Saturday, December 31, 2022


Un feu d'artifice ringard était supposé mettre de l'ambiance. Ailleurs l'évenementiel a sorti Adamo du coma, tandis que la croix rouge avait préparé civières et volontaires au cas ou.

Pendant ce temps les sans-abri attendent toujours un minimum de dignité et restent les otages de Bruxelles-poubelle et de quelques propriétaires fonciers bien connus. Quelques volontaires et gestes corrigent imparfaitement une situation dramatique.  

Il se crée un scenario pour les frères Dardenne. Il faut être de gauche pour bien juger les siens. En ne faisant rien, les oubliés d'aujoud'hui risquent de devenir les casseurs de demain. Encore une épopée pour loosers RTL.

Comment voulez-Vous gouverner avec un gouvernement prisonnier de son costume polichinelle ? Pendant ce temps là la négociation avec Engie se traine, comme la ministre Karine Lalieux et d'autres rescapés du PS. 

Monday, December 26, 2022


Christmas was never about good taste. Sometimes it benefited nevertheless the better angels in mankind. This last Christmas did not live up to the expectations. Ukraine did not get a moment of respite...

Kings and leaders said the same banalities over and over, often amidst the decor of past glory. King Charles III sounded as if he were running for the label ¨the pious¨. The Pope was surprisingly harsh.

This absurd holiday which is supposed to be about joy on earth was, more so than unusual, existentially incorrect. The heart of Europe is a battlefield. China's windows are broken since Covid got a free ride on the back of the people who are waking up from their induced complacency. Asia is a luxury emporium wherein greed and selfish grabs are overtaking the leftovers of former harmony. Africa  sometimes looks as if it wants to return to colonial exploitation. Europe fares actually better than what many pundits proclaim but the EU manages rather than innovate. The UK mourns the former queen's better days, that were not that great in retrospect, but the show must go on with second rate performers, alas. Never forget the silent might of Australia...

Only the United States enjoy growth, unemployment, contemporary creativity--and military strength, unmatched for now. Ukraine lives because of its own resilience and because of America. For sure there remain problems which might become vicious after the Republicans take over the House of Representatives. It is hard to believe that Trump might enjoy a comeback, but never underestimate the role of the fool. Anyway, the Republicans will wage a holy war against Biden, who might be too much of a gentleman for a romp in the mud.

The current impasse cannot be allowed to last. Traditional diplomacy doesn't work in the short run. Before addressing negotiation one must look for the conditions wherein such an outcome might become feasible. Only a formula in the Kissinger/ Holbrooke vein, out of sight, might explore mutual acceptable parameters for a start-up for talks, under close monitoring. Putin is more than the sum of his frustrations, he also represents a country that has always been addicted to bluff and tradition. In reality the GDP of the Russian Federation only equals the combined GDP of the Netherlands and Belgium. Putin rules over a depot...

Unfortunately the perceptions worldwide have changed. Trump was a force for the bad. His gratuitous aerobics with any leader who took the time to flatter this insecure, uninformed avatar who had no other compass than his ego. As a result the abnormal became indifferent, if not timely. This American president became the undesirables' rattle without him realizing he was being played. He ended up hating the Europeans intensely because they realized he was fraudulent.

Globalization is now, for the time being, a word in a dictionary. So was "cold war" which has had a comeback. So one had better stay pragmatic. Zelensky holds on because of the approval of the Ukrainians. Putin holds on because of his grip on people and sycophants alike . The West should find a way to refrain from its addiction to energy made in Russia. Last but not least, the real question remains unanswered for now:  How long can the civilized world be content to be the voyeur while war crimes occur next door? The perpetrator has no shame. He must feel the pain if all other arguments are ignored. The UN charter highlights the "universal". The West should not partake in the demise of the rule of law.

Sunday, December 18, 2022


De Standaard heeft het over de Vlaming.... Misschien kunnen het duo Jambon / Demir nu ook naar Teheran om een Vlaamse oplossing te vinden. 

Wat in Vlaanderen allemaal straffeloos gebeurt is niet langer te harden. Of die ploeg zijn verdacht canon wil ingaan als een troep "loosers" is dit zijn zaak.

Olivier Vandecasteele verdient niet een tweede maal te worden gegijzeld omwege het plat politiek spel van enkele over het paard getilde amateurs.

Saturday, December 17, 2022


The second part of the Netflix series only confirms the pertinence of the actions of a couple that are fundamentally a game changer, larger than a royal soap.

Both Harry and Meghan have respectfully proven that under the circumstances the choices they made were only theirs. The palace intrigues in the background look pathetic and out of touch with the times we live in.

Not only does the British monarchy look out of touch, the institution as such, in its surviving models world-wide, will be under close scrutiny. The archaic deference it still receives is doomed, all the more so in that the world, in this sad agonizing anno 2022, is on life-support, in need of healing.

The choice for another life in Southern California feels so right. With the exception of the former queen, the other royals look like props playing in a provincial theatre before a scarce public. Harry is truly his mother's son and the loyal grandson of Elisabeth II. Meghan is the contemporary woman who is clairvoyant in the choices she makes and generous in sharing them with her husband. There is still room for a smart love story after all.


Voilà que Joel De Ceulaer, le Ciceron du Morgen, jette l'éponge. Cet éditorialiste aussi sophistiqué que lucide en a raz le bol. Confronté au désastre Belge il choisit l'exil. On le comprend mais on souhaite qu'il revienne sur sa décision, ne fut-ce que pour l'autopsie.

Le pays plie sous le poids de ses parlements et gouvernements parallèles minables, n'yant qu'une pathologie en partage. Il est devenu inutile d'épingler des noms ou de vouloir montrer du doigt telle ou telle  personnalité politique. Elles se ressemblent toutes. Comparés à leurs collègues dans d'autrees pays, les grotesques régionaux ici se distinguent surtout par un provincialisme qu'aucune thérapie ne parvient à remettre à l'heure. 

Le malheur étant que le gouvernement fédéral ressemble de plus en plus à un albatros en fin de parcours. Comment peut-il encore gouverner avec des partenaires à l'intérieur comme dans les régions qui le sabotent. Les socialistes Wallons veulent à tout prix détourner l'attention de la corruption dont ils sont traditionnellement les héritiers comme les continuateurs. Les Verts deviennent un parti fasciste avec lequel le dicours raisonné est désormais devenu impossible. Le gouvernement Flamand court les prés comme une famille Trapp sous l'effet d'une overdose (Anvers oblige ). Le Premier Ministre est obligé de mal gouverner avec tous ses contraires imposés par des présidents de parti. Alexander De Croo ne mérite pas cette descente aux enfers. L'heure d'une démission dans l'honneur doit être considérée.

Joel De Ceulaer est l'accusateur le plus mordant de ce tableau vivant de James Ensor ou les squelettes se disputent un hareng-saur. Nul autre que lui n'a réussi aussi cruellement à épingler les têtes de Turc qui sont supposées habiter les Canons Flamand et Wallon. On ne parle plus de Bruxelles, abandonnée à ses pavés et à ses bierres.

Beaucoup souhaitent ne pas perdre le génial éditorialiste. Ce naufrage belge mérite son Zola après tout.

Bonnes fêtes !

Monday, December 12, 2022


Baron Frans Van Daele wordt EU Gezant voor godsdienstvrijheid buiten de EU.

Deze talentvolle diplomaat zal er voorzeker voor zorgen dat deze bizarre opdracht intelligent zal worden ingevuld.

De vraag blijft hoe de EU de tijd en de reden heeft gevonden om die opdracht opnieuw uit de kast te halen.

Bij mijn weten stond niemand te wachten op zo een aanstelling . Daarom wordt het interessant af te wachten op hij er van terechtbrengt. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022


Netflix serves the Meghan/Harry dish to distract us from the usual Christmas entertainment nightmare.

The first three episodes were mostly pleasurable to watch. Meghan has all the qualities of the predictable American actress, professional, self-conscious and smart. Harry has a wicked sex appeal, sounds very well informed and is happy without remorse.

Some object to the California life-style, so hard to resist, compared to the Royals' favorite residences: Windsor, Balmoral and similar spooky haunts. There is more envy than justification. The remaining Royals in the British Isles look like cartoons. One has to stay generous and feel for Kate and William who already look and dress old, without the support of a drink and fun aunt Margaret enjoyed in Mustique.

One has to wait for the next installments but until now the story is more about the choices made than about the mistakes presumed. Each brings baggage to this saga, less controversial than the mistakes made by others. 

It is almost a solace to see happiness in the current times. It can look even scandalous or oblivious, but these two people look as if they could salvage what they have even in the direst circumstances. 

The series is also revealing of the complexity and diversity of family. There are two heroines there, Princess Diana and Meghan's mother. Charity demands not to dwell on the others, living. Queen Elisabeth II always stood apart, deservedly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022


The Ukrainian tragedy goes on. The Russian onslaught continues. The situation looks hopeless since the early warnings by Russia that eastern parts of Ukraine had to be considered as a separate entity. Since then the leaders of "liberated" Luhansk, Donbas, Donetsk, who were received as heads of government in the Kremlin, have vanished and Putin's intentions have become painfully clear. The Russian mindset has always trapped gullible Westerners who tried so hard to believe that Chekhov was representative of Russia's soul. Since the Tsars, little has changed. The power is not something to be shared. It is imposed by a coterie wherein only force rules. 

NATO, the UN and the OSCE look on, guilty bystanders of a murderous machine in prime time. Indeed Article 5 or the rule of the veto stand in the way of a clear strategy. Hence the West resorts to indirect ways to provide Ukraine with just enough to resist but not enough to respond. The impunity given to Putin is mindboggling. How long must this hybrid aggression be tolerated before the West finally provides Kiev with sophisticated weaponry that allows it to hit Russia in reciprocal reprisal? How long can the West play outrage in Doha, Teheran or Kabul while giving Russia a pass of sorts?

