans through a number of charities.

“A lot of these guys just miss being around their boys, too,” he said. “They need guys who speak their speak. They don’t need to be treated like they’re special.”

He’d often take vets out to the gun range. Being around people who understood what they’d been through, being able to relax and shoot off some rounds, it was a little like group therapy.

With his family, and with training people, helping people, he had found a new purpose. Chris Kyle could do anything if he had a purpose. He’d been like that since he was a little boy.

• • •

He was the son of a church deacon and a Sunday school teacher. His father’s job at Southwestern Bell had the family moving a lot, so he was born in Odessa, but he told people he grew up “all over Texas.” About the same time he was learning to read, he learned to love guns. He liked to hunt with his father and brother. For his birthday parties, he wanted to have BB gun wars. He perched on the roof of his parents’ house waiting for his friends to dart across the yard. He wasn’t a great shot back then, but at least one friend is still walking around with one of Kyle’s BBs in his hand.

In high school in Midlothian, he played football and baseball. He showed cows through the FFA. He and his buddies cruised for girls in nearby Waxahachie. He also liked to fight. His father warned him never to start a fight. Kyle said he lived by that code “most of the time.” He found that if he was sticking up for his friends, or for kids who couldn’t defend themselves, he got to fight and he got to be the good guy at the same time. Once he felt like he was standing up for something right, he would never back down.

Bryan Rury was a close friend of Kyle’s in high school. Rury was much smaller than his friend, but it seemed they were always standing next to each other. “I think Chris liked looking like a giant,” Rury says.

One time, there was a new kid in school who was trying to make a name for himself by picking on Rury. Kyle came into class one day to find Rury quiet, upset. “He asked me what was wrong, and I wouldn’t tell him,” Rury says. “But he figured it out on his own pretty fast.”

Kyle went over to the new kid’s desk and, in his not-so-subtle, Chris Kyle way, told him he better leave his friend alone. Or else. The kid stood up from his desk, and they went at it. Kyle almost never started the fight, his friends say, but he always ended it. “As they were taking him off to the principal’s office, I just remember him flashing me that giant smile of his,” Rury says.

After high school, he went to Tarleton State for two years, mostly to postpone the responsibilities of adulthood. He spent more time drinking than studying, and soon he decided he’d rather be working on a ranch full-time. But he knew his future was in the military—in the Marines, he thought, until a Navy recruiter told him about all the cool things he could potentially do as a SEAL—and he figured he shouldn’t waste any more time.

Kyle breezed through the Navy’s basic training. He only made it through BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training by way of sheer resolve. He told stories about lying there on the beach, his arms linked with his friends’, their heads hovering above the frigid rising tide. He knew if he got up and rang the bell—if he quit—he could get hot coffee and a doughnut. The uncontrollable shivering—they called it “jackhammering”—lasted for hours, but he never wanted to stop. He joked that he was just lazy, that if the bell had only been a little closer, maybe his entire life would have been different. But the truth is, nothing could have kept him from his dream.

“He had more willpower than anyone I’ve ever met,” Taya says. “If he cared about something, he just wouldn’t ever quit. You can’t fail at something if you just never quit.”

Taya met Kyle in a bar in San Diego, just after he finished BUD/S. When she asked what he did—she suspected from the muscles and the swagger that he was in the military—he told her he drove an ice cream truck. She figured he’d be arrogant but was surprised to find him idealistic instead. But she was still skeptical. Taya’s sister had divorced a guy who was trying to become a SEAL, and she’d specifically said she could never marry someone like that.

But Kyle turned out to be quite sensitive. He was able to read her better than anyone she’d known. Even when she thought she was keeping something hidden behind a good facade, he could always see through it. That kept them from needing to talk about their emotions or constantly reassess their relationship. They got married shortly before he shipped out to Iraq for the first time.

• • •

It takes years to earn enough trust to be a SEAL sniper. Even after sniper school, Kyle had to prove himself again and again in the field, in the pressure of battle. He served other missions before Afghanistan and Iraq, in places he couldn’t discuss because the operations were classified.

As he would eventually describe in American Sniper, his first kill on the sniper rifle came in late March 2003, in Nasiriya, Iraq. It wasn’t long after the initial invasion, and his platoon—“Charlie” of SEAL Team 3—had taken a building earlier that day so they could provide overwatch for a unit of Marines thundering down the road. He was holding a bolt-action .300 Winchester Magnum that belonged to his platoon chief. He saw a woman about 50 yards away. As the Marines got closer, the woman pulled a grenade. Hollywood might have you believe that snipers aim for the head—“one shot, one kill”—but effective snipers aim for the middle of the chest, for center mass.

Kyle pulled the trigger twice.

“The public is soft,” he used to say. “They have no idea.” Because of that softness, he had to have that story, and others, cleared by the Department of Defense before he could include them in his book.

He wanted outsiders to know exactly what kind of evil the troops have had to deal with. But he understood why the Pentagon wouldn’t want to give America’s enemies any new propaganda. He knew the public didn’t want to hear about the brutal realities of war.

Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq, participating in every major campaign of the war. He was on the ground for the initial invasion in 2003. He was in Fallujah in 2004. He went back, to Ramadi in 2006, and then again, to Baghdad in 2008, where he was called in to secure the Green Zone by going into Sadr City.

Most of his platoon was in the Pacific theater before the 2004 deployment. Kyle was sent early to assist Marines clearing insurgents in Fallujah. Tales of his success in combat trickled back to his team. He was originally supposed to watch over the American forces perched at a safe distance, but he thought he could provide more protection if he was on the street, going house to house with his boys. During one firefight, it was reported that Kyle ran through a hail of bullets to pull a wounded Marine to safety. His teammates, hearing these stories, started sarcastically referring to him as The Legend.

Those stories of bravery in battle proliferated on his third deployment. A younger SEAL was with Kyle at the top of a building in Ramadi when they came under heavy fire. The younger SEAL, who is still active in the teams and can’t be named, dropped to the ground and hid behind an interior wall. When he finally looked up, he saw Kyle standing there, glued to his weapon, covering his field of fire, calling out enemy positions as he engaged.

Kyle said the combat was the worst on his last deployment, to Sadr City in 2008. The enemy was better armed than before. Now it seemed like every time there was an attack, there were rocket-propelled grenades and fights that went on for days. This was also the deployment that produced Kyle’s longest confirmed kill.

He was on the second floor of a house on the edge of a village. With the scope of his .338 Lapua, he started scanning out farther into the distance, to the edge of the next village, a mile away. He saw a figure on the roof of a one-story building. The figure didn’t seem to be doing much, and at the moment he didn’t appear to have a weapon. But later that day, as an Army convoy approached, Kyle checked again and saw the man holding what looked like an RPG. At that distance, Kyle could only estimate his calculations.

He pulled the trigger and watched through his scope as the Iraqi, 2,100 yards away, fell off the roof. It was the world’s eighth-longest confirmed kill shot by a sniper. Later, Kyle called it a “really, really lucky shot.”

Chris Kyle didn’t fit the stereotype of the sullen, lone wolf sniper. In many ways, he was far from the model serviceman. While he always kept his weapons clean, the same was not true of his living space. The way some SEALs tell it, after one deployment, his room was in such a disgusting condition that it took two days to clean. There were six months worth of spent sunflower seed shells he had spit around the bed.

He was seldom seen in anything remotely resembling a military uniform. His teammates remember him painting the Punisher skull on his body armor, helmets, and even his guns. He also cut the sleeves off his shirts. He wore civilian hunting shoes instead of combat boots. Eschewing the protection of Kevlar headgear, he wore his old Longhorns baseball cap. He told people he wore that hat so that the enemy knew Texas was represented, that “Texans shoot straight.”

Kyle heard people call snipers cowards. He would point out that snipers, especially in urban warfare, decrease the number of civilian casualties. Plus, he said, “I will reach out and get you however I can if you’re threatening American lives.”

He terrorized his enemies in true folkhero fashion. In 2006, intelligence officers reported there was a $20,000 bounty on his head. Later it went up to $80,000. He joked that he was afraid to go home at one point. “I was worried my wife might turn me in,” he said.

Taya has been asked often over the years how she reconciles the two Chris Kyles: the trained killer and the loving husband and father—the man who rolled around on the floor with his kids and planned vacations to historical sites and called from wherever he could. (Once he thought his phone was off and she ended up overhearing a firefight.) She always worried about him, but understanding how he could do what he did was never hard.

“Chris was out there fighting for his brothers because he loved them,” she says. “He wanted to protect them and make sure they all got to go home to their families.”

He never cared to talk much about the number of confirmed kills he had. It’s likely considerably higher than what the Pentagon has released, but certain records could remain classified for decades. Besides, while the number garners a lot of attention, it doesn’t tell Kyle’s story. He told people he wished he could somehow calculate the number of people he had saved. “That’s the number I’d care about,” he said. “I’d put that everywhere.”

While seeing his enemies die never gave him much pause, losing his friends devastated him. When fellow Team 3 Charlie platoon member Marc Lee died in August of 2006—the first SEAL to die in the Iraq war—Kyle was inconsolable. All of Lee’s teammates prepared remarks for a memorial service in Ramadi. Kyle wrote out a speech, but when it came time to give it, he couldn’t talk. Every time he tried, he broke down, sobbing.

“He came up and hugged me afterwards,” an active SEAL says. “He apologized. He said, ‘I’m sorry. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t do it.’ ”

It was at a similar event later that year— a wake for fallen SEAL Michael Monsoor, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of fellow SEALs—when Kyle had his now-infamous confrontation with former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura.

They were in a bar popular among SEALs in Coronado, California. Kyle said that Ventura, a former SEAL himself, was in town for an unrelated event and stopped by the wake. According to Kyle, Ventura disrespected the troops, saying something to the effect of, “You guys deserve to lose a few.” That was enough. Kyle punched him and left the bar. Ventura denied the entire incident and later filed a lawsuit against Kyle. But two other former SEALs, friends of Kyle’s, told me they were there that night, and it happened just the way Kyle said it did.

• • •

chris-kyle-deployment-children.jpg Kyle left the SEALs in 2009 so he could be a better husband to Taya and a better father to his two kids. ‘He loved being a dad,’ Taya said. Courtesy of Taya Kyle

By 2009, the life was taking its toll on Taya. She told him that, because he was gone so much, she would see him just as often if she lived somewhere else. He took that as an ultimatum. As Kyle pointed out in his book and in interviews, the divorce rate among Navy SEALs is over 90 percent. He knew he wouldn’t be able to do both. So he left his promising career, the dream job for which he felt exceptionally well-suited, the purpose that had kept him so motivated for 10 years.

“When I first got out, I had a lot of resentment,” he said. “I felt like she knew who I was when she met me. She knew I was a warrior. That was all I’d ever wanted to do.” He started drinking a lot. He stopped working out. He didn’t want to leave the house or make his usual jokes. He missed the rush of combat, the way being at war sets your priorities straight. He missed knowing that what he was doing mattered. More than anything, though, he missed his brothers in the SEALs. He wrote to them and called them. He told people it felt like a daze.

But when he wrote to his closest friends, he talked about the one benefit of being out of the Navy. In all those years at war, he’d had almost no time with his two children. And in his time out, he discovered there was something he liked even more than being a cowboy or valiant sniper.

“He loved being a dad,” Taya says. She noticed he could be rough and playful with their son and sweet and gentle with their daughter. “A lot of fathers play with their kids, but he was always on the floor with them, rolling around, making everyone giggle.”

Kyle began to feel better. He got sick of feeling sorry for himself. He didn’t want a divorce. He started working out again— “getting my mind right,” he called it.

When he met other vets who were feeling down, he told them they should try working out more, too. But many of them, especially the wounded men with missing limbs or prominent burns, explained that people stared too much. Gyms made them uncomfortable. That’s how he got the idea to put gym equipment in the homes of veterans. When he approached FITCO, the company that provides exercise machines for facilities all over the country, and asked for any used equipment, they said no. They donated new equipment instead and helped fund a nonprofit dedicated to Kyle’s mission.

“With helping people,” Taya says, “Chris found his new purpose.”

She watched him use the same willpower that had carried him through SEAL training and all those impossible missions, but now he was trying to become a better man. He started coaching his son’s tee-ball team and taking his daughter to dance practice. He’d always liked hunting, but he hated fishing. Still, when he learned that his son liked to fish, he dedicated himself to becoming a great fisherman, so they could bond the way he did with his own dad.

Kyle took the family to football games at Cowboys Stadium. He took them to church. Unless he was hanging out of a helicopter with a gun doing overwatch, he hated heights. But when his kids wanted to go, he took them to Six Flags to ride the roller coasters and to the State Fair for the Ferris wheel. His black truck became a familiar sight driving around Midlothian.

He started collecting replicas of Old West guns, like the ones the cowboys used in movies when he was a boy. Taya would find him practicing his quick draw and gun twirling skills. Sometimes they would sit on the couch, watching TV, and he would twirl an unloaded six-shooter around his finger. If she saw someone on the screen that she didn’t like, she would jokingly ask, “Can you shoot that guy?”

He’d point the pistol at the TV and pretend to fire.

“Got him, babe.”

J. Kyle Bass is a hedge fund manager in Dallas, the founder of Hayman Capital Management. He was featured prominently in the Michael Lewis book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, which documented both his keen financial mind and his fantastically opulent lifestyle. A few years ago, Bass was feeling overweight and out of shape. A former college athlete, he wanted something intense, so he found a Navy SEAL reserve commander in California, a man who gets prospective SEALs prepared for BUD/S, and asked if they could tailor a short program for him. Bass found that he really liked hanging out with the future and active SEALs. He said if they knew any SEALs coming back to Texas, he’d love to meet them.

That’s how Bass met Chris Kyle. Bass was building a new house at the time, and he offered to fly in Kyle and pay him for some security consulting.

“I was just trying to come up with anything to help the guy out,” Bass says. “I was looking for ways to try and help him make this transition back into the real world.”
chris-kyle-portrait2.jpg Photography by Brandon Thibodeaux

Bass invited Kyle to live at his house with him while Taya finished selling their place in San Diego. He introduced Kyle to as many “big money” people as he could. And the wealthy men were enthralled by Chris Kyle. They loved being around the legend. They loved hearing his stories and invited him to go hunting on their ranches. Bass would hold an economic summit every year at his ranch in East Texas. He would kick off the festivities by introducing his sniper friends.

“I’d have Chris and other SEALs come out and do exhibition shoots,” Bass says. “They would take 600-yard shots at binary explosives, so when they hit them it’s this giant explosion that shakes the ground.” He smiles as he tells the story. “For all the people that manage money all over the world and on Wall Street to come to Texas and see a Navy SEAL sniper shoot a bomb, it’s about as cool as it gets.”

Bass and some business associates also helped start Craft International. They put the Craft offices on the same floor as Hayman, so the finance folks and the defense contractors often crossed paths. Despite working in a plush office building in downtown Dallas, Kyle didn’t change much. Even if he saw an important meeting, it wouldn’t stop him from grinning and flipping off an entire room of people.

The idea was to market Kyle’s skills. He could help train troops (a lot of military training is done by third-party contractors), and police officers, and wealthy businessmen who would pay top dollar for hands-on instruction from an elite warrior like Chris Kyle. He could take people out to Rough Creek Lodge in Glen Rose, a luxury resort with an extended shooting range. It’s the same place he would take buddies and wounded vets when they were feeling down and needed to unwind.

• • •

Kyle insisted that he never had any intention of writing of a book. He was told there were already other writers working on it, and he figured if it was going to happen anyway, he might as well participate. He wanted to give credit where he felt it was due.

He and Taya were flown to New York in the middle of winter, to meet writer Jim DeFelice and begin pouring out their story. The interviews were exhausting.

In 2006, intelligence officers reported there was a $20,000 bounty on his head. Later it went up to $80,000.

“He was not naturally loquacious,” DeFelice says. “Nor did he particularly like to talk about himself. When we first started working together, telling me what happened in the war put an enormous strain on him. He was reliving battles in great detail for the first time since he’d gotten out of the service. He could have been killed in any number of the situations he’d been in. That’s a reality that can be difficult to comprehend at the time, and even harder to understand later on.”

Kyle did find time at one point for a snowball fight with DeFelice’s 13-year-old son. The war hero claimed he’d had plenty of experience in snow, but on this day, the boy got the better of him. Kyle came running in and grabbed a beer.

“Okay, kid,” Kyle told him. “Now you can say you beat a Navy SEAL in a snowball fight.”

Kyle decided not to take a dime from American Sniper. As it became a best-seller, his share amounted to more than $1.5 million. He gave two-thirds to the families of fallen teammates and the rest to a charity that helped wounded veterans. It was something he and Taya discussed a lot.

“I would ask him, ‘How much is enough? Where does your family fit in?’ ” she says.

“But I understood.”

When the book came out, everyone wanted to interview him. He was on late-night talk shows, cable news, and radio. He did a number of reality TV shows related to shooting. (He rarely took much money from the appearances.) He always went on with a ball cap on his head and a wad of tobacco in his mouth.

He had 1,200 people at his first public book signing. It was similar in every town. He preferred to stand for the length of the book signings. “If y’all are standing, I can stand,” he said. He would wait until he signed every book he was asked to, even if it took hours. It often did, because he wanted to take a moment to talk with each person. He tried to personalize each book. He’d pose for photos, one after another.

As he became more famous, more people wanted to spend time with him. More politicians wanted to go shooting with him. At one point, he was at a range with Governor Rick Perry. Perry was about to shoot the sniper rifle and asked Kyle if he had an extra pad to put on the cement before he lay down. Kyle replied with a mock-serious tone.

“You know, Governor,” he said, “Ann Richards was out here not too far back, and she didn’t need a pad at all.”

A good friend once introduced him to the movie star Natalie Portman. He asked her what she did for a living. And, as the story goes, she liked him even more after that.

Then there is this story: Kyle had been invited to a luxury suite at a UT football game and decided to take a heartbroken buddy of his, a Dallas police officer who had recently caught his girlfriend making out with another guy. They were in the suite for a few hours, talking, drinking, when a former UT football star happened to walk in. At some point, Kyle realized that this former star was also the guy who had kissed his friend’s girlfriend.

Kyle’s friend knew what was coming. He begged him not to, but it was in vain.

“It’s man law,” Kyle said.

He had a party trick he liked to perform, a sleeper hold that would render a man unconscious in seconds. Kyle called it a “hug.” People would dare him to do it to them, saying they wouldn’t go down.

Sure enough, Kyle approached the former star and gave him a “hug” right there in the suite. As women were shrieking and wondering if the former UT great was dead, Kyle kept the hold for just a little longer than normal, causing the man to lose control of his bowels as he passed out.

It wasn’t just his friends he took care of. People wrote to him from all over the world, asking for favors or for his time, especially after he started appearing on TV. He did his best to accommodate every request he could, even when Taya was worried he was spreading himself too thin.

“He was so trusting,” she says. “He didn’t let himself worry about much.”

• • •

Jodi Rough, a teacher’s aide at anelementary school close to Kyle’s home, had a son, a former Marine, who needed help. She reached out to Kyle because she knew his history of caring for veterans. Kyle told people he and his friend, Chad Littlefield, were going to take the kid out to blow off some steam.

Littlefield was a quiet buddy Kyle had come to count on over the last few years. They worked out and went hunting together. He had come over a few nights earlier to have Kyle adjust the scope of his rifle. Kyle invited Littlefield to come with him to Rough Creek. They were going to take Jodi Routh’s son shooting. Littlefield had accompanied Kyle on similar trips dozens of times.

They were in Kyle’s big black truck when they showed up in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, at the home Eddie Ray Routh shared with his parents. He was a stringy, scraggly 25-year-old. He’d spent four years in the Marines but in the last few months had twice been hospitalized for mental illness. His family worried that he was suicidal. They hoped time with a war hero, a legend like Chris Kyle, might help.

It was a little after lunch on Saturday, February 2, when they picked up Routh and headed west on Highway 67. They got to Rough Creek Lodge around 3:15 pm. They turned up a snaking, 3-mile road toward the lodge and let a Rough Creek employee know they were heading to the range, another mile and a half down a rocky, unpaved road.

This was a place Kyle loved. He had given many lessons here over the last three years. He’d spend hours working with anyone who showed an interest in shooting. This is where he would take his boys when they needed to get away. In the right light, the dry, blanched hills and cliffs looked a little like the places they’d been in Iraq. When a group went out there, away from the rest of the world, they could relax and enjoy the camaraderie so many of them missed.

We may never know exactly what happened next. They weren’t there long, police suspect, before Routh turned his semiautomatic pistol on Kyle and Littlefield. He took Kyle’s truck, left Rough Creek, and headed east on 67. Later he would tell his sister that he “traded his soul for a new truck.” A hunting guide from the lodge spotted two bodies covered in blood, both shot multiple times.

Routh drove to a friend’s house in Alvarado and called his sister. He drove to her house where, his sister told police, he was “out of his mind.” He told her he’d murdered two people, that he’d shot them “before they could kill him.” He said “people were sucking his soul” and that he could “smell the pigs.” She told him he needed to turn himself in.

From there, Routh drove home to Lancaster, where the police were waiting for him. When they tried to talk him out of the truck, he sped off. With the massive grill guard, he ripped through the front of a squad car. They chased Routh through Lancaster and into Dallas. He was headed north on I-35 when the motor of Kyle’s truck finally burned out, near Wheatland Road. Routh was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.

• • •

chris-kyle-memorial-cowboys-stadium.jpg Thousands of people attended Kyle’s memorial service at Cowboys Stadium. Courtesy of Taya Kyle

Chris Kyle’s memorial was held at Cowboys Stadium to accommodate the 7,000 people who wanted to pay their respects. Before the doors even opened that morning, there was a line wrapped halfway around the stadium, people standing patiently in the cold, damp air.

Plenty of people attending knew Kyle. But most didn’t. Some had read his book or seen him on television. Some had only heard of him after his death. Men missed work and took their boys out of school because they thought it was important. Families traveled from three states away.

Most people wore black. Many wore dress uniforms. His SEAL team was there, as were other SEALs and special-operations fighters from multiple generations. There were police officers and sheriff’s deputies and Texas Rangers. Veterans of World War II, some in wheelchairs, nodded to each other quietly as they made their way into the stadium. Some men had served in Korea, some in Vietnam, some in the first Gulf War. There were many servicemen who never served during a war and many people who had never served at all, but they all felt compelled to come.

Celebrities came, including Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman and Sarah Palin. Hundreds of motorcycle riders lined the outside of the field. Bagpipe players and drummers came from all over the state. A military choir stood at the ready the entire time.

A stage was set up in the middle of the football field. On the stage was a podium, some speakers, and a few microphone stands. At the front of the stage, amid a mound of flowers, were Kyle’s gun, his boots, his body armor, and his helmet.

Photos from Kyle’s life scrolled by on the gigantic screen overhead: a boy, getting a shotgun for Christmas. A young cowboy, riding a horse. A SEAL, clean-shaven and bright-eyed. In combat, scanning for targets. In the desert, flying a Texas flag. With his platoon, a fearsome image of American might. At home, hugging Taya, kissing the foot of his baby girl, holding the hand of his little boy.

His casket was draped with the American flag and placed on the giant star at the 50-yard line.

Randy Travis played “Whisper My Name,” and “Amazing Grace.” Joe Nichols played “The Impossible.” Kyle’s friend Scott Brown played a song called “Valor.” The public heard stories about what Kyle was like as a little boy. What he was like in training. What he was like at war. What he was like as a friend and business partner. Some people talked about the times they saw him cry. Fellow SEALs told stories about his resolve, his humor, his bravery. There were tales of his compassion, his intelligence, his dedication to God.

“Though we feel sadness and loss,” one of his former commanders said, “know this: legends never die. Chris Kyle is not gone. Chris Kyle is everywhere. He is the fabric of the freedom that blessed the people of this great nation. He is forever embodied in the strength and tenacity of the SEAL teams, where his courageous path will be followed and his memory is enshrined as SEALs continue to ruthlessly hunt down and destroy America’s enemies.”

Taya stood strong, surrounded by her husband’s SEAL brothers, and told the world about their love.

“God knew it would take the toughest and softest-hearted man on earth to get a hardheaded, cynical, hard-loving woman like me to see what God needed me to see, and he chose you for the job,” she said, her cracking voice filling the stadium. “He chose well.”

When the ceremony ended, uniformed pallbearers carried out the casket to the sounds of mournful bagpipes. Taya walked behind them with her children, hand in handThe next day, the casket was driven to Austin. There was a procession nearly 200 miles long—almost certainly the longest in American history. People lined the road in every town, waving flags and saluting. American flags were draped over every single bridge on I-35 between the Kyle home in Midlothian and the state capital.

• • •

People will tell stories about Chris Kyle for generations to come. Tales of his feats in battle, and of his antics and noble deeds, will probably swell. In a hundred years, people won’t know which stories are completely true and which were embellished over time. And, in the end, it may not matter too much, because people believe in legends for all their own reasons.

Since her husband’s death, Taya has been overwhelmed by the number of veterans who want to tell her that Chris Kyle saved their lives. A man with a 2-year-old girl wept recently as he explained that his daughter would not have been born had it not been for Chris Kyle rescuing him in Iraq. Years from now, men will still be telling stories about the moments when they were seconds or inches from death, when they thought it was all over—only to have a Chris Kyle bullet fly from the heavens and take out their enemies. They’ll tell their grandchildren to thank Chris Kyle in their prayers.

Because his legend is so large, because he personally protected so many people, there will surely be men who think they were saved by Kyle but owe their lives to a different sniper or to another serviceman. Of course, there will be no way to know for sure. Kyle credited his SEAL brothers any chance he could, but he also knew that he was an American hero, and he knew the complications that came with it.

During the interview in which he discussed the gas station incident, he didn’t say where it happened. Most versions of the story have him in Cleburne, not far from Fort Worth. The Cleburne police chief says that if such an incident did happen, it wasn’t in his town. Every other chief of police along Highway 67 says the same thing. Public information requests produced no police reports, no coroner reports, nothing from the Texas Rangers or the Department of Public Safety. I stopped at every gas station along 67, Business 67 in Cleburne, and 10 miles in either direction. Nobody had heard of anything like that happening.

A lot of people will believe that, because there are no public documents or witnesses to corroborate his story, Kyle must have been lying. But why would he lie? He was already one of the most decorated veterans of the Iraq war. Tales of his heroism on the battlefield were already lore in every branch of the armed forces.

People who never met Kyle will think there must have been too much pressure on him, a war hero who thought he might seem purposeless if he wasn’t killing bad guys. Conspiracy theorists will wonder if maybe every part of his life story—his incredible kills, his heroic tales of bravery in the face of death—was concocted by the propaganda wing of the Pentagon.

And, of course, other people—probably most people—will believe the story, because it was about Chris Kyle. He was one of the few men in the entire world capable of such a feat. He was one of the only people who might have had the connections to make something like that disappear—he did work regularly with the CIA. People will believe it because Chris Kyle was incredible, the most celebrated war hero of our time, a true American hero in every sense of the word. They’ll believe this story because there are already so many verified stories of his lethal abilities and astonishing valor, stories of him hanging out with presidents, and ribbing governors, and knocking out former football stars and billionaires and cocky frat boys.

They’ll believe it because Chris Kyle is already a legend, and sometimes we need to believe in legends.


