Wednesday, December 27, 2023


Jacques Delors a été un président de la Commission sans pareil.

Nul autre que lui a su donner à la Commission ses lettres de noblesse. 

Avec lui l'Europe est devenue un laboratoire qui ne reculait pas devant la pertinence des idées. Elle finit par éblouir et par rendre envieux ceux qui étaient dehors, comme ceux qui se trouvaient ,impatients,  en salle d'attente.

L'EURO pleure son visionnaire et les Européens regrettent le temps  ou les créateurs  étaient au pouvoir.

Monday, December 25, 2023


Christmas got lost in memory and irrelevance. What remains in a large part of the Western world is an overdose of food and bad taste and a shared neurosis fed by the bad news that is more impervious to therapy than COVID. Heads of state receive a slot in the media to mis-entertain with banalities that people undergo like a bad experience during their doctor's appointment.

Bethlehem, where the faithful usually flock, is a no-man's land in between belligerents. The settlers steal from the Palestinians, Israel continues to bomb, hitting the guilty and the innocent alike.

Hamas has shown the world it is more than a rat-pack.  Israel, which deserved support after October 7, is losing its claim to exceptionalism. It can no longer retreat behind the Shoah to pursue perverse intentions.

It will be difficult to arrive at some form of atonement. The people in Gaza will not forget or forgive the carpet-bombing and the humiliations. The Israelis will get back at their P.M., who destroyed their pride and their claim. 

In this geo-political earthquake, only Egypt can act as go-between. It has an extraordinary diplomatic savoir-faire and knowledge of historic precedent. No Gulf state, nor the Saudis, have the sophistication to deal with the layers of discontent that have created such a hatred since the creation of a Jewish state.

The United States can be the enforcer while Egypt can act as the decoder. Netanjahu has to go. The unreceptive hard-liners around him have stolen Israel's sorrow. A new generation, who stood up against their P.M.'s Faustian pact with the ultras earlier this year, should take over.

At all cost the repeat of an Afghan scenario must be avoided. The bomb-and-run scenario is a non-starter. The Palestinian Authority should likewise be reformed so that a new mindset can finally operate without the current taboos. Too many Palestinians died...for what? The hostages have to be free, so do the people in Gaza.

The silence in certain quarters is deafening. The EU is pathetic, the Arab states are torn between their public opinion and their self- interest, Russia and China are voyeurs, Trump is counting. The Biden administration takes everyone's confession but looks stuck between contradictory emotion and reason. The Israelis had better face the reality of just waking up as a state like any other. 

Sunday, December 17, 2023


Christmas is a season of a forgotten cause and ignorance of reality. Parts of Western society get covered by endless consumerism, indulgence in foodstuffs and abhorrent bad taste. The climate doesn't help, neither does the news. In Europe the trees are barren and the mood is bedridden.

The EU resorted to a trick of sorts to decide starting adhesion talks with Ukraine. Financial help was postponed until the proper corrupt deal will be found to stop Hungary's insane objection. Is there any rationale for the EU to keep Hungary in a normative club? 

The EU formidable players are all gone. The salesmen/women who now occupy the various posts are a pathetic lot, wherein the good drown.

The Gaza conflict has made thousands of victims and one major casualty: Netanjahu's Israel, which has lost its moral compass and its friends' respect. He is more and more the reincarnation of Theodor Herzl, whom Cristopher Hitchens saw as a race theorist and nationalist.

The United States enter an ugly electoral year wherein the Neanderthal Republicans will create every form of havoc under the sun. Trump is already the puppet-master of this descent into hell. He had better not overplay his hand though, because King Lear's loneliness might still have more appeal than the empty thunder of a freak.

The noise is now such that the many ailments in the world receive less attention than the deafening Christmas pranks here and there. When was Sudan last mentioned?  How are the Taliban doing? What happens in Myanmar? What is on P.M. Modi's mind? And one can go on, arriving at the climate farce of last week.

In Europe, not since Hitler and Stalin, have we seen a personality as ruthless as Putin, who appears clinically obsessed by remembrance of a lost empire. It becomes hard to imagine that he might ever become party to a solution of the war in good-faith. Eventually the Ukraine situation will have to come up with some form of diplomatic formula. It is a safe bet to predict that Putin will get away with it, and then find a way to stir the waters in the Baltic and the Black Sea. He will patiently wait for the next US president, praying for another deranged Trump administration.

People are glued to The Crown. Everybody realizes that the monarchy looks mostly out of touch, but many start to realize that therein lies its endurance. Being above politics makes the formula acceptable to most, while remote to all. At least it doesn't fear  being contaminated by the abysmal vulgar and often ignorant assertations of the political class. It might appear clueless but it is not an accomplice.

Sunday, December 10, 2023


Les pays membres de l'Union Européenne assument à tour de rôle la présidence de l'Union. Celà peut contribuer au prestige  du pays en charge, qui mobilise sa créativité pour ce saut périlleux. 

Aprés le" coup d'état" de Jacques Chirac lors du sommet européen de Nice, le poids respectif des états membres (au détriment de la Belgique) a été réexaminé en vue de ce qui qui est devenu l'Union Européenne. La Belgique aura maintenant sa revanche. La présidense semestirelle garde un prestige, en mode mineur. Personne ne s'est sans doute rendu compte que l'Espagne a occupé ce poste ces derniers mois, bien qu'elle ait un premier ministre qui est une personnalité exceptionelle. La présidence de la Belgique sera de toute façon un exercise difficile.

Heureusement, son premier ministre, Alexander De Croo, est un homme qui a les qualités requises pur remplir sa mission, bien qu'il se trouvera en campagne électorale à l'intérieur et qu'il doive affronter le grand dérangement à l'extérieur. Dans l'Union il devra aussi maitriser les gestes politiquement pervers de quelques pays membres. Au sein du gouvernement belge, un nombre restreint de ministres pourront assumer des responsabiltés d'ordre financier et économique.

Il est impératif d'accorder la priorité à l'Ukraine.En outre, la Chine et l'Afrique restent pour l'Union des partenaires majeurs. Le conflit qui oppose Israel à a peu prêt tout le monde est provisoirement mieux gèré par les Etats-Unis et Qatar. Il convient de garder la distance et la mesure,  de ne rien entreprendre qui aggrave encore plus une situation délétère. L'Europe risque aussi de devoir gérer des désordre à ses frontières orientales . Elle doit enfin se préparer pour le pire des scénarios, au cas ou Trump sorte gagnant des présidentielles américaines.

L'actuelle présidence du Conseil et la conduite des affaires extérieures fonctionnent plutôt bien. La Commission n'a jamais retrouvé  l'euphorie du temps Delors, mais la présidente actuelle fait que sa visibilité et ses accomplissements se sont réaffirmés.

Dans toute constellation de ce type, la qualité des relations personnelles est de première importance. L'exercise multilateral est périlleux parce qu'il peut conduire a l'effacement de l'aspect plus personnalisé des énergies et des tempéraments. Il semblerait que nous assistions aujourd'hui à un regain du talent sur le routine, du diplomate sur le fonctionnaire.

Reste qu' Alexander De Croo  risque de devoir affronter les premiers signes annonciateurs d'une Götterdämmerung globale. Il devra se méfier des distractions .Une campagne électorale dvient souvent oublieuse des impéraifs extérieurs . Il devra éviter des pièges qui seront d'autant plus pervers qu'ils n'obéiront qu'à des considérations de sous-préfecture.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023


The horrors of Hamas' incursion into Israel on October 7th have unleashed an unforgiving reaction, with no end in sight.  The sheer violence of this conflict is hard to process. Both parties in this carnage have a lot to lose.

Israel is already a nation changed. The early understanding for its angry retaliation is changing. Too many people in Gaza who are de facto jailed or locked-up both by Israel and Hamas are being killed with no shelter to hide in and no place to go. Israel seems no longer willing to calibrate or show an once of sympathy. Acting in such a way, it is jeopardizing its standing in the West and its modus vivendi with its Arab neighbors.

Europeans will no longer fall for the antisemitism that is branded whenever criticism of Israel comes up. When the British bombed Dresden, the almost universal condemnation thereof was never considered as being anti-British. Now Israel might once and for ever have turned the page of exceptionalism. It entered the age of the unexceptional. Hamas is perverse and tenacious. It must be recognized that the claim of its hiding around and under human shields is real, and should be one more argument for sparing the innocent from yet an other trauma.

There remains that this is a conflict, not a war. Hamas is a hybrid, not on equal footing with a legitimate state. Once there will be time to clean up the rubble it will be part of the former, and not of the solution.

Another major problem is that a solution will even become harder to find since both uneven parties to this conflict are incapable of suggesting a possible outcome. Israel might again be considering becoming Gaza's overlord rather than going once and for ever for an intelligent, two-states solution, with no input from the undesirables on both sides. Time is a vicious component since it allows outsiders to further stir discontent on all sides. Even America might start to feel the heat with a House wherein the Republicans count more delinquents than wise men.

Thursday, November 30, 2023


Le 7 Octobre, Israel a été victime d'une tuerie sauvage. Il était normal que l'agressé réponde.

Déjà le discours sur le poids et le contre-poids, sur l'équilibre entre crime et châtiment, bat son plein. Les pauses et échanges d'otages et de prisonniers intervenus sont presque embarassants mais ils peuvent aussi contribuer à ouvrir un espace pour une négociation d'ordre plus structurelle en coulisse. Les Etats-Unis sont le partenaire indispensable pour éviter que la situation ne se dégrade encore davantage.

La réaction légitime d'Israel à Gaza était attendue. Son ampleur indiscriminée crée maintenant un malaise. Elle provoque partout des réactions qui risquent à terme de dédouaner le coupable et de priver Israel de son capital moral.

