Friday, June 30, 2017


Le "tweet" est a Trump ce que l'encyclique est au pape. La parcimonie des mots est supposee traduire l'essentiel de la reflexion du president. Helas, les commentateurs et analystes sont tombes d'accord pour estimer que ce barrage incessant de mensonges, d'attaques personnelles et de contradictions releve davantage du chaos que de l'ordre . Au demeurant, les interrogations relatives a l'equilibre nerveux du president  sont de plus en plus nombreuses. Le dernier "tweet" dans lequel il a attaque une journaliste, avec sa mysoginie et mauvaise foi habituelles, ont cree la consternation chez ses "fans" et ont alimente le mepris qui existe au sein de ses opposants.

Il semble uniquement preoccupe par le court terme, et, en premier lieu, par la place qu'il occupe dans l'instant present. Il est obsede par les commentaires des media et ne peut resister a la contre-attaque. Ce paresseux qui ne lit pas et qui est allergique a toute forme d'auto - critique est a la fois le moteur de cette administration fantome  et le fossoyeur de sa credibilite.

L'Ubu roi americain devient de jour en jour une menace a l'interieur comme a l'exterieur : Il sappe a la fois le fonctionnement des institutions et affaiblit la pertinence des Etats Unis dans le monde. D'aucuns voient dans cette derive la main de Steve Bannon, le Raspoutine en residence soupconne de vouloir deconstruire le "deep state". Dans toute sa carriere Trump a toujours semble etre obsede par l'idee du miroir (pardon Michel Foucault), sacrifiant tout sur l'autel du "moi". Des lors il prefere etre entoure d' une cour. Il est protege par ses proches, et est applaudi par son cabinet, oblige de se prosterner publiquement devant ce Narcisse de cauchemar .

Le monde est trop complexe et potentiellement dangereux pour permettre l'abandon de toute forme de legitimite historique et du professionalime elementaire que l'on est en droit d'attendre d'un president considere (pour combien de temps encore ?) comme le plus important au monde.

Trump a deja affaibli l'essentiel d'une politique etrangere s'articulant autour de plusieurs alliances. L'OTAN, les grandes initiatives commerciales (Asie, EU, NAFTA), l'accord de Paris, Cuba, la Russie , le Moyen Orient, la Chine sont des themes devenus "deracines" . En Amerique, tous les gardes-fou ont saute - energie, sante, environnement, separation des povoirs, education, etc.- sans qu'une alternative n'ait ete suggeree. Le Departement d'Etat est ignore : coupure de 30% dans le budget, postes vacants, ambassades sans chef de poste.

Peu importe que ce coup d'etat permanent soit orchestre ou arbitraire, les consequences en sont desastreuses et elles permettent a des tiers d'occuper l'espace abandonne. La Chine en premier lieu peut realiser une ambition multiple qui tend a deloger feu le reve Americain. Le reflexe de Trump est en fin de compte retrograde. Son protectionisme renvoie a un modele du passe. Il passe le "temoin" a des pays tiers qui ont opte pour un engagement dans l'economie et le commerce de demain.

L'inconnue Putin et les agissements russes dans la derniere campagne electorale americaine pesent sur une administration a bout de nerfs. Il sera interessant d'observer la rencontre Trump / Putin a Hambourg. Certains croient encore que le president americain exigera des "reparations". D'autres craignent qu'il n'ira pas plus loin que Canosse . Il preferera l'instant photo  a l'explication "franche". Il a un faible pour le premier et il est trop mal a l'aise dans la derniere. Avant ce remake de Tilsit les bookmakers font leur jeu et le "Tsar nouveau" sort gagnant. Trump n'a rien a craindre car la base (numeriquement minoritaire)  qui le soutient est solide. Elle continuera a lui donner carte blanche, quoi qu'il arrive. Ce Cromwell americain est etanche !

Thursday, June 29, 2017


President Trump attacked MSNBC female anchor Mika Brzezinski in terms beneath the presidential bar, which is already very low in this administration.

This scandale du jour is even embarrassing the GOP. The recurrent vulgarity, mostly when women are concerned, is the only theme in this president's world which never changes. All other issues are in a constant flux depending upon the mood, the lies and mostly on the grotesque narcissism of an individual in permanent need of flattery. This White House is indeed a replica of Marat/Sade's Charenton. Maybe Trump suffers from porphyria like George III. Both share many unpleasant characteristics:  one was certified deranged, the other acts as if he might be so.

