Le Choc: French Regional Election Update

 

Le choc“Choc” means shock. I’m not sure why France is so shocked, because a surge in support for the National Front looked entirely predictable to me.

This was the first election ever held in France during a State of Emergency. There were 8,800 troops in the streets in Paris and what was reportedly a “quadrupled” number of police, with polling stations, in the words of the Police Commissioner, “dynamically controlled.” I trust that the “quadrupled” figure is correct and that my sense of it was simply exaggerated; but had you asked me, I would have put it at seven or eight times higher. Perhaps this was the intended effect, and perhaps this is what “dynamic control” means — I’m not sufficiently expert in policing to know whether there are strategies for making a given number of police look like twice the number. I’m also wondering where all the police, the police cars, and motorcycles came from: Obviously, they existed before, but where were they? Parked in some discreet garage?

To visualize what it looked like, first imagine all the quaint movies you’ve seen about Paris — like Amélie:

Now superimpose 8,800 French troops in camouflage, like this, but sans helmets:

And add a quadrupled amount of this:

And you’ll have it about right, visually.

The good news is that the election was conducted safely. The bad news is that the National Front received about 30 percent of the vote.

A point to stress, and stress with vigor: When people call the FN a “far-right” party, they’re not talking about “a party whose supporters would feel right at home taking tea with Margaret Thatcher.” Their platform — nationalizing banks, re-nationalizing of the transport and energy industries, raising protectionist trade barriers, handing out cash to low-paid workers — puts them well to the left of the Socialist Party, if we’re using the Anglo-American understanding of the terms “left” and “right.”

And don’t even get me started on Marine Le Pen’s views on foreign policy.

The vote was for French regional councils, something like a midterm poll, except that the councils have no legislative power. France has many kinds of elections — presidential, legislative, senatorial, European, regional. Most (not all) work on the two-round system, which is the same as run-off voting in America. My friend Arun Kapil explains an important part of this well:

There are 13 regions in France; until this year there were 22 but François Hollande and his Socialists decided, for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense, that 22 was too many and that the apparently too-small regions needed to be larger. So Hollande had his Socialists push through a stupid, half-baked law earlier this year—that only graduates of ENA, of which Hollande is one, could cook up—to force through a merger of a few—but that absolutely no one in the affected regions understood or wanted—to bring the number down to 13. For those interested, the old map is here, the new one here.

The regional councils don’t have a lot of power—considerably less so than state legislatures in the US—though they have some responsibilities—mostly technical—and the budget to go along with them. But most people don’t think about the councils too much, so the participation rate in regional elections is relatively low (46% in the last ones, in 2010). The mode de scrutin (electoral system) is proportional list in two rounds. It used to be in one round, through the 1998 elections, thereby allowing for the theoretical possibility of ad hoc coalitions. When the political system was bipolarized—with a left and right pole—coalitions didn’t need to happen, but with the Front National’s breakthrough that year, the then Socialist-led government decided to modify the electoral system, with a majority bonus awarded to the list arriving in first place in the second round, the idea being that this would prevent the FN from holding the balance of seats in a hung council.

Brilliant Socialists. Now that we have a tripolar system in France—with the FN being one of the poles—Marine Le Pen & Co. could well take control of three—or even more—of the regional councils after the second round next Sunday. This didn’t need to happen but, with the current mode de scrutin, most likely will. Electoral systems matter.

No party took an absolute majority in any of the regions, but the FN topped the list in six out of 13 regions. So now we’ll do it all again next Sunday.

In the past, voters have tended to register their displeasure by voting for the FN in the first round; then they recover their senses in the second round. But by virtue of numbers and the changes to the electoral system, this time might be different.

The Socialists proposed an anti-FN alliance with Les Républicains — running on a joint ticket in the second round. Sarkozy rejected this on the grounds that the French voters had sent a message to which politicians were obliged to listen: “The verdict of the French voters is clear,” he said. “It is a new sign of a profound aspiration of the French people to see things change in this country. They clearly signalled their profound exasperation.” And it seems to me he’s correct: An alliance would be essentially undemocratic, and would signal to voters that they can vote all they like, but they can’t have what they want.