Au sein de l'Union Européenns surtout, l'écoeurement par rapport à ce qui est de plus en plus considéré comme inacceptable se généralise. Les propos peu diplomatiques de l'Ambassadrice d'Israel à Bruxelles sont condamnables. Le Premier Ministre Belge s'est départi de son flegme habituel après sa rencontre avec son collègue Israélien. Il fallait s'y attendre. Les propos de l'ancien Premier Ministre français, de Villepin, sont tranchants.

Kissinger est mort. Personne ne s'est autant démené pour qu'une solution de deux Etats viables, voie le jour; Présage ?

La situation est d'autant plus difficile qu'Israel n'a pas d'interlocuteur valable. L'Autorité Palestinienne est peu crédible et Hamas est infréquentable. Il faut un  grand architecte, comme l'était Kissinger, pour revenir à la case départ. Netanjahou doit enfin laisser la place à une autre géneration, avant que les Emirats Arabes Unis et Qatar ne dépassent l'état Hebreu.

On a vu dans le passé combien il est difficile de mettre autour d'une table de négociation des interlocuteurs qui se détestent . Ici comme ailleurs il n'y a pas de remède miracle. Dans ces conditions il est conseillé de ne pas se débarasser des masques COVID, car ils pourront servir quand il faudra se parler, de loin comme de près.


Vlaams minister Zuhal Demir gaat niet naar de klimaattop en kan zich gewoontegetrouw niet vinden in een Belgische houding. Niemand zal haar missen.

Het is jammer dat Jan Jambon, die toch blijk kan geven van enige klasse en staatszin, opgecheept blijft met die onaantrekkelijke "freelancer". Weinigen zullen de intelligentie van minister Demir  betwisten, maar het volstaat niet om een eigen overtuiging te verdedigen als je anderen niet over de brug krijgt.

Als goede Limurgse kan zij ondertussen best een wandeling overwegen in de Japanse tuin in Hasselt... "to clear her mind".                                


Tout a été dit sur Henry Kissinger. Il me rappele Talleyrand, qui, comme lui, a "conseillé" plusieurs maîtres mais n'a jamais "servi" que son propre ego.

Intelligentissime, charmeur à ses heures, en permanence cynique, il n'a jamais eu un interlocuteur à sa mesure. Ses grands exploits diplomatiques - Moyen Orient, Chine, contrôle des armements nucléaires avec l'URSS e.a. - équilibrent ses interventions cyniques au Chili , au Cambodge, et ailleurs.

L'homme est resté un chiffre jusqu'à sa mort. Bel exploit !

Saturday, November 18, 2023


L'Icare du SP s'est brûlé les ailes.

Cela est dommage car l'homme était prometteur, malgré des fautes de goût et des faux pas inquiétants. Il a néanmoins réussi a secouer pour de bon les idées reçues que la Gauche traîne depuis trop longtemps derrière elle. Il faut espérer que le renouveau ne s'arrête pas, d'autant plus qu'il était heureusement contagieux dans d'autres partis, sauf dans le parti frère Wallon qui ne se sort pas de son misérabilisme criard.

Le SP a pris la décision correcte et l'ex président a fait amende honorable. Il est rare qu'une personnalité politique ne s'accroche pas à sa fonction, fut-ce au détriment de son  honneur. Il est interessant de voir -presque simultanément- la ministre Wallonne de l'environnement s'accrocher à son misérable portefeuille. Le Hainaut ou tout tourne généralement mal mérite mieux. Il est vrai que démissionner est un geste qui n'est pas à la portée de tout le monde.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


De ondergang van het versplinterd "bewind" van de vele onbenullige regeringen die België kapot maken met hun politiek stikstof wordt onaannemelijk.

Het is wachten op Tom Lanoye om op te treden als openbaar aanklager. Zijn briljant WOKE pamflet zet de toon. Na de onaantrekkelijke stoelendans Somers/ Rutten is het "Willy Vandersteen alarm niveau" overschreden. De Vlaamse regering en parlement zijn niet langer te bekijken tenzij men lijdt aan een Halloween kater.

Wallonie is er nog hopelozer aan toe, een permanente miserabilistische, ongeinformeerde show voor RTL losers.

Blijft Brussel, waar de eenmalige schoonmaak in het Zuid Staion onmiddellijk achterhaald word door de slordige wansmaak van een ongeliefd en onbekend bestuur.

Tom Lanoye staat niet alleen. In Vlaanderen wordt nu een kultuurstrijd gevoerd met een  tweede Vlaams canon in wording, waarin een Antwerps accent nog harder zal doorwegen. De "usual suspects" in Vlaamse rangen zijn nu aan het hamsteren.


What is happening in Gaza is creating a multitude of contradictory opinions which lack staying power. The unfolding tragedy has too many players and no obtainable outcomes.

The images that come out of Gaza are horrific. One ends up thinking that the trapped people are the victims of both the Israeli forces on the ground and of the Hamas under. It wouldn't be that surprising if the Al Shifa hospital were also a cover for Hamas, who specializes in human shield tactics.

Many look for options to end this nightmare if they are still able to muster some sense of dignity, in short supply nowadays. The more cynical camp applauds the distraction from Ukraine and the traps that Netanjahu keeps laying-out for anyone who gets in his way.

The leadership of the personalities that are directly involved in the conflict--Israel, Hamas, Syria, Hezbollah, Palestinian Authority--have to go, and be made accountable for a nihilistic approach on the back of the Palestinians and the hostages.

The EU appears to be hostage to its past misfortunes. There are too many unsavory memories in the Brussels closet.

Friday, November 10, 2023


The urban landscape is changing fast. The delivery of goods and services created new actors, new intermediaries, new mercantile strategy. The drones are becoming the new normal and Elon Musk might well become the next ruler of this tattered world.

There too new actors are overtaking the tired and the worn out.

The Talibans were able to overtake Afghanistan. Hamas is driving Israel into a corner. The situations are not identical but the strategy is the same. One ragtag takes over an entire country while another destabilizes the myth of another invincible one. 

Hamas is a formidable adversary. Like the Taliban it is de facto master of the terrain (including the underground) and can count on the overall support of the Arab public opinion and that of most of the developing countries. Even in the West, many who sided with Israel after October 7 now have a hard time swallowing its unrepentant military intervention in Gaza. It is hard to foresee an outcome and the more time goes by, the harder it gets to predict it.

Only the Americans play a role. Europeans are hapless, cursed by history. The usual suspects, in the first place Russia, are delighted to see how the turmoil in the Middle East distracts from the unfolding of the Ukrainian tragedy. Washington cannot ignore that anything can get worse any time, since Iran, Syria, Hezbollah will take advantage of every faux pas. Hence the role of Qatar or the UAR, who can talk to all sides. It is unfortunate that Netanjahu leads Israel now. He is the worst leader since he wants to avenge what he considers more as a personal affront than as a conflict that has to be dealt with for its own wrongs.

In all this the Palestinians can only run for their lives. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is just an afterthought from yesterday's two-state solution, which looks now like "la grande illusion". There is no real alternative and the current outcomes that are aired here and there only lead to an aggravated repeat of yesterdays' historical delusions. 

Time is running out. Under a Trump presidency and a Republican etiquette, America might become protectionist, inward looking and indifferent to the cracks in the ceiling. The ones who would applaud this are not the ones that the well meaning should embrace. Something has to stop this madness and sorrow, whatever it might be called. Israel and Hamas should know when enough is enough. 

A new generation has to take over, there and elsewhere. History and resentment deserve respect but they should not be allowed to clog the brain. Countries in the Middle East have leaders that are often disconnected from their people, and are unreliable. A US air carrier has more weight than the word of any current Arab leader.

Sunday, October 29, 2023


Tout conflit suit sa logique. Hamas s'est inscrit dans un "ordre" qui fait peur, hybride. Il encaisse pour son infraction une punition difficilement concevable, qui risque aussi de prolonger le conflit voir, mème de l'élargir.

Hamas est seul coupable de cette descente en enfer. La vengeance d'Israel est à la mesure de l'affront subi. On peut se poser la question de savoir si des alternatives restent envisageables pour enrayer le désastre humanitaire.

L'interrogation primaire demeure. Il est difficile de se prononcer sur une question fondamentale. Est-ce la personne qui engage l'évènement ou, au contraire, sont-se les faits qui, en s'accumulant, déterminent l'ampleur de la catastrophe. D'aucuns accusent le nihilisme de Hamas, d'autres voient dans la politique du P.M. Israélien l'origine d'une déterioiration devenue globale dans la région.

En réalité les cartes ont toujours été truquées. Les Palestiniens ont été trompés par tout le monde, y incluse une Autorité Palestinienne dépassée. Les pays Arabes les considèrent comme des parents pauvres. Israel allait trop bien pour vraiment s'investir dans ce qui allait trop mal. Toutefois il eut été préférable de ne pas ignorer les pressions qui existaient dans la bande de Gaza, bouclée par Hamas, l'Egypte et Israel. Celà eut privé le Hamas de son masque  de martyre.

Il n'est pas trop tard pour envisager une alternative à une situation ou les innocents payent le prix des péchés de leurs geoliers. L'ancien P.M. Israelien Naftali Bennett a fait une proposition interessante qui suggère une action Israelienne par paliers, un nettoyage qui ménage des accomodements a court terme en faveur des Palestiniens qui doivent bénéficier de la protection prévue dans la convention de Genève.

Il convient aussi de comprendre certaines implications stratégiques a plus long terme. Ce chaos arrange la Russie, et oblige les pays Arabes à prendre du recul par rapport aux accords d'Abraham . En outre il permet à l'Iran de faire son retour dans l'international soit directement, soit par l'intermédiaire de ses "clients".

Les Etats-Unis risquent gros. L'Union Européenne est entendue et peu écoutée. Le temps presse. Jouer à la roulette russe devient un jeu d'autant plus dangereux que l'arme à feu, entre les mains de l'indésirable, dispose de plusieurs balles .

Et les otages dans tout ça ? Etre humain devient difficile.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023


The West is confronted with two existential wars. It sides with both Israel and Ukraine, considered aggrieved friendly countries. Some see common denominators in both situations. Actually there might be some, indeed, but parallels don't meet.