I bet that many worry when they imagine the upcoming meeting between Putin and Trump. This will not be a repeat of the Tilsit love-fest between Czar Alexander I and Napoleon. It might look more like a farce wherein Trump plays the part of the cuckold. He will be so self-enamored that he might well end up forgetting or forgoing issues (which he knows nothing about): Ukraine, Baltic States, Crimea, Syria, strategic arms limitation, and, last but not least, implementation of the Helsinki Agreement or the Budapest memorandum.  The Russian hacking might be mentioned en passant since Donald does not want to alienate Vladimir. This cloud will not go away.

This latest tweet du jour will be overhauled by another.  In the Trump camp many are scandalized by the president look-alike Julius Caesar in the Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. They might have a point since Trump is out of place there. He appeals neither to drama or to comedy. His realm is burlesque.


Monday, June 26, 2017


The Trump family's power grip has been compared to a Godfather IV scenario, but lately it looks and feels more like Reservoir Dogs. The lies, hour after hour, tweet after tweet, are making for a daily cholesterol-rich tiramisu. While the president is unable to climb over his maximum 38% approval rate, he continues to be the "poster boy" of the many fools who see in him the shield which protects them from a godless, gunless, whiteless, non-male alternative. This abrasive, not grown-up New Yorker "delocalized" his own golden spoon persona to make room for being the chosen one in the eyes of the Bible belt voters (and others). This tour de 'farce' should not be underestimated. No doubt, if elections took place now, he would be reelected by the same margin and score thanks to a repeat of the electoral college stunt.

The culture war is also being fought in Europe. In the recent past, Western Europe (the original EU six, mostly) was shaken by a sudden cultural/sociological negative acceleration when the former consensus looked endangered . Freedom of choice, secular progress, sexual equalizing, had dislodged former more conservative models.While the fall of the Berlin Wall was a direct result of the bankrupt confidence in Eastern Europe, it also created a kind of blase, lazy skepticism.  Accepted globalization was confronted with a wave of opposition, driven by a desire to return to the "self ". This rise of populism came to a (provisory?) halt in Western Europe after the Dutch and French elections. It still pops up in Greece, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Poland, Croatia and Latvia. The Iron Curtain was replaced by an alternative partition. In the EU, Brexit created a second fault-line, with the result that the UK, which lost its empire after World War II, risks losing its relevance now in its near abroad.

The continental European drift has its counterpart in the US, albeit in a different form. Since January 20th, the polarization sets blue and red states apart. The mutual contempt is aggravated by an overall retreat of truth and by the hourly intrusions of a president who ignores the demarcation between facts and lies. The liberal, secular majority is ignored. California and New York are avoided in favor of the fly-over states which still adhere to Trump's global denial. The essential rules of governance are being deconstructed with impunity. In foreign affairs, Secretary Tillerson looks more and more like William Rogers, Nixon's short-lived and forgotten secretary of State. Besides the noise, this White House (and other departments) have become a vault with almost zero communication with the media, considered hostile. Only Fox, the ultimate fake news junky, chooses to sell the little integrity it has left for exclusive access to Trump's henchmen.

Both sides of the Atlantic must regroup. In Europe, the Western partners in the EU have to find a way to stem the populist drift in the eastern part. In America, the Democrats have to steer an aggressive message less ad hominem than ad rem. Both corrections will be difficult. In Europe, Putin must be deprived of having porous states at his western borders. In the US, the Democrats have to regain credibility in states which were lost for a whim rather than for a reason.

Sometimes the West looks as if the religious wars from the past could be reignited. In America, Obama's "forward looking agenda" is being attacked by some form of "retro roll-back". In Europe the EU must regain its fundamental appeal which is threatened by an institutional mid-life crisis and unsubstantiated resentment.

