The 2017 French Presidential election marks a profound change in European political alignments. There is an ongoing shift from the traditional left-right rivalry to opposition between globalization, in the form of the European Union (EU), and national sovereignty.
Standard media treatment sticks to a simple left-right dualism: “racist” rejection of immigrants is the main issue and that what matters most is to “stop Marine Le Pen!” Going from there to here is like walking through Alice’s looking glass. Almost everything is turned around.
On this side of the glass, the left has turned into the right and part of the right is turning into the left.
Fifty years ago, it was “the left” whose most ardent cause was passionate support for Third World national liberation struggles. The left’s heroes were Ahmed Ben Bella, Sukarno, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, and above all Ho Chi Minh. What were these leaders fighting for? They were fighting to liberate their countries from Western imperialism. They were fighting for independence, for the right to determine their own way of life, preserve their own customs, decide their own future. They were fighting for national sovereignty, and the left supported that struggle.
Today, it is all turned around. “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left.
National sovereignty is an essentially defensive concept. It is about staying home and minding one’s own business. It is the opposite of the aggressive nationalism that inspired fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to conquer other countries, depriving them of their national sovereignty.
The confusion is due to the fact that most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”. It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.
The fact that “sovereignism” is growing in Europe is interpreted by mainstream globalist media as proof that “Europe is moving to the right”– no doubt because Europeans are “racist”. This interpretation is biased and dangerous. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back.
That is why the British voted to leave the European Union. Not because they are “racist”, but primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.
The Socialist Party shipwreck
As his five-year presidency drew to its ignominious end, François Hollande was obliged by his drastic unpopularity to let his Parti Socialiste (PS) choose its 2017 presidential candidate by primary. In a surprising upset, the Socialist government’s natural candidate, prime minister Manuel Valls, lost to Benoit Hamon, an obscure member of the PS left wing who refused to vote for the unpopular, neo-liberal, anti-labor laws designed by Hollande’s economic advisor, Emmanuel Macron.
To escape from the unpopularity of the PS, Macron formed his own movement, “En Marche!” One after another, Valls, Hollande and other prominent PS leaders are tiptoeing away, leaving Hamon at the helm of the sinking ship. As Hamon justifiably protests against their betrayal, the party bigwigs pledge their support to Emmanuel Macron.
Macron ostentatiously hesitates to welcome his shopworn converts into the fold, fearing that their conversion makes it too obvious that his “En Marche!” is a clone of the right wing of the PS, on the way to becoming the French subsidiary of the U.S. Democratic Party in its Clintonian form. Macron proclaims that he is neither left nor right, as discredited politicians from both left and right jump on his bandwagon, to his embarrassment.
Hamon himself appears to be unaware that the basic cause of the Socialist Party’s shipwreck is its incompatible devotion to two contrary principles: traditional social democracy, and the European Union (EU). Macron, Hollande and their fellow turncoats at least have made their choice: the European Union.
The Twilight of the Traditional Right
The great advantage of Republican candidate François Fillon is that his policies are clear. Unlike Hollande, who tried to disguise his neoliberal policies as something else, and based his claim to be on the left on “societal” issues (gay marriage), Fillon is an unabashed conservative. His policies are designed to reduce the huge national debt. Whereas previous governments (including his own, when he was President Sarkozy’s Prime Minister) beat around the bush, Fillon won the Republican nomination by a program of sharp cutbacks in government spending. Fillon claims that his austerity measures will lead French capitalists to invest in France and thus save the country’s economy from being completely taken over by foreign corporations, American retirement funds and Qatar. This is highly doubtful, as there is nothing under EU rules to encourage French investors to invest in France rather than somewhere else.
Fillon departs from EU orthodoxy, however, by proposing a more independent foreign policy, notably by ending the “absurd” sanctions against Russian. He is more concerned about the fate of Middle East Christians than about overthrowing Assad.
The upshot is that Fillon’s coherent pro-capitalist policy is not exactly what the dominant globalizing elite prefers. The “center left” is their clear political choice since Tony Blair and Bill Clinton revised the agendas of their respective parties. The center left emphasis on human rights (especially in faraway countries targeted for regime change) and ethnic diversity at home fits the long-term globalist aims of erasing national borders, to allow unrestricted free movement of capital. Traditional patriotic conservatism, represented by Fillon, does not altogether correspond to the international adventurism of globalization.
The Schizophrenic Left
For a generation, the French left has made “the construction of Europe” the center of its world view. In the early 1980s, faced with opposition from what was then the European Community, French President François Mitterrand abandoned the socializing program on which he been elected. Mitterrand nursed the hope that France would politically dominate a united Europe, but the unification of Germany changed all that. So did EU expansion to Eastern Central nations within the German sphere of influence. Economic policy is now made in Germany.
As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion. The vague notion of human rights was somehow associated with the “free movement” of everything and everybody. Indeed the official EU dogma is protection of “free movement”: free movement of goods, people, labor and (last but certainly not least) capital. These “four freedoms” in practice transform the nation from a political society into a financial market, an investment opportunity, run by a bureaucracy of supposed experts. In this way, the European Union has become the vanguard experiment in transforming the world into a single capitalist market.
The French left bought heavily into this ideal, partly because it deceptively echoed the old leftist ideal of “internationalism” (whereas capital has always been incomparably more “international” than workers), and partly due to the simplistic idea that “nationalism” is the sole cause of wars. More fundamental and complex causes of war are ignored.
For a long time, the left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalization or closure of profitable industries, without recognizing that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture. Rather than face reality, the left’s reaction has mostly been to repeat its worn-out demand for an impossible “Social Europe”.
Yet the dream of “social Europe” received what amounted to a fatal blow ten years ago. In 2005, a referendum was called to allow the French to approve a Constitution for united Europe. This led to an extraordinary popular discussion, with countless meetings of citizens examining every aspect of this lengthy document. Unlike normal constitutions, this document froze the member States in a single monetarist economic policy, with no possibility of change.
On May 29, 2005, French voters rejected the treaty by 55% to 45%.
What seemed to be a great victory for responsible democracy turned into its major failure. Essentially the same document, renamed the Lisbon Treaty, was ratified in December 2007, without a referendum. Global governance had put the people in their place. This produced widespread disillusion with politics as millions concluded that their votes didn’t matter, that politicians paid no attention to the will of the people.
Even so, Socialist politicians continued to pledge undying allegiance to the EU, always with the prospect that “Social Europe” might somehow be possible.
Meanwhile, it has become more and more obvious that EU monetarist policy based on the common currency, the euro, creates neither growth nor jobs as promised but destroys both. Unable to control its own currency, obliged to borrow from private banks, and to pay them interest, France is more and more in debt, its industry is disappearing and its farmers are committing suicide, on the average of one every other day. The left has ended up in an impossible position: unswervingly loyal to the EU while calling for policies that are impossible under EU rules governing competition, free movement, deregulation, budgetary restraints, and countless other regulations produced by an opaque bureaucracy and ratified by a virtually powerless European Parliament, all under the influence of an army of lobbyists.
Benoit Hamon remains firmly stuck on the horns of the left’s fatal dilemma: determination to be “socialist”, or rather, social democratic, and passionate loyalty to “Europe”. While insisting on social policies that cannot possibly be carried out with the euro as currency and according to EU rules, Hamon still proclaims loyalty to “Europe”. He parrots the EU’s made-in-Washington foreign policy, demanding that “Assad must go” and ranting against Putin and Russia.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon Grasps the Nettle
Not only is the drab, conformist Hamon abandoned by his party heavies, he is totally upstaged on the left by the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a maverick ready to break the rules. After years as a PS loyalist, Mélenchon broke away in 2005 to oppose the Constitutional Treaty, gaining prominence as a fiery orator. In 2007, he left the Socialist Party and founded the Parti de Gauche (Left Party). Allied with the much weakened Communist Party, he came in fourth in the first round of the 2012 Presidential election with 11% of the vote. This time he is running for President with his own new movement, La France Insoumise, which can be translated in a number of ways, including “the France that does not submit”.
