Dominique Strauss-Khan Discovers The Limits Of Diaphanous Power

Who knows what transpired in that Sofitel hotel room between Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his alleged victim. (We refuse to use the invitation to bestow trendiness on Strauss-Kahn with the elevation to “DSK” moniker. Similarly, to Bernard-Henry Levy running around Libya as the intrepid “BHL”).

How fragile Strauss-Kahn’s undeniable influence turned out to be. Wielding the American-created international bureaucracy, like his predecessors he stood astride the global economy as a multi-lateral colossus. His words could raise or lower the living standards of millions. His smart action requesting greater liquidity in 2008 is credited as helping avert international meltdown.

Yet his vaunted stature vanished when Port Authority plain clothes officers boarded a plane and arrested him. He had no retinue, no phalanx. Not even diplomatic immunity for the non-official allegations in question. All that soft power, evaporated.

He faces charges of a criminal sex act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. Unlike opaque international economic negotiations, his alleged crimes are something non-Davos attendees can grok. It doesn’t help that the legal term used in his charges often is ‘sodomy’. By the time his legal team explains the term covers a variety of potential activities beyond the obvious, he’s losing ground.

A Prince of the Global Economy tumbles. He had many opponents. He wanted to provide Greece an additional $85 billion in new loans and loosen terms and conditions of its already spent $155 billion in 2010 (known in IMF-speak as ‘recalibration). He was working on Merkel to ease Germany in that direction; Sarkozy remains the most resistant. Portugal’s loans were approved on Monday.

Polls indicated that Strauss-Kahn would have likely beat Sarkozy in French presidential elections next year. Naturally, circumstances give rise to speculations of political foul play. He’s finished for this election no matter what.

His own people aren’t helping:

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers maintained he left the hotel at midday Saturday, after first paying his bill and handing over his key. He had lunch and took a taxi to the airport, according to the report.

The 32-year-old housekeeper at the center of the allegations identified Strauss-Kahn in a police lineup Sunday.

. . . the Frenchman’s lawyers, who are set to cast doubt on the alleged victim’s motives, were apparently surprised to see a “not very seductive” woman turn up for the identification parade.

May justice prevail regardless. Other apparent victims of his unsolicited advances come forward. “My kingdom, my kingdom for a bullet proof alibi. Merde !

We’ll watch the Chinese and other emerging economies maneuver around the weakened IMF with great interest. Not only to glean insights on their IMF positions per se. The key question remains whether they see the IMF, agent of the American post war order for the last half-century, adaptable to their ambitions, and if so, how and to what ends.


  1. Dr Leo Strauss says

    When I first heard that Dominique Strauss-Kahn — managing director of the International Monetary Fund, leading French Socialist politician, and potential candidate for the French presidency in 2012 — was alleged to have emerged naked from a New York hotel bathroom, sexually assaulted a chambermaid, run out of the hotel, and been arrested while awaiting takeoff on the next plane to Paris, my first thought was: Sarkozy must be behind this.

    I know I am not alone in this thought, because several people e-mailed me the same idea — and only half in jest. Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, is so wacky, so unpredictable, so far behind in the opinion polls and so desperate to be reelected that he would do anything to reverse his fortunes. Of course, the notion that he set up the chambermaid is bizarre — but then there are those who believe, equally bizarrely, that his wife, Carla Bruni, is hinting about pregnancy to make him more popular.

    Have to admit, it was our first thought, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge