Friday, April 26, 2024


L'Europe semble vouloir renouer avec Sophocle. Elle tourne aussi le dos aux soliloques de Hamlet, leur préférant le nihilisme de Titus Andronicus.

La partie occidentale du continent est agressée de toute part, mème de l'intérieur. Ses alliés naturels, le Levant ou les pays au Nord du Sahel, sont désormais soit déçus, soit trop affaiblis de l'intérieur, pour revenir aux temps passés.

Dans l'Union Européenne les notes discordantes abondent. Le pessimisme existentiel du président Emmanuel Macron traduit  hélàs trop parfaitement le malaise qui existe et les nouvelles suspicions qui sont apparues, après le Brexit et l'agression Russe aux frontières orientales. L'Ukraine est le point de départ d'une Reconquista visant à reconstituer l'ancien goulag Sovietique.

Si Macron s'exprime clairement, d'autres parlent et agissent plus tendancieusement. Seule l'Angleterre semble fidèle à la cohérence, en partie parce qu'elle paye son du aux Etats Unis qui lui accordent un régime préférentiel. L'Allemagne et l'Espagne se préoccupent de leurs démons intérieurs. La Hongrie et la Slovaquie inquiètent. La Pologne est désormais un partenaire redoutable mais les tensions intérieures demeurent. L'Italie a en la personne de la Première Ministre une joueuse de poker hors pair...mais elle reste "joueuse". Les pays baltes sont sérieux. Le BENELUX n'est plus que l'ombre de ce qu'il était mais les Pays Bas restent fiables.

L'émiettement est total et l'avènement de Trump aux Etats Unis signifierait l'arrêt de mort du grand projet occidental. Certains leaders européens seraient sans doute pressés de déposer leur offerande aux piéds d'un duumvirat Poutine /Trump. La Chine observerait, amusée. Les états tiers en Afrique et en Asie sont devenus trop agnostiques pour se poser des questions morales sur le bon choix.

L'Amérique de Trump amusera ceux qui n'ont jamais regardé de près ceux qui viennent l'applaudir. L'expérience pourrait pourtant éclairer ceux qui croient encore en l'Amérique de Barbie...Ce pays a ses démons et Mickey porte désormais une arme à feu comme les enseignants dans certains états du Deep South.

En final, Américains et Européens sont également piègés entre dérapages mal controlés et remords maladroits . L'argument moral cède de plus en plus le terrain aux faux papiers. Il est donc fatal que le défaitisme gagne du terrain.

Monday, April 22, 2024


Mike Johnson, Republican House speaker, finally agreed to the vote on the military aid packet to Ukraine (and Israel, Taiwan), an easy win for the coalition wherein reason prevailed. Marjorie Taylor Greene and the demented ultras in the Republican ranks are asking now for retaliation.

The speaker finally made the right choice, but he might have alienated the Republican hard-liners in the Freedom Caucus, where hysteria and fabrications usually come together. That this alliance between Republicans and Democrats happened after Johnson met Trump in Mar-a-Lago adds mystery to surprise. His future as Speaker is hard to predict but nutty Republicans are unlikely to be in a forgiving mood.

Obviously, Ukraine was in the emergency room and in need of a life-saving intervention. It is also high noon for the EU and NATO to stop procrastinating. The military priorities are self- explanatory but the attention should equally focus on the ongoing culture war of civilization (singular) that is being waged against the values the West has deemed safe and irreversible since the "end" of the Cold War. The enemy at the border is gaining allies inside, who try to undermine pluralism and democracy. The relentless sabotage of truth is now a real, well-orchestrated menace.

 A vicious aggression is waged against what is left of the former world order. The West might have acted too arrogantly after the demise of the Soviet Union. It should now beware of not becoming naive under the current circumstances. 

The little shipwrecks from "warships" from various European countries in the Mediterranean today, supposedly sent to safeguard navigation around the Strait of Ormuz, are the perfect dark fairy tale for hapless commitments and pathetic loss of face. The French president wants a European military resurgence but with dwarfs like these, ambitions die a quick death.

Maybe the House speaker will lose the support of some of his "troops", but with moral freaks like these it might be better to pack anyway.  Proximity soils.

Monday, April 15, 2024


Iran's military intervention against Israel amounted to an unconvincing demonstration. Actually Teheran lost face. It couldn't have been otherwise, since the threshold of sustainable intentions was already crossed some time ago. Everybody partners with Armageddon, but in the end some form of justice prevails when vital interests must be shielded at any price from becoming an endangered species.