Submit to what? Mainly, to the euro and to the antisocial, neoliberal policies of the European Union that are ruining France.
French flags and la Marseillaise have replaced the Internationale at Mélenchon rallies. “The Europe of our dreams is dead,” he acknowledges, vowing to “end the nightmare of dictatorship by banks and finance”.
Mélenchon calls for outright disobedience by violating EU treaties that are harmful to France. That is his Plan A. His Plan B is to leave the EU, in case Plan A fails to convince Germany (the current boss) and the others to agree to change the treaties. But at best, Plan B is an empty threat to strengthen his hand in theoretical negotiations. France is such a crucial member, he maintains, that a French threat to leave should be enough to force changes.
Threatening to leave the EU is just part of Mélenchon’s vast and complicated program which includes calling a national convention to draft a constitution for France’s “sixth Republic” as well as major ecological innovation. Completely changing both France and the European Union at the same time would require the nation to be in a revolutionary effervescence that is by no means visible. It would also require a unanimity among the EU’s 28 member States that is simply impossible.
But Mélenchon is canny enough to have recognized the basic problem: the enemy of jobs, prosperity and public services is the European Union. Mélenchon is by far the candidate that generates the most excitement. He has rapidly outdistanced Hamon and draws huge enthusiastic crowds to his rallies. His progress has changed the shape of the race: at this moment, he has become one of four front-runners who might get past the first round vote on April 23 into the finals on May 7: Le Pen, Macron, Fillon and himself.
The Opposites are (almost) the Same
A most remarkable feature of this campaign is great similarity between the two candidates said to represent “the far left”, Mélenchon, and “the far right”, Marine Le Pen. Both speak of leaving the euro. Both vow to negotiate with the EU to get better treaty terms for France. Both advocate social policies to benefit workers and low income people. Both want to normalize relations with Russia. Both want to leave NATO, or at least its military command. Both defend national sovereignty, and can thus be described as “sovereignists”.
The only big difference between them is on immigration, an issue that arouses so much emotion that it is hard to discuss sensibly. Those who oppose immigration are accused of “fascism”, those who favor immigration are accused of wanting to destroy the nation’s identity by flooding it with inassimilable foreigners.
In a country suffering from unemployment, without jobs or housing to accommodate mass immigration, and under the ongoing threat of Islamist terror attacks, the issue cannot be reasonably reduced to “racism” – unless Islamic terrorists constitute a “race”, for which there is no evidence. Le Pen insists that all French citizens deserve equal treatment regardless of their origins, race or religion. She is certain to get considerable support from recently nationalized immigrants, just as she now gets a majority of working class votes. If this is “fascism”, it has changed a lot in the past seventy years.
What is significant is that despite their differences, the two most charismatic candidates both speak of restoring national sovereignty. Both evoke the possibility of leaving the European Union, although in rather uncertain terms.
The globalist media are already preparing to blame the eventual election of a “sovereignist” candidate on Vladimir Putin. Public opinion in the West is being prepared for massive protests to break out against an undesired winner, and the “antifa” militants are ready to wreak havoc in the streets. Some people who like Marine Le Pen are afraid of voting for her, fearing the “color revolution” sure to be mounted against her. Mélenchon and even Fillon might face similar problems.
As a taste of things to come, on April 20, the EU Observer published an article entitled “Russia-linked fake news floods French social media”. Based on something called Bakamo, one of the newly establishment “fact-check” outfits meant to steer readers away from unofficial opinion, the article accused Russian-influenced web sites of favoring Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, François Fillon, Francois Asselineau, and Philippe Poutou. (They forgot to mention one of the most “sovereignist” candidates, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, currently polling in sixth place.) Since a large majority of the eleven candidates, including three of the four front-runners, are strongly critical of the EU and of NATO and want to improve relations with Russia, it would seem that Putin wouldn’t have to make a great effort to get a more friendly French government next time around. On the other hand, the EU Observer article is only a small sample of blatant “interference in the French election” on the part of the globalists on behalf of their favorite, Emmanuel Macron, the most enthusiastic Europhile.