It is wise to consider all implications of future decisions but it becomes also morally wrong to remain on the fence while watching harm on steroids. Mr. Stoltenberg's pious exhortations or the blitz-like visits to Kyiv by various Western leaders do not impress the Kremlin. By the way, where is the Pope? (There is wheel chair access.) The EU will continue to look its usual pathetic self and if it were not for America the Ukrainians would have to be content with the pathetic support of Europeans, who should be embarased. They are afraid to burn their bridge to be seated at Putin's large table in the future. It will be interesting to learn what will come up in the future regarding Chancellor Merkel's dealings with her Russian counterpart. Her deserved reputation and skills suddenly took a turn for the dark. What about Orban ... still in the EU? 

Russia is historically addicted to territorial conquest. Ukraine became Malorossiya and all traces of its former independent past were erased. Relentless russification followed in the 18th century. Russia's claims are as absurd as similar claims would be coming from countries that pretend to return to their former self. The Helsinki agreement was supposed to put an end to bad behavior but the inglorious downfall of the Soviet Union only led to spite and ideas of revenge.

Putin and the Pan-Slavic Orthodox Church are obsessed by what they consider humiliations inflicted upon them by the West. Not bound by the accepted rules of international behavior, they are impervious to sanction or moral outrage. Russia has become again a syndicate wherein power and influence are distributed rather than won by vote or merit. It is impossible for now to foresee conditions for a negotiation out of the Ukraine hell. It is even harder to imagine that Putin could even be on comprehensive talking terms with any Western leader. Sadly, the only strategic outcome is for the West and Ukraine to focus on ways to attack Russian forces in the back. Therefore Kiev needs the weaponry that can make such a "pincers" move possible. It is imperative to hurt the beast before the war crime cloud covers for an unforeseeable time the outcome of this scandal that endured too long.

Swan Lake has become a farce!

Monday, December 5, 2022


Nog een maand geleden waren de Rode Duivels de redders van het vaderland. Nu zijn ze opeens een ongenietbaar stel ruziemakers. Martinez die alles kon is niet langer welkom.

Beide houdingen zijn absurd. De verwachtingen lagen te hoog, de opeenvolgende nederlagen deden pijn. 

Dat de koning zich heeft laten overtuigen om op te treden in een cameo met de spelers is een grove fout van zijn Entourage. Hij kon supporteren zoals vroeger maar zijn indentificatie met de ploeg was op zijn minst overdreven...en politiek brandhout in de handen van Vlaams blok of mevrouw Homans en Co. Het ware elegant indien de verliezers nog op een sportieve drink zouden kunnen worden vergast op het paleis. Wie a zegt moet verder gaan....

Doha is de verkeerde plaats voor dit type sport.  De atmosfeer ontbreekt aan geloofwaardigheid maar daar trekt FIFA zich niets van aan. 

De Rode Duivels nu door het slijk halen is totaal verkeerd. Of de koning nog een reddende hand kan toesteken blijft de vraag.

Sunday, December 4, 2022


Le président français a eu droit à une deuxième visite d'état aux Etats-Unis. On se souviendra de la première. la seconde reprend les mèmes tics et gestes. Macron semble croire que le "gallic charm"  accomplit des miracles. Avec Trump les embrassades n'ont pourtant rien apporté et on est en droit de douter que Biden aura été séduit par le " French hug ".

Pour le diner officiel le président américain a plongé l'assistance dans un décor genre Macy's dont raffolent les Américains. Les chefs d'état ont évité de se référer à tout ce qui peut opposer les Etats-Unis à l'Europe et tout a baigné dans une "Love Story" aussi artificielle que douteuse.

Macron a trouvé le temps de rencontrer Elon Musk, nouveau Docteur Frankenstein. Curieusement il  n'est pas allé du coté ou tout se passe, en Californie. Il a préféré le folklore à l'avenir, visitant la Nouvelle Orléans ou rode le fantôme de feu une présence francophone. Cette fin de parcours était étrangement décousue.

Thursday, December 1, 2022


Former president Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China was always linked to the Shanghai ways. He looked happy, indulging in music and languages, more patriotic than Marxist.  Nevertheless his more relaxed persona never stood in the way of party adherence. His commitment to economic reform might have persuaded Deng Xiaoping to select him as the unlucky Zhao Ziyang's successor. 

He oversaw the Hong Kong handover with flair and reset the button of international relations, mostly with the USA. He put a smile on the Chinese granite.

I was stuck by his calculated bonhomie and occasional candor. He allowed his more southern temperament some breathing space in a system which has almost none. He certainly was closer to the ordinary Chinese, who can be humorous as long as their nationalistic DNA is left alone.

Monday, November 28, 2022


Le match des Diables rouges contre le Maroc était pénible à encaisser. Les incidents déplorables dans le centre de Bruxelles étaient à la hauteur de ce match malhereux.

Que la déception ait un gout amer, soit.  Qu'elle donne lieu à un divorce entre l'opinion et ses favoris d'hier est franchement inacceptable. La critique est normale, et en l'occurrence justifiée, mais quand le discours amoureux de la veille se mue en rejet , le fair play est enrayé.

Les observations négatives qui émanent des frustrés aujourd'hui sont aussi isupportables que l'adulation plate des mèmes buveurs de bière hier. Certains revirements dénotent davantage la vacuité de l'engagement antérieur que la prise en considération de cause et effet aujourd'hui.

Doha reste désagréable, dès le début. Rien ne changera avec en amont un air de corruption et en aval un nouveau choc frontal entre modèles de société. Cela nuit au plaisir, au moral et au sport. 

Les diables méritent mieux.


Saturday, November 26, 2022


So Trump, always the master of good taste, hosted a dinner for Mr. West and Nick Fuentes, the fine fleur of anti-Semitism and other known transgressions. Mar-a-Lago looks like some prop out of Scarface. It is becoming more sinister since its owner appears more paranoid than ever.

That a former president openly touts his suspicious guest list is ominous. That the losers who still cling to his madness don't notice, is frankly hard to swallow. Surrounded as we are by tragedy all over, this fool continues to entertain his hubris with everybody who still bows for a free meal in some whorish setting.

I wonder if Netanjahu will still continue to play the fool for this mad ruler? Well, the world looks like it has largely been overtaken by the crazies, the cynical and the greedy. 

The only light left comes from the place where it is struggling to survive: Ukraine. 


La Belgique se traine comme les Diables Rouges. Le spectacle est navrant. Les joueurs ne semblent plus à mème d'arriver à une stratégie partagée. Certes le gouvernement comme et les joueurs peuvent retrouver un second souffle.

Le pays surtout se porte mal. Le Premier Ministre reste apprécié mais apparemment il ne se trouve pas aux commandes. Son gouvernement repose sur une accumulation d'ambiguités. Il est sauvé par le frisson qui gagne la majorité dès qu'apparait le spectre d'une élection.

Il est inutile de répéter  combien le système qui a été imposé au pays (jamais consulté) est absurde et couteux. Avec les Verts le fruit était dans le fruit dès le début de cette léguslature. Non contents de créer la zizanie dans les villes, les transports et le commerce ils se montrent incapables de résoudre la question énergétique. Leur psychose nucléaire devient un bloccage en mal de thérapeutes. On peut  ne pas partager le syndrome du casseur du MR mais devant l'obstination d'un partenaire dogmatique, la tentation de chercher une alternative pour sortir de l'impasse devient compréhensible. 

Une semaine de grèves empoisonnera une nouvelle fois l'atmosphère. L'opposition au contat de livraison de matériel nucléaire de Herstal au Royaume-Uni ne fera que rappeller aux Anglais que depuis l'affaire des obus (lors de la guerre en Irak) , rien n' a changé . La situation des immigrés campant dans la rue est indigne d'une démocratie. Le procès des attentats de Bruxelles apparait déjà bancal avant mème d'être commencé. Les nuages s'accumulent et le budget est le dindon de la farce, mème après Thanksgiving.

Ce gouvernement repose désormais plus sur la résignation que sur la conviction. Au demeurant rien ne va plus en Europe ou la strangulation de l'UE par Poutine est une réalité. Ce gouvernement, comme d'autres, ne peut rien y changer. 

De toute façon il s'agit moins de considérer un "face lift"pour le gouvernement De Croo que de générer un sursaut. S'il faut poor celà lester les Verts, souvent infréquentables coté cour comme coté jardin, so be it . Qu'ils rangent steps,vélos et plans de circulation bien intentionnés et que l'on retoune enfin vers le rationnel.

Que le MR fasse une avance en direction du NVA sur le dossier nucléaire, soit. Ce dernier est le loup dans la bergerie...mais on a compté trop de moutons pour continuer sur cette voie.

Il faut éviter que la Belgique -substantif- ne redevienne l'adjectif de la case départ.

Sunday, November 20, 2022


Once upon a time two great forward thinking intellectuals suggested opposite views regarding the future. Francis Fukuyama suggested that history had finally reached the end and that everything would converge towards a neo-liberal, globalized outcome. Samuel P. Huntington predicted that conflicts between civilizations would override convergence.

Today we witness the ominous truth.  Not only are the fault lines multiplying, there is a further nefarious development: the rise of the hybrid.

Qatar is the perfect example of the absolute corruption of all things under the sun, including the trivial. FIFA should make the West blush or better, run. This feast of greed over morals on the back of sport and the gullible should put the West to shame and award Qatar with an Oscar for hypocrisy. This plutocratic takeover  with no heroes other than the ones who are not mentioned since they are hidden from view or under the sand is a pure example of a cynical merger between self- aggrandizement and bribes.

It is one of the numerous manifestations of the rule of the hybrid. Sharm el-Sheik is, likewise, a depressing manifestation of the sunset of enlightened collegial thinking. Climate was expected to create a shared sense of imminent danger but the conference chose the accountant over the scientific.