While Putin can be considered a strategic negative, Trump is a viral disturbance which attacks the vital components of the democratic system. Putin is about power, which he understands all too well. Trump is about eruptive chaos, which others serve him and which he does not grasp.  His approval rate in Europe is 5%.  What ever became of the shared Atlantic vision? There is nothing else to do for the Europeans than to clean house and start some hard reviewing of the workings of the EU (Brexit must be isolated before it contaminates others). The Americans must hope for a stop-sign after next year's mid-term elections. The Democrats had better reconsider now who will be the right man or woman in the right place then. Reversals are not answered prayers, they are hard work.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Sunday's elections for the French parliament were a plebiscite for President Emmanuel Macron. This landslide is historical. It is also "tricky". The president is not a miracle worker. The number of abstentions is far too high to be ignored. The center won over the traditional right and left parties but it will not be that easy to switch from sophisticated generalities to dire governing.

Macron acts like a regal president. The French were getting tired of President Hollande's "normal". They killed their own monarch but got frustrated seeing almost every other foreign head of state surrounding him or herself with faux Louis XVI, while they still have the real thing. This new young president can talk like a CEO but is not adverse to some ceremonial decor. Hence he chose to meet the czar Putin in Versailles.

For now he is the new kid on the European block and he can get away with almost everything. He might seek to become the heir of Jean Monnet and Robert Schumann. The EU is ready for a change after years of uninspiring policies and unknown commissioners.  Brexit is a wake-up call which could likewise open the way for a more appealing, mobilizing approach. Trump's America is, for the time being, more a freakish interruption than a challenging alternative. After the German election in September the Paris/Berlin leadership will have the trust of both the voters at home and of the EU at large.

Obviously Macron has to put his own house in order first. Unemployment is far too high. The fault-lines in French society run deep. The role of the state needs streamlining. The same goes for the EU which must reconnect if it does not want to be ignored or sidelined for good. The institutions of the EU have become a COMECON redux, ruled by politicians who were often an embarrassment at home before being dumped in Brussels. This has been a mistake which led to the various unpleasant circumstances regarding the Maastricht Treaty or Brexit.

President Macron gives the impression that he understands the need for the EU to arrive at an upgraded otherness. Europeans, for too long, have been inclined to look down at the Brussels behemoth. It is time to return to a more upscale mode. Paris might already have given the right tone. After all, the Trump administration seems clueless, Russia playing for the long haul needs to be contained, and China only thinks and acts as China. Let the EU be again the ultimate reference for continental Europe (avec l'accent francais, pourquoi pas?)

Friday, June 16, 2017


Helmut Kohl was the architect of Germany reunited. More than anybody he was able to undermine the credibility of the East German aberration without going for the jugular.  This ruthless politician was able to shed the praxis of power for the "height" thereof.

With French President Francois Mitterand he was equally gifted for creating a bond which was stronger than the real misgivings which existed on the French side regarding German reunification. One saw Europe as an end an und vor sich, the other saw in the EU as a counterweight for a possible German supremacy.  At the end, both arrived at a common shared view.

A generation of Europeans, larger than life, petulant, petty, grand, self-confident, is gone. Since Brexit, one becomes aware that a new style and content of leadership is appearing here and there. Contrary to other places in the world, the member states of the EU seem to have headed the voices of renewal and enlightened political engineering. Kohl would approve.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


The corrupted sphere in US politics has led to violence. This was to be expected. The vitriol is such that many rules of civil behavior are flooded or are becoming obsolete. The president, together with the NRA and the religious right, set the demons of discord free. He does not seem to realize that he is less the master of the game than the tool of a more ominous under- cover interest group which intends to remake America's DNA. He has neither the intellect nor the craft of a social engineer to try his hand at genetically altering the workings of the United States.