France/US: Cachez ce rêve américain que je ne saurai voir (Protestant work ethic 101: Cadillac shamelessly celebrates American dream and enrages both espresso-sipping French and US liberals)

13 avril, 2014

https://i0.wp.com/www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/files/2014/04/oecd.pnghttps://i2.wp.com/cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full-width/images/2013/09/blogs/free-exchange/working_hours_picture_1_2.pnghttp://evanstonpubliclibrary.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/big-shoulders.jpg?w=398&h=530J’entends chanter l’Amérique, j’entends ses diverses chansons, Celles des ouvriers, chacun chantant la sienne joyeuse et forte comme elle doit l’être … Walt Whitman
Fier d’être le Charcutier de l’Univers, l’Outilleur, le Glaneur de Blé, l’Ouvrier du Rail et le Manutentionnaire de la Nation ... Carl Sandberg
Une bonne partie de ce que nous observons dans les relations entre la France et les Etats-Unis est le produit d’une structure de relations que l’on doit penser comme la confrontation entre deux impérialismes de l’universel. (…) La France est une sorte d’idéologie réalisée: être français, c’est se sentir en droit d’universaliser son intérêt particulier, cet intérêt particulier qui a pour particularité d’être universel. Et doublement en quelque sorte: universel en matière de politique, avec le modèle pur de la révolution universelle, universel en matière de culture, avec le modèle de chic (de Paris). On comprend que, bien que son monopole de l’universel soit fortement contesté, en particulier par les Etats-Unis, la France reste l’arbitre des élégances en matière de radical chic, comme on dit outre-Atlantique ; elle continue à donner le spectacle des jeux de l’universel, et, en particulier, de cet art de la transgression qui fait les avant-gardes politiques et/ou artistiques, de cette manière (qui se sent inimitable) de se sentir toujours au-delà, et au-delà du delà, de jouer avec virtuosité de tous les registres, difficile à accorder, de l’avant-gardisme politique et de l’avant-gardisme culturel (…) C’est dire que nombre des choses qui s’écrivent ou se disent, à propos de la France ou des USA ou de leurs rapports, sont le produit de l’affrontement entre deux impérialismes, entre un impérialisme en ascension et un impérialisme en déclin, et doivent sans doute beaucoup à des sentiments de revanche ou de ressentiment, sans qu’il soit exclu qu’une partie des réactions que l’on serait porté à classer dans l’antiaméricanisme du ressentiment puissent et doivent être comprises comme des stratégies de résistance légitime à des formes nouvelles d’impérialisme… (…) En fait, on ne peut attendre un progrès vers une culture réellement universelle – c’est-à-dire une culture faite de multiples traditions culturelles unifiées par la reconnaissance qu’elles s’accordent mutuellement – que des luttes entre les impérialismes de l’universel. Ces impérialismes, à travers les hommages plus ou moins hypocrites qu’ils doivent rendre à l’universel pour s’imposer, tendent à le faire avancer et, à tout le moins, à le constituer en recours susceptible d’être invoqué contre les impérialismes mêmes qui s’en réclament. Pierre Bourdieu
Pourquoi on travaille autant ? Pourquoi ? Pour ça ?  Pour tous ces trucs ? Dans d’autres pays, ils travaillent, ils rentrent tranquillement chez eux, ils s’arrêtent au café, ils se prennent tout le mois d’août pour les vacances. Tout le mois d’août ! Pourquoi vous êtes pas comme ça ? Pourquoi, nous, on est pas comme ça ? Parce qu’on est des croyants accros au travail. Voilà pourquoi ! Ces autres pays, ils nous prennent pour des fous et alors ? Est-ce que  les frères Wright étaient fous ? Bill Gates ? Les Paul ? Ali ?  On était fous quand on est allé sur la lune ?  Oui, parce que nous, on y est allé Et vous savez quoi ? On a trouvé ça ennuyeux. Alors on est reparti.  On a laissé une voiture là-bas avec les clés dessus. Vous savez pourquoi ? Parce qu’on est les seuls à pouvoir y retourner. Voilà pourquoi. Mais je m’éloigne du sujet. Vous voyez: c’est assez simple. On travaille dur, on crée ses propres chances et on sait que tout est possible. Quant à tous ces trucs ? C’est le bon côté de prendre que deux semaines de vacances en août. N’est-ce pas ? Publicité Cadillac
Average American employee only takes half of earned vacxation:paid time off; 61% report working while on vacation.Glassdoor survey
N’en déplaise à Louis Gallois, la croissance de la productivité horaire française est bien plus élevée que 0,8%: +1,3% en 2011 selon l’OCDE, + 1,4% selon l’Insee. Certes, en comparaison, la productivité horaire des Allemands a augmenté de 1,6% sur la même période, et de 1,5% en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Mais la productivité horaire d’un Français est parmi les plus élevée des pays industrialisés: 57,7 dollars en 2011 contre 55,3 dollars pour un Allemand et 44 dollars en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Seuls les Américains (60,3 dollars), les Norvégiens (81,5 dollars), les Néerlandais (59,8 dollars), les Luxembourgeois (78,9), les Irlandais (66,4) et les Belges (59,2) sont plus productifs. Quant à la productivité globale – la valeur ajoutée brute -, elle a augmenté de 2,7% l’an dernier, à 1789 milliards d’euros. (…) Il est toutefois faux de croire que les Français ne travaillent que 35 heures par semaine: heures supplémentaires comprises, la durée hebdomadaire de travail des salariés à temps complet était, en 2011, de 39,5 heures (52,7 heures pour les non salariés). Certes, c’est moins que les Allemands (40,4 heures en moyenne par semaine) et que l’ensemble des Européens (40,4 heures). Mais, au total en 2011, les Français ont travaillé 1475 heures selon l’OCDE, contre 1411 heures pour les Allemands! Car si l’Allemagne n’a pas réduit le temps de travail des salariés à temps plein, elle a en revanche massivement développé le temps partiel. Reste que les Français ont des marges de progression: la moyenne en zone euro est de 1573 heures de travail par an, et de 1775 heures dans l’ensemble des pays de l’OCDE. Ceux qui travaillent le plus sont les Mexicains (2250 heures par an) et les Sud-Coréens (2193 heures par an). L’Expansion
The Greeks are some of the most hardworking in the OECD, putting in over 2,000 hours a year on average. Germans, on the other hand, are comparative slackers, working about 1,400 hours each year. But German productivity is about 70% higher. Alternatively, the graph above might suggest that people who work fewer hours are more productive. (…) There are aberrations, of course. Americans are relatively productive and work relatively long hours. And within the American labour force hours worked among the rich have risen while those of the poor have fallen The Economist
A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health. In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. The Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent. Daytime naps have a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time. Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60- to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep. MORE vacations are similarly beneficial. In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm. (…) In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives. The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. The NYT
Alors que les Américains s’appauvrissent constamment depuis 2004, la tendance est inverse au Capitole où les élus sont de plus en plus riches. C’est ce que révèle une enquête publiée par le New York Times, basée sur des données du Centre pour une politique réactive (Center for Responsive Politics), et qui montre que 250 des 535 membres du Congrès américains sont millionnaires. Si l’endroit a toujours été peuplé par des personnes plutôt aisées, l’écart avec le reste du peuple n’a en revanche jamais été aussi marqué. Le revenu net médian des représentants et sénateurs culmine à 913.000 de $ (705.000 €) et ne cesse d’augmenter, quand celui des Américains dans son ensemble, continuellement en baisse, avoisine aujourd’hui les 100.000 $ (77.000 €). Plus surprenant, le revenu du Congrès a augmenté de 15% en sept ans, période durant laquelle celui des Américains les plus fortunés a pour sa part stagné. Pour tous les autres, le revenu médian a baissé de 8% pour cette même période. Si cet écart de richesse aurait pu passer inaperçu en temps normal, en pleine crise économique, il choque. Des fortunes qui dépassent les 100 millions de $. (…) Pour tenter d’expliquer comment les parlementaires font pour continuer de s’enrichir en ces temps de morosité économique, plusieurs pistes sont évoquées. Certains analystes, cités par le New York Times, estiment que c’est tout simplement parce que la politique s’adresse avant tout aux personnes aisées. Lors des élections de 2010, le coût d’une campagne victorieuse pour le Sénat s’élevait en moyenne à 10 millions de $ et à 1,4 million pour une place au sein de la Chambre des représentants. De facto, seules des personnes avec déjà des moyens conséquents sont à même de se lancer en politique. Une fois entré au Congrès, le parlementaire touche un salaire annuel de base de 174.000 $ (qui a augmenté de 10% depuis 2004, soit un peu moins que l’inflation). À ce salaire s’ajoutent plusieurs avantages auquel le citoyen lambda n’a pas accès: des primes d’ancienneté, des pensions de retraite et une sécurité sociale en or. Le Washington Post explique aussi qu’une fois en place, les sénateurs et les représentants jouissent d’un réseau et de nouveaux moyens qui leurs permettent d’augmenter leurs pécules. Les données récoltées par le Center for Responsive Politics montrent que les parlementaires feraient d’excellents résultats sur les marchés boursiers. D’après des chercheurs de l’université de Géorgie, qui ont étudié la question, ces performances seraient le fruit d’un «important avantage d’informations» dû à leurs positions. Le Figaro
Even if the clip was a bit corny and overdone, the late Paul Harvey was a masterful throaty narrator in the romantic age before the onset of America’s now ubiquitous metrosexual nasal intonation. Harvey just didn’t sound different from the present generation, but from what we suspect, he sounded different from most generations to come as well. One reason that our age cannot make a Shane, High Noon, or The Searchers is that most of our suburban Hollywood actors cannot even fake the accent of either the frontier or the tragic hero anymore. When Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall go, so goes too the last link to the cinema’s Westerner. There are no more voices like Slim Pickens or Ben Johnson. (…) It was not just Harvey’s mid-20th century voice that intrigued millions, but his unapologetic praise of the farmer’s work ethic, religiosity, and family values that he implied were at the core of American greatness, and were shared by all sorts of other American originals: the truck driver, the steel worker, or waitress whom we now all praise and yet prep our children not to be. We suspect that our kids would be better off at forty for spending a summer on a tractor at fifteen, but we just can’t seem to risk the loss of a season’s computer camp or eco-camp in the bargain. (…) I suppose the images resonated in 2013 in a way that they would have seemed passé in 1950, but not just because farmers then were about 15% of the population and now make up less than 1%, and so currently earn the added intrigue accorded to vanishing in the manner of the rhino or blue whale. The commercial instead was mostly a hit because of the sharp contrast, not just with the Petronian spectacle of today’s Super Bowl extravaganza, but also with the general tenor of the times of 2013 in particular.Victor Davis Hanson
Rather than millionaires, the spot’s targeted at customers who make around $200,000 a year. They’re consumers with a « little bit of grit under their fingernails » who « pop in and out of luxury » when and how they see fit. These are people who haven’t been given anything. Every part of success they’ve achieved has been earned through hard work and hustle. . . . One of the ways they reward themselves for their hard work is through the purchase of a luxury car … Right up front, Mr. McDonough dismisses the idea the reason American work so hard is to buy « stuff. » What he’s really saying is that Americans work hard because that’s what they love to do. Luxury cars and other expensive goodies are a byproduct of success; not the objective. It’s basically saying hard work creates its own luck. In order to achieve it, you just have to believe anything’s possible. You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in possibilities. It’s really about optimism. It’s really a fundamental human truth: optimism about creating your own future. It’s not about materialism. … Cadillac does not want to « guilt » people into buying an American rather than a European luxury car. The last thing in the world we want to do is comes across as: ‘It’s your duty to buy an American car.’ I don’t think anybody wakes up wanting to hear that. . . . The strategy was really to play off the consumer insights around this notion of achievement earned through hard work and hustle — and celebrating that. Since it’s a U.S.-based spot, we used metaphors to talk about other people who received their success through hard work … Reaction is running about 3-1 in favor of the spot with the young consumer audience on YouTube. But some people are offended at the perceived workaholic message when millions of people are out work and others are just getting by. Again, that’s not what Cadillac intended … We’re not making a statement saying, ‘We want people to work hard.’ What we’re saying is that hard work has its payoffs. Find something you love to do, do it incredibly well and there’s a reward for that. Whether its personal satisfaction, whether its fulfillment, whether that’s money … Rogue found and cast Mr. McDonough in an early version of the spot that they used to pitch and ultimately win Cadillac’s $250 million creative account last year. Cadillac and Rogue later went back and remade the spot with Mr. McDonough to create the version on-air now. We just liked his attitude … [It’s a dissertation on American values] Sure. But what people forget is that still just a car ad. What made Cadillac happiest is consumers recognize ELR as an electric car — although Mr. McDonough never states that explicitly. It’s sparked an interesting and thought-provoking debate. Craig Bierley
The only thing to upset the early-morning serenity was the single most obnoxious television ad ever made: the one for Cadillac, in which the life of the tiniest one per cent of the one per cent is represented as an American birthright. It’s the one with the appalling guy who high-fives his kids (without looking at them) and then ends with an anti-French flourish: “You work hard; you create your own luck. And all that stuff? That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August, n’est-ce pas?” The French is proudly mispronounced, but if any Francophone ad were as aggressively anti-American as this one is against the French, you’d be reading about it for weeks in the Wall Street Journal. That the French summer vacation is not a rule forced on the rich entrepreneur—who can scheme on his yacht all August if he likes—but a protection for the poor worker he employs, is not something that occurs to the Cadillac mind. (If you want to understand why the rest of the world likes to watch Americans lose, this ad explains it all.) Adam Gopnik
« There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American, but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them. The Huffington Post
Why are we looking to Europe for guidance? They take the month of August off, there’s 14% unemployment, they’re welfare states. They sit around and they move at a leisurely pace. They can’t defend themselves. They rely on us for that. What in the world is there to model ourselves after? … Oh, man, I’ll tell you, they look at this as an assault on Europe. They look at it as an assault on sidewalk cafes, Starbucks and this kind of thing. They look at it as an assault on their lifestyle. Remember, these are the people telling us that you are liberated when you get fired. You’re liberated when you lose your job because now you don’t have to do some stupid job to have health care because the government will give it to you. You don’t have to work anymore. That’s where they come from. Yeah, you can finally go discover the inner artist in you, and you now can join the legion of great human beings who have painted. You can be one of them, not tied to some silly job … But that’s the lifestyle, that’s sophistication, you see. Sophistication is, work? I’ll do what I have to. I’m gonna really devote myself to what’s important. I’m going to go paint. Then I’m gonna go visit a museum. After I visit the museum, then I’m gonna go to the art gallery, and after I finish the art gallery, I’m gonna head over back to the espresso cafe. When I finish there I’m gonna head to the real bar and I’m gonna have a couple shots, maybe some white wine, maybe some Camembert. When I finish there, I’m then gonna go to the craft show at the local community center where I’m gonna learn how to knit and sew and knit and peel and whatever, and then I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna water my garden. And right before I go to bed, I’m gonna add to the poem I’ve been writing for the past month. Yes, I’ll work on my poetry. When I finish my poetry, I will then retire and go to bed. And when I awaken, I will get up, and I will hate the fact that the first part of my day is a job where I’m going to be exploited by some evil capitalist. But I’ll go do it anyway so that when it’s over I can stroll back to the espresso bar and maybe while I’m at the espresso bar, I’ll dream of inventing the flying car, and I’ll write it and scribble it out there on my Microsoft Surface, because I don’t want to the best, the iPad. No. And then I just repeat the cycle. I’ll go to a different museum and I’ll go see different displays, exhibits and so forth. That’s sophistication. That is what we should aspire to. All this hard-work stuff, what a crock. If you do work, by the way, if you do get sucked in, make sure you work for a nonprofit. In fact, the best thing you, make sure you run a nonprofit. That way you can really get paid for not doing anything. That way you’re not working for some enterprise devoted to the evil of profit. No, you’re working for a nonprofit. You will live off what other people give you and you will claim that you are better people, because you have not been soiled by the poisons of capitalism. There isn’t any profit or loss in what you do. You’re interested in public service. Then, when you finish that, it’s to the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter, just to look in, just to see that people are there, and you’ll feel great about yourself because you care. And then you’ll demand the rich pay higher taxes so that the soup kitchen doesn’t close … Here’s the thing about hard work. Hard work is hard — and, by the way, folks, not everybody loves their work. This commercial is an indication of what can happen if you work hard, even though you may not like it. But you know what this commercial really is? By the way, this commercial was originally not for an electric car. They made this ad about an electric car to try to soften the blow so it would offend these leftist wackos less. Rush Limbaugh

Cachez ce rêve américain que je ne saurai voir !

Alors qu’au pays aux éternels trois millions de chomeurs, un jeune entrepreneur  et l’organe de presse qui publiait sa tribune libre se voient assigner en justice pour avoir osé remettre en question les méthodes anticoncurrentielles d’une compagnie de taxis …

Et qu’à la suite d’un président du Très Grand Capital recordman toutes catégories des levées de fonds et des dépenses de campagne et avec le nouvel assouplissement des règles que vient de voter la Cour suprême, des parlementaires américains toujours plus riches vont pouvoir, démocrates en tête, s’enrichir un peu plus …

Comment s’étonner de la belle unanimité du tollé qu’a suscité, chez les têtes pensantes des deux côtés de l’Atlantique, la véritable ode au rêve américain et à l’éthique du travail qu’avait lancée Cadillac sur les petits écrans en février dernier pour vendre sa nouvelle berline ?

Où, au prix d’un double contresens confondant matérialisme et accomplissement personnel et critiquant la conversion d’une entreprise à l’écologie qui aurait dû les séduire (la berline est en fait hybride-électrique), nos professionnels de la nouvelle police de la pensée politiquement correcte se ruent comme un seul homme  sur le chiffon rouge de l’image d’une Amérique à nouveau fière d’elle-même

Dans une pub il est vrai où, contrairement à l’habile parodie qu’en a fait aussitôt après son concurrent Ford pour vendre sa propre voiture électrique (avec femme noire, comme il se doit, modèle de modestie et de bonne conscience écologique), la vénérable compagnie au nom si mythiquement français choisissait pour l’incarner un acteur blond et bien dans sa peau, étalant sans vergogne sa réussite et celle de son pays tout en taclant au passage les quatre semaines de congés payés d’un pays pourtant, du moins pour ceux qui ont la chance d’avoir un travail, des plus productifs  …

La pub anti-Français de Cadillac
Le Nouvel Observateur
11-04-2014

Le dernier spot de la marque de luxe laisse entendre que les Français sont des paresseux passant leur temps à se délecter des congés payés. Charming.

Les publicités pour voiture ne font pas toujours preuve d’une grande finesse. C’est le cas du dernier spot de Cadillac.

Tout commence sur fond de grosse maison américaine. Un homme, dénommé Nel McDonough, se tient devant la piscine, et pose une question existentielle : « Pourquoi travaillons-nous autant ? » « Pour tout ça », dit-il en traversant sa villa, « pour toutes ces choses matérielles ».

« Dans d’autres pays, ils rentrent chez eux tôt, s’arrêtent au café et prennent des vacances tout le mois d’août », poursuit-il.

Ce « nous », ce sont bien sûr les Américains, et les « autres pays », la France avec ses 35 heures, ses congés payés et ses bistrots à tous les coins de rue.

Nel McDonough ne lésine sur aucun argument pour démontrer le caractère « ambitieux » et « acharné » des Américains dont les Français seraient dépourvus : Neil Armstrong et les premiers pas sur la lune, Bill Gates… Dans son costume gris des plus chics, Nel McDonough pour finir débranche son bolide électrique en déclarant que la vie, finalement, « c’est assez simple. Vous travaillez dur, vous créez vos propres chances, vous devez croire que tout est possible. Et tous ces biens ? C’est l’avantage de ne prendre que deux semaines de vacances en août ».

Et de conclure par un clin d’œil « N’est-ce pas ? ». En français bien sûr.

Voir aussi:

L’affligeante pub anti-française de Cadillac
La marque de General Motors propose dans un spot une vision caricaturale de Français forcément paresseux.
Marc Naimark
Slate
11/04/2014

Il est vaguement ironique qu’une marque automobile qui tire son nom du fondateur français du Fort Ponchartrain, devenu la ville de Detroit, décide de faire du French-bashing. Ah oui, ces Frogs, ces cheese-eating surrender monkeys, connus pour leur paresse, les 35 heures, la déconnexion de leurs mails professionnel à 18h et les quatre semaines passées à bronzer parmi les coquillages et crustacés en août! Quelle différence avec ces Yankees travailleurs, se délectant des heures passées à tout faire sauf ne rien faire.

C’est justement le trait de caractère qu’utilise Cadillac, la gamme de luxe de General Motors, qui tire son nom d’un certain Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, dans une pub télé pour son modèle ELR mettant en scène l’acteur Neil McDonough (Frères d’armes, Desperate Housewives, etc.).

Dans ce spot, McDonough se promène de sa belle piscine vers sa non moins belle villa, de la superbe cuisine de celle-ci vers son vaste salon, en nous posant une question existentielle: pourquoi travaille-t-on autant? Pour tous ces biens matériels? Pour une marque de luxe, il va de soi que la réponse, après un discours un peu erratique sur la folie américaine, sera «oui».

«N’est-ce pas?» en français dans le texte

Durant ce plaidoyer en faveur du matérialisme, McDonough oppose aux Américains «d’autres pays» (en fait, la France) où, après le boulot, on se prélasse à la terrasse d’un café, où l’on passe tout le mois d’août en vacances, où l’on sait apprécier la vie.

Ceux-là méprisent les Américains ambitieux et acharnés au travail en les traitant de fous. Mais les frères Wright, pionniers de l’aviation, n’étaient-ils pas fous? N’était-ce pas fou d’aller sur la Lune et d’y retourner plusieurs fois avant de s’en ennuyer, laissant des bagnoles là-haut, sûrs que les seuls capables d’y retourner seront des Américains (surtout, ne le dites pas aux Chinois…)?

McDonough rentre dans son dressing et ressort en costume, prêt à sortir débrancher le bolide électrique à générateur intégré garé devant sa villa, en concluant:

«Les biens matériels, c’est le bon côté de ne prendre que quinze jours de vacances.»

Avec comme conclusion, un «N’est-ce pas?» évidemment en français dans le texte.

Effort pour un monde meilleur

A la caricature du Français qui sait vivre mais qui ne connaîtra jamais le plaisir d’avoir autant de choses que l’Américain, Ford, dans une nouvelle pub qui répond à celle de Cadillac, vient d’opposer une autre vision. Le spot met en scène, non pas un acteur, mais une personne réelle, Pashon Murray, la fondatrice de Detroit Dirt, entreprise du secteur social et solidaire qui récupère les déchets pour les transformer en compost destiné aux fermes urbaines d’une Detroit dépeuplée.

Dans cette pub, calque exacte de celle de Cadillac mais pour une voiture électrique bien plus modeste, Murray propose une troisième voie: ni paresse ni obsession accumulatrice, mais l’effort pour un monde meilleur.

La pub Cadillac se voulait provocatrice et clivante. General Motors prétend que les réactions étaient largement en sa faveur, mais a néanmoins choisi de ranger ce spot au placard après l’avoir diffusé massivement lors des JO de Sotchi, au profit de spots Internet destinés à mettre en évidence les avantages d’une voiture électrique et les autres innovations luxo-technologiques de l’ELR.

Si cette pub a «marché», c’est sans doute parce qu’elle conforte des Américains qui travaillent sans relâche pour acheter des maisons plus grandes où ils ne passent que très peu de temps, pour se procurer de nouveaux objets électroniques qu’ils n’ont presque pas le temps d’utiliser, pour acheter plein de jouets à leurs enfants qu’ils ne voient jamais. Neil McDonough les rassure: ça va, c’est bien de travailler autant, vous aurez une Cadillac à la fin!

Pour les 80% d’Américains qui n’auront jamais les moyens de payer plus de 75.000 dollars une voiture, les heures sans fin, c’est pour payer les assurances santé, la garde d’enfant, un logement dans un quartier avec des écoles un peu moins pourries qu’ailleurs. Et peut-être la voiture électrique de Ford, vendue moitié moins cher que l’ELR.

Une vision d’un monde où le travail n’est ni égoïstement honni, ni égoïstement adulé, mais tout simplement une voie vers un monde meilleur. Et c’est sans doute cette vision à laquelle adhéreraient les Français, les vrais, pas les faire-valoir caricaturaux de ce spot plutôt affligeant.

Voir également:

Cadillac lance une campagne de pub « anti-France »
Romain Pomian-Bonnemaison
Terrafemina
12 avril 2014

La marque de voiture Cadillac a choisi de centrer sa dernière campagne de pub sur ce qui fait des Etats-Unis un si grand pays… surtout par rapport au « farniente » à la française. N’hésitant pas à faire passer les français pour des flemmards parce qu’il se prendraient « un mois de vacances en août », la publicité qui n’en est pas à une contradiction près – en fait presque oublier le produit qu’elle essaie de vendre. Sans vraiment faire dans la finesse.

« Dans d’autres pays, ils travaillent, reviennent à la maison en s’arrêtant au café, ils prennent leur mois d’août – en entier », répète, insondable, l’acteur Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives, Frères d’Armes, Minority Report…). Après tout un laïus sur le matérialisme, véritable sens de l’existence (avoir une piscine, par exemple, est dépeint comme un objectif de vie suprême), la publicité se conclut par un « N’est-ce pas ? » en français dans le texte – histoire de bien souligner que les « autres pays », ça veut bien dire la France. Pour la petite histoire, le nom de l’entreprise, Cadillac, fait référence au gascon Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac, fondateur de la ville de Détroit en 1701 – une contradiction certes vague, mais non moins intéressante.

Quel est le message de Cadillac ?

Dans le détail, les poncifs véhiculés par cette publicité sont affligeants. Comme le relève Slate, les Etats-Unis, dépeints en creux, sont des maîtres incontestés dans tous les domaines – quitte à dire de belles âneries comme sur la conquête de la Lune, où il oublie que les Russes et les Chinois ont eux aussi déposé des véhicules… Et de conclure par cette phrase pas très illuminée: « Les biens matériels, c’est le bon côté de ne prendre que quinze jours de vacances », suivi de « N’est-ce pas ? ».

Voir encore:

Ford surfe sur le bad buzz de Cadillac pour sa dernière pub

maitesavin
Meltybuzz
31/03/2014
Alors que la dernière campagne de Cadillac faisait l’objet d’un bad buzz, la marque de voiture Ford a décidé de surfer sur ce bad buzz pour le tourner à son avantage en reprenant la pub au plan près !

La parodie de Cadillac par Ford

Après le bad buzz de la pub de Cadillac, Ford a retourné la situation à son avantage. En effet, en février dernier, l’acteur Neal McDonough (Dave Williams, mari d’Edie Britt dans la saison 5 de Desperate Housewives) incarnait le rêve américain matérialiste et libéral afin de promouvoir l’ELR, la berline électrique de Cadillac. Cette campagne n’avait pas fait l’unanimité et a même été qualifiée de « cauchemar ». C’est alors que Team Detroit, l’agence de pub travaillant pour la marque de voitures Ford, a décidé de prendre cette pub à contre pied. Surfant sur le bad buzz qu’elle a déclenché, elle reprend plan par plan la campagne de Cadillac remplaçant l’acteur blond par l’Afro-américaine Pashon Murray. Rien ne change sauf le discours. Cette dernière porte des bottes et un pantalon de jardin et explique son mode de vie écologique, tourné vers la Terre et les autres avec sa fondation Detroit Dirt. Contrairement à Cadillac, la jeune femme ne parle en aucun cas de sa réussite, de sa richesse en vantant la suprématie américaine et taclant les 5 semaines de congés payés français. Non, Ford a su garder un discours modeste et a bien su se servir de Cadillac pour promouvoir sa propre voiture électrique !

Voir de même:

Les Français ne sont pas assez productifs: info ou intox?

Louis Gallois estime que la productivité ne croît plus suffisamment en France. Pourtant, la France a une productivité horaire des plus élevées. Mais travaille moins d’heures que ses voisins. Décryptage.

Emilie Lévêque

L’Expansion

09/11/2012

Et si le manque de compétitivité de la France n’était pas seulement dû au coût du travail trop élevé, mais à un déficit de productivité des salariés? C’est en tout cas ce pense Louis Gallois. « Il y a un vrai problème de la productivité du travail en France », a déclaré ce vendredi sur BFM Business l’ancien patron du groupe aéronautique EADS, auteur du rapport sur la compétitivité des entreprises françaises. « La productivité horaire française reste forte, le problème, c’est qu’elle ne croît plus au rythme souhaitable », a-t-il poursuivi soulignant qu’elle augmentait à un rythme de « 0,8% par an ». « C’est insuffisant », pour l’industriel.

N’en déplaise à Louis Gallois, la croissance de la productivité horaire française est bien plus élevée que 0,8%: +1,3% en 2011 selon l’OCDE, + 1,4% selon l’Insee. Certes, en comparaison, la productivité horaire des Allemands a augmenté de 1,6% sur la même période, et de 1,5% en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE.

Mais la productivité horaire d’un Français est parmi les plus élevée des pays industrialisés: 57,7 dollars en 2011 contre 55,3 dollars pour un Allemand et 44 dollars en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Seuls les Américains (60,3 dollars), les Norvégiens (81,5 dollars), les Néerlandais (59,8 dollars), les Luxembourgeois (78,9), les Irlandais (66,4) et les Belges (59,2) sont plus productifs. Quant à la productivité globale – la valeur ajoutée brute -, elle a augmenté de 2,7% l’an dernier, à 1789 milliards d’euros.
Louis Gallois contraint de retirer ces préconisation sur le temps de travail?

Ce n’est donc peut-être pas tant un problème de productivité horaire, que dénonce Louis Gallois, mais de nombre d’heures travaillées. Parmi les nombreuses informations qui ont fuité sur ce que proposerait le rapport Gallois, il y a eu, en octobre, celle du Parisien sur la suppression des 35 heures. Le Commissariat général à l’investissement avait aussitôt démenti. Et de fait, il n’y a aucune mention à la durée du travail dans le rapport remis le 6 novembre au Premier ministre Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Etrange, car toutes les autres fuites de presse se sont révélées exactes – sur l’allègement de charges sociales de 30 milliards d’euros, sur l’exploration du gaz de schiste, etc. Louis Gallois aurait-il été contraint de retirer cette proposition de supprimer les 35 heures? C’est ce qu’il dit à demi-mots: il a été obligé « de se cantonner à un certain nombre de sujets », explique-t-il sur BFM.

Il est toutefois faux de croire que les Français ne travaillent que 35 heures par semaine: heures supplémentaires comprises, la durée hebdomadaire de travail des salariés à temps complet était, en 2011, de 39,5 heures (52,7 heures pour les non salariés). Certes, c’est moins que les Allemands (40,4 heures en moyenne par semaine) et que l’ensemble des Européens (40,4 heures). Mais, au total en 2011, les Français ont travaillé 1475 heures selon l’OCDE, contre 1411 heures pour les Allemands! Car si l’Allemagne n’a pas réduit le temps de travail des salariés à temps plein, elle a en revanche massivement développé le temps partiel.

Reste que les Français ont des marges de progression: la moyenne en zone euro est de 1573 heures de travail par an, et de 1775 heures dans l’ensemble des pays de l’OCDE. Ceux qui travaillent le plus sont les Mexicains (2250 heures par an) et les Sud-Coréens (2193 heures par an).

Voir par aussi:

Relax! You’ll Be More Productive
Tony Schwartz
February 9, 2013

THINK for a moment about your typical workday. Do you wake up tired? Check your e-mail before you get out of bed? Skip breakfast or grab something on the run that’s not particularly nutritious? Rarely get away from your desk for lunch? Run from meeting to meeting with no time in between? Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive? Leave work later than you’d like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?

More and more of us find ourselves unable to juggle overwhelming demands and maintain a seemingly unsustainable pace. Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.

“More, bigger, faster.” This, the ethos of the market economies since the Industrial Revolution, is grounded in a mythical and misguided assumption — that our resources are infinite.

Time is the resource on which we’ve relied to get more accomplished. When there’s more to do, we invest more hours. But time is finite, and many of us feel we’re running out, that we’re investing as many hours as we can while trying to retain some semblance of a life outside work.