Ukraine is the prime example of what occurs when every recognized international norm is being overruled. Gaza (and there is more to come) results from controversial choices made by Israel and from a nihilistic aberrant mindset of many Palestinians. Ukraine follows historic precedent. Gaza sinks partially in its self-created disregard for auto-correction.

Hence it is morally and intellectually easier to comprehend what is at stake in Europe, than to find a way out in the Middle East despite CNN's little paid-for propaganda clips wherein sophisticated women play golf in Saudi Disneyworld.

The two situations have to be seen separately. Even the outrage does not follow the same path. It is becoming difficult to tolerate the seemingly often relentless bombing of Gaza. The caution of the West regarding Ukraine feels uncomfortable but when cooler reason sets in, it becomes the right approach, as painful as it might appear.

Both situations will have to face the emergency room before any diplomatic therapy can be applied.

It would be premature to start talking about a two-state formula under the present conditions in Israel and in the region. The West will support Israel as long as it is needed and also warranted. It is clear that all parties need to clean house and consider a change in personnel. The Arab countries cannot continue to follow Qatar's playbook.

Kiev comes first in Europe's and US priorities. This will not be that easy to maintain, given the god and Trump hordes that are overtaking the Republican party. In Europe the sway of "Ukraine fatigue" is ominous. 

The observer cannot help feeling perplexed watching the same leaders embracing with identical gusto President Zelensky and P.M. Netanjahu. One is nowadays used to the "love is blind" motto, but a little discerning touch might come handy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


Sometimes it feels as if problems might disactivate each other rather than accumulate. Currently, the noise coming out of Gaza covers the cries for help next door. Europeans should not forget the aggression that is going on in their own midst. 

To a certain point Israel was already involved in a civil war before evil struck. Ukraine is the undisputed victim of a foreign ungodly aggressor. The continent cannot stand aloof when the political and moral fabric that holds it together is questioned.

Europeans stand with Israel but they keep their own counsel regarding cause and effect. They support Ukraine for many reasons, innocence being one of them. The country was never perfect, far from it. Neither did it lay claims on what was not its.

Today problems are abundant and it feels as if we have entered the age of blasé voyeurism wherein it becomes difficult to pick the "cause of the day". In this sickening hit-parade, Gaza beats Ukraine, which was yesterday's favorite, winning over from Sudan and one can go on with a peloton of losers, the hungry and long forgotten earthquake victims.

Human nature is not an all absorbing thing. It is limited and is slowly being overtaken by A.I., trolls and fake news. Chosen leaders appear more and more dubious while the pious pretenders sell their brains to some god in hell. Choice is becoming a painful heartbreaking test of will and character. There is no fire ladder or escape route from the hard truth.

The West must prioritize Ukraine. No other situation can be allowed to come in between Ukraine and the West. No other situation allows for a choice devoid of ambiguity, or for support without instructions in fine letters. 

We all witness the grief and the bonds that unite families against their foes. We had better keep our eyes on the moral compass at  home first, before entering into territories that remain largely unfamiliar and are better served by respect than by uninformed emotions.

Monday, October 23, 2023


La situation au Moyen-Orient de déteriore. Les acteurs directement concernés hésitent. Les voyeurs pervers attendent leur heure. Le temps est l'ennemi. 

Il est désormais devenu inutile de vouloir distribuer crimes, erreurs ou culpabilité. Chaque jour apporte des éléments contradictoires. Chaque jour le camps des intervenants possibles s'accroit. Avec le temps la rage, nourrie par la " fake news", gagne du terrain. 

La Russie et la Chine observent, l'Iran est prêt à tout. L'Europe est l'abonnée absente. Seuls les Etats-Unis interviennent mais ils se trouvent confrontés à des choix qui risquent de compromettre des intérèts géo-politiques majeurs. De surcroit le Congrès est paralysé suite à la crise que traverse le parti républicain. Le temps presse avant que d'autres acteurs ne viennent compliquer encore davantage une situation déjà précaire.

L'opinion publique dans les pays arabes est inconditionnellement dans le camps Palestinien et les dirigeants ont une marge de manoeuvre limitée. Les Etats-Unis se trouvent piégés dans une situation ou leur soutien à Israel risque maintenant de bouleverser la pax americana dans la région.

Seul un départ de Netanjahu peut, qui sait ?, encore contribuer à appaiser  les émotions et à arriver à une pause "en alerte". Il est trop tôt pour vouloir plus et il est trop tard pour espérer que l'esprit d'Oslo,voir mème de Camp David, réapparaisse. L'enjeu est colossal et il convient d'assommer Hamas et de préserver l'espace diplomatique de l'intrusion de Téhéran et de ses sous-traitants. 

Il serait maladroit de vouloir maintenant brusquer, devancer, prétendre. Il faut frapper et préserver. Un changement de personnel à Tel Aviv pourrait sans doute contribuer à terme à revenir au statu quo ante. Au demeurant, sur les Palestiniens  repose la responsabilité de se doter enfin de vision et de créativité qui lui font défaut depuis trop longtemps.

Il ne faut pas permettre aux souffrances reçues et infligées de se prolonger.

Saturday, October 14, 2023


Nous voilà entrés dans les cercles concentriques de l'enfer de Dante.

Déjà nous nous étions résignés a nous habituer au mal que représentent l'Iran, la Syrie, la Corée du Nord et la Russie. Il faut aujourd'hui considérer l'éventualité d'une nouvelle génération d' intrusions plus hybrides dans toute situation qui pourrait déstabiliser le rationnel dans la gestion des crises.

L'attaque du Hamas contre Israel appartient à cette nouvelle épidémie de conflits sans visage qui n'obéissent à aucune thérapie connue jusqu'à présent. Le mal est infligé sans la moindre hésitation quelques soient les conséquences ou la considération morale.

On dit , à juste titre, qu'Israel, sous le premier ministre Netanjahu, porte une responsabilité dans la déterioration antérieure de la situation. C'est vrai mais ce contentieux, déplorable certes, faisait aussi l'objet d'une conversation interne et aussi externe, avec les alliés d'Israel.

Aujourd'hui il sera difficile d'arrêter les contre-mesures Israéliennes, dont on sait qu'elles peuvent difficilement épargner les "autres" Palestiniens qui restent enfermés dans la prison qu'est devenue Gaza sous Hamas.

Le Hamas doit être confronté aux conséquences de son nihilisme. Ses alliés (en premier lieu l'Iran) et mandataires doivent souffir les conséquences de ce qu'il en coûte de recourir à la terreur comme arme suprème. Le dilemne étant qu'inévitablement il risque de se créer une métastase qui peut d'affaiblir autant le coupable que l'innocent. Cette situation n'a pas de disjoncteur.

Une fois de plus les Etats-Unis essayent autant de s'opposer au crime et de calibrer le chatiment. Les pays Arabes et l'Autorité Palestinienne doivent leur en savoir gré.

Le temps presse, avant que les opportunistes de Hezbollah ne cherchent  à trouver une autre alternative infernale qui leur rapporte un dividende. La meute des "sympathisants" peut être à tout moment mobilisée par des acteurs qui voient de bon oeil se créer une distraction géopolitique qui sert leurs intérets. L'UE reste plutôt discrète, trop occupée sans doute par la guerre civile entre Commission et Conseil...strange bedfellows (The Tempest II .2.39).

En attendant l'issue de cette tragédie est imprévisible et ses rammifications restent intraçables. Les accord d'Abraham sont sans doute dépassés. Et les ôtages dans cet enfer ? Il ne faut surtout pas qu'ils deviennent marginalisés..

Wednesday, October 11, 2023


Israel a un gouvernement d'unité natioinale et cela est un juste choix. Si la confusion règne un peu partout, ils est urgent que le rationnel recoive enfin sa part de considération.

Il n'y a pas lieu de chercher une issue honorable aussi longtemps que Hamas existe. Il ne peut y avoir le moindre doute sur les intentions de l'Occident quand à sa solidarité avec Israel sur ce point.

Gaza abrite le mal, indifféremment infiltré dans une population qui lui sert d'abri. A terme il faudra voir comment  "re-palestiniser" Gaza et retrouver les moyens visant a recréer un espace moral et politique ou tous les habitants puissent se retrouver.

Hamas, comme Hezbollah, fera tout pour que pareille issue ne devienne viable. Il est certes difficile d'appréhender une situation ou l'adversaire est aussi le geolier de l'innocent. Israel sait à peine séparer l'un de l'autre, eu égard à la sophistication qui caractérise le Hamas dans son savoir-faire à se confondre dans une société qui lui sert de paravent.

Il n'existe a pas d'issue à court terme à cette situation nihiliste. On peut s'attendre à ce qu'elle dégénère.

L'Autorité Palestinienne et les états arabes supportent mal de voir les civils à Gaza pris entre le marteau et l'enclume. En Europe et aux Etats-Unis le malaise moral commence à se faire sentir. Il faut donce s'adresser au plus vite aux questions qui vont inévitablement réapparaitre. 

Les représailles contre Hamas (et Hezbollah) continueront. Les otages croupissent et les innocents en Israel ou à  Gaza sont frappés indifféremment. L'accumulation de ces souffrances deviendra encore plus insupportable si on devait ensuite retourner à la case départ. Une fois pour toutes il convient de revenir à la solution de deux états viables, coôpérant, sécurisés. Gaza doit pouvoir sortir de sa quarantaine et Israel devra considérer de freiner le zèle de ses colons.

A court terme Netanjahou doit comprendre que l'appui qu'il reçoit n'est pas un cheque en blanc. Il devra procéder à un examen méthodique de l'avenir de la région et il est en droit d'attendre que les choix difficiles recevront l'appui concrèt de l'Occident et de ses voisins.

En attendant il faut répéter avec Caton "Hamas delendum est".


