An American observer comments on French politics.
what a superb article!
An instructive and entertaining "take", and Tocqueville sauce used again to good effect. Thank you. I'm going to Serbia in two weeks -- my own way to mark the centenary of the "Grande Guerre" and the roughly 20 years since the more recent violence in that area that threatened European stability in the 1990s. The "Remain" side would have done well to invite their "Leave" concitoyens to make a similar sobering pilgrimage. The poor pedagogy leading up to the Brexit referendum (like with the El Komri mess that Hollande and his fellow elites is largely responsible for) and the low bar for passage (why oh why only a simple majority?) have caused an even bigger European-wide mess now. I await the silver lining... could be waiting a long time.
An illuminating article, but it leaves me with this question: if "liberal democracy" is the place where the elites hold the string, is it really much of a democracy? This I believe is the question the populists, both left and right, are asking in their various ways. Maybe the elites will decide to change course and share control--but I doubt it. Personally, if the kite blows, I would rather it land in Occupy Democracy than in Trumpistan.
I especially appreciated your reminder that "Voters are right to perceive a loss of control, but if they think control is now vested in Brussels, they are mistaken. The forces at work are far too great and too vast to be confined to the 'official quarter' of Brussels or to a few boardrooms in the City of London."
In reciting the shortcomings of the EU, you stick to criticisms commonly heard from voices inside the PS.Can I suggest you spend a moment thinking about the centrality and preponderance of Germany inside today's EU? Think about the preparation of the French national budget, and about how the context for that central task (the Commission has an oversight role, the terms of which are set in Frankfurt and Berlin) has changed since the introduction of the euro. Eurozone matters have excluded the UK since Maastricht back in 1991. Post-Brexit, the French eurozone experience of a mismatch between French and German influence will be repeated ever more starkly in the broader context of the EU.This doesn't get talked about in France. Or even acknowledged.For an explanation on why this is, collective psychology seems the best discipline to explore.One person who seems keen to discuss it rather than repress it is Marine Le Pen. She may be repulsive, but that won't save you. It would be smart to have some answers ready.
Bert, I actually wonder if Germany will be a little bit careful going forward now that they will be such an isolated voice for extreme austerity. People's memories may generally be short but I expect--no I hope--that when completely unrivaled German dominance is acknowledged, people will take another look at their illogical and uncaring attitude towards the budget.
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