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US Foreign Policy and The Tangled Matrix of Deceit

Will America do anything and think anything to preserve its hegemony?

Vladimir Golstein

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Goethe’s Faust, an ever energetic, never satisfied individual, is the traditional symbol of a Western man. He refuses to stay in the moment and vows never to declare: “Verweile doch, du bist so schön” – “Stay a while, you are so beautiful.” Judging by its elites and by the stories it tells about itself, Modern West has turned into the very opposite of this Faustian man. For the current western leaders, the beautiful moment had already occurred, as was officially pronounced by Francis Fukuyama in his notorious treatise of the1990s, The End of History and the Last Man. That was the moment when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the dreams of the Full Spectrum Dominance and the perennial Pax Americana were cooked up by various neoconservative thinkers and the authors of PNAC. At this “beautiful moment,” such concepts as Truth, West, or Order have finally found their eternal abode in Washington, DC.

Bizarre as Fukuyama’s rejection of change was, it took roots. Of course, Fukuyama dressed it in Hegelian terms, announcing the death of grand narratives and radical revolutions, but underneath these intellectual trappings laid a rather conservative message: “Read my lips: no new paradigms. The history has ended.”

From that moment on, the ever-dynamic USA has fully embraced stasis. Any objective observer is struck by the breakneck speed with which China has developed. Russia has undergone an equally drastic metamorphosis, transformed from socialist and threatening Soviet Union to relatively modern country with its pro-western orientation. Yet, “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” is no longer the motto of some prudent Yankee. It is the very basis of recent policies striving for the preservation of the status quo. The economic and political establishment is rather clear about it, as can be witnessed by the Democratic Party and its continuous failures caused by the refusal of its leadership to change.

The embrace of the status quo is especially visible in the realm of foreign policy. Think Tanks – what an appropriate name for these immobile shrines to bankrupt thoughts  –are doing job in protecting their thinking from outside influences. Most of their employers are former officials and bureaucrats who perfected the art of applying past solutions to current realities.

Various media talking heads, the intellectuals in Trump cabinet, such as NSA’s H.R. McMaster or Pentagon’s James Mattis, or the pundits from Council of Foreign Affairs or Atlantic Council, rarely venture beyond the parameters set by the needs to preserve the status quo. The clearest articulation of this conservative paradigm has been recently delivered at the 2017 Munich Security Conference promoted as The Best Think Tank Conference. This annual conference, which gathers all the key players of Western foreign policy, has crystallizes into a unified front all the forces of US and EU establishment. It is their push for the status quo, which has obviously overcome President Trump’s initial resistance.

Since it reveals what’s in store for Trump’s foreign policy, it is important to explore the Munich narrative and its main principles, which can be summarized as following: Western order is superior; it needs to be defended from both Russia and from those at home, who challenge its superiority. What’s indispensable for this defense is invigorated NATO and the counterpropaganda, which portrays criticism as “fake news.”

In light of these propositions, which Munich Conference univocally reconfirmed, neither recent Trump actions, nor the statements of the key members of Trump cabinet, appear as unique or strange. Thus, H.R. McMuster, the head of NSA, and one of the intellectuals in Trump’s cabinet declares:  “And this [Russian] effort, I believe, is aimed really not at defensive objectives, but at offensive objectives – to collapse the post-World War II, certainly the post-Cold War, security, economic, and political order in Europe, and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests.” Likewise, the CIA’s chief, Mike Pompeo observes: “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Wolfgang Ischinger, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference, has entitled his annual report as “Post-Truth, Post-West, Post-Order?”, suggesting therefore, that any move beyond Western dominance inevitable entails the loss of truth and order. To fend off this terrible situation, one has to return to Western verities: “Despite its various flaws, the liberal international order has, in the bigger scheme of things, allowed for a remarkable era of peace and economic development.” (p. 10).  In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The polite, almost academic tone of the discussion–as it frequently happens in the west — hides a rather harsh reality. “Remarkable era of peace and development” is not going to give in easily. It is ready to resort to all sorts of machinations, including military aggression, to preserve itself. This is the blueprint, which has been dutifully echoed by the majority of the participants, that is, by the military, political, and intellectual leaders of the West. It is to this blueprint, that the US president, Donald Trump, has quickly returned, despite his initial challenge of the status quo.