L'évolution des données dans le Moyen Orient reste imprévisible. Le coup d'envoi terroriste du Hamas a redistribué les cartes. Il était clair qu'un acte aussi ignoble allait fatalement conduire à des représailles. Il était aussi indéniable que des politiques bancales et des fautes dans l'appareil de sécurité, ainsi que des faiblesses dans la conduite des diplomaties devenaient plus apparantes.

Les Européens ont justement condamné l'action génocidaire du Hamas aux ordres de Mohammed Deif. Ils se sont bien gardés pour autant d'approuver la gestion du P.M. Israélien. Le président Américain a été moins nuancé et il faut espérer qu'il n'arrive pas à devoir le regretter.

Hamas a frappé autant Israel que la polique américaine. Si Israel devait effectivement vouloir "étrangler"Gaza, celà risquerait d'être considéré immédiatement une violation  du droit international. Le Hamas n'étant pas un état échappe à ce type d'hyérarchie.

Cette crise peut activer des corrolaires dangerereux dans plusieurs situations, en premier lieu pour l'Ukraine et pour le grand dessein  américain dans le Moyen Orient. La Russie et la Chine sont des observateurs redoutables. L'UE a du mal a maîtriser ses propres ambiguités. Le monde arabe et l'Autorité Palestinienne se trouvent confrontés à un choix Cornélien. Ils n'entendent pas s'aligner sur l'Iran ou Hezbollah, mais ils se garderont bien de continuer à ignorer le sort qui est fait aux habitants-frères enfermés dans Gaza 

Toute solution envisagable aujourd'hui ressemble à la quadrature du cercle. Les agendas de toutes les parties concernées ont des pages cryptées. Il, est  trop tôt pour essayer de les déchiffrer.  La page d'une réunion de type Madrid (1991) semble aussi définitiveme tournée.

Monday, October 9, 2023


It is impossible to predict what might follow after the Hamas slaughter frenzy which nobody saw coming. Options are few, and in the current situation the better intentions feel tenuous.

Israel suffers from an irreversible loss of acumen. The worst PM can hardly be expected to make the right assessments. Israel, yesterday's exceptional country, became in a fortnight just another case of delusion and poor judgement.

Hamas belongs to the hybrid and showed an unexpected knack for viciousness and infiltration. By striking Israel it attempted to derail America's grand plan for a workable Middle East. It also made the Palestinian Authority look irrelevant.

The Israeli carpet-bombing of Gaza and the collateral measures considered to isolate it might very well boomerang. They are too indiscriminate to gather long-term support. The horror inflicted by one does not warrant the repeat thereof by the other.

The United States and the EU should be relentless in their push for a two-state solution. Netanyahu's obstinate policies only accelerated the downfall of the democratic fabric in Israel and the descent into hell it finds itself in. 

Arab public opinion remained always skeptical regarding arrangements between various Arab states and Tel Aviv. Every form of rapprochement might be harder to push through under the current circumstances.

The EU should beware of a reversal of priorities. One flare up in the Middle East should not distract from the fact that the European house is on fire. Ukraine is the ultimate litmus test and all energy and support have to focus on Ukraine first and for all. Other situations abound and cannot be ignored for sure. 

Ukraine has a leader who deserves respect, while in Israel there there remains a leader who, unfortunately for his country, is the wrong man for undoing what is mostly the outcome of his very own perverse arrogance.

Saturday, October 7, 2023


Fifty years since the Yom Kippur War we are back to square one. Hamas' surprise attack has already achieved limited goals. The myth of Israel's all-knowing Intelligence is shattered. The imperial claim of some sort of territorial inviolability of unilaterally enshrined borders has become unsustainable.

There remain too many questions to arrive at any form of assessment. Hamas took Israeli hostages as collateral while the fighting continues. It also remains to be seen if Hezbollah will make a move at the Northern border. The Arabs are still too shellshocked to act but Egypt can hardly afford to be a mere  onlooker.

Washington will try to salvage the rapprochement between Israel and the Saudis. The further marginalization of Mahmoud Abbas needs urgent intervention.

Israel deserves Western support which has to be calibrated given the need to correct certain major inconveniences that weigh on Israel's bona fide. Sharon locked Gaza up and the time-bomb exploded. It is becoming self-evident that politics are not a playground and that once and forever a two-state solution (with a viable state for the Palestinians) must be worked out now.

One might rightly question religious zealotry but some respect regarding Al Aqsa wouldn't hurt. By the way, do the Jewish hard-liners fight for their country?

Europe's support for Israel should in no way distract from its absolute duty to stand up against Russia, and shouldn't be given a false impression regarding the hierarchy which separates regrettable but non-equal events.


Once again literature appears to be taken hostage by gerrymandering. Every year the same question prevails:  Isn't it time for Lapland or Uyghurs to be rewarded? The question is not absurd since good writers can be found everywhere, while they become also hostage to the travails of language and the range of editing.

The Nobels appear to be afraid of the type of Bildungsroman which gave us The Magic Mountain or Catcher in the Rye. Hans Castrop and Holden Caulfield left us derelict. 

It is hopeless and also unfair to attempt ranking contemporary writers. It is worthy nevertheless to retain the impact certain writers have because they appear to be gifted by an exceptional awareness of today's traumas.

Richard Ford is probably America's most extraordinary novelist. His Frank Bascombe odyssey is indeed an epic for this modern age. The final novel Be Mine leaves the soul scared. The simple almost uneventful story of a father's banal trip with his ailing son in America's frightening heartland is gloomy. The observed banality, the frightened compassion, the unspoken emotions lead to a stoic (Augustinian?) acquiescence of the sunset.

The words of Richard Ford are raw like mortar, contemporary like the lightning one finds in shopping malls and crisp like the chips from Lays. Nothing can be more contemporary, closer to T.S. Eliot ? Maybe.

Frank and Paul, father and son, one still there, the other leaving, are taking over from Hans Castrop, who finally met his match.

Friday, October 6, 2023


Plusieurs Ambassadeurs sont immortalisés par un bon môt. Au demeurant, certains ont fondamentalement changé le cours de l'histoire grace à une sorte de mobilité qui est aux antipodes de la bureaucratie regnante aujourd'hui. Les grands couples comme de Gaulle / Couve de Murville, Mao/ Zhou Enlai, Nixon/ Kissinger sont entrés dans la mythologie et n'ont pas de successeurs. La diplomatie multilaterale et de nouveaux moyens de communication sont intervenus  depuis, privilégiant l'immédiat et l'expéditif.

L'ONU, l' UE, Les G X (trop nombreux pour les énumérer tous), les BRICS, l' OUA deviennent des manufactures ou le zèle s'oppose à l'esprit. Les chefs d'état s'insupportent désormais en direct et les Ambassadeurs ne sont plus que des observateurs, imperméables, devenus des acteurs marginaux dans le pré carré de leurs maitres. Il reste un nombre de situations ou ils peuvent encore faire valoir leur savoir-faire, en premier lieu dans des développements qui requièrent de la perméabilité.

Il convient néanmoins de se garder de vouloir trouver des précédents trop personnalisés dans l'histoire. Les grands acteurs d'antan se trouveraient de toute façon à l'étroit dans l'espace qui est encore abordable.

Une autre question qui se pôse est de savoir combien le changement de personnel affecte la conduite d'une politique. Récemment les responsables Chinois des Affaires etrangères et de la défense ont quitté la scène. Le président Xi ne semble pas être le type de chef d'état qui permette à un tiers de développer un style "personnalisé" de type Zhou Enlai. Qu'est-ce qui a pu motiver ces limogeages brutaux ? Sont-ce le style, la politique, la rivalité ou une pecadille qui sont à l'origine de ces "corrections"? 

Aujourd'hui l'Ambassadeur doit se réinventer, voir mème réexaminer le lieu et l'action dans sa carrière, sans quoi il risque de se fondre dans la cohue de fonctionnaires qui se bousculent dans le ¨no mans land ¨  de Bruxelles. Ce serait dommage.

Thursday, October 5, 2023


The latest Republican horror in the House of Representatives  confirms the descent into hell of a party which claimed in the past the part of co-guarantor for freedom and restraint. The ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy had few friends. His objectional performance to get the job he coveted was the last straw in a series of political salto mortales never seen before. That he found in his own party his match in the person of Matt Gaetz, the bad boy of the right and of Florida's panhandler forgotten voters,  shows how deep the GOP has fallen. 

The Republicans do no longer obey by political necessity or choice. They all vie for a job in the fantasy world of another Trump administration. Hence they play jester in the hope that their performance will be duly noted by the champion chaos. They might err in their belief that the electorate will remain forever impervious to the stream of lies and insults that come out of Trump's hothouse.

There comes a point where even the hardened stomach cannot take it anymore. President Biden chooses wisely to leave the fools to their own devises. Nevertheless America (not unlike Europe) finds itself on the dangerous "fatigue slope". People start to show a dispirited mindset that can very well lead to overall indifference, veering toward nonchalance. Putin already plays the fatigue game with Ukraine. The West is becoming tone-deaf while the fury is at its doorstep. Western economies do not perform that poorly but the immigration fiasco and the rise of various hybrid regroupings everywhere are crating a toxic  muddle.

If many Republicans now follow the Steve Bannon playbook, one must hope that in some corners a remnant of reason could still make a comeback and that they might return to their former better inclinations. Only then some form of normality could return over there, but also in Europe where dark clouds start to accumulate.

Thursday, September 28, 2023


L' encombrant bourgmestre de Middelkerke s'en va-t- en guerre électorale aux cotés de Bart De Wever. Cette union entre démagogie primaire et arrogance intellectuelle étonnera certains et séduira sans doute quelques frustrés.

Uu petit tour coté bord de mer et un simple récapitulatif de mémoire suffisent pour exposer le personnage et le style de Dedecker.

D'aucuns pensent que Bart De Wever se présente comme Machiavel. D'autres voient une contradiction entre ambition (anti Woke) et calcul .

