Sunday, October 30, 2016


The Dreyfus Affair rocked France and the world in the 19th Century. 
Now, in 2016 America, the FBI's director Delphic statement regarding the possible content of a trove of Secretary Clinton's emails found among third party emails has created a shock-wave in the last days of this US election cycle. Director James Comey said too much or too little, letting loose an avalanche of more unwelcome interpretations. The usual Republican gerontocracy and Clinton haters got a silver bullet.  The hordes of Trump fans rally around the slogan "lock her up", in Munich beer hall '30s-mode.  Meanwhile, the rule of law is thrown under the bus.

The Republican candidate is following the Putin handbook for dirty talk and tricks.  Comey's move is suspicious at least in the absence of any rationale until now. This only corroborates the "vast right-wing conspiracy tales", which are nurtured by the psychopathic behavior of the dirty old men around Trump.  The so-called white blue-collar men who feel ignored had a better choice, since they could have voted for Bernie Sanders.  Instead they turned to a penthouse demagogue and his vanity fair (the small print) family.

The difference with the Dreyfus Affair is the outrage of the intelligentsia in France then, under the banner of Emile Zola's J'accuse.   Here, now it feels as if too many are too stunned to find words for their disbelief !

Friday, October 28, 2016


The US presidential elections are probably less relevant or nefarious for what happens on November 8 than for what happens thereafter.  The new email bombshell (?), and Trump's reaction, only underscores the growing fragility of the American political system today. Trump, a so-called Republican, is the mortal enemy of genuine republican (res publica) values.

After its independence, America turned its back on its philosophical origins.  Republicans and Democrats became more made of the same cloth. The differences between them were about praxis rather than about logos, as just a flash in the philosophical pan. Even the choices made in foreign affairs were mostly pragmatic, imposed by circumstance, not by ideology. The USA entered two world wars not as much by choice as by unforeseen pressure. President Wilson's intellectual ambition to rescue a coherent word-view was just a philosophical parenthesis.  The involvement in Europe during and after World War II was also the result of a strategic imperative, the need to protect itself behind a first-in-line European reef...and one can go on. The Roosevelt/Churchill camaraderie was likewise not devoid of deceit, cunning and booby traps.

Europeans always try to maintain a more philosophical narrative or fig leaf for their endeavors. It allows them to brag when they achieve and to be despondent and fatalistic when things go wrong. The Americans regroup more easily since their actions belong more to the behaviorist pattern. They can afford to be pragmatic as long as they feel to be on a path leading to the "shining city on the hill". Hence, they were able to avoid the crisis points as they regularly occur in Europe (May 1968, Brexit, immigration), where change is always doubt's twin.

Today the American consensus is gone. In the absence of any Hegelian mindset the gates are open to let in any form of frustration, which is all the more dangerous since it lacks the coat of an alternative appealing theory. Trump (mostly) and Secretary Clinton are not seen as alternative "concepts". They became interchangeable while being miles apart. Still, both the path and the destination set them apart.

Now that some Spenglerian doom scenario (Decline of the West) has been awakened and nurtured by the Trump camp, which by the way doesn't know what it is talking about. The drum of class warfare mobilizes "white blue-collar men in the rustbelt ( the wrong ZIP code)", who do not realize they are being manipulated. That the narrative is insulting and paternalistic seems to be forgotten. Women, Latinos, African-Americans and the LGBT community know better. If Trump, "the Unfit", were to win he would get stuck in a mass of discontent of his own making. If he loses this same mass might repeat some march on Versailles, with the difference that there are no Danton, Robespierre in the US political disaster.

The United States will enter stormy times. Secretary Clinton, probably victorious notwithstanding the new turbulence, will have to battle for the three branches of power to work normally. Even the Supreme Court is no longer the arbiter of last resort. The justices are reduced to be the spokespersons of prejudice "ante". They have been divested of their ultimate raison d'etre.  Not later than today Trump suggested that the elections could be skipped all together and that he should get the nomination.  Speaking of a "coup", right-wing style!

There are still enough pundits and commentators who lament this descent of too many into this angry mindset, without any claim to legitimacy. Therein also lies the reason for President Obama's melancholic final stretch. Both his persona and his actions belong to a cultural prism which does not appeal to a segment of the population hooked on noise and vitriol. He does not slice society in strata of race, gender or creed. Europe too has its floating, unpredictable mass of discontented individuals. Their more structural beliefs now, right or wrong, can nevertheless still act as a deterrent against primary instinct. If "disenfranchised" Americans cling to a set of religious bigotry, Second Amendment supremacy and naked frustration, the positive mix retreats.

