Friday 7th of October 2022

am I stupid or dingue? oui, both, mon general….

At the Paris military event in honor of Bastille Day on July 14, infantry troops from nine countries – France’s NATO allies Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria – were the first to march along the Champs-Elysees. The French state-run radio broadcaster RFI called this event a “parade under the banner of Ukraine.”

By inviting states from the Bucharest Nine to open the celebrations, “France is demonstrating its support for these countries as members of the EU and NATO,” the French Ministry of Defense stressed. “The countries in the Bucharest Nine are now concerned about Russian aggression and the immediate threat it poses {to them}.”

 

by Daria Platonova

 

Colonel Vincent Mingue, commander of an 800-strong French-Belgian detachment stationed in Romania, said: “We must be ready for all scenarios,” explaining that there is no sense at the moment of how far the conflict in Ukraine will go.

Such a vague statement from a French army colonel, combined with the sensational statements Macron made about France’s transition to a “war economy” at the opening of the Eurosatory exhibition in Villepinte, is cause for concern.

Is France headed down the path to war? Will its support for Kiev end with the supply of CAESAR self-propelled artillery and Milan anti-tank missiles? The revision of Paris’ existing military programming law (LPM 2019-2025, unveiled in July of 2018), which was announced by the prime minister, Elizabeth Bourne, appears to be a large-scale project. “Now, on entering a period of war, we must be able to produce certain types of equipment more quickly and intensively. This is a deep reorganization,” Macron said at the end of June, commenting on the work set out for the French Armed Forces Minister and Chief of Defense Staff.

Macron’s strategy regarding the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, in the early stages, consisted of an attempt at a diplomatic settlement, which was accompanied by numerous calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, at the end of April, a decision was made to send Ukraine CAESARs, followed by a batch of Milans. The French government thus replaced humanitarian support with military aid. By June 7, Paris had sent Ukraine military equipment totaling over €162 million since the beginning of Russia’s military offensive, according to the Kiel Institute of World Economy. This is mainly howitzers and ATGMs.

Interestingly, this selective assistance to Kiev in the form of 155mm howitzers directly corresponds to the recommendations of the British Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) lobby group, which is funded by the arms industry. 

In a special report released in July entitled ‘Ukraine at War: Paving the Road From Survival to Victory’, it is noted that Western countries should streamline the support they provide to Kiev and move from supplying large amounts of weapons requiring special training to more targeted ones. Thus, the Institute’s specialists note that Ukraine needs 155mm howitzers in particular “to prevent Russian troop concentration and support.”

“France is supporting the Ukrainian army not only in the form of verbal commitments, but also through the deployment of equipment on site… accompanied by effective training and, above all, rapid deployment,” Marcon said in Madrid at the end of the NATO summit, last month.

Thus, the military frontier has moved from Africa to the borders of Eastern Europe. On June 14, the president visited French soldiers stationed at a NATO base in Romania. This was followed by statements about the need to increase the number of the country's military personnel in the region and even equip the contingent with Leclerc tanks in the second half of 2022.

Macron’s image of a diplomat has been replaced by that of a military commander. Over the past two months, his ‘militarization’ and increasing commitment to the conflict have become noticeable. Earlier frequent calls for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine have given way to regular statements asserting that “Kiev is a democracy” (despite the fact that it isn't) and “Russia cannot and should not win.”

At a press conference following the G7 summit, the French president said that “support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia will continue as long as necessary and with the necessary intensity over the next weeks and months.” Since the beginning of June, he has increasingly used his speeches to exhort the Ministry of Defense to revise the military spending law for 2019-2025. In an interview with the TV channel TF1 on July 14, Macron said that France needs to continue recruiting for the army and that such efforts should be boosted as much as possible. Perhaps, given his rising disapproval rating, Macron has rolled out this ‘General’ style to save his presidency.