The Socialist Party Chief, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, responded with outrage: “History will be severe against those who say ‘better the extreme right than the left’. This shows that the left is the last defence against the extreme right.” And in this, sadly, it seems to me he’s also correct. How strange for me, of all people, to find that the Socialists are standing between me and the demos — and that I’m grateful for it. I think.

The Socialists then announced that they would unilaterally pull their candidates out of the second-round runoffs in the regions where National Front victory is more likely. In other words, they would prefer to hand these election to Les Républicains than see the National Front come to power. (Some of the Socialist candidates were not so eager to die on their shields: I don’t know what they had to do to quell the dissent, but somehow between last night and today, candidates who were at first refusing to pull out decided that it would be the better part of wisdom to accede. I honestly don’t know what happened behind the scenes, so I won’t pretend that I do.)

Cambadélis’ remarks last night — “This sacrifice will not be made in vain. It will show to the French nation that the Socialists rise to the Republic’s occasion” — suggests to me both that they’re genuinely terrified of the FN and that they hope French voters will conclude from this that they’re willing to put the country before power, unlike Sarkozy.

Perhaps they will. Or perhaps Sarkozy’s faith in the voters is well-founded.

Le Pen and her party have won nothing yet. No party got close to a first-round victory. So we wait until next Sunday for the second round.

 

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There are 30 comments.

  1. Member

    I think the French only beginning a new political journey because:

    (a) Their fiscal and welfare state policies are not sustainable.

    (b) The French are intensely tribal in their own way so they do not easily assimilate outsiders yet they have an unshakable faith in their own self-image of cosmopolitan acceptance. The French-born Muslim social and economic outsiders will be a major problem for years.

    The “far right” would likely worsen both problem areas. Hopefully, their are politicians on the horizon with a very new vision.

    • #1
    • December 7, 2015, at 6:04 AM PDT
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  2. Inactive

    Claire, strictly speaking, wouldn’t the FN’s platform be fairly described as national socialism? Far left economics tied to genuine disdain for non-Frenchmen?

    • #2
    • December 7, 2015, at 6:10 AM PDT
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  3. Member

    The French left has abandoned the working class in favour of multiculturalism, in common with their fellow travelers around the West. The rise of FN is not a single election matter: it has taken a generation of the sacrifice of the white working class to privilege the ‘othered’ to reach this point.

    Is the FN a force for good? Far from it. But the politicians of the mainstream need to understand the genuine concerns of the (dare I say it?) native-born before they can combat it.

    Let me ask this: who is more likely to protect the lives of the shawarma sellers of the Marais: Marine Le Pen, or Anne Hildago? (I admit this is the close thing, and not just because the latter lives in my arrondissement…).

    • #3
    • December 7, 2015, at 6:12 AM PDT
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  4. Podcaster

    One cannot give away one’s country to both a super bureaucracy in Brussels and to unchecked immigration and expect people to be be content with cosmetic elections. People have begun to realize, all over the west, that their “representative democracy” represents the interests of a political elite that no longer cares about them. Center-left and center-right are almost interchangeable. Bush or Clinton? Sarkozy or Hollande? Meh. What difference does it make?

    They thought that political homogenization would be welcomed because it would reduce the chance of international war. But they failed to realize that if the right and the left are prevented from fighting out the differences legislatively they just might take it to the streets. This hyper polarization is the first step. One sees it in the nationalist urges of Scotland and in the rise of such figures as Le Pen and The Donald. And when they openly rig elections through “reform” it only adds fuel to the fire.

    • #4
    • December 7, 2015, at 6:50 AM PDT
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  5. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Brian McMenomy: Claire, strictly speaking, wouldn’t the FN’s platform be fairly described as national socialism? Far left economics tied to genuine disdain for non-Frenchmen?