Actually, the US since January 20th has entered an era of permanent coup. All the accepted norms are in the balance. All branches of government, the press, the fabric of society are under siege. If the goal were one of perfecting and amending existing shortcomings a review might be a bonus. Unfortunately, the purpose is far more ambitious and pernicious. The cabinet around the president is made up of individuals who are mandated to "deconstruct" the target they are supposed to implement. Hence on all fronts--justice, health, environment, foreign policy, aid, education, distribution of wealth, freedom of information, to name a few--a war of attrition is being waged. The purpose is to bring about the surrender of the pays legal to an ill defined pays reel, a vague ideological mix of a (mostly) white, (murky) religious, (openly) conservative nebula. The idea of a Trump administration was not particularly popular in the fly-over American bible belt and defunct coalmines, but the idea came in handy after the probability of a Clinton win had given the "alt right" the fright of a lifetime. Nobody out of the United States can ever come close to imagining to what extent President Obama or Secretary Clinton were hated by this 35% of the population. Trump had little to show for deserving the support of the Evangelicals & Co.  His pathological ego (remember the Corleone cabinet meeting last Monday?) overshadows any form of self-critique or speculative curiosity.  This is what makes him the perfect tool for the Bannon/Miller/Fox News all-embracing (umfassende) shadow cabinet. Their influence is nevertheless not set in stone, given the mercurial temperament of the "principles agnostic" Don. A lot is being said about the role played by the president's daughter and son-in-law, but their input looks too non-strategic to be taken that seriously. Others are waiting to be thrown under the bus if their added value falls below zero.

There is plenty of smart comment and critique around in the US but there is no voice with enough weight against this unprecedented assault by an occupying force against its own. This is a philosophical emergency which requires a prosecutor with moral and visionary authority, a healer who is able to mobilize memory for the future's cause. Too many still see the Trump months as some film noir waiting for Eastwood or Bogart to step in. What is needed is a voice like that of Michel Houellebecq instead, who laid bare Europe's (France) dirty little minds and who should have an intellectual heir here. Prayers and invocations do not work.  Besides, America is already overfed with Christian poor taste in all forms, mostly in the open (politics) or under subversive cover (the moronic happy couples who dance on the beach, or sit in separate bathtubs for the sake of Cialis).  It is time to get serious and to return to the spirit of the workings of the Constitution, democracy, pluralism, non-discrimination and the separation of religion and state. This country deserves a break! The world needs its clearing house, the United States, back on track.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Until the Sixties, America's foreign policy was the realm of mostly an East Coast establishment.  In the Seventies the pendulum started to be redirected to Texas and mostly to the West Coast.

Today US foreign policy looks like a deranged carousel as seen in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.  It is hard to see how the Trump administration might reshape America's role abroad. The first indications are ominous. If one wants to review former priorities, so be it. It is being said that countries have no friends, only interests. One can process a new worldview and go for some new Breton Woods or Yalta. All things are possible as long as there is a there "there". FDR and Reagan shaped an American orbis structured around firm rallying points for others to join for reasons of interest but also out of a desire to share basic philosophical, almost universal aspirations. This often imperfect meeting of minds and goals often collided with a less noble, selfish calculus but the ultimate goal of some form of order generally took precedence over other considerations. Transactions were tolerated, transgressions were penalized.   In the end there was always an underlying aspiration, even when the subtitles for what was done were often far from evident. The motivation was not in doubt.

Now we are heading into deregulated territory. President Trump is the ideal torch-bearer for a pessimistic, selfish, non- reproducing foreign policy wherein only short-term priorities rule: What looks great (if one likes the genre) is good. Hence the cycle of the euphoric versus the aggrieved is relentless, so to leave the onlooker dazed or, better, etherised. This behaviorist aberration is a Steve Bannon tactic, unethical and "alt historic". When everything gets mixed up there is no longer a need for coherence or, for that matter, personnel to serve a concept or strategy since chaos is the new gold standard. Reliability, truth, or cautious informed diplomacy are not made for those Alpha males lost in the video game of their own making.

This void will be filled by other actors and made worse by events which might lead to an unpleasant wake-up call for Americans who discover that they no longer rule the waves or the borders. Next year there might be a different Mexico south. Canada north, like Australia and the Europeans, is starting to prefer distance over proximity. China and Russia never had it so good:  those perfectionists of absolutism observe with glee how a pathological egomaniac is settling his delusions on the remnants of the broken words of Lincoln or JFK. That the American president has Jackson and Churchill together in the Oval Office, shows how "informed" he is.