First, Ischinger articulates the threats to the Status Quo, depicting them as antithetical to western values:  “Western societies are troubled by the emergence of populist movements that oppose critical elements of the liberal-democratic status quo. From outside, Western societies are challenged by illiberal regimes trying to cast doubt on liberal democracy and weaken the international order. ..…   “The past twelve months have been a resounding rejection of the status quo. In several elections and referenda, political outsiders succeeded, while the establishment was dealt major blows.” (p. 6)

These dangers are repeated again and again, until they begin to sound like a mantra, an incantation, to be delivered to various governments and citizens: Barbarians are at the doors and the western order is in danger: “The rise of the populists has rapidly become a systemic challenge that threatens to undermine the liberal international order the world’s liberal democracies have built and upheld since the end of World War II … the populists at home and the illiberal regimes abroad form a formidable challenge to the main elements of the liberal international order.” (8)

And of course it is Russia, which is usually referred to as “illiberal regime”: “While Western officials have repeatedly argued that “there is no military solution” to the war in Syria, Russia and its allies pursued one – and seem to be successful … In Ukraine, Russia has violated several key principles governing European security. … Is this a post-order world in which the elements of the liberal international order are fading away because no one is there to protect them?“ (10).

The possibility of post-Western world, where Russia can preserve and assert its interests, is categorically denied and the call to arms is issued: “Despite its various flaws, the liberal international order has, in the bigger scheme of things, allowed for a remarkable era of peace and economic development… Since its creation, NATO has been a central pillar of the Western-led order – and the crucial security link connecting the US, Canada, and their European allies… The European Union is under pressure, too, as it has to deal with Brexit, a populist surge, the refugee crisis, a potential return of the euro crisis, jihadist attacks, and a revisionist Russia.” (8-10) The enemies’ list is remunerated and Russia’s role is defined: “revisionist Russia.” The liberal order and such institutions that support it, be it NATO or EU, are to be strengthen while those who challenge it, are to be pushed back.

This program, articulated by Ischinger, was echoed by numerous participants, including such US luminaries, as Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary, Mathis, and Senator John McCain. Thus, John McCain was quite eloquent about his willingness to fight to preserve western dominance: “We … cannot allow ourselves to question the rightness and goodness of the West… I refuse to accept the end of the West. I refuse to accept the demise of our world order. ….  I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries. I am a proud, unapologetic believer in the West.”

One is tempted to ask: which West do you have in mind, Senator McCain? The one that unleashed Nazi Germany unto the world? The one that vaporized civilians in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki? The one that, turned Cambodia into Zombistan, bombed and dismantled Yugoslavia, wreaked havoc in Iraq and Syria and condoned neo-Nazis in Ukraine and Al Qaeda in the Middle East?

Yet, this highly ambivalent western status quo has to be defended militarily: “From the ashes of the most awful calamity in human history was born what we call the West—a new, and different, and better kind of world order… The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades did not happen by accident. It happened not only because of the appeal of our values, but because we backed them with our power and persevered in their defense.”

And then comes the most relevant part. It falls on US to provide this military backbone to the west, and it will do so, some temporary difficulties emanating from the White House, non-withstanding:

I know there is profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership. I can only speak for myself, but I do not believe that is the message you will hear from all of the American leaders who cared enough to travel here to Munich this weekend. That is not the message you heard today from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. That is not the message you will hear from Vice President Mike Pence. That is not the message you will hear from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. And that is certainly not the message you will hear tomorrow from our bipartisan congressional delegation.

Well, Senator McCain has clearly delivered on his promise. Since then, President Trump, has been pushed back into the matrix and fully embraced the status-quo narrative, including his renewed NATO commitment and his willingness to cast Russia as an enemy of the west and the supporter of bloodthirsty regimes. Trump’s surrender to this status quo discourse, has been completed and sealed by his order to bomb Syria and Afghanistan. Trump and his cohort appear to be reading from the script reinforced at this conference: a familiar narrative polished through the years of the Cold War.

So the idea of “Post-Western World Order,” which makes perfect sense in light of the BRIC ascendance, has been soundly dismissed by the majority of the Munich Conference participants. It is NATO and the West all the way.