Déjà les élections législatives de 2024 apparaissent comme plus médiocres qu'innovatrices. D'autres mouvances ne promettent pas beaucoup mieux, encore ne se galvaudent-elles pas dans les fonds de tiroir.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023


Traditionnellement l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies étaient l'évènement le plus couru du "New York diplomlatique". Mème au temps ou de Gaulle traitait l'ONU de "machin", Manhattan faisait le plein.

Aujourd'hui l'ennui a remplacé l'engouement et plusieurs chefs d'état jouent aux abonnés absents. La Russie a tellement abusé de son veto que la pertinence du Conseil de Sécurité s'en trouve diminuée. 

Autour de l'ONU sont apparus des ersatzs a géométrie variable qui préfèrent le monothéisme au pluralisme. Les grandes ambitions d'hier ont fait place à des préoccupations régionales ou purement articulées autour du court terme.

Restent les sous-traitants qui continuent, heureusement, de remplir leur mandat (climat, santé, culture, travail, commerce, casques bleus au compte-goûtes).

Malheureusement, la valeur ajoutée que représente l'ONU est remise en question. Le groupe des 77 ( devenu une cacophonie) préférait encore se faire valoir au sein des Nations Unies pltôt que de faire bande apart. Les Palestiniens attachaient de l'importance à être considérés au sein de l'organisation. L'Ukraine prête encore une attention polie aux divagations du Conseil de Sécurité.

On ne fait pas de politique avec de la nostalgie. Rien ne sert de vouloir réanimer l'impossible. Il faut se rendre a l'évidence que le particulier a chassé le général et qu'il sera difficile de recoller les morceaux. Les intérèts a court terme ont chassé les ambitions d'hier (qui n'étaient pas toujours au dessus de tout soupçon).  Les sous-agendas réunissent désormais des alliés et complices plus ad hoc qu'ad rem.

Avc les acteurs actuellement en place on voit mal apparaitre un  Prince qui pourrait réveiller l'organisation. Mème les Etats-Unis semblent avoir opté pour la nonchalance, c'est tout dire.

Saturday, September 16, 2023


History is packed with stories regarding age and its unwilling torch carriers. Nowadays, Biden is the toast of the rumor machine. Indeed he looks and acts his age. He appears cool with his situation, rather than trying to be seen as a pathetic climber for whom no mountain is too high. 

Having to measure pace and steps was never considered being a precursor of brain fatigue. Roosevelt, Eisenhower or Churchill  managed very well the occasional flare-ups that come with age. The young President Kennedy had to struggle on a daily basis with a a cluster of debilitating ailments.

In the horror show that Trump unleashed in his inauguration address, lies got front seats and truth received a bullet in the heart. Since then, America has never left the recovery room and the Republicans sealed their fate, boarding Trump's ship of fools.

The world suffers of too many ailments to risk forgetting the emergency number. The multiplication of bastard formations further complicates healing or any attempt of crisis management. One might hope that there is still room for a more sober and compassionate new world order, but the opposite seems to be happening. Even the more civilized remaining parts or groupings like the EU start to show cracks, due to the rise of fake news and actors who are no longer accountable.

Yes, Biden shows his age but even if he were not, the assault on his personality and politics is preordained. We are entering a play wherein the rule of the more unreliable actors drive the plot, while yesterday's heroes are deprived of their soliloquy. The axis of evil was still reversable then, now the pile of dirt grows by the day.

As much as the fumes stoked by Russia, North Korea, Iran are difficult to contain, the homegrown evil generated in the body of Western democracies becomes a spreading plague. 

The extraordinary efforts that are made, mostly under American stewardship, to reduce the scale of global evil need to be supported by the willing. Unfortunately the commonwealth of the better intentions is shrinking. A further complication comes with the arrival of the owners of the artificial intelligence, who are a new third column.

The ones who find Biden too old, Macron too imperial or Zelensky too Ukrainian are the gravediggers of what is left of  gravitas. Entertainment should be left where it belongs: on the set. Political acumen should reclaim the front seat.

Friday, September 8, 2023


Jamais deux sans trois.

Voilà que deux personnalités se sont fait remarquer dans un autre épisode de l'épopée belge...Le Ministre de la Justice dans le "pipi-gate", le professeur Liégois (fort distingué) dans un remake  en direct du roi Dagobert. Le premier est resté confus, le second "cool".

On attend le troisième.

Thursday, September 7, 2023


The UN looks nowadays like some former grand hotel in a Wes Anderson movie. There are more rooms than guests. Even the location fails to attract.

The grand idea has been killed by the onslaught of Russia's veto power which paralyzes the machinery. Only the specialized agencies continue to function, for now. The General Assembly has yet again shown its lack of grip on situations, as was demonstrated during the Ukraine debate.

The diminishing appeal of the larger gatherings model is unstoppable for now. Many leaders no longer show up or pay little attention to what's happening, and the public at large only retains limousine headaches. The routine has outdistanced the function.

Other large, often overstretched fora start to suffer, too, from an attention deficit. The G20 and the EU hardly move hearts and minds. Newer and more scrutinizingly focused models fare better, the BRICS being a good example. Washington's strategic pooling in Asia and its Five Eyes arrangement with the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand is another example of the new Anglosphere diplomacy.

NATO experiences a second lifespan but it remains shaky and totally unbalanced, given the shortcomings of many members and the usual French illusions.

The UN is for an unforeseeable time mostly a symbolic reminder of past times. The West should stay clear of hastening its demise by neglect.

Saturday, August 26, 2023


Les gares à Bruxelles sont annonciatrices de ce qui attend le voyageur...une ville souvent sale, désarticulée, envahie par les "trotinettes"et les sacs pour ordures.

Les gares du Nord et du Midi représentent tout ce qui peut aller mal coté sécurité, services, hygiène et accueil. Elles se trouvent aussi dans un environnement urbain hallucinant. Bref ce "welcome to Brussels" est un autre pas "direction problèmes".

Il semble que les autorités supérieures aient enfin pris conscience de la dégradation de la situation. Maintenant il faudra décider qui fait quoi. L'incurie des pouvoirs supposés responsables fait que toute initiative cohérente devient une gageure. 

Bruxelles est la capitale des petits chantiers qui s'adressent rarement aux défis et aux ambitions plus larges. La voirie est une suite d'asphaltes en mauvais état, de nids de poule et de pavés piégés. La cohérence est aux abonnés absents.

Les élections législatives en 2024 devraient être déterminantes pour le cadre constitutionnel du pays. Elles devraient en premier lieu sanctionner la myopie des petites satrapies couteuses, responsables de la dégradation accélérée de la qualité de vie dans la capitale .

Voter = sanctionner.

Friday, August 25, 2023


In London there is the City and the city -the Urbs-. One is greedy and international, willing to revisit the unforgivable Brexit decision. The city remains contemptuously English with the peculiar mannerisms that come with it.

Obviously Brexit created a gridlock and an economic slowdown that continue to haunt the business community. The former model of free-enterprise and deregulation has become a machine stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare of its own making. The open market became to the UK what a free market might feel like for the Chinese. The City struggles to retain its former sterling reputation and relevance as a financial hub.

The city self remains as arrogant and perversely funny as before. Unlike other capitals on the Continent, London was always a Commonwealth-obsessed city, showing little interest for other capitals, who struggled for relevance in a world that has chosen English over nostalgia. London never gave up its arrogance, even in its more vulgar, quaint appearances.

London retains that exceptional vibrant quality which also benefits from the input from what Churchill called the "English speaking people". Other capitals might look romantic, spectacular, impressive, but none beats London in cosmopolitan allure. Yes, the Londoners can be supercilious, inhabiting a world of sweets, tea time and mannerisms, but these are just a cauda in a play.

Probably the continental Europeans miss the British more than they themselves want the former anchor to the continent restored. The EU is a club of frustrated countries that compete for lost relevance. The Londoner can still rejoice in wit and pomp, knowing that he is the world's second-best entertainer, after the United States. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023


President Biden is hosting the leaders of Japan and South Korea in Camp David. The location is bucolic enough and is traditionally the chosen setting for difficult gatherings.

The leaders might realize very well that coming together is in their interest. Their Asian constituents might be more reluctant regarding a cozying-up between Tokyo and Seoul. Public opinion on the Asian side remains often moored in unfortunate bleak historical references. While both governments realize that their discreet cooperation and coordination, mutually and with the US, need a more sustainable permanency, their constituents remain largely unconvinced.

President Biden wants to institutionalize another deterrent in  Asia directed at North Korea and China. The hardcore hooliganism of the Kim system and the perverse moves of China need to be matched by enough "might" to guarantee freedom of navigation. Pyongyang's dangerous war games need to be monitored. If the summit arrives at some form of muscled, organized permanent cooperation a trois it would be a welcome development, albeit a fragile one given the political travail both in Tokyo and Seoul.

There was never an Asian version of the de Gaulle Adenauer embrace, which ended a 100 years war once and for all. Asians have a hard time getting over trauma. The still raw resentment of the Chinese versus Japan is the example of the perfect storm that can be unleashed at any given time.

America often acts as a healer, the "good partner", and seems to believe in its own fallacy. This is surprising given its spotty record in the past. Even its more commendable actions are seldom devoid of self-interest.

Sunday, August 13, 2023


Les mauvaises nouvelles et les images qui vont au coeur du mal se multiplient. Le "meilleur des mondes possibles"apparait trompeur, un lieu sans lois ou les sens qui étaient supposer assister l'homme le trompent. Les quatre cavaliers de l'Apocalypse ont fait irruption...ou pas ?

Est-ce que nous sommes vraiment entrés dans l'accélération du mal ? Il est certes indéniable qu'il est devenu difficile de sortir indemne du tourbillon de malheurs en tout genre. 

On compare le présent au passé, en oubliant que ce papier peint est trompeur. Le monde a traversé en perpétuité des malheurs répétés mais ce sont les moyens de communication accélérée qui ont fait monter les décibels, jusqu'à l'insupportable. Les nouvelles de l'incendie nous arrivaient longtemps après que le brasier s'était éteint. Aujourd'hui nous brulons en direct....

