Dominique Strauss-Kahn is dead meat as head of the International Monetary Fund. Like Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank before him, he was ultimately done in by missteps with women. In Wolfowitz’s case, the scandal was simply caused by misplaced love. In Strauss-Kahn, the allegation is just straightforward crude and sordid sex.
Wolfowitz was accused only of getting his Iranian girlfriend Shaha Riza a fat-cat job promotion at an exorbitant salary. That was rightly seen as arrogant, indefensible and contemptible behavior. But Strauss-Kahn is accused of having assaulting a cleaning lady in the luxurious $3,000-a-night room in the Sofitel Hotel where he was staying in New York City. Couldn’t he have afforded a high-class prostitute? Or was he too impatient to bother calling one up?
Like Wolfowitz before him, Strauss-Kahn will hang on to his cushy perch at the summit of the financial world like a limpet mine on a ship until he is dragged or blown off it. But don’t rule out his leveraging this embarrassment into a far bigger political success.
For Strauss-Kahn is not only French, but a left-winger. He is the frontrunner to be the Socialist Party candidate to oppose the incumbent and relatively conservative President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, in next year’s election.
Strauss-Kahn certainly appears to fit the classic psychological profile of left wing elitists who will sneer at every conservative and free market leader in the world for lacking compassion, but who treat ordinary human beings like dirt. Charles Dickens wrote a character like that – Mrs. Jellyby in “Bleak House”, obsessed with ending the evil of African slavery while her own son starved at home. Though Dickens could not have known, that was the lifestyle of Karl Marx in London at the very time (early 1850s) that “Bleak House” was written.
Strauss-Kahn is “only” accused of being a sexual predator. Already, the inevitable convoluted crackpot conspiracy theories have sprung up that he was somehow “set up” by the “evil” U.S. government.
In fact, Occam’s Razor, the great principle of logic, scientific inquiry and simple common sense formulated by the 14th century English philosopher and Franciscan friar William of Occam, always applies in such cases: The simplest and most straightforward explanation is usually the correct one.
It shouldn’t be hard to imagine that a 62-year-old elitist who runs the world’s most powerful financial organization can assume he can get away with almost anything in a luxury hotel, especially when it is French-owned and he expects to be the next president of France.
However, the whole affair could turn out to be a blessing for Strauss-Kahn. His key home constituencies, the Socialists and the anti-American chauvinists in France, will leap at the chance of swallowing some new U.S.-hating conspiracy theory – the more ludicrous the better.
After all, large number of such people repeatedly claim that President George W. Bush and his top officials personally masterminded the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And now we have the genuinely high quality Zogby polling company reporting that 20 percent of Americans in a recent poll believe that Osama Bin Laden is still alive.
In such a world where people eagerly believe anything, the more absurd the better, Strauss-Kahn is clearly on to a good thing. Don’t rule him out yet for taking over the Elysee Palace and full control of a thermonuclear power next year.
Who knows? Maybe Strauss-Kahn set up the scandal himself just to look macho at home. Now DSK will be able to strut his stuff like JFK, even if his humble alleged victim was no Marilyn Monroe but just a poor immigrant working hard to establish herself honestly in America.
William of Occam of course would demur at such a convoluted suggestion: He would no doubt urge us just to accept the obvious conclusion that the head of the International Monetary Fund is simply an arrogant bully, a sexual predator and a slob.
Martin Sieff is former Managing Editor, International Affairs of United Press International. He is the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East.”