The illusion that countries lost in the delta of their trivial oppositions would find a shared riverbed is dead. Even formerly solid groupings with noble aspirations no longer inspire since they show rot at the core.

Prejudice, cultural inconveniences, strategic undercurrents, historical amnesia contribute to undermine any form of cohesion. Hence, we look into a broken mirror. Russia tried on new clothes but the wolf still felt snubbed and unwelcome. Hence he returned in search of another prey. The EU has become as inspiring as a nunnery. The Arabs just want to cash in on their wealth with the support of any plutocrat under the sun. The Latinos compete for macho dreams on the back of the US which they still loath as much as they envy it. Sub-Saharan Africa is a ticking time-bomb. Australia is too big for its own good and for China's delight. China plays the aloof lover but is considered a poor performer in bed. S.E. Asia has decided to specialize in resorts and Bali Hai fantasies: a goldmine for the elderly and the horny. America will provide yet again another Barnum/Trump show to entertain the masses who are hooked on dubious political slapstick.

The result is that nobody likes anybody and that the hybrid wins on points. Many feel cheated. In Europe, where Ukraine, victim to a hybrid war that doesn't say it's name, has to clean up a total disaster zone created by an enemy that goes almost unpunished. This scandal in the midst of Europe goes on while the aggressor hardly suffers the sanctions other than the loss of his VIP entrance card (to what?)  Soon the G20 will have to beg countries to attend. India or China can do without table cards.

Self-made groupings are overtaking the former structured Anglo-Saxon model.  They are mostly pragmatic and adverse to political theology. They slowly infiltrate existing bastions of resistance and have a flimsy sort of sex appeal, unlike the chorus lines of the EU and NATO. The trend feels irreversible. The West can no longer claim the mantle of the rule of law after January 6 in Washington or the Ukraine tragedy without end. It had better concentrate on getting its own house in order first and review its antiquated strategy. Sometimes it is better to cut the brush before mending the garden.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

KMSKA, Antwerpen

La rénovation du Musée des Beaux Arts à Anvers est parfaite. Elle est aussi une prouesse d'architecture créative. La collection était connue, mais elle est mise en valeur. Quelques nouvelles acquisitions sont judicieuses et intelligemment placées dans le parcours.

Anvers s'est ainsi offert le plus beau musée de Belgique.

On peut faire quatre observations :

- Le Ministre président Flamand s'approprie le Musée alors qu'il n'entre en rien dans une décennie de travaux et que son profil 'culturel' est nul.

-Le musée a un côté 'bling bling' qui peut paraitre ci et là envahissant.

-La communication est excellente mais on voit mal pour quelle raison elle se limite au néerlandais et à l'anglais et ignore le français. Celà peut paraitre mesquin et en contradiction avec une réalisation aussi ambitieuse  que  réussie.

-Il faut espérer qu'à l'instar d'autres grands musées,  Anvers voudra bien recevoir des expositions temporaires de haut niveau international et belge.

Sunday, November 6, 2022


Terwijl elders alle aandacht gaat naar de vele existentiele en militaire dreigingen die op de wereld afkomen heeft de Vlaamse regering de handen vol met het aangekondigde Vlaamse Canon.

Deze Trumpiaanse poging om Vlaanderen te confronteren met zijn "roots" is het epos van Ben Weyts § Co. met zoals verwacht Homans (zonder vod) en Demir (zonder "Ventilus") als kariatides. Wedden dat David Van Reyboeck, Bart Van Loo en meeste Vlaamse intellectuelen dit met ongeloof opvolgen.

De Jambon ploeg is een triestig verhaal met een verloren koorknaap ( Bejamin Dalle). Dat Bart De Wever die troep laat begaan is toch eigenaardig, rekening houdend met zijn onbetwisbaar intellect. De traditionele Belgenmop loopt de kans nu te worden  voorbijgestreefd door een Vlaamse concurrent. Ik hoor nu al het hoongelach in Nederland.

Het is te vroeg om de uiteindelijke uitslag te beoordelen. De geruchten wijzen helaas in de richting van een geschifte oefening in micro management van wat eigenlijk te complex is om het toe te vertrouwen aan regime klokkenluiders.

Dat Borms zaliger opnieuw een deftige rustplaats kreeg is beschaafd. Dat zijn parcours alweer wordt gerelativiseerd is het minder en klinkt beroerd voor wat op ons aankomt. 

Het wordt nog interessant te zien wat gebeurt met de vele cratieve franssprekende Vlaamse schrijvers, schilders enzv.

Tom Lanoye, Joel De Ceulaer, Luc Tuymans, AnneTeresa De Keersmaeker, prof. Mark Elchardus en het gross van creatief Vlaanderen zullen zeker geen blad voor de mond houden. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022


The falling leaves make for a good song but only aggravate the mood which prevails in this current season of rot. It feels as if everywhere the seams that are supposed to hold the world together are no longer able to stand the stress test.

From the Korean peninsula to Iran shockwaves prevail. Major conflicts metastasize and the formerly normal process of the electoral cycle only leads to almost freakish outcomes. The battle is no longer waged on competing legitimate options. They only focus on power an und fur Sich. Politicians no longer avoid embracing the leper if he can help them to rule, albeit in a most shameless algorithm. Netanjahu is the latest example of the downfall of principle. The mid-term elections in the United States might provide for another unpleasant ride on the wild side of American politics. It becomes all too easy to enumerate the growing number of aberrations which occur daily even in counties that were considered "safe", Italy or the UK, amongst others.

Since the far abroad is no longer, it is becoming impossible not to pay close attention to the happenings in India, Ethiopia or Brazil. China indicates that a leader does not have to move to act. Compared to President Xi, all other leaders appear suffering from some form or other of hyper-ventilation which verges on hysteria. 

This brings us to the president of Ukraine. Under tremendous pressure, he shows a self-control for all to admire. He keeps his calm where others look like actors lost in "Measure for measure", doing just enough to support him but cautious not to risk upsetting Russia. Fact is that only a diplomatic solution can bring an end to this hybrid war inflicted on an independent country without any regard for past international and other agreements. 

Negotiations generally start when one party is exhausted. The longer the West will remain Ukraine's "timid" suitor, the longer the conflict will continue. Support is probably shaky in Russia, but it already shows cracks in the West. Dr. Kissinger's unorthodox ways were often disreputable but they worked in the end. Putin will have to be forced to negotiate rather than seduced. He must feel the cost of his unethical behavior. While all this misery continues it is urgent to keep a channel of communication open, other than the usual diplomatic outsourcing. Such a most arduous enterprise must not be shy to consider the absurd (the table for the Vietnam peace talks in Paris or the secret Kissinger/ Le Duc Tho pre-talks) and avoid talking over the head of some. 

It is going to be an uphill battle to arrive at a formula for negotiations with so many stockholders. An agreement might have to be supported in a Helsinki-type of format. Not since World War II and the Cold War has Europe seen such a slaughter in its midst. The challenge will be to let Ukraine return to normal and to readmit a repenting Russia back in Europe. In the long run the West has no interest in letting a bloc of malcontents and neutrals further undermine globalization.

In reality Ukraine is also a cultural war of the likes that are appearing everywhere and also viciously in the West itself. Ukraine has as much to fear from Russia as from the hordes of conspiracy fools and fake news spreaders in the West. This war is in reality waged on two fronts and that makes it lethal for the aggressed party and so ominous for the shaky bystanders. The time is on neither's side.

 existing taboos if they 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022


Le Royaume Uni s'est enfin choisi un Premier Ministre hors normes. Rishi Sunak est jeune, formé chez Goldman Sachs, adepte des modèles financiers contemporains, riche, et d'origine indienne. La City pousse un soupir de soulagement. Le monde, et en premier lieu l'Europe respirent après des années de chaos et d'incompétence. Sans doute le Royaume Uni ne fait-il plus partie de l'Union Européenne mais Londres reste un pôle de référence irremplaçable.

Comme ses prédecesseurs il doit affronter des problèmes intérieurs sérieux et un agenda international particulièrement difficile. Il semble avoir le tempérament pour ménager ses interlocuteurs au sein de l'UE et dans le G 20. Il est trop tôt pour pavoiser mais on peut néanmoins prévoir que le discours à Westminster redevienne plus normal. Certes les Conservateurs ont un long chemin à parcourir pour se faire pardonner une déroute financière et un taux d'inflation qui rappellent les derniers jours de Weimar. Ils ont maintenant un leader qui sera sans doute à mème de calmer les marchés.

Il semble fait pour s'entendre avec le Président Macron avec lequel il partage une culture politico-économique. Il n'est pas évident que les Anciens se retrouveront sur sa longueur d'ondes. La gérontocratie a ses jalousies et ses susceptibilités, dont on aurait tort de sous-estimer l'endurance. Elle supportait le coté farcical de Boris Jonson ou la représentation déplorable de Liz Truss, mais elle prendra ombrage du brio du "nouveau".

Sunak doit agir vite à l'intérieur et prendre patience sur la scène internationale. Il est trop intelligent pour ne pas le comprendre et sans doute trop sophistiqué pour paraître arrogant et pour ne point attendre son heure. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022


Liz Truss was from the start a bad lead as P.M. She fell victim to all that can go wrong with a politician, first and foremost her style and temperament, unfit for such a responsibility. She dared to claim the mantle of Margaret Thatcher, in vain.

Her betrayal of her chosen Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, coming after her U-turn over the budget, was shameless. The choice of Jeremy Hunt as successor did bring a short relief. Slick, smart Rishi Sunak, her unlucky rival, must have a good time enjoying his moment of Schadenfreude.

Even King Charles appeared to have a hard time believing that she was the anointed P.M. he might have to deal with for an unforeseeable time. 

The Macbeth's witches foresaw the unhappy end.

Before returning to Agatha Chrisite's And then there were none, one might even end up witnessing Boris Johnson's comeback. Desperate times make for desperate choices. Johnson has a return ticket handy, just in case.