Ce qui a fondamentalement changé ce sont les les moyens qui ont fondamentalement bouleversé le temps de la réceptivité.

L'ailleurs, l'exotisme, l'étonnement sont des espèces en voie d'extinction. La peur ciblée a cédé la place à une sorte de mauvaise conscience diffuse. Dans les années cinquante, le nucléaire inquiétait. Aujourd'hui il fait partie  des vieux meubles. Les nouvelles technologies et la montée du phénomène "fake news" ont balayé le discours Socratien. Surtout, de nouveaux acteurs sont désormais à mème de s'approprier l'influence par dessus la tête des élus. Un coup d'état hybride se prépare sur le dos de l'ordre existant.

L'intelligence artificielle représente une menace immédiate. Elle pourra un jour se substituer à tout et rendre caduc le rôle des écrivains, créateurs, médecins, pour n'en citer que quelques uns.

Certes la "proximité nouvelle" rend les drames mitoyens. Il n'y a plus d'ailleurs.  Elle finit aussi par rendre la réaction par rapport aus tragédies au quotidien plus blasée. Il faut prendre garde à ce qu'un regard sur-informé sur le grand dérangement ne conduit à une nonchalance coupable.

Nous avons aujourd'hui  pléthore d'indésirables mais à long terme, ce sont les intentions d'Elon Musk § Co. qui requièrent un suivi, en alerte renforcée. Il est des objectifs et ambitions qui dépassent déjà les moyens des pouvoirs en place qui ne réalisent pas assez que leurs jours sont peut-être déjà comptés. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023


Of all yesterday's prophets only Samuel Huntington survives. His predicted clash of civilizations (?) has only gotten worse. It has become less measurable, a hybrid which affects groupings in collision as well as countries in collusion. 

The former 'enlightened' have packed or lost their benchmarks. There are a few situations in the past wherein the relative weight of cynical pragmatism was as prevailing as it is today. The non-aggression pact between Russia and Nazi Germany might have been be a short-lived example of what has become the norm today.

The US has their hands full, dealing with their home-grown Tyrannosaurus who, if elected, would create havoc worldwide. The EU chose to cozy up in Brussels and fights for relevance. The odd Russian/Chinese couple is an ad hoc arrangement wherein both stray when it fits their interest. The South at large is a pack of wolves.  Davos becomes some religious service, open to all and attended by few.

There remain some lifeless gatherings, regarding climate, the Amazon, female genital mutilation, that change nothing but support the service sector in the successive host countries.

Suffice to look at Ukraine to experience the cowardice of the West and to measure its apprehensive composure. In the Middle East only money talks. Niger and Sudan are treated as 'embarrassment'. The list goes on. The Leitmotiv could be that too few do too little too late, the contrary of the coalition of fools made by Bush père et fils. 

At 100 Dr. Kissinger is forgiven his Chili and Cambodia incursions since he too has become just a daguerreotype of a world gone. His tool kit worked then though.

There is plenty of disparagement and backstabbing that should oblige individual countries to rearrange the furniture at home rather than to bother the neighbors. Leave the Chinese & Co. deal with their own contradictory impulses and claim back the high ground where it counts. The European 'frugality' versus Ukraine is a moral affront.

The former times of measured involvement pending on ulterior motives are over. Outrage is unsparing when the crime is of such a defaming magnitude. Churchill's words remain applicable.

Spinoza said that a man's duty, when he surveys the world, is 'neither to laugh nor to weep, but to understand'.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023


Le Roi Baudouin I a été un grand Roi.

Cet homme est resté emblématique et énigmatique durant tout son règne.

Bien que ses convictions n'étaient pas toujours partagées par les citoyens, elles n'ont jamais amoindri la juste reconnaissance de ses mérites ou leur respect affecteux.

Il était peut être le dernier roi, dont la seule présence tenait lieu de pouvoir. 

Les difficultés réelles qui sont apparues n'ont jamais affecté son règne ni l'appréciation de la classe politique.

Avec la Reine Fabiola il a réussi la difficile gageure de démontrer que classe et distance n'étaient point pareilles.

Avec le temps, apparait une certaine nostalgie pour un passé dans lequel les évidences apparaissaient plus spontanées.


In 2014, all NATO members decided that their contribution had to arrive at a number representing 2% of their GDP within a decade.

In 2023 only 11 allies have fulfilled their commitment. 

This was one of the few reasonable demands that former President Trump made as a peremptory condition for not  blowing up the alliance.

One doesn't dare to imagine what might happen if Trump were to return. Elaborating on this nightmare is too frightening to engage in.

During the current nightmare in Ukraine, which is already hard to contain, NATO (mostly the US) was able to show both relevance and drawing power.

Belgium hosts both NATO and SHAPE. Brussels benefits politically and financially from this situation. Nevertheless, Belgium does not come close to the commitment it underwrote. It is last of the class, with Luxemburg.

It could have been expected that Belgium would continue the tradition of Paul Henry Spaak and Andre De Staercke. After all, being the headquarters comes with a certain pride or responsibility. But besides a new tramline the Belgian input is minimal, not to say outrageous.

Last 21 July the military parade was more bon enfant  than impressive. The minister of defense, good looking and bonne socialistecould at least have asked a regiment of (hapless) Brussels street cleaners to join in this traditional James Ensor- looking parade of losers, struggling not to lose their step in the cobblestone hell.

Countries are not respected out of bad habits. Respect needs to be earned. Belgium is already overflowing with surreal, self- inflicted mortgages. It should make room for some high-principled reliability.

Sunday, July 30, 2023


Tom Lanoye est un écrivain hors-pair en Belgique. Son dernier roman "De Draaischijf " mériterait davantage d'attention partout s'il était moins ancré- codé, naturaliste, à l'intérieur de paramètres souvent étroits - comme Hugo Claus-.

Il a aussi fallu du temps pour que le roman fraçais redevienne à nouveau universel (Emmanuel Carrere). Lanoye a tout pour se sortir de la référence intime et pour se pacer parmis de grands écrivains comme Jonathan Franken ou Richard Ford.

Il a écrit son "J'accuse" dans De Morgen ( 29/07 2023). Ce réquisitoire contre la falsification érigée comme système, en premier lieu en Flandre, est cinglant.

Lanoye arrive à la croisée de tous les dangers. Les équilibres  restant dans le monde sont menacés. La remise en question des certitudes ou mieux des habitudes crée un malaise qu'aucune thérapie n'est en mesure d'alléger. 

La Belgique est immobilisée entre deux paramètres, la bourgeoisie provinciale et les contestataires sans terre. Restent quelques cairvoyants, en premier lieu dans le monde artistique. Les Flamands ont pitié des Wallons et ces derniers se regardent hébétés dans le miroir pour crétins RTL.

Tom Lanoye serait tragique s'il était isolé. Il ne l'est pas et s'il devait se présenter au suffrage unviversel refédéralisé il ferait un malheur. 

A l'exception des diverses gauches, les Belges n'ont pas de répondants. Ils risquent de voter avec  Magritte "Ceci n'est pas la Belgique" et le résultat du scrutin nihiliste aura le mème look désuet et hyper-local qui fait fureur dans les gouvernements flamand et wallon.

En Belgique le débat autour de la globalisation n'existe pas parce que celle c-ci n'est jamais arrivée. Il appatient à quelques prophètes type Tom Lannoye, David Van Reybroeck, Bart Van Loo, Alain Gerlache, Lukas Dhont, les freres Dardenne de faire le constat.

 Ils doivent se trouver bien seuls.

Thursday, July 27, 2023


As a newborn, Israel did not receive the warm welcome it might have been entitled to. After the horror of the Shoah, the Jews wanted a land to call home. Unfortunately the circumstances and history did not work in favor of this new country, which was resented by some and unloved by most.

These unbecoming beginnings did not stop the Israelis from creating the ultimate miracle in the most inauspicious circumstances. In a fortnight the country reinvented itself into a military, economical, technological, and creative powerhouse. It won the wars and the minds but too seldom did it win the hearts.

Its early leaders were visionaries. Thanks to the foresight of President Sadat and the input of America Israel found a footing internationally. Its Palestinian cardinal sin became almost curable despite the PLO's earlier aberrations and the Arab's "nonchalance" regarding the two-state solution.

The better mood from Oslo was short-lived. The various personalities who had found some inroads into a hopeless situation disappeared or ran out of creative ideas. Sadat and Rabin paid for their audacity. Then came Netanjahu, formidable personality, who was never able to forgive the killing of his brother Yonatan who led the rescue operation of the hostages in Entebbe in 1976 at the hand of a joint Baader Meinhof /Palestinian terror group operation.

The American Secretary of State James Baker could not stomach Netanjahu's arrogance then and the normal ties between Israel and the West never recovered from mutual suspicion and prejudice. 

The current political turmoil in Israel and the growing influence of the settlers and the religious orthodox right who became Netanjahu's hard-core supporters have further corroded the natural flow of shared interests between the democratic West and Tel Aviv.

One should beware of too hasty judgements. Actually, the tremendous protests in defense of the independence of the Israeli Supreme Court are a vital sign that democracy stays alive and well. This is not Hungary after all.  It is important to remain a reliable ally in such times (which remind us of January 6 in Washington D.C., by the way.) The outcome of this major crisis is hard to predict. It is essential, however, that the position towards the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary therein be made clear by the EU (an uphill battle).

All had better return to their sketchbooks and finally work out once and forever a two-state solution (for which various models exist by the way, but torpedoed by Arafat in the (in-)famous Camp David meeting in 2000.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2023


The disappearing act of China's foreign minister Qin Gang and his replacement (for now) by Wang Yi are shrouded in the usual deferential self-possession, a trademark of Chinese might.

Both excel in diplomatic skills, but Wang Xi is a more traditional, experienced representative of the aloof style which prevails in the entourage of President Xi . 

