Saturday, February 29, 2020


The Corona virus crisis brings out the best and the worse in people. It lays bare both the range of science but also the contemptuous face of politics.

The American liar-in-chief found nothing better than to call the situation a hoax, directed against him. As usual, Trump has zero feeling for the victims and only casts himself, uninvited, in the narrative. His coterie follows his lead, presenting this crisis as another trick directed at its great leader.

The world economy will certainly suffer consequences that are still in the making. If China were to enter in a serious structural, economic descent, the world at large would catch a cold. 

The Fed will certainly make the right adjustments to alleviate the more vicious consequences of this global turmoil. The question remains if the American economy might be hit by the Corona crisis only or if there is more at stake than meets the eye. This White House sees in Wall Street the ultimate vindication of its policies. It plays the supply-side by way of tax breaks and it weaponizes trade. The Fed follows a more cautious, orthodox path. This cool, preferred management led to a collision course with Trump who only understands charts without fine text.

Many predicted that the reckless economic demagogy of the president would sooner or later haunt him. A Wall Street meltdown was foreseen by many economists. The Corona outbreak only provided a window for the truth to come out now. This situation, arriving in an election year, leaves the White House in a pickle. Both the human cost and the deeper economic reality are worrisome. Instead of addressing both,  Trump looks for an opportunity to bluff his way out again, be it on the back of compassion which is alien to his character.

One crisis might lead to another. Unexpectedly, the Mad Hatter ends up having too many balls in the air. The rallies and stadiums might run empty for fear of the virus and for the belated admission that this president was just a cheat.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


La Belgique est a la recherche d'un gouvernement. En realite la majorite des Belges devient indiferente a ce chasse-croise  qui ne preocupe plus que les succursales de partis politiques, mal aimes. Le Belge oscille entre mepris et indifference. 

L'articulation future du pays est en jeu. L'etat sera-t-il federal ou confederal ? La Flandre est majoritairement (?) demanderesse d'une revision de la constitution. En tout etat de cause, il faudra tot ou tard envisager une formule de gouvernance new look, a condition que l'on s'emploie a simplifier et a elaguer le modele existant, qui est bancal. Une discussion de ce type devient illusoire si elle ne vas pas de pair une optique qualitative et une priorite quantitative. Plusieurs pouvoirs existants pourraient etre enfin euthanasies . 

Aujourd'hui le gouvernement Flamand est une horreur. Le gouvernement Wallon se trouve aux objets perdus. Bruxelles n'est qu' un fief politique que se diputent un pietonnier lugubre et un brutalisme genre Mont des Arts...

Seul le roi tire son epingle du jeu. Discret, disponible, a l'ecoute, le roi Philippe fait la demonstration de la valeur ajoutee que represente la monarchie en Belgique. Quelques personnalites se sont neanmoins demarquees de la grisaille.  Koen Geens , Georges Louis Bouchez et la premiere ministre ff.  Sophie Wilmes tiennent un discours intelligent . D'autres, en premier lieu Joachim Coens ont manifestement rate le train de l'intelligence 5G.

La crise politique est revelatrice du deficit du systeme.  Le Luxembourg et les Pays-Bas sont les stars du Benelux parce qu'ils regardent et ecoutent le large. Le drame Belge est la.  Ce pays ingrat punit souvent ceux qui essayent de voir plus loin. Un confederalisme etroit ne ferait qu'accroitre ce provincialisme structurel.

 Ce n'est pas en restant chez soi que l'on est a meme d'apprecier l'air du temps.

Friday, February 21, 2020


There is unease regarding yet gain the Aalst (Belgium)  Carnaval. This unremarkable town is in the spotlight for what is considered to be a provocative anti-Jewish float in its carnaval parade.

Many consider that in this type of event, taboos or better judgement don't have sway over a radical iconoclastic tradition which does not spare anybody or anything. 

Humor is a dangerous weapon. The Jewish angle should be handled with a degree of caution. Humor and satire (the realm of mostly Jewish comedians, by the way) are legitimate. However, the brutal caricature which will be part of the cortege is inappropriate.  Willingly forcing the doors of collective memory is an unnecessary outrage.  We can still laugh at the antics of Fiddler on the Roof, but we should also rescue him from falling.

