The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) is not the sort of story I normally would comment upon in much depth. I genuinely believe in "innocent until proven guilty." I don't like the police practice of the "perp" walk. I find prosecutors all too often to be grandstanding egomaniacs using the considerable power of the state to advance themselves -- think, for example, of the loathsome Eliot Spitzer and his shenanigans as a prosecutor. And, of course, in our media-mad, instant-fame, and litigious world, high profile persons are particularly vulnerable to all sorts of accusations, blackmail, and general "comeuppance" attacks.
What makes this story somewhat different is the reaction in many sectors of Europe. I read on an almost daily basis major papers in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and English-langauge versions of some of the others, or watch on TV or on online news broadcasts from Europe and elsewhere. I also have lots of foreign diplomats and government officials as acquaintances and even friends. The reaction to the DSK arrest has been extraordinary.
There are many in the press, and in the comment sections, who see this as some sort of plot by the U.S. to destroy either the IMF, the Euro, or the French political system, or a combination of any or all of these. There is a feeling, in the French and lefty UK press in particular, of shock and horror at the American system of justice. A feeling that how could nasty crude NYPD cops arrest somebody as important as DSK on the word of a, well, of a simple maid. Those cops must be responding to orders from somebody high up in Washington -- yeah, right, try that with NY cops. That why wouldn't the cops have allowed DSK to fly to Paris, and then ask him to come back to respond to questions? The horror at seeing one of their elites in handcuffs has been shocking to many, especially, and I must admit I find this odd, on the left. I guess the spirit of July 14 Bastille Day has long worn off. The conspiracy theories are amazing and so convoluted it is impossible to follow them.
All I can say is imagine what the comments would have been if DSK had been allowed to fly off to Paris, and the cops had not taken seriously the account of a Muslim African maid in which she told of being attacked by a powerful, white, banker politician. The outrage! The confirmation of all we "know" about those racist, Jew-dominated cowboys!
Ah, "sophisticated" Europe . . . after all these years, still a source of entertainment and merriment . . . please don't change as in these difficult times we all need some levity.