Sommet d’Helsinki: Attention, une faute peut en cacher une autre ! (Leftist witch hunt: Guess who forced Trump into the impossible choice of kowtowing to Putin or to the delegitimization of his own election ?)

19 juillet, 2018

Sur toutes ces questions, mais particulièrement la défense antimissiles, on peut trouver une solution, mais il doit me laisser une marge de manœuvre. Sur toutes ces questions, mais particulièrement la défense antimissiles, on peut trouver une solution, mais il doit me laisser une marge de manœuvre. (…) C’est ma dernière élection. Après mon élection, j’aurai plus de flexibilité. Barack Obama (27.03.2012)
Je n’ai jamais vu de ma vie, ou dans l’histoire politique moderne, un candidat à la présidentielle chercher à discréditer les élections et le processus électoral avant que le vote n’ait lieu. C’est sans précédent et ce n’est basé sur aucun fait. Si quand les choses tournent mal pour vous et que vous commencez à perdre, vous rejetez le blâme sur autrui, alors vous n’avez pas ce qu’il faut pour faire ce boulot. (…) Mais le point important sur lequel je veux insister ici, c’est qu’il n’y a pas de personne sérieuse qui pourrait suggérer que vous pourriez même manipuler les élections américaines, en partie parce qu’elles sont très décentralisées et que le nombre de votes est important. Il n’y a aucune preuve que cela s’est déjà produit par le passé ou qu’il y a des cas où cela se produira cette fois-ci. Et donc je conseillerais à M. Trump d’arrêter de pleurnicher et d’essayer de défendre ses opinions pour obtenir des suffrages. Barack Obama (18.10. 2016)
Il n’y a jamais eu collusion, l’élection, je l’ai gagnée haut la main. Cette enquête russe nous empêche de coopérer, alors qu’il y a tant à faire. Donald Trump
The probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore, so far that I know virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they are going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. It was a clean campaign. (…) I do have a relationship with him. And I think that he’s done a very brilliant and amazing job. Really, a lot of people would say, he has put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader. Donald Trump
First of all, he said there was no collusion whatsoever. I guess he said he said as strongly as you can say it. (…) I think it’s a shame, we are talking about nuclear proliferation. We’re talking about Syria and humanitarian aid, we’re talking about all these different things, and we get questions on the witch hunt. And I don’t think the people out in the country buy it. But the reporters like to give it a shot. I thought that President Putin was very, very strong. (…) And at the end of this meeting, I think we really came to a lot of good conclusions, a really good conclusion for Israel. Something very strong.(…) in Syria, we are getting very close. I think it’s becoming a humanitarian situation, and a lot of people are going to move back to Syria from Turkey and from Jordan and from different places, they’re going to move back, less so from Europe. But they will be moving back from lots of different places. So I really think we are not far apart on Syria. I do think that on Iran, he probably would have liked to keep the deal in place because that’s good for Russia. You know, they do business with — it’s good for a lot of the countries that do business with Iran, but it’s not good for this country and it’s ultimately not good for the world. And if you look at what is happening, is falling apart, they have rights in all their cities. The inflation is rampant and going through the roof, and not that you want to hurt anybody, but that regime, we will let the people know that we are behind them 100 percent. But they are having big protests all over the country, probably as big as they have ever had before. And that all happens since I terminated that deal. (…) And he also said he wants to be very helpful with North Korea. We are doing well with North Korea. We have time. There is no rush. You know, it’s been going on for many years, but we are doing very well. As you know, we got our hostages back. There’s been no testing. There’s been no nuclear explosion, which we would have known about immediately. There’s been no rockets going over Japan. No missiles going over Japan. And that’s now been nine months, and the relationship is very good. You saw the nice letter he wrote. (…) I think it was great today, but I think it was really bad five hours ago. I think we really had a potential problem. I think with two nuclear nations. Ninety percent of the nuclear power in the world between these two nations, and we’ve had a phony witch hunt deal drive us apart. (…) You have to understand, you take a look, you look at all these people, I mean, some were hackers, some of them. Then again, you know, these are 14 people and they have 12 people. These aren’t 12 people involve in the campaign. Then you have many other people. Some told a lie. You look at Flynn, it’s a shame. But the FBI didn’t think he was lying. With Paul Manafort, who clearly is a nice man. You look at what’s going on with him. It’s like Al Capone. Donald Trump