Although many of us can’t increase the working hours in the day, we can measurably increase our energy. Science supplies a useful way to understand the forces at play here. Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable. Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us. The idea is also at odds with the prevailing work ethic in most companies, where downtime is typically viewed as time wasted. More than one-third of employees, for example, eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis. More than 50 percent assume they’ll work during their vacations.

In most workplaces, rewards still accrue to those who push the hardest and most continuously over time. But that doesn’t mean they’re the most productive.

Spending more hours at work often leads to less time for sleep and insufficient sleep takes a substantial toll on performance. In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

The Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent.

Daytime naps have a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time.

Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60- to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep.

MORE vacations are similarly beneficial. In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.

As athletes understand especially well, the greater the performance demand, the greater the need for renewal. When we’re under pressure, however, most of us experience the opposite impulse: to push harder rather than rest. This may explain why a recent survey by Harris Interactive found that Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012 — up from 6.2 days in 2011.

The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.

In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives.

The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.

Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.

“To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”

I’ve systematically built these principles into the way I write. For my first three books, I sat at my desk for up 10 hours a day. Each of the books took me at least a year to write. For my two most recent books, I wrote in three uninterrupted 90-minute sessions — beginning first thing in the morning, when my energy was highest — and took a break after each one.

Along the way, I learned that it’s not how long, but how well, you renew that matters most in terms of performance. Even renewal requires practice. The more rapidly and deeply I learned to quiet my mind and relax my body, the more restored I felt afterward. For one of the breaks, I ran. This generated mental and emotional renewal, but also turned out to be a time in which some of my best ideas came to me, unbidden. Writing just four and half hours a day, I completed both books in less than six months and spent my afternoons on less demanding work.

The power of renewal was so compelling to me that I’ve created a business around it that helps a range of companies including Google, Coca-Cola, Green Mountain Coffee, the Los Angeles Police Department, Cleveland Clinic and Genentech.

Our own offices are a laboratory for the principles we teach. Renewal is central to how we work. We dedicated space to a “renewal” room in which employees can nap, meditate or relax. We have a spacious lounge where employees hang out together and snack on healthy foods we provide. We encourage workers to take renewal breaks throughout the day, and to leave the office for lunch, which we often do together. We allow people to work from home several days a week, in part so they can avoid debilitating rush-hour commutes. Our workdays end at 6 p.m. and we don’t expect anyone to answer e-mail in the evenings or on the weekends. Employees receive four weeks of vacation from their first year.

Our basic idea is that the energy employees bring to their jobs is far more important in terms of the value of their work than is the number of hours they work. By managing energy more skillfully, it’s possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably. In a decade, no one has ever chosen to leave the company. Our secret is simple — and generally applicable. When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work.

Tony Schwartz is the chief executive officer of The Energy Project and the author, most recently, of “Be Excellent at Anything.”

Voir également:

Cadillac Clears Up ‘Misconceptions’ About Contentious ‘Poolside’ Ad
But Expect Debate to Keep Raging After Oscar Airing
Michael McCarthy
Ad age
March 01, 2014. 31

« Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? » asks actor Neal McDonough as he gazes out over his pool in new Cadillac’s TV commercial before delivering a dissertation on the American Dream.

With that, the actor begins the controversial 60-second spot Cadillac that will air both before and during ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards this Sunday night.

The « Poolside » spot created, by ad agency Rogue, is intended to serve as a « brand provocation, » according to Craig Bierley, Cadillac’s advertising director. Consider it mission accomplished.

The spot for the new Cadillac ELR has provoked extreme reactions since its debut during NBC’s broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Fans on the political right see « Poolside » as an unapologetic ode to American values. Critics on the political left see it as Ugly American chest thumping at its worst. During a time when Americans are working harder and longer for less money, others question the spot’s perceived workaholic message.

Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, a founding member of the Capitalistpig hedge fund, praised « Poolside » as a « tremendous » celebration of profit-seeking, productivity and, yes, enjoyment of material goods.

« Those are considered very declasse these days, very down. So here’s a wonderful ad that actually celebrates America, » Mr. Hoenig said.

But Fox Business host Neil Cavuto worried « Poolside » feeds the negative perception of the richest 1% as smug, rich bastards who are contemptuous of everyone else. It also takes chutzpah for GM, a company bailed out by American taxpayers, to preach self-reliance, Mr. Cavuto wryly noted.

Other critics have attacked the spot more bluntly. The Huffington Post declared: « Cadillac made a commercial about the American Dream — and it’s a Nightmare. » Wrote Carolyn Gregoire: « The luxury car company is selling a vision of the American Dream at its worst: Work yourself into the ground, take as little time off as possible, and buy expensive sh*t (specifically, a 2014 Cadillac ELR). »

Washington Post contributor Brigid Schulte « groaned » at the sight of a « middle-aged white guy » extolling the « virtues of hard work, American style, » while strolling around his fancy house, pool and $75,000 electric car.
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Advertising Age interviewed Cadillac’s Mr. Bierley on the strong reaction to the spot. He said the spot’s been « misconstrued » by some viewers. He wanted to set the record straight. Among the misperceptions:
Craig Bierley Craig Bierley

It’s aimed at the richest 1%
Not so, says Mr. Bierley. Rather than millionaires, the spot’s targeted at customers who make around $200,000 a year. They’re consumers with a « little bit of grit under their fingernails » who « pop in and out of luxury » when and how they see fit, he said. « These are people who haven’t been given anything. Every part of success they’ve achieved has been earned through hard work and hustle. . . . One of the ways they reward themselves for their hard work is through the purchase of a luxury car, » he said.

It’s about materialism
Go back and watch the beginning, said Mr. Bierley. Right up front, Mr. McDonough dismisses the idea the reason American work so hard is to buy « stuff. » What he’s really saying is that Americans work hard because that’s what they love to do. Luxury cars and other expensive goodies are a byproduct of success; not the objective.

« It’s basically saying hard work creates its own luck. In order to achieve it, you just have to believe anything’s possible. You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in possibilities. It’s really about optimism. It’s really a fundamental human truth: optimism about creating your own future. It’s not about materialism. »

It’s a « Buy American » spot
That’s wrong too. Mr. McDonough references the U.S. moon landing, Bill Gates and the Wright Brothers because the ad is only designed to run in the U.S., not overseas. If « Poolside » was designed as a global ad, the references would be more global.

Cadillac does not want to « guilt » people into buying an American rather than a European luxury car, said Mr. Bierley. « The last thing in the world we want to do is comes across as: ‘It’s your duty to buy an American car.’ I don’t think anybody wakes up wanting to hear that. . . . The strategy was really to play off the consumer insights around this notion of achievement earned through hard work and hustle — and celebrating that. Since it’s a U.S.-based spot, we used metaphors to talk about other people who received their success through hard work. »
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It celebrates the USA’s workaholic culture
Reaction is running about 3-1 in favor of the spot with the young consumer audience on YouTube, said Mr. Bierley. But some people are offended at the perceived workaholic message when millions of people are out work and others are just getting by. Again, that’s not what Cadillac intended, Mr. Bierley said.

« We’re not making a statement saying, ‘We want people to work hard.’ What we’re saying is that hard work has its payoffs. Find something you love to do, do it incredibly well and there’s a reward for that. Whether its personal satisfaction, whether its fulfillment, whether that’s money. »

It was created for the Olympics, when nationalism runs high
Wrong, said Mr. Bierley. Instead, Rogue found and cast Mr. McDonough in an early version of the spot that they used to pitch and ultimately win Cadillac’s $250 million creative account last year. Cadillac and Rogue later went back and remade the spot with Mr. McDonough to create the version on-air now. « We just liked his attitude, » said Mr. Bierley about the character actor who’s starred on HBO’s « Band of Brothers » and other shows.

It’s a dissertation on American values
Sure, said Mr. Bierley. But what people forget is that still just a car ad. What made Cadillac happiest is consumers recognize ELR as an electric car — although Mr. McDonough never states that explicitly. « It’s sparked an interesting and thought-provoking debate, » said Mr. Bierley.

Voir encore:

The Super Bowl Farmers
Victor Davis Hanson
February 13th, 2013

Chrysler’s Super Bowl Ram Truck commercial praising the American farmer was an unexpected big hit and is still being replayed around the country on talk radio. Rich Lowry and Peggy Noonan both contrasted the authenticity of that commercial fantasy with the falsity of the real event.

And why not? Even if the clip was a bit corny and overdone, the late Paul Harvey was a masterful throaty narrator in the romantic age before the onset of America’s now ubiquitous metrosexual nasal intonation. Harvey just didn’t sound different from the present generation, but from what we suspect, he sounded different from most generations to come as well. One reason that our age cannot make a Shane, High Noon, or The Searchers is that most of our suburban Hollywood actors cannot even fake the accent of either the frontier or the tragic hero anymore. When Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall go, so goes too the last link to the cinema’s Westerner. There are no more voices like Slim Pickens or Ben Johnson. One of the successes of the commercial is that the photographed farmers did not speak, and left the impression of mute superiority.

It was not just Harvey’s mid-20th century voice that intrigued millions, but his unapologetic praise of the farmer’s work ethic, religiosity, and family values that he implied were at the core of American greatness, and were shared by all sorts of other American originals: the truck driver, the steel worker, or waitress whom we now all praise and yet prep our children not to be. We suspect that our kids would be better off at forty for spending a summer on a tractor at fifteen, but we just can’t seem to risk the loss of a season’s computer camp or eco-camp in the bargain.

The commercial’s platitudes were cleverly juxtaposed with grainy pictures of un-Botoxed people doing real physical work and in concert with each other, using big machines, and looking the worse for wear from it. True or not, we at least were to believe that no one in those still shots had hair plugs, bleached teeth, or faux tans in the manner of our vice president, who tries so hard to be an oh-so-authentic “Joey.” In that regard, Clint Eastwood’s resonance hinges in part on the fact that his lined and craggy face does not resemble what has happened to Sylvester Stallone’s, and he did not engage in the sort of embarrassing, obsequious fawning about George Bush that a Chris Rock or Jamie Foxx has monotonously done about Barack Obama. Americans still admire authenticity, and that too explains the later YouTube popularity of the commercial. When the Obama team released pictures of Obama “skeet shooting” or with a furrowed brow following in real time the ongoing shooting and killing in Benghazi, we knew it was all show, all Dukakis in a tank. The only thing worse than being cut off from the premodern world is faking participation in it.

I suppose the images resonated in 2013 in a way that they would have seemed passé in 1950, but not just because farmers then were about 15% of the population and now make up less than 1%, and so currently earn the added intrigue accorded to vanishing in the manner of the rhino or blue whale. The commercial instead was mostly a hit because of the sharp contrast, not just with the Petronian spectacle of today’s Super Bowl extravaganza, but also with the general tenor of the times of 2013 in particular.

Voir aussi:

Advertisers Pitching to Americans Yearning to Feel Confident Again
Jim Geraghty
National Review

March 5, 2014

Beyond the Russia and Alan Grayson news in today’s Morning Jolt . . .

Advertisers Pitching to Americans Yearning to Feel Confident Again

Take a look at three of the biggest, most-discussed television ads of the past year or so.

First, Ram Trucks’ “God Made a Farmer” ad from the Super Bowl last year:

Then the Coke ad from the Super Bowl this year:

I know there were some folks who watched the Coke ad and perceived the message, “America isn’t just for English-speakers! Embrace the polyglot, you ethnocentric hicks!” But it’s just as easy, or easier, to look at the ad and see the message that all across the globe, in every tongue, people find America, and its freedoms, cultures, and traditions beautiful.

Then the latest ad to make a splash, no pun intended, is Cadillac’s “Poolside”:

Ad Age summarizes the reaction:

“Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff?” asks actor Neal McDonough as he gazes out over his pool in new Cadillac’s TV commercial before delivering a dissertation on the American Dream.

With that, the actor begins the controversial 60-second spot Cadillac that will air both before and during ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards this Sunday night.

The “Poolside” spot created, by ad agency Rogue, is intended to serve as a “brand provocation,” according to Craig Bierley, Cadillac’s advertising director. Consider it mission accomplished.

Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, a founding member of the Capitalistpig hedge fund, praised “Poolside” as a “tremendous” celebration of profit-seeking, productivity and, yes, enjoyment of material goods.

“Those are considered very declasse these days, very down. So here’s a wonderful ad that actually celebrates America,” Mr. Hoenig said.

But Fox Business host Neil Cavuto worried “Poolside” feeds the negative perception of the richest 1% as smug, rich bastards who are contemptuous of everyone else. It also takes chutzpah for GM, a company bailed out by American taxpayers, to preach self-reliance, Mr. Cavuto wryly noted.

What’s the theme tying together all three of these?

Americans desperately want to feel good about their country again.

The farmer in the Ram Trucks ad is what we think we once were, and want to still be: hard-working, reliable, honest, filled with determination and integrity. The Coke ad actually begins with a cowboy who would fit in the Ram Truck ad, but moves on to break-dancing kids, a family visiting the Grand Canyon, a big (Hispanic?) family settling in for dinner, folks wobbling at a roller rink and laughing at themselves. That ad shows that we’re warm and welcoming, close to our families, spending quality time with our kids who aren’t sitting in front of a video-game console or staring at the screen of their phone.

And then Neal McDunough — “Hey, it’s that guy from Band of Brothers and Captain America!” — comes along and stabs a needle of adrenaline and confidence into our heart. He chuckles about other countries sitting at cafes and taking August off. He walks past his kids, who are doing their homework, with one appearing to be working on a model of DNA. He explains that “we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers,” and high-fives his younger child, who obviously has already absorbed this cheerful, confident philosophy. He’s got a gorgeous house with a pool, happy, bright kids, a good-looking wife who reads the Wall Street Journal after he does, and he looks good in a suit. He’s got spring in his step. The world is his oyster, and he says it’s America’s oyster, too, because “you work hard, you create your own luck, and you’ve got to believe anything is possible.”

We want to be that guy. Or we want to believe we could be that guy if we tried. Or perhaps put even clearer, we want to believe we have the opportunity to be that guy, whether or not we actually want to pursue that life, that house, that lifestyle, and drive that car.

UPDATE: A reader reminds me that Mike Rowe’s ad for Walmart fits in this theme as well:

Most companies test their ads extensively with focus groups. The folks in those focus groups must be bursting at the seams for a message that America can be great again. Are the potential 2016 contenders hearing this?

Liberals Outraged by Cadillac Ad
Rush Limbaugh
March 06, 2014

RUSH: Have you seen, ladies and gentlemen, the new Cadillac commercial for their new electric car? (interruption) You haven’t?  It features the actor Neal McDonough.  Do you watch Justified? (interruption) Well, Neal McDonough was in Justified two years ago.  He’s got this baby-shaped head, blue eyes, short, blond hair.  He can play the nicest next-door neighbor or the evilest villain you’ve ever found.

He is the actor in this commercial.  The left hates this commercial.  There are caustic posts on leftist websites, and even mainstream news sites, Huffing and Puffington Post. They’re outraged over the Cadillac ad!  If you’ve seen it, you might know why.

RUSH:  Let’s get to the Cadillac commercial.  There’s a headline here at the Huffing and Puffington Post.  It’s by a woman named Carolyn Gregoire, and I don’t know she pronounces it that way.  G-r-e-g-o-i-r-e, Gregoire, Gregoire. It’s probably Gregory, if I had to guess.  But anyway, headline: « Cadillac Made a Commercial About the American Dream, and it is a Nightmare. »  This commercial has hit a nerve in the left that is such a teachable moment!

This commercial itself and the reaction to it by the left is all anyone needs know about what really has become of the Democrat Party and the American left.  The actor is Neal McDonough.  You’ve seen him in Justified.  He was in some other TV series that ran for four years.  I can’t think of the name of it right off the top of my head.  You’d recognize him if you saw him.  He’s playing the part here of a successful American male, who happens to own one of these new Cadillac electric cars.

RUSH: Here is the ad.  This is 43 seconds here. It’ll go by here pretty quickly and I’ll do the transcript myself when this is finished.

MCDONOUGH:  Why do we work so hard?  For what?  For this?  For stuff?  Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe, they take August off.  Off.  Why aren’t you like that?  Why aren’t we like that?  Because we’re crazy, driven, hardworking believers.  Those other countries think we’re nuts.  Whatever.  Were the Wright Brothers insane?  Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali?  Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon?  That’s right.  We went up there, and you know what we got?  Bored.  So we left.  It’s pretty simple.  You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible.  As for all the stuff, that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August.  N’est-ce pas?

You don’t need stuff. You need to be the inner artiste, and while you piddle around and produce absolutely nothing, we will take care of you, and we will give you your health care while you explore your inner uselessness, and only dream about what you could be while looking at other people who are successful and instantly hating them.

RUSH: Have you seen, ladies and gentlemen, the new Cadillac commercial for their new electric car? (interruption) You haven’t? It features the actor Neal McDonough. Do you watch Justified? (interruption) Well, Neal McDonough was in Justified two years ago. He’s got this baby-shaped head, blue eyes, short, blond hair. He can play the nicest next-door neighbor or the evilest villain you’ve ever found.

He is the actor in this commercial. The left hates this commercial. There are caustic posts on leftist websites, and even mainstream news sites, Huffing and Puffington Post. They’re outraged over the Cadillac ad! If you’ve seen it, you might know why.

RUSH: Let’s get to the Cadillac commercial. There’s a headline here at the Huffing and Puffington Post. It’s by a woman named Carolyn Gregoire, and I don’t know she pronounces it that way. G-r-e-g-o-i-r-e, Gregoire, Gregoire. It’s probably Gregory, if I had to guess. But anyway, headline: « Cadillac Made a Commercial About the American Dream, and it is a Nightmare. » This commercial has hit a nerve in the left that is such a teachable moment!

This commercial itself and the reaction to it by the left is all anyone needs know about what really has become of the Democrat Party and the American left. The actor is Neal McDonough. You’ve seen him in Justified. He was in some other TV series that ran for four years. I can’t think of the name of it right off the top of my head. You’d recognize him if you saw him. He’s playing the part here of a successful American male, who happens to own one of these new Cadillac electric cars.

RUSH: As for all the stuff, that’s the two weeks off in August. He also says in the ad about the moon, and we’re gonna be the first to go back. Now, the left is simply outraged because they perceived this to be an attack on Western European socialism. This is Cadillac. Remember what I’ve always told you about advertising? Advertising that works is advertising that properly, correctly takes the pulse of the people it is targeted to.

It takes the pulse of the American culture at that moment, that snapshot. So here you have Cadillac and their ad agency, and what are they using to sell this thing? The American dream, the old adages: Hard work, success, climbing the ladder. You just work hard and work hard, and you don’t think about vacations first. You think about your work. You find something you love, you go out and you do it.

And, yeah, you acquire stuff. There’s nothing wrong with acquiring stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with improving your lifestyle. The left is just livid. A pull quote from this Huffing and Puffington Post story: « a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure. »

One of the things that liberals love to hate about America is wrapped up in that one sentence. Let me read it to you again. The pull quote from Carolyn Gregoire, the Huffington Post says, this Cadillac ad is « a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure. »

If there’s one thing that this commercial misses and — well, not really. There’s a lot of Americans who can’t work anymore. There aren’t any jobs, no matter how hard you work. There are just some people that can’t find work, but Cadillac is targeting those who have jobs and are trying. You know, whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about climbing the ladder. Don’t feel guilty about improving your life.

Don’t feel guilty about wanting a Cadillac, an electric Cadillac.

Don’t feel guilty about this.

Why are we looking to Europe for guidance? They take the month of August off, there’s 14% unemployment, they’re welfare states. They sit around and they move at a leisurely pace. They can’t defend themselves. They rely on us for that. What in the world is there to model ourselves after? And the left is just loaded for bear. I’ll share with you further details from this piece. Here. Grab sound bite 18. Quickly we can squeeze it in. Here’s Robin Roberts on morning America today.

ROBERTS: Oh, my goodness. And what’s wrong with taking more than two weeks off? You’re made to be felt guilty because you’re not working hard?

RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That commercial, oh, wow! That makes you feel guilty if take more than two weeks off. That Cadillac commercial is making me feel guilty. I’m telling you, the left is afraid of that commercial. It’s such a teachable moment here.

RUSH: No. No, no, no, no. The point is, the left really is anti-American tradition. The left really does not believe in the all American dream. It’s not that they don’t even believe it; they advocate against it. That’s what this Cadillac hullabaloo illustrates and is all about. You know, we think we’re all in this together. We might have our disagreements, Democrats and Republicans, but we all want the same things. We don’t anymore.

There is not a singular American culture that’s oriented around growth and prosperity and individual achievement and success. That’s not what the Democrat Party’s about anymore. Their power base is not rooted in people like that. Their power base is rooted in the failures and victims of our society. And they are trying to create even more of them.

The enemy, as far as the Democrat Party and the American left are is concerned, the enemy are the successful, the enemy is those who are achieved. The enemy is the philosophy that undergirds the American dream. It’s called consumerism and capitalism and it’s supposedly void of any real meaning and no values. It’s just about who has more stuff and who has more money and who’s richer and all that, and they are full-fledged resentful of that.

Now, this has been building for 50 years. It didn’t just happen overnight, but to some people who are casual observers, it has happened overnight. We went from George Bush, who was a Republican for all intents and purposes as far as low-information voters are concerned, a conservative, and he won two elections. He loses, and within two years everything the country stood for is gone and finished. How did this happen? That’s what a lot of people are asking. How in the world did this happen overnight? And the answer is it hasn’t been happening overnight, or it didn’t.

It has been building for years, starting in first grade, kindergarten, all the way up through the university level, the anti-America dream speech, philosophy, the pro-Western, socialist view of things, the all-powerful state, the idea that people aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves, people aren’t capable of taking care of themselves, that people aren’t, on their own, able to make the right decisions. They not gonna spend their money right. They need people do that for them. Liberals, preferably in government, determining how people live and what decisions are made, and if they make the wrong ones, then we’ll penalize them.

It’s an amazing thing that a commercial has come along and shown this for what it is. So let me replay — and this is not the whole thing — the whole thing is 60. We cut it down to 45 seconds just for the essence, you know, brevity is the soul of wit. And this commercial literally has the left in a tizzy. I read it, folks. It’s my gig here. Show prep, I know no bounds. And I’m telling you that all over leftist blogs there is genuine rage over this. Here it is again.

MCDONOUGH: Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe, they take August off. Off. Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy, driven, hardworking believers. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever. Were the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali? Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon? That’s right. We went up there, and you know what we got? Bored. So we left. It’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the stuff, that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August. N’est-ce pas?

RUSH: Oh, man, I’ll tell you, they look at this as an assault on Europe. They look at it as an assault on sidewalk cafes, Starbucks and this kind of thing. They look at it as an assault on their lifestyle. Remember, these are the people telling us that you are liberated when you get fired. You’re liberated when you lose your job because now you don’t have to do some stupid job to have health care because the government will give it to you. You don’t have to work anymore. That’s where they come from. Yeah, you can finally go discover the inner artist in you, and you now can join the legion of great human beings who have painted. You can be one of them, not tied to some silly job.

You don’t need stuff. You need to be the inner artiste, and while you piddle around and produce absolutely nothing, we will take care of you, and we will give you your health care while you explore your inner uselessness, and only dream about what you could be while looking at other people who are successful and instantly hating them. Let me read to you even more from this piece at the Huffing and Puffington Post.

« There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American, but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them. » And that’s how they view this commercial. This commercial is advocating for working yourself to death, buying a bunch of useless stuff, and making fun of other people. That’s the great sin. It’s a toss-up between working hard and making fun of other people that offends them the most. They don’t know which bothers them the most.

« So we wish we could say that Cadillac’s commercial [for it’s new electric car], which debuted during the Olympics, was a joke. But no, it seems to be dead serious — a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure. »

Oh, I just love this. It’s so predictable, too. It’s so right on the money. People are just doing us the biggest favor by telling us exactly who they are and what they resent and what they don’t like. And what is it about hard work that bothers them? Bill Gates, I guarantee you when he was building Microsoft, it wasn’t work. It was love.

Let me use myself. I don’t look at what I do as work. I absolutely love it. I’ve always worked hard, and I absolutely love it, and I am thankful as I can be that I found what I love. I’m ecstatic I found my passion. I describe it as doing what I was born to do. I’m one of the lucky few, apparently, who found what that is, and, by the way, not an insignificant part, a way to get paid for doing it.

It’s not hard work. Well, it is, but I don’t look at it that way. It’s not arduous. I don’t get up regretting it. I don’t spend my days wringing my hands ticked off at people for what I have to do. I think every day’s an opportunity. To these people, every day’s drudgery, every day is more punishment, every day is more of an excrement sandwich. And work hard, who needs that? There’s a reason why the United States has been the lone superpower.

And, by the way, we now have a president who agrees with this take on this commercial. The American dream’s always been phony. You know why? The American dream’s been a trick. The American dream’s a trick fostered on people to get ’em to work hard for evil corporate bosses who won’t pay them anything with this impossible result that they’re gonna make it big someday. That’s a lie. This is what the left thinks. It’s a lie put forth by corporate America, rich America, to get you to bust your butt for them while they pay you nothing. And you will die dreaming of what you never had, and, my God, you will have wasted your life in the process. And that is their outlook. You are nothing but a victim being exploited by the evil rich who are mostly white, by the way, and that’s important in this, too.

The article continues. « The opening shot shows a middle-aged man, played by the actor Neal McDonough, looking out over his backyard pool. » That bugs ’em, too. The guy has a big house. He’s got a big house, it’s in a nice neighborhood, and he’s got a pool, and it’s a built-in pool. It’s not one of these cheap balloons that you put water in. It’s a real cement pond, really ticks the left off. And he’s looking over his domain, says, « ‘Why do we work so hard? For this? For stuff?’ As the ad continues, it becomes clear that the answer to this rhetorical question is actually a big fat YES. » All we do is work hard for stuff.

« And it gets worse. ‘Other countries, they work,’ he says. ‘They stroll home. They stop by the cafe. They take August off. Off.' » Which they do! They take August off. They do stroll home. And when they’re not strolling, they’re driving little lawn mowers they call cars. « Then he reveals just what it is that makes Americans better than all those lazy, espresso-sipping foreigners. » You just feel hate dripping from every word here? « Then he reveals just what it is that makes Americans better than all those lazy espresso-sipping foreigners, » which, by the way, Carolyn I’m sure would love to be one of those lazy espresso sipping foreigners. And she may be, who knows.

But that’s the lifestyle, that’s sophistication, you see. Sophistication is, work? I’ll do what I have to. I’m gonna really devote myself to what’s important. I’m going to go paint. Then I’m gonna go visit a museum. After I visit the museum, then I’m gonna go to the art gallery, and after I finish the art gallery, I’m gonna head over back to the espresso cafe. When I finish there I’m gonna head to the real bar and I’m gonna have a couple shots, maybe some white wine, maybe some Camembert. When I finish there, I’m then gonna go to the craft show at the local community center where I’m gonna learn how to knit and sew and knit and peel and whatever, and then I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna water my garden. And right before I go to bed, I’m gonna add to the poem I’ve been writing for the past month.

Yes, I’ll work on my poetry. When I finish my poetry, I will then retire and go to bed. And when I awaken, I will get up, and I will hate the fact that the first part of my day is a job where I’m going to be exploited by some evil capitalist. But I’ll go do it anyway so that when it’s over I can stroll back to the espresso bar and maybe while I’m at the espresso bar, I’ll dream of inventing the flying car, and I’ll write it and scribble it out there on my Microsoft Surface, because I don’t want to the best, the iPad. No. And then I just repeat the cycle. I’ll go to a different museum and I’ll go see different displays, exhibits and so forth. That’s sophistication. That is what we should aspire to. All this hard-work stuff, what a crock.

If you do work, by the way, if you do get sucked in, make sure you work for a nonprofit. In fact, the best thing you, make sure you run a nonprofit. That way you can really get paid for not doing anything. That way you’re not working for some enterprise devoted to the evil of profit. No, you’re working for a nonprofit. You will live off what other people give you and you will claim that you are better people, because you have not been soiled by the poisons of capitalism. There isn’t any profit or loss in what you do. You’re interested in public service.

Then, when you finish that, it’s to the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter, just to look in, just to see that people are there, and you’ll feel great about yourself because you care. And then you’ll demand the rich pay higher taxes so that the soup kitchen doesn’t close. Oh, yes. Back to the story.

« ‘Why aren’t you like that?’ he says. ‘Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers, that’s why.’ By this point, the ad has already become little more than a parody of itself, but we had to ask: believers in what? The pursuit of ‘stuff.’ The other reason for America’s superiority, according to Cadillac? Our unrivaled space exploration program (‘We’re the only ones going back up there,’ the ad boasts). Never mind the fact that the US government is now paying Russia $70 million a pop to shuttle NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. »

Hey, Ms. Gregoire, never mind that Barack Obama made NASA into a Muslim outreach department and it’s Barack Obama, your idol and hero, that makes it necessary to pay the Russians $70 million for every astronaut to the space station. By the way, with this thing in the Ukraine with the KGB vs. Obama, i.e., ACORN, what happens if Putin says, « You know what, you really ticked me off and I’m not taking you back to your space station, » how we gonna get there, Ms. Gregoire? ‘Cause Obama’s shut it down. NASA’s a museum for Muslim outreach now.

« Cadillacs have long been a quintessentially American symbol of wealth and status. But as this commercial proves, no amount of wealth or status is a guarantee of good taste. Now, the luxury car company is selling a vision of the American Dream at its worst: Work yourself into the ground, take as little time off as possible, and buy expensive s- (specifically, a 2014 Cadillac ELR). »

That’s what she said. It doesn’t talk about working yourself into the ground. It’s not talking about working yourself to death, to punishment. The ad is about working yourself to prosperity and achievement and success. And they just can’t stand it, folks.