The hearings about the Russian aggression on America's raison d'etre continue. Most Republicans avoid to theorize about the origins and the facts of this sorry sordid episode. Most Democrats converge on the accessory. Both ignore generally the heart of the matter, the brutal attack by a foreign country against the American system. That associates of the Trump campaign participated in this nefarious endeavor shows that there is something rotten in these current USA. The permanent dysfunctional disturbance which is unleashed by this White House becomes a form of violence directed against the model which was, until January 20, 2017, the envy of the world.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


The former FBI director's hearing in the Senate's Intelligence Committee today was morally devastating for Trump but might leave him with a political lifeline, given that the Republicans are lemmings. Trump was accused of being a liar and a manipulator, better at exercising undue and unacceptable pressure than at showing a sophisticated understanding of the workings of the presidency. Every day that passes, he appears to be learning nothing and remaining indifferent to facts. Fired Director Comey could hardly hide his despise for a man who he openly considers not to be up up to the demands of the presidency. 

Trump is unwilling but mostly unable to find personalities who are inclined to board his ship of fools. Hundreds of important positions remain unattended. In this void, this impulsive maniacal president makes decisions without legitimacy, off the cuff almost: NATO, Germany, climate, trade, Qatar (did he know about the US base there?)  He lives by the brainwashing coming out of right-wing cable news outlets. The timing of his tweets follows the Fox News cycle. 

Russia and the Chinese must have a swell time following the downward spiral of this most unhinged character. The Europeans are considering hiding in a common (for once) shelter. The American comedians have plenty of material now, after eight years of Obama gravitas. Unfortunately, certain issues are too serious to be left to individuals who follow the "deconstruct" agenda of a Steve Bannon, without grasping its deeper nefarious meaning. 

America is a broken novel in search of an author. This is paradoxical, given that the talent and creativity are abundant. It is painful having to watch the brutal rise of an anti-scientific wave and to see how the majority value system prefers to self-exile for now. The overall denial of history, of cause and effect, the indifference towards rewarding excellence are frightening. Imagine Governor Perry (the "Dancing with the Stars" one) in energy, Betsy DeVos in education, Tim Price in health, Scott Pruitt in environmental protection ...not to speak about Tillerson at State (which he wants to "neuter")?! This is not a cabinet, it is a firing squad.

James Comey must feel very lonely, but actually he is not all by himself in this post-January 20 dystopia. It is actually getting overcrowded.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


The last London terrorist attacks brought out the best in most, the worse in the American president.

Yet again he returned to his usual sickening behavior, attacking London's mayor and demanding that his travel ban be reinstated. If a third country would have done the same after terrorist attacks in the USA, the Americans would have reacted in scandalized disbelief. Trump gave proof yet again of a total lack of empathy which is reaching the level of the intolerable. 

Trump's America has become a de facto a rogue state. The EU should turn the page for now and push the delete button until the America one respects with awe dislodges this America one despises, with good reason. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017


After reneging on the TPP  Trump alienated most Asian countries which are in the American orbit. After proposing drastic cuts in the various aid mechanisms in the State Department he offended mostly African countries. In the Middle East he tilted in favor of the Sunnis who are the biggest providers of suicide bombers and terrorists. In NATO and the G 7 he almost offended everybody in the room. Now withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement he has chosen to return to the past and to the coal mine.

Paradoxically, by acting as he does, he brings the Europeans together and makes the EU again a force for the good and innovation. The separation between Europe and the USA is not a divorce yet but mutual exasperation has taken over from the former Atlantic "spirit". This American president and the Camora around him are being seen now as morally corrupt and basically unreliable. Chancellor Merkel has this in common with former P.M. Thatcher, that she too makes up her mind quickly regarding who one can do "business" with or not. Trump disdains too much all things he does not grasp and is too arrogant to learn. His Freudian predilection for strong leaders is linked to his own blatant insecurities. He falls for "entertainment" and is adverse to any form of intellectual  input. If he does not find himself in the middle of ideas (coming from others) or attention, he becomes morose and hostile. In Hamburg he will finally have an opportunity to have his meeting with Putin but this will not be a repeat of Tilsit. Nowadays the Czar will win !

It is sad having to admit that as undesirable Trump is  for America, he is a god sent wake up call for the EU. Europeans consider the current United States as a failed 4 years waste. The Corleone type aspects of the Trump machine will further expose it to close scrutiny. The Americans might  also become disenchanted with seeing their country in the company of international undesirables and pariahs. The Europeans will keep their distance for now. The pessimistic outlook of Gore Vidal regarding most things American should not be allowed to become a self-fulfilling prophecy .