Observers will guess for the reasons, and the Chinese will stick to the talking points that are coming from higher up.

Qin Gang was unusual insofar as he looked more relaxed and approachable. His tenure as the PRC's ambassador in Washington might have loosened his strict adherence to Chinese cosmology. Nevertheless, under the more relaxed façade there was always a temperament of steel.

The power games in Beijing lack the often vulgar proximity of the political vaudeville that plays out in the Western democracies. Therefore they become the stuff high-brow comments and projections are made of.

Monday, July 24, 2023


The EU anti-trust chief, Margarethe Vestager, intended to nominate the US economist Fiona Scott Morton to a high rank position in the Commission. This choice of a stellar Yale economist had it all going until the French, acting French yet again, opposed the choice of a non-European.

President Emmanuel Macron is rumored to have vetoed this candidate, arguing that a European national was required. This is disappointing coming from a man who has often avoided the traps of French petulance. However he has lately spoken more often of European sovereignty, suggesting an increased overall autonomy regarding the United States. Such talk already sends  shivers in the Baltics and most Europeans. Break the American umbrella and you get stuck with the Parapluies de Cherbourg. Merci...

France has periodic seizures of self-augmentation--nouveaux philosophes, nouvelle cuisine, nouveau roman, nouvelle vague, economistes de saison, etc.--which can be forgiven. However, if the EU is no longer allowed to attract diverse talent, it will hasten its demise as a drydock for bureaucrats. America works because it attracts. Others often repel. The EU had better beware of the mal français, here and now.

Sunday, July 23, 2023


Two countries have an existential bound with the West: Israel and Ukraine. Time is running out with the former and running short with the latter.

The protest against Netanjahu shows that the democratic dialectic is still alive in Tel Aviv but it remains that there is also something rotten in the country.

In a future that becomes more uncertain--presidential elections in the US, "fatigue" in the West, Russian intentions towards Georgia, Moldova, etc--Kiev races against time and winter. 

There are no easy choices for either.

The Jewish intelligencia in America starts to question Israel's moves regarding its (uneven) democratic framework, or the Palestinians. The streets in Tel Aviv  are packed with protesters who do not want to stay idle when their core values are being sold out. Even The New York Times is running out of patience.

Ukraine gets undiminished but nevertheless calibrated support, mostly from the Biden administration, which will enter the pre-election nightmare this coming winter. The EU fears more a possible change of administration in Washington than the Americans do. Under a Republican leadership, China, NATO, trade, Russia i.a. would all arrive in a correction course.

Time is running short. Israel must return to its former age of (partial, disputable) innocence. The Ukranian drama cannot continue for much longer. Time is Putin's ally and Zelensky's foe. Around this stalemate a lot is happening, out of view but on the mind of some. China, the BRICS, freelancers like Turkey today, France tomorrow, might make inroads into this hardly confined hell, with unpredictable consequences.

Dr. Kissinger was in Beijing. He can hardly be considered a professor of morals, but his more creative approach to power and influence remains undiminished. He will have found in President Xi an acute listener. Some hope he might also remind the Israelis of the value of this two-state approach in the heydays of his unsurpassed shuttle diplomacy.

There is little time left before one country sells out its soul while the other might lose the war.

Saturday, July 22, 2023


La célébration de la fête nationale en Belgique revêt toujours un aspect ambigu. Les Belges restent prioritairement introvertis, hésitant entre indifférence et respect. Il est pourtant indéniable que le Roi et la Reine bénéficient d'un coéfficient "sympathie", mais ils semblent encore trop souvent coincés entre des considérations contradictoires, distants ou, au contraire, approchables ou décontractés.

La Belgique est un pays complexe, difficile à naviguer. Le Roi Philippe et la Reine Mathilde ont à leur actif un parcours sans fautes réelles. Sans doute s'entourent-ils d'une discrétion que d'aucuns trouvent exagérée. On voudrait les voir là ou ils aiment se retrouver plutôt que là ou ils sont attendus. Ne bénéficiciant pas d'un système dans lequel le respect rituel prédomine toute autre considération, comme en Angleterre, ils sont par définition plus opaques. Dans ces conditions, l'opinion publique reste aussi plus réservée. La monarchie doit se débarasser une fois pour toutes des sous-titres catholiques ou du look Natan dépassé.

En tout état de cause la fête nationale est infiniment plus attrayante que les lugubres fêtes que Flamands et Wallons s'offrent chaque année dans une indifférence générale. Si le 21 juillet manque parfois de cohérence, les célébrations régionales sont franchement insupportables.

Dans ce pays-chantier permanent, le Roi représente une garantie de contrôle de soi et de sérieux. Dans d'autres pays et de situations, des alternatives pourraient être envisagées. En Belgique, aujourd'huic, celà n'est pas possible. Sans doute peut-on considérer d'autres modèles de gouvernance mais le risque de créer des "colonies" gouvernées par des partis politiques au Nord et au Sud est trop grand. Et Bruxelles dans ce "pataquès" ?

Les apprenti-sorciers qui sont devenus les "parrains" du gouvernement fédéral représentent un réel danger pour le fonctionnement transparent de la démocratie. Sans doute jean-Luc Dehaene a été le dernier Premier Ministre en Belgique. Il était aussi le dernier véritable Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, ayant confié ce portefeuille à l'inexistant et oublié Eric Derycke. Depuis, les présidents de parti ont effectué un coup d'état permanent sur le dos du bon fonctionnement des institutions. Plus rien ne se passe sans l'assentiment de Georges-Louis Bouchez ou Paul Magnette.

Dans ce scénario le Roi Philippe bénéficie de la discrétion de l'influence. Il a certainement été à bonne école, après qur l'Ambassadeur Frans Van Daele ait enfin remplacé Jacques Van Ypersele de Strihou, le grand inquisiteur. Le Palais a cessé d'être l'Escurial et les Belges apprécient. Le pays a beson d'assurances en amont de la présidence de l'UE et de son bicentenaire en 2030. L'actuel Premier Ministre Alexander De Croo a le profil mais encore faut-il lui donner les moyens. Les baronies n'hésiteront pas à préférer la permanence du médiocre à l'émergence du meilleur.

Thursday, July 13, 2023


The NATO Summit in Vilnius was the usual mix of capital letters and small print. Sweden got in, Turkey acted cool, Hungary behaved and the chorus line followed the script.

The Ukrainian president was like the star who was tipped for the Oscar but who had to return home without the price.

The commitment of President Biden was genuine. His restraint was equally warranted. President Zelensky must feel frustrated but NATO has no other alternative but needing to tiptoe in between too many unknowns.  Nobody fathoms what is really going on in Moscow. Putin's world is as familiar as Mars. 

Many NATO members have misgivings regarding the future. They also fear the outcome of the American presidential elections next year. Accordingly, some hesitate to overcommit, while others want to speed up decisions while the current administration is the ultimate guarantor.  Biden will not give in to pressure, rightly so.

The waiting game is the shared unpleasant scenario that both the West and Putin have to endure. Ukraine pays the price for this imposed Realpolitik.

Putin is Russian after all, a multiplier of arrogance and envy. In Russian culture the romantic shares the house with the demonic, which makes for a permanent tension and susceptibility.

Contrary to the normal times in the past, the West can no longer seduce or reason the mostly Southern hemisphere. Yesterday's BRICS have turned into today's bricks, which multiply before our eyes.  Rather than side with one or the other, they prefer now to sit on the sidelines. For Putin and Xi they are eye candy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

11 Juli

 Het is weer zo ver...

De Vlaamse nationale dag ging opnieuw aan onverschillig Brussel (hoofdstad van Vlaanderen) voorbij , zoals gebruikelijk. De "opvoering" in het Brussels stadhuis was een "non event".

Ten tijde van Gaston Geens zat er nog pit in. Nu wordt het ongenietbaar.

De Standaard melde dat de "Vlaming" Rémy Bonny, Directeur van Forbidden Colours, in Tbilisi door de overheid werd lastig gevallen ivm. een Gay Pride initiatief. Men kan zich terecht de vraag stellen wat de beweegredenen zijn om een Belg te  herleiden tot een Vlaming, des te meer wanneer de diplomatie misschien moet worden opgeroepen om een landgenoot de bijstand te verlenen waarop hij recht heeft...Of denkt de Standaard dat Liesbeth Homans misschien moest ingrijpen ?

Ondertussen klonk de Vlaamse Leeuw opnieuw in het Brussels stadhuis (terecht) , gezongen door "the usual suspects"(jammer). Bij Demir, Weyts §Co is het nederlands een aanvalswapen, geen verleiding...............

Thursday, July 6, 2023


Old grievances need alleviation, not aggravation.

The circumstances in which Israel came to fruition as a state were far from ideal. The consequences for the Palestinians continue to be awful. 

The Jews' claim for land had legitimate merit. The sorrow of the Palestinians was equally justified. The Jews got their country, the Palestinians lost their land.

Israel became a laboratory for success and a nation-building experiment. It had a sterling political elite which had the foresight to support the Oslo Agreements. The Palestinians felt confident that a two-state arrangement was in the making. 

Now it looks as if yesterday's shimmer of hope lies buried under resentment. Israel, under the current leadership, appears to be impervious to moderation. The Palestinian authority is mere a corpse. Stuck in between the hell of Gaza and the Israeli fortress, the Palestinians in the meagre parcels under their pseudo control might become impossible to manage. The mix of frustration and self-hatred is lethal.

There was a time, 40 years ago, when they were talking. The MENA formula worked, even while Israel had no other diplomatic relations than with Egypt. The United States was a trusted intermediary and the EU and the Quartet helped to build both infrastructure for the Palestinians and trust for all.

We need an urgent change of actors. Netanyahu is too concerned with his political survival and Abbas has lost his legitimacy. In this void extremes thrive. The former American arbiter has lost the appetite for another shuttle or round, under the current circumstances, and the EU is too absorbed with the Ukrainian tragedy next door. The Arabs only care about the riches.