The Future of France
Among those listed as alleged Russian favorites, François Asselineau is by far the most thorough critic of the European Union. Systematically ignored by the media since he founded his anti-EU party, the Union Populaire Républicain (UPR), ten years ago, François Asselineau has thousands of ardent supporters who have plastered his poster all over the country. His tireless didactic speeches, reproduced on internet, have driven home several key points:
– there is no way to improve the EU from the inside, because any change would require unanimity among 27 member states who disagree on key issues.
– the only solution for France is to use Article 50 of the EU treaties to withdraw entirely, as the United Kingdom is currently doing.
– only by leaving the EU can France save its public services, its social benefits, its economy and its democracy.
– it is only by restoring its national sovereignty that genuine democratic life, with confrontation between a real “left” and “right”, can be possible.
– by leaving the EU, France, which has over 6,000 treaties with other countries, would not be isolated but would be joining the greater world.
Asselineau is a single issue candidate. He vows that as soon as elected, he would invoke Article 50 to leave the EU and immediately apply to Washington to withdraw from NATO. He emphasizes that none of the other critics of the EU propose such a clear exit within the rules.
Other candidates, including the more charismatic Mélenchon and Le Pen, echo some of Asselineau’s arguments. But they are not ready to go so far as to advocate a clear immediate break with the EU, if only because they realize that the French population, while increasingly critical of the euro and alienated from the “European dream”, is still fearful of actually leaving, due to dire warnings of disaster from the Europeists.
The first round campaign is an opportunity for Asselineau to present his ideas to a wider audience, preparing public opinion for a more coherent “Frexit” policy. By far the most fundamental emerging issue in this campaign is the conflict between the European Union and national sovereignty. It will probably not be settled in this election, but it won’t go away. This is the major issue of the future, because it determines whether any genuine political life is possible.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the International Arctic Forum this week on the real and present dangers from falsifying history. He said such deliberate distortion of history erodes international law and order, creating chaos and leading to further conflict.
The Russian leader deplored the use of history as an «ideological weapon» to demonize others, and he said that without proper understanding of history we are bound to repeat mistakes of the past.
That also reminds one of the maxim Karl Marx once wrote: «History repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce».
As if on cue, while Putin was enumerating the dangers of false history, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko was being hosted in London by British premier Theresa May during a two-day visit.
The Kiev-based regime that Poroshenko leads came to power through an illegal, violent coup against an elected government in February 2014, with clandestine support from Washington and the European Union. The Ukrainian state military ever since have been waging a war on the eastern region of the country, resulting in a death toll of over 10,000 and up to a million displaced. All because the ethnic Russian population of the eastern Donbas region refuses to recognize the Kiev regime’s legitimacy owing to its illegal power grab three years ago.
However, the way Poroshenko and the Kiev regime tells it, Ukraine is fighting off an invasion by Russia. The Ukrainian president’s falsification of history was dignified by his British host who dutifully nodded along as Poroshenko claimed that his country was a bulwark of Europe’s defense against Russian invasion.
«This is not Ukraine’s struggle, it is Europe’s struggle. Sanctions and the resistance of the Ukrainian army are the only reason why Russian tanks are not much further in Europe», said Poroshenko whose asinine version of history received tacit British approval.
Inadvertently, Poroshenko can be seen as confirming the perils of historical defamation that Putin was warning of.