Saturday, October 15, 2022


Before the 20th Party Congress in Beijing, the comments and expectations internationally are running amok.  Xi's leadership will be extended and the Great Hall of the People will show the same mass of mostly men (with black hair color if needed) applauding all there is under the Chinese sun.

Not surprisingly China continues to fascinate, deservingly so. History, culture, drama have almost no equal elsewhere. The rulers are no longer shy to reclaim the rules of Kangxi or Qianlong. The Forbidden City is no longer just a must for tourists, it is a complex which stands for a philosophical cypher.

Rulers now are as different from each other as the emperors before them. Mao, Deng Xiaoping, Xi are totally different personalities, except for their self-esteem. The apparatus is generally unappealing. Still, characters pop up at their own risk,  Bo Xilai, or by the force of their vision Hu Yaobang, Zhu Rongji, the 80's miracle prime minister. Tienanmen had its martyrs and scapegoat Zhao Ziyang, also former premier.

Historians of contemporary China can be divided into two schools.  Some were in awe in the Edgar Snow vein, some were highly critical (Simon Leys). Today's commentary is mostly cautious.

The safer route is the better choice. The Chinese excel in disorientation. They use a mix of history, pride, hurt and ambition to avoid scrutiny of vision and to conceal a closer look at intention. Chinese leaders are in realty as condescending as the Qing before them. They appear to operate in an algorithm of their own making. Contrary to the West, emotion is considered poor taste. Only in their numerous nationalistic  arsenal of frustrations do they show blatant brutality. Hence the Hong Kong syndrome,  the vicious lasting antipathy versus Japan, or the hardline policies in Tibet or Xinjang province.

A lot is being said regarding Taiwan. The Chinese consider it theirs only and they will not waver on their claim. It is clear that they prefer to strangle it rather than having to use force. They can wait but they cannot afford to lose face, given the history, and also the precedent for their un-hidden ambition regarding the South China Sea or the Sensaku reefs. The visit of Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei is the thing not to do if the Straits are to remain under some form of constraint.

China has major problems. So does the world. The difference being that the world has a kind of inductive therapy to deal with crisis (Covid is the perfect example). China freaks out. The cumulative effect of economic, structural, misguided policies make it harder for Beijing to project a benign-winner profile. Many prestige projects (infrastructure, support for African countries) backlash. 

Through Confucius Institutes the Chinese try to project a positive image but in comparison South Korea fares much better internationally than China.  Foreigners are attracted by learning or business, but not as much for relaxation and the usual Asian menu of fun under the sun.

While the United States is no longer the undisputed unipolar power, it remains the preferred partner. Ukraine proves again that the American might is unparalleled. The Chinese take notice. The Kissinger triangulation strategy is no longer but the Putin/Xi romance is one of mutual interest, with an uncertain life-span. The Chinese prefer any unappealing lover to the come-back of another Gorbachev. Many lies originate in bed, few last overnight.

Xi will remain Xi, be it more of the same. Beware of abundance and take note of the restraint.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022


Les 13 pays exportateurs de pétrole, membres de l'OPEP,  ont décidé une baisse de production de deux millions de barrils par jour en Novembre. Les prix du brut vont évidemment monter.

Ce geste 'éloquent' récompense l'Occident pour l'ensemble des gestes reçus dans le passé. Poutine appréciera. MBS tient sa revanche.  Le Venezuela, l'Iran et Co. rient sous le capot !

Celà prouve une nouvelle fois combien la timidité des Occidentaux est une délinquance structurelle. Prague en était la dernière démonstration.

La fédération russe attaque quasi impunément un pays indépendant, auquel l'Occident apporte un soutien au compte goûtes. Même les Etats-Unis y regardent de près. 

Pendant ce temps l'OPEP célèbre à Vienne sa bonne fortune. J'oubliais , les membres de l'UE et de l'OTAN se revoient à Bruxelles. Il reste peut être encore quelques yachts d'oligarques à confisquer ?

Thursday, October 6, 2022


44 European countries meet this October 6 in Prague about energy and Ukraine.  This 'European political community' is a French idea.  The UK, Turkey and the sparing Balkan countries among others are also attending.

President Macron has often excellent suggestions. This is not one of them. It can only lead to 'pique' in the EU and a plethora of verbal overdose. These most difficult times require concentration, focus and self-control. The upcoming winter will test endurance and will. Everything that might water-down the existing fragile consensus among few has to be avoided. If one wisely guards the doors of the EU and NATO, one should not let some other 'community' become a wild card. Initiatives like these only benefit 'real estate'.

This mad tea party will only placate the egos of the frustrated. Be sure that Putin has a cookie jar in reserve. Beware of Gallic gambles.

Saturday, October 1, 2022


Voltaire famously said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. The same can be said about Russia. It has always been an aberration, better at bulk than at sophisticated packaging. Nevertheless many have underestimated the weight of the sheer size of the place which escapes rational imagination. Napoleon and Hitler misjudged what they were getting in for. Besides, the isolationism which prevails in large parts of the country makes it immune to trends and accepted rules that prevail elsewhere. 

It is said that at Yalta when President Roosevelt proposed a toast to peace, Churchill whispered to an aide 'a piece of Czechoslovakia, a piece of Poland, a piece of Romania...' Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Lots of Western and other leaders have tried to come to terms with Moscow. Dr. Kissinger and President Nixon succeeded to a point, insofar as they never made an attempt to normalize the Soviet Union. They suggested an acceptable modus vivendi. As soon as President Gorbachev tried to normalize things from the inside, undermining the corrupt elites, he paid the price.  After the Yeltsin/Falstaff intermezzo, Putin stepped in.

He lifted the standard of living and modernized the look of things, without fundamentally changing the power structure, indeed enlarging it. The new Russian elites have shown that they were able to absorb foreign influence for themselves, while others remained largely shielded from liberal ideas. Probably this is the reason for an overriding sense of melancholic alienation which pervades in Russian literature.

Putin's Ukranian adventure is risky. Ignorance is bliss as long as the bluff holds. When it will be impossible to hide any longer the bad news out of Lyman or the body bags, the entourage around Putin will get the jitters. Hooked to Western luxury goods which are hard to get now, they do not want to further jeopardize their pathetic decorum and faux glitter. The clowns in eastern Ukraine who were paraded in the Kremlin circus have the popularity of former Nazi Gauleiters in  territories under occupation. Obviously there are many Russophiles there with little legitimacy, but there are many others.

The Ukranians and the West are facing a major quandary. If the Eastern annexed territories are Russian (in Moscow's view), will any military retaliation there by Ukraine be considered by Moscow as an act of war, with all the consequences thereof ? Does NATO have to freeze any request for memberhip from Kiev? Should long-range strategic weaponry, which could reach Luhansk & Co., be delivered to the Ukranians, or not?

This hybrid war will only aggravate the many problems that confront the West and the EU in particular. Europe sold its soul to Russian energy. History will judge if Chancellor Angela Merkel erred or not. Anyhow, she found enough willing partners in the EU to steer her policies forward. 

Pain is still a safer outcome than war. One should not give the Russian voyeur the pleasure of observing an EU in disarray. London suffered during the Blitz and by doing so England drove Hitler mad. There is a lesson to be learned there. Ukraine should receive all the sophisticated weaponry it requires. The West cannot partake in a Russian charade. If it cannot take a cue from the known Potemkin representation, it should return to the history books.

Yesterday was a bad day for Europe. One should not make it worse by not responding to a nefarious imposition or by being oblivious to the many Russians who let their views known by leaving the madhouse.

Monday, September 26, 2022


L' Italie a voté. La victoire électorale de Giorgia Meloni était attendue. Dans son sillage des personnalités pour le moins inquietantes comme Matteo Salvini ou Silvio Berlusconi attendent leur heure.

Cela n'arrange pas l'Union Européenne. L'Italie est un des piliers sur lesquels l'Europe s'est construite. Mario Draghi, dernier Premier Ministre avant le déluge était le porteur de cet héritage. Il a même failli en devenir l'innovateur.

Partout le désarroi semble l'emporter sur l'analyse. Pour peu on verrait Mussolini apparaitre comme le commandeur dans le dernier acte de Don Giovanni. Celà est ridicule. Certes il y a de quoi s'interroger, mais l'Italie garde pour elle son savoir- faire et une sophistication uniques. Dans une crise économique et financière d'une telle ampleur il est improbable que Giorgia Meloni risque de déstabiliser brutalement la situation. Elle essayera sans doute de rassurer sur l'essentiel, quitte à "remuer" l'accessoire. En réalité elle n'a pas d'autre option que de continuer  une tradition politique qui bénéficie d'ailleurs à l'Italie. Sans doute sera-t-elle moins empressée de suivre inconditionnellement les priorités de la Commission ou de l'OTAN et devra-t-elle ménager les engouements dubieux qui existent dans son entourage. Elle risque de devoir lâcher du lest sur l'immigration ou les questions éthiques pour lesquelles sa coalition est demanderesse.

Il est trop tôt pour prédire si l'Italie suivra l'exemple Hongrois. C'est peu probable, eu égard aux liens qui la relient à l'Union Européenne, dont elle est le co-fondateur. Il faut surtout que ses alliés naturels fassent preuve de patience et qu'ils s'abstiennent de répéter la récente gueguerre ridicule entre l'Italie et la France. 

Il arrive malheureusement que les pays font de mauvais choix. Il faut leur laisser une marge de manoeuvre qui leur permette d'amortir le choc. Si madame Meloni est confirmée comme première ministre, elle aura le choix de  choisir son entourage. Soit elle confiera des portefeuilles ministériels importants a des personnalités crédibles, soit elle choisira la fuite en  avant et la banqueroute. Il faut souhaiter que le zèle et l'emportement restent sous contrôle.

