Tuesday, April 18, 2017


The upcoming elections in France are crucial for the EU's future. The vote will be a watershed and cannot become a repeat of the misguided (and already regretted by most) UK referendum. Comparison with the US elections is unwarranted, since the Trump victory (not in numbers) does not represent a clear choice between philosophical alternatives but was a blurred battle between hybrid and greater clarity. Hybrid won, with the broken pieces and mostly bad matinee actors for all to see.

In France a Marine Le Pen win would immediately shake Europe's fundamentals and equilibrium. NATO and the EU could be sent to death row. The land of enlightenment would turn down the lights. Putin would receive a belated Easter egg. Germany would be stabbed in the back. Emmanuel Macron looks like the only desirable candidate who might be able to steer France away from the morose Francois Hollande-years and revise the Franco-German EU leadership for the better. The candidacy of the leftist Jean Luc Melenchon ("Unsubmissive France") is dangerous because he might "steal" votes which would normally befall on Macron. The candidate of the right, Francois Fillon, has too many skeletons (Penelope-gate) in his closet.

Already the Russians are in overdrive, trying to undermine the bona fide of Macron. They tilt in favor of Le Pen who is the dream suicide bomber who could enter in a de facto double entente between Paris and Moscow (a history reboot). The Trump administration would be clueless, as usual, when it cannot resort to bombs or missiles. Besides, this US president is so loathed in Europe that even the more Atlantic wing in European politics is embarrassed with the White House histrionics. In this fluid global situation the stakes are very high. It is not an exaggeration to state that Europe's future is in French hands. One likes to believe that France's reputed intelligence will be able to weigh-in and to block this modern Jacquerie. The Dutch have proven that their dikes can withstand the sea as much as native populism. The French now must follow suit if they do not want to be considered as Europe's undertaker and Russia's lackey.

Europeans, and the British in the first place, still suffer from a Brexit hangover. If the French were to vote Le Pen, Europe would enter--in one single day--into a financial, monetary, institutional, politico-military inferno.  Faites vos jeux...

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