Falsifying recent and contemporary events in Ukraine might be a useful expedient for drumming up Western financial and military support for the corrupt and shaky Kiev regime; such blatant propagandizing of history may also be a useful expedient for expanding US-led NATO military power, with all the lucrative weapons contracts that it entails for Western governments. But such a misrepresentation of events ultimately serves to fuel unnecessary conflict, as Putin remarked. Such a flagrant misrepresentation is itself arguably a criminal act of engendering war.
Ukraine is but one instance. The dangers from distorting, suppressing, or falsifying history are all too abundant in recent international developments.
This week, US vice president Mike Pence was again threatening North Korea with war and annihilation, saying that the American «sword was drawn» to «protect the freedom» of its Japanese and South Korean allies. Pence made grossly distorted references to the 1950-53 Korean War, portraying it as a struggle between American-backed «good» and Communist-backed «evil».
Maybe if Washington were to acknowledge the horrendous legacy of war crimes it committed during the Korean War, resulting in over three million civilians being slaughtered from American carpet bombing, then there might be an opportunity for a frank and creative dialogue for resolving the ongoing conflict on the Korean Peninsula. As it is, American self-serving, delusional rhetoric about Korean history only serves to compound tensions and further conflict. Which tends to belie the real purpose of Washington’s falsification of history here.
Likewise, Washington persists in claiming that its missile strikes on Syria earlier this month are a «righteous» demonstration of military power which will be used against any nation it deems to be in violation of international law, citing the chemical weapons incident in Syria on April 4. The US and its allies allege, with minimal evidence, that the incident was carried out by the Syrian government forces deploying poisonous sarin gas.
Again, this is blatant falsification of history which the US, British and French governments have indulged in, along with the UN-affiliated Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. All these claims are made in unseemly haste without an impartial on-site investigation into the alleged chemical weapons incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib Province. But nevertheless the dubious claims are invoked as «just cause» for further missile strikes on Syria by the Trump administration only three days later, when in fact those strikes could very well be condemned as illegal aggression and a criminal act of war against a sovereign country.
An even closer, more disturbing peeling back of the falsification of history on Syria would reveal that the so-called White Helmets «rescue group» and the illegally armed militants to whom they are closely aligned and serve as the media agents for, are all sponsored by American, British and French military intelligence. This is why Russia, Iran and Syria are demanding a full, impartial investigation into the latest chemical weapons incident. Because there are strong suspicions that the incident was a propaganda stunt staged by the Western-backed militants, precisely in order to create a pretext for subsequent US military attack on Syria.
This one particular scenario is perfectly consistent with the wider narrative that the whole Syrian war, beginning in March 2011, was from the outset a Western covert operation for regime change. The regime-change objective was to oust the government of President Bashar al Assad, a strategic ally of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, and a staunch opponent of Western imperialist intrigues in the oil-rich Middle East region. Archived US documents, kept deliberately away from public discourse by state and media authorities, show that Western-backed regime-change in Syria has been on the agenda of the American CIA and British MI6 going back several decades.
Falsifying history in Syria on the short and long term is a key way for the Western powers to keep pushing their unlawful agenda of conflict and regime change – an agenda that fully depends on Western powers sponsoring terrorist proxy groups to do their dirty work. Just as these same powers did before in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and many other countries around the world, such as with paramilitary death squads in Central and South America.
As President Vladimir Putin alluded to in his address this week, this falsification of history explains why the war in Syria keeps grinding on, seemingly without end. Not just in Syria, but in Korea and Ukraine too, among other conflict zones.
Speaking of other conflict zones, this week US defense secretary General James Mattis provocatively accused Iran – yet again – of being the «world’s leading sponsor of terrorism». Mattis was speaking these words of American «wisdom» while in Saudi Arabia! Only a person with such a thoroughly falsified notion of CIA-sponsored terrorism against Iran (the coup of 1953 and much more besides) as well as falsified understanding of US-backed Saudi despotism could make such an absurd claim as Mattis did, and thus fueling tensions of further war in such a volatile region.
If the Western public were fully informed of how the crises in Ukraine, Korea, Syria and Iran have been largely fomented by Western machinations then those conflicts would not continue as they are. Because the real causes of the conflicts would be widely exposed, showing Western government culpability, in particular Washington’s.
