Arthur Goldhammer

Arthur Goldhammer is a writer, translator, and Affiliate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard. He blogs at French Politics. Follow him on Twitter: @artgoldhammer.

Recent Articles

The French Disconnection

Can the ideal of a secular Republic accommodate the new cultural pluralism?

Christian Liewig/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images)
Christian Liewig/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images) French President Francois Hollande at Elysee Palace on July 16, 2015 in Paris, France. This book review appears in the Summer 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . A Divided Republic: Nation, State, and Citizenship in Contemporary France By Emile Chabal 314 pp. Cambridge University Press $99.99 F rench politics can be bewildering to outsiders. The state seems all-powerful. The government consumes a larger share of national income than in most other countries, and many large corporations are partly state-owned. Yet as powerful as the French state is, it is periodically brought to its knees by popular protest: In 1995, demonstrators successfully resisted pension reform, and in 2006, young marchers thwarted a minor innovation in the labor code, while voters refused to approve a revision of the European constitutional treaty backed by both major parties. The power of the legislature to check the will of the executive...

Endgame in Europe

In a deal struck this week, Greece offered its creditors unconditional surrender. Will that be enough?

AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks with the media after a meeting of eurozone heads of state at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, July 13, 2015. T he deal struck in the wee hours of July 13—Bastille Day Eve—between Greece and its Eurozone creditors has been described in some quarters as a compromise. It was not. It was nothing less than a humiliation of a small and suffering member state, a sadistic display of naked financial power. Do as we say or we will “collapse your banks,” Eurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem had apparently told Greek negotiators earlier. In the climactic weekend it emerged that he wasn’t bluffing. Despite the fact that the ‘No’ vote had scored a resounding victory in a national referendum a week earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras decided he had no choice but to surrender to all the creditors’ demands, but in the end it turned out that even unconditional surrender was not enough. Germany’s...

The EU's Future in the Wake of the Greek Crisis

This weekend may mark a turning point for Greece's debt crisis, but Europe's problems don't stop there. 

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza
AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza A man sells Greek and European Union flags during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote for the upcoming referendum in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. T he endgame in the Greek crisis remains murky at this hour despite Alexis Tsipras’s apparent capitulation to the demands of Greece’s creditors: the so-called Troika or “Institutions” consisting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC), and the European Central Bank (ECB). With surprise developments occurring daily if not hourly, it is difficult to stand back from what has transpired to date in order to assess the implications for the future of the European Union and the Eurozone. Still, the exercise is worth attempting. A number of depressing conclusions emerge. No matter how the saga ends—whether in “Grexit” (Greek abandonment of the euro) and the self-imposed austerity that must inevitably follow, or in an agreement with the...

The Politics of Terrorism Lead Desperate Hollande to Embrace Sarkozy

In an effort to marginalize his nation's large far-right party in the wake of attacks by Islamist radicals, the president of France teams up with an old foe.

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo) Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, poses with current President Francois Hollande prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, January 8, 2015, in connection with a terrorist attack. Police hunted Thursday for two heavily armed men, one with possible links to al-Qaida, in the methodical killing of 12 people at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that caricatured the Prophet Muhammed. I n recent days France has seen 13 people killed in 2 terrorist attacks. A third attack is underway as I write. What will be the political fallout from these events? Because the alleged attackers have been linked in press reports to a jihadi recruitment organization known as the Buttes-Chaumont network, it is natural to assume that the Front National (FN), a party of the extreme right noted for its hostility to what it sees as growing Islamist influence in the French suburbs, will be the primary beneficiary. Even before the attacks, some polls indicated that...

François Hollande’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

When the Socialist president of France threw in with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her austerity agenda, his own government was thrown into turmoil. The backstory involves ambitious rivals.

(Chris Jackson/PA Wire - Press Association via AP Images)
Chris Jackson/PA Wire (Press Association via AP Images) German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets President Francois Hollande of France during an International Ceremony with Heads of State at Sword Beach in Normandy to mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings on Friday, June 6, 2014. I t began last Wednesday, when French President François Hollande gave Le Monde an interview in which he insisted he would stay the course with an economic policy that has seen his approval rating plummet from 60 percent, just after his election in 2012, to 17 percent this week. Hollande’s domestic strategy is part of his close and somewhat baffling alliance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the enforcer of European austerity. At the center of Hollande’s domestic policy is the so-called Responsibility Pact , which proposes shifting employer-paid payroll taxes to individual taxpayers, coupled with unspecified cuts in government spending. The measure is deeply unpopular, especially on the Left, so...