RUSH: Here’s the thing about hard work. Hard work is hard — and, by the way, folks, not everybody loves their work. This commercial is an indication of what can happen if you work hard, even though you may not like it. But you know what this commercial really is? By the way, this commercial was originally not for an electric car. They made this ad about an electric car to try to soften the blow so it would offend these leftist wackos less.

The fact that this Cadillac commercial is about an electric car doesn’t make a difference. But let me tell you what Cadillac sees. The ad tells us that people with money do not want little bitty hybrids and lawn mowers with seats on them. This ad tells us that people with money want comfortable, sexy luxury cars — and I’ll tell you what else this ad tells us. Cadillac sees the enthusiasm for the Tesla.

In California, the number one selling car of all cars is the Model S. I think it’s the Model S, but it’s some model of Tesla. They’re expensive as hell. This Cadillac is 75 grand in this ad, and Teslas are going into six figures. One of my buddies… I came back from LA. One of my buddies told me he bought one and was afraid I was gonna get mad at him. He said, « I’m not buying it ’cause I’m a wacko, Rush. I love the car. I can call up your website up in the dashboard in your car.

« I love the car — and you know, Rush, I get 175 miles a charge on it. » I said, « Wow. » But Cadillac sees that people with money — and that’s who they sell their cars to, people with money — have an enthusiasm for the Tesla. The Tesla is the competition for this ELV car of theirs, and it’s clear who the market is. The market that this car is made for is high achievers — and Cadillac is trying to talk to them in their native language, these high achievers, and the left just hates it.

RUSH: We’re gonna starts in Dayton, Ohio. Julie, I’m glad you called. It’s great to have you on the program. Hello.

CALLER: Thanks. I’m so happy to talk to you again.

CALLER: Thank you. We’re Home of the Wright Brothers, which was mentioned in the commercial.

RUSH: That’s right.

CALLER: Yes. Dayton, Ohio. I love this commercial. I don’t typically watch commercials because I DVR a lot of stuff, but I happened to be watching something live, so I was kind of ignoring the commercial while it was on until I heard the gentleman talk about taking a month off in August versus we take two weeks.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: That just totally struck a chord with me. I jumped up, I backed the commercial up, and I had to replay it. I listened to that commercial over and over again, and I was just like, « Oh, my gosh. I want to go out and buy a Cadillac now. »

RUSH: What do you like about? You’ve gotta get specific for me here. Obviously you had an overall favorable impression. You felt great watching it, but what hit you? What did you like about it?

CALLER: Well, I work for a pharmaceutical company, a foreign pharmaceutical company. I know that for any drug to be successful, it has to be successful in the United States, otherwise that company is not gonna do well. Americans are the hardest, hardest working, and we push and we push, and we work 40, 50, 60, 70 hours a week. We work one job, two jobs, three jobs. I mean, we work hard and we work hard for —

RUSH: I know, and it doesn’t leave me time to paint or write poetry or go to the museum.

CALLER: None at all. One of my best friends is Marcus, who I love dearly, but then my best friend Georgia, she is Greek, and when she would go over to Greece, she says, « It is so laid back. » She says that they take-two-hour naps at lunchtime, and they close down work at, like, three, four o’clock, and they just don’t work as hard as Americans do.

RUSH: That’s not the right way to look at it. No, no. « They are sophisticated. They are more balanced. They have their lives in much more perspective. The Greeks, never mind that they’re broke and in debt and totally dependent on others to keep them living. The Greeks and the Spaniards and the British and the French and the Swiss? We love the Swiss, and the Danes.

We really love the Danes. They’re sophisticated. They’ve got it all figured out. They don’t work hard at all. They know that that’s not necessary. There’s no intense pressure attached to their lives. They’re able to slow down. They don’t even have to defend themselves! The United States will do that if they are ever attacked, like by the KGB. So we just don’t see the world in the right way.

John Kerry is one of these guys that thinks Western Europeans are doing it right. They’ve got the answer with their 14% unemployment. Speaking of which, you know, there’s sort of a funny story. What is this, Carla Brunei, the wife of Sarkozy, former president of France? It is Brunei, or Brunei? (interruption) Brunei. All right. Well, she was a model and an actress, and then she married the guy.

And then she couldn’t work anymore because of conflicts of interest with the government, president, and so forth. She’s actually quoted in a newspaper story today as thinking she got shafted. She thought she was marrying a guy with money, and he only makes 300 grand a year or the equivalent, and she feels like she got screwed. (interruption) Well, I know 300 grand is a lot, but not for the elites, see. That 300 grand, that’s embarrassing. For the wife of a president of a country?

Julie, I appreciate the call. Thank you.

Donald in Carpinteria, California, you’re next on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush. Nice to talk to you. It’s an honor, sir.

RUSH: Thank you very much, sir. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Thank you. Rush, in reference to that great ad, that great Cadillac ad, I was thinking that there’s a couple of points with that, and one being that Obama took public funds and bailed out GM. We all recall that, and then they come up and they make an ad like this that targets hardworking Americans. And it’s kind of like a slap in the face to the left, and my take is they can’t stand that. They think that GM should toe the line now because they were bailed out with public funds.

RUSH: There probably is some of that in the left’s reaction to this, that this is a government-owned company. What the hell are they doing selling something like this anyway?

CALLER: Right, and kudos to the advertising agency that would actually make an ad like this and make a pro-American, pro-work ad. And even though they took those funds, it’s kind of like, well —

RUSH: Here’s the thing about this. At the risk of sounding naive — and I am naive about a lot of things and I don’t mind people knowing that. Did you ever think — any of you — that an ad like that would be something divisive in the country? That ad is what used to be the philosophy everybody was raised by. That ad was, in fact, how everybody who wanted to be a success or wanted their kids to be a success was raised. That ad typifies distinctly, as we know, distinctly American values. And I’ll tell you, they are held in other parts of the country.

That ad is gonna ring home and true with Asians and a couple of other cultures who are also from the hard-work school of going through life and conquering it. But the idea that an ad that is as innocuous as this, this is hard work. How do we get stuff, and, yeah, there’s some people around the world that don’t. This is what American exceptionalism is. This is how we’re different. This is why people come here. That is exactly right. That ad is why people break the law to come here. And yet that ad has become something divisive in our culture now. That ad is something that is really controversial now to the left. But divisive as well.

This why I say this is a teachable moment. Look, some of you may be wondering why I’m spending so much time on it. I’ll tell you why. And it’s the same old thing. By the way, I’ve got friends who tell me I ought to change my approach. I’ll explain here in a minute. I really believe that the more people who could be taught, who would learn, be educated, what liberalism is, is the way to eventually see to it that they don’t win anymore. They’re not a majority now. They have to lie about what they believe and what they’re gonna do in order to win elections. They are not anywhere near a majority of the people of this country.

We’re being governed by a minority, and it’s simply because they have mastered the emotional, compassionate, feel-good approach to things. And they’ve made great hay out of the misconception, as they put it forth, of equality. To them it’s sameness, and anything that’s not the same is something inherently wrong with the country. And I just think this is educational. I think this is one of these great teachable moments for low-information people. Now, I have a friend who says it’s an ideological thing, it’s all good, but it’s not gonna reach everybody, Rush. People don’t want to look at things that way. Liberalism, conservative, not nearly as oriented like you are in that direction, and they’re not nearly as passionate about that.

So you gotta talk about it in terms of stupid versus smart. Instead of talking about what a big liberal Obama is, it’s just stupid what these people are doing, just plain damn dumb. And I understand the people who think that ideology is not the best way to go about educating, but it’s worked for me. I am never wrong when I predict what a liberal is gonna do, never wrong. I would never vote for one, I don’t care who. I would never vote for one. Why would anybody, is my attitude, after this, but then when you realize what they do, they’re Santa Claus. The people voting for them are not voting for them on ideology. They’re voting for ’em on the basis of stuff.

The dirty little secret is, everybody wants stuff. It’s just that some people are happier if it’s given to them, than having to work for it. Hard work is always gonna be a tougher sell than getting gifts. But it makes for a better culture, country, and society over all. That’s what’s always been the truth, truism and the case. You what the average life span of any republic or democracy is? It’s about 200 years. So we’ve gone past ours. We’ve gone past our life expectancy. And when does every democracy end is when the public learns that they can vote themselves money from the Treasury, that is the beginning of the end. And we’re in that phase.

So the question we have is, can we arrest that and stop it before we are swallowed and destroyed by this ever-expanding mountain of debt, because that is what will do it. Don’t listen to people that tell you the debt doesn’t matter, including the people in the Republican establishment. « Ah, the debt’s the debt. It’s no different now than it was then. It may be a little bit bigger, but, hell, it’s the United States government, always good for what it owes (muttering). » At some point it all collapses and can’t sustain itself. And we have reached that point.

 Voir par ailleurs:

Taxis, VTC : les fossoyeurs de l’innovation
Opinions: Nicolas Colin s’en prend au lobby des taxis, mais surtout fustige des pouvoirs publics qui ne comprennent qu’en cédant aux lobbys de tout poil, ils creusent la tombe du redressement économique
Nicolas Colin
La Tribune
15/10/2013

Le lobby des taxis a gagné la guerre contre les VTC. Pour Nicolas Colin entrepreneur alarmé, cette affaire a révélé l’incapacité des politiques français à promouvoir l’innovation, et pourrait bien conduire à notre perte…
sur le même sujet

Tout commence comme une sorte de message à caractère informatif. Un collaborateur vient voir le patron d’Orange et lui présente une idée dont il n’est pas peu fier :

« Patron, comme nous sommes à la fois une entreprise de média et une entreprise innovante, nous pourrions consacrer une émission de télévision sur notre chaîne Orange Innovation TV aux grands patrons qui innovent dans les grandes entreprises. Ca consisterait à interviewer des dirigeants hyper-innovants et à mettre en valeur leurs innovations par rapport à celles des startups, qui nous donnent beaucoup de leçons mais dont on ne voit pas beaucoup les résultats. D’ailleurs on a déjà trouvé le titre, ça s’appellerait Les décideurs de l’innovation. On a mis au point un super générique à la Top Gun. « 

Ravi, le patron d’Orange soutient cette idée :

« Mon vieux, votre idée est géniale. Je fais banco, vous avez ma carte blanche. J’ai d’ailleurs quelques idées pour les premiers invités, regardons ensemble mon carnet d’adresses pour voir à qui je dois rendre service. »
Parmi ces premiers invités figure justement Nicolas Rousselet, patron des taxis G7 (qui n’opèrent pas que des taxis d’ailleurs, mais aussi une activité de location de voitures, des activités de logistique, de stockage, etc.). Qu’il soit un invité d’une émission aussi audacieuse et disruptive que Les décideurs de l’innovation est un paradoxe : après tout, il est aujourd’hui engagé dans un vaste effort de lobbying pour contrer l’innovation dans le transport individuel de personnes en ville, dans des conditions abondamment détaillées ici ou la. Quoiqu’il en soit, dans une récente et exceptionnelle édition des Décideurs de l’innovation, Nicolas Rousselet nous expose sa vision de l’innovation.

Et à ce point du billet, mieux vaut en finir avec l’ironie : l’innovation vue par Nicolas Rousselet mérite qu’on s’y attarde tant est elle est dérisoire et erronée à peu près du début à la fin. Voici quelques extraits et mes commentaires :

« l’innovation prend deux formes : l’innovation technologique, technique et l’innovation en termes de services, de nouveaux services » (1’50?)

Eh bien non, à l’âge entrepreneurial, l’innovation ne prend qu’une seule forme, celle d’une offre nouvelle amorcée et valorisée sur un marché de masse grâce à la mise au point d’un nouveau modèle d’affaires. Les progrès technologiques sans changement de modèle d’affaires ni traction auprès de la multitude s’appellent simplement des gains de productivité… et se commoditisent en un clin d’oeil, sans permettre à l’entreprise de se différencier ;

« Pour les GPS, tout ça, là on est vraiment à la pointe, ça fait très longtemps qu’on géolocalise tous nos taxis » (3’05?)

Non non, si ça fait longtemps qu’on fait quelque chose, alors on n’est pas vraiment à la pointe. Ces derniers temps, les choses changent vite en matière de géolocalisation et de services associés ;

« Rapprocher le client du taxi, du chauffeur, nécessite de la haute technologie » (3’18?)

Pas du tout, ça nécessite tout au plus de l’amabilité de la part du chauffeur et, éventuellement, une application mobile, qui est quasiment à la portée du premier venu d’un point de vue technologique. Bien sûr, cela peut aussi nécessiter de l’innovation, c’est-à-dire un changement du modèle d’affaires : on rapproche d’autant mieux les taxis des clients qu’on fait alliance avec ces derniers, qu’ils sont ainsi incités à être actifs et donc producteurs de données. Cela, ça suppose de la confiance et ça se valorise d’autant mieux que les clients sont nombreux, bien au-delà de la clientèle premium (j’y reviendrai) ;

« Chaque filiale dans le groupe est gérée de manière autonome, indépendante, par un manager intéressé sur ses résultats » (4’12?)

Ce qui est précisément la caractéristique des entreprises non innovantes. L’innovation consiste à combiner de façon différente les composantes de l’activité de l’entreprise, quitte à ce que certaines déclinent si c’est le prix à payer pour le développement de l’entreprise tout entière. Un manager de filiale intéressé sur ses résultats fera tout pour tuer l’innovation dans sa filiale comme dans l’entreprise en général, de façon à protéger sa rente. C’est pourquoi – si du moins l’objectif est d’innover – un manager de filiale ne peut être intéressé au mieux qu’aux résultats de l’ensemble du groupe. Steve Jobs, traumatisé par sa lecture de The Innovator’s Dilemma, l’avait bien compris et mis en pratique depuis longtemps chez Apple, notamment avec la notion de unified P&L ;

« Nous avons gagné le prix de l’innovation 2010 de la chambre professionnelle du self-stockage » (5’00?)

C’est bien pratique de se créer ses petits prix de l’innovation maison pour faire croire au monde extérieur qu’on est innovant. Mais non, ça ne prend pas. L’innovation, à l’âge de la multitude, ça se mesure aux rendements d’échelle exponentiels et aux positions dominantes sur des marchés globaux. Aucune autre innovation ne contribue de manière significative au développement de l’économie française. Au contraire, le renforcement des situations de rente contribue de manière décisive à la stagnation du revenu par tête et à l’aggravation des inégalités ;

« On gère les taxis depuis pas loin de vingt ans de manière totalement numérique, avec le GPS » (6’50?)

Si les taxis étaient gérés de manière totalement numérique, ils ne s’en tiendraient pas au GPS et auraient inventé Uber avant Uber. Souvenez-vous de cette citation fameuse de The Social Network sur les frères Winklevoss :

« Nos chauffeurs de taxi sont tous des indépendants. C’est un vrai partenariat, où la qualité de service est un leitmotiv » (8’00?)

Des forums entiers sur la mauvaise expérience des taxis parisiens vécue par les touristes étrangers et les Parisiens eux-mêmes témoignent du contraire – ce qui prouve, par ailleurs, que le fait que les chauffeurs de taxi soient tous indépendants n’est pas forcément la meilleure formule pour assurer une qualité de service maximale. Comme le triomphe d’Apple nous l’a amplement démontré depuis 10 ans, l’unification de l’expérience utilisateur (ou une plateforme bien conçue, comme Amazon) sont les meilleures options pour garantir une qualité de service élevée ;

« On a lancé en décembre 2011 le club affaires premium, et là on a même un iPad mis à disposition, on a de l’eau, on a des lingettes » (8’10?)

Nous sommes tous très impressionnés, mais il n’y a pas beaucoup d’innovation dans le fait d’enrichir l’offre de service pour les seuls clients qui paient très cher leur abonnement affaires premium. La fuite vers le premium – et le délaissement corrélatif des marchés de masse – est l’un des phénomènes qui détourne les entreprises françaises de l’innovation à l’âge de la multitude – et il y a bien d’autres exemples que les taxis G7. C’est heureux que Nicolas Rousselet assume sans fard qu’il ne s’agit que de fournir aux clients que quelques lingettes et bouteilles d’eau en plus : nous sommes décidément très loin de l’innovation ;

« On voit que ça ne roule pas très bien, il y a des gros progrès à faire pour améliorer les conditions de circulation dans Paris » (8’40?)

Précisément, on ne roule pas bien dans Paris parce que trop de gens, insatisfaits du fonctionnement des transports en commun et ne pouvant s’offrir les services Affaires Premium Excellence Platine des taxis G7, choisissent de prendre leur véhicule personnel pour leurs déplacements en ville. Le développement des nouveaux modèles d’affaires autour de l’automobile en ville (auto-partage, VTC, etc.) vise en partie à dissuader les individus de prendre leur voiture et peut donc se traduire, à terme, par une décongestion de la circulation à Paris. Que les taxis G7 trouvent que les conditions actuelles sont mauvaises pour les affaires est un comble : d’abord les mauvaises conditions de circulation leur permettent de plus faire tourner le compteur (les taxis ont tout leur temps, ce sont les clients qui sont pressés) ; ensuite, les barrières réglementaires qu’ils défendent à toute force sont précisément la raison pour laquelle il est impossible d’améliorer les conditions de circulation dans cette ville de plus en plus difficile à vivre.
L’innovation doit faire bouger les lignes

Bref, comme le résume si brillamment ce journaliste particulièrement dur en interview, avec les taxis G7, « ça roule pour l’innovation ». J’ajouterai deux choses sur Nicolas Rousselet et les conditions règlementaires de l’innovation dans les transports urbains :
« Il faut que les VTC restent sur le métier pour lesquels ils ont été créés » déclarait-il au mois de juillet, cité par un article du Figaro. Wrong again : encore une fois, quand il s’agit d’innovation, l’objectif est précisément de faire bouger les lignes qui séparent les différentes activités et d’en faire la synthèse dans un nouveau modèle d’affaires, centrée autour de l’utilisateur – condition de l’alliance avec la multitude. Le déploiement d’une offre de qualité à très grande échelle est l’objectif stratégique à l’âge entrepreneurial et le seul cœur de métier des startups innovantes, comme nous le rappellent Steve Blank et Paul Graham. Ça n’a aucun sens, dans un monde où la technologie évolue en permanence et où la multitude révèle sans cesse de nouveaux besoins, de demander à une entreprise de rester sur le métier pour lequel elle a été initialement créée. On peut le faire bien sûr, mais il faut assumer alors qu’on renonce à l’innovation – moteur du développement économique, facteur de création d’emplois et de réduction des inégalités et, accessoirement, contribution décisive à l’amélioration du quotidien des consommateurs ;

Restreindre l’innovation aux clients premium, c’est empêcher son développement
On apprend aujourd’hui, dans un article du Monde, que « le délai de 15 minutes [entre la commande d’un VTC et la prise en charge] s’appliquera à tous les clients des VTC, hormis les hôtels haut de gamme et les salons professionnels ». Belle victoire de lobbying, en tous points contraire à l’intérêt général, et stupéfiante si l’on songe qu’elle a été consentie par un gouvernement de gauche. Si l’on résume la situation, les riches clients du Royal Monceau et les VIP du salon de l’automobile seront servis sans attendre ; par contre, les moins riches attendront ou prendront le bus et les entrepreneurs innovants seront noyés dans la baignoire. (Rappelons encore une fois que l’innovation de rupture arrive toujours ou presque par les activités à faibles marges sur les marchés à faible marge. Si l’on restreint les offres innovantes aux seuls clients premium, il n’y a pas la masse critique pour imposer une innovation de rupture.)

L’innovation meurt d’être mal comprise. Il n’y a pas meilleur contrepoint à la vision de Nicolas Rousselet que les rappels ci-après sur ce qu’est l’innovation, pourquoi elle est importante et comment la favoriser.

Pas d’investissements possibles

L’innovation ne peut pas prospérer en présence de verrous qui rigidifient l’économie et protègent les positions existantes. La seule existence de ces verrous, notamment législatifs et règlementaires, dissuade toute allocation du capital à des activités qui font bouger les lignes dans les secteurs concernés.

Quel intérêt d’investir dans une entreprise innovante se développant en France dans le secteur des VTC, puisque le rendement sur capital investi sera dégradé voire annulé par le verrou règlementaire qui protège la rente des taxis ? Il est beaucoup plus rentable d’allouer du capital à une entreprise américaine qui, elle, va triompher des obstacles règlementaires et conquérir un immense marché.
On tue les entreprises françaises dans l’oeuf

Dans ces conditions, les entreprises américaines prospèrent, tandis que les françaises sont littéralement empêchées de naître. Et lorsque les utilisateurs français (ou les touristes) n’en pourront plus de la mauvaise qualité du service de transport individuel de personnes à Paris et qu’ils obtiendront enfin l’abaissement de la barrière règlementaire, seules les entreprises américaines auront la qualité de service et l’infrastructure nécessaires pour prendre le marché français.

De même que quand la chronologie des médias sera enfin adaptée aux nouveaux modes de consommation des contenus cinématographiques et audiovisuels en ligne, seule Netflix, pas Canal+, sera en mesure de se déployer auprès des utilisateurs français.
L’inutile politique de soutien financier à l’innovation

Dans un cadre juridique hostile à l’innovation, on voit bien qu’une politique publique de soutien financier à l’innovation est vaine. On peut allouer tout l’argent qu’on veut à OSEO, à BPI France, à la sanctuarisation du CIR et du statut de jeune entreprise innovante, les entreprises ainsi financées ne parviennent pas à lever du capital puisque les gestionnaires de fonds identifient parfaitement les barrières juridiques à l’entrée sur les différents marchés et en déduisent qu’un investissement dans les entreprises concernées ne pourra jamais être rentable.

En présence de verrous juridiques protégeant la rente des entreprises en place, l’argent public dépensé pour soutenir l’innovation est comme de l’eau froide qu’on verserait sur une plaque chauffée à blanc : elle s’évapore instantanément.

Un problème qui se généralise

Le problème serait circonscrit si de tels verrous législatifs n’existaient que pour les VTC. Mais, loin de se cantonner à un seul secteur, ils se multiplient. Les industries créatives sont déjà affectées depuis longtemps par les entraves à l’innovation. Les hôteliers déploient un lobbying à grande échelle pour que la loi soit durcie et les protège sur trois fronts : celui des intermédiaires déjà en place sur le marché de la réservation de chambres d’hôtels ; celui de Google, qui rentre sur ce marché avec Hotel Finder ; celui d’AirBnB, qui intensifie la concurrence sur le marché de l’hébergement en faisant arriver sur le marché les chambres et habitations mises sur le marché par les particuliers.

Les libraires semblent en passe d’obtenir une interdiction de livrer gratuitement à domicile les livres commandés via les applications de vente à distance. Bref, à mesure que le numérique dévore le monde, les incendies se déclarent un peu partout et la réponse est toujours la même : on érige une barrière règlementaire qui dissuade l’allocation de capital à des activités innovantes et empêche donc à terme l’émergence de champions français dans ces secteurs.
Pour un lobby français de l’innovation

Sur tous ces dossiers, nous payons très cher l’inexistence d’un lobby français de l’innovation. Il n’est pas du tout évident qu’un tel lobby puisse exister. Aux États-Unis, il s’est constitué et il déploie sa puissance en raison d’une double anomalie : les entreprises ont le droit de financer les campagnes électorales ; et les entreprises les plus riches, dont la capitalisation boursière est la plus élevée, sont aussi les plus innovantes.

Au lobbying de ces entreprises s’ajoute celui d’une organisation, la National Venture Capital Association, qui défend les intérêts des fonds de capital-risque, y compris contre les intérêts du private equity, des banques d’affaires et des banques de dépôt.
La politique doit être favorable à l’innovation

Il n’existe rien de tel chez nous : aucune de nos plus grande entreprises n’est une entreprise innovante, une valeur de croissance comme le sont les géants californiens du numérique ; nos fonds de capital-risque sont rares, dispersés, dilués sur le front institutionnel dans l’Association française du capital investissement ; enfin, les entrepreneurs innovants comme les gestionnaires de fonds de capital-risque sont largement méconnus ou ignorés par les hauts fonctionnaires de la direction générale du Trésor, les membres des cabinets ministériels et, évidemment, les parlementaires.

Il ne peut exister qu’une seule politique publique de l’innovation. Son motif est que l’innovation est le principal facteur de la croissance et moteur du développement économique. Sa règle cardinale est que toutes les décisions de politique publique, sans exception, doivent être prises dans un sens favorable à l’innovation : en matière de financement de l’économie ; en matière de réglementation sectorielle ; en matière de fiscalité et de protection sociale. Aucune autre politique publique que celle-là ne peut être favorable à l’innovation.
Vers une économie française atrophiée et inégalitaire

Si les exceptions se multiplient, si l’innovation n’est plus qu’une priorité parmi d’autres, si l’on n’abaisse pas les barrières règlementaires à l’innovation de modèle d’affaires, alors notre destin est scellé : notre économie sera bientôt tenue exclusivement par des gens qui, bien qu’ils se prétendent décideurs de l’innovation, en sont en réalité les fossoyeurs.

Nicolas Rousselet, les taxis G7 et tous ceux qui les soutiennent au Parlement ou dans l’administration ne sont qu’un avant-gout de ce sombre avenir : bientôt, notre économie ressemblera à celle de ces pays du Tiers-Monde où l’homme le plus riche du pays, par ailleurs frère ou beau-frère du chef de l’État, a fait une immense fortune grâce à un monopole mal acquis sur l’importation des Mercedes d’occasion. Dans une telle configuration, on a tout gagné : des distorsions de marché, l’atrophie de la production locale, une valeur ajoutée réduite à néant, une croissance au ralenti et des inégalités de plus en plus insupportables.

Est-ce cela que nous voulons ? Et sinon, qu’attendons-nous pour agir ?

* Nicolas Colin est entrepreneur, co-auteur de « L’âge de la multitude » et membre de Futurbulences, de Renaissance numérique, du Club du 6 mai et de la commission « Services » du pôle de compétitivité Cap Digital

Voir aussi:

Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma

James Allworth

HBR

October 24, 2011

In the lead up to today’s release of the Steve Jobs biography, there’s been an increasing stream of news surrounding its subject. As a business researcher, I was particularly interested in this recent article that referenced from his biography a list of Jobs’s favorite books. There’s one business book on this list, and it “deeply influenced” Jobs. That book is The Innovator’s Dilemma by HBS Professor Clay Christensen.

But what’s most interesting to me isn’t that The Innovator’s Dilemma was on that list. It’s that Jobs solved the conundrum.

When describing his period of exile from Apple — when John Sculley took over — Steve Jobs described one fundamental root cause of Apple’s problems. That was to let profitability outweigh passion: “My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. The products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It’s a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything.”

Anyone familiar with Professor Christensen’s work will quickly recognize the same causal mechanism at the heart of the Innovator’s Dilemma: the pursuit of profit. The best professional managers — doing all the right things and following all the best advice — lead their companies all the way to the top of their markets in that pursuit… only to fall straight off the edge of a cliff after getting there.

Which is exactly what had happened to Apple. A string of professional managers had led the company straight off the edge of that cliff. The fall had almost killed the company. It had 90 days working capital on hand when he took over — in other words, Apple was only three months away from bankruptcy.

When he returned, Jobs completely upended the company. There were thousands of layoffs. Scores of products were killed stone dead. He knew the company had to make money to stay alive, but he transitioned the focus of Apple away from profits. Profit was viewed as necessary, but not sufficient, to justify everything Apple did. That attitude resulted in a company that looks entirely different to almost any other modern Fortune 500 company. One striking example: there’s only one person Apple with responsibility for a profit and loss. The CFO. It’s almost the opposite of what is taught in business school. An executive who worked at both Apple and Microsoft described the differences this way: “Microsoft tries to find pockets of unrealized revenue and then figures out what to make. Apple is just the opposite: It thinks of great products, then sells them. Prototypes and demos always come before spreadsheets.”

Similarly, Apple talks a lot about its great people. But make no mistake — they are there only in service of the mission. A headhunter describes it thus: “It is a happy place in that it has true believers. People join and stay because they believe in the mission of the company.” It didn’t matter how great you were, if you couldn’t deliver to that mission — you were out. Jobs’s famous meltdowns upon his return were symptomatic of this. They might have become less frequent in recent years, but if a team couldn’t deliver a great product, they got the treatment. The exec in charge of MobileMe was replaced on the spot, in front of his entire team, after a botched launch. A former Apple product manager described Apple’s attitude like this: “You have the privilege of working for the company that’s making the coolest products in the world. Shut up and do your job, and you might get to stay.”

Everything — the business, the people — are subservient to the mission: building great products. And rather than listening to, or asking their customers what they wanted; Apple would solve problems customers didn’t know they had with products they didn’t even realize they wanted.

By taking this approach, Apple bent all the rules of disruption. To disrupt yourself, for example, Professor Christensen’s research would typically prescribe setting up a separate company that eventually goes on to defeat the parent. It’s incredibly hard to do this successfully; Dayton Dry Goods pulled it off with Target. IBM managed to do it with the transition from mainframes to PCs, by firewalling the businesses in entirely different geographies. Either way, the number of companies that have successfully managed to do it is a very, very short list. And yet Apple’s doing it to itself right now with the utmost of ease. Here’s new CEO Tim Cook, on the iPad disrupting the Mac business: “Yes, I think there is some cannibalization… the iPad team works on making their product the best. Same with the Mac team.” It’s almost unheard of to be able to manage disruption like this.

They can do it because Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority. When you do this, the fear of cannibalization or disruption of one’s self just melts away. In fact, when your mission is based around creating customer value, around creating great products, cannibalization and disruption aren’t “bad things” to be avoided. They’re things you actually strive for — because they let you improve the outcome for your customer.