Friday, September 16, 2022


 Funerals obey to categories, status and moods.

There are the usual ones that create an opportunity for grief. There is the catharsis- mode (Princess Diana). The shameful one was reserved for i.a. President Gorbatchev, and Princess Margaret.  And one can go on...

Queen Elisabeth II is genuinely mourned and universally respected. The emotions are real. 

Something else is going on. The pomp and grandeur which are staged to the perfection start to look more about a British mythology than just about the passing of a beloved monarch. It looks as if Queen Victoria, the Raj or Winston Churchill might rise from their graves and join the mourners next Monday.

The splendid performance works as a quick anesthetic but the awakening might be unpleasant. The new hazardous P.M. will have to come to terms with a country in downfall and with a winter wherein there will be more frostbites than fun. King Charles III will need to temper his occasionally surprising (generally smart) assessments. The Queen Consort might be the guarantor of damage control.

Monday will see kings and presidents in Westminster Abbey, paying homage to a sovereign many approached but few knew. The impressive funeral procession will be as much about the person who deserves it than about an institution which, in its current form, has perhaps outlived its time.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


Après le communiqué inquietant du Palais, le décès d'Elisabeth II était désormais attendu. L'émotion qui s'est emparée du monde ne l'était pas.

Cette reine choisit la distance parce qu'elle considérait qu'elle "était" la fonction royale. Comparées a elle, d'autres têtes couronnées ( à l'exception de la reine du Danemark) apparaissent souvent pathétiques, voir mème dépassées par les évènements et le temps.

Sa réticense (relative) a réussi à maintenir le Commonwealth et à amortir à la fois le choc du Brexit comme les vélléités indépendantistes de l'Ecosse.

Le cérémonial qui  l'entourait lui appartenait. Charles III risque de ne pas être en mesure de le réclamer pour sa propre personne. Au demeurant, une fois l'émotion passée, il devra contrôler un tempérament fréquemment agressif  et subversif.

Probablement la reine a-t-elle fait le choix de rester opaque pour éviter que ce  qu'elle considerait être la transcendance de son rôle dans l'état et dans le monde soit mis en cause. 

Elle est regrettée au de là des frontières parce que l'apparance presque mystique de son comportement fascinait. Le 19 Septembre la fascination qu'exerça ce monarque Britanique cessera d'exister.

Comme sa mère, le roi Charles III risque d'être confronté à des situations difficiles. Il lui faudra éviter qu'un besoin de proximité, dicté par la nécessité réelle ou imaginaire, porte ombrage à l'impératif de distance tempérée.   

Thursday, September 8, 2022


The ultimate monarch died. It is far too early to say if an other Elizabethan era ended as did the Victorian and Edwardian eras before.

The Queen was her own manager of joys and sorrows, a cypher almost, who saw her realm shrink, but never at the cost of the respect she continued to earn.

It is far too early to arrive at a serene appreciation of a personality who remained covered by too many drapes, which ended up hiding her both from view and from a more agnostic appreciation.



Monday, September 5, 2022


Les nuages s'accumulent en Europe. La Belgique semble immobilisée dans l'oeil de ce cyclone.

Une fois de plus la gestion des affaires y devient davantage tributaire du système que de la nécessité. Le premier ministre préside une coalition gouvernementale qui reçoit  ses ordres de présidents de parti. Les "gouvernements" régionaux - en premier lieu du coté flamand - deviennent infréquentables.

Ecolo est à la majorité ce que la cigüe était à Socrate. Ce parti se contortionne entre le nucléaire, les trotinettes et des centres ville devenus comme Pampelune, réservés à une course folle de vélos au lieu des taraux, sur fond de guerre à l'automobile. Que les rues se trouvent dans un état déplorable, que l'environnement urbain se déteriore, que les tags envahissent tout, le step règne.

Alexander De Croo essaye d'arrêter la dérive économique. Il a raison de plaider en faveur d'une approche européenne. Encore faudra-t-il convaincre ses partenaires gouvernementaux à se montrer plus pragmatiques. Il pourrait encore lester les verts en faveur d'un autre parti, mais celà risque ce créer des problèmes (dépassés) d'équilibre entre Nord et Sud ( ou l'on ne compte plus les excellences sans majuscule).

Tôt ou tard il faudra bien revoir la taxation, l'index, le régime des transports, les bénéfices ou libéralités dont bénéficient les grandes entreprises, l'appui trop chichement accordé aux modestes mesures dont bénécifient les investissements de la nouvelle génération (climat, énergies renouvelables ,start-ups). Les récentes inondations en Wallonie auraient du provoquer l'innovation. On a préféré continuer comme avant. Navrant.

Partout, les services, la police, les secteurs prioritaires sont insuffisants. Pour qui a le courage de regarder RTL il ne retiendra que l'image  d'un pays  qui frise le débilité structurelle. Un chien écrasé à Marcinelle passe avant la guerre en Ukraine.

Il faut espérer que Monsieur De Croo retrouve un second souffle. Il y a dans son équipe  des personnalités fiables sur lesquelles il peut compter -Madame Van Der Straeten incluse- mais il lui faut une meilleure communication avec un pays qui se perd déjà en conjectures sur un hiver du type Bérézina, en attendant que le prix du gaz n'ait raison de sa patience et de son pouvoir d'achat.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Gorbachev was not unlike Sisyphos. He tried to roll the Russian boulder up the hill of democracy only for it to roll down.

He was a complex figure but was more able to alter appearance than reality. At the end he lost control of both. He was certainly aware of the Soviet Union's bankruptcy but might have underestimated the structural inertia of Russia, which remains for a large part in a permanent lockdown, whatever history's aberrations might recast at the top.

He was not helped by the Schadenfreude in the West. The Perestroika could have benefited from a larger measure of tact. Russia stands for a lot of things but it is never small. 

Monday, August 29, 2022


EU leaders can be seen running, bothering, cajoling just about anyone who is willing to listen. The Commission preaches, the Council is stuck. If Ukraine doesn't lose, the EU does. Putin was able to achieve a larger, still unfolding consequence, the unstoppable disarray in the West, mostly in Europe. 

If future developments remain unclear, the Russian Federation might achieve a more ominous alternative for short-term gains in Ukraine--a structural weakening of Western Europe. The talk about NATO and Western awakening sounds hollow when the bills can no longer be paid. The approaching winter will downgrade resolve and cohesion. The energy Armageddon will certainly derail peoples' sympathies and give Putin some new weapon of mass destruction in the form of a medieval plague that will corrode heart and will. 

The US is yet again the only trustworthy force Ukraine can count on. The EU parades the Ukrainian flag in Brussels' main square, big deal. There is no Winston Churchill around, who predicted it all, even then. Russia's times of enlightenment  are short-lived. When they occur, they shouldn't be ignored. Neither should one lose a warranted sceptical appreciation regarding their sustainability.

There is some talk in the EU regarding the need for a Zeitenweide , mostly in military matters. All good and well but one knows too well that in the long term we are all dead. Europeans had better face the music. The coming months require social engineering, hard truths and biting living conditions. Governments still look unable to enter into an intelligent dialogue with their constituents. The talks around energy appear to happen in a black hole. Instead of considering an EU Marshall Plan, Europeans appear stuck in a repair shop. In Russia they burn gas for their pleasure. In Ukraine David humiliates Goliath, who will try to win the alternative war by destabilizing Europe. Let there be no mistake, worldwide opportunists rule.

Qatar's soccer folly will deprive Ukraine of its pole position in the world. The grit will hold, the fans will be duped and Putin might as well drop by. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022


The Trump administration killed the former 2015 nuclear deal with Iran for the simple reason that it was President Obama's achievement. The same happened with Asia, Cuba and was attempted on health care.

It looks as if a new deal might be in the making. The same partners (permanent members of the Security Council + Germany and the EU) appear to be close to arriving at an agreement with Iran. Teheran demands guarantees for the survival of a deal, in case there is a change in the US administration. 

Iran is a most unpleasant partner. It can therefore be expected for any agreement to be unpopular. Israel will be sceptic. The Republicans will be on their "isolationist" best. The Democrats will be divided and President Biden will have again a hard sell.

This important matter has also to be weighed on a different scale. The accumulation of flash points everywhere risks getting out of control. Accidental but predictable after-shocks--inflation, shortages, social unrest, i.a.-- can further destabilize a world order in shambles. One might like it or not, but the new plurality of players in the world requires that the established stockholders meet and talk, other than in Skype. Too many conflicts and distortions everywhere require an urgent hands-on approach. If the Iran deal comes true it might encourage the great powers to rediscover some merit in "issue compartment" preferably to "issue  metastasis," 

Of course the proof will be in the nuclear pudding but l'appétit vient en mangeant.

Monday, August 15, 2022


The attemped murder of Salman Rusdie proves again the enduring strength of mass frustration. His book resulted in the Fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeiny. It is a rather  boring read. It is ironic to observe that all the criticism came from a creed that is mostly uninterested in any literature other than the obliged Koran. Furthermore, the now infamous Satanic Verses make for painful reading and do not ad or substract much regarding the prophet's general perception. The small additions are low in calories. Christ, Jefferson or Louis XVI  received their shares of Hineinintpretierung without creating bonfires.

Sometimes the generally controled mind of the ordinary Muslim appears to be deconnected from reality, unable to accept some enlightement. It hoards resentment. Even in the more advanced Muslim societies, made for CNN or soccer, there remains always a form of religious totalitarism. Any form of tolerance is linked to an ulterior motive. 

The Talibans are the extreme version of this mindset but their adherence to a mothballed set of rules is also shared by many, from Indonesia to Morocco. The disguise of a political/econnomic leadership, that wants to pass for "modern", should not hide perverse shortcomings regarding governance, human rights or distribution of wealth. Islam can be manupulated into a refuge for the overwhelming mass of alienated individuals. Their Friday prayers are spontaneous and not just a parenthesis for the "influencers" who follow the ritual and pocket the wordly goods.

