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‘US withdraws from the world’ is Trump making it great or irrelevant again?

The US is becoming increasingly isolated from the world

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Donald Trump promised Americans he would make the US great again, a center of a world that is becoming increasingly multipolar, yet the US appears to be withdrawing from the world at an alarming rate.

The US has found itself increasingly alienated from its traditional allies (and some would say vassals) in the EU.

Vassals no longer: Merkel, Macron advocate European sovereignty

This was likely in no small part due not only to Trump’s unpredictable nature, but to the dangerous US Nationalism and Exceptionalism displayed by administration officials.

American Exceptionalism: Mike Pompeo says Americans must believe in the “essential rightness” of the USA

The US has withdrawn from the internationally lauded Iran deal, gotten into trade wars with even “close allies” such as Canada, and is generally making radical changes, including withdrawals from international bodies.

Some think the way the US withdraws from treaties is a sign of strength, but many, including Philip Giraldi at the Journal of Strategic Culture, and The Duran’s Frank Sellers feel it is a sign of weakness.

Giraldi in particular, used the example of Trump’s withdrawal from the United Nations 47-member Human Rights Council (UNHRC), as well as the UN cultural body UNESCO, as an example of the US weakening its own influence in the world.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley cited the reasons for the withdrawal from the Human Rights Council which were that the U.S. felt the council has “unfairly and critically focused on Israel”. In the same light, Giraldi writes that the US withdrew from UNESCO:

Last October…when the organization named the city of Hebron on the West Bank a Palestinian World Heritage site, which Israel declared to be unacceptable.

There are, in fact, two important things to note here. First of all, the Administration is so clearly following the will of Israel in these two examples, like a slave, rather than an independent state.

I understand, if some would argue, that Israel has long had influence over US policy, this is totally true, the difference is the open, and some would say tactless, way that Trump does not even bother to hide his Israel apologetics.

President Obama, for example, at least attempted to create the illusion of protocol, and US Humanitarianism – even if anyone paying attention realized that Obama was just as much carrying out the Zionist mandate in Syria and the Middle East, as did Bush.

The difference is, Trump is so brazen in this, that he is almost proudly signaling that the real power is in Tel-Aviv, and he is happy to obey Netanyahu’s orders. Perhaps he does not see it this way, but, from an outsider’s perspective, Trump seems to be withdrawing from international bodies – mainly for the sake of Israel’s interests.

And withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council happened along the same lines. To be clear, I find it very odd that a “Human Rights Council” allows Saudi Arabia, where women can be executed for “Witchcraft”, to be a member.

I am not a “hater” of President Trump, nor a lover of globalism, or a person obsessed with the UN. The fact still remains, nations, including Russia, participate with international bodies, first and foremost, because it is the civilized thing to do. That is what the majority of the earth’s states do.

There are some things, for example, wearing a suit and tie to formal events, that politicians simply do, because it is expected, and in line with universal tradition. Indeed, powerful trendsetting Empires can build their own rules and tradition, but only when proper leverage exists.

When the US withdraws from an organization, and everyone else remains a part of it, it does not appear like the US is strong, it appears that the adults are conducting diplomacy, while someone is crying in the corner that people don’t respect their authority.

United States alone against the world?

Another reason it would be in the interest of the US, to participate with the world, is that it would grant the US a platform to spread its voice. This is not something that matters to me, I have heard enough war-mongering, but for the US, and any person really, it is important to have your voice heard.

Instead, the US withdraws because they feel Israel isn’t being respected – which should have no bearing on the US. From a political perspective, the only reason to leave an important organization only because an ally leaves, is if that ally is actually your overlord, and you are their vassal.

As the US withdraws from the world, Ron Paul feels US influence is waning.

Former Congressman Ron Paul remarks on declining American global influence

When someone looks at the map of UNESCO members, and sees those in green, who are members, and those in orange, who are not, they don’t say: “Wow…those countries who left are brave trendsetters!” they would instead say “Wow, those countries are really isolated from the rest of the world.”

It is somewhat like failing to embrace the far superior and scientific Metric System, which the entirety of the civilized world uses, and instead, using a primitive and backward measurement system that the rest of the world can’t be bothered to learn. What would prompt people to do that?

It is almost juvenile.

Speaking of juvenile actions, look at how Niki Haley responded to this question, as to whether or not the US is simply blocking Palestinian appointments simply because they are Palestinian.

“Is it this administration’s position that support for Israel and support for the appointment of a well-qualified individual of Palestinian nationality to an appointment at the U.N. are mutually exclusive?” A journalist asked. Haley responded yes, that the administration is “supporting Israel” by blocking every Palestinian.

Blocking members of a certain race from joining an international body is meant to promote peace, because you support a group which is bombing and killing them. How very racist.

