I have no special insights into the arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York last night on sexual assault charges, but I do think it’s a sign of America’s unhealthy parochialism that the American press doesn’t seem even slightly interested in a development that’s surely more significant than another week of pointless will he or won’t he speculation about Mitch Daniels.
DSK is a very interesting figure. The phrase “the IMF” tends to conjure up imagines of right-wing ogres traversing the world urging austerity budgets for all, but DSK is the leading figure of the moderate wing of the French Socialist Party, which is to say he’s ridiculously left-wing by American standards. And, indeed, under his tenure in office the IMF has consistently positioned itself to the left of the European Central Bank, the United States Congress, the government of the United Kingdom, etc. in calling for stimulative measures in the developed world to fight the recession. But beyond his IMF work, DSK was the leading contender to defeat the hideously unpopular Nicholas Sarkozy in the French presidential election next year. At the moment, progressive liberalism is enjoying political success in India under Singh, Brazil under Lula/Rousseff, and the United States but has been deeply marginalized in Germany. Strauss-Kahm seemed like perhaps the guy to turn that around. Now it seems he’s a a sociopathic rapist, so that hope has to be shelved.