When I first learned about the theory of disruption, what amazed me was its predictive power; you could look into the future with impressive clarity. And yet, there was a consistent anomaly. That one dark spot on Professor Christensen’s prescience was always his predictions on Apple. I had the opportunity to talk about it with him subsequently, and I remember him telling me: “There’s just something different about those guys. They’re freaks.” Well, he was right. With the release of Jobs’s biography, we now know for sure why. Jobs was profoundly influenced by the Innovator’s Dilemma — he saw the company he created almost die from it. When he returned to Apple, Jobs was determined to solve it. And he did. That “subtle difference” — of flipping the priorities away from profit and back to great products — took Apple from three months away from bankruptcy, to one of the most valuable and influential companies in the world.

James Allworth is the Director of Strategy for Medallia, Inc and co-author of How Will You Measure Your Life?. He has worked as a Fellow at the Forum for Growth and Innovation at Harvard Business School, at Apple, and Booz & Company. Connect with him on Twitter at @jamesallworth.

Voir enfin:

Apple’s Secret? It Tells Us What We Should Love

Roberto Verganti

January 28, 2010

At the beginning of Steve Jobs’s presentation of the iPad, a slide showed an image of God delivering its commandments, paired by a quote from The Wall Street Journal: “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.” Although a touch arrogant, this quote powerfully captures the essence of the event.

While tech experts were busy commenting on the qualities of the iPad, what struck me was the level of excitement that the event created. On Tuesday, the day before the product was unveiled, a Web search for “Apple tablet” produced more than 17 million links! On Wednesday, hordes of people attended the news conference remotely. Everyone was anxiously waiting for Apple’s interpretation of what a tablet is.

This was validation of Apple’s peculiar innovation process: Insights do not move from users to Apple but the other way around. More than Apple listening to us, it’s us who listen to Apple.

This contradicts the conventional management wisdom about innovation. In fact, one of the mantras of the past decade has been user-centered innovation: Companies should start their innovation process by getting close to users and observe them using existing products to understand their needs.

I disagree with this approach for these kinds of efforts. User-centered innovation is perfect to drive incremental innovation, but hardly generates breakthroughs. In fact, it does not question existing needs, but rather reinforces them, thanks to its powerful methods.

With the iPad Apple has not provided an answer to market needs. It has made a proposal about what could fit us and what we could love. It’s now up to us to answer whether we agree.

The iPad, of course, is not the first time Apple has taken this approach. If it had scrutinized users of early MP3 players downloading music from Napster, it would have not came out with a breakthrough system (the iPod + iTunes application + iTunes Store) based on a business model that asks people to pay for music.

Consumers don’t always swallow Apple’s notion of what they should love. In 2008, when Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air, he said “No matter how hard you look, one thing you are not gonna find in a MacBook Air is an optical drive. If you really want one, we have built one. [He showed an external CD-DVD drive] . . . But you know what? We do not think most users will miss the optical drive. We do not think they will need an optical drive.”

Apple is not alone in thumbing its nose at the notion of user-centered innovation. If Nintendo had closely observed teenagers in their basements using existing game consoles, it would have provided them with what they apparently needed: a powerful console with sophisticated 3D processing that could enable them to better immerse in a virtual world. Instead, Nintendo did not get close to users when developing the Wii. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s senior marketing director, “We don’t use consumer focus groups. We got a lot of feedback from developers in the industry.” This allowed Nintendo to completely redefine the experience of game consoles.

The iPod and the Wii were outside the spectrum of possibilities of what people knew and did. But they were not outside what they could dream of and love, if only someone could propose it to them.

Firms that create radical innovations make proposals. They put forward a vision. In doing that, of course, they take greater risks. And it may even be that the iPad will not succeed. (My feeling is that its success strongly depends on developers. If they create applications specifically tailored for this device, instead of simply adapting existing applications running on notebooks, then the iPad could mark a new era in mobile computing. The potential is there, given that Apple is using the same collaborative innovation strategy devised for the iPhone.)

My 10 years of research on breakthrough innovations by companies such as Apple, Nintendo, and Alessi, which are summarized in my book Design-Driven Innovation, shows, however, that these radical proposals are not created by chance. And they do not simply come from intuition of a visionary guru. They come from a very precise process and capabilities.

Thanks to this process these companies are serial radical innovators. Their non-user-centered proposals are not dreams without a foundation. Sometimes they fail. But when they work, people love them even more than products that have been developed by scrutinizing their needs.
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Roberto Verganti is professor of the management of innovation at Politecnico di Milano and a member of the board of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management. He has served as an executive advisor, coach, and educator at a variety of firms, including Ferrari, Ducati, Whirlpool, Xerox, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, Barilla, Nestlè, STMicroelectronics, and Intuit.



Cherchez l’erreur: Seuls neuf monuments du 11 septembre hors EU pour plus de 90 nations touchées et zéro au Moyen-orient hors Israël (Only nine 9/11 memorials outside of US and zero in the Middle east outside of Israel)

5 avril, 2014
9/11 Living Memorial Plaza (Ramot, Jerusalem, Israel)
911 debris (Caen, France)
911 Monument (Copenhagen, Denmark)911 monument, Irelandhttps://i1.wp.com/web.archive.org/web/20060928073137im_/http://www.omnidecor.net/media/news/news_memoriaeluce.jpg NZ911 Pentagon memorial (Patch Barracks, Stuttgart/Vaihingen)Si le monde vous hait, sachez qu’il m’a haï avant vous. (…) S’ils m’ont persécuté, ils vous persécuteront aussi. Jésus (Jean 15: 18, 20)
Voici, je vous envoie comme des brebis au milieu des loups. Soyez donc prudents comme les serpents, et simples comme les colombes … Vous serez haïs de tous, à cause de mon nom … Le disciple n’est pas plus que le maître, ni le serviteur plus que son seigneur. Il suffit au disciple d’être traité comme son maître, et au serviteur comme son seigneur. S’ils ont appelé le maître de la maison Béelzébul, à combien plus forte raison appelleront-ils ainsi les gens de sa maison! Ne les craignez donc point; car il n’y a rien de caché qui ne doive être découvert, ni de secret qui ne doive être connu. Ce que je vous dis dans les ténèbres, dites-le en plein jour; et ce qui vous est dit à l’oreille, prêchez-le sur les toits. Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps et qui ne peuvent tuer l’âme … Jésus (Matthieu 10: 16-28)
Tout pays du monde a un ou plusieurs événements à déplorer dont son peuple demeure à jamais marqué. Toute famille vit aussi des tragédies ou la perte d’êtres chers qui laissent sur elle des marques permanentes. Pourtant, l’Histoire a rarement vu une série d’évènements et de tragédies d’une telle ampleur être vécue simultanément par des personnes du monde entier et se dérouler sous leurs yeux. La plupart d’entre nous nous souviendrons toujours du lieu où nous étions lorsque nous avons d’abord été informés des attentats terroristes du 11 septembre puis que nous en avons été les témoins. Ronald K. Noble (Interpol, 2009)
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the murder of thousands of citizens from more than 90 countries, I keep asking myself whether we are finally safe from the global terror threat. Since those shocking attacks of 9/11, the death of Osama bin Laden, the elimination of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and the concentrated international pressure on Al Qaeda have reshaped the nature of the threat confronting us. We’ve seen terror attempts foiled by a combination of heightened security and awareness, improved intelligence gathering, robust enforcement by police and prosecutors, quick actions by an observant public and sheer luck: the “Detroit Christmas plot,” the “shoe bomber,” the Times Square bomber. Yet we’ve also seen appalling carnage in Bali, Casablanca, Kampala, London, Madrid, Moscow and Mumbai and throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Tragically, this list is far from exhaustive. In my official visits to 150 countries, I have witnessed first-hand the transformation from the post-9/11 single-minded focus by governments and law enforcement on Al Qaeda and foreign-born terrorists, to today’s concerns about foreign criminals generally, and cybercrime and security more specifically. The question as we look forward, therefore, is how can we protect our countries from Al Qaeda’s remaining elements and from other emerging serious criminal threats on the horizon? What has become clear to me is that unprecedented levels of physical and virtual mobility are both shaping and threatening our security landscape. With more people traveling by air than ever before — one billion international air arrivals last year with national and international air passenger figures estimated to reach around three billion by 2014 — I see the systematic screening of the passports and names of those crossing our borders as a top priority. Citizens now submitted to stringent physical security checks in airports worldwide would be incredulous to learn that 10 years after 9/11, authorities today still allow one-out-of-two international airline passengers to cross their borders without checking whether they are carrying stolen or lost travel documents. Yet all the evidence shows us that terrorists exploit travel to the fullest, often attempting to conceal their identity and their past by using aliases and fraudulent travel documents. This global failure to properly screen travelers remains a clear security gap, all the more deplorable when the information and technology are readily available. Currently, less than a quarter of countries perform systematic passport checks against Interpol’s database, with details of 30 million stolen or lost travel documents. This failure puts lives at risk. But preventing dangerous individuals from crossing borders at airports is only half the challenge. At a time when global migration is reaching record levels — there were an estimated 214 million migrants in 2010 — I see a need for migrants to be provided biometric e-identity documents that can be quickly verified against Interpol’s databases by any country, anytime and anywhere. Verification prior to the issuance of a work or residence permit would facilitate the efficient movement of migrants while enhancing the security of countries. Virtual mobility also throws up its own security challenges. In 2000, less than 400 million individuals were connected to the Internet; an estimated 2.5 billion people will be able to access the net by 2015. Extensive use of the Internet and freely accessible email accounts allowed Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the principal architect of 9/11, to communicate quickly and effectively with co-conspirators. A decade later, we see the same power targeting new generations to radicalize and spawn “lone wolf” terrorists. The trial in Germany of a young man who blamed online jihadist propaganda for the double murder he committed is just one recent example. I believe that the Internet has replaced Afghanistan as the terrorist training ground, and this should concern us the most. Ronald K. Noble (Interpol, 2011)
More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a hijacked jet crashed into a field. In all, nearly 3,000 people were killed, including 60 police officers and 343 firefighters who responded to the scene in New York City. US State department
Excluding the 19 perpetrators, 373 foreign nationals representing more than 12% of the total number of deaths perished in the attacks, the majority being British, Indian, and Dominican. Wikipedia
Officially named Le Mémorial de Caen, un musée pour la paix – « The Caen Memorial, a Museum for Peace, » the Caen Memorial is regarded as the best World War II museum in France. With over 6,000,000 visitors since it opened, it is the second most visited site in Normandy after Mont-St-Michel. Established in 1988, the Caen Memorial focuses on the events leading up to and after D-Day (Jour J). Visitors walk through an excellent five-part presentation: the lead-up to World War II; the Battle of Normandy; two powerful video presentations; the Cold War; and the ongoing movement for peace. The last section includes a Gallery of Nobel Peace Prizes, celebrating such figures as Andrei Sakharov, Elie Wiesel and Desmond Tutu. The museum also includes exhibits on other failures and triumphs of peace, such as September 11 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Caen Memorial is the only place outside of the U.S. (as of 2004) that displays remnants of the 9/11 attacks. Mémorial de Caen
The 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza is a cenotaph located on a hill in Arazim Valley of Ramot, northern site of East Jerusalem. The plaza, built on 5 acres (2.0 ha), is to remember and honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks. The cenotaph measures 30 feet and is made of granite, bronze and aluminum. It takes the form of an American flag, waving and transforming into a flame at the tip. A piece of melted metal from the ruins of the Twin Towers forms part of the base on which the monument rests. A glass pane over the metal facilitates viewing. The names of the victims, including five Israeli citizens, are embedded on the metal plate and placed on the circular wall. The monument is strategically located within view of Jerusalem’s main cemetery, Har HaMenuchot. The folded part of the flag is reminiscent of the collapse of the towers in a cloud of dust. The flag morphs into a six-meter high memorial flame representative of a torch. It is the only monument outside of the United States which lists the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks. The cenotaph was designed by award-winning artist Eliezer Weishoff. It was commissioned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF/KKL) at a cost of ₪ 10 million ($2 million). The inauguration ceremony was held on 12 November 2009 with representation from the US Ambassador to Israel, James B. Cunningham, members of the Israeli Cabinet and legislature, family of victims and others. Mémorial du 11 septembre de Jérusalem

Afrique du sud, Allemagne, Argentine, Australie, Bangladesh, Belgique, Bermudes, Biélorussie, Brésil, Canada, Chili, Chine, Colombie, Congo, Corée du sud, Côte d’ivoire, R. Dominicaine, Equateur, Espagne, Ethiopie, France, Ghana, Guyane, Haïti, Hong Kong, Honduras, Inde, Indonésie, Irlande, Israël, Italie, Jamaïque, Japon, Jordanie, Liban, Lituanie, Malaisie, Mexique, Moldavie, Nouvelle Zélande, Nigeria, Ouzbekistan, Pays-Bas, Pakistan, Paraguay, Pérou, Philippines, Pologne, Portugal, Roumanie, Royaume-Uni, Russie, Salvador, Suède, Suisse, Taïwan, Trinidad et Tobago, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yougoslavie …

Alors que le monde s’apprête à commémorer le 20e anniversaire du plus grand génocide d’après-45 …

Où le Monde libre est resté largement indifférent …

Et où hélas le pays autoproclamé des droits de l’homme a même eu sa part toujours impunie et sera, significativement, représenté à Kigali par une maitresse-menteuse

Pendant qu’aux Etats-Unis mêmes un Prédateur-en-chef en panne de popularité propose un dernier nettoyage de printemps des fonds de tiroir de son prédécesseur via le rapport du Sénat sur les méthodes d’interrogatoire musclées de la CIA post-11-Septembre …

Retour sur le plus grand massacre international de l’histoire récente …

Qui fera, quasiment en direct pour des millions de téléspectateurs sur la planète entière, près de 3 000 victimes et touchera plus de 90 nations de par le monde …

Mais qui, étrangement si l’on en croit le site 9/11 memorials (hélas pas à jour), ne verra la création, hors Etats-Unis, que de neuf monuments dans le monde (dont un seul en France à Caen) …

Dont aucun – surprise ! – au Moyen-Orient hors Israël !

Le Secrétaire Général d’INTERPOL revient sur « l’autre crise mondiale » à l’occasion de l’anniversaire de l’attentat à la bombe de 1993 contre le World Trade Center

Ronald K. Noble

Interpol

26 février 2009

Cette Lettre ouverte du Secrétaire Général Ronald K. Noble a été publiée à 12 h 18, heure de New York, soit exactement l’heure à laquelle un camion piégé a explosé devant le World Trade Center le 26 février 1993.

LYON (France) – Alors que les dirigeants du monde entier se débattent toujours contre la pire crise financière que nous connaissions depuis sept décennies, je voudrais attirer l’attention sur une autre crise mondiale qui, dans un certain sens, a commencé à cette même date, il y a 16 ans : le premier attentat terroriste contre le World Trade Center perpétré par Al-Qaïda.

Aussi choquant qu’il ait pu être, cet attentat a été perçu par une bonne partie de l’opinion internationale comme un acte isolé – aussi marquant par ce en quoi il avait échoué que par son bilan – et non comme le premier signe avant-coureur d’une menace qui changerait pour toujours la face de la sécurité mondiale.

Le 11-Septembre, avec la mort de milliers d’Américains et de citoyens de 91 autres pays, l’insouciance devait céder la place à une prise de conscience mondiale de la menace que constituait Al- Qaida. Cet attentat a galvanisé INTERPOL et ses 187 pays membres.

Pourtant, les mesures de sécurité mises en place après l’attentat terroriste de 1993 n’ont pas empêché les attaques contre la même cible 102 mois plus tard. Et 90 mois seulement se sont écoulés depuis le 11-Septembre.

De nombreux autres attentats ont eu lieu en Afrique, en Asie et en Europe, et le nombre inquiétant de catastrophes évitées de peu depuis laisse à penser qu’en Amérique aussi, « la marge de sécurité se réduit au lieu d’augmenter » comme l’a sobrement indiqué la Commission fédérale des États-Unis sur la prévention de la prolifération des armes de destruction massive et du terrorisme dans son rapport publié en décembre dernier. La Commission a conclu que lors du prochain attentat – et certains éléments portent à croire qu’il y en aura un autre – Al-Qaïda pourrait choisir l’arme nucléaire ou biologique.

En 1993 comme le 11-Septembre, il était manifeste que le principal maillon faible en matière de sécurité était le bastion afghan d’Al-Qaïda, où les terroristes étaient entraînés. Les États-Unis et ses alliés ont donc lancé leur « guerre contre la terreur » d’abord en Afghanistan, puis en Iraq puis de nouveau en Afghanistan.

Le réel danger que représente actuellement Al-Qaïda en dehors de l’Iraq et de l’Afghanistan demeure un danger face auquel les armées sont mal équipées et que les gouvernements ont été lents à mesurer, quels que soient la force, le courage et l’ampleur de leur sacrifice. C’est pourquoi nous devons employer la même quantité de ressources, la même attention et la même énergie que celles consacrées aux armées à donner les moyens d’agir à la communauté policière internationale.

Et il faut le faire dès à présent. Lorsqu’un conflit classique s’achève, les troupes rentrent chez elles, et commence alors le long processus de la reconstruction. Il en va tout autrement avec les terroristes internationaux liés à Al-Qaïda. Ce qui les motive ne s’effacera pas avec la signature d’un cessez-le-feu ou d’un traité de paix. Ils dirigeront sur d’autres cibles leur haine et leur désir de tuer des innocents.

La plus grosse difficulté en matière de sécurité à laquelle nous soyons confrontés aujourd’hui est la mobilité des terroristes. C’est aussi celle à laquelle il est le plus facile de remédier, par un mélange de volonté gouvernementale au niveau national et de coopération policière multilatérale par l’intermédiaire d’INTERPOL.

À l’heure actuelle, plus de 800 millions de voyageurs internationaux franchissent les frontières sans que leur passeport fasse l’objet de vérifications dans la base de données mondiale d’INTERPOL, qui contient près de 10 millions d’enregistrements sur des passeports déclarés volés ou perdus, et cela bien que le cerveau du premier attentat contre le World Trade Center soit entré aux États-Unis en utilisant un passeport iraquien volé.

INTERPOL a suivi 14 affaires différentes de migration clandestine d’Iraquiens voyageant avec de faux passeports au cours des deux dernières années. Au total, 74 passeports de dix pays européens ont été utilisés, dont seulement 24 avaient été enregistrés dans la base de données d’INTERPOL sur les documents de voyage volés ou perdus, la seule de ce type qui existe au monde. Les ressortissants iraquiens ont été arrêtés aux frontières de trois pays différents.

Dans l’une de ces affaires, le même Iraquien a été intercepté à trois reprises sur une période de trois mois, à chaque fois en possession d’un passeport volé différent d’un pays européen. Même si rien ne prouve que les personnes arrêtées se déplaçaient pour commettre des actes de terreur, il est très facile d’imaginer que les membres d’une cellule terroriste puissent recourir aux mêmes filières pour entrer dans des pays à des fins bien plus sinistres qu’une demande d’asile.

Il convient également de prendre en compte les autres points noirs importants de la sécurité mondiale :

Aujourd’hui, des terroristes sont régulièrement poursuivis et condamnés sans que leurs empreintes digitales soient prises et diffusées au niveau international, et cela bien que la comparaison d’empreintes soit le principal moyen d’établir leur véritable identité.

Aujourd’hui, des terroristes présentant des liens avec Al-Qaïda s’évadent de prison sans que les pays soient alertés ou que des mandats d’arrêt internationaux soient délivrés, et cela bien que nombre de ces évadés tentent de frapper encore. Sur au moins 13 hommes d’Al-Qaïda qui se sont échappés d’une prison au Yémen en février 2006, six ont participé par la suite à des attentats terroristes de grande ampleur.

Aujourd’hui, n’importe quel terroriste peut ouvrir un compte dans une banque étrangère en présentant un passeport frauduleux sans que la banque soit en mesure de vérifier s’il a été déclaré volé, et cela bien que nous sachions que « suivre la piste de l’argent » est une méthode efficace pour mettre au jour les réseaux terroristes internationaux.

Aujourd’hui, un terroriste pris en train d’essayer d’entrer dans un pays au moyen d’un passeport volé ou frauduleux est simplement renvoyé par avion à son point de départ ou autorisé à poursuivre son voyage.

Si nous ajoutons à cela la dévastation que pourrait causer un attentat terroriste à l’arme nucléaire ou biologique dans les cinq prochaines années, comme l’a prédit la Commission sur la prévention de la prolifération des armes de destruction massive et du terrorisme, il nous faut bien conclure que l’heure n’est plus à l’insouciance.

Ce mois-ci, une vidéo a commencé à circuler dans laquelle le professeur koweïtien Abdallah Nafisi exprime ouvertement son espoir de voir les partisans d’Al-Qaïda mener à bien des attaques biologiques sur tout le territoire des États-Unis ou faire exploser une centrale nucléaire dans ce pays et ôter la vie à quelque 300 000 innocents.

Si certes la perspective des pertes en vies humaines et des destructions que causerait un nouvel attentat devrait suffire à elle seule à justifier que l’on s’intéresse de nouveau à ce que peut faire la police pour empêcher Al-Qaïda de commettre de tels actes, nous ne devons pas oublier pour autant les conséquences certaines et catastrophiques qui s’ensuivraient inévitablement sur l’économie.

Le coût des attentats du 11-Septembre a été colossal mais l’économie mondiale, à cette époque, était forte ; une récidive aujourd’hui, avec une économie mondiale qui chancèle, pourrait être désastreuse.

Aussi, à l’heure où toute l’attention est centrée sur la crise économique mondiale, j’encouragerais nos dirigeants à ne pas oublier ce qui a permis le premier attentat contre le World Trade Center et à écouter plutôt les conseils de la Commission sur la prévention de la prolifération des armes de destruction massive et du terrorisme : « Si la communauté internationale n’agit pas de façon résolue et de toute urgence, il est plus que probable qu’une arme de destruction massive sera utilisée pour commettre un attentat terroriste quelque part dans le monde d’ici la fin de 2013 ».

Il est temps d’unir nos forces et de redéployer nos ressources afin d’aider à colmater les brèches dans le dispositif de sécurité et à empêcher les futurs attentats terroristes du type de celui que le professeur Abdallah Nafisi a prédit et en comparaison desquels, selon lui, les attentats du 11-Septembre et par conséquent celui de 1993 contre le World Trade Center ne seraient rien.

Voilà quelle est l’autre crise mondiale que nous sommes bien trop nombreux à continuer d’ignorer.

Voir aussi:

Preventing the Next 9/11

Ronald K. Noble

International Herald Tribune

05 septembre 2011

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the murder of thousands of citizens from more than 90 countries, I keep asking myself whether we are finally safe from the global terror threat.

Since those shocking attacks of 9/11, the death of Osama bin Laden, the elimination of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and the concentrated international pressure on Al Qaeda have reshaped the nature of the threat confronting us.

We’ve seen terror attempts foiled by a combination of heightened security and awareness, improved intelligence gathering, robust enforcement by police and prosecutors, quick actions by an observant public and sheer luck: the “Detroit Christmas plot,” the “shoe bomber,” the Times Square bomber.

Yet we’ve also seen appalling carnage in Bali, Casablanca, Kampala, London, Madrid, Moscow and Mumbai and throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Tragically, this list is far from exhaustive.

In my official visits to 150 countries, I have witnessed first-hand the transformation from the post-9/11 single-minded focus by governments and law enforcement on Al Qaeda and foreign-born terrorists, to today’s concerns about foreign criminals generally, and cybercrime and security more specifically.

The question as we look forward, therefore, is how can we protect our countries from Al Qaeda’s remaining elements and from other emerging serious criminal threats on the horizon?

What has become clear to me is that unprecedented levels of physical and virtual mobility are both shaping and threatening our security landscape. With more people traveling by air than ever before — one billion international air arrivals last year with national and international air passenger figures estimated to reach around three billion by 2014 — I see the systematic screening of the passports and names of those crossing our borders as a top priority.

Citizens now submitted to stringent physical security checks in airports worldwide would be incredulous to learn that 10 years after 9/11, authorities today still allow one-out-of-two international airline passengers to cross their borders without checking whether they are carrying stolen or lost travel documents.

Yet all the evidence shows us that terrorists exploit travel to the fullest, often attempting to conceal their identity and their past by using aliases and fraudulent travel documents.

This global failure to properly screen travelers remains a clear security gap, all the more deplorable when the information and technology are readily available. Currently, less than a quarter of countries perform systematic passport checks against Interpol’s database, with details of 30 million stolen or lost travel documents. This failure puts lives at risk.

But preventing dangerous individuals from crossing borders at airports is only half the challenge. At a time when global migration is reaching record levels — there were an estimated 214 million migrants in 2010 — I see a need for migrants to be provided biometric e-identity documents that can be quickly verified against Interpol’s databases by any country, anytime and anywhere. Verification prior to the issuance of a work or residence permit would facilitate the efficient movement of migrants while enhancing the security of countries.

Virtual mobility also throws up its own security challenges. In 2000, less than 400 million individuals were connected to the Internet; an estimated 2.5 billion people will be able to access the net by 2015.

Extensive use of the Internet and freely accessible email accounts allowed Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the principal architect of 9/11, to communicate quickly and effectively with co-conspirators.

A decade later, we see the same power targeting new generations to radicalize and spawn “lone wolf” terrorists. The trial in Germany of a young man who blamed online jihadist propaganda for the double murder he committed is just one recent example.

I believe that the Internet has replaced Afghanistan as the terrorist training ground, and this should concern us the most.

Cyberspace can be both a means for, and a target of terrorism and crime, undermining the critical infrastructure of governments and businesses. Yet until now there has been no meaningful effort to prepare countries to tackle this global threat in the future.

This is why Interpol’s 188 member countries unanimously approved the creation in Singapore of a global complex to better prepare the world to fight cybercrime and enhance cybersecurity.

So as we honor the memories of those who perished 10 years ago, it is time to ask ourselves if we have done all that we can to prevent another 9/11 or other serious attack. A great deal has been done to make us all safer, but far too little to make sure that we are safe from the global terror and criminal threat.

If we act today, in 10 years’ time, we may not just be catching up after the latest attack, we may have prevented it.

Ronald K. Noble is Secretary General of INTERPOL.


Irak: Ah, le bon vieux temps de Saddam! (Bagdad worst: Guess who’s got the curse of Google auto-complete this year ?)