Giraldi at the Journal of Strategic Culture writes:

Complete withdrawal from the United Nations is not unthinkable in the current climate, though the Democrats and some moderate Republicans would no doubt strongly resist such a move. In my opinion, the United Nations is a dystopian mess but it is better to have it than not as it provides a forum where nations that otherwise cannot meet are able too do so and discuss transnational issues. And it should be conceded that the U.N.’s inability to actually function is largely both structural and bureaucratic due to the veto power given to the Security Council’s five permanent members, a function that Nikki Haley has repeatedly used to stop resolutions that might be offensive to the United States or Israel…

Beyond that, Haley’s constant citation of concern for Israel gives strength to the suggestion that there is something unnatural about its bilateral “special” relationship with the United States. In the Middle East in particular, Israel would seem to be driving U.S. policy, particularly vis-à-vis Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

Israel is intent on continuing political chaos in Syria lest there be a threat to its continued occupation of the Golan Heights and has warned about possible preemptive action in Lebanon to punish Hezbollah. It also wants the United States to deal decisively with Iran. By all accounts, those agendas are proceeding very well as Washington has been regularly threatening Iran and last week vowed to take military action if Damascus seeks to recover territory in the Syrian southwest that until recently was held by terrorists.

It is difficult to discern what the joint United States-Israeli strategy might be towards the United Nations and other international bodies. Neither has recognized the authority of the International Criminal Court in The Hague for fear that its own senior officials might be arrested and tried for war crimes.

To be sure, both countries are protected against any serious challenges in the U.N. itself by the American veto power over the Security Council, which alone has the authority to mandate sanctions or peacekeeping operations.

But the U.S. withdrawal from U.N. agencies is, if anything, a sign of weakness rather than strength. If Washington were indeed confident in its own brand of international leadership it would welcome the opportunity to sit on panels and help shape the views of other countries with which it has a politically neutral or adversarial relationships. That it does not choose to do so suggests that there is an understanding that what Washington is selling no one is buying.

The complete isolation of the United States at the United Nations and also elsewhere, to include G-7, was exhibited recently during June 1st votes at the U.N. Security Council. A resolution sponsored by Kuwait seeking an inquiry into the Israeli killing of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza and a motion by Haley seeking to blame Hamas for the deaths both were voted on.

Haley’s was the only vote against the former and the only vote in favor of the latter. She predictably commented afterwards that “Further proof was not needed, but it is now completely clear that the U.N. is hopelessly biased against Israel.”

In conclusion, Trump said he would make America great again, but it seems many of his policies are making the nation more isolated. This is emphasized in the way Trump seems to prefer bilateral agreements, over international treaties.

He is the legendary “deal maker”, he thinks everything is negotiable, there is always a deal to be cut. This is a product of capitalism, where everything, including culture, values, and morals, is for sale, for the right price.

Trump and his supporters often feel the way he summarily and unilaterally withdraws from treaties, cancels meetings, and handles bilateral negotiations are a sign of strength. They say he is showing his strength when he cancels his North Korean meetings, or Iran deals, and in the short term, this is true. It is a good tactic, especially as the CEO of a company, but a terrible strategy for a statesman.

Indeed, Trump is displaying strength on a bilateral level, but when he makes these “tough decisions” and breaks agreements, he seems like an unreliable partner and an unstable player. World leaders say “We can’t deal with this!”

Trump’s strategies worked well in business, no one doubts his business skills, but one thing fiscal conservatives always fail to realize is, being a good businessman, and good at running a company, does not guarantee you can run an economy, much less a country.

In order to run a nation, you must be a strong leader with a great will, prepared to guide the masses to greatness and defend the interests of the state. You must also be compassionate, reliable, and responsible, like Putin. Everyone knows when Putin says something, he means it.

While Trump closes doors, Putin opens them, Pt 2

To run a nation, you must care about your fellow people, and to conduct international diplomacy, you must care about the world.

In business, to be a truly powerful business person, you don’t care about others. The capitalistic mindset does not teach one to be concerned for the well being of humanity, but rather to use and manipulate everything around you to achieve your own wealth, your own power, your own success. It is all about the individual.

Diplomacy, is, however, all about the collective.

Trump may win battles via his deals, as he is a skilled business person and negotiator, but you can’t conduct international diplomacy with the mentality of bilateral deals.

You may appear tough, and that toughness may grant you a win dealing with one individual, but if the international community sees how you act, and considers you unreliable or unpredictable, they may choose to make deals with or without you, or with your enemies.

‘With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?’, says EU Council President

This is a man who once joked that he could shoot a person and still win an election. Of course, he was joking! But those kinds of immature jokes, as well as his misogynistic and immoral remarks demeaning women do not distinguish a statesmen.

 

Likewise, after meeting Kim Jong Un, he casually said he trusts him, and if things go wrong? Look at how he addressed this possibility, when he said:

“I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey I was wrong.’

