Europe

Another European leader engulfed in a blaze of sleaze

Dominique Strauss Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and a man as of Sunday leading the polls as the likely next French President, appears to be the latest political figure to be caught in a sex scandal in Europe. A housekeeper at the Sofitel hotel in New York alleges that he attempted to sexually assault her and falsely imprisoned her last Saturday. Mr Strauss Kahn was in New York on a plane due to depart to Paris late Saturday evening when he was escorted off by plain clothes police. An American court today denied him bail determining him to be a flight risk. Mr Strauss Kahn denies “any wrong doing”.

It is questioned whether this will in fact kill his presidential chances. Pundits predict that Francois Hollande, a former head of the Socialist Party and former partner of the 2007 French presidential candidate Segolene Royal is a likely contender to replace Mr Strauss Kahn. Mr Hollande is another candidate with impeccable credentials in the national sport of “l’amour” (literally translated as “love” but which is used as a euphemism for “sex”). After his 30 year long relationship with Segolene Royal which bore four children, he left her to pursue his love interest with a journalist he had been pursuing a long term affair with.

The fact that this assault happened in the United States may help bring to light a level of personal corruption in France’s political leaders which is not normally published in France’s press due to strict enforcement of privacy laws and elitism that keeps magazine publishers and French leaders in a cozy relationship. President Jacques Chirac revealed a number of what he described as discreet affairs in his biography. It reportedly made the headlines around the world except for in France where presumably he had only confirmed what was otherwise widely assumed. One of his predecessors, President Francois Mitterand was known to have kept two households but it was not widely reported. When asked by a journalist about it he is said to have answered, “Et alors?” meaning, “So what?”.

To add to Mr Strauss Kahn’s sorrows, yesterday Le Monde published a report that the goddaughter of his second wife (he has been married three times) and a friend of one of his four daughters, was sexually assaulted by Mr Strauss Kahn over 9 years ago when she was in her early 20s. It appears she was encouraged not to bring charges by her mother who was heavily involved in the Socialist Party at the time.

The fallout in the EU is still being determined. As a result of his detention in New York, Mr Strauss Kahn missed a key European Union meeting relating to finalization of the bail-out for Portugal, adjustment of Ireland’s interest rate and whether to provide more funds to Greece. It goes without saying that Mr Strauss Kahn will be dearly missed at such a critical time in the EU’s economic recovery. As the political figurehead of the IMF, Mr Strauss Kahn has been responsible for making the tough political decisions concerning bailout conditions when the economics criteria have been questionable. He is not easily replaceable and thus this personal failing could well end up leading to an institutional failing.

If one looks back over the last year, one is confronted by a string of personal failures of this sort by Europe’s leaders. In Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been charged with hiring an underage Moroccan prostitute and “springing” her from juvenile detention by calling police and claiming that she was a relative of then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. At the beginning of 2010, Northern Irish First Minister Peter Robinson left office after it was discovered that his wife, 58, was having an affair with a 19 year old boy. Daniel 4:17 says, the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.” Unfortunately, that prophecy is turning out to be quite correct.

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