The current stalemate is bad of course. Hamas or Hezbollah in Lebanon might unleash yet again their nihilistic agendas and push Israel into a repeat of a Sharon sledgehammer intervention. 

The more liberal elites in Tel Aviv have to be saved from the indignities of free-lance terrorists who have no other agenda than hatred. The demented Jewish settlers have to bear the consequences of their encroachment. Only a change of leaders can bring some solace but neither side looks ready to clear a house that, on both sides, holds more rubbish than great expectations.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023


After the Russian coup that wasn't, the comments coming from the clueless proliferate. Suddenly everybody saw it coming and political post-facto appropriation fills the airwaves and the usual CNN talk shows.

The few who have knowledge stay mute, some who had some prior info remain silent, and the usual specialists have a free run to spin. 

One can assume that the US, the UK, Australia and New Zeeland are in the know since they have an ad hoc agreement for sharing relevant info regarding security. 

It is wise to follow the situation with the uttermost caution, given that the paranoia in Putin's power structure must run amok. Russia is not a normal country and given the little one knows about the putative contenders for power, it is advisable to watch, rather than to delve into whatever too few might know too little about.

Putin is a personality which remains non-transparent. There are enough indications however that should encourage restraint rather than outburst. This nuclear maverick is unpredictable. He might be tempted to refurbish his credibility on the back of Ukraine, knowing very well that many NATO members (like Belgium), who do not comply with the contribution requirement of 2 % of their GDP, are international riff raff. The chessboard belongs only to the US, China and himself.

Washington stays stoic, wisely so (notwithstanding the usual Biden gaffe). 

Lukashenko found in this sordid imbroglio an outlet to make him larger and to climb higher on the ladder of Putin's esteem. He is no longer the Leporello.

Better stay on the side lines. Putin might auto-destruct. He might also rise from the ashes. What comes after him might be even worse, so it is to be recommended not to interfere. 

Ukraine is the only imperative piece in this game of chess. The West had better review its qualitative and quantitative involvement during the next NATO summit. All the rest is for the usual suspects to talk about, with Amanpour & Co.


Il semble après tout que le gouvernement, résigné, ne tombera pas. Après la saga Iranienne la ministre des Affaires Etrangères ne sort pas grandie de l'épreuve. Dommage car elle a eu un parcours interessant en tant que journaliste. On peut aussi s'interroger sur son savoir-faire, alors que la présidence de l'Union Européenne l'attend au retour. George Louis Boucher qui est son "parrain" a indibutablement donné plusieurs fois la preuve qu'il est davantage fait pour la zizanie que pour la réflexion. Madame Lahbib devra creuser l'écart entre elle et cet éternel survolté.

Le Premier Ministre, personnalité appréciée, est l'otage de présidents de parti plus soucieux de garder le controle d'un système qui les arrange que de le corriger. La Belgique est mal gouvernée et s'enfonce de plus en plus dans le dysfonctionnel généralisé. Rien ne fonctionne. Alexander De Croo ne semble pas être en mesure d'imposer une valeur ajoutée d'efficacité à son gouvernement. L'état fédéral  est désormais réduit à son plus modeste commun dénominateur.

La Wallonie est un cauchemar permanent pour amateurs d'RTL. La Flandre semble être séduite par le modèle Hongrois. Bruxelles ? C'est la descente aux enfers et dans la crasse. Comment ôse-t-on ?

Si le confédéralisme devait présenter une alternative rationnelle, pourquoi pas...mais il faudrait le considérer sous condition que la prolifération de pouvoirs, de bourgmestres, d'intercommunales mafieuses, de communes ridicules disparaisse en mème temps. Or en Belgique on court toujours le risque de multiplier plutot que de soustraire.

Les élections législatives prévues en 2024 risquent de faire mal, d'autant plus que les électeurs voteront avec la rage qui est légitime eu égard à l'implosion de tout. Il peut paraitre injuste de critiquer autant le fédéral alors que les états fédérés ont des tics de sous-préfecture et des intérèts de paumés pour carnavals  en Wallonie ou à Alost. 

Les préparatifs pour la célébration du 200ème anniversaire du royaume sont engagés . On peut parier que le metro Bruxellois ne sera pas prêt, que le Sablon finira par être le frère jumeau de la place du jeu de balle et que Charleroi gardera son titre de ville la plus laide d'Europe.

Quid novo ?

Monday, June 26, 2023


The Russian tremor passed, as many unspoken dysfunctions there usually do.  The players in this sordid scenario all share an identical DNA. The rest of the world watched and opted wisely for silence. The Russian society appears like a nihilistic experiment better to be observed from some distance than to be subjected to close scrutiny. Under Putin the society went under. The humiliation that a group of freaks was able to inflict on the regime will resonate for a long period of time and is being closely watched everywhere.

Russia appears now almost more barbaric than its normal posture--already unpleasant in more "normal" times--generally conveys. Nowhere, besides the usual suspects like North Korea or Lukashenko's gulag, is the rule of the bulk as merciless. Ukraine is the vicious demonstration of a kind of almost fanatic disregard for life and dignity, truth and repentance. The Ukrainians fight for a cause while Russian soldiers are lost, uninformed souls in a conflict which they can hardly understand, given their disbelief in fighting others that in so many ways were so close.

The fact remains that Putin lost the control of the narrative and that his paranoia will only increase. He was always an unpleasant customer. He might become unpredictable, trying to show off rather than to come to terms with former President Obama's assessment of Russia as a "regional power". The Russians were never able to come to terms with Western nonchalance regarding their bombast. Only Trump fell for the lure of being regarded in Moscow while the rest of the world watched him in disbelief.

Putin becomes more dangerous now since he will have to prove that he controls both the narrative and the establishment around him. He was dented but not crushed. Russians seemed to be more blasé than worried. The West remained cool but one can bet that China, India and Russia's clients elsewhere watched closely, some out of political angst, some out of financial or sordid panic.

In this episode without structure, devoid of ending, both Putin and Prigozhin are alike. The Wagner mercenaries will still be active in Africa, or wherever their turf and payroll might be. None has any existential investment. The Russian people have seen it all. The West remains aloof, wisely so. Let them auto-destruct. One lost, the other didn't win. Too bad, both the play and the actors are so unappealing....

Friday, June 23, 2023


The Vulcan accident resulted in the death of five Titanic-obsessed, who paid hard cash to satisfy their little obsession. The rescue was impressive, international, expensive and relentless. The coverage by the media wiped all other relevant news from the screen. The accident became the ultimate show and the pictures of the five soiled passengers continue to stare at us. A sad ending for a folly à cinqIt remains to be seen if the bluff or the malfunction will be the main culprit in this sordid, journey into a David Cameron "remake" for the meek.

In 2015 the drowning of the Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi in the Mediterranean provoked an universal revulsion and emotion. Today the same sea has become the catacomb of too many who were cheated into paying for a dangerous passage for an arbitrary opportunity to fare better in the illusion of Western Europe. Both the journey, and the arrival for those who make it, are stories of humiliation and disappointment with no end. They don't receive the dignity of regret, and there is hardly a coast guard which comes to their rescue.

The Vulcan saga became the thing, obliterating Ukraine, Sudan or the Rohingya, i.a. The news cycle and the chase to find a quantitative niche therein are distorting truth and urgency. The race to be in the news has killed conviction, truth and reliability. The Twitter policies favor quick indistinguishable uninformed resolution over illuminating consideration. The Vulcan had it all going: money, celebrity, arrogance, and it's demise is sad indeed. The hundreds of refugees remain nameless, packed on the deck of their coffin to be. Few notice. In death and in life they are hardly worth a penny.

C'est la vie, c'est la mort de beaucoup.


Sunday, June 18, 2023


Most men of Biden's age have a hard time balancing normal physical deterioration with intact intelligent agility. This exercise can be painful and humiliating. One lives under unforgiven scrutiny to prove that undisputable assaults that are part of the aging process do not necessarily come with a diminished analytical acuity. Accordingly ,a lot is being written about King Lear in the White House...wrong ! 

The Ukrainian hellfire has the expected horrible consequences. Kiev became also "the" place to be seen, recently by African leaders who would do better doing some house cleaning at home, and to understand that neutrality between evil and right equals  betrayal. This sad show only reminds us how much Mandela is missed.

Time is running out. So are options. The next NATO Summit in Vilnius will be important. Since Putin does not want to enter into a rational diplomatic alternative,  Zelensky is entitled to receive even larger support from the EU and NATO. The time of "niceties" is over. Containment is right as long as it does not equal unwarranted restraint.

The US is the only factor that really counts. China has to be checked, the EU needs to remain united, others should just abstain if they cannot choose their camp. 

The Biden administration is slowly but surely laying down a couple of markers. This is also done bearing in mind that if Trump were reelected, the ceiling would fall down. Never imagine that this avatar without conviction or scruples spends his time in Mar-a-Lago just playing golf or hiding boxes. He surely has his pen-pals on edge. Hence, Biden is discreetly preempting any form of possible nefarious backlash, in case he were to lose the presidency. He is reshaping the deck of cards with major players: China, the EU, the Middle East, Australia. Africa is a moving target for now, more inclined to favor short-term gain over long-term commitment. The BRICS are a vicious challenge, that needs urgent attention.

It is obvious that the world order which was the topic of yesterday's sophisticated Davos exchanges is no longer. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is trying to replace the former marble blocks by a more pragmatic material, which might allow a renewed, forward-looking order. Putin is showing how a provincial, unyielding paranoia could end up in another Hitlerian Gotterdammerung .

Old men (and women) are occasionally tolerated for a bon môt. They should however be listened to when they get it right, although their speech might lack sparkle.  Besides, the existential choice is once more about enlightenment over obscurantism. So it is wise to stay with the person one respects, rather than to give a free ride to the one everybody in his right mind distrusts. Unintended consequences should be avoided!