That was not the worst part, the part that was so ridiculous. That was when he casually paused and with a joking tone, said immediately after:

“I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

I will admit, when I heard that, I laughed hysterically. It’s so Trump. That is the kind of joke that a friend can make, and would cause a person to laugh. But that is not how a leader should talk. He is openly parodying the fact, that he won’t take responsibility for his actions.

I am a simple Russian Orthodox Christian, not a brilliant political analyst, so perhaps I do not understand the complexity of 4D Chess, as some call it, but to the eyes of a simple person, the ability to take responsibility for your actions and not make excuses are an important trait that children must learn, let alone someone who commands several thousand nuclear warheads.

Even if it’s a joke, it is a joke that is totally irresponsible and unpresidential, hilarious, yes, but not the way of a statesman.

I wish to stress that I do not wish to hate on President Trump, he is WORLDS better than insane war-mongering Hillary, who has not found a war she does not support. I am only disappointed, when I feel his behavior reminds me of the globalists many believed he would resist. When he bombs countries like Syria, who did nothing wrong, and blatantly supports Zionism, which kills innocent people.

I simply want to live in a world, where all nations, Russia, the Middle Eastern nations, the USA, the EU states, China and the Far East can finally live in peace. I fear that Trump, however intentional or unintentional, does not inspire in world leaders or people that he will reasonably achieve this.

This is what Trump does not seem to understand. He is a powerful dealmaker, tough in a one on one situation, but his aforementioned style also scares away foreign leaders on the international level. It isolates the US, while driving division among the nations of the earth.

People are beginning to wonder, is Trump making the US great, or simply irrelevant, again?

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HappyCynicAndré De KoningSPQRNightcrawler136Vera Gottlieb Recent comment authors
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HappyCynic
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HappyCynic

And yet the US economy is 5 times the size of Germany and 6 times the size of France and the UK, and the GDP growth rate of the US is bigger than any other of the top 10 GDP countries. Economics is more important than the virtue signalling practiced by other countries. It’s not Trump’s job to make the US “relevant” in the world – it’s his job to improve the living standards of Americans. If he has to annoy unimportant little countries like Canada and Germany to do this, so be it – that’s his job. Clearly the… Read more »

André De Koning
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André De Koning

De-dollariization is the main justice as the US has been profiting form this for decades and this will come to an end. Trump does a good job to return nation to their sovereignty and remove themselves from the US reserve currency (as it is not a reserve at all).

SPQR
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SPQR

A great America is also an irrelevant America. The less influence this nation of psychotic gunslingers has on the world the better off we, including Americans, will all be. May Trump be to the US what Gorbachev was to the Soviet Union.

Nightcrawler136
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Nightcrawler136

The author seems to have missed the point, Trump is the wrecking ball that the US will never recover from!

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

And even without the US, planet Earth will keep revolving around the sun…The US has caused enough destruction and misery all over the planet. Enough!

Guy
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Guy

This is such a good article and exactly how I feel about it also.This quote also says a lot about Trump.
“‘Europe should be grateful by President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of old illusions’” .Illusions about the indispensable nation.

Vince Dhimos
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Vince Dhimos

“If Washington were indeed confident in its own brand of international leadership it would welcome the opportunity to sit on panels and help shape the views of other countries with which it has a politically neutral or adversarial relationships.” You have come closer to the truth about Trump than any commentor I have read so far. If you substitute “confident in” with “articulate about” you reflect my sentiment, because it is not a lack of confidence that he displays. It is much worse. Trump not only is NOT in any way articulate but even if he were, he would have… Read more »

my2Cents
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my2Cents

Never mind our antiquated measuring system rather than the metric one. How about our Colonial, very political Justice system that every former colony still uses with the exception of Quebec. Common Law with uncodified law vs Civil Law with Codified laws. Try and get a hold of your State’s Statute Book and read these incredibly stupid laws written by 9-year olds, all of which mean nothing until a “judge” (a lawyer politically appointed to judge) reads it, interprets it…either throws it out or “translates it into legalese. That then becomes case law on which various and sundry are judged for… Read more »

Bill Spence
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Bill Spence

Talking about US leadership makes no sense because of its reliance on military threats and bribery. The reliance on blackmail and bribery imply weakness.

John R. Nolan
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John R. Nolan

“I wish to stress that I do not wish to hate on President Trump, he is WORLDS better than insane war-mongering Hillary, who has not found a war she does not support.” Remember, Killery is a rampant, raging satanist, a power crazed being motivated only by greed, medicated insanity, who still lusts after destruction of all decency, sanity, freedom, of the populace, just like Chump, and it is Amazia who is, and has been for many years, the greatest threat to humanity. Rest assured, it will be Amazia who brings about the final global carnage, and it will be Russian… Read more »

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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.

The Duran

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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.

The Duran

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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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