And then, if justice were to prevail, those Western politicians and news media outlets who have been responsible for obscuring, distorting and thereby fueling these conflicts would finally be held to account.
The Indian government has divulged very little information – hardly any – regarding the visit by the United States National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster to New Delhi an April 18. The reticence is extraordinary, since Indian elites are usually exuberant when American dignitaries arrive. And McMaster happens to be the first official from the Donald Trump administration to visit India.
McMaster is destined to play a decisive role in the re-orientation of US policies toward India and the region. In the unstable political environment in Washington, DC, where even the formidable Steve Bannon feels no longer secure and might have become a «dead strategist walking», as New York Times caustically put it, McMaster seems reasonably safe in his job.
McMaster’s reputation lies in authoring a book on the criticality of army generals telling politicians in power the unvarnished truth about wars. He made a case study of what went horribly wrong in the Vietnam War. McMaster was once assigned to Afghanistan while General David Petraeus was in charge of the famous «surge» ordered by President Barack Obama. His vision of the region must be imbued with his searing experience of the Afghan war.
In Delhi, McMaster met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had a 2-hour conversation separately with the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. According to the Indian government’s crisply-worded press release pared to the bare bones, in the conversation with Modi, McMaster «shared his perspective» on regional security with reference to Afghanistan, Middle East and North Korea, and «exchanged views» on how India and the US can work together in the fight against terrorism and «advance regional peace on regional peace, security and stability».
The salience seems to lie in the phraseology on advancing «regional peace, security and stability». That was presumably the operative part of his talks in Delhi. The McMaster mission can be seen through the prism of Trump’s policy priorities with regard to the Afghan war. In immediate terms, Trump has to decide whether to beef up American troop strength in Afghanistan in the pursuit of a strategy to conclude the war from a position of advantage. Plainly put, this now becomes his war, no longer Obama’s.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, from Kabul McMaster headed for Islamabad. Pakistan’s cooperation is of pivotal importance to Trump’s policies in Afghanistan. There is often a tendency to keep measuring with coffee spoon the «pressure» US is willing to put on Pakistan to clamp down on the Taliban. But a close reading of McMaster’s talks in Pakistan – importantly, with Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ in Rawalpindi – presents a more complex picture. The Trump administration is taking a «holistic» view of the US’ relations with Pakistan. This could be largely because of Pakistan’s multiple options today in the global alignment.
At any rate, McMaster’s itinerary virtually hyphenated Pakistan and India. At its most obvious level, the leitmotif is terrorism. What US diplomacy grapples with in reality is a 3-way matrix involving Afghanistan, Pakistan and India which negatively impacts «regional peace, security and stability». The press release issued by the Pakistani military after McMaster’s call on General Bajwa in Rawalpindi says,
•COAS (General Bajwa) said that while Pakistan itself is victim of state sponsored terrorism it strongly rejects allegations of employing proxies from its soil. US NSA acknowledged Pakistan Army’s efforts in eliminating terrorists and their infrastructure, assuring US support to bring peace and stability in the region and globe».
Interestingly, even as McMaster was holding talks in Delhi, Pakistani military made a stunning announcement that Ehsanullah Ehsan, former spokesperson of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and a senior leader of the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, had turned himself in to Pakistan's security agencies. There is reason to believe that Ehsan had been in the custody of the Pakistani military for a few weeks already and the curtain was deliberately raised on Monday.
McMaster was likely told about Ehsan. Without doubt, Ehsan is a prize catch for the Pakistani military, since he would have had more than a window seat to observe the planning, coordination and execution of covert operations by the (Pakistani) Taliban groups, undertaken from sanctuaries in Afghanistan, to destabilize Pakistan.
