Saturday, September 18, 2021


The AUKUS,  a new menage a trois beween the US, Australia and the UK leaves the French in a hystercal rut. This submarine deal will allow a sharing of artificial intelligence, cyber and long-range capabilities. Formost, it lets the Americans run away with a deal that the French claimed as theirs.

The French president suddenly acts as if he were tempted by theatrics, which is unusual. It all comes back:  the humiliations in Yalta, De Gaulle's years in the London fog, President Kennedy's US/UK deal . When unfrozen, history's smell is foul.

The inclusion of London might look "over the top".  After all, the UK is a mothballed former power.  Princess Diana was able to reinvent for a while the British monarchical link with Australia, be it in Vanity Fair style. The rekindling was short-lived. It comes as a surprise that President Biden bypassed other possible suitors, but given that both the UK and France were under the circumstances the only possible candidates, London was the safest choice, both for temperament and for tenuous historical reference.

Biden is becoming a very interesting president, in a Truman way. This democrat is something of an autocrat. This catholic can be a heretic.  This "quiet American" is made of steel. Unlike his erratic predecessor he is impervious to pique and not impressed by pomp. Unlike Obama he is not in awe of history. Like Truman, he comes more from Congress than from somehere. Republicans better beware. He leaves the vice-president just enough room to stand on.. and might trap an opposition, he knows too well.

The French already have their coming presidentials on their mind. They will also take the leadership of the EU after January first. The tone will be agressive, nationalistic and, when needed, anti-American. For a country famous for its cynical outlook, this might look suprising. In former years people kowtowed to the French, in their presence. Now they make fun of them, in their absence.

Talleyrand said that politics is the systematic cultivation of hatred (sounds familar, no?)   The French should pilgrimage to the Pere Lachaise instead and follow up on Oscar Wilde's saying that the best revenge is to live well.  After all, they have a reputation!

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