    That’s exactly how it should be described.

    • #5
    • December 7, 2015, at 6:51 AM PDT
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  6. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    genferei: Let me ask this: who is more likely to protect the lives of the shawarma sellers of the Marais: Marine Le Pen, or Anne Hildago? (I admit this is the close thing, and not just because the latter lives in my arrondissement…).

    Have you ever read Koestler’s Scum of the Earth?

    Truth is, I genuinely don’t know, but Hidalgo’s basically a figure of fun, not a political force.

    • #6
    • December 7, 2015, at 6:55 AM PDT
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  7. Inactive

    It’s a sad reaction to failed integration of immigrants. The killers last months were French citizens (one Belgian). There is a big problem and no one has any idea how to fix it, not even Le Pen.

    Ismael Omar Mostefai: French citizen
    Samy Amimour: French citizen
    Bilal Hadfi: French citizen
    Salah Abdeslam: French citizen
    Brahim Abdeslam: French citizen
    Abdelhamid Abaaoud: Belgian citizen
    • #7
    • December 7, 2015, at 7:55 AM PDT
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  8. Thatcher

    Interesting, but not surprising that France would pursue Nationalist Socialist Workers policies.

    Liberté, égalité, fraternité

    When your motto is composed of two socialist concepts and one free, it is unsurprising that freedom gets the short end of the stick.

     

    • #8
    • December 7, 2015, at 8:06 AM PDT
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  9. Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    When people call the FN a “far-right” party, they’re not talking about “a party whose supporters would feel right at home taking tea with Margaret Thatcher.” Their platform — nationalizing banks, re-nationalizing of the transport and energy industries, raising protectionist trade barriers, handing out cash to low-paid workers — puts them well to the left of the Socialist Party, if we’re using the Anglo-American understanding of the terms “left” and “right.”

    And yet we continue to hear them referred to here as “far right” ad nauseam. I suppose this is part of the debate about whether fascists are truly rightists or leftists, but the nationalist fervor of the FN is the only characteristic I see that puts the party on the “traditional” far right. It’s unfortunate few will call Le Pen out for what she is.

    • #9
    • December 7, 2015, at 8:13 AM PDT
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  10. Thatcher

    Hoyacon:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    When people call the FN a “far-right” party, they’re not talking about “a party whose supporters would feel right at home taking tea with Margaret Thatcher.” Their platform — nationalizing banks, re-nationalizing of the transport and energy industries, raising protectionist trade barriers, handing out cash to low-paid workers — puts them well to the left of the Socialist Party, if we’re using the Anglo-American understanding of the terms “left” and “right.”

    And yet we continue to hear them referred to here as “far right” ad nauseam. I suppose this is part of the debate about whether fascists are truly rightists or leftists, but the nationalist fervor of the FN is the only characteristic I see that puts the party on the “traditional” far right. It’s unfortunate few will call Le Pen out for what she is.

    I believe that in the European context they are far right. My impression is that outside of the UK the left-right classifications don’t neatly align with the way those terms are used in the US which causes Europeans a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding US politics. For one thing that whole American conservative liberty thing just doesn’t resonate as much there.

    • #10
    • December 7, 2015, at 8:23 AM PDT
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  11. Thatcher

    I understand her niece, youngest ever elected in Fr. history at the tender of 22(now 25), won convincingly as well. Though she appears to a different flavor of FN on some issues.

    This quite attractive young lady seems to be going places.

    • #11
    • December 7, 2015, at 8:42 AM PDT
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  12. Member

    Mark:

    I believe that in the European context they are far right. My impression is that outside of the UK the left-right classifications don’t neatly align with the way those terms are used in the US which causes Europeans a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding US politics. For one thing that whole American conservative liberty thing just doesn’t resonate as much there.