But here the plot thickens, because Pakistani press has since begun reporting that it is «very likely that a confessional video of Ehsan might emerge in coming days with explosive revelations about possible links» with Kulbhushan Jadhav, an ex-Indian Navy officer who was recently court martialed by Pakistani military and given death sentence for allegedly working under cover and indulging in subversive activities.
Faced with such delicate moments, Americans tend to seek «grand bargains». But what kind of a grand bargain is possible? Quintessentially, it means responsible behaviour by India and Pakistan as nuclear powers under American mentorship. The bottom line is a moratorium by both countries on violent methods to settle differences and instead stick to diplomacy to resolve disputes.
However, this may seem too close a call on Kashmir settlement for Delhi’s comfort. Earlier this month, Trump’s loud-mouthed envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley did some kite-flying in New York disclosing that India-Pakistan tensions have figured in the National Security Council meetings in the White House and Washington is inclined to mediate before tensions reached a flashpoint. She hinted that Trump feels that way, too.
India has a famous record of hunkering down if its core interests come under challenge. It has consistently stonewalled efforts at third-party mediation on Kashmir. To compound matters, the state of Jammu & Kashmir is in ferment and an Intifada is struggling to be born in the Valley. Besides, the Modi government’s core constituency of militant Hindu nationalists oppose any compromise with Pakistan. Interestingly, contrary to earlier Indian reports that McMaster might hand over to Modi a formal invitation from Trump to visit the US, nothing of the sort happened on Monday at the meeting in Delhi. Curiously, McMaster also was to have met the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, but somehow the meeting didn’t materialise. So, he ended up having a business meeting with Doval that was topped up with a courtesy call on Modi – rather meagre schedule for Trump’s NSC on his maiden visit to a country with which the US claims a «defining partnership».
Something has to give way. Trump prides himself on the «art of the deal», as he once put it. Shinzo Abe, Xi Jinping, Benjamin Netanyahu, Abdel Al-Fatah Sisi, Mohammed bin Salman, King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein – Trump sought to cut some deal or the other with all of these statesmen from outside the western world whom he hosted. Of course, a deal on Kashmir would be the «mother of all deals».
The Indian ingenuity lies in scheduling an early meeting for Modi with Trump sans a deal. But then, Pakistan’s cooperation with the US in Afghanistan is predicated on a deal that Trump mediates on Kashmir. The brainy generals surrounding Trump must know that the Indian rope trick is often described as the world’s greatest illusion. *
Former career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. Devoted much of his 3-decade long career to the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran desks in the Ministry of External Affairs and in assignments on the territory of the former Soviet Union. After leaving the diplomatic service, took to writing and contribute to The Asia Times, The Hindu and Deccan Herald. Lives in New Delhi.
There is a paranoid, hysterical quality to the public discourse on Russia and all things Russian in today’s America. The corporate media machine and its Deep State handlers have abdicated reason and common decency in favor of raw hate and fear-mongering. We have not seen anything like it before, even in the darkest days of the Cold War.
The roots of Russophobia’s emotional appeal to the left seem clear: It comes as a huge mental relief to the ultrasensitive liberal mind to be able to hate an outside group with impunity, and even to appear virtuous in the process. Of course, the object of that animus is a Christian and European nation that stubbornly refuses to be postmodernized, or become gripped by self-hate and morbid introspection; a nation not ashamed of its past and unwilling to surrender its future to alien multitudes; a nation where nobody obsesses over transgender bathrooms, microaggressions, and other “issues” indicative of a society’s moral and intellectual decrepitude.
The liberals’ ideological and emotional Russophobia has blended seamlessly with the bread-and-butter hostility to Russia shared by Deep State operatives in the intelligence and national-security apparatus, in the military-industrial complex, and in the congressional duopoly. The result is a surreal narrative that mixes supposedly unprovoked “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, hostile intent in the Baltics, serial war crimes in Syria, political destabilization in Western Europe, and gross interference in America’s “democratic process”. The result is an altogether fictitious “existential threat,” which has made President Trump’s intended détente with Moscow impossible. He may have been serious about turning over a new leaf, but the Deep State counterpressure proved just too great. A solid rejection front emerged, left and right, conservative and liberal, which extends even into his own team and finally inhibited him from making moves that could have appeared too friendly to Putin.
