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Did Trump save face by breaking America’s commitment to the JCPOA?

Because, how does keeping America’s international agreements make it ‘great’?

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Trump yesterday signed off on a US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) lifting tough economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for a throttled nuclear development commitment. Why would he do this when all the other parties to the agreement were literally begging him not to withdraw and the IAEA had certified nearly a dozen times that Iran was complying with the terms of the agreement?

Trump had been saying that the Iran nuclear deal was the ‘worst deal ever’ negotiated and had promised to end America’s participation in it during his 2016 presidential campaign. Add to that the fact that when he signed off on its continuation in January that it would be ‘for the last time’ bluntly stated that Trump was going to end it.

A Personal Commitment

Trump, in true narcissistic fashion, wants to appear as the greatest president that America has ever had, thus, he wants to downplay or destroy every achievement of his predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama, whether domestically or internationally, whether it was the Paris Climate Accord, the TPP, NAFTA, domestic environmental regulations, tax codes, etc., etc., etc.,. this time it’s the Iran nuclear deal. He will be the one to cut the deals and ‘make America great’. Should he take a different road and renew it once again, he might lose face and break a vital campaign promise, hence, Trump’s personal need to withdraw America from the 2015 multilateral agreement.

The Deal Maker in Action

Trump here breaks a nuclear arms deal immediately before attempting to broker another one with North Korea, who has developed nuclear warheads capable of striking the US mainland. Relative to the North Korea denuclearization prospect, Trump has already declared that if he doesn’t think that America will get the better end of such a deal that he would walk away from the meeting. By breaking America’s commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, Trump is hereby proving his willingness to ‘walk away’ if he doesn’t get exactly what he wants. It appears as though Trump’s version of deal making is a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude, rather than one of negotiation.

The Deep State’s Iranian regime change ambition

Of course, we can’t overlook the fact that the American deep state has been itching to launch a regime change plan through the past few presidential administrations, and the fact that now it looks like it has a very good chance of accomplishing it under Trump, given the manner in which he has staffed his cabinet, not that it didn’t stand to achieve it under previous admins which proved that they were hungry enough to try it, even violently if need be, from Clinton to Bush to Obama in either of each one’s dual term administrations.

After all, we just witnessed Trump using coded language to call for such a regime change in his announcement of his withdrawal from the JCPOA. The intention is to apply enough economic pressure on the people of Iran to provide the domestic pretext to launch a color revolution on Tehran in much the same way as was done elsewhere in the Middle East and Europe, and as was attempted at the dawn of the current year.

Additionally, we can’t forget that Israel has been crying out for the cancellation of the JCPOA for some time, and Netanyahu’s BS presentation about the Iran nuclear program last week, which was used as part of Trump’s ‘logic’ for breaking America’s international commitment to its allies relative to economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear development program.

Trump’s reasoning for withdrawing from the JCPOA, as delivered in his announcement, were little more than faulty polemics, as they were fraught with outright inaccuracies, distortions, and fabrications, as even the Washington Post, in a rare instance of legitimate news and analysis, observes:

We reviewed six of Trump’s claims from his May 8 speech announcing the decision to withdraw from the deal. As is our custom with roundups of multiple statements, we will not be offering a Pinocchio rating. But we invite readers to weigh in with comments.

“In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and — over time — reach the brink of a nuclear breakout. …

“The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime can still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time. The deal’s sunset provisions are totally unacceptable. …

“If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

Notice how Trump uses flexible wording such as “on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time.” This is refreshing and more accurate than his Four Pinocchio claim from April 30: “In seven years, that deal will have expired, and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons.”

The JCPOA’s prohibition on Iran’s building nuclear weapons does not sunset, and other international agreements to which Iran has committed itself also prohibit the development of such weapons.

However, critics of the JCPOA have voiced concerns that — despite these strictures — Iran could keep working toward nuclear weapons capability under the guise of pursuing peaceful goals, such as a nuclear energy program.

Trump is alluding to the fact that the JCPOA gradually lifts restrictions on the types of nuclear activities and the level of uranium enrichment Iran may conduct. These and other provisions sunset over 10, 15, 20 or 25 years.

The president argues that easing these restrictions over time would open the door to Iran’s attaining nuclear weapons capability, rendering the JCPOA ultimately ineffective. But supporters of the Iran deal dispute that and say the JCPOA at least buys time, subjecting Iran to strong constraints on its nuclear activities for 10 to 25 years. Without the JCPOA, Iran could hasten its development of nuclear weapons on an even shorter timeline than the one Trump found unsatisfactory, they say.

“Even as some of the provisions in the JCPOA do become less strict with time, this won’t happen until ten, fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years into the deal, so there is little reason to put those restrictions at risk today,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post responding to Trump’s announcement.

