NATO: Macron follows de Gaulle footsteps

Emmanuel Macron’s remarks on NATO “brain death” have caused shock waves around the globe, exempting those who are aware of the Gaullist foreign policy traditions of the V Republic. (Image: archive).

The state funeral of the President Jacques Chirac confirmed the sentiment of the nation, highly praising the politician who stood tall against American invasion of Iraq, conducting independent foreign policy.

Long queues of people waiting patiently to pass by the coffin of their leader, paying tribute, indicated without ambiguity the direction of the policy to achieve the status of a “great” President of France – the rejection to bent to American whims.

It is highly likely that at the funeral of Jacques Chirac incumbent President Macron felt the state of mind of the nation, and rejected the perspective of entering the history as the “poodle” of President Trump. However may be this time U.S. President is not looking for a “poodele’. Actually he does not have high esteem for NATO himself. During the election campaign Trump assessed NATO as “obsolete”, and afterwards on many occasions promised to pull out the American military from the wars that seem “never end”.

President Trump has already raised questions why the U.S. should continue offering to Europeans “free ride”, requesting the Allies to invest a fair share into their own defense.

Six European allies now are above the threshold sought by US President Donald Trump — Estonia, Greece, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and the UK were estimated to have met the 2% defence budget goal.

However the NATO burial concept derives from a few sold reasons: the Alliance task was fulfilled by the collapse of the USSR, ending Cold War; unfair distribution of financial burden within the Alliance or European “free-ride”; the nature of threats has become different, and they can not be addressed by military means. The latter is evident in failure to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan, where on average 55 people are killed daily fighting with Taliban.

The other element, contributing the degradation of NATO is the belligerent strategy of Turkish President Erdogan, representing grave concern for the Alliance in case of the retaliation attack of the Syrian leader Al Assad: the Article 5 of collective defense obliges the entire block to enter the conflict. Article 5 – the milestone of collective defence is becoming increasingly dangerous in modern world, overwhelmed by conflicts.

“I understand what you’re saying; I’ve asked the same question,” President Trump said during FoxNews programme while commenting on a young American to be obliged to defend Montenegro. “You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. … They are very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III.” After all, Macron is not so original, suggesting that NATO brain is dead.

EU top jobs Council meets again on June 30

European Union leaders will meet again on June 30 to seek agreement for distribution of the EU top jobs.

There was no majority for any candidate,” Council president Donald Tusk told a press conference. “We will meet again on June 30.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declined to define her strategy in coming week, she said she will inform European People’s party and Manfred Weber about the findings of Donald Tusk report: none of the political families Spitzenkandidaten managed to get sufficient support. At the Summit Tusk was mandates to launch a new round of negociations with the European Parliament to define new candidates to be presented on Sunday at a special Summit.

Earlier French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Spitzenkandidaten system, underlining it is not in the EU Treaty, and moreover those who promote it, refuse transnational lists for European elections, which he saw as contradiction.

A new Commission president must receive a clear majority of national leaders, and also acceptance of the new European Parliament, which will have the first Plenary session in Strasbourg on July 2.

Image above: European Parliament, Strasbourg

Brexit by defalut looming

There are no reasons for optimism in Brussels, where the heads of states and governments are meeting for the European Union Summit on March 21-22: there is hardly anyone who believes that the Westminster will endorse Theresa May‘s Article 50 Agreement.

In absence of any changes in the text of the negotiated for two years deal itself, it is only context that changes, the perception of losses endorsing the deal, or preferring no-deal damages.However it is unlikely the MPs will change their minds, vote for the Agreement they have rejected two times already.

On the Brexit, we need to be clear about ourselves, our British friends and our peoples. The withdrawal agreement cannot be renegotiated. In case of a British negative vote, we would go to a no-deal” explains Emmanuel Macron. At his arrival to the #EUCO the President ensured that France is ready for no-deal scenario, and will support enterprises, especially small businesses, but also fishery.

However in case the Westminster decides to accept May’s deal next week, the EU is ready to extend the Brexit deadline to 22 May, a day before the European elections vote will start. The top EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said, while arriving to the Council, that a short extension can be only “conditional”.

Amorphous Macron’s LaREM in identity crisis?

Anna van Densky OPINION All new political parties and movements, who have not yet declared their intentions are categorised as “other” in the first chart of the European Parliament projection for the composition of the upcoming in May 2019 assembly. The Movement of the President of France Emmanuel Macron LaRem is among “others” – the political entities, who have not decided upon their political family 100 days before the European elections.

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Monsieur Macron has an ambition to lead Europe, but he is not able to decide his political color?... An identity crisis or “felix culpa”?

The European Parliament has published a first set of projections on how the next chamber would look like based on national polling data taken up to the beginning of February 2019.

However Macron’s LaREM “En Marche” is not the only”amorphous” European political entity: the other indecisive congregation is the Italian Five Star Movement  (M5S) also labeled with grey color on the chart. However one should not conclude that the grey color in Europe is a disadvantage: Europeans have a penchant for grey since it was noted once upon a time by Marquis de Custine. And even within grey they are able to distinguish many sophisticated shades:)

Undoubtedly there will be voters dropping ballots for amorphous entities, which allow them to stay in grey  zone of comfort, avoiding clear choice between classical political right and left, but in the end with the UK leaving the bloc, the identity crisis of the President of France political party is not a major challenge for the EU27. The turn out will be the major indicator for the life expectancy of the bloc. Will it stay or decline? Up to the European to decide.