Conflicts multiply--Sahel, Sudan, Yemen, Myanmar--out of the reach of close scrutiny, while others drag on in the murky waters of world diplomacy. The cynical games around Ukraine or Gaza will only stop through mutual exhaustion, not because a rational outcome has been found.

The former, accepted world order is dead. Soon we will be talking of the good old times of the Cold War, wherein the roles were distributed without too much opposition and wherein a benevolent American producer assumed the responsibility of the casting. Today the grand interpreters of some Zeitgeist or another sit with broken pieces. Zeitgeists multiply and compete.

In reality we all keep losing former ironclad friends, not out of bad intentions but because we no longer trust our very own judgement. We have entered the Brueghel painting "The blind leading the blinds", with one major difference: rest assured that the "blinds" who lead us to the abyss will save their own skins.

Sunday, April 7, 2024


The Republican party appears more and more indifferent or even hostile to America's European allies. By starving Ukraine, blocking US support, it plays a despicable game. It acts like a Putin's de facto ally, and further weakens NATO's cohesion. All this is also made possible because a large part of public opinion in the US is becoming more provincial, while the range of global alerts is still growing. This apathy is not new. FDR had to force the country into entering World War II by a mobilization of all possible means after the Pearl Harbor shock-wave.

Europeans, by contrast, ask not if there will be war, but when. In the short term this might be over pessimistic, but it might also become a self-fulfilling prophecy given that the eventual combination of a Trump/Putin "understanding" is the worst of scenarios.

Besides, Germany often feels like an unreliable partner and France's Macron-style might not outlast his presidency. Europe is in reality a house divided. Without an American stewardship it might further be diluted, not unlike a falling apart of former lovers who cheat out of boredom.

Ukraine finds itself in a difficult situation. The Kiev photo shoot is a must for Western leaders who arrive with more press than quantitative support, while the promised hard-core help is still in limbo. 

The Republicans in Washington have become a horde of deranged individuals worshipping a golden calf. If Trump were to win, Europeans had better regroup. Fortunately he acts more deranged than ever and Americans might start to feel uneasy when confronted on a daily basis by his histrionics. Biden does well to play discreet and just deliver enviable economic success. The Democrats have their own left-wing lunatics, but their agenda is genuine and at has at least some intellectual merit.

One must hope that Republicans may still live up to their former principled selves. To arrive at a moment of lucidity they must get rid of the deranged souls in their midst. Unfortunately, there are too many "rotten apple" stories that prove that getting the House in order is easier said than done. 

The ones who applauded Zelensky months ago should finally consider follow-up on their promise. Ukraine is becoming the litmus test for determination.

Thursday, April 4, 2024


Southern California is more than ever the blueprint for often envied exaggeration. Nature is too luxurious, houses are over the top, people are divided between the very beautiful and the rest, between the smart and the "deplorables", and so on. Even nature runs in overdrive.

If California is a state in the nation, Southern California is a state in the state. It is too rich, too much of everything good and also some things objectional. There also exists a Victor Hugo demarcation line which divides the jobs that look reserved for the immigrants and the high caliber employment in academia, entertainment or high-tech.

Europe is mostly absent, seldom mentioned, and no party to the discourse. Nihilistic events in the world feel far away (in contrast with the sensibilities at the East Coast). Asia, and China in the first place, occupy the minds if not the hearts. For Europeans, and in the first place for the EU, it is an uphill battle to try correcting the usual quaint/obscure nonchalance that has overtaken its former appeal.

The upcoming presidential elections are a done deal in California, since the Democrats win there by "divine decree". The absurdity of the US electoral machine is also such that the most important state, California, has only two senators, just like the Dakotas where almost nobody lives besides some lost buffalo.

Trump creates revulsion, Biden meets resignation. The worsening situations in Ukraine and the Middle East don't move the compass, which got stuck in the largely detached mode. Maybe there is so much here that there is no room left for a "there".

People enjoy the surabundance while it lasts, but they might try to be more tuned to the various geopolitical and moral storms that are around. Hidden from view doesn't make problems go away. There is nothing wrong with feeling happy as long as it doesn't lead to the denial of what is happening in the backyard. Southern California is a hub for contemporary creativity and intellectual drive. It can also become even more so if it felt more than just a night at the opera.