Moreover, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has committed itself to ratifying the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol in 2023. The former restricts Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons, and the latter grants international inspectors wide access to monitor nuclear-related activities within Iran’s borders.

In agreeing to the JCPOA, Iran reaffirmed its commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and stated: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” …

“This disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.”

Trump always makes it seem that the United States casually handed Iran billions of dollars in cash. But as we’ve reported, this was always Iran’s money. Iran had billions of dollars in assets that were frozen in foreign banks because of international sanctions over its nuclear program. The U.S. Treasury Department estimated that Iran would have a little more than $50 billion of usable liquid assets at its disposal after a broad lifting of sanctions under the terms of the JCPOA. The Central Bank of Iran said the number was $32 billion.

Trump also mentions “actual cash.” This relates to the settlement of a decades-old claim between the United States and Iran. In the 1970s, the pro-Western Iranian government under the shah paid $400 million for U.S. military equipment. But the equipment was never delivered because the two countries broke off relations after American hostages were seized at the U.S. Embassy in Iran…

“At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program. Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel announced on April 30 that Mossad agents had obtained a massive cache of documents and data discs from Iran about “Project Amad,” a clandestine nuclear-weapons development program. Netanyahu said the documents proved that Iran had lied about its past nuclear efforts.

“What he is revealing with all this detail is not news,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told The Washington Post after Netanyahu gave a PowerPoint presentation laying out these findings. “The fact that Iran has experimented with nuclear warhead designs, and had at one point an active weapons program, makes it all the more essential that the JCPOA remains in place to prevent Iran from quickly amassing enough fissile material for even one bomb.”

Like Kimball and other experts, U.S.-allied nations in Europe described Israel’s findings as nothing new and said they strengthened the case for the JCPOA….

“In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget has grown by almost 40 percent — while its economy is doing very badly.”

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Iran’s military expenditure increased nearly 30 percent from 2015, when the JCPOA was adopted, to 2017. This increase brought Iran’s military spending back to near-2006 levels. But as we’ve pointed out before, just looking at the raw increase or decrease in any country’s military budget misses important context. Instead, let’s consider Iran’s military expenditure as a share of overall government spending. In 2015, it accounted for 15.4 percent of government spending. It increased 0.4 percentage point, to 15.8 percent of government spending, by 2017. According to a White House official, this spending level is expected to remain stable in 2018. That means military spending increased alongside overall government spending — not in a silo on its own.

Looking at Iran’s military expenditure as a share of GDP, there’s a similar trend. It has increased by only half a percentage point — going from 2.6 percent to 3.1 percent from 2015 to 2017. (For comparison, in 2016, military expenditure accounted for about 3.3 percent of GDP in the United States.)…

“Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating and don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities. Not only does the deal fail to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it also fails to address the regime’s development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads.”

Let’s start at the top. To meet its end of the JCPOA deal, Iran first had to dismantle its nuclear program significantly. Then, Iran gave the international community wide access to investigate its nuclear activities.

As we’ve reported, the IAEA already has the ability to investigate nuclear facilities and activities disclosed by Iran’s government. The country also has committed itself to ratifying the IAEA’s Additional Protocol in 2023, which would give international investigators the power to “investigate undeclared nuclear facilities and activities” as well as “demand information from member states,” according to a 2017 report by the Congressional Research Service.

If Iran were to violate the terms of the deal, sanctions would be reinstated.

This all hinges on the access given to international watchdogs (and their ability). Supporters claim the JCPOA grants them unprecedented access. Some critics point out that Iran has been known to evade inspections in the past and that key provisions giving access to monitors sunset over time. Others say the IAEA should be given wider authority, particularly the ability to inspect military sites, to adequately police Iran’s nuclear programs.

“As long as Iran remains in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has an obligation to answer the IAEA’s questions and allow inspectors access to military sites and personnel in Iran related to that effort,” the Institute for Science and International Security, which has been skeptical of the Iran deal, said in a statement after Trump’s speech.

“The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.”

This claim is not new to the president’s repertoire. Trump suggests the assistance to al-Qaeda continues to the present day. This is in line with the latest State Department Country Reports on terrorism, released in July 2017, which said: “Since at least 2009, Iran has allowed AQ facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through the country, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.” This phrasing marked a shift from previous reports, which indicated the support was in the past.

Trump’s reasoning simply doesn’t fly here. With the JCPOA in place, even if Iran were violating it, international nuclear inspectors are keeping a close eye on their activities, whereas if the deal is canned, then Iran would have no incentive to keep it under wraps and would therefore escalate its nuclear program with impunity as they would have no reason not to do so, especially if the US announces that it wants to invade them. After all, nuclear weapons have worked as a great deterrent to a Western backed invasion attempt in North Korea, why would it not work for them, especially if other means prove unfeasible.