    Unfortunately, that nuance appears lost on our media who appear to be adopting the “European” use of the term for an American audience that hears something different. Perhaps I’m being a bit sensitive coming from the “American right,” but I’m bit tired of hearing Le Pen regarded as a “right-wing nut” in our terms, when in fact it appears she’s a “left-wing nut.”

    • #12
    • December 7, 2015, at 8:45 AM PDT
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  13. Thatcher

    The media have so thoroughly misapplied the term “far-right wing” that it has the same descriptive power as “icky.”

    • #13
    • December 7, 2015, at 9:17 AM PDT
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  14. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Hoyacon: And yet we continue to hear them referred to here as “far right” ad nauseam. I suppose this is part of the debate about whether fascists are truly rightists or leftists, but the nationalist fervor of the FN is the only characteristic I see that puts the party on the “traditional” far right. It’s unfortunate few will call Le Pen out for what she is.

    I think part of the reservation about calling her a national socialist is that it’s in effect calling her a Nazi. And that’s blasphemous, because however distasteful she is, and however great my reservations, to call her a Nazi would be to utterly trivialize the Nazis’ crimes. I’m at a loss, though, because the correct way to describe her is as a nationalist socialist.

    • #14
    • December 7, 2015, at 9:18 AM PDT
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  15. Thatcher

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Hoyacon: And yet we continue to hear them referred to here as “far right” ad nauseam. I suppose this is part of the debate about whether fascists are truly rightists or leftists, but the nationalist fervor of the FN is the only characteristic I see that puts the party on the “traditional” far right. It’s unfortunate few will call Le Pen out for what she is.

    I think part of the reservation about calling her a national socialist is that it’s in effect calling her a Nazi. And that’s blasphemous, because however distasteful she is, and however great my reservations, to call her a Nazi would be to utterly trivialize the Nazis’ crimes. I’m at a loss, though, because the correct way to describe her is as a nationalist socialist.

    Then call her a National Socialist.

    It is what they are.

    • #15
    • December 7, 2015, at 9:34 AM PDT
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  16. Podcaster

    Left and right are vastly misunderstood and even more vastly misused. They are outdated leftovers of pre-revolutionary France. The political spectrum would be better understood like this:

    SpectrumThe absolute extreme on the left does not exist except, maybe, in heaven where a just and merciful God is unquestionably obeyed. Oligarchy is rule by the elites with the full lethal force of the state brought to bear to maintain power. The great evil that lies here are merely multiple sides of the same die. Any way you roll it, it still comes up “oppression.”

    The next three is the main area of the Western political tradition. The Dems and the GOP are used here for markers. Place your foreign parties in relation to these.

    Absolute anarchy is man’s natural state and why we seek to organize ourselves. It is impractical since we would spend all our time defending ourselves and what we believed to be ours that nothing of value would be accomplished.

    • #16
    • December 7, 2015, at 9:42 AM PDT
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  17. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    genferei: Let me ask this: who is more likely to protect the lives of the shawarma sellers of the Marais: Marine Le Pen, or Anne Hildago? (I admit this is the close thing, and not just because the latter lives in my arrondissement…).

    By the way, do you live here? If so, why haven’t we met?

    I gave this question a few more hours of thought. I can’t see anything but an utterly bleak future for Europe without the Atlantic alliance. Can you?

    • #17
    • December 7, 2015, at 9:51 AM PDT
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  18. Inactive

    Brian McMenomy:Claire, strictly speaking, wouldn’t the FN’s platform be fairly described as national socialism? Far left economics tied to genuine disdain for non-Frenchmen?

    Except for the part where the rules are the Left gets to define what’s “left” and “right” by what gives them a PR victory. National socialism isn’t really socialism even though it’s for redistribution of income, a welfare state, etc.

    • #18
    • December 7, 2015, at 9:52 AM PDT
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  19. Thatcher

    Claire,

    First, my now stock Kantian reminder.