23 mars, 2014
https://i0.wp.com/www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/images/saddam_baathist_propaganda.jpghttps://i2.wp.com/planetgroupentertainment.squarespace.com/storage/SaddamHussein.jpgJe pense (qu’il s’agit d’une guerre civile, ndlr), étant donné le niveau de violence, de meurtres, d’amertume, et la façon dont les forces se dressent les unes contres les autres. Il y a quelques années, lorsqu’il y avait une lutte au Liban ou ailleurs, on appelait cela une guerre civile. C’est bien pire. Ils avaient un dictateur brutal, mais ils avaient leurs rues, ils pouvaient sortir, leurs enfants pouvaient aller à l’école et en revenir sans que leurs parents ne se demandent ‘Vais-je revoir mon enfant ?’ (…) Les choses n’ont pas marché comme ils (les Etats-Unis et leurs alliés, ndlr) l’espéraient et il est essentiel d’avoir un regard critique  (…)  le gouvernement irakien n’a pas été capable de mettre la violence sous contrôle. (…) En tant que secrétaire général, j’ai fais tout ce que j’ai pu. Kofi Annan
Si du temps de Saddam Hussein, le chômage sévissait déjà et l’eau et d’électricité manquaient, les problèmes étaient d’une moindre ampleur et mieux gérés. La sécurité, elle, s’est totalement détériorée depuis l’invasion de l’Irak, menée en 2003 par une coalition conduite par les Etats-Unis. Pourtant, Bagdad a une histoire glorieuse. Construite en 762 sur les rives du Tigre par le calife abbasside Abou Jaafar al-Mansour, la ville a depuis joué un rôle central dans le monde arabo-musulman. Au 20e siècle, Bagdad était le brillant exemple d’une ville arabe moderne avec certaines des meilleurs universités et musées de la région, une élite bien formée, un centre culturel dynamique et un système de santé haut de gamme. Son aéroport international était un modèle pour la région et la ville a connu la naissance de l’Opep, le cartel des pays exportateurs de pétrole. La ville abritait en outre une population de différentes confessions: musulmans, chrétiens, juifs et autres. « Bagdad représentait le centre économique de l’Etat abbasside », souligne Issam al-Faili, professeur d’histoire politique à l’université Moustansiriyah, un établissement vieux de huit siècles. Il rappelle qu’elle a « servi de base à la conquête de régions voisines pour élargir l’influence de l’islam ». »Elle était une capitale du monde », dit, avec fierté, l’universitaire, qui admet qu' »aujourd’hui, elle est devenue l’une des villes les plus misérables de la planète ». AFP
Every expat I know here is mystified by that data. I’d be hard-pressed to find an expat (not a lot of them around admittedly) who believes that’s the case, apart from the prisoners of the Green Zone — the embassy people, U.N. staff and others who can’t actually get out into the city. Jane Arraf (freelance journalist)
The Iraqi capital has beaten out 222 other locations to be named the city with the lowest quality of life for expats in the entire world. Baghdad is so bad, according to Mercer, that companies should pay people a considerable amount extra to live there. As Hannibal explained to me, companies would likely have to pay an employee an extra 35-40 percent on top of their base salary as compensation for the poor quality of life in Iraq – that some companies might go as high as 50 percent in cash or other services. Worse still, Baghdad is a persistent worst offender in Mercer’s data, gradually falling down the rankings since 2001 and ranking last since 2004. It’s even acquired the curse of Google Auto-complete: Type « Baghdad Worst » into the search engine, and « Baghdad worst place to live » and « Baghdad worst city » appear. The Washington Post
Political instability, high crime levels, and elevated air pollution are a few factors that can be detrimental to the daily lives of expatriate employees their families and local residents. To ensure that compensation packages reflect the local environment appropriately, employers need a clear picture of the quality of living in the cities where they operate. In a world economy that is becoming more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial and business centres are working to improve their quality of living so they can attract more foreign companies. This year’s survey recognises so-called ‘second tier’ or ‘emerging’ cites and points to a few examples from around the world These cities have been investing massively in their infrastructure and attracting foreign direct investments by providing incentives such as tax, housing, or entry facilities. Emerging cities will become major players that traditional financial centres and capital cities will have to compete with. European cities enjoy a high overall quality of living compared to those in other regions. Healthcare, infrastructure, and recreational facilities are generally of a very high standard. Political stability and relatively low crime levels enable expatriates to feel safe and secure in most locations. The region has seen few changes in living standards over the last year. Several cities in Central and South America are still attractive to expatriates due to their relatively stable political environments, improving infrastructure, and pleasant climate. But many locations remain challenging due to natural disasters, such as hurricanes often hitting the region, as well as local economic inequality and high crime rates. Companies placing their workers on expatriate assignments in these locations must ensure that hardship allowances reflect the lower levels of quality of living. The Middle East and especially Africa remain one of the most challenging regions for multinational organisations and expatriates. Regional instability and disruptive political events, including civil unrest, lack of infrastructure and natural disasters such as flooding, keep the quality of living from improving in many of its cities. However, some cities that might not have been very attractive to foreign companies are making efforts to attract them. Slagin Parakatil (Senior Researcher at Mercer)
The abysmal Iraq results forecast what could happen in Afghanistan, where U.S. taxpayers have so far spent $90 billion in reconstruction projects during a 12-year military campaign that is slated to end, for the most part, in 2014. Shortly after the March 2003 invasion, Congress set up a $2.4 billion fund to help ease the sting of war for Iraqis. It aimed to rebuild Iraq’s water and electricity systems; provide food, health care and governance for its people; and take care of those who were forced from their homes in the fighting. Less than six months later, President George W. Bush asked for $20 billion more to further stabilize Iraq and help turn it into an ally that could gain economic independence and reap global investments. To date, the U.S. has spent more than $60 billion in reconstruction grants to help Iraq get back on its feet after the country was broken by more than two decades of war, sanctions and dictatorship. That works out to about $15 million a day. And yet Iraq’s government is rife with corruption and infighting. Baghdad’s streets are still cowed by near-daily deadly bombings. A quarter of the country’s 31 million population lives in poverty, and few have reliable electricity and clean water. Overall, including all military and diplomatic costs and other aid, the U.S. has spent at least $767 billion since the American-led invasion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. National Priorities Project, a U.S. research group that analyzes federal data, estimated the cost at $811 billion, noting that some funds are still being spent on ongoing projects. Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate committee that oversees U.S. funding, said the Bush administration should have agreed to give the reconstruction money to Iraq as a loan in 2003 instead as an outright gift. « It’s been an extraordinarily disappointing effort and, largely, a failed program, » Collins, R-Maine, said in an interview Tuesday. « I believe, had the money been structured as a loan in the first place, that we would have seen a far more responsible approach to how the money was used, and lower levels of corruption in far fewer ways. » (…) Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, who was the top U.S. military commander in Iraq from 2008 to 2010, said, « It would have been better to hold off spending large sums of money » until the country stabilized. About a third of the $60 billion was spent to train and equip Iraqi security forces, which had to be rebuilt after the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority disbanded Saddam’s army in 2003. Today, Iraqi forces have varying successes in safekeeping the public and only limited ability to secure their land, air and sea borders. The report also cites Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as saying that the 2011 withdrawal of American troops from Iraq weakened U.S. influence in Baghdad. Panetta has since left office: Former Sen. Chuck Hagel took over the defense job last week. Washington is eyeing a similar military drawdown next year in Afghanistan, where U.S. taxpayers have spent $90 billion so far on rebuilding projects. The Afghanistan effort risks falling into the same problems that mired Iraq if oversight isn’t coordinated better. In Iraq, officials were too eager to build in the middle of a civil war, and too often raced ahead without solid plans or back-up plans, the report concluded. CBS news

Oubliez Damas ! Oubliez Grozny ! (sans parler de Tbilisi ou bientôt Kiev ?)

A l’heure où, après les dérives catastrophiques des années Bush, une Russie reconnaissante se réjouit du retour au bercail de sa province perdue de Crimée …

Et où sort le classement mondial des villes pour la qualité de vie par le leader mondial du conseil en ressources humaines Mercer Consulting Group …

(Vienne,  Vancouver, Pointe-à-Pitre, Singapour, Auckland, Port-Louis et Dubai contre Tbilisi, Mexico, Port-au-Prince, Dushanbe, Bangui et Bagdad) …

Comment, avec l’agence de presse nationale française AFP, ne pas être scandalisé de ce que le cowboy Bush a fait de la cité arabe modèle de Saddam

Qui, entre sa guerre et ses milliards (60 milliards de dollars de reconstruction, 800 avec la guerre !), se retrouve onze ans après… pire ville du monde ?

Jadis cité arabe modèle, Bagdad devient la pire ville au monde

Le Nouvel Observateur

AFPPar Salam FARAJ | AFP

21 mars 2014

Cité modèle dans le monde arabe jusqu’aux années 1970, Bagdad est devenue, après des décennies de conflits, la pire ville au monde en matière de qualité de vie.

La capitale irakienne -édifiée sur les rives du Tigre il y a 1.250 ans et jadis un centre intellectuel, économique et politique de renommée mondiale- est arrivée en 223e et dernière position du classement 2014 sur la qualité de vie, établi par le leader mondial du conseil en ressources humaines Mercer Consulting Group.

Ce classement tient compte de l’environnement social, politique et économique de la ville, qui compte 8,5 millions d’habitants, ainsi que des critères relatifs à la santé et l’éducation.

Et à Bagdad, les habitants doivent faire face à une multitude de problèmes: attentats quasi-quotidiens, pénurie d’électricité et d’eau potable, mauvais système d?égouts, embouteillages réguliers et taux de chômage élevé.

Si du temps de Saddam Hussein, le chômage sévissait déjà et l’eau et d’électricité manquaient, les problèmes étaient d’une moindre ampleur et mieux gérés.

La sécurité, elle, s’est totalement détériorée depuis l’invasion de l’Irak, menée en 2003 par une coalition conduite par les Etats-Unis.

« Nous vivons dans des casernes », se plaint Hamid al-Daraji, un vendeur, en évoquant les nombreux points de contrôle, les murs en béton anti-explosion et le déploiement massif des forces de sécurité.

« Riches et pauvres partagent la même souffrance », ajoute-t-il. « Le riche peut être à tout moment la cible d’une attaque à l’explosif, d’un rapt ou d’un assassinat, tout comme le pauvre ».

Pourtant, Bagdad a une histoire glorieuse.

Construite en 762 sur les rives du Tigre par le calife abbasside Abou Jaafar al-Mansour, la ville a depuis joué un rôle central dans le monde arabo-musulman.

Au 20e siècle, Bagdad était le brillant exemple d’une ville arabe moderne avec certaines des meilleurs universités et musées de la région, une élite bien formée, un centre culturel dynamique et un système de santé haut de gamme.

Son aéroport international était un modèle pour la région et la ville a connu la naissance de l’Opep, le cartel des pays exportateurs de pétrole.

La ville abritait en outre une population de différentes confessions: musulmans, chrétiens, juifs et autres.

« Bagdad représentait le centre économique de l’Etat abbasside », souligne Issam al-Faili, professeur d’histoire politique à l’université Moustansiriyah, un établissement vieux de huit siècles.

Il rappelle qu’elle a « servi de base à la conquête de régions voisines pour élargir l’influence de l’islam ».

– ‘Bagdad, la belle, en ruines’ –

« Elle était une capitale du monde », dit, avec fierté, l’universitaire, qui admet qu' »aujourd’hui, elle est devenue l’une des villes les plus misérables de la planète ».

L’Irak connaît depuis un an une recrudescence des violences, alimentées par le ressentiment de la minorité sunnite face au gouvernement dominé par les chiites, et par le conflit en Syrie voisine. Depuis le début 2014, plus de 1.900 personnes ont été tuées.

Face aux violences, les forces de sécurité installent de nouveaux points de contrôle, qui pullulent déjà à Bagdad, et imposent des restrictions au trafic routier. Des murs massifs en béton, conçus pour résister à l’impact des explosions, divisent des quartiers confessionnellement mixtes.

Certains tentent de nettoyer et d’embellir la ville mais reconnaissent la difficulté de la mission.

« Les gouvernements successifs n’ont pas travaillé pour développer Bagdad », regrette Amir al-Chalabi, chef d’une ONG, la Humanitarian Construction Organisation, qui mène campagne pour améliorer les services de base dans la ville.

« La nuit, elle se transforme en une ville fantôme car elle manque d’éclairage », note-t-il.

Des câbles électriques pendent dans les rues où des particuliers gérant de générateurs fournissent, contre rémunération, du courant électrique, compensant ainsi les défaillances du réseau public. Et en raison du réseau limité des égouts, les rues de la capitale sont inondées dès les premières pluies.

Et malgré une économie en forte croissance grâce au pétrole, en pleine reprise, ce secteur n’est pas générateur d’emplois pour enrayer le taux de chômage dans le pays, y compris dans la capitale.

« Les problèmes de Bagdad sont innombrables. Bagdad la belle est aujourd’hui en ruines », se lamente Hamid al-Daraji.

Voir aussi:

Why do people choose to live in the ‘worst city in the world?’

Adam Taylor

The Washington Post

February 26 2014

Human resources consulting firm Mercer recently crunched the numbers on dozens of factors about life for an expatriate. The aim? To calculate exactly how much extra international firms should be willing to pay their employees when asking them to move to undesirable locations.(While Mercer wouldn’t release the precise data, Ed Hannibal, a global mobility leader at the company, said that factors involved included such concerns as security, infrastructure and the availability of international goods).

While the data has its practical uses, it has another, more viral, function too: Ranking the « best » and « worst » cities for quality of life in the entire world.

For example, it turns out that expats asked to move to Austria are pretty lucky: Vienna ranked top of the list for expats, followed by Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver. For all of these cities, Hannibal told me, quality of life was so good that companies were recommended to not pay employees there any hardship costs at all.

But down at the other end of the scale, it’s a different story. According to Mercer, companies should be willing to pay top dollar for some cities, and none more so than Baghdad.

Yes, the Iraqi capital has beaten out 222 other locations to be named the city with the lowest quality of life for expats in the entire world.

Baghdad is so bad, according to Mercer, that companies should pay people a considerable amount extra to live there. As Hannibal explained to me, companies would likely have to pay an employee an extra 35-40 percent on top of their base salary as compensation for the poor quality of life in Iraq – that some companies might go as high as 50 percent in cash or other services. Worse still, Baghdad is a persistent worst offender in Mercer’s data, gradually falling down the rankings since 2001 and ranking last since 2004. It’s even acquired the curse of Google Auto-complete: Type « Baghdad Worst » into the search engine, and « Baghdad worst place to live » and « Baghdad worst city » appear.

Could a bustling city of 6 million people really be the worst city in the world? To get a better perspective on it, I reached out to a few Baghdad expats, people who, unlike most Iraqis, made a choice to live in Iraq. Surprisingly, most seemed to be aware that they were apparently living in the worst place they could live.

« I know exactly which survey you mean, » said one person who has lived in Baghdad for five years and asked not to be named. « I have often thought of that survey when I take the direct Austrian air flight from Baghdad to Vienna, thereby going from the worst city to the best city in the world in a matter of a few hours. »

Others, however, were quick to argue that the poll didn’t reflect the Baghdad they knew. « Every expat I know here is mystified by that data, » said Jane Arraf, a freelance journalist who has spent many years in the city. « I’d be hard-pressed to find an expat (not a lot of them around admittedly) who believes that’s the case, apart from the prisoners of the Green Zone — the embassy people, U.N. staff and others who can’t actually get out into the city. »

It seems obvious, of course, that Baghdad is a more dangerous place than Vienna: More than 1,000 people were killed in attacks last month, for example. And surely luxury goods would be easier to find in a Western city (when I asked one Baghdad resident about the availability of international goods, they e-mailed back: « hahahahahahahaha »).

« In a sense, almost anything an Iraqi could want can be obtained, » Raoul Henri Alcala, a private businessman who has lived in the city for 10 years explains, « although often at a high price that also often includes payments to facilitators that can best be described as blatant corruption. »

Alcala, who once worked for the Iraqi government and now runs his own consulting firm, lives in the « Green Zone » and says that while his choice of location is safer than the outside city (the « Red Zone »), his location provides its own difficulties. « Shops do exist in the Zone selling food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and minor comfort items, » Alcala says. « Everything else has to be purchased outside, and can be brought into the Zone only after a laborious written authorization is requested and received. » Popular restaurants, markets and liquor stores outside the Green Zone have become targets for terror attacks, according to Alcala.

Alcala says that he has never lived in a city with a comparable « level of uncertainty and difficulty. » There do appear to be rivals, however, for Baghdad’s « worst city » crown. In the Mercer data, it narrowly beats out Bangui in the Central African Republic, Port-Au-Prince in Haiti, N’Djamena in Chad and Sana’a in Yemen. Plus, there are more than 223 cities on Earth. It’s plausible that one of these unlisted locations is « worse » than Baghdad (and, for what it’s worth, rival data from the Economist Intelligence Unit states that Damascus was the worst place in the world to live).

Baghdad’s place at the bottom of the list is a little more depressing when you consider that much of the lack of infrastructure and chaotic security situation can at least partially be blamed on eight years of U.S.-led war (the U.S. government has spent $60 billion in civilian reconstruction to be fair, though much of it is thought to have been wasted). That weight must affect some expats in Baghdad: One told me that she « felt a sense of responsibility to clean up the mess that George Bush made. » On the other hand, others explained that the potential for personal remuneration was likely a serious motive for many expats.

Ultimately, people who choose to live in a place like Baghdad probably do so for a complicated set of reasons. As Arraf puts it, there are two types of people in the world: The « you couldn’t pay me enough to do this » types, and the « I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this » types. The latter should probably ignore Mercer’s data.

Voir enfin:

Baghdad Now World’s Worst City

AlJazeerah.net

3-3-4

Baghdad has been rated the world’s worst city to live in.

A new study by a UK research company puts the occupied Iraqi capital last of 215 cities it profiled throughout the world.

Mercer Human Resource Consulting based its overall quality of life survey on political, social, economic and environmental factors, as well as personal safety, health, education, transport and other public services.

It was compiled to help governments and major companies to place employees on international assignments.

The study, released on Monday, said Baghdad is now the world’s least attractive city for expatriates.

Top Swiss cities

Placed 213th out of 215 cities last year, Baghdad’s rating has dropped due to ongoing concerns over security and the city’s precarious infrastructure.

The survey revealed that Zurich and Geneva are the world’s top-rated urban centres.

The rating takes into account the cities’ schools, where standards of education are now considered among the best in the world.

Cities in Europe, New Zealand, and Australia continue to dominate the top of the rankings.

Vienna shares third place with Vancouver, while Auckland, Bern, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Sydney are joint fifth.

US cities slide

However, US cities have slipped in the rankings this year as tighter restrictions have been imposed on entry to the country.

Several US cities now also have to deal with increased security checks as a result of the « war on terror ».

Meanwhile, other poor-scoring cities for overall quality of life include Bangui in the Central African Republic, and Brazzaville and Pointe Noire in Congo.

Mercer senior researcher Slagin Parakatil said: « The threat of terrorism in the Middle East and the political and economic turmoil in African countries has increased the disparity between cities at the top and the bottom end of the rankings. »

Voir encore:

Much of $60B from U.S. to rebuild Iraq wasted, special auditor’s final report to Congress shows

CBS news

APMarch 6, 2013

WASHINGTON Ten years and $60 billion in American taxpayer funds later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation were worth the cost.

In his final report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen’s conclusion was all too clear: Since the invasion a decade ago this month, the U.S. has spent too much money in Iraq for too few results.

The reconstruction effort « grew to a size much larger than was ever anticipated, » Bowen told The Associated Press in a preview of his last audit of U.S. funds spent in Iraq, to be released Wednesday. « Not enough was accomplished for the size of the funds expended. »

In interviews with Bowen, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the U.S. funding « could have brought great change in Iraq » but fell short too often. « There was misspending of money, » said al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim whose sect makes up about 60 percent of Iraq’s population.

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, the country’s top Sunni Muslim official, told auditors that the rebuilding efforts « had unfavorable outcomes in general. »

« You think if you throw money at a problem, you can fix it, » Kurdish government official Qubad Talabani, son of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, told auditors. « It was just not strategic thinking. »

The abysmal Iraq results forecast what could happen in Afghanistan, where U.S. taxpayers have so far spent $90 billion in reconstruction projects during a 12-year military campaign that is slated to end, for the most part, in 2014.

Shortly after the March 2003 invasion, Congress set up a $2.4 billion fund to help ease the sting of war for Iraqis. It aimed to rebuild Iraq’s water and electricity systems; provide food, health care and governance for its people; and take care of those who were forced from their homes in the fighting. Less than six months later, President George W. Bush asked for $20 billion more to further stabilize Iraq and help turn it into an ally that could gain economic independence and reap global investments.

To date, the U.S. has spent more than $60 billion in reconstruction grants to help Iraq get back on its feet after the country was broken by more than two decades of war, sanctions and dictatorship. That works out to about $15 million a day.

And yet Iraq’s government is rife with corruption and infighting. Baghdad’s streets are still cowed by near-daily deadly bombings. A quarter of the country’s 31 million population lives in poverty, and few have reliable electricity and clean water.

Overall, including all military and diplomatic costs and other aid, the U.S. has spent at least $767 billion since the American-led invasion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. National Priorities Project, a U.S. research group that analyzes federal data, estimated the cost at $811 billion, noting that some funds are still being spent on ongoing projects.

Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate committee that oversees U.S. funding, said the Bush administration should have agreed to give the reconstruction money to Iraq as a loan in 2003 instead as an outright gift.

« It’s been an extraordinarily disappointing effort and, largely, a failed program, » Collins, R-Maine, said in an interview Tuesday. « I believe, had the money been structured as a loan in the first place, that we would have seen a far more responsible approach to how the money was used, and lower levels of corruption in far fewer ways. »

In numerous interviews with Iraqi and U.S. officials, and though multiple examples of thwarted or defrauded projects, Bowen’s report laid bare a trail of waste, including:

–In Iraq’s eastern Diyala province, a crossroads for Shiite militias, Sunni insurgents and Kurdish squatters, the U.S. began building a 3,600-bed prison in 2004 but abandoned the project after three years to flee a surge in violence. The half-completed Khan Bani Sa’ad Correctional Facility cost American taxpayers $40 million but sits in rubble, and Iraqi Justice Ministry officials say they have no plans to ever finish or use it.

–Subcontractors for Anham LLC, based in Vienna, Va., overcharged the U.S. government thousands of dollars for supplies, including $900 for a control switch valued at $7.05 and $80 for a piece of pipe that costs $1.41. Anham was hired to maintain and operate warehouses and supply centers near Baghdad’s international airport and the Persian Gulf port at Umm Qasr.

–A $108 million wastewater treatment center in the city of Fallujah, a former al Qaeda stronghold in western Iraq, will have taken eight years longer to build than planned when it is completed in 2014 and will only service 9,000 homes. Iraqi officials must provide an additional $87 million to hook up most of the rest of the city, or 25,000 additional homes.

–After blowing up the al-Fatah bridge in north-central Iraq during the invasion and severing a crucial oil and gas pipeline, U.S. officials decided to try to rebuild the pipeline under the Tigris River, at a cost of $75 million. A geological study predicted the project might fail, and it did: Eventually, the bridge and pipelines were repaired at an additional cost of $29 million.

–A widespread ring of fraud led by a former U.S. Army officer resulted in tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks and the criminal convictions of 22 people connected to government contracts for bottled water and other supplies at the Iraqi reconstruction program’s headquarters at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

In too many cases, Bowen concluded, U.S. officials did not consult with Iraqis closely or deeply enough to determine what reconstruction projects were really needed or, in some cases, wanted. As a result, Iraqis took limited interest in the work, often walking away from half-finished programs, refusing to pay their share, or failing to maintain completed projects once they were handed over.

Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, a Shiite, described the projects as well intentioned, but poorly prepared and inadequately supervised.

The missed opportunities were not lost on at least 15 senior State and Defense department officials interviewed in the report, including ambassadors and generals, who were directly involved in rebuilding Iraq.

One key lesson learned in Iraq, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told auditors, is that the U.S. cannot expect to « do it all and do it our way. We must share the burden better multilaterally and engage the host country constantly on what is truly needed. »

Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, who was the top U.S. military commander in Iraq from 2008 to 2010, said, « It would have been better to hold off spending large sums of money » until the country stabilized.

About a third of the $60 billion was spent to train and equip Iraqi security forces, which had to be rebuilt after the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority disbanded Saddam’s army in 2003. Today, Iraqi forces have varying successes in safekeeping the public and only limited ability to secure their land, air and sea borders.

The report also cites Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as saying that the 2011 withdrawal of American troops from Iraq weakened U.S. influence in Baghdad. Panetta has since left office: Former Sen. Chuck Hagel took over the defense job last week. Washington is eyeing a similar military drawdown next year in Afghanistan, where U.S. taxpayers have spent $90 billion so far on rebuilding projects.

The Afghanistan effort risks falling into the same problems that mired Iraq if oversight isn’t coordinated better. In Iraq, officials were too eager to build in the middle of a civil war, and too often raced ahead without solid plans or back-up plans, the report concluded.

Most of the work was done in piecemeal fashion, as no single government agency had responsibility for all of the money spent. The State Department, for example, was supposed to oversee reconstruction strategy starting in 2004, but controlled only about 10 percent of the money at stake. The Defense Department paid for the vast majority of the projects — 75 percent.

Voir par ailleurs:

2014 Quality of Living worldwide city rankings – Mercer survey

United States , New York

Publication date: 19 February 2014


Vienna is the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2014 Quality of Living rankings, in which European cities dominate. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place, respectively. Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which is also the highest-ranking city in North America. Ranking 25 globally, Singapore is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai (73) ranks first across Middle East and Africa. The city of Pointe-à-Pitre (69), Guadeloupe, takes the top spot for Central and South America.

Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Two common incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium. A quality-of-living or “hardship” allowance compensates for a decrease in the quality of living between home and host locations, whereas a mobility premium simply compensates for the inconvenience of being uprooted and having to work in another country. Mercer’s Quality of Living reports provide valuable information and hardship premium recommendations for over 460 cities throughout the world, the ranking covers 223 of these cities.

Political instability, high crime levels, and elevated air pollution are a few factors that can be detrimental to the daily lives of expatriate employees their families and local residents. To ensure that compensation packages reflect the local environment appropriately, employers need a clear picture of the quality of living in the cities where they operate,” said Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer.

Mr Parakatil added: “In a world economy that is becoming more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial and business centres are working to improve their quality of living so they can attract more foreign companies. This year’s survey recognises so-called ‘second tier’ or ‘emerging’ cites and points to a few examples from around the world These cities have been investing massively in their infrastructure and attracting foreign direct investments by providing incentives such as tax, housing, or entry facilities. Emerging cities will become major players that traditional financial centres and capital cities will have to compete with.”

Europe

Vienna is the highest-ranking city globally. In Europe, it is followed by Zurich (2), Munich (4), Düsseldorf (6), and Frankfurt (7). “European cities enjoy a high overall quality of living compared to those in other regions. Healthcare, infrastructure, and recreational facilities are generally of a very high standard. Political stability and relatively low crime levels enable expatriates to feel safe and secure in most locations. The region has seen few changes in living standards over the last year,” said Mr Parakatil.

Ranking 191 overall, Tbilisi, Georgia, is the lowest-ranking city in Europe. It continues to improve in its quality of living, mainly due to a growing availability of consumer goods, improving internal stability, and developing infrastructure. Other cities on the lower end of Europe’s ranking include: Minsk (189), Belarus; Yerevan (180), Armenia; Tirana (179), Albania; and St Petersburg (168), Russia. Ranking 107, Wroclaw, Poland, is an emerging European city. Since Poland’s accession to the European Union, Wroclaw has witnessed tangible economic growth, partly due to its talent pool, improved infrastructure, and foreign and internal direct investments. The EU named Wroclaw as a European Capital of Culture for 2016.

Americas

Canadian cities dominate North America’s top-five list. Ranking fifth globally, Vancouver tops the regional list, followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15), Montreal (23), and San Francisco (27). The region’s lowest-ranking city is Mexico City (122), preceded by four US cities: Detroit (70), St. Louis (67), Houston (66), and Miami (65). Mr Parakatil commented: “On the whole, North American cities offer a high quality of living and are attractive working destinations for companies and their expatriates. A wide range of consumer goods are available, and infrastructures, including recreational provisions, are excellent.

In Central and South America, the quality of living varies substantially. Pointe-à-Pitre (69), Guadeloupe, is the region’s highest-ranked city, followed by San Juan (72), Montevideo (77), Buenos Aires (81), and Santiago (93). Manaus (125), Brazil, has been identified as an example of an emerging city in this region due to its major industrial centre which has seen the creation of the “Free Economic Zone of Manaus,” an area with administrative autonomy giving Manaus a competitive advantage over other cities in the region. This zone has attracted talent from other cities and regions, with several multinational companies already settled in the area and more expected to arrive in the near future.

Several cities in Central and South America are still attractive to expatriates due to their relatively stable political environments, improving infrastructure, and pleasant climate,” said Mr Parakatil. “But many locations remain challenging due to natural disasters, such as hurricanes often hitting the region, as well as local economic inequality and high crime rates. Companies placing their workers on expatriate assignments in these locations must ensure that hardship allowances reflect the lower levels of quality of living.

Asia Pacific

Singapore (25) has the highest quality of living in Asia, followed by four Japanese cities: Tokyo (43), Kobe (47), Yokohama (49), and Osaka (57). Dushanbe (209), Tajikistan, is the lowest-ranking city in the region. Mr Parakatil commented: “Asia has a bigger range of quality-of-living standard amongst its cities than any other region. For many cities, such as those in South Korea, the quality of living is continually improving. But for others, such as some in China, issues like pervasive poor air pollution are eroding their quality of living.

With their considerable growth in the last decade, many second-tier Asian cities are starting to emerge as important places of business for multinational companies. Examples include Cheonan (98), South Korea, which is strategically located in an area where several technology companies have operations. Over the past decades, Pune (139), India has developed into an education hub and home to IT, other high-tech industries, and automobile manufacturing. The city of Xian (141), China has also witnessed some major developments, such as the establishment of an “Economic and Technological Development Zone” to attract foreign investments. The city is also host to various financial services, consulting, and computer services.

Elsewhere, New Zealand and Australian cities rank high on the list for quality of living, with Auckland and Sydney ranking 3 and 10, respectively.

Middle East and Africa

With a global rank of 73, Dubai is the highest-ranked city in the Middle East and Africa region. It is followed by Abu Dhabi (78), UAE; Port Louis (82), Mauritius; and Durban (85) and Cape Town (90), South Africa. Durban has been identified as an example of an emerging city in this region, due to the growth of its manufacturing industries and the increasing importance of the shipping port. Generally, though, this region dominates the lower end of the quality of living ranking, with five out of the bottom six cities; Baghdad (223) has the lowest overall ranking.

The Middle East and especially Africa remain one of the most challenging regions for multinational organisations and expatriates. Regional instability and disruptive political events, including civil unrest, lack of infrastructure and natural disasters such as flooding, keep the quality of living from improving in many of its cities. However, some cities that might not have been very attractive to foreign companies are making efforts to attract them,” said Mr Parakatil.

Notes for Editors

Mercer produces worldwide quality-of-living rankings annually from its most recent Worldwide Quality of Living Surveys. Individual reports are produced for each city surveyed. Comparative quality-of-living indexes between a base city and a host city are available, as are multiple-city comparisons. Details are available from Mercer Client Services in Warsaw, at +48 22 434 5383 or at www.mercer.com/qualityofliving.

The data was largely collected between September and November 2013, and will be updated regularly to take account of changing circumstances. In particular, the assessments will be revised to reflect significant political, economic, and environmental developments.

Expatriates in difficult locations: Determining appropriate allowances and incentives

Companies need to be able to determine their expatriate compensation packages rationally, consistently and systematically. Providing incentives to reward and recognise the efforts that employees and their families make when taking on international assignments remains a typical practice, particularly for difficult locations. Two common incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium:

  • A quality-of-living or “hardship” allowance compensates for a decrease in the quality of living between home and host locations.
  • A mobility premium simply compensates for the inconvenience of being uprooted and having to work in another country.

A quality-of-living allowance is typically location-related, while a mobility premium is usually independent of the host location. Some multinational companies combine these premiums, but the vast majority provides them separately.

Quality of Living: City benchmarking

Mercer also helps municipalities assess factors that can improve their quality of living rankings. In a global environment, employers have many choices as to where to deploy their mobile employees and set up new business. A city’s quality of living standards can be an important variable for employers to consider.

Leaders in many cities want to understand the specific factors that affect their residents’ quality of living and address those issues that lower their city’s overall quality-of-living ranking. Mercer advises municipalities through a holistic approach that addresses their goals of progressing towards excellence, and attracting multinational companies and globally mobile talent by improving the elements that are measured in its Quality of Living survey.

Mercer hardship allowance recommendations

Mercer evaluates local living conditions in more than 460 cities it surveys worldwide. Living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:

  • Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.)
  • Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services)
  • Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  • Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
  • Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
  • Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc)
  • Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
  • Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
  • Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)
  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

The scores attributed to each factor, which are weighted to reflect their importance to expatriates, allow for objective city-to-city comparisons. The result is a quality of living index that compares relative differences between any two locations evaluated. For the indices to be used effectively, Mercer has created a grid that allows users to link the resulting index to a quality of living allowance amount by recommending a percentage value in relation to the index.