Rushdie and a few others laid bare the inconveniences of this religious canon which was never able to adjust, correct or reinvent itself. Islam stands because it refuses any form of interpretation. It might disguise itself but it remains basically monolythic.

Believers are mostly genuine. The generosity shown during Ramadan is exemplary. The tabous remain, unfortunately. Sunnis and Shia stand in opposition like Catholics and Protestants before. It is time to realize that outdated theological arguments are out of place in the algoritm handbook of today. This does not come easy. Ulster shows how hard it is to battle prejudice.

Rushdie paid the price for defending, in other words, the pertinence of Foucault's pendulum. The Muslims should grieve less and remember more. They might read Amin Maalouf. After all Amazon still supplies where the bookshops close.

Rushdie will be back, with his irony intact...

Friday, August 5, 2022


The Goulash King was in Texas. The prophet of MAGA Euro-style spoke in front of Trump addicts and served his dish of right wing B.S. He aired a confused creed wherein anti-semitism, ethno purification a la Gobineau and reactionary slurs prevailed.

The audience loved it. This clown is an embarassment for the European Union. There is no longer an excuse for letting this man have and eat his poisonous cake in the midst of Brussel's fine fleur of democracies. It is bad enough to let Poland get away (for now) with is LBGTQ free zones, because of the support it provides for Ukranian refugees. Letting Hungary free after repeated outrage is not acceptable. The Commission and the Council have the moral and political duty to take a stand. 

The EU must act quickly if it does not want to veer into yet another moral Munich mode. If it chooses to turn a blind eye to the actions of this new Miklos Horthy incarnate,  it might as well put its Brussels headquarters up for sale. Hungary was Hitler's lapdog. It looks as if Orban is seeking a new master, too. He had better be shown the EU exit, then go for some Trump/Putin dating site on the web.


Inderdaad anders dan in Parijs of Italie bv. zijn de terrassen hier lelijk en gewoon smakeloos, bijeengetimmerd voor een steenweg esthetiek....

Thursday, August 4, 2022


The US House speaker is a character. She went to Taiwan over the objections of many. As could have been expected, China is livid. It is impossible to predict if its bite will match its bark.

The Unites States are bound by the Shanghai Communique wherein they adhere to the One-China policy. This commitment is vague enough to still allow for some form of ambiguity regarding Taiwan's future, under the umbrella of a peaceful resolution.

Since the Mao-Nixon historic meeting, China reinvented itself as a major player in world affairs. While Taiwan is an economic powerhouse, China's shadow looms large worldwide. Taipei is diplomatically isolated. Beijing does not tolerate any form of encroachment in what it considers to be its own. Hence the anger regarding Ms. Pelosi's rather modest stop-over. China can be very pragmatic, as long as its claims are secured but it is a difficult partner as soon as its resolve is questioned (Tibet, border dispute with India, the South China Sea, Hong Kong, the Diaoyutais).

This American-made Iron Lady knows all too well that her Taiwan stop-over will meet with some form of retaliation. Beijing might repeat the Quemoy scenario or go for a more hard line move. When Chinese lose face, hell can follow.

China starts to consider the United States as a deterent that is weakened. The "2 against 1" nightmare senario that Kissinger wanted to avoid at all cost is a reality now, after the Xi/Putin idyll this year.  On the other hand the personal and economic interplay between the Chinese on both sides of the Straits shouldn't be underestimated.

Ms. Pelosi bet that Beijing's anger would refrain from going too far in testing the pax americana in the Pacific. She is probably right and the coming Chinese pyrotechnics might be nothing but a very ominous show of force after all. Still, in a world on edge, it might be appropriate for the major powers to find a way to talk to each other again, in a better format than Skype.

Monday, August 1, 2022


Over three week-ends, Tomorrowland in Belgium brought together hundreds of thousands of people to share a frenzy in some overwhelming decors worthy of Star Wars.  Disc jockeys presided over waves of dancing or better, moving processed bodies. This "UN of Shakers" looked like a frenzy of flags and shaved armpits...the Woodstock survivors could not believe their eyes...and ears.

This costly extravaganza was without soul or merit, but the perfect organization, control, security and service were awesome. The event was chic-light, sect-like, an induced false feeling of belonging, to what? It was neither left- or right-oriented and appeared like a gigantic Euro or dollar rave.

The machine was formidable but in the end, it was nothing more than yet an other obituary for illusions gone. The coronation of the priest/disc jockey indicates how deep the fall is. This was no Coachella (where there is room for talent). It felt like a successful  post-transplant party, all wires, few scars, and a mild euphoria until the next edition. Even the bodies missed sex appeal. They looked displaced and maybe they were just that, a post-sex Generation X, desperately seeking the algorithm they lost on the way to the parking lot.

Friday, July 29, 2022


A priori, la désignation de Hadja Lahbib au poste de Ministre des Affaires étrangères belge est surprenant. Son profil est interessant mais déconcertant. Depuis, les conditions de son voyage en Crimée , comme journaliste, provoque des réactions contradictoires. Fallait-il en tenir compte dans l'évaluation de son parcours , en amont ? Sans doute, mais le "peigne fin" (screening) n'est pas la règle du jeu en Belgique. Il est regrettable que le jugement de l'interessée soit mis en doute, dès son entrée au gouvernement.

Le mal est fait mais le mal court ! En réalité c'est le jugement du président du MR qui inquiète. Georges-Louis Bouchez est un casseur. Son tempérament conduit à des initiatives et propos occasionellement interessants et fréquemment dérangeants. Le problème est d'ordre structurel .

La Belgique est désormais gouvernée par des présidents de parti qui se substituent à l'état de droit et qui marginalisent la fonction de chef de gouvernement. Que le premier ministre n'ait plus un droit de regard sur la  composition de son équipe est  aberrant. Celà affaiblit son autorité et la fiabilité de ministres qui sont en fait les "minions" de leur parti. Au demeurant c'est ainsi que se crée une nébuleuse politique qui échappe à toute vérification ou audit. La nouvelle ministre est doublement victime de la dérive d'un système bancal et d'un laissez-faire qui en dit long sur l'état des lieux en Belgique.

Enfin il restait assez de talents professionnels pour faire l'économie d'une gaffe. Madame Lahbib est déjà victime d'un faux départ. Parions que ses interlocuteurs l'ont déjà  notarié et que dans son Département, qu'elle ne connait pas, le scepticisme domine.

 Mème les politiques doués auraient intérèt à faire preuve d'humilité.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


La mauvaise foi de la Russie  n'a d'égale que la crédulité de ceux qui sont supposés la comprendre.

Les floués sont nombreux. L'histoire récente devrait servir d'avertissement. Du pacte de non agression avec l'Allemagne nazie à aujourd'hui les exemples de la duplicité érigée comme système s'accumulent et se ressemblent. La Russie de Poutine repose sur le principe du conditionnel. Les accords et arrangements conclus sont toujours suivis d'un codicille unilatéral qui remet en question ce que la partie adverse croyait acquis.

Certes on ne peut ignorer la Russie ni esquiver le contact, pour autant que l'on se garde des illusions. Avant que le blé Ukrainien n'arrive à destination il conviendra de rester préparés à des manoeuvres militaires et diplomatiques qui sont les corrolaires du jeu d'échecs du Kremlin.

Si l'Union Soviétique souhaitait magré tout l'acceptation, la Russie de Poutine se croit l'égale des autres avant de se comporter comme supérieure, qui sait ? Déjà ses émules dans le monde et, en premier lieu en Occident sont nombreux. On ne compte plus le nombre d'individus qui se croient marginalisés et ignorés par ce que les Américains appellent le deep state.  

Il faut se garder de méconnaitre la frustration qui anime un malaise qui se militarise, style Goulash. La porosité des démocraties est établie. Il suffit de lire les sous-titres du désastre Brexit ou d'observer les sophismes genre Realpolitik auxquels certains se réfèrent pour excuser leur complaisance envers la Hongrie, la Pologne ou la Turquie, entre autres (la liste est longue et couvre tous les continents).

Poutine sait que l'UE est molle et que les Etats Unis se trouvent en amont d'une guerre civile. Déjà les signes  indiquant une lassitude par rapport à ce qui se passe en Ukraine se multiplient. Les impératifs énergétiques, voir mème les conditions saisonnières auront raison des émotions antérieures. Reste que le courage de l'Ukraine, pays mal aimé, mal connu, pourrait encore changer le jeu et les enjeux...

"Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre ni de réussir pour persévérer".

Saturday, July 23, 2022


De Vlaamse regering was nergens te zien tijdens de 21 Juli viering. Jammer dat de hoffelijkheid niet langer meetelt in die onaantrekkelijke ploeg. Niet dat er op dit gebied veel te verwachten valt van Mevr. Homans (zij met de "vod") en Co. De vergelijking met de akelige 11 juli "viering" was misschien te pijnlijk voor de dwerg-Excellenties om het LIVE te moeten ondergaan. Verdachte familiefeestjes vinden inderdaad beter plaats achter gesloten deuren en vensters (Vlaams belang en Schild en Vriend weten er alles van) .

Vlaanderen is een pluralistische samenleving en niet een soort reservaat voor versleten leeuwen uit de Vandersteen mythologie.

Koning Filip maakte een goede opgemerkte beurt !

Thursday, July 21, 2022

President Biden's Hajj

The American president finally made it. He visited Israel, purging the word "occupation" from his discourse. He made a brief stop in Ramallah and headed for Saudi Arabia where an aloof Muhammed bin Salman contended with Biden's bump. An enlarged meeting with India and the Emirates was supposed to be the cherry on the pie.

Putin made a similar trip to Iran where also Erdogan, NATO member, appeared with is usual tricks, keeping Putin waiting...