    1. Private Right
    2. Public Right
    3. National Right
    4. Cosmopolitan Right

    The list is numbered because you start with Private Right and then you construct the others one at a time from the previous Right. Socialism – Transnationalism, skips the National Right step and tries to go directly to Cosmopolitan Right. This is doomed to fail. Ignoring the National Right of a country and ceaselessly demanding that it adhere to a Transnational scheme will produce a tremendous reaction.

    Now for the good news. Marine Le Pen and her niece Marion are not the pure angry demagogues that her father’s generation was. We need to go back to the left wing fools that attacked Sarkozy and manufactured Hollande. France’s economics completely recommended Sarkozy’s reforms and even tougher measures. The social situation with the grand multi-cultural license certainly suggested caution. The left threw caution to the wind and went for more power and more free stuff.

    England must learn from Nigel and France shall now learn from Marine & Marion. You must have respect for National Right before you can ascend to the stratosphere of Cosmopolitan Right.

    Regards,

    Jim

    PS: I’m always a sucker for a sweet French girl. That wasn’t cricket of you Claire, distracting me with Amelie. No, not cricket at all. (Can you rent a motor scooter in Paris?)

    • #19
    • December 7, 2015, at 10:26 AM PDT
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  20. Thatcher

    Hoyacon:

    Mark:

    Unfortunately, that nuance appears lost on our media who appear to be adopting the “European” use of the term for an American audience that hears something different. Perhaps I’m being a bit sensitive coming from the “American right,” but I’m bit tired of hearing Le Pen regarded as a “right-wing nut” in our terms, when in fact it appears she’s a “left-wing nut.”

    I agree. It’s like when they refer to the Iranian mullahs as conservatives.

    • #20
    • December 7, 2015, at 10:33 AM PDT
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  21. Reagan

    I don’t understand French politics as well as I do British or American politics, but the FN strikes me as the close cousin of UKIP, at least on the salient issues that drive them (though the FN is economically socialist while UKIP is probably more free market). That said, it was clear in the recent UK elections that a good swath of UKIP support came from working class types that were previously Labour voters. So, serious question for Claire, will the Socialists withdrawal actually redound to the benefit of the Republicans, or will some formerly Socialist voters opt for the FN (perhaps for economic reasons as much as immigration/nationalist reasons), meaning the withdrawal won’t actually cause an effective Socialist-Republican coalition but will instead usher in the FN with a majority they might not otherwise have been able to obtain? Could this tactic actually drive up the number of FN wins as opposed to the expectation in the immediate aftermath of then first round?

    • #21
    • December 7, 2015, at 4:54 PM PDT
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  22. Member

    Mark: I agree. It’s like when they refer to the Iranian mullahs as conservatives.

    Or the hardline Soviet Bolsheviks in the age of Gorbachev.

    • #22
    • December 7, 2015, at 7:18 PM PDT
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  23. Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: By the way, do you live here?

    Not any more. But we’ve kept the apartment and visit regularly.

    If so, why haven’t we met?

    We tried once.

    I gave this question a few more hours of thought. I can’t see anything but an utterly bleak future for Europe without the Atlantic alliance. Can you?

    The US is so important to Western Civilization. When its self-confidence is dented the rest of the West goes quickly to pot. Which is what we’re seeing now.

    It is not a new phenomenon that the most prominent critics of the American Way are tenured professors at US universities. What is more recent is the almost complete absence of anyone defending – let alone promoting – the American Way in the global public square.

    • #23
    • December 7, 2015, at 7:57 PM PDT
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  24. Inactive

    Marion Evans:It’s a sad reaction to failed integration of immigrants. The killers last months were French citizens (one Belgian). There is a big problem and no one has any idea how to fix it, not even Le Pen.

    That’s because it can’t be fixed. You’re never going to make a Frenchman out of these guys. Islam is not only an enemy of Christianity, it’s completely incompatible with liberal/libertine Europe.