The near future looks increasingly bleak if one of the main actors only legitimizes sound over meaning and insult over reason. His inability to look inwards, his unfamiliarity with emotion or beauty stand in opposition with the spirit of America's Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Vues de l'etranger, les dernieres peripeties Belgo Belges alimentent une nouvelle fois la reputation " non serieuse" du cas Belge.
Cela est injuste mais comprehensible eu egard a la complexite d'un modele politique ou la multiplication des "petits" pouvoirs a remplace toute forme d'efficacite.
Cette sitation encourage des jugements hatifs qui preferent ridiculiser plutot que de comprendre.
Il est vrai que le modele de gouvernance frise l'absurde, mais il semble irreversible, helas.
Le Nord est connu pour etre fort en gueule. Le Sud n'a pas voulu rester l'eternel ignore. Ses arguments a l'egard du CETA etaient valables, encore eut il fallu que le gouvernement federal en ait ete averti en amont pour eviter une situation embarassante en aval. 
Le Canada et l'UE ne sont pas prets d'oublier ce faux pas.
Il parait que les blagues Belges ont conquis le Canada.
Est-il encore possible pour la Belgique de se resaisir  autour d'un projet mobilisateur qui , sans remettre en cause les (mauvais) choix anterieurs, essaye d'en attrenuer les servitudes les plus debilitantes ? 
L'expo 58 ...c'est deja loin !

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I am not going to get close to the gutter talk of Hannity, Gingrich & Co.  I just wish that someone higher up would start cleaning the Fox News' stable.  The air in there is becoming too toxic. America needs to breathe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Le monde decouvre la Wallonie.
L'on est en droit de considerer l'opposition de celle-ci a l'accord de libre echange EU - Canada retrograde ( bien que certaines critiques sont pertinentes), mais le veritable enjeu est ailleurs.
Le gouvernement Wallon a tire profit des faiblesses structurelles du systeme Belge et s'est en meme temps comporte comme partenaire a part entiere de la region Flamande , au detriment du gouvernement federal, pris de court.
Cela prouve qu'il n'est pas besoin d'etre le plus fort pour etre gagnant. Le pouvoir central doit encaisser une perte de prestige international tandis que Paul Magnette, Ministre President Wallon, joue impunement sa carte de Macchiavel . Il rappelle une region a l'attention, fut-ce sur le dos de la Belgique et de l'UE.
Eu egard aux negociations en court il est impossible de predire l'avenir. De toute facon, Paul Magnette aura reussi a demontrer que le "snobisme" politique pouvait se retourner contre ses adeptes.
Depuis Georges Simenon la Wallonie avait besoin de notoriete. Elle l'a trouvee !

Monday, October 24, 2016


It is not that often that one can observe the waves of a threatening advancing tsunami close up.
Trump will lose, that is a fact.  What comes after might still be ominous though.  He brought populism into the fray.  Fires are easier to ignite than to extinguish.  He abandoned the right to happiness and replaced it by the rule of the negative and invective.  Jefferson's ideas fit in some painting by Nicolas Poussin or Claude le Lorrain, Trump's world is closer to Goya's nightmares (a compliment not deserved).

The debates were all about fury and contempt. Too bad there was never an opportunity for familiarity with the historical. Imagine Trump having to answer questions regarding Kennan's long telegram, Bosnia, Israel or the South China Sea situation?  The last Economist was all about "Putinism". I bet that one of Trump's underlings will feed him the jest of an analysis, which is too long for his short attention space to apprehend.

The more one sees Trump, the more one is confronted with the psyche of an insecure, heinous, unforgiving, immature personality. Hence, the aftermath of this perverse election might become a nightmare.  A bad loser might well choose a Third Reich-escape route, and try to bring the system to a near breaking point. The "deplorables" and the Republican demented suspects--Giuliani, Sessions, Carson, Palin, Christie, the Fox and Breitbart hordes--who are his Praetorian clique, might as well choose open warfare against a President Hillary Clinton. They inhabit a Bosch world without redemption. They are anti-globalization without argument, anti- big government without alternative, and inhabit Salem without an exit door!

America needs to protect its soul. This election is unique insofar as "fair play" is banned from the Republican (?) candidate's mantra and that the bona fide conservatives are not to be seen or heard. What is at stake now is not the result but the survival of an unique American experiment, initiated in harmony and now beleaguered.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Last night we had to sit through the third rerun of the Clinton/Trump feud.  We got the confirmation that Secretary Clinton can be on automatic pilot and that Trump is a thug in love with himself.  From the mix of personal insults and lies I retain his "Finale", wherein Trump refused to say if he would accept the result of the presidential elections.  He is indeed the undertaker of the democratic principles, which have never been assaulted as was the case yesterday.  

The debate was icy, devoid of any intellectual, personal input. Secretary Clinton's contempt and Trump's gutter vocabulary made any attempt to salvage some form of mutual respect impossible.  Mrs. Clinton won, Trump didn't lose, since he has already made the choice to be tomorrow's curse. His camp will remain solid in the embrace of the "negative".