It is also clear, that the bogeyman was designated or rather reconfirmed during these proceeding. This honorary role has fallen on Russia once again. Luckily for the ideologues that wrote the script, Russia’s role in Ukraine and Syria provided enough rhetorical tools to cast it as the threat to the sacred liberal western order. The matrix has been set, and any attempt to break out of it, will be dismissed as fake news, propaganda and so on.

All the brave Russian dissidents, Polish and Baltic politicians, or Syrian or Iranian refugees are utilized to promote one concept: Russia is the same, dangerous and corrupt; Iran is the same as at the time of Ayatollah, Syria is the same. And therefore these countries should be contained.

In light of this well-oiled narrative, it is hardly surprising that Lavrov speech with its call for Post-Western world order, and its reference to NATO as the relic of cold war,  fell on the dead ears. In the house of the Status-Quo you don’t argue for change. If a Cold War is needed to prop up Western World Order and NATO, the Cold War will be conjured up and ushered in.

The longevity of this model, suggests that it is rather functional. Designating Russia as a dangerous enemy rather than a potential ally enables the west to embark on the win-win situation. Either Russia will buckle up and surrender, or it will fight back, reveal its aggressive side, and thus underscore the need to preserve the military might of the Western Liberal Order.  It is quite telling that the British Foreign Minister, Boris Jonhson, has refused to go to Moscow after Trump’s decision to bomb Syria, accusing president Assad, along with his ally Putin, in orchestrating the chemical attack against its population. The script has already been written; the role of the villain assigned; why go to Moscow and learn of facts that can complicate the story? Playing the role of a good cop, Johnson counterpart, Rex Tillerson, did go to Russia, only to reiterate after his meeting that the story stands. In fact, Tillerson’s remarks at the conclusion of his Moscow visit are quite telling. On the one hand he asserts that Russia is an enemy and should follow the Western script or else; on the other, he suggests that nuclear powers have to talk to each other. “There is a low level of trust between our two countries. The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.” In other words, lets go back to the Cold War status quo: Russia will be pounded as enemy, but without nuclear escalation.

The establishment’s conviction that Russia is too weak to offer military resistance to Western dominance, yet, not crazy enough to appeal to nukes, has been formulated by the original establishment candidate for the US presidency, Hillary Clinton. In her email of November 30, 2015 she claimed that Russia wouldn’t stay in the way of American assertion of dominance. Russia has done nothing in 1999 in Serbia, and it won’t do anything in the future. Pushing for the aggressive policy in Syria, Secretary Clinton maintained:

Unlike in Libya, a successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States. Washington should start by expressing its willingness to work with regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to organize, train and arm Syrian rebel forces… The second step is to develop international support for a coalition air operation.  Russia will never support such a mission, so there is no point operating through the UN Security Council. Some argue that U.S. involvement risks a wider war with Russia. But the Kosovo example shows otherwise. In that case, Russia had genuine ethnic and political ties to the Serbs, which don’t exist between Russia and Syria, and even then Russia did little more than complain.

Despite various triumphant assertions, the Western dominance is on the decline, and its reign hardly brought peace or economic development to large segments of the world population, including the western countries themselves. Yet, the struggling order is willing to do anything to prop itself up. From the engine of development it has turned into its break.

Consequently, we can conclude that most if not all recent foreign policies decisions are not driven by, say, Russophobia, or desire to create chaos or redraw the borders in Middle East. It is naïve to blame Zionists or Islamophobes for recent political decisions. There is simply this neurotic need to preserve the Status Quo, while designating certain populations as its threat. It is not the NWO anymore, it is OWO: Old World Order. Neocons and their think tanks are not dangerous revolutionaries bend on transforming the world. They are old fogies who want things to remain the same. Washington consensus, Washington playbook and other well-established paradigms, promote nothing but violent resistance to change.

This pro-western triumphalism clearly brings to mind a myopic estimation of Russia, expressed by one of the tsar Nicholas I’s officials: ““Russia’s past is glorious, beautiful and heroic, its present is magnificent, grand, and beautiful, and its future is so remarkable that can’t be described.” We know from serious academic studies, such as Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed  (2005), that such societies are doomed. Sooner or later paradigm shifts, and those who vested in the old paradigm, come crushing down, does not matter whether they the proponents of Ptolemaic astronomy, Newtonian physics, Marxist economics, or neocon philosophy.

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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.”

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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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