The accusations about Iran being a state sponsor of terror, as the WaPo demonstrates, are nothing new, as the US has been saying this all along, however, that it sponsors American backed terrorists is what is laughable about the claim. If that were indeed the case, then wouldn’t Washington consider Iran a strategic ally, in the much the same way that it views the Saudis, who likewise train, arm, and fund terrorists, ahem, ‘moderates’ and ‘opposition forces’, in the Middle East who are serving the deep state’s interests? Trump is borrowing Israel’s propaganda against Iran in order to justify withdrawing from the deal.

This is a case where Trump’s personal ambitions are both in concert with, and conflict with, his administration’s own interests. How is this so? Well, Trump is devaluing America’s clout on the world stage by giving the world its newest example of America violating its international commitments, while, at the same time, it wants to implement new ones with parties that the US has little or no diplomatic experience (North Korea, in particular), and showing European partners that their interests and their contributions are not esteemed by Washington. Here, he is breaking America’s word by keeping his personal word to his constituents to do so.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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The French People Feel Screwed

For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

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Authored by David Brown via The Gatestone Institute:


On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, “La République en Marche”, that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes — “Yellow Vests,” because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown — say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

For more than two weeks, the “Yellow Vests” disrupted France. They paralyzed highways and forced roads to close — causing shortages across the country – and blocked fuel stations from Lille in the North to Marseilles in the South.

During protests in France’s capital, Paris, the “Yellow Vests” were soon joined by a more violent element, who began torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores. 133 were injured, 412 were arrested and more than 10,000 tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

One elderly lady was killed when she was struck by a stray grenade as she tried to shutter her windows against the melee.

There was talk of imposing a State of Emergency.

The “Yellow Vests” present the most significant opposition French President Emmanuel Macron has faced since coming to office in May 2017. Unlike previous protests in France, which have divided public opinion, these have widespread support – 72% according to a Harris Interactive Poll published December 1st.

Fuel tax rises — announced in November before being retracted on December — were intended to help bring down France’s carbon emissions by curbing the use of cars. Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform.

He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter to those outside big cities, where four-fifths of commuters drive to work and a third of them cover more than 30km each week.

The increases have incensed people in smaller communities, where they have already seen speed limits reduced to please the Greens and cuts to the local transport services.

These additional costs-of-living increases come at an extremely bad time for ordinary French people working outside of Paris. Lower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen.

An analysis by the Institut des Politiques Publiques think-tank shows that benefits cuts and tax changes in 2018 and 2019 will leave pensioners and the bottom fifth of households worse off, while the abolition of the wealth tax means that by far the biggest gains will go to the top 1%

This is tough to swallow. Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”

“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.

As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.

Images of Macron at the Arc De Triomphe daubed in graffiti calling for him to step down, or worse, have done little to bolster his image abroad.

So far, Macron had said he would not bow to street protests. To underline his point, in September 2017, he called protestors against French labour-market reform “slackers”.

The political U-Turn on the fuel tax is a turning point for the Macron presidency. The question is : What next, both for Macron and the “Yellow Vests”?

Macron most likely needs to plough ahead with his reform agenda, and doubtless knows he has the support of a solid majority in the National Assembly to do so. France is crippled by debt (nearly 100% of GDP) and its grossly bloated public sector. There are 5.2 million civil servants in France, and their number has increased by 36% since 1983. These represent 22% of the workforce compared to an OCDE average of 15%.

Tax-expert Jean-Philippe Delsol says France has 1.5 million too many “fonctionnaires [officials]. When you consider that public spending in France now accounts for 57 per cent of gross domestic product. Soon the system will no longer function as there will be less and less people working to support more and more people working less”.

Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.

Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.

There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.

Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%.

The shift is understandable, given the divide between the countryside, where Le Pen has solid support, and the cities, where Macron’s centre-left prevail.

In contrast, the “Yellow Vests” have galvanised support after standing up for the “impotent ordinary”, and seem much buoyed by the solidarity they have been shown by both fire fighters and the police. There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

Whilst Macron’s political opposition may be fragmented, this new breed of coherent public opposition is something new. Leaderless, unstructured and organised online, the “Yellow Vests” have gained support from the left and right, yet resisted subjugation by either.

Being leaderless makes them difficult to negotiate withor to reason with in private. The “Yellow Vests” seem acutely aware of this strength, given their firm rebuttal of overtures for peace talks from the Macron government.

Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.

For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%. A stinging broadside from Trump on twitter suggests that Macron may well be relegated to Trump’s list of global “Losers“:

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

The “impotent ordinary” in the United Kingdom, who might feel betrayed over Brexit, and the nationalists in Germany, who have suffered under Merkel , are no doubt staring in wonder at the “Yellow Vests”, wishing for the same moxie.

The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.

Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement , however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too.

David Brown is based in the United Kingdom.

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