Biden is an unlucky president. While he is often right, he appears to be unable to be convincing, both at home and abroad. He totally lacks verbal firepower. Sometimes he makes uneven choices, bringing up Khashoggi but omitting Shireen Abu Aklek. Effusive with the Israelis he appeared tired elsewhere.

Putin has no time for niceties and is content to be the salesman who returns home content, as long as he found a client for his ware. Today's clients are tomorrow's fools anyway.

It is doubtful that Biden achieved anything. Israel, being what it is, remains a reliable partner and formidable democracy. The Palestinians have to be content with a nod and the snubs of their rich neighbors. The Saudis can bitterly compare their standing with US presidents since FDR/Trump heydays to Biden's resignation. They were not impressed and will not be inclined to hurry up their oil output for too little in return.

Biden is facing Armageddon at home and a looming strategic rift abroad. There is something nefarious raising its ugly head everywhere. This rise of frankly very disturbing trends looks unstoppable. Democracies have to face the enemy within, who act as a fifth column for the evil abroad. Let there be no mistake, globalization is being replaced by occupation. The slow erosion of the American democratic model is being copied everywhere. In Europe, Brexit disease continues to spread. The Hungarian model is no longer an aberration, it is becoming trendy, fashionable. The Polish abortion or gay unfriendly maps have followers everywhere.

Actually Biden might look and act as a man of his age does, but he doesn't fare better than President Macron or the former Italian P.M. Mario Draghi, the smartest Western leaders, equally sabotaged by the homegrown enemy. When they reach out abroad, they ignore that they might deal with the masterminds of their own troubles at home.  Don't go for the arsonist when your house is on fire.

Saturday, July 16, 2022


Christopher Hitchens tells how Neville Chamberlain asked Hitler if there was something else he wanted besides Austria and the Rhineland. The Fuhrer answered that Czechoslovakia would be nice. So the British P.M. together with Lord Halifax entered the chorus of the Munich duped. Old stubborn men can be dangerous, as President Biden proved yet again with the Saudis.

Regarding Ukraine, the rot prevails. Putin's "special operation" was totally unacceptable from the start, a coup de grace against all agreed rules of international law. After the annexation of Crimea the Russians knew the West had little mettle. Hence the "special operation" has no boundaries. His Sudeten in the East fool no one but some obliged "client states".

The reverend Stoltenberg's NATO is not unlike the Catholic church that screams about others' sins but leaves the option of confession open. Early on, NATO said it would never be involved in an operation/retaliation on Russian soil. Normally one refrains from letting the enemy know how far one considers going. Now the Russian side has carte blanche to do in Ukraine as they want. The West sends arms and logistics and supports Kiev with the caveat that Russia is off limits (does the same apply for Belarus?) 

Given the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the destruction of infrastructure and property, the violation of every rule of international law and conventions is growing by the day.  How long can one remain a voyeur of the systematic onslaught on a country that cannot help being the depository of a convoluted history. It is impossible to predict if Putin has set an end game plan. Even if he were to stop, he should have to pay, to repair, atone, leave. This is wishful thinking, he will do none of the above if he is not removed.

In the West, "Ukraine fatigue" will set in. Notice that unlike famous causes (Bangladesh, Biafra, We are the People) the media remain "unsentimental". The spoiled West fears the winter, inflation, food shortage, discomfort...Ukraine is too close to ignore but still too different to feel close. President Zelensky is the last man in the Pantheon of disappearing heroes. He must feel lonely and it would be scandalous if the West left him with only Skype to show for his rage. In the future one might reconsider the rules and the facts. Perpetrators never deserve a blank check. It is time to find a way to make Putin pay, suffer and be removed. The current strategy only aggravates the harm done on the innocent and leaves the aggressor free to roam. Rational risk taking has to be on the table...remember the targeted bombing of Belgrade during the Bosnian conflict ?


La nouvelle Ministre des Affaires Etrangères belge a un profil interessant. Le choix du président du MR a une nouvelle fois surpris et piégé. A priori, la personnalité de Hadja Lahbib a beaucoup pour séduire. Reste qu'elle n'a pas l'expérience d'un Département difficile ou les susceptibilités abondent. Aussi faudra-t- elle dès à présent envisager les choix et les priorités de la prochaine présidence belge de l'UE.

L'Ukraine, entre autres, obligera par ailleurs les pays membres de l'OTAN à envisager concrètement des choix difficiles et couteux. Or on connait l'état absolument désastreux des Finances en Belgique. Ce gouvernement est fréquemment l'otage d'un parti socialiste Wallon qui est à la fois responsable du déclin accéléré de la Wallonie mais aussi de la difficulté que rencontre ce gouvernement à entrer de plein piéd dans le "contemporain". L'interminable discussion au sujet de la réforme des pensions oppose une nouvelle fois un socialisme dépassé au renouvellement.

La nouvelle ministre se retrouvera d'emblée dans une galère peu habituée a une mer aussi démontée.  Georges - Louis Bouchez est un parrain envahissant. en tant que journaliste Madame Lahbib a fait la démonstation se son indépendance , d'une agilité intellectuelle et d'un intérèt culturel indiscutable. Encore faudra-t-elle se méfier des pièges et des envies.

La diplomatie est un métier très particulier, avec ses tics, névroses et courts moments d'euphorie. Qu'elle se souvienne de Talleyrand "Pas de zèle".

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

11 JULI 2022

De Vlaamse kermis draaide op volle toeren in een onverschillig Bussel dat liever uitkeek naar de Rolling Stones en Wout Van Aert dan naar het in het Stadhuis verzamelde  ratpack.

Onder de leiding van de onvermijdelijke Mevr. Homans gaf die troep een vermoeide en onaantrekkelijke indruk. Jan Jambon haalt Felix Timmermans uit de kast, Hilde Crevits was op haar Bagheera best, Ben Weyts speelde (zoals altijd) Shere Khan en Bart De Wever was gekleed in de beruchte made in Antwerp Brummel look. Premier De Croo , uitgenodigd, gaf de indruk zich af te vragen wat hij in hemelsnaam daar zat te doen.

Europa gaat een nog onvoorzienabre winter tegemoet. Dit soort Vlaamse prominenten zien de Berezina niet aankomen en kijken niet verder dan de Groeningekouter. Indien ze de kans hadden, zou Vlaanderen onmiddellijk worden hervormd naar een "Servie bis" model. Putin kan in utra Vlaanderen trouwens  op een aantal sycofanten tellen, die hun ogenblik afwachten om uit de kast te komen. De Vlaamse regering heeft de reputatie de ze verdient, wereldvreemd,ongenietbaar en bestuuronkundig. Zij is trowens de enige niet want haar tegenhangers in Brussel en Wallonie zijn even pathetish, zij het met wat meer schroom .

Sic transit...

Saturday, July 9, 2022


Beide politici hadden een "dubbelgesprek" in De Morgen ( 9/07/22). Het komt sympathiek over. Er wordt niets openbarend of opmerkelijk gezegd. Het klinkt allemaal een beetje te braaf. Ja, het is Belgisch en weinig kasten zullen leeg lopen als gevolg van die gezellige babbel.

Weliswaar verdien beiden respect  voor hun hoffelijkheid en filosofische afkeer voor het ultra conservatieve gedragpatroon dat overal terrein wint. Zij vertegenwoordigen morele en politieke beschaving . Belgie is zeldzaam een uitblinker of voorloper, maar het heeft toch zijn eigen manier om mensen te betrekken. Het is soms moeilijk, vooral wegens de opgelegde afschuwelijke bestuursvorm, die soms leidt tot een soort algemene coma.

Beiden leverden het bewijs dat een openhartig gesprek mogelijk blijft. Het moet beter worden, ondersteund door de jongere generaties die nu beter kunnen inschatten wat (nog) beter kan. De voorbeelden hier en in het buitenland zijn legio.

Petra en Elio ( verontschuldiging voor de familiariteit) zijn personen met wie het zeker plezierig zou zijn gewoon op een terrasje te filosoferen...

Friday, July 8, 2022


The assassination of former PM Abe is shocking obviously. It is a stain on a model of society almost totally devoid of gun violence. The Japanese must feel that a taboo or cultural consensus has been broken. This most tragic death should not be allowed to torn apart a tested covenant.

Thursday, July 7, 2022


Finally Boris Johnson was pushed out ...maybe? Even his most trusted coterie gave up on a man who might have broken Trump's record of accumulated lies. Fortunately the Conservatives in the UK are different from the Republicans in the US. They show some mettle, albeit late in time.

Johnson built a career on misdemeanours and ridicule. The image of him dangling from an "impertinent" balloon in London's sky was prophetic for his Swiftian proclivities. He chose to be the frontman for Brexit, hence prefering to be Britain's undertaker rather than its saver.

The speed of the UK's overall retreat leaves one wondering how to stop the slide . Obviously, European countries, and also the United States, don't feel that well lately, but they remain somewhat more clairvoyant both in problem-solving and in the realization of the adjustments they have to make. The British PM tried any trick, move, counter-fight, to hide the reality. He was even so cynical as to play the part of Ukraine's ultimate defender, with little to show for other than bombast.

Brexit reduced his role to such an extent that he felt obliged to resort to the most surreal moves to fill the void. The questioning of the Irish negociated arrangement with the EU or his "Rwanda timely vacation for illegal  immigrants in the UK" were lately some of his more vivid transgressions. The UK might have a hard time to convince Scotland that remaining in this sinking ship represents a better outcome than independence. The Commonwealth might have less consideration for King Charles than it had for the current sovereign. The monarchy, and the theatrics that go with it, start to look out of touch. 

Boris Johnson wanted his cake but he also ate it. Hence his fatal ailment of delusion. However, even as caretaker he remains unpredictable. His departure is potentially "boobytrapped". Do not expect a correct curtain call from this clown.

Once the Conservatives agree upon a successor, he can still book a room in Mar-a-Lago, where the two unreliables can reminisce and plot. Certain species try to delay their demise but in the end, Darwin prevails. Curtain?