French hypocrites versus Yellow Vests

In prime time indignant Prime minister Edouard Philippe ensures audiences that hundreds of thousands of people in the streets would be not allowed to overthrow the French institutions. He called for new tough laws against the Yellow Vests protesters.

But why French  are so DOUBLE passionately supporting protest movements elsewhere, immediately blaming the leaders in oppression of their citizens? Why cheering at violence of Maidan revolution in Kiev, overthrowing the legitimate, but unpopular President Viktor Yanukovych? He was elected in the procedures, which were acknowledged across the world as democratic.  In Ukraine in the capital the uprising was performed by minority groups, who were actively supported by French government in their fight to overthrow the legitimate head of the state, and the government.  Subsequently the coup d’état in Ukraine was ‘legitimate‘ because it brought to power the pro-Western candidate.

It would be interesting to hear the comment of the oust President Yanoukovich on intention of French government to crush the protests of the Yellow Vests. Does he think the Ukraine history would have taken a different cause, if he had not listen the French hypocrites, applying double standards to themselves, and the rest of the world?..

Quod licet Iovinon licet bovi”,  Romans said, enshrining double standard for the God Jupiter, and his bull. But in XXI century this arrogance of playing Jupiter in guided palace will certainly not pass, serving as a seance of an aversion therapy vis-à-vis French leadership.

Macron-Philippe might scorn the grievances of people, and wrestle down the discontent of Yellow Vest, but they will certainly lose respect of European, despising pretensions hypocrites, claiming leadership: false democrats, false republicans, false human beings.

 

Yellow Vests: downfall of ‘Jupiter’

Anna van Densky OPINION The fumes of riots of Yellow Vests don’t distort the clarity of the picture – the working France could not bear any more the policy of successive governments pressing them as lemon to fund their ambitious European and international agenda. The plans of the President Macron to go global came in clash with local: the gasoline tax became the last straw that broke the back of many, especially “working poor“.

Following their ‘Jupiter’, or like French say it, ‘the elected King‘, French people had to continue to actively participate in footing the EU cohesion of Eastern Europe, flows of migrants and refugees,  who have right to live in dignity, the aid to the other continents for their development, climate change, and many other noble causes in the world, sacrificing their own needs. “Americans First!” gave them some eyeopening ideas. Are French really responsible for all the grief in the world?..Don’t they deserve to benefit from the advantages of technological revolution?..

Doubtfully the EU aggressive foreign policy added a huge portion of combustible: the Enlargement shifting borders to the East came to its logical end in a Donbass conflict.  The following war of sanctions with Russia had negative effects on French economy, although not direct, but long lasting,  when the exports being replaced without reverse by the other countries like Turkey, Morocco, or Argentina. In spite of the shrinking agricultural exports, and related difficulties the President declared the increase of the 2019 defense budget by €1.7 billion – up five percent from the present year, the move made under pressure of the Pentagon hawks to meet NATO target military spending.

Detached from working France in his gilded office of the impératrice Josephine palace – Elysée in his rigid role of an ‘elected KingEmmanuel Macron looks archaic, like a relic of another epoch, next to the leaders of the other democracies in Europe, framed in their actions by national parliaments. The modernization of the Fifth Republic, shifting powers from President to Parliament could restore the coherence of French society, while conservation of the archaic forms of governance will  continue to provoke the archaic forms of answers – insurrections.

However the uprising of the Yellow Vests is just the first act. The real tectonic shift in politics will take place in upcoming elections to European parliament: the downfall of ‘Jupiter’.

Macron faces “la cohabitation”

Macron minister

The impressive victory in presidential elections does not secure power of Emmanuel Macron, who should gain an impressive number of votes in upcoming legislative elections, 11.06.2017, to be able to realise the package of reforms proposed to his compatriots.

Among the ballots dropped for Macron a considerable amount were transferred from Republicans (Gaullist) – centre right and lesser from Socialists, – both mainstream parties endorsed their support to create a ‘barricade’ against the rival anti-globalist Marine Le Pen.

However in legislative elections every political congregation will struggle for proper seats, and it is highly probable that the Republicans will enter the coalition with En Marche!  to get the comfortable majority. In this case the Republicans will impose their Prime Minister on Macron. The ‘coexistence’ (or ‘la cohabitation) of a President and Prime Minister from different political parties is not new to French political system. In case with the Republicans (centre right) and En Marche! (centrist) of Macron it would be easier functional tandem than la cohabitation Chirac/Mitterrand (Gaullist vs. Socialist).

However, the real challenge for President Macron’s plans of reform will not come from his political opponents, but the powerful syndicates, which had already opposed ‘Macron Law’ when he served as a Finance minister, attempting to modernise and liberalise economy.  The syndicates did not hesitate to take their protests to the streets.

Attempting to reform stagnating French economy, as a minister Macron was blamed to hinder traditional French life-style, and worker’s rights, even dominical work of shops  has been largely seen as an attack on Christian traditions, especially in French rural areas.

The entering Élysée Palace as such does not give a cart blanche to reform profoundly archaic French society. The presidency of Francois Hollande was fractured when  then prime minister Manuel Valls unveiled a second pro-business reform in 2016 that allowed bosses to fire and hire workers more easily, leading to eruption of massive and violent street protests. Holland’s popularity has never risen since. Forced to give up the claims for the second mandate, the stepped down from the scene of history.  But now the pain of his departure soften by his successor, his minister, of his dauphin.

Le roi est mort,  vive le roi!