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.