Saturday, July 2, 2022


La réunion de l'OTAN à Madrid était annoncée comme historique. Bon, il y a eu des promesses, encore faudra-t-il les tenir. Le Secrétaire général de l'Alliance s'est montré satisfait, le président Ukrainien résigné et le Turc magnanime. Le coeur des adeptes aux 2 % était réconfortant.

Poutine est resté observateur distant. Il préfère le corps à corps dans lequel il excelle.

En réalité peu a changé. Cette alliance défensive et fondamentalement conservatrice reste nécessaire mais elle souffrira toujours d'un déficit fondamental, propre aux démocraties. On ne voudrait pas qu'elle se réinvente sur le dos de son capital "démocratie", mais c'est aussi dans cet élément attractif  que réside sa faiblesse. Elle n'est jamais vraiment contraignante.

Certes la Suède et la Finlande ont reçu le feu vert pour devenir membres à part entière. Si la Turquie ne s'y est plus opposée, les conditions qui ont été agrées entre les deux Scandinaves et la Turquie restent ambigues et ,  Erdogan oblige, probablement piègées . 

Il est certain que l'on reparlera des 2 %  du PNB. A ce sujet le comportement Echternachien de la Belgique, siège de l'Alliance, est indéfendable. Elle s'engage mais étale des sophismes qui sont franchement honteux.

L'Ukraine est le cube de Rubic par excellence. Plus on veut, moins on peut. Ce drame en direct émeut encore avant qu'il ne lasse demain. Les gestes du genre Opéra qu'affectionnent les Européens n'impressionneront pas Poutine qui ne pense qu'en termes opérationnels. Les pélérinages répétés à  Kiev finiront par devenir banals et méritent un rééquilibrage plus sophistiqué. Le geste perd de son significant quand il est répété. Le président Ukrainien doit aussi se garder de se retrouver manipulé "en direct". 

L'Otan continuera, avec un seul support vraiment crédible, celui des Etats Unis. Cette donnée peut etre remise en question. On a vu avec Trump que les certitudes sont aléatoires, dès lors qu'elles tombent entre les mains de l'apprenti sorcier

 L'Alliance a gagné du temps. Encore faudra-il qu'elle gagne la bataille.

Saturday, June 25, 2022


Some thought that the former president would slowly become another unpleasant episode of America's past. Wrong! He is more alive than ever. Parts of the country have been overtaken by his "cult". Part of the institutions have been hijacked by proxies who only have him to thank for the jobs they hold.
Now his nominees in the Supreme Court have reversed "Roe v. Wade". They stole women's right to be the master of their own destiny, making Margaret Atwood's novel "The Handmaid's tale"  prescient. These angry judges who make for the Panzer division of the Court will not stop there. Other issues such as birth control, gay marriage are waiting for the scaffold. By refusing creationism, the conservative judges will deprive America of the progress achieved, the moral stature won and the social consensus obtained. Only guns will have a "free for all."

Trump sees in this "God's will."  The Vatican followed suit, chosing absurd doctrine over compassion, which is supposely a Christian "speciality''. Coming from Trump, who has no clue about God (and the rest), nothing surprises anybody anymore. Coming from the church, some will feel entitled to think that the time for its exit has definitively arrived. 

Parts of the fly-over American states applaud, while the enlightened ones feels betrayed. America appears as haven given up ethical leadership at a most unwelcome time:  when a world in tatters looks for an anchor. At the end of the day this political Untergangcreated by Republicans, only serves the narrative of rogue others.

America remains a pole for creativity in all fields, but even the bravest start to suffer fatigue when the system (not ideal from the start) is derailed by politics, corruption and gerrymandering. Le pays réel n'est plus le pays légal. The Biden administration, which has to deal with all problems under the sun, looks sometimes Carter-like. The President makes the right analysis but in a time where you can no longer convince if you are not entertaining, he faces a hopeless predicament. 

So the Supreme Court, in its current form, could undermine a great historical ambition with impunity and with the applause of the intellectually deficient and the January 6 zealots.  America has gotten  used to reeling, there is more to come.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


 .....mais on le regarde trop et on ne le lit pas assez.


Jean Louis Trintignant a été l'un des derniers grands d'un cinema français désormais agonisant. La morgue du grand cinema international est pleine.

Certes Cannes a démontré que les fims qu'on allait voir à  la Pagode à Paris résistent mais c'est Marvel qui est désormais l'occupant. Meme Godzilla était plus fréquentable.

Trintignant représentait la culture et la séduction. Avec d'autres réalisateurs, actrices et acteurs il était le parfait représentant d'une sensibilité aujourd'hui en péril . Les comparaisons sont pénibles. Les engouements évoluent, dommage. Jean Louis a rejoint Moliere. L'année leur appartient.

Monday, June 20, 2022


Finally the shroud has been lifted. Alexander De Croo, Belgium's Prime Minister, may not have found the ghosts in the tragic end of Congo's first prime minister but he certainly found the words for Belgium's shame.

Many circumstantial facts still need to be revealed but truth can be a silent partner until it chooses to make its move. It will at the end.

Now Belgium might have atoned for Leopold II's colonial genocide. More remains to be done to try to alleviate the pain that outlived yesterday's thrones, uniforms and staged repentance.

Some who had met the young Lumumba in their university days easily remember his regal demeanor and his words which burned holes in the official codex.

Both he and Sir Roger Casement, the great demystifyer of Leopold II, deserve a dignified place of remembrance in Brussels.  Why not near the Cambre abbey, where embarrassing statues abound and reflection could come spontaneously?


The result of the French elections for Parliament is disappointing for President Macron. The Left and also the Right won a considerable amount of votes, while he lost the needed absolute majority. All this doesn't bode well for his ambitious agenda. Neither will it help him retaining his international aura. Like other democracies in the West, France will have to deal now with the sabotage coming from the inside.

Europe should worry because existing alliances and partnerships will come under pressure both from the French Left and the Right. Oligopoly situations might lead to a perverse blockade of reform and innovation. The ideas of LePen are nefarious. The agenda of Mélenchon is nihilistic. Europe, the Markets and the Atlantic world need a creative operator like Macron to stem opportunistic fallacies that might well derail what is left of enlightened governance.

France joins, for now, Germany and the United States "in search of lost time."  Tragically this is not about a novel but about the structural component of the life as we knew it, or as we wish for. The cracks in the rule of law and social justice could multiply. Events in Eastern Europe and the coming winter plague could exacerbate climate change together with a major food and markets/energy crisis. The West has no leader who can inspire as Macron does. Unlike President Biden, he can go everywhere without awakening the ghost of Canossa. The opposition of Left and Right will stop at nothing to curtail his initiatives.

France remains a strong country, mine de rien. The French are quick to realize where and when they erred. Still it has to be hoped that they spare themselves the periodic catastrophic outburst they were used to. The more so, that Macron is not deGaulle, who preferred the shore of Ireland rather than dealing with the disputable choice of his countrymen.  Macron would not.

Sunday, June 19, 2022


Le spectacle qu'offraient les trois dirigeants de l'Union Europeenne en Ukraine rappelait le fameux tableau de Bruegel ¨La parabole des aveugles" au Musée de Capodimote. Mème Macron semblait en manque d'inspiration.

Cette scène est une pénible démonstration de l'état des lieux en Europe. Il est sans doute normal que l'accumulation de problèmes immédiats pèse sur une réflexion plus sohistiquée sur l'avenir. Il est clair que personne n'a de propositions cohérentes et que les questions fondamentales - géo-politique, militaire, économique, sécurité alimentaire, reconstruction de l'Ukraine, entre autres - restent sans réponse.

Voltaire dit "quel livre immense on composerait de tous les faits qu'on a crus, et dont il fallait douter". Aujourd'hui l'Occident est orphelin de certitudes. Les anciens scénaristes du destin-  la Commission, l'OTAN, les Etats-Unis, n'arrivent plus à rassurer. L'autre camps est pris en otage par des avatars dont il reste difficile à partager le bluff du danger réel qu'ils représentent. En tout cas ils sont assez malins pour ne pas s'exprimer tout haut sur ce qu'ils envisagent tout bas.

L'Occident est traversé par une crise d'identité généralisée. Le malaise règne tant à Washinton qu'à Bruxelles. Poutine vient de déclarer que le monde unipolaire n'est plus. Cela fait longtemps que le cortège funèbre est parti. La différence étant que le régime Poutine a cessé de feindre et que les Etats Unis sont trop désunis et affaiblis de l'intérieur pour réclamer leur  primauté. Au demeurant, le monde attend les élections présidentielles aux Etats Unis en 2024, ce qui affaiblit d'ici là les meilleures intentions du président Biden, déjà considéré comme passager.

L'Occident cherche à gagner du temps. L'immédiat recule devant l'expédient. Toutes les mesures et décisions envisagées ont soit un calendrier, soit se trouvent en suspen  s. Il semble parfois que le fameux conmpromis à la Belge ait contaminé le Berlaymont, voir mème l'OTAN. Poutine observe. En attendant, Zelensky peut relire Shakespare en companie de Boris Johnson, fait sur mesure pour jouer Iago.

Au temps du drame de la Bosnie, Sarajevo devint la conscience du monde. Susan Sontag ou Bernard Henri Levy, entre autres, mettaient les consciences en état d'alerte permanent. En Ukraine, ce ne sont pas les vidéos et visites répétées de leaders occidentaux, choqués,  mal à l'aise qui vont créer la différence. Le choc thérapeutique manque. La répétition des images en direct de l'horreur infligée à l'innocent ne rapporte plus la dividende. Ce drame risque de devenir un quotidien auquel on s'habitue. Les Conseils Européens  continueront à se réunir dans la salle de Conseil de l'UE, absurde, genre décor de cirque hallucinant, est vrai que l'on se trouve à Bruxelles.