Voir enfin:

The 10 worst cities in the world to live in

The Economist

Friday 30 August 2013

Damascus in Syria is the worst city in the world to live in, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking.

Cities across the world are awarded scores depending on lifestyle challenges faced by the people living there. Each city is scored on its stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Since the Arab Spring in 2011, Syria has been plagued with destruction and violence as rebels fight government forces. The country has been left battle-scarred with around 2 million people fleeing from country, while Damascus has been the source of much recent tension.

Other cities that have made it onto worst cities the list include Dhaka in Bangladesh and Lagos in Nigeria. Third worst city to live in was Port Moresby in Papa New Guinea, surprisingly Melbourne and Sydney in neighbouring nation Australia were ranked in the top 10 cities in the world to live in.

Click here to see the top 10 cities in the world

2. Dhaka, Bangladesh: The country has faced controversy recently after a garment factory collapsed killing over 1,000 people

2. Dhaka in Bangladesh: The country has faced controversy recently after a garment factory collapsed killing over 1,000 people

3. Moresby, Papa New Guinea: Despite recent growth, most people live in extreme poverty

3. Moresby, Papa New Guinea: Despite recent growth, most people live in extreme poverty

4. Lagos, Nigeria: The city rated poorly in The Economist Intelligence Unit's report and was awarded the lowest score for stability in the bottom 10 countries to live in

4. Lagos, Nigeria: The city rated poorly in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report and was awarded the lowest score for stability

5. Harare, Zimbabwe: With the continuing economic and political crises that face the country, Harare is the fifth worst city to live in.

5. Harare, Zimbabwe: With the continuing economic and political crises that face the country, Harare is the fifth worst city to live in.  

6. Algiers, Algeria: While it rates more highly for its stability, there are terrorist groups that are active in the city. While conflict and natural disasters have left the old town in ruins

6. Algiers, Algeria: While it rates more highly for its stability, there are terrorist groups that are active in the city

7. Karachi, Pakistan: Violence linked to terrorism and high homicide rates makes this city one of the worst places in the world to live in

7. Karachi, Pakistan: Violence linked to terrorism and high homicide rates makes this city one of the worst places in the world to live in  

8. Tripoli, Libya: Since the Arab Spring in 2011 there has been violence and protests in the city

8. Tripoli, Libya: Since the Arab Spring in 2011 there has been violence and protests in the city

9. Douala, Cameroon: Despite being the richest city in the whole of Central Africa, Douala has scored the lowest for health care in the bottom 10 cities

9. Douala, Cameroon: Despite being the richest city in the whole of Central Africa, Douala has scored the lowest for health care in the bottom 10 cities

10. Tehran, Iran: While the city rates highly on health care and education, Tehran did not score so well on infrastructure.

10. Tehran, Iran: While the city rates highly on health care and education, Tehran did not score so well on infrastructure.


Désaméricanisation du monde: Obama-Poutine-Xin, même combat ! (But who’ll stop the Nobels from voting with their feet ?)

20 octobre, 2013
https://i2.wp.com/www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/02.05.04/gifs/alties-0406-ig-nobel.jpgIl est alarmant que l’intervention militaire dans les conflits internes à l’étranger soit devenue chose ordinaire pour les États-Unis. Est-ce dans l’intérêt de l’Amérique à long terme ? J’en doute. Des millions de personnes à travers le monde considèrent de plus en plus l’Amérique non comme un modèle de démocratie, mais un modèle reposant uniquement sur la force, fabriquant artificiellement des coalitions sous le slogan du « vous êtes avec nous ou contre nous ». Vladimir Poutine
Alors que les politiciens américains des deux partis politiques continuent à faire des aller-retour entre la Maison Blanche et le Capitole, sans parvenir à un accord viable pour apporter la normalité au corps politique, et qu’ils s’en vantent, c’est peut-être le bon moment pour le monde embrouillé de commencer à envisager la construction d’un monde dé-américanisé. (…) Des jours aussi inquiétants où les destinées des autres pays sont entre les mains d’une nation hypocrite doivent prendre fin. Un nouvel ordre mondial doit être mis en place dans lequel toutes les nations, grandes ou petites, riches ou pauvres, verront leurs intérêts clés respectés et protégés sur un pied d’égalité. (…) À cette fin, plusieurs mesure fondamentales doivent être prises pour soutenir un monde dé-américanisé. (…) Pour commencer, toutes les nations doivent respecter les principes fondamentaux du droit international, y compris le respect de la souveraineté et ne pas s’ingérer dans les affaires intérieures des autres. (…) En outre, l’autorité de l’ Organisation des Nations Unies dans la gestion des points chauds du monde doit être reconnue. Cela signifie que nul n’a le droit de mener toute forme d’action militaire contre d’autres sans un mandat de l’ONU. (…) En plus de cela, le système financier mondial doit également faire l’objet de certaines réformes importantes. (…) Les économies émergentes et en développement doivent avoir davantage leur mot à dire dans les grandes institutions financières internationales, y compris la Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international, afin qu’ils puissent mieux refléter les transformations du paysage économique et politique mondial. (…) Autre élément clé d’une réforme efficace, l’introduction d’une nouvelle monnaie de réserve internationale qui doit être créée pour remplacer le dollar américain dominant afin que la communauté internationale puisse s’éloigner définitivement de la contagion de la crise politique intérieure des États-Unis qui s’intensifie. (…) Bien sûr, l’objectif de ces changements n’est pas de mettre complètement de coté les États-Unis, ce qui est également impossible » conclu l’éditorialiste. « Il s’agit plutôt d’encourager Washington à jouer un rôle plus constructif dans la lutte contre les affaires mondiales. Agence Xinhua
President Obama has shelled out more in federal spending than the five presidents that came before him. Elizabeth Flock
Here’s a real bitter irony for the GOP. At the same time as their ideology took an ugly beating in the reality department, the man they are determined to destroy has a better record at deficit reduction than any of their recent Presidents. In fact, government spending under President Obama has grown at a slower rate than it did under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Bloomberg (that’s over 50 years ago, if you’re counting). Ironically, this fact is due in part to their own obstructionism and President Obama’s endless compromises with them. Sarah Jones
Pour savoir qui sont réellement ces super-riches, accapareurs ou fainéants, il est intéressant de se plonger dans les travaux d’un chercheur, Edward N.Wolff, qui figure parmi ceux qui traque les inégalités depuis près de 20 ans. (…) Dans un rapport de 2010, il dévoile que 73,8% du patrimoine du 1% les plus riches sont dans des « unincorporated business », que nous croyons pouvoir traduire par entreprises individuelles, ces entreprises que leur fondateur n’a même pas constituées en sociétés à leur création mais tout simplement débuté en offrant ses produits ou services et qui sont restées sans statuts. Le grand public non averti pourrait penser que la fortune industrielle américaine est dans les grandes entreprises cotées, les Google, General Electric, les 40 entreprises du Dow Jones ou les 100 du Nasdaq. Erreur. Elles ne constituent que 11,8% du patrimoine total américain et 16,8% si l’on inclue les actions indirectement détenus à travers les fonds de pension, les OPCVM, etc. contre 20,1% [4] pour le patrimoine représenté par les entreprises individuelles. Plus de la moitié du patrimoine industriel américain est donc dans des entreprises non incorporées. De même d’ailleurs qu’en France. Dans son rapport 2010 sur les patrimoines 2007, Wolff confirme que les très riches américains sont ces créateurs d’entreprises individuelles, par cette phrase remarquable : « a somewhat startling 74 percent of the very rich reported owning their own business ». Pourquoi les entrepreneurs individuels représentent 75% des plus riches américains. C’est que la plus grande partie de la richesse d’une nation n’est pas créée par des élèves de grandes écoles ou universités, qui cherchent généralement des carrières sures au sein de grands groupes mais par des autodidactes qui, flair ou accident, débutent une activité en affichant simplement un panneau et ne s’embarrassent pas de statuts beaucoup trop compliqués ou coûteux. À force de travail et d’économies, leur activité grandit et ils finissent, aux USA, par constituer plus de 50% de l’actif industriel. On en trouve confirmation dans les travaux d’un autre chercheur [6]. C’est qu’un entrepreneur individuel ne peut généralement compter que sur lui-même – et son entourage familial –, pas sur les institutions financières, pour survivre en cas de retournement de la conjoncture économique et qu’il est donc conduit à accumuler de la richesse, à épargner, à s’enrichir au maximum, en vivant s’il le faut chichement, comme Sam Walton, le fondateur de la plus grande chaîne de distribution Wallmart qui roula dans sa vieille Ford plus de 20 ans, jusqu’à sa mort. (…) Ce qui nous conduit à penser que si la reprise américaine est si lente et si hésitante malgré les vannes de crédit largement ouvertes par la Federal Reserve, ce n’est pas que les circuits bancaires manquent de capitaux, c’est que les principaux agents de la croissance qui sont ces entrepreneurs américains, qui ont fait leur fortune généralement en partant de rien, ces riches américains n’ont plus confiance dans leur gouvernement et gardent leur fortune plutôt que de la risquer. Bernard Zimmern
Capital is a coward, and Mr. Obama has put the fear of uncertainty into capitalists. Take it from me, it’s hard to grow the pie — and thereby, hire more workers — when you are unsure how Washington is going to be divvying it up or what new rule it will come up with next. Mr. Moore points out that we’ve added 5,000 pages to the tax code in just the past 10 years. (…) Once upon a time, envy used to be a sin, but now it’s public policy. (…) “We tried tax cuts, and it didn’t work,” Mr. Obama claimed. He’s wrong. Experience is clear — be it from the Harding-Coolidge cuts of the 1920s, the Kennedy cuts of the 1960s, the Reagan cuts of the 1980s or the Bush cuts of the 2000s — taxing and spending doesn’t work, but cutting taxes grows the economy and brings in more revenue. As John F. Kennedy once put it, “A rising tide will lift all boats.” However, Mr. Obama, who once promised to control the tides, wants to control economic growth. (…) Has Mr. Obama reduced taxes on the middle class as he claims? Not quite. His tax-refundable credits cost the Treasury $81.49 billion a year. They are “welfare payments that masquerade as tax cuts,” Mr. Moore rightly notes. I agree with Mr. Moore that it would be fair if everyone paid at least something, but I think he may be overstating it a tad. The poor do pay taxes — they just pay them in forgone opportunity rather than with a check. Herman Cain
Under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before. There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes. Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions. This is not just a theory. It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. (…) The Democrats and Republicans both took positions during the Kennedy administration that were the direct opposite of the positions they take today. As Stephen Moore points out, « the Republicans almost universally opposed and the Democrats almost universally favored » the cuts in tax rates that President Kennedy proposed. Such Republican Senate stalwarts as Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole voted against reducing the top tax rate from 91% to 70%. Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills led the charge for lower tax rates. Unlike the Republicans today, John F. Kennedy had an answer when critics tried to portray his tax cut proposal as just a « tax cut for the rich. » President Kennedy argued that it was a tax cut for the economy, that changed incentives meant a faster growing economy and that « A rising tide lifts all boats. » (…) ot only John F. Kennedy, but even John Maynard Keynes as well, argued that cutting tax rates could increase tax revenues and thereby help reduce the deficit. Because so few people bother to check the facts, Barack Obama can get away with statements about how « tax cuts for the rich » have « cost » the government money that now needs to be recouped. Such statements not only promote class warfare, to Obama’s benefit on election day, they also distract attention from his own runaway spending behind unprecedented trillion dollar deficits. Thomas Sowell
Reflecting the global mood, Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, editorialized last week that, with a possible U.S. default on the horizon, « it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world. » But then there is the Nobel Prize, and the fact that Americans, both native-born and immigrants, took home nine of them this year alone. Note to Xinhua: China, with 1.3 billion people, has produced a grand total of nine winners in its entire history. Of those nine, seven live abroad, including three in the U.S. Another, Liu Xiaobo, sits in a Chinese prison. How is national greatness best judged? The typical view is that what matters is size: Size of the economy, population, landmass, navy, nuclear arsenal. Hence the hysteria that China may overtake the U.S. in terms of GDP sometime in the next decade. Hence the treatment of middling powers such as Russia (with a GDP roughly that of Italy’s) as great powers. But a better metric for greatness is the ability of nations to produce, cultivate, attract and retain intellectual greatness. What is the ratio of Nobel laureates living in any one country to the total population? Russia, with a population of 142 million, has three living Nobel laureates, or one for every 47 million. So much for the land of Pasternak and Sakharov. A more interesting case is Israel. The Jewish state should be a Nobel powerhouse, given that Jews, 0.2% of the world’s population, have won 20% of all Nobels, including six prizes this year alone. But while Israel can claim nine living laureates, three of them live and teach mainly in the U.S. Why? « There are a lot of smart people in Israel and at the same time there was not a job, so he left, » Benny Shalev, brother of this year’s chemistry winner, Arieh Warshel, explained to the newspaper Haaretz. It isn’t enough for countries to produce geniuses. They also have to figure out how to employ them. Then there is Europe: Half a billion people with a comparatively minuscule Nobel representation. France has, by my count, just 10 living laureates. Germany does better, with nearly 30, although at least nine of them (including Henry Kissinger, physicist Arno Penzias, and this year’s medicine winner, Thomas Südhof ), have long lived in the U.S. Britain does about the same as Germany. Why is Europe such a Nobel laggard? In hindsight, evicting and killing most of its Jewish population was perhaps not the best idea—a lesson that still goes unlearned, considering the feverish efforts on European campuses to boycott Israeli academics. A more contemporary answer is the pervasive mediocrity of higher education throughout the EU. Cambridge and Oxford aside, the Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings list only one European university—the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich—in its top 30, and Switzerland isn’t even a member of the EU. Most European universities, overcrowded and underfunded, can’t hope to compete with their American peers. Which brings us to the Nobel superpower. Since 2000, Americans have won 21 of the 37 physics prizes, 18 of the 33 medicine prizes, 22 of the 33 chemistry prizes and an astonishing 27 of the 30 economics prizes. Pretty impressive considering our nonstop anxiety about failing schools, mediocre international test scores, undergrads not majoring in math or the sciences, and the rest. Singapore, South Korea and Finland may regularly produce the highest test scores among 15-year-olds, but something isn’t translating: Nobody from Singapore has ever won a Nobel. Korea has one—for peace. The Finns last took a science prize in 1967. The secret of America’s Nobel sauce isn’t hard to understand: an immigration culture that welcomed everyone from Ronald Coase (from the U.K.) to Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (from India) to Martin Kaplus (from Nazi-era Austria) to Elizabeth Blackburn (from Australia). A mostly private, highly competitive, lavishly endowed university system, juiced by federal funding for fundamental research. A culture of individualism and an ingrained respect for against-the-grain thinking. Bret Stephens

Attention: une désaméricanisation peut en cacher une autre !

Neuf prix Nobel dans toute son histoire dont sept vivant à l’étranger et trois aux Etats-Unis sans compter un en prison pour 1, 3 milliard d’habitants (Chine), trois prix Nobel vivant et à peine plus que le PIB italien pour le plus grand pays du monde et 147 millions d’habitants (Russie), 20% des prix Nobels de l’histoire et neuf encore vivant dont sept cette seule année mais trois travaillant la plupart du temps aux Etats-Unis pour 0, 2% de la population mondiale (Israël), dix Français, trente Britanniques et autant d’Allemands dont neuf vivant ou ayant vécu aux Etats-Unis pour un demi milliard-milliard d’habitants (Europe – finalement, l’expulsion ou l »extermination des Juifs n’était peut-être pas la meilleure des solutions), vingt-et-un des trente-sept derniers prix Nobel de physique, dix-huit des trente-trois Nobel de médecine, vingt-deux des derniers trente-trois de chimie, vingt-sept des derniers trente d’économie (Etats-Unis) …

Au lendemain, en cette saison des prix Nobel, où nos médias se félicitent de la victoire du plus rapide prix Nobel et accessoirement plus grand creuseur de déficits de l’histoire sur la prétendue folie du Tea party

En ces temps où, coup sur coup, les parangons de liberté tant de Moscou que de Pékin se paient le luxe de faire la leçon au supposé chef de file du Monde libre …

Pendant qu’un autre modèle de vertu démocratique fête à son inimitable manière son élection au Conseil de sécurité et qu’au pays de l’Obama français qui se voit ridiculiser par une petite Rom de 15 ans le matraquage fiscal continue …

Petite remise des pendules à l’heure, avec l’éditorialiste du Wall Street Journal Bret Stephens, sur la réalité de ce fameux monde qu’on est censé « désaméricaniser » …

Et ces prix Nobel qui refusent obstinément d’arrêter de voter avec leurs pieds …

Nobels and National Greatness

Anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind it should take a close

A look at the latest Nobel haul.

Bret Stephens

The WSJ

Oct. 14, 2013

In its proud and storied history, Hungary has produced a dozen winners of the Nobel Prize: four for chemistry; three for physics; three for medicine; one for economics; and one for literature. Not bad for a little country of not quite 10 million people.

But one curious fact: All of Hungary’s laureates ultimately left, or fled, the country. If you are brilliant, ambitious and Hungarian, better get out while you can.

I’ve spent the past week reading up on the Nobels, mostly to relieve the gloom emanating from Congress, the White House, the State Department, the GOP caucus. It’s paralysis time in D.C., and America-in- Decline time on the op-ed pages. Reflecting the global mood, Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, editorialized last week that, with a possible U.S. default on the horizon, « it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world. »

But then there is the Nobel Prize, and the fact that Americans, both native-born and immigrants, took home nine of them this year alone. Note to Xinhua: China, with 1.3 billion people, has produced a grand total of nine winners in its entire history. Of those nine, seven live abroad, including three in the U.S. Another, Liu Xiaobo, sits in a Chinese prison.

How is national greatness best judged? The typical view is that what matters is size: Size of the economy, population, landmass, navy, nuclear arsenal. Hence the hysteria that China may overtake the U.S. in terms of GDP sometime in the next decade. Hence the treatment of middling powers such as Russia (with a GDP roughly that of Italy’s) as great powers.

But a better metric for greatness is the ability of nations to produce, cultivate, attract and retain intellectual greatness. What is the ratio of Nobel laureates living in any one country to the total population? Russia, with a population of 142 million, has three living Nobel laureates, or one for every 47 million. So much for the land of Pasternak and Sakharov.

A more interesting case is Israel. The Jewish state should be a Nobel powerhouse, given that Jews, 0.2% of the world’s population, have won 20% of all Nobels, including six prizes this year alone. But while Israel can claim nine living laureates, three of them live and teach mainly in the U.S. Why? « There are a lot of smart people in Israel and at the same time there was not a job, so he left, » Benny Shalev, brother of this year’s chemistry winner, Arieh Warshel, explained to the newspaper Haaretz. It isn’t enough for countries to produce geniuses. They also have to figure out how to employ them.

Then there is Europe: Half a billion people with a comparatively minuscule Nobel representation. France has, by my count, just 10 living laureates. Germany does better, with nearly 30, although at least nine of them (including Henry Kissinger, physicist Arno Penzias, and this year’s medicine winner, Thomas Südhof ), have long lived in the U.S. Britain does about the same as Germany.

Why is Europe such a Nobel laggard? In hindsight, evicting and killing most of its Jewish population was perhaps not the best idea—a lesson that still goes unlearned, considering the feverish efforts on European campuses to boycott Israeli academics.

A more contemporary answer is the pervasive mediocrity of higher education throughout the EU. Cambridge and Oxford aside, the Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings list only one European university—the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich—in its top 30, and Switzerland isn’t even a member of the EU. Most European universities, overcrowded and underfunded, can’t hope to compete with their American peers.

Which brings us to the Nobel superpower. Since 2000, Americans have won 21 of the 37 physics prizes, 18 of the 33 medicine prizes, 22 of the 33 chemistry prizes and an astonishing 27 of the 30 economics prizes. Pretty impressive considering our nonstop anxiety about failing schools, mediocre international test scores, undergrads not majoring in math or the sciences, and the rest. Singapore, South Korea and Finland may regularly produce the highest test scores among 15-year-olds, but something isn’t translating: Nobody from Singapore has ever won a Nobel. Korea has one—for peace. The Finns last took a science prize in 1967.

The secret of America’s Nobel sauce isn’t hard to understand: an immigration culture that welcomed everyone from Ronald Coase (from the U.K.) to Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (from India) to Martin Kaplus (from Nazi-era Austria) to Elizabeth Blackburn (from Australia). A mostly private, highly competitive, lavishly endowed university system, juiced by federal funding for fundamental research. A culture of individualism and an ingrained respect for against-the-grain thinking.

The government shutdown is unfortunate; a default would be a disaster. But anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind us should take a close look at the latest Nobel haul. It says something that we take it for granted.

Voir aussi:

An Overdue Book: « Who’s The Fairest of Them All? »

Thomas Sowell

The New American

28 November 2012

If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore’s new book, Who’s The Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America, Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

The point here is not to say, « Where was Stephen Moore when we needed him? » A more apt question might be, « Where was the whole economics profession when we needed them? » Where were the media? For that matter, where were the Republicans?

Since Who’s The Fairest of Them All? was published in October, there was little chance that it would affect this year’s election. But this little gem of a book exposes, in plain language and with easily understood facts, the whole house of cards of assumptions, fallacies and falsehoods which constitute the liberal vision of the economy.

Yet that vision triumphed on election day, thanks to misinformation that was artfully presented and seldom challenged. The title Who’s The Fairest of Them All? is an obvious response to liberals’ claim that their policies are aimed at creating « fairness » by, among other things, making sure that « the rich » pay their « fair share » of taxes. If you want a brief but thorough education on that, just read chapter 4, which by itself is well worth the price of the book.

A couple of graphs on pages 104 and 108 are enough to annihilate the argument about « tax cuts for the rich. » These graphs show that, under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before.

There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes. Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions.

This is not just a theory. It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. That hard evidence is presented in clear and unmistakable terms in Who’s The Fairest of Them All?

Another surprising fact brought out in this book is that the Democrats and Republicans both took positions during the Kennedy administration that were the direct opposite of the positions they take today. As Stephen Moore points out, « the Republicans almost universally opposed and the Democrats almost universally favored » the cuts in tax rates that President Kennedy proposed.

Such Republican Senate stalwarts as Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole voted against reducing the top tax rate from 91% to 70%. Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills led the charge for lower tax rates.

Unlike the Republicans today, John F. Kennedy had an answer when critics tried to portray his tax cut proposal as just a « tax cut for the rich. » President Kennedy argued that it was a tax cut for the economy, that changed incentives meant a faster growing economy and that « A rising tide lifts all boats. »

If Republicans today cannot seem to come up with their own answer when critics cry out « tax cuts for the rich, » maybe they can just go back and read John F. Kennedy’s answer.

A truly optimistic person might even hope that media pundits would go back and check out the facts before arguing as if the only way to reduce the deficit is to raise tax rates on « the rich. »

If they are afraid that they would be stigmatized as conservatives if they favored cuts in tax rates, they might take heart from the fact that not only John F. Kennedy, but even John Maynard Keynes as well, argued that cutting tax rates could increase tax revenues and thereby help reduce the deficit.

Because so few people bother to check the facts, Barack Obama can get away with statements about how « tax cuts for the rich » have « cost » the government money that now needs to be recouped. Such statements not only promote class warfare, to Obama’s benefit on election day, they also distract attention from his own runaway spending behind unprecedented trillion dollar deficits.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is http://www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

Voir également:

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

WHO’S THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL?: THE TRUTH ABOUT OPPORTUNITY, TAXES, AND WEALTH IN AMERICA

By Stephen Moore

Encounter Books, $21.50, 136 pages

Herman Cain

The Washington Times

Saturday, November 3, 2012

« The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so, » Ronald Reagan once said. He might have been talking about tax policy.

Stephen Moore’s latest book, « Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America, » fairly sets our liberal friends straight on the issue that seems to be confusing President Obama and the general American public a lot — economics and, in particular, tax policy.

Mr. Moore, the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, formerly president of the Club for Growth and a fellow of the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the tax fights of the 1980s. He condenses that nearly three decades in public policy in a slim 119-page volume that is an accessible and thorough guide to understanding economic growth. He understands that if we don’t learn the lessons of the past, we’re bound to repeat the follies, and so he has taken aim squarely at their chief originator, President Obama. While Mr. Obama may think of himself as Snow White — « the fairest of them all » — when it comes to taxing, he’s really Dopey, treating the world as if the Laffer Curve didn’t exist, as if food stamps and unemployment insurance actually grow the economy.

We should have seen this coming. It wasn’t so long ago that Charlie Gibson asked candidate Obama about his support for hiking the capital gains tax, given the historical experience that whenever government increases that tax, it loses revenue. After much back and forth, Mr. Obama insisted: « Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. »

Four trillion dollars of debt later and 4 million jobs fewer than four years ago, we have learned that what Mr. Obama meant by fairness was actually going to make the tax code far less fair. The richest 1 percent of taxpayers already pay almost 40 percent of all income taxes, but still Mr. Obama wants more, threatening the « fat-cat bankers » with higher taxes. Mr. Obama wants a tax rate of 42 percent on anyone making more than $250,000. In some states, taxation could well be more than 50 percent. Capital is a coward, and Mr. Obama has put the fear of uncertainty into capitalists. Take it from me, it’s hard to grow the pie — and thereby, hire more workers — when you are unsure how Washington is going to be divvying it up or what new rule it will come up with next. Mr. Moore points out that we’ve added 5,000 pages to the tax code in just the past 10 years.

Mr. Obama would like to have you believe it’s the rich whose taxes will go up, but the fact is that the poor and the middle class get stuck with the consequences. At the same time Mr. Obama threatens to raise taxes on capital gains and therefore discourage people from investing, he has gutted the most successful anti-poverty program ever — the 1996 welfare reform law — turning our safety net into a safety hammock. It doesn’t have to be this way. Once upon a time, envy used to be a sin, but now it’s public policy. We can change that.

Economic growth could return again. With the help of groups like the Job Creators Solutions, which I co-founded with Bernie Marcus, we can begin to help employers educate employees about why it is so pivotal — for the rich and poor alike — that growth continue.

« We tried tax cuts, and it didn’t work, » Mr. Obama claimed. He’s wrong. Experience is clear — be it from the Harding-Coolidge cuts of the 1920s, the Kennedy cuts of the 1960s, the Reagan cuts of the 1980s or the Bush cuts of the 2000s — taxing and spending doesn’t work, but cutting taxes grows the economy and brings in more revenue. As John F. Kennedy once put it, « A rising tide will lift all boats. » However, Mr. Obama, who once promised to control the tides, wants to control economic growth.

Has Mr. Obama reduced taxes on the middle class as he claims? Not quite. His tax-refundable credits cost the Treasury $81.49 billion a year. They are « welfare payments that masquerade as tax cuts, » Mr. Moore rightly notes. I agree with Mr. Moore that it would be fair if everyone paid at least something, but I think he may be overstating it a tad. The poor do pay taxes — they just pay them in forgone opportunity rather than with a check. Poor people aren’t stupid; they’re just poor. They know things aren’t working in this country, and while they may not connect it to the tax rate, they too know something is amiss.

My 9-9-9 plan and discussion of opportunity zones was to start that conversation. Mr. Moore favors a flat tax and eliminating the corporate tax. I’m willing to negotiate. Are Congress and the president?

Herman Cain is a co-founder of Job Creators Solutions and former candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Voir encore:

Idée reçue

Qui sont les très riches Américains ?

Idée reçue : le 1% le plus riche des Américains n’est pas constitué de financiers de Wall Street mais aux trois quarts d’entrepreneurs individuels.

Bernard Zimmern

Emploi 2017

18 avril 2013

Contrairement aux croyances largement répandues, le centile le plus riche des Américains n’est pas constitué des financiers de Wall Street mais aux trois quarts d’entrepreneurs individuels, à la tête d’entreprises non incorporées. Ils ont débuté leurs entreprises sans s’embarrasser de statuts et sont parvenus dans le premier centile des plus riches par leur travail et en économisant. Mais ils possèdent plus de la moitié de la fortune industrielle des États-Unis et c’est donc d’eux que dépendent la croissance et l’emploi. Ceci peut expliquer la faible reprise de l’activité américaine malgré les vannes du crédit ouvertes par la Banque Fédérale si ces entrepreneurs n’ont pas confiance dans leur gouvernement et ne veulent plus prendre de risques.

Un débat clé pour l’avenir de nos sociétés occidentales

Ce débat a agité et continue d’agiter l’Amérique puisque Barack Obama réclame une taxation spéciale des millionnaires et qu’il est même question d’instituer aux USA un impôt sur la fortune. Un débat qui concerne la France. Il n’aurait en effet guère d’incidence s’il s’agissait seulement de couper le superflu et, comme le suggèrent rien moins que deux prix Nobel, de punir les plus riches qui vivraient, au mieux d’une rente, au pire de l’exploitation de la sueur et du sang des plus pauvres.

Le hic, c’est que ce sont précisément les plus riches qui sont responsables de plus de la moitié de l’investissement dans les entreprises et l’emploi. Comme dans probablement la quasi-totalité des pays de l’Ouest. Et que, comme l’a fort bien rappelé l’OCDE, la lutte contre les inégalités commence par un travail : « L’emploi est la voie la plus prometteuse pour réduire les inégalités. Le principal défi consiste à créer des emplois plus nombreux et de meilleure qualité, offrant de bonnes perspectives de carrière et des chances réelles d’échapper à la pauvreté » [1].

