Sunday, April 30, 2023


La rénovation de la Bourse était une excellente idée.

Ce batiment eut pu devenir un pôle de qualité à l'instar de l'ancienne Halle aux blés de Paris. Hélas on est à Bruxelles et les édiles ont choisi de privilégier la bierre. On sait d'avance que cellà conduira fatalement à une déterioration immédiate du lieu et de son environnement.

Comme si celà ne suffisait pas on a installé sur le toit une extension, type ''kot'' belge, qui déséquilibre immédiatement la cohérence de l'édifice.

Pour qui est familier des usages dans la capitale le mal est fait. Ce qui eut pu être un accent de goût  dans un centre ville qui en est dépourvu, est d'ores et déjà destiné à s'ajouter aux autres désastres urbains dans lesquels la ville excelle.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023


Les utilisateurs sont avertis. 

Aucune attention, aucun geste pour endiguer, voir éduquer les cycliste et utilisateurs de trotinettes en tout genre. Les crottes de chien et les poubelles a ciel ouvert continueront de se multiplier. La voirie genre Paris- Roubaix reste en place. A défaut d'une  réflexion sur l'occupation creative de l'espace, les tags et le misérabilisme occupent ici,  comme dans Bruxelles-ville, le terrain. Mème l'abbaye de la Cambre est l'objectif des vandales...

Je me rends parfaitement compte qu'en faisant le procès d'une commune, je fais en réalité le procès de celles et de ceux qui y habitent, et par conséquent de moi-même.


Many informed observers act surprised by the magnitude of Putin's derangement. They should have seen it coming after his handling of Chechnya or (by proxy) Byelorussia. European leaders acted surprised, Americans presidents were clueless.

Now, the disturber-in-chief continues on a private warpath under the sarcastic gaze of China and with the Schadenfreude of the many who relish the "embarrassment of the riches." 

No wonder the BRICS ( Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) enjoy their moment. Dilma Rousseff, better known for corruption while Brazilian president, heads the gang of five at this given time. President Lula could not have found a better opportunity to shine and annoy.

The bricks that hold together some world order are loose and the whole construction is falling apart. For once, peace and deal makers pop up in the most unexpected corners with the most untested lineage. The latest utterances of the Chinese  ambassador in Paris say it all. Rules of correct international behavior became questionable.

The West sometimes looks ignored and is under assault by former frustrations and old rancor.  Putin is like a wizard who distracts from his own misery and miserable war by creating Potemkin-like distraction with the support of the travelers in economy.  America is imperfect but booming, the EU is kind of boring but functioning. The Russia/China axis was formidable when the bedrock was a shared Utopia. Now it is just a marriage of convenience, that the partners only endure out of self-interest .

One can expect a proliferation of sub-regional or internal conflicts which will appeal to the savoir-faire of unprepared interlopers. Unfortunately, the proven controlled assessment of traditional players is being tested. France and Germany are not immune to some form of straying. America has to face the rule of the pendulum in the coming presidential elections.

It is kind of sad to be obliged to state ill-fated evidence while not being able to come up with a solid alternative. There is not even room for a bon môt. Talleyrand would disapprove.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


It is hard to follow the trajectory of our "world leaders" who appear sometimes in all continents at the same time. The former rather sedate, prepared,  dignified gatherings of a few are being dislodged by the sleep-over parties of too many.

The more Cartesian world of the Kennedy years is no longer. The cause might be the death of any form of hierarchy or creed. Systems lost their mitigating reserve a long time ago. The good versus evil mantra in WWII is gone. The more intellectualized footnotes that benefited Mao i.a. are out of date. 

What happened is the death of ideology. Since America lost its soul in Vietnam it continues to stumble in other places. China benefited from a perverse honeymoon from mostly Western intellectuals who were duped. Europe mesmerized, but ended up just becoming a broker for its dissonant members rather than an arbiter for the good worldwide. The former 77 fell apart in competing self-loathing groupings of mostly failed ambitions.

The many conflicts today no longer follow the expected trajectory, often ending void of munitions, ambition and attention. Semi-solid groupings (BRICS) can no longer hide the competing of perverse dysfunctions within. The former endured intermediaries or peace makers are on sick leave. Given the hybrid nature of today's conflicts and killings without any excuse, the traditional forms of diplomacy or conflict management become obsolete.