I’ll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all. And people have seen that, and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that. A lot of people have come out strongly on that. (…)  Now (…) I got a transcript. I reviewed it. I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realized that there is need for some clarification. It should have been obvious — I thought it would be obvious — but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn’t. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » The sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t — or why it wouldn’t be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » And the sentence should have been — and I thought it would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video — the sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative. (…) I have, on numerous occasions, noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections. Unlike previous administrations, my administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal any efforts — and repel — we will stop it, we will repel it — any efforts to interfere in our elections. (…) As you know, President Obama was given information just prior to the election — last election, 2016 — and they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious to all: They thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and they didn’t think it was a big deal. When I won the election, they thought it was a very big deal. And all of the sudden they went into action, but it was a little bit late. So he was given that in sharp contrast to the way it should be. And President Obama, along with Brennan and Clapper and the whole group that you see on television now — probably getting paid a lot of money by your networks — they knew about Russia’s attempt to interfere in the election in September, and they totally buried it. And as I said, they buried it because they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win. (…) Yesterday, we made significant progress toward addressing some of the worst conflicts on Earth. So when I met with President Putin for about two and a half hours, we talked about numerous things. (…) President Putin and I addressed the range of issues, starting with the civil war in Syria and the need for humanitarian aid and help for people in Syria. We also spoke of Iran and the need to halt their nuclear ambitions and the destabilizing activities taking place in Iran. As most of you know, we ended the Iran deal, which was one of the worst deals anyone could imagine. And that’s had a major impact on Iran. And it’s substantially weakened Iran. And we hope that, at some point, Iran will call us and we’ll maybe make a new deal, or we maybe won’t. But Iran is not the same country that it was five months ago, that I can tell you. They’re no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean and the entire Middle East. They’ve got some big problems that they can solve, probably much easier if they deal with us. (…) We discussed Israel and the security of Israel. And President Putin is very much involved now with us in a discussion with Bibi Netanyahu on working something out with surrounding Syria and — Syria, and specifically with regards to the security and long-term security of Israel. A major topic of discussion was North Korea and the need for it to remove its nuclear weapons. Russia has assured us of its support. President Putin said he agrees with me 100 percent, and they’ll do whatever they have to do to try and make it happen. Donald Trump

Today is about how we can strengthen America’s economy even more. And we think the best place to start is with America’s middle-class families and our small businesses. So today, we’re here to talk to you about making permanent this tax relief — one, so they can continue to grow; two, so we can add a million and a half new jobs; and three, we can protect them against a future Washington trying to steal back those hard-earned dollars that you and the Republican Congress has given them.J’ai relu le texte de mes déclarations et je me suis aperçu qu’il manquait une négation. Je voulais dire: «Je ne vois pas de raison pour que la Russie ne l’ait pas fait» (interférer dans l’élection, NDLR). Je pense que ceci clarifie la question. J’ai une foi et une confiance entières en nos formidables agences de renseignement. J’accepte leurs conclusions selon lesquelles des interventions de la Russie ont eu lieu. Nous agirons avec force pour repousser et stopper toute (nouvelle) interférence dans nos élections. Cette ingérence de Moscou «n’a eu aucun impact» sur le résultat du scrutin qu’il a remporté.
Donald Trump
Many on the left, they want you to believe this alleged interference is shocking, unprecedented turn of events, but we all know that Russian election meddling is not new at all. Now, remember, ahead of the 2016 presidential election cycle. In 2014, the House Intel Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, he issued a very stern warning about Putin’s belligerent actions and attempts to denigrate the United States and, by the way, yes, impact our 2016 election. And we also know, you can go way back to 2008, we know that Russia hacked into both the McCain campaign and even the presidential campaign of Barack Obama himself. And despite this, in 2016, when Hillary Clinton appeared to have a firm lead in the polls — oh, just before the election, it was President Obama who laughed off any notion that American elections could possibly be tampered with. How wrong he was. (…) That’s when he thought Hillary was going to win. Now that Trump is president, after nearly a decade of playing down Russian interference and its impact on our elections, the left is in total freak out mode, trying desperately to connect Russian hacking to the Trump presidency. This is a total left-wing conspiracy, a fantasy. This is the witch hunt. Every single report, every investigation into our election shows absolutely no votes were changed, none were altered in the 2016 election. Not a single vote. And by the way, it’s important to point out every major country in the world engages in election interference. As Senator Rand Paul put it, we all do it, and this includes the Clinton campaign. In fact, if you’re looking for Russian interference, look no further than Hillary Clinton and the DNC in 2016. They actually paid, oh, yes, through a law firm that they funnel money, Fusion GPS. Yes, then they got a foreign entity, foreign spy by the name of Christopher Steele, he put together phony opposition research, and now the infamous dossier, which has been debunked, filled with lies, Russian lies, Russian propaganda, and all paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to manipulate you, the American people in the lead up to the 2016 election. Nobody in the media seems to care about Obama’s attempt at interference