Denis Boyles, now in Texas rather than Chiracian Euroland, made a welcome return to the NRO, shortly before the puff went out of the rioting in France. It's funny, Boyles' opinion seems almost anti-climactic, until you realise that he just couldn't muster any more cynicism or lack of optimism about France than he already had:
'This "serious social crisis" will be solved exactly the same way Chirac solved that far more serious social crisis two years ago: by lying low and waiting it out. The summer of 2003, after all, finally waned. The weather broke and the crisis was solved, by God. Curfews won't cut it now. One of these nights, the rioters will run out of matches and Citroens, the weather will turn cold, and Chirac's France will once again be at peace.'
Well, the weather has turned cold (at least where I am- not my photo, I hasten to add, but a nice one. And not right now, though the weather's not million miles away from that in the photo), and I did run out of matches as it happens- though needed for my gas cooker rather than for any nefarious purposes, and I discovered that in Prague the price of matches is utterly, mind-bogglingly cheap (-but try getting them during the night- not so easy); and no-one burns anything in particular unusual. Of course there are almost zero muslims as well, but I'm sure that's totally unrelated...
Just to add one thought though: I think Boyles is a little too steady-state in his analysis of France. More than any country I know it seems the French are masters at pretending that nothing is really changing, that the heart of France beats strong etc cant etc- when in fact France bottles all its change up for pyrotechnic displays of earth-shattering significance. Fair enough, the recent weeks' events weren't that, but they were a significant tremor which shows where we seismologists of history have been forgetting to put our ears to the ground.
For analysis of the phenomenon of revolutions, one could do worse than go here. The comments are most interesting too. For what it's worth, I'm a 'human agent' man myself.