Les très riches Américains sont aux trois quarts des entrepreneurs individuels, non incorporés

Pour savoir qui sont réellement ces super-riches, accapareurs ou fainéants, il est intéressant de se plonger dans les travaux d’un chercheur, Edward N.Wolff, qui figure parmi ceux qui traque les inégalités depuis près de 20 ans. Pour chiffrer la fortune des Américains et sa composition en fonction du niveau de fortune, il s’appuie sur les enquêtes du Survey of Consumer Finances effectué par le Federal Reserve Board, publiées tous les 2 ans et portant sur environ 5.000 ménages (avec échantillonnage spécial sur les ménages les plus riches pour tenir compte de leur petit nombre). Un des intérêts de ces enquêtes est qu’elles se sont répétées depuis 1983 et que le chercheur les commente et les analyse tous les 2 ans depuis 1994. Ses travaux sont d’autant plus crédibles que Wolff appartient plutôt au clan des égalitaristes, comme d’autres membres de son université semble-t-il, qu’au clan des entrepreneurs.

Dans un rapport de 2010, il dévoile que 73,8% du patrimoine du 1% les plus riches [2] sont dans des « unincorporated business » [3], que nous croyons pouvoir traduire par entreprises individuelles, ces entreprises que leur fondateur n’a même pas constituées en sociétés à leur création mais tout simplement débuté en offrant ses produits ou services et qui sont restées sans statuts.

Le grand public non averti pourrait penser que la fortune industrielle américaine est dans les grandes entreprises cotées, les Google, General Electric, les 40 entreprises du Dow Jones ou les 100 du Nasdaq. Erreur. Elles ne constituent que 11,8% du patrimoine total américain et 16,8% si l’on inclue les actions indirectement détenus à travers les fonds de pension, les OPCVM, etc. contre 20,1% [4] pour le patrimoine représenté par les entreprises individuelles. Plus de la moitié du patrimoine industriel américain est donc dans des entreprises non incorporées. De même d’ailleurs qu’en France.

Dans son rapport 2010 sur les patrimoines 2007, Wolff confirme que les très riches américains sont ces créateurs d’entreprises individuelles, par cette phrase remarquable : « a somewhat startling 74 percent of the very rich reported owning their own business » [5].

Pourquoi les entrepreneurs individuels représentent 75% des plus riches américains

C’est que la plus grande partie de la richesse d’une nation n’est pas créée par des élèves de grandes écoles ou universités, qui cherchent généralement des carrières sures au sein de grands groupes mais par des autodidactes qui, flair ou accident, débutent une activité en affichant simplement un panneau et ne s’embarrassent pas de statuts beaucoup trop compliqués ou coûteux. À force de travail et d’économies, leur activité grandit et ils finissent, aux USA, par constituer plus de 50% de l’actif industriel.

On en trouve confirmation dans les travaux d’un autre chercheur [6]. C’est qu’un entrepreneur individuel ne peut généralement compter que sur lui-même – et son entourage familial –, pas sur les institutions financières, pour survivre en cas de retournement de la conjoncture économique et qu’il est donc conduit à accumuler de la richesse, à épargner, à s’enrichir au maximum, en vivant s’il le faut chichement, comme Sam Walton, le fondateur de la plus grande chaîne de distribution Wallmart qui roula dans sa vieille Ford plus de 20 ans, jusqu’à sa mort.

Les entrepreneurs individuels, le facteur clé de la croissance, qui manque actuellement

En 2007, c’est pourtant ce 1% des plus riches qui représente 49,3% de toutes les actions et fonds communs de placement, 60,6% des placements financiers, 62,4% du « business equity » [7], donc représente plus de la moitié de la fortune industrielle américaine. Page 19 de son édition 2012, Wolff va même plus loin et rappelle que « comme montré tableau 6, les foyers du centile le plus riche (rangés par patrimoine) investissaient plus des trois quarts de leurs économies dans la propriété immobilière, les entreprises, des actions de sociétés et des placements financiers ».

Ce qui nous conduit à penser que si la reprise américaine est si lente et si hésitante malgré les vannes de crédit largement ouvertes par la Federal Reserve, ce n’est pas que les circuits bancaires manquent de capitaux, c’est que les principaux agents de la croissance qui sont ces entrepreneurs américains, qui ont fait leur fortune généralement en partant de rien, ces riches américains n’ont plus confiance dans leur gouvernement et gardent leur fortune plutôt que de la risquer.

Sur le web.

Notes :

OCDE (2011), Toujours plus d’inégalité : Pourquoi les écarts de revenus se creusent. ↩

Pour éviter toute ambiguïté, il écrit lui-même que les très riches sont les 1% les plus riches, pas les 10% ou tout autre décile. ↩

Table 6 page 49 « Recent Trends in Household Wealth in the United States » 2010 Edward N. Wolff. Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. ↩

Page 16, ibid. ↩

Page 16, même document. ↩

« Entrepreneurship, Business Wealth, and Social Mobility » par Gabriel Basaluzzo UT Austin / ITAM. ↩

Table 9 ibid. ↩

Is Obama Like Ike?

Michael Doran

October 2013

“I remember some of the speeches of Eisenhower,” Hillary Clinton said during a joint interview with President Obama in January. “You know, you’ve got to be careful, you have to be thoughtful, you can’t rush in.” It seems likely her memories were jogged by the reviews of Evan Thomas’s recent book, Ike’s Bluff, which argued that Eisenhower’s experience as a soldier and general taught him the limitations of exercising power. That book and a spate of other recent studies have established Ike firmly in the public mind as the very embodiment of presidential prudence.

They have also turned him into a posthumous adviser to the Obama administration. Before becoming secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel bought three dozen copies of David A. Nichols’s study of the Suez Crisis and distributed them to (among others) the president, Hillary Clinton, and Leon Panetta, his predecessor as secretary of defense. At Suez, Ike refused to support Britain and France when they (in collusion with Israel) invaded Egypt, and he effectively killed the intervention. Hagel’s lesson was clear: Don’t let allies drag you into ill-advised military adventures.

In an influential essay published last year in Time entitled “On Foreign Policy, Why Barack Is Like Ike,” Fareed Zakaria argued that when the president showed a wariness to intervene in places like Syria, he was displaying an uncanny resemblance to Eisenhower. The key quality that the two share, Zakaria argued, is “strategic restraint.” In his recent book, Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era (Princeton University Press, 200 pages), Joseph S. Nye of Harvard takes the argument even one step further. Nye claims Eisenhower was actually an early practitioner of what an Obama aide, speaking of the administration’s role in the ouster of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, notoriously called “leading from behind.”

A cursory examination of Eisenhower’s actual Middle East policies reveals the hollowness of both this thesis and the notion that Eisenhower, as president, followed a strategy of restraint—especially as regards the Middle East. To be sure, he frequently exercised prudence in military affairs. He ended the war in Korea and did not intervene in 1956 when the Hungarians rose in revolt against their Soviet masters. Most notable of all, he refrained from intervention in Vietnam. But military prudence should not be confused with global strategy. Modern-day “restraintists” are quick to cite Eisenhower’s warning, in his farewell address, regarding the dangers of “the military industrial complex.” They typically forget, however, to quote his justification for it: “We face a hostile ideology—global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration.” Eisenhower, in other words, zealously prosecuted the Cold War. Indeed, contemporary critics diagnosed his administration as suffering from “pactomania,” an irresistible urge to organize alliances against Communism. Many historians now regard his reliance on the CIA, which toppled regimes in Iran and Guatemala, as anything but restrained. And there are also more public examples of Eisenhower flexing his presidential muscles.

There was Syria, for one. Then, as now, the country was at the center of a regional power struggle. In the summer of 1956, when the Syrian government began to drift toward the Soviet Union, Eisenhower instructed the CIA to topple it. By summer 1957, the spy agency had attempted to stage two coups, both of which failed. No sooner had Syrian counterintelligence rolled up the second plot than Eisenhower formulated another plan: fomenting jihad. He instructed the CIA to position itself in order to stir up violent disturbances along Syria’s borders. The goal was to present these incidents to the world as a threat—a Syrian threat—to the peace and security of the region. Syria’s neighbors would then use the unrest as a pretext to invade and topple the government in Damascus.

The trickiest part of the plan was convincing the Arab states to invade. In the hope that Saudi Arabia would help, Eisenhower wrote to King Saud. The letter expressed alarm over the “serious danger that Syria will become a Soviet Communist satellite.” It affirmed that “any country that was attacked by a Syria which was itself dominated by International Communism” could count on the United States for support. And then it closed with an appeal to Islam: “In view of the special position of Your Majesty as Keeper of the Holy Places of Islam, I trust that you will exert your great influence to the end that the atheistic creed of Communism will not become entrenched at a key position in the Moslem world.” The letter missed its mark. “Saud,” as the historian Salim Yaqub wrote, “had little interest in Eisenhower’s jihad.”

In praise of Ike’s pacific record, Zakaria notes that “from the end of the Korean War to the end of his presidency, not one American soldier died in combat.” The statistic is striking, but it creates a misleading impression. In truth, Eisenhower had the one quality all successful leaders have: He was lucky. Any number of his policies could easily have backfired, producing a much less impressive statistic. The Syrian crisis of 1957 is a case in point. While Eisenhower was attempting to generate a jihad, the Turkish government amassed 50,000 troops on the Syrian border. The move provoked the Soviets. In an interview with the New York Times, Nikita Khrushchev, then the Soviet premier, publicly accused the United States of fomenting the crisis and issued a warning to the Turks: “If the rifles fire,” he said bluntly, “the rockets will start flying.” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles immediately came to the aid of the Turks: “If there is an attack on Turkey by the Soviet Union,” he said, “it would not mean a purely defensive operation by the United States, with the Soviet Union a privileged sanctuary from which to attack Turkey.” In such tense circumstances, a miscalculation by a Turkish, Syrian, or Soviet commander could have dragged the United States into an extremely ugly conflict. History, in that case, would have produced less impressive statistics.

Zakaria also happens to be factually wrong. A number of soldiers did die on Eisenhower’s watch—three, to be exact. One fell to an enemy sniper; the other two to friendly fire. All of them died in Lebanon during the 1958 intervention. Zero or three—either way the record is remarkable, but the fallen Marines should remind us of an important fact: Eisenhower, when the situation required, did not shrink from entering a messy conflict.

In the first half of 1958, Camille Chamoun, the Lebanese president, was battling an insurgency and strongly urged Eisenhower to come to his assistance. The insurgents were receiving support from Syria, which by this time had merged with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt to form the United Arab Republic. Eisenhower feared a quagmire and resisted calls to intervene. But overnight, his calculus changed.

When Eisenhower went to bed on Sunday, July 13, Iraq was an ally—“the country,” he wrote in his memoirs, “that we were counting on heavily as a bulwark of stability and progress in the region.” By the time he woke on Monday, the bulwark had collapsed. In the early morning hours, renegade army officers staged a successful coup, destroying Iraq’s Hashemite monarchy and replacing it with an Arab nationalist republic that Eisenhower feared might align with the United Arab Republic and its Soviet patron. In a mere instant, a Cold War ally had disappeared.

Fearing a push by Nasser and the Soviet Union against all Western-leaning states of the region, a number of American allies—including the Lebanese, Saudis, and Jordanians—called for immediate intervention by the United States. Cairo and Moscow, they argued, must be put on notice that the Americans would not let their remaining friends go the way of the Iraqi monarchy. If the United States failed to intervene, the Saudi king informed Eisenhower, it would be “finished” as a power in the region. Eisenhower sprung to action with remarkable speed. Within a few hours, he gave the order to send in the Marines to bolster the resolve of allies and reinvigorating the deterrent capability of the United States.

Almost immediately, Eisenhower invited a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to the White House for a briefing. Sam Rayburn, the speaker of the House, expressed concerns: “If we go in and intervene and our operation does not succeed, what do we do then?” He also worried that “the Russians would threaten general war.” Eisenhower replied that it was impossible “to prophesy the exact course of events. If we do or if we don’t go in, the consequences will be bad.” He calculated, however, that it was crucial to take “a strong position rather than a Munich-type position, if we are to avoid the crumbling of our whole security structure.” Rayburn also believed that “intervention would intensify resentment against us throughout the area.” Eisenhower shared his fear.

The Lebanon intervention, we now know, went as cleanly as any such operation in history. At the moment of decision, however, Eisenhower regarded the venture as highly risky—so dangerous, in fact, that it reminded him of giving the go order on D-Day, the most momentous event of his life. “Despite the disparity in the size of the two operations,” he wrote in his memoirs, “the possible consequences in each case, if things went wrong, were chilling.” What, in particular, made the intervention so dangerous? “In Lebanon, the question was whether it would be better to incur the deep resentment of nearly all of the Arab world (and some of the rest of the Free world) and in doing so to risk general war with the Soviet Union or to do something worse—which was to do nothing.”

Over the last year, a parade of America’s Middle Eastern allies have made their way through the White House, raising the alarm of Syria, and urging Obama to organize a more robust international response. Unlike Ike, Obama calculated that doing nothing was preferable to taking actions that have uncertain outcomes. As a result, when Obama finally decided that some response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons was necessary, he found himself almost bereft of allies.

And what about Nye’s favorable comparison of Obama’s foreign policy with Eisenhower’s? “An incautious comment by a midlevel White House official characterized the Libya policy as ‘leading from behind,’ and this became a target for political criticism,” Nye writes, but adds that “Eisenhower was a great exemplar of knowing that sometimes it is most effective to keep a low profile and to lead from behind.”

This is an act of rhetorical legerdemain. Nye’s use of the term gives the impression that two very different things are actually one and the same. With respect to Obama, “leading from behind” describes his administration’s policy toward Libyan intervention. With respect to Ike, it describes his management style, which Fred Greenstein famously called “the hidden-hand presidency.”

In Eisenhower’s day, intellectuals almost universally regarded him as an amiable dolt, more golfer than strategist. Before Greenstein (together with Stephen Ambrose and others) set the record straight in the 1980s, it was widely assumed that John Foster Dulles was the man who actually ran American foreign policy. Using declassified documents, Greenstein and his cohort showed that Eisenhower was resolutely in charge, a master of detail, fully in command of strategy and tactics. Eisenhower might have put Dulles out front and center stage, but he was always guiding him with a “hidden hand.”

The diary of Jock Colville, Winston Churchill’s right-hand man, provides a vivid example of Eisenhower’s skills at “gentle persuasion,” to use Nye’s phrase. After Stalin died in March 1953, Churchill, then in his final term as prime minister, perceived signs of moderation in Moscow. He began a campaign to convince Eisenhower to convene a summit with the USSR on the model of the great wartime conferences. Ike repeatedly rebuffed Churchill, who eventually made his differences with Eisenhower publicly known. Tensions came to a head in Bermuda in December 1953 at a conference attended by the leaders of the United States, Britain, and France. During one of the opening meetings, Churchill immediately delivered an eloquent appeal for engaging the new Soviet leaders. Eisenhower, Colville writes, was enraged. He reacted with “a short, very violent statement, in the coarsest terms,” likening the Soviet Union to “a whore” whom the United States would drive off the main streets. Colville was shocked by Eisenhower’s profanity. “I doubt,” he noted, “if such language has ever been heard at an international conference.”

Now consider: The Islamic Republic of Iran recently elected a new president, Hassan Rouhani, whom many observers regard as a moderate. Those observers have been urging Obama to engage with him directly, just as Churchill urged Ike. Imagine a conference between Obama and a delegation of European leaders who argue eloquently for reaching out to Rouhani. Obama springs up, enraged. The veins in his forehead pop out, throbbing. He launches into a profanity-laced tirade. “Iran,” he thunders, “is a whore and we are going to drive her off the streets of the Middle East.”

If Obama were truly like Ike in foreign policy, this thought experiment would not be a fanciful one.

The popular association of the Eisenhower administration with “strategic restraint” is itself he product of historical revisionism. It was not the contemporary view. Until the 1980s, most pundits believed the opposite. Their view was perfectly distilled in Townsend Hoopes’s The Devil and John Foster Dulles (1973). The unstated goal of the book was to saddle the Republicans with responsibility for the Vietnam War—no mean feat, given that Democrats Kennedy and Johnson had made the key decisions to intervene. Nevertheless, Hoopes found an ingenious method to lay the responsibility squarely on Eisenhower’s shoulders—or, more precisely, on the shoulders of his secretary of state.

John Foster Dulles’s influence, Hoopes explains, was so immense that it extended beyond the Republican Party. Dulles managed to shape the zeitgeist by establishing in the broad culture the unassailable sanctity of “America’s posture of categorical anti-Communism and limitless strategic concern.” Once he successfully stamped the culture with anti-Communist zealotry, the Democrats had no choice but to follow its inexorable logic, which led to imperial overreach in Vietnam. “In early 1968,” Hoopes writes, “when the Tet offensive and Lyndon Johnson’s withdrawal from further political combat tore away the final veil hiding the misperception and failure of America’s freedom-defending and nation-building in South Vietnam, I faced, along with many others, the dawning of the realization that an era in American foreign policy had ended.”

This was hysterically overwrought, obviously, but in its day, intellectuals took the argument seriously. It’s worth considering why. Caricature, of course, exaggerates recognizable aspects of reality. In the 1970s, the very real anti-Communism of the Eisenhower era was still a part of living memory. “Mutual Assured Destruction,” “the domino theory,” “brinkmanship”—these 1950s catchphrases reverberated, testifying to the fact that Ike, even while steering clear of military adventures, took the fight to the enemy. By contrast, contemporary audiences know Ike only from history books such as Greenstein’s, which emphasizes Eisenhower’s pragmatism precisely in order to supplant the prevailing caricature of his stupidity.

Still, there was more than just a grain of truth to Hoopes’s presentation. Ike operated in a specific ideological context. To detach “Ike the pragmatist” entirely from it is to draw a caricature every bit as distorted as “Dulles the zealot.”

Zakaria sees Ike and Obama as uncannily similar for exhibiting “strategic restraint” in their Middle East policies. That Obama has been restrained is undeniable. In what way, however, is his reluctance to use military force “strategic”? What larger plan does the policy serve? The best answer came last March from Tom Donilon, his former national-security adviser. The Obama administration, he explained in an interview, had determined that the United States was “over-invested in our military efforts in South Asia and in the Middle East.” At the same time, it was “dramatically under-invested” in Asia, which was “the most economically dynamic region in the world.” Therefore, it was “rebalancing” to Asia.

So Obama, the global strategist, pores over a huge map spread out on the table before him. Using his pointer stick like a croupier, he slides pieces from the Middle East to Asia. That’s all well and good on the global level, but what about the Middle East? The region is undergoing an epochal transformation. Where does the president see it headed? What is the American role in guiding it there?

In May 2011, a few months after the Arab Spring first broke out, Obama identified a powerful movement toward freedom and democracy and reached out his hand in partnership. “The question before us,” Obama said at the time “is what role America will play as this story unfolds.” He answered with clarity: “There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity.” Only two years later, he struck a less hopeful note. In the Middle East, he said, “there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war.”

Where Obama was nurturing democracy two years ago, he is now arguing for quarantining sectarian violence. This blatant shift raises even more questions. Will this sectarianism burn itself out, or will the conflagration grow? What security structures will best contain it? How will the “rebalancing” to Asia help build them? One suspects that there are no answers to any of these questions, because the decision to pull back was disconnected from a larger vision of the Middle East. “Strategic restraint,” when applied to Obama’s policies, is synonymous with “strategic neglect.”

That was not true of Eisenhower’s policies. His eight years in office also coincided with a revolutionary wave. The old imperial and colonial order was crumbling. A new one, dominated by secular pan-Arab nationalism, was taking its place. Eisenhower saw it plainly and formulated a strategy to deal with it. His goal was to channel the nationalism of the region away from the Soviet bloc and toward the West by offering security and economic assistance. The United States was engaged in a delicate balancing act, supporting its European allies against the Soviet Union while simultaneously facilitating the rise of the independent nations of the Middle East, which were hostile to the Europeans.

It is impossible to understand any of Ike’s major moves without reference to this vision. Take, for instance, the Suez Crisis, which Zakaria cites as a prime example of “strategic restraint” and which Hagel holds up as a model for Obama. When Eisenhower turned against his allies, he did not do so out of any overarching commitment to “restraint.” He simply believed Britain and France were alienating Arab nationalists and destroying the prospect for a strategic accommodation between the Arab states and the West. He therefore shunted the Europeans aside—in what was actually the most dramatic assertion of American primacy of the Cold War.

In the midst of the crisis, he announced the Eisenhower Doctrine, a unilateral American commitment to defend the entire Middle East. His doctrine put the world on formal notice that the United States was replacing Britain as the dominant power in the region. The result of Ike’s “strategic restraint” was a massive increase in the global responsibilities of the United States. Obama’s restraint represents an attempt to shed those responsibilities.

The Ike–Obama analogy creates an illusion of commonality and historic continuity where none exists. It is bad history, because it depicts Eisenhower as a two-dimensional figure, entirely detached from his key associates and their core beliefs. At the same time, the analogy presents us with a distorted view of Obama. The Eisenhower Doctrine asserted American primacy in the Middle East, and every president since has regarded it a vital American interest to shape the international order of the region. Every president, that is, except the present one.

The old order in the Middle East is crumbling. The enemies and rivals of the United States—Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda—are working assiduously to mold the new order that benefits them. Their efforts, which are often in conflict, have ignited a great fire. Unlike his predecessors, Barack Obama has determined that the United States is best served by hanging back. This is a sharp break with the past—especially with Eisenhower. Those desperately looking to burnish Obama’s reputation when it comes to foreign policy by associating it with that of a successful presidency will have to look elsewhere.

About the Author

Michael Doran, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration, is the Roger Hertog Senior Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is finishing a book on Eisenhower and the Middle East. He tweets @Doranimated.

Voir enfin:

Pourquoi les Français sont « en colère » : le rapport secret des préfets

François Bazin

Le Nouvel Observateur

19-10-2013

Un rapport confidentiel des préfets montre les racines d’une exaspération qui peine à s’exprimer sur le terrain social, mais qui menace de tout emporter dans les urnes.

C’est une note de quatre pages, classée « confidentiel » et rédigée par le ministère de l’Intérieur. Chaque mois, les services de Manuel Valls, sur la foi des rapports que leur adressent les préfets, rédigent une « synthèse », qui est une manière de plonger dans les méandres de l’opinion publique. Elle dit l’esprit du temps, le moral des élus et l’humeur des Français, ceux que l’on entend peu dans les grands médias et qui représentent ce que certains appellent « le pays profond ».

La dernière en date de ces synthèses a été publiée le 27 septembre dernier. Elle est remontée illico jusqu’au sommet de l’Etat et a été jugée suffisamment inquiétante à l’Elysée et à Matignon, pour que, cette fois-ci, elle soit communiquée aux principaux dirigeants de la majorité.

La France gronde, les Français sont en « colère « . Ce mot-là, François Hollande, en déplacement la semaine dernière en Haute-Loire, l’a d’ailleurs prononcé publiquement. Dans la synthèse des préfets, il ne figure pas de façon explicite. Mais c’est tout comme ! Les casquettes de la République n’ont pas l’habitude d’employer les formules chocs et les phrases qui claquent. C’est ce qui fait tout l’intérêt de la note du 27 septembre.

Il faut savoir la décoder pour mesurer son caractère alarmiste. Tout est écrit par petites touches qui signalent, une à une, les sources d’un mécontentement qui monte, qui tourne, qui s’alimente parfois à de petits riens dont on mesure toutefois combien ils pourraient devenir explosifs si demain ils devaient se cristalliser dans un même mouvement. On n’en est pas encore là. C’est ce qui explique, au bout du compte, un climat insaisissable fait d’aigreurs accumulées, sur fond de ressentiment à l’égard de ce qui vient d’en haut, du pouvoir parisien, de ceux qui gouvernent l’Etat.

« Un sentiment d’abandon »

Le premier point mis en exergue par les préfets porte sur le monde rural. Celui-ci « s’organise pour revendiquer une spécificité de traitement dans les réformes en cours ». A quelques mois des municipales, il n’y a rien là de secondaire.

Si le redécoupage cantonal « ne suscite guère de réactions dans l’opinion, il fait parfois l’objet de débats enflammés dans les exécutifs locaux ». Plus que « des accusations partisanes », les préfets notent ainsi « les inquiétudes sur les conséquences d’un tel redécoupage sur le maillage territorial des services publics et l’éligibilité à certaines subventions ou projets d’équipements ».

Le discours qui monte est tout entier dirigé « contre l’hégémonie des métropoles » que le gouvernement serait en train d’organiser à travers la loi Lebranchu. Chez les petits élus, tout fait désormais sens : les restructurations liées au vote de la loi de programmation militaire aussi bien que la réforme Peillon des rythmes scolaires. Le sentiment qui domine est « un sentiment d’abandon ».

Le deuxième point abordé par les préfets a davantage fait les gros titres des médias. »Inquiets du discours antifiscal qui pourrait favoriser les extrêmes, écrivent-ils, les élus considèrent que les limites du consentement à l’impôt sont atteintes. »

Là encore tout converge : « Dans les esprits où domine la hantise du chômage et de la baisse du pouvoir d’achat, la hausse de la fiscalité devient un élément anxiogène de plus. » L’expression utilisée est celle de « choc psychologique » pour « des foyers jusque-là non imposables ». A preuve,  » l’afflux record dans certains centres de finances publiques de contribuables à la recherche d’informations « .

Dans ce contexte, « les élus confient avoir constaté la radicalisation des propos de leurs administrés qui fustigent ‘un matraquage fiscal’ et ‘une hausse insupportable d’impôts qui financent un système trop généreux’. » Et les préfets de conclure : « La menace de désobéissance fiscale est clairement brandie. »

Le troisième point abordé par les casquettes de la République porte sur « l’évolution des modes de délinquance ». « Médiatisation croissante des faits divers par les médias locaux […] dans des régions qui s’en croyaient indemnes » ; « cambriolages, délinquance de proximité, incivilités » : la formule choisie pour résumer le sentiment des Français se passe de commentaire.

Tout cela « inquiète autant que cela exaspère ». C’est ce qui conduit les préfets à souligner que « la population semble désormais prête à s’impliquer davantage dans la lutte contre la délinquance à travers des opérations comme ‘voisins vigilants’ ou ‘alertes commerce' ».

Enfin, sur un mode un peu plus positif au regard des mesures prises récemment par le gouvernement avec notamment la baisse de la TVA sur la rénovation de logements, les préfets soulignent « la situation de détresse » qui est aujourd’hui celle des professionnels du bâtiment.

Loin du discours convenu sur les bienfaits supposés du statut d’auto-entrepreneur, ils rappellent ainsi que « dans certains départements, près de 70% des créations d’entreprises artisanales » relèvent de ce dit statut. Ce qui, ajouté à « la concurrence d’entreprises étrangères qualifiée de low cost », entretient un discours récurrent sur la « concurrence déloyale ».

Ras-le-bol fiscal

Faut-il dès lors s’étonner que le Front national monte dans les sondages ? Sentiment d’abandon des zones rurales, ras-le-bol fiscal, augmentation de la petite délinquance, détresse du monde artisanal : on retrouve là tous les ingrédients qui, mis bout à bout, nourrissent le programme lepéniste dans ce qu’il a de plus tristement classique. Durant l’été dernier, Hollande confiait volontiers son inquiétude de voir la réforme des retraites « unifier » un mécontentement latent.

« Si ça prend, disait-il en privé, toutes les catégories qui grognent oublieront leurs antagonismes pour se retrouver derrière la première manif venue. » Le danger n’est plus là. La réforme des retraites, bouclée fin août avec un sens achevé de l’équilibre hollandais, a étouffé dans l’oeuf le mouvement social et du même coup mes projets assassins de la gauche Mélenchon, en lien avec les secteurs les plus durs de la CGT ou de FO.

Sur le front de l’emploi qui s’améliore doucement, les plans sociaux qui tombent provoquent plus de ressentiments que de mobilisations. De même qu’il existe des grèves perlées, on voit s’installer une colère diffuse qui entretient dans le pays ce curieux climat où l’insatisfaction domine sans que jamais elle ne s’exprime de manière unifiée dans la rue.

« Ne comptez plus sur notre bulletin de vote »

Aujourd’hui, on en est là. Les sondages le disent. Les préfets le confirment. Les plus expérimentés des élus de gauche confient, la peur au ventre, que cette situation leur rappelle celle qui prédominait avant leur déroute des législatives de 1993. « Les gens se taisent. Bien sûr, sur les marchés, nos sympathisants viennent râler. Mais tous les autres ont le visage fermé, témoigne un député d’Ile-de-France. Ils se contentent d’un ‘C’est dur, hein !’ dont on sent bien qu’il veut dire ‘Ne comptez plus sur notre bulletin de vote’.  »

L’abstention, voilà l’ennemi. Celui qui fait trembler les candidats de l’actuelle majorité, à l’approche des municipales. Avec, en toile de fond, une attention croissante au discours lepéniste, perçu comme la dernière manifestation possible de ce refus du « système » qui fait désormais florès.

Dans ce climat délétère, tout est désormais fléché pour que la colère qui monte se porte sur le seul terrain électoral. Quand Jean-François Copé répète à tout-va que la seule manière de « sanctionner le pouvoir » est de favoriser une « vague bleue » aux prochaines municipales, mesure-t-il qu’il ne se trompe sur rien, sauf sur la couleur exacte d’un vote qui s’annonce essentiellement « bleu Marine » ? Face à cela, la majorité ne peut compter que sur l’implantation de ses élus sortants. Elle tente de faire souffler sur le pays un air d’optimisme, encouragé par la croissance qui revient et la courbe du chômage qui devrait s’inverser à la fin de l’année.

C’est peu et beaucoup à la fois. C’est un peu tard surtout pour espérer que le courant qui enfle, dans les profondeurs du pays, puisse être freiné dans les mois à venir. En 2014, immanquablement, tombera la facture. Pour Hollande, comme pour la droite républicaine, il n’y a guère de raison de penser qu’à la colère qui gronde, ne succédera pas, demain, une de ces sanctions dont on ne pourra pas dire qu’elle est venue par surprise.


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