    • #24
    • December 7, 2015, at 9:19 PM PDT
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  25. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Reldim: So, serious question for Claire, will the Socialists withdrawal actually redound to the benefit of the Republicans, or will some formerly Socialist voters opt for the FN (perhaps for economic reasons as much as immigration/nationalist reasons), meaning the withdrawal won’t actually cause an effective Socialist-Republican coalition but will instead usher in the FN with a majority they might not otherwise have been able to obtain? Could this tactic actually drive up the number of FN wins as opposed to the expectation in the immediate aftermath of then first round?

    I’d be exaggerating my feel for the electorate if I made a confident prediction. It will be very interesting to see what Socialist voters do in the second round. In the Nord-PdC-Picardie region, where Marine Le Pen heads the FN list, they took more than 40 percent of the vote. The Socialist candidate will drop out the next round in favor of Xavier Bertrand, the head of the Républicain list. He’s positioning himself as the official resistance to the FN and “the Gaullist” candidate. But Le Pen seems likely to win anyway, as does Marion Maréchal Le Pen in PACA.

    I think Sarkozy’s strategy is to muscle his way through the primary, run as hard to the right as possible on social issues to attract Le Pen’s base, and take the support of the left’s voters for granted. If that’s his plan, then so far things are going according to plan. Next week will be the test of the strategy. If it doesn’t work, it could cost him the party leadership.

    And it might not work, because Sarkozy’s gone out of his way to infuriate the PS over the years, and he’s doubled-down on it now by spurning their offers of an alliance. And he’s spent years making it clear that on social issues he’s close to Le Pen, but on economic issues an actual conservative (as we’d use the term). Socialist voters may be just furious enough with him that they won’t vote for him, period. It doesn’t mean they’d vote FN, but they may not vote at all, which would have the same effect.

    Also, Sarkozy may be the one most damaged by the FN becoming legitimized. His effort to attract FN voters has been predicated on idea that Marine LePen would never be anything more than a fringe candidate. He positioned himself as the FN voter’s logical best substitute. But now that the FN has emerged as the strongest party and has a very plausible shot at the second round, anyone whose first choice is Le Pen no longer has reason to vote for Sarkozy.

    But neither does anyone on the left have much reason to vote for Sarkozy even against Le Pen, for exactly the reasons you mention.
    If the past is anything to go by, then the closer we come to more significant elections, the more cautious the voters will get. “We’ve sent our message and told the politicians we hate them, but let’s not get carried away.” I don’t know whether that formula will still hold.

    Le Pen’s crew seem like real amateurs: I don’t see how they can build the necessary machine to go all the way. And I’d be surprised if the majority of the French people were in such a revolutionary spirit that they’d be willing to take a chance with someone so wild for President — not when the country is at war.

    There is huge fatigue with the political class, for sure, but probably not enough fury to really kick the bums out in favor of a total wild card. In some ways there’s an analogy to US politics, although I can’t make confident predictions about that, either. You could see the support for LePen as something like the support for Trump or Sanders: In the past, candidates like them would burn brightly and then burn out, like Ross Perot. And I’m still guessing that’s what will happen, but as in the US, people are so frustrated with the political elite that candidates who can capitalize on that are gaining traction in ways that have everyone thinking, “This is unusual.”

    The tragedy in both cases is that the candidates who can capitalize on that healthful sentiment seem to me to be ones who a) wouldn’t know how to get anything done if actually put in office; and b) that’s the only saving grace, because if they were able to implement their plans, it would be economically and strategically disastrous.

    • #25
    • December 7, 2015, at 11:28 PM PDT
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  26. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    genferei: The US is so important to Western Civilization. When its self-confidence is dented the rest of the West goes quickly to pot. Which is what we’re seeing now

    Yes, unfortunately.

    I wonder if it was just inevitable that as the veterans of the Second World War died, the next generations would be successively more and more unable to fathom the extent to which they built the modern world and the extent to which that world relied on America.