The Russophobes’ narrative is unrelated to Russia’s actual policies. It reflects a deep odium of the elite class toward Russia-as-such. That animosity has been developing in its current form since roughly the time of the Crimean War, when in his Letters From Russia the Marquis de Custine said that the country’s “veneer of European civilization was too thin to be credible.”
“No human beings, black, yellow or white, could be quite as untruthful, as insincere, as arrogant—in short, as untrustworthy in every way—as the Russians,” President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1905. John Maynard Keynes, after a trip to the Soviet Union in 1925, wondered whether the “mood of oppression” might be “the fruit of some beastliness in the Russian nature.” J. Robert Oppenheimer opined in 1951 that, in Russia, “We are coping with a barbarous, backward people.” More recently, Sen. John McCain declared that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” “Russia is an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics,” Slate wrote in early 2014, even before the Ukrainian crisis reached its climax.
This narrative has two key pillars. In terms of geopolitics, we see the striving of maritime empires—Britain before World War II, and the United States after — to “contain” and if possible control the Eurasian heartland, the core of which is of course Russia. Equally important is the already noted cultural antipathy, the desire not merely to influence Russian policies and behavior but to effect an irreversible transformation of Russia’s identity. Some of the most viscerally Russophobic stereotypes come from Russia herself, from those members of Moscow’s “intelligentsia” who feel more at home in New York or London than anywhere in their own country. The late Anna Politkovskaya thus wrote in the Los Angeles Times 12 years ago that “it is common knowledge that the Russian people are irrational by nature.” It is impossible to imagine a mainstream publication publishing a similar statement about Jews or Muslims.
The Russophobic frenzy comes at a cost. It further devalues the quality of public discourse on world affairs in the United States, which is already dismally low. It has already undermined the prospects for a mutually beneficial new chapter in U.S.-Russian relations, based on a realist assessment that those two powers have no “existential” differences — and share many actual and potential commonalities. It perpetrates the arrogant delusion that there is a superior, “Western” model of social and cultural thought and action that can and should be imposed everywhere, but especially in Russia.
Saddest of all, Russophobic mania prolongs the European civil war that exploded in July 1914, continued in 1939, and has never properly ended — not even with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It would be in the American interest, as well as Russia’s and Europe’s, for that conflict to end, so that the existential challenge common to all— that of resurgent jihad and Europe’s demographic crisis — can be properly addressed.
Donald Trump also said that a recent ISIS shooting in Paris 'will have a big effect' on tomorrow's election.
Donald Trump has come out in support of Marine Le Pen in tomorrow’s first round of Presidential elections in France.He told the Associated Press that Le Pen is,
“…strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France”.
By ‘what’s been going on in France’, Trump was likely talking about a wave of ISIS organised and inspired terrorism which has plagued in the country in recent years.
Trump responded to the recent shooting of a French police officer by a self-proclaimed ISIS supporter by Tweeting the following,Trump’s apparent support of Le Pen comes in spite of Marine Le Pen’s criticism of Trump’s foreign policy in the wake of America’s attack on Syria.
Trump is not alone in thinking that Le Pen’s tough stance on law and order will help her in a razor tight election with her nearest rival. In recent months, only the centre-left candidate Emmanuel Macron has posed a real threat to Le Pen. However, given the poor record of many recent electoral polls, tomorrow’s elections could be much bigger than the two-horse race that many have expected.
Ein Ausschnitt aus dem Buch des US-Strategen Zbigniew Brzezinski "Die einzige Weltmacht - Amerikas Strategie der Vorherrschaft" (1997), wo er sagt, dass die größte Bedrohung für die USA ein Bündnis zwischen Russland, China und Europa (Deutschland + Frankreich) darstellt. Ein Ausschnitt. Das Video in voller