Commentary: France: When The Going Gets Tough, The Top Caves In

Given his clumsy handling of France's worst social crisis in decades, it's no great surprise that Prime Minister Alain Juppe has begun caving in to strikers who have paralyzed France for three weeks over planned cuts in the welfare state. Despite his promise of "deep change" when he took office in May, Juppe is sticking to archaic French ways. In France, autocratic politicians cook up new laws. Citizens either acquiesce or rampage in the streets. Only then do pols try to build consensus, but by that time the trenches are dug.

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