Meanwhile, it’s worth recalling that relations between Macron and the army have been quite tense from the very beginning of his tenure in the Élysée Palace, a time when he skillfully played the role of the clever banker and former economy minister by focusing on European integration. In 2017, at the very beginning of his term, Macron had quite a quarrel with the then chief of the French defense staff, Pierre De Villiers. The reason for the row was Macron’s intention to reduce the military budget and it ended up leading to the resignation of De Villiers (the first chief of defense to resign in the history of the Fifth Republic).

In the end, following a wave of protest from the Ministry, Macron ended up not cutting funding for the military. The generals, who were determined to form a long-term foreign policy strategy, were then outraged by Macron’s statement addressed to De Villiers that “I’m your boss.” The president’s relations with the army frankly did not go well. Later in 2021, more than a hundred retired French generals published an open letter in the magazine Valeurs Actuelles that called for “saving the country from disintegration.” “Our senior comrades are fighters who deserve respect... You’ve treated them like rebels, although their only fault is that they love their country and mourn its obvious fall,” the letter stated.

The military stressed that a “civil war” was brewing and called on the president to pay more attention to internal security. The generals pointed to Macron’s oblivious migration policy, which could lead to the strengthening of Islamists, and drew attention to the possible beginning of a “race war” in France, a kind of “clash of civilizations” – French and Islamic. “Violence is growing every day. Who would have predicted ten years ago that a professor would someday be beheaded upon leaving his college?” the authors of the letter wondered. Moreover, they contended that a coup d’etat was possible in the event of inaction by Macron. The letter was supported by Marine Le Pen, who has been criticizing the French leadership’s ‘open borders’ policy for a decade and called upon the generals to join her election campaign.

The conflict with the military came to a head in March of 2022, when the president dismissed the head of French military intelligence, General Eric Vido, for “shortcomings in the work of intelligence during the Ukrainian crisis.” Meanwhile, the lack of a unified coordinated strategy in Africa led to the shameful withdrawal of troops from Mali, where anti-French sentiment reached a boiling point even in the media sphere with a ban on state-controlled France 24 and RFI radio.

But now Macron, who had always been far from military affairs and has butted heads with the army’s top brass on many occasions, has begun to position himself as an ultra-militarist, calling for the introduction of a ‘war economy’. This is quite an interesting and abrupt change of persona.

Given the reduction in Russian oil and gas supplies, not to mention the anti-Russian sanctions that have hit the French economy like ‘hara-kiri’, as aptly put by Marine Le Pen, the idea of transitioning to a war economy seems less than wise for the French population. Macron’s disapproval rating is growing rapidly. In a recent survey conducted by the IFOP international polling and market research firm, 63% of the respondents said they disapproved of the job the president is doing.

And the lack of an absolute majority for Macron’s party in parliament indicates a decrease in the legitimacy of the president’s agenda. It is extremely symbolic that, having lost popular support, three ministers appointed by Macron failed to win their districts. In French politics, a situation when the president does not have an absolute parliamentary majority is called ‘cohabitation’. This means the president’s legislative agenda cannot be fully implemented because it can be rebuffed by parliament.

A similar situation arose in the Fifth Republic in 1988, when the main legislative acts were forced through in an expedited fashion via an appeal to Article 49.3 of the French Constitution, which allows the government to take responsibility for implementing a bill and to adopt the text of a law without a vote. Michel Rocard, the prime minister at the time, invoked this article 28 times between 1988 and 1991. However, after France’s constitutional reform of 2008, the application of Article 49.3 was significantly limited.

The bet on an aggressive foreign policy agenda has played a cruel joke on the president: the conflict in Ukraine worries the French less than pension reforms and their declining purchasing power. Given this, the NUPES bloc led by the Melenchon movement and Le Pen’s National Rally party, which have focused on solving the country’s difficult post-pandemic economic issues, have turned out to be more attractive to voters. Melenchon’s and Le Pen’s admonishment of NATO’s expansion to the east and their more balanced foreign policies have also found support among the portion of the French population that still preserves the memory of the ‘golden times of Gaullism’ and the general’s continentalist, anti-American political stance.