The Republicans play a vicious game and might end up being the makers of a self-fulfilling prophecy, leaving their party in free-fall. Trump may still have his Warholian short moments of celebrity, since he cannot stay out of the limelight, be it at any cost.  His future is made of bricks, mortar and bad taste. His style is "kitsch", his family is a "human shield" pathetic lot.


Le deces du Ministre d'Etat Roger Lallemand prive la Belgique d'une personnalite hors du commun.
Il etait a la fois homme de conviction et de culture, Cartesien mais sensible.
Non seulement il a fait sauter le cadenas obscurantiste (loi portant sur l'avortement), il etait un humaniste dans un pays ingrat. 
J'ai eu l'honneur de le rencontrer plusieurs fois et je l'imaginais president de la republique Belgique.
Il appartenait a une classe en voie d'extinction, helas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Voila qu'en Belgique le parlement Wallon s'oppose a la signature du CETA (Traite de Libre Echange EU/Canada). La signature est prevue pour le 27 Octobre.
Une fois de plus les aberrations du systeme Belge sont apparues. Elles alimentent les commentaires internationaux moqueurs.

La police, la securite, le dossier climat, le commerce, la diplomatie, la culture ont ete "delocalises" au detriment de l'etat federal . La gouvernance souffre de cette "deomposition", qui fragilise gestion et efficacite . Au demeurant, qu'un pays abandonne sa politique commerciale a des tiers (regions) est d'autant plus absurde que cela aboutit une nouvelle fois a privilegier le quantitatif bureaucratique au detriment du qualitatif strategique. Il n'est pas etonnant que le courant "socialiste" est le plus vocal dans le dossier CETA. Son ideologie est plus proche de l'economie assistee que du libre marche.

Maintenant le monde decouvre les Wallons, qui meritent mieux que le pilori.
Encore s'il s'agissait d'un debat d'idees sur la globalisation -merites et inconvenients- cela pourrait etre opportun, mais il s'agit d'autre chose, plus proche d'une frustration populiste.
Le gouvernement federal s'est exprime en faveur du CETA, mais eu egard a la (de)construction federale il faut encore negocier avec les regions, qui ont le monopole en ce qui concerne le commerce.
Bref, une fois de plus la Belgique est la demonstration parfaite de ce qu'il ne faut surtout pas faire. La fuite en avant n'est pas un choix, elle est une servitude.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Ian McEwan is an extraordinary goldsmith of the English language and narrative (Amsterdam,
Atonement...). In Nutshell he creates a polyphony with accents of Macbeth, Les Diaboliques and a Zeitgeist as ominous as an el Greco sky.  The atmosphere of this novel is almost musical, a Beethoven- or Schubert-like quatuor.

In the current times this implacable merciless sad story is the more striking because it refutes noise and fury. Movements and gestures can be more expressive than shouts and histrionics.
McEwan is the ultimate chamber music enchanter in literature. His lucid, melancholic observations are not devoid of sardonic humor.  He notarizes the hopelessness while retaining empathy for people's pathetic doomed upstream swimming against denial.

Friday, October 14, 2016


In all the electoral gloom in the USA, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, reinforced the image of a woman on her own, who stands for ideas in a broken landscape.  We knew her as a person, mother, partner, who together with the President confirmed the image of a contemporary family and of performing individuals.  In this current intellectual wasteland she stands out as a reference for moral class and political values. While the voice of the mob is loud, she counteracts with reason, empathy and "indignation". 

Her repulsion regarding these current degrading times stands as a rallying point for all those who continue to believe in plurality, tolerance and progress.  The many who feel that American values are being ignored should rally around a woman who stands for intelligence and inclusion.  She is indeed the perfect counterpoint to her more distant husband and President. He took over our hopes, she took over our need for redemption and believes.  There is no one, in a similar position in the world, who can be compared to her.  She could have chosen to play Antigone or Phaedra, she preferred to be herself.  There lies her strength.  She doesn't need validation!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


The more this horrible presidential election advances, the worse it gets.  Issues are buried under insults...from one side. Women are used as human shields, after having been treated as waste. Lies, misinterpretations and falsehoods rule.
One might have thought that the right-wing media still had occasional moments of correctness, but unfortunately they do not.  The "brown shirts" rule.