There is something rotten in Aalst.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


The two pillars of the Atlantic Alliance are wobbling. The US administration's view of Western Europe is mostly negative. The Western European view of all things Washington is marked by intellectual bewilderment. While most Europeans wish that the former trust and sympathy might be restored, few believe this might happen in the near future. Trump is already considered the winner of the November US presidential elections and it is expected that his most unappealing patterns of policy making and settling scores by tweet will be let loose. 

The recent traditional anual Munich gathering of Western leaders showed how the existing gap is becoming nastier and personal. The American secretary of State has become almost an unwelcome persona non grata in the EU. France and Germany no longer hide their antipathy versus an administration that is so blatantly adverse to any form of moral or intellectual empathy. The French president is trying to arrive at some form of modus vivendi with Russia before Trump sells out. The unrest in Eastern Ukraine is very well-timed by Moscow, given the American president's antipathy towards Kiev. If Trump goes to Moscow in May, he might be tempted to play for the media and come up with yet again another trick in the bag. 

Europeans had better face the new reality. Trump is changing the world as it was. He does the same for the US, which is no longer the country with the checks and balances of yesterday. They are becoming the political fiefdom of a right-wing coterie, which found in this president the perfect errand boy for a conservative take-over. It is remarkable to see how this Jacksonian-like power grab is able to take hold of all branches of  government. Culture, trade, justice, climate, science, education are all under fire. The Democrats and the liberal elites are losing the battle for hearts and minds.

What can Europe do?  It stands between an ally it no longer loves and Russia it cannot really trust. The alternative of 'Finlandisation' by consent is becoming real. The accelerated disenchantment with all things American could even make such an outcome appear as the lesser evil  Some see such a radical U-turn as a way to safeguard Europe's needs for (Russian) energy. The former Atlantic security guarantee could be swapped for a more pedestrian arrangement. Europeans argue that Americans should abstain from imposing their Huawei-type of  hysteria on Europe's energy policy arrangements.

A reversal of strategy would still be very hard to arrive at since the Eastern borders--the Baltic states in the first place--would require an iron-clad security model. Some argue that the new American grueling ways should be endured instead. One should be aware that the damage resulting from eight years of this turbulence risks being hard to reverse. 

The most worrisome trend in all this is the break of collegiality and personal sympathy which prevailed from the FDR/Churchill days to JFK (the Suez crisis between the US and France, the UK and Israel was short-lived). Europe might not have a better choice than to return to a new Gaullist concept. Macron is certainly revisiting de Gaulle's freelancing ways. He walks a dangerous path. To be disenchanted with Trump is normal. To become anti-American is a mistake.

Sunday, February 9, 2020


Some expected that the impeachment ritual of president Trump would follow the model of a Shakespearean drama. His lies are for all to see. In a normal court he could not have avoided a guilty verdict. Unfortunately, the Senate production (masterminded by the Republicans) looked almost farcical from the start to the end. The Democrats, with the exception of a few, looked lost in the web of the absurd . Adam Schiff was the lonely white knight. The Republicans appeared solid in repetitive denial. 

The glee in the White House turned into a tap dance, once Trump was acquitted. The former did not wait long before going for the overkill of individuals who had dared to open the can of worms he carries with him in all his endeavors.He is currently playing the Evangelical card while at the same time sending truth and charity to the undertaker. These coming months, before the presidential elections, will be an other post Guy Fawkes manhunt, a settlement of vendettas and a turmoil in foreign affairs .They will become the realm of political "distractions" aimed  to neutralize future scrutiny. The Democrats look lost in trivia or parochial  disputes. Some still doubt that Trump will have four more years. This is is astonishing. He will be everywhere, as long as the Electoral College is the price. He will appear with any world leader as long as he or she is not West European (Johnson's United Kingdom being sui generis  now). The history books will be full of this vicious  setback of democracy in the United States, by way of a coup. Trump's bogeymen overtook the psyche of a country by helping the rise of a man out of the mud and the cement. A similar scenario was engineered in Weimar Germany. L'histoire se repete. Let us hope it ends there.