Major scandals have also had a negative impact on the president’s approval rating: the sale of the French company Alstom to the American firm General Electrics and the McKinsey case, as well as the Ubergate scandal, which is gaining momentum. All three are symbolically connected with American corporations. The McKinsey case, which appeared on the eve of the presidential election, was highlighted by a report from the French Senate that described the affair as a threat to national sovereignty. The American consulting firm had been working with Macron since 2017, and by 2021 it had received a contract to develop a number of pieces of legislation with a remuneration of $1 billion. The report from the French Senate stated: “Consulting firms interfere in public policy, which raises two main issues:

– What is our vision of the state and its sovereignty in the face of private firms?

– Is this a proper use of public funds.

The recent scandal with Uber once again exposed Macron’s lobbying mission in promoting the interests of the American corporation. When he was the economy minister, Macron supported the legalization of the company’s activities in France and helped circumvent the difficulties that arise in various regions when the taxi services market is dominated by a large monopoly. Bastien Lachaud, a deputy in the left-wing France Unconquered movement, described Macron as “serving the interests of scammers, not the people.” And a representative of the National Rally party, Jean-Philippe Tanguy, said that Macron is “a representative of the business oligarchy” who mixes “his functions as a high-ranking official and foreign interests with his personal ones.”

So now we have growing uncertainty in foreign policy, a sharp turn from a diplomatic to a military image, increased military support for the Kiev regime, the introduction of a ‘war economy’ for France (despite ongoing friction with a number of army generals), soaring inflation, the energy crisis, unpopular reforms, and numerous scandals.

Macron has five years to go in his current term. A half decade of ‘Macronie’ and a war economy? How will that go down?

 

 

by Daria Platonova, political observer with the International Eurasian Movement

 

 

READ MORE:

https://www.rt.com/russia/559445-macron-dictatorship-fifth-republic/

 

WE REPEAT:

The little nazi jewish mamma boy [Zelenskyy] gets despotic by the minute in order to appear a winner. He’s a loser. Ukraine will eventually be split, like Ireland and England. The ethnic differences ARE NOT COMPATIBLE and this is reflected in the “collaboration” of many Ukrainian people with Russia. But Zelenskyy, a former comedian and somewhat unintelligent TV actor, still plays as if he was in charge of “Ukraine”. Helped by the West in a hypocritical deliberate misunderstanding of history, Zelenskyy has become a dictator who DOES NOT REPRESENT WHAT UKRAINE IS. Ukraine is TWO (in several provinces) COUNTRIES along the dividing line of Galicians and Russians. For all the Western efforts, help and guns, Zelenskyy cannot (and will not be able to) control the “RUSSIAN” part of Ukraine. END OF STORY. 

 

SEE ALSO: 

corrupt to his bones…….

 

 

 

FREE JULIAN ASSANGE........

civil war or/and fascism?…….

 Richard Falk: When the centre does not hold in America

 

 

I find the prospect of civil wars less disheartening than the related drift toward fascism or the torments of anarchy.

No lines of poetry are more resonant with our time than the celebrated lines of William Butler Yeats’ famous poem ‘The Second Coming’:

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

This is especially true here in the United States, as it was in post-World War I Germany’s nurturing the rise of Naziism and its demonic voice, Adolph Hitler, the consummate outsider who managed to crawl up the mountain to ascend its peak. The core disabling affliction of the United States in the 21st Century is an energised and armed extreme right-wing and a listless, passive center, a development lamented by liberals who would sell their souls long before parting with their stocks and bonds, all for a non-voting seat at various illiberal tables of power. This lack of humane passion at the political center serves as a reinforcing complement to the violent forces of alienation waiting around the country for their marching orders, as the January 6th insurrectionary foray foretells. Together these contrasting modes of ‘citizenship’ signal the death of constitutional democracy as it has functioned, with ups and downs, flawed by slavery, genocide, and patriarchy at birth, indeed ever since the republic was established in 1787 as ‘a more perfect union.’ In 2022 a fascist alternative is assuming institutional, ideological, and populist prominence with the active support of many American oligarchs who fund by night what they disavow when the sun shines (again recalling the behaviour of German industrialists who thought of Hitler as their vehicle, whereas it turned out the other war around).