Maybe it is time to look for problem solvers who can ignore passed failed normative parameters. Holbrooke or Kissinger were successful because they chose to ignore observances of precedent. Ukraine is an example of duration by void. It has  become almost impossible to talk to Putin if you are not French. Nevertheless, a negotiation of sorts will have to be considered. Turkey, India, Brazil would be too happy to offer their "services". The Kremlin would be delighted to be their bed and breakfast host.  But a superman/woman will be hard to find since the pool of talent  is almost empty and there is no Mandela around. 

The search for a way out is also the search for the ideal man/woman in. Better find the individual who can run rather than sit. Putin's and others' table is too tricky.

Carl Bildt ?

Saturday, April 15, 2023


Hostage taking is yet another form of the barbary that infiltrates States' behavior. It is becoming difficult to keep up with the hostage-taking plague which is becoming rampant worldwide.  

Some actors count it as just another tool for blackmailing the adverse party.  But mostly Putin considers it the new normal. Russia has a long history of repression by way of destruction of the psyche:  Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov come to mind. They were the faces of the oppressed and of the existentially mutilated for life, who endured hell.  They also became the stewards for the shared outrage worldwide.

Navalny is rotting, out of sight and covered under a layer of concrete, not unlike a nefarious outdated nuclear plant. His sin is to have dared to call up Putin for being the monster he is. The torture he suffers is the punishment for the revulsion that lives in the  legions that support him.

The measured outrage in the West is both cowardly and immoral. This form of slow execution is a scandal. Silence equals complicity. The Security Council became just like a car running on empty, but it is still a sounding board.  All these new crooked summits and multiplying bastardly gatherings do not want to touch an issue which reminds them of embarrassments home. 

The West has to speak out loud and point the finger at the evil doer. There is something basically wrong and perverse in the EU psyche. On all issues, it approaches the core but refrains from too direct intervention. This pill becomes difficult to swallow. With regard to Navalny, the West had better beware of appearing too aloof, complicit in a murder by stealth, which unlike war crimes, still has a chance to be forestalled.

Thursday, April 13, 2023


Brussel  is kandidaat voor WK wielrennen in 2030.

Dat is niet  onverwacht en zou best verdiend zijn. Hoe men dat gaat klaar spelen is een andere vraag. De hoofdstad is een organisatorische ramp met een ondermaatse infrastructuur en horeca, die de vergelijking met andere steden niet aankan.

Het beschikt wel tussen het koninklijk paleis en de Zavel over zijn kasseien kalvarie, een eigen ''enfer du Nord'' (Roubaix comme chez soi) in het centrum. Er zijn ook genoeg leegstaande ruimtes zoals het De Brouckere plein ( Oost Duitsland bij ons), of de teleurgang van Noord en Zuid, dank zij o.m. het urbanistisch genie van Pascal Smet en de groene hysterie. 

Tot dan komt er waarschijnlijk  geen verandering in de Good Move katastrofe en de chaos van de permanente burgeroorlog tussen autos, fietsen en steps. De Kunstberg wordt niet langer meer opgeknapt en wie gelooft er nog in de wedergeboorte van o.m. het Justitie paleis en het Museum voor shone kunsten ?

Petite capitale, petit esprit, petits gouvernements. Wout verdient beter....

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


Il est de notoriété publique que la France cherche traditionellement à compenser la dérive interieure qui survient occasionellement par un éclat en politique extérieure.

Macron vient à son tour de réclamer haut et fort un pôle européen de défense. D'autres l'ont fait avant lui. Les critiques s'interrogent moins sur le bien fondé de son rappel que sur les circonstances choisies pour lancer le pavé dans la mare. Or les images comptent (trop) et en Chine le président français est apparu petit , contrairement à la présidente de la Commission qui est sortie grandie de l'épreuve.

Il y a aussi eu un dérapage non contrôlé au sujet de Taiwan. Bref, ce voyage effectué pendant que Paris brule, a une nouvelle fois démontré combien les puissances dites moyennes doivent se garder des faux-pas difficilement réparables. Le Royaume-Uni ou l'Allemagne se gardent bien de donner dans ce type de piège.

L'Europe ne parvient mème pas à apporter un soutien crédible à l'Ukraine. La France qui a longtemps considéré  quel'Afrique méritait un régime préférentiel essuye les plâtres et s'en lave les mains. Quelque déplacements officiels n'arrivent pas à compenser l'absence d'engagement structurel. Mème le Liban boude.

Il faut prioritairement consolider ce qui existe et fonctionne. Au sein de l'OTAN  le poids de la Finlande change les données, celui de la France n'apporte rien, si ce n'est la force de frappe. Oui, l'Europe est tributaire des Etats-Unis. Imaginons quelle serait la réaction de Trump aux propos de Macron ?! Le président Biden n'a rien d'enthousiasmant mais il est rassurant. Les grands enjeux géopolitques se jouent entre quelques partenaires ou le poids de pays comme  l'Australie, l'Inde, la Corée du Sud, le Japon dépasse désormais celui de la France.