As much as Trump is acting like a psychopath right now, there is worse to come.  Admittedly he is clueless about geopolitics, history, macro-economy, institutions or...elementary decent manners, he is dangerous.  He is the ultimate Manchurian candidate.  Not only does he show a taste for "strong" leaders, he collaborates de facto with unsavory handlers of the Wikileaks genre.  The threat he poses is actually more serious in the aftermath of the November 8 outcome.  He might well become the figurehead of some Jacquerie, starting a fight against the American political model.  If he were to mobilize the so-called "disenfranchised" against Washington, this mob might try to break the backbone of the American consensus. Such an uninformed, frustrated minority could create political, financial, and institutional chaos. The Republican Party might fall prey to the ultras or split into a Tory Party and a populist newcomer, ready for isolationism, xenophobia, Second Amendment take-over and constitutional roll back.  Trump is an arsonist, not a statesman.  The personal assaults will multiply and the mob will become Trump's party.  From now on he runs less for the presidency than out of spite.

The world looks on in disbelief as the former indispensable power becomes a talking point for contempt.  This candidate is not of the quitting kind.  If he loses--which is almost certain--he will not go for the dignified exit. He will choose for some Wagnerian (not that he is familiar with the Tetralogy) outcome made for some god forgotten outpost wherein the cheated white blue-collar workers will be invited to play the part of the gods. They want jobs, they will get hell.  Secretary Clinton will win the elections but the hardest part will come later:  owning the moral, philosophical space she will need to save America from the abyss. Trump will do anything to deny her what she so rightly deserves.

Monday, October 10, 2016


The second presidential debate is an ugly stain on the American political saga.  Secretary Clinton held on to a stoic demeanor but had a hard time sticking to issues since her opponent followed a scorched earth strategy, ignoring questions and throwing mud around.  Trump transformed the podium into a scaffold, acting like a stalker, mugger and executioner.  Never has a candidate for the presidency been so incompetent on issues and so pathologically a liar.
The moderators looked on in disbelief, while this F.W. Murnau-type of scenario was unfolding.

After this loathsome performance, Trump's followers will have only themselves to blame for being considered deplorable pariahs. To witness evil is bad enough, to participate and condone it is beyond redemption.  So we will continue to suffer the indignities of this campaign  until November 8.  Unfortunately, Trump's certain loss will not be the end of this American horror story.  This beast is here to stay. When awakened, Godzilla never goes away.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Trump could be heard yesterday loud (as usual) and clear (as seldom).  Only the fools could have been surprised.  Bouncers are also pimps, after all.  His comments were not those of a man who has an "affair".  His comments came from a real, sexually deranged, serial predator who views women as "raw material".  That this man can still be the candidate of the GOP for the presidency beats me.  The addition of the inept, the uninformed and the vulgar should disqualify him.

So, now you have three Republican camps who look equally pathetic:

--The wife trying to condemn and forgive (Fifth Ave. is better than Slovenia).
--The Republican establishment types who vent their embarrassment while trying to equalize their candidate's non grata persona with some of Secretary Clinton's intellectual triangulations.
--The flock of Evangelicals and so-called white blue-collar "men", under the banner of Trump's vice presidential choice, Governor Mike  Pence, who chooses creationism over Darwin and life over dignity.
The first looks pathetic, the second look elsewhere and the third don't look.

The world watches in disbelief. A Republican nominee talks trailer trash and continues,  until now, to spread his dandruff over his party. He should normally be trashed next November, and if the Republicans continue to choose to be lemmings, their party will implode. There are still enough Republicans with class and knowledge of the world left to make a U-turn in direction of the spirit of Burke and Lincoln. If the hard-core conservatives prefer denial over clarity, they can set up some type of reserve for their brethren. There is room in America, maybe too much of it.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Returning from a short break abroad I feel like living an accelerated "catastrophe" movie.
Things certainly did not improve.  The Syrian nightmare continues.  Most of the political discourse in the West has been taken over by negatives, such as Brexit and by the anti-globalization mob. The US presidential elections defy imagination. Trump became the oecumenical offender in chief. His leaked misogynistic salvo (which came out lately) might even embarrass the likes of Ann Coulter. The EU leaders (of what?) look like a remake of a zombie scenario. Even the weather knocks at the doors of the climate change deniers who will remain deaf nevertheless.  I feel like I'm inhabiting Plato's cavern. We end up looking at the shadow or the projection of a distant reality which exits behind our backs. We remain hooked on cycles which we no longer want to control or correct.

If we were to follow the anti-free trade camp we might as well leave it to the Chinese & Co. to 
control the markets while we end up making obsolete goods which will die off since they no longer compete and might as well be still-born. 

Syria is an other tragedy like Biafra, Rwanda and others, but with the added difference that nobody wants to get burned in this Inferno. Only the likes of Ambassador Holbrooke might have forced an outcome...maybe.  The silence is deafening. The Russians might overplay their deck as the Chinese might risk doing in the South China Sea. The Americans are busy with trivia of their own making. The Europeans meet "to meet".  I am afraid the second US presidentcial debate Sunday will be more panem and circenses than substance. Wait and see!