This contemporary political ordeal is systemic, and not only the sad tale of American moral, economic, and political decline, temporarily hidden from public awareness by an orgy of excess military spending that has lasted for decades, a corporatised, compliant media, diversionary exploits abroad, and a greedy private sector that grows bloated by arms sales and a regressive tax structure, Pentagon plunder, and its profit-driven regimen. What may be most negatively revealing is the failure to take account of geopolitical failure or sanctified domestic outrages (mass shootings in schools and elsewhere with legally acquired weapons suitable only for organised military combat). It is time to link the inability to mount any serious challenge to the tyranny of the Second Amendment as interpreted by the IRA in cahoots with Congress and the Supreme Court, cowing much of the public to a sullen sense of silent hopelessness. Even before these hallowed institutions acquired their Trumpist edge, they shied away from constructing rights as if they were aware of the violent societal and ecological fissures tearing up the roots of bipartisan civility. The moral rot is less the work of the sociopaths among us than it the outcome of a two-party plutocratic dynamic that is controlled by infidels and their bureaucratic minions who either actually like the way things are working out or feel impotent to mount a challenge with any chance of enacting benevolent change.

These same patterns of stasis are evident among the centrist elites who have been educated at the most esteemed universities. Perhaps the brightest, but surely not the best. Refusing to learn from Vietnam where military dominance, widespread devastation of a distant country, and much bloodshed, resulted in a political defeat that should have induced some learning about the limits of military agency in the face pf colonial collapse. Instead of learning from the failure brought about by a changing post-colonial political balance in the countries of the Global South, anointed foreign policy experts whined about the ‘Vietnam Syndrome’ that allegedly hampered a pragmatic recourse to military instruments to advance U.S. national and strategic interests because of a feared repetition of Vietnam. It was George H.W. Bush who revelled in the defeat of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the desert war fought against Iraq in 1991, not primarily because it restored Kuwaiti sovereignty but because of restored confidence that the U.S. could win wars of its choice at acceptable costs. In his words, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all.” (March 1991)

In plainer language, the American military power had efficiently vanquished its Iraqi enemy without enduring many casualties, and thereby could feel free again to rely on its threats and weapons as a decisive geopolitical policy tool to get its way throughout the world. But had it? Better understood, this First Iraq War in 1991 was a strict battlefield encounter between asymmetric military forces, and as earlier, the stronger side won this time quickly and without body bags alerting Americans to the sacrificial costs of warfare unrelated to the security of the homeland. The lessons of Vietnam for the foreign policy establishment were to the extent possible substitute machines for troops, and adopt tactics that shortened the military phase of political undertakings designed to nullify forms of self-determination that seemed to go against American post-Cold War resolve to run the world to serve the interests of its upper 1%..

These lessons decidedly were not what should have been learned from a decade of expensive failed efforts in Vietnam. The principal lesson of the Vietnam War was that the political mobilisation of a people in the Global South behind a struggle for national self-determination can usually neutralise, and often eventually overcome, large margins of military superiority by an outside power, especially if it hails from the West. The stubborn refusal by politicians and the most trusted advisors by their side to heed this lesson led to regime-change and state-building disasters in the Iraq War of 2003, Afghanistan (2001-2021), Libya (2011), and other less pronounced failures. No matter how many drones search and destroy missions or how much ‘shock and awe’ is staged for its spectacular traumatising effects, the end result resembles Vietnam more than Iraq after the 1991 war. There is still no relevant learning evident, which would be meaningfully signalled by massive downsizings of the military budget and more prudently and productively using public monies at home and abroad. The bipartisan foreign policy, again evident in response to the Ukraine War, is locking the country into an expensive and lengthy dynamic of failure and frustration, somewhat disguised by dangerous deceptions about the true nature of the strategic mission. Instead of intervention and regime change, the dominant insider Ukraine rationale for heightening tensions, prolonging warfare devastating a distant country, and bringing tragic losses of life, limb, and home to many of its people, is scoring a geopolitical victory, namely, inflicting defeat and heavy costs on Russia while sternly warning China that if it dares challenge the status quo in its own region it can expect to be confronted by the same sort of destructive response that Russia is facing. Long ago patriots of humanity should have been worried about the ‘Militarist Syndrome’ and paid thankful heed to the ‘Vietnam Syndrome,’ which could have led to a war prevention strategy rather than insisting on worldwide capabilities enabling a reactive military response to unwanted actions of others. Pre-2022 Ukraine diplomacy by the U.S.-led NATO alliance rather than seeking a war prevention outcome seemed determined to induce a war dangerously overlapping an unstable unipolar geopolitical order disliked by most of the Global South as well as China and Russia.

