April 8, 2004

French P.M. to Lecture

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Lionel Jospin, the former prime minister of France, will deliver a lecture titled “The United States: Empire or Super Nation-State?” today at 4:30 p.m. in Baker Hall 200.

Jospin’s lecture is the keynote address for “A Critical Anatomy of the New American Empire,” a three-day conference co-organized by the Society for the Humanities (SHC) and the Center for the Study of Economy and Society.

The conference aims to build public culture by discussing the U.S.’s role as the world’s pre-eminent power, said Brett de Bary, director of the SHC.

“Recent U.S. policy will remain poorly understood if seen only in terms of the one-dimensional explanations offered us by the media,” de Bary said.

“We need to see how different parts [of U.S. policy] fit together, how political, economic, military and ideological elements work in consort, and sometimes in contradiction, with each other,” de Bary added.

To that end, the conference includes a range of scholars from the humanities and social sciences, with sessions tomorrow and Saturday in Goldwin Smith’s Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium. Jospin, prime minister from 1997 to 2002, has been a member of France’s Socialist Party since 1971. He narrowly lost to Jacques Chirac in France’s 1995 presidential election. He was expected to challenge Chirac for the presidency in 2002, but was knocked out of the race in the first round of elections, losing to far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen by less than one percent of the vote. France’s government under Jospin introduced a 35-hour work week, recognized civil pacts between any two adults, oversaw the privatization of various state enterprises, and was at times strongly critical of U.S. foreign policy.

Shortly after President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in 2002, which named Iran, Iraq and North Korea as members of an “axis of evil,” Jospin spoke of the dangers of unilateralism.

“We cannot reduce the problems of the world to the single dimension of the struggle against terrorism, despite its pressing importance, nor rely on the predominance of military means,” Jospin said, adding that “the international community can tackle together the roots of problems, since none of us can hope to resolve them alone.”

Archived article by Dan Galindo
Sun Senior Writer