Si Macron entend que l'UE ne fait pas assez, il a raison. S'il entre dans l'antichambre du découplement, il sera l'otage de la quadrature du cercle.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


Fake news and misinterpretation are invading bona fide reporting or commenting.  

Lately a lot has been said about supposed parallels between the Taiwan and Ukraine situations and the respective roles of China and Russia therein. This falsehood, both for reasons of history, facts, and ambiguity (the Shanghai communique versus stated, recognized independence) is invading the discourse. The only thing that the two have in common is that neither is the aggressor.

We enter a most delicate phase in world politics. The United States are entering presidential election and will have to deal with distractions that come with it and with Republican bad faith that Trump will surely encourage and inflate, to distract from his judiciary encroachments.

China will take advantage of every window of opportunity to force doors that were closed. Its role in the Iran/Saudi ''reconciliation'' arrives in what was considered Washington's realm. MBS' pique against Biden carries greater weight than the irrevocable antipathy between Shia and Sunnis. 

The end of globalization is the trendy topic of today's conversation. In macro- economic terms this is not true. Capital is too hard to domesticate. Short-term political interests are another matter. Western hubris is a thing of the past. Clusters  multiply and they are no longer rooted in a long-term, shared perspective. They are solely based on short-term cashing-in on opportunity without gravitas.

Even the EU suffers from the sordid goings-on in Brussels. Macron in China looked suddenly small. Ursula von der Leyen played her part well but she was more listened-to than allowed some form of engagement.

China grabs and is impervious to criticism. Russia is an ugly antique but it is too heavy to be moved. America remains the chief entertainer thanks to its endless creativity and a knack for getting itself back on its feet whenever it catastrophically fails. Europe is the Sunday sermon: listened to and forgotten.

International affairs are not a rattle, they are a harpoon. Too many speak too much about what they know too little. The cocktail and gossip skills are things from the past, witty in retrospect but embarrassing now. At least Versailles and Sevres can be attributed to the superficiality of most and to absurd the messianism of President Wilson. President Roosevelt gave the world a roadmap with too many vetoes. When the Berlin wall became a relic of the past, the world got tipsy but forgot to clear house and paid scant attention to the many that were never consulted and who benefit today from China's ''largesse''.

So yesterday's winners are the duped for now. They are better at soft-power but events show that hard-power talks loudly and that history, unlike Latin, comes in handy.

Monday, April 3, 2023


Former President Trump will be arraigned tomorrow in New York. Unlike Lazarus he is not raised from death. He never left since he is devoid of any sense of dignity. Quitting is not in his DNA. His flock of Neanderthals and cynical lackeys stands by him. The international chorus of usual suspects (mostly Saudies, Emirats, Netanjahu's Israel, Hungary) and acclamatory manipulators are preparing for his eventual return. The EU and NATO cannot fathom a comeback of their declared nemesis.

If President Obama was composure after the uneven George W. Bush years, Trump brought chaos. Ever the liar and the amateur, he colluded with the unsavory camp and collided with the democratic fabric in America. He never cared to do his homework and ended up being ridiculous or nefarious. The MAGA crowd didn't care as long as it could be part his antics and fabrications.

His current indictment might actually play out in his favor since Republicans seem to have no other posture than to rally around the martyr and the B.S. of God and guns. 

That he can get out of his current predicament remains to be seen. Already his followers have their hitlist of enemies, with the support of the Fox News-Third Reich methods. It remains to be seen if the GOP will yet again fall for the golden calf. It is hard to discover a Moses in their ranks.

Trump has aged, but unlike the current president, he has not been touched by some form of generosity or grace under pressure. In a world heading for total disorder, the added stress coming from the doings of such a despicable player is bad news. 

The next American president will have to deal with China first of all. He had better be familiar with the Book of Changes. He will also have to handle the unpleasantness of Russia under Putin & Co. Besides, there are collateral issues involved that require a creative, steady approach. Obnoxious amateurs have to be avoided at all costs.

In Mar-a-Lago Trump could indulge in playing the wounded party, unseen and almost forgotten, sheltered by the predictable faithful. Back in the limelight, the clown will not find in him a remnant of dignity, which was in too short supply in the first place.

He might consider himself being Lazarus, but he should never be raised from the low point he created for himself.