Wednesday, May 27, 2020


History is often understood in cycles. These are not always accurate but they bring some logic into capricious sequences. Major events can be manipulated to support real or imaginary shifts and trends. In the past, leaders gave their name to quotas of history: the Age of Napoleon, LBJ's Great Society... Now that the present American Fuhrer is busy shooting down all truths and creating fake conspiracies, lies and fabrications have  become the new Twitter normal.  The world has now entered the age of hydroxychloroquine, praised by Trump, forbidden in France on medical grounds. When crisis becomes this president's oxygen we are in for a bumpy ride. He doesn't give a damn about casualties.

America's new war against facts should not benefit from the cowardice or guilty complicity of others. That the usual undesirables look elsewhere was to be expected and that the cynical rejoice in Trump's histrionics is normal. However when  the EU looks clueless, when NATO plays the disappearing act, we are in trouble!  The EU spirit is AWOL. The recovery and support plan of the Commission is a step in the right direction, but it is short on message and political ambition. The Atlantic Alliance feels immaterial. Rogue groupings and unsubstantiated claims are corroding the fabric of bona fide systems. If  institutions or countries become reluctant to reform or to integrate new facts and challenges, they fall out of grace and become relics. When abandoned, the terrain becomes a chagrin. Only lies and fabricated allegations proliferate in the absence of a shared consensus.

The tool of the current pandemic is staggering.  Its aftermath will be colossal. If creative leadership does not live up to the challenge or is unable to congregate solidarity, socio-economic measures and a global relaunch, the situation will be dire. The lunatic fringe in the world prefers to ignore the incoming storm. The absence of the adult, reasonably concerned others would be an existential blunder. 

Europeans are divided, for sure. There is little in common between some of the Eastern and Western halves (wherein the North/South divide was temporarily halted after the Merkel/Macron proposals). The UK is stuck in a neurotic solo act without a foreseeable happy outcome. So, the moral air quality is becoming untrustworthy, and the noble former ambitions could be overtaken by counterfeit. The Covid-19 is fought over by science--and also by lies and obscurantism. Instead of a common strategy for the better we end up in another culture war, with the encouragement of the arsonist-in- chief in the White House. Given the proximity of the presidential elections in the US, this scourge will only increase in volume and distortion. The profiteers will thrive. The middle class will lose savings and jobs which will never return. Trump's base will be fed perks, religion and anti-immigration B.S., like some geese are stuffed in France.

So we have entered the Age of Bluff. The American moral downturn is an unpleasant spectacle. It might still be rebooted in November, but if not, Europe will be without an anchor and might end up losing the fight between good and evil.

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