April 21, 2022


France and Britain: both democracies, but worlds apart (Daniel Johnson, 4/21/22, The Article)

The real differences between France and the UK emerged when foreign affairs came up. Imagine a transgender Jeremy Corbyn, who rejects the EU because he wants socialism in one country and has no time for NATO either. At times, however, she also sounds like a more extreme Donald Trump, demanding the mass deportation of foreigners, the banning of the hijab or Muslim headscarf in all public places and the closing down of hundreds of mosques. On the headscarf, which is already banned in classrooms, Macron was hardly exaggerating when he warned: "What you are saying is very serious. You are going to cause a civil war. I say this sincerely."

Even more shocking was their debate about the war in Ukraine. Macron seized the initiative by accusing Mme Le Pen point blank of being in the pay of Putin. She was forced to admit that her party had indeed taken out a loan from a state-controlled bank in Moscow. The Russian President, he said, was "your banker". No matter how often she protested her patriotism, insisting that "I am a free woman", she could not escape the impression that she was soft on Russia, if not in Putin's pocket.

Yet the truth is that Macron himself has hardly been in the vanguard of support for Ukraine. His approach until very recently was to keep talking to Putin and France has, along with the other two big EU countries Germany and Italy, lagged far behind the UK and US in offering heavy equipment to Kyiv or pushing for tougher sanctions on Moscow. There seemed to be little difference on these issues between the two candidates, although Mme Le Pen was more vociferous in opposing a ban on oil and gas imports from Russia.

Neither of them mentioned Russian atrocities in Ukraine, let alone genocide -- although Zelensky now says that more than 600,000 Ukrainians are believed to have been deported to Russia. The discussion in Paris seemed to be taking place in a parallel universe, with little sense of an existential crisis for Europe. Nor would a challenger from the Left, such as Jean-Luc Melenchon, have been much better at putting Macron on the spot. The main concern for both politicians seemed to be to reassure voters that France would never be dragged into the conflict.

The implication was that the moral burden of stopping Putin in his tracks could be safely left to other people: the Ukrainians themselves, the other East Europeans and of course les Anglo-Saxons. If Marine Le Pen really is the P├ętain de nos jours, then Macron's ambition is to be the De Gaulle -- who did in fact remove France from NATO's military command, as Mme Le Pen also proposes to do. Macron rebuked her sharply for even mentioning the General's name.

The Long War is the Anglosphere vs. the French Revolution. 
Posted by at April 21, 2022 7:20 AM