Here at home with its embedded gun culture, homelessness, and cruelty to asylum seekers at the Mexican border, it is the underlying systemic malady that remains largely undiagnosed, and totally untreated—namely, a lame and unimaginative leadership that is alternatively passively toxic and overtly fascist in the domestic sphere, and geopolitically irresponsible and transactional when it ventures abroad for the sake of Special Relationships or insists that global security anywhere on the planet is of proper concerns only for Washington think tanks, lobbyists, and upper echelon foreign policy bureaucrats. It is not surprising that in such a quandary, those with energy, passion, and excitement on their side seem destined to control the future unless a surge of progressive energy erupts mysteriously, and enables a new social movement animated by strivings toward bio-ethical-ecological-political sanity.

This drift toward fascism is not the only plausible scenario for a highly uncertain American future. There is also Yeats’ assessment made long before the current world crisis emerged, but we should not be surprised that poets see further ahead than foreign policy gurus and politicians who remain fixated on electoral or other performance cycles even in autocracies:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

And then there is to be considered Barbara F. Walter’s carefully researched assessment that the United States is drifting toward a second civil war, and not a fascist sequel to republican democracy. [See Walter, How Civil Wars Start and how to stop them, 2022] It is relatively more optimistic although it fails to contextualise the political challenge in relation to the global systemic damage done by neoliberal economic globalisation, an unsettling lingering COVID pandemic, and a general planetary condition of ecological entropy.

I find this prospect of civil wars less disheartening than the related drift toward fascism or the torments of anarchy. Civil wars end and can often be prevented, and the winners have a stake in restoring normalcy, that is, assuming the more humane side prevails, which under current conditions may seem utopian. At present, only respect for international law, responsible geopolitics, a UN more empowered to realise its Principles and Purposes (Articles 1 & 2), and ethically/spiritually engaged transnational activism can hopefully turn the tides now engulfing humanity toward peace, justice, species survival, and a more harmonious ecological coexistence. Miracles do happen! Now more than ever before struggle rather than resignation it is the only imperative worth heeding.

 

 

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Article re-posted from CounterPunch July 15, 2022

 

 

READ MORE:

https://johnmenadue.com/richard-falk-the-worst-is-yet-to-come-when-the-center-does-not-hold/

 

READ FROM TOP.

 

 

FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOWˆ•••••••••••••••••

how old are you?…..

The title at top of this line of articles refers to an old French joke related by our mate, Jules Letambour. Here is his full translation:

 

The day before an inspection by a General, the soldiers are warned: the General will review the troops and will then ask questions in this order:

- How long has your assignment been? "6 months" will be your answer

- How old are you ? "20 years old" is the answer.

- Do you prefer cabbage or potatoes? Your answer shall be "both, my General."

 

the next day a soldier answers the General's questions:

-how old are you ?

6 months my General

-Since when are you here ?

20 years my General

-Do you take me for a moron or a fool?

both my General!

 

QUITE LAME, BUT IT'S A GOOD REPRESENTATION OF OLD ARMY DISCIPLINE.....