Marine Le Pen recently gave an interview with US broadcaster CBS. The interview went largely as expected. Liberal interview Anderson Cooper tried to paint Le Pen as the the bride of Satan and Le Pen calmly and firmly defined her views as those supporting Laïcité and other established features of contemporary French society.
As is par for the course at this stage, Le Pen’s views on Russia were scrutinised. Since the default position of the western liberal elite is to view Russia as an antagonistic power, the burden of proof in such interviews, unreasonably falls on those who support reconciliation between the west and Russia to prove why Russia is not the aggressor but the antagonised power.
The following is the transcript from the portion of the interview concerning Russia:
Anderson Cooper: What is your admiration for Russia, for Vladimir Putin?
Marine Le Pen (translation): Look. I’m not a fan in a rock concert, you see. I am a political leader in a great nation of the world. What interests me are France’s interests.
Anderson Cooper: You don’t believe Russia’s a threat for Europe?
Marine Le Pen (translation): I don’t believe that at all. I think that’s a big scam.
Anderson Cooper: Invasion in Ukraine–
Anderson Cooper: Invasion of Crimea?
Marine Le Pen (translation): I’ll tell you what the danger is for Europe. It’s carrying out a cold war against Russia and pushing Russia into China’s arms. That’s the threat to Europe.
Anderson Cooper: You don’t think Vladimir Putin, though, is a killer, is a– is a– a threat to France, to others in this region?
Marine Le Pen (translation): No, I don’t believe it is so. Nothing Vladimir Putin has done would make me reach that conclusion.
Her views on Russia and Vladimir Putin have drawn scrutiny, particularly because three years ago, a Russian bank loaned her more than $11 million to fund her party.
Anderson Cooper: Your critics will say that that influences you in your opinion of Russia.
Marine Le Pen (translation): Why would it influence me? When you take out a loan, what’s your obligation other than paying it back? You have no other obligation. But if you know an American bank that wants to lend me money, by all means because I’m still looking for funds. Particularly since French banks, for political reasons, have refused to give us a loan to allow us to campaign.
That Russian loan and a widening probe into her party’s finances have not quieted the frenzy that now follows Marine Le Pen everywhere. With less than two months to go before the first votes are cast, she and her party are closer to power than ever.
Marine Le Pen: Vive les peuples, Vive la Republique! Vive la France!
Almost all of what Le Pen said was totally reasonable and factually accurate. However, when Le Pen spoke of Russia being pushed into the arms of China if Europe continues to provoke Russia, she underestimated a key element of today’s geo-political realities.
Russia and China are all ready in ‘each others arms’ and I strongly doubt that anything in France can change that.
Between the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the BRICS and a range of cooperative initiates ranging from trade, to education, military coordination, an alliance in the UN Security Council, it would take something more monumental than France relaxing sanctions so that largely un-needed European goods can flood Russia, to pull Russia away from China.
Many in the west greatly overestimate the power of Europeanists in Russia. There are still some in power, but overwhelmingly the Eurasianists are taking over. This is reflected not only in Kremlin policies but in the fact that long-time Eurasianist/Orientalist party, The LDPR are surging in the polls.
Many in Russia have given up on Europe. Russia will always be willing to talk to Europe but there will be increasingly less to talk about.
If Marine Le Pen wins and decides to change France’s aggressive relationship with Russia, it will be welcomed in Moscow, but in terms of importance, it is vastly dwarfed by Russia’s ever stronger relationship with China.