    • #26
    • December 7, 2015, at 11:36 PM PDT
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  27. Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I wonder if it was just inevitable that as the veterans of the Second World War died, the next generations would be successively more and more unable to fathom the extent to which they built the modern world and the extent to which that world relied on America.

    Well, I think ‘generations’ that win wars are usually pretty terrible at winning the peace. (And one of the lessons of history is that the last time America elected a fascistic blowhard with a disingenuous line in policy he was president for 12 years.)

    I would also draw a distinction between relying on America – which means relying on the fickle attention of its political classes – and relying on the American Idea – which means relying on the optimistic and freedom-loving spirit of individual Americans. These Americans still exist, but their voices have been silenced.

    • #27
    • December 8, 2015, at 12:47 AM PDT
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  28. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    genferei: Well, I think ‘generations’ that win wars are usually pretty terrible at winning the peace. (And one of the lessons of history is that the last time America elected a fascistic blowhard with a disingenuous line in policy he was president for 12 years.) I would also draw a distinction between relying on America – which means relying on the fickle attention of its political classes – and relying on the American Idea – which means relying on the optimistic and freedom-loving spirit of individual Americans. These Americans still exist, but their voices have been silenced.

    Can you draw out what you mean a bit more? The generation that won the Second World War won quite a remarkable peace.

    Even were I an absolutely neutral arbiter (which I’m clearly not), I would still advise France not to ditch the NATO alliance in favor of Russia. Can you see any way that this would work well for France?

    And given that I’m not a neutral arbiter, but an American, it’s very clear to me that a Le Pen victory is not good for America. If a French politician says, “You’re not my friend or my ally” to America, I reckon first that she means it, and second that she’s very stupid.

    • #28
    • December 8, 2015, at 1:35 AM PDT
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  29. Thatcher

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    And given that I’m not a neutral arbiter, but an American, it’s very clear to me that a Le Pen victory is not good for America. If a French politician says, “You’re not my friend or my ally” to America, I reckon first that she means it, and second that she’s very stupid.

    I disagree – The French record since De Gaulle has been one of antagonism toward the US.

    We can start with this line, during WW2 where De Gaulle announces that Paris had been

    “liberated by her own people, with the help of the armies of France, with the help and support of the whole of France, that is to say of fighting France, that is to say of the true France, the eternal France,”

    without mentioning Allied involvement. I would note that this occurred AFTER the refusal of De Gaulle and the Free French to participate in the landings at Normandy.

    Carry through with his and subsequent actions of French Leadership regarding NATO, the request of US soldiers to leave France (1966), El Dorado Canyon, German reunification, holding Iraq accountable to the 1991 Ceasefire agreement among other things.

    It is France’s loss, not America’s as France has been an untrustworthy ally since the 19th century.

    • #29
    • December 8, 2015, at 10:34 AM PDT
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  30. Inactive

    Instugator:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    And given that I’m not a neutral arbiter, but an American, it’s very clear to me that a Le Pen victory is not good for America. If a French politician says, “You’re not my friend or my ally” to America, I reckon first that she means it, and second that she’s very stupid.

    I disagree – The French record since De Gaulle has been one of antagonism toward the US.

    We can start with this line, during WW2 where De Gaulle announces that Paris had been

    “liberated by her own people, with the help of the armies of France, with the help and support of the whole of France, that is to say of fighting France, that is to say of the true France, the eternal France,”

    without mentioning Allied involvement. I would note that this occurred AFTER the refusal of De Gaulle and the Free French to participate in the landings at Normandy.

    Carry through with his and subsequent actions of French Leadership regarding NATO, the request of US soldiers to leave France (1966), El Dorado Canyon, German reunification, holding Iraq accountable to the 1991 Ceasefire agreement among other things.

    It is France’s loss, not America’s as France has been an untrustworthy ally since the 19th century.

    Well put.

    • #30
    • December 8, 2015, at 7:27 PM PDT
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