in the last Israeli election against our number one ally in the Middle East, Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And by all accounts, today’s meeting, always productive and very important. As we all know, there are a lot of serious issues between the U.S. and Russia, but predictably, even before this meeting took place, yes, the destroy Trump, hate Trump media, they were already, hoping and predicting failure. You see, success for Donald Trump is bad for their agenda, especially in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections. (…) Former CIA director, you know the guy that was a former communist turned CNN paid hack, John Brennan, he actually tweeted out: Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were his comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots, where are you? John, let’s address you for a second here. What have you done on Obama’s watch to prevent Russian meddling? What role did you play in all of this?  (…) As you can see, it was all a predetermined outcome. It didn’t matter what happened at today’s meeting. Your mainstream media just blind hatred for President Trump and they long predetermined that anything the president does is terrible. It’s devastating, apocalyptic. And at this point, they are just a broken record. (…) Look at the economy. Look at the progress in North Korea. And while the left always acts like the sky is literally falling because Donald Trump actually wants to discuss safety and security with nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, Syria, Iran, a lot of other important issues, including interference. By the way, meeting with Putin is that bad, we all know the truth. U.S. diplomacy is in good hands, despite what they have told you. The president has never been afraid to walk away from a bad deal, never been afraid to call out foreign leaders, and hold all of them accountable. As we saw, he was critical of the British government’s execution of Brexit. And, by the way, he rightfully called out many of our allies in NATO. Why? They are not paying their fair share for their own national defense, even criticizing the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her country’s lucrative energy deals Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which creates a dangerous dependency on Russia and energy, which is the lifeblood of their economy. After all, if the West is so worried about Russia, well, why would they be willing to give him billions and billions of dollars to make Russia rich again? Instead, the president is now rightly pushing Germany to kill its oil and gas deals with Russia and get their energy from us in that the United States, which would also mean millions of high-paying career jobs for Americans. Now, this move would not only benefit the United States, it would also absolutely wreck Russia’s economy. Now, Putin should be very concerned about that possibility, as it would literally destroy Russia’s economy and probably destroy him politically. (…) And now, the president has been even more forceful with our enemies. Look at North Korea, little rocket man, fire and fury. Our button works, yours doesn’t, and it’s bigger. Now, despite what the media predicted, there is real progress on the Korean peninsula, because the president’s peace through strength strategy is working. It always works. Appeasement doesn’t work. Bribing dictators doesn’t work. Now, there hasn’t been a single rocket fired in months, American hostages, thank God, they have come home. One nuclear site in fact has been dismantled and shuttered, and the process continues to this day. And this is something else that the mainstream media will never tell you. President Trump has been incredibly tough on Russia. This is something they won’t report under his administration, the U.S. issued sanctions against roughly 200 individuals and entities related to Russia. Other stinging economic sanctions against Russia have also increased, and U.S. forces on the ground in Syria inflicted heavy casualties on even Russian soldiers during a skirmish earlier this year, an enormous embarrassment for Vladimir Putin. And the United States has been busy arming Ukraine with lethal weapon systems, but the media, they are not going to focus on any of this. Instead, it’s Russia, Russia, Russia, collusion, collusion, collusion. If they are not talking about Stormy, it’s all the time. It’s 24/7. Now, with this is a backdrop, the president moves forward with his very important diplomacy and as a leader of the free world, President Trump, he must meet with the leaders of Russia, China, North Korea, and others (…) And specifically, Russia must stop coordinating with the Iranian regime. They must stop supporting President Assad in Syria. And yes, they need to stop, yes, meddling in anybody’s elections and be held accountable for their actions. Now, the years of weak and feckless leadership under Obama are now over. No more cargo planes full of cash, and as President Trump frequently says, a good relationship with Putin and Russia, when you’re not trying to bribe them, it is very positive thing for the country. However, under President Trump, any hostile or aggressive action by Putin’s regime will be and should be met with strength, not appeasement, not bribery, not cash, not kissing the rings of dictators. And while the mainstream media and left, as they peddle their conspiracy theories, well, the administration is now putting forth some truth and some precedent and some facts. And by the way, Reagan proved it to all of us. Peace through strength works. Diplomacy is important. Trust but verify. Sean Hannity
Let me go back, because everybody in the media is so focused on this. In 2014, in « The Washington times, » Devin Nunes said with certainty that Russia would try to impact the 2016 elections. Barack Obama in the month before the 2016 elections, and I will read and I will quote , « No serious person out there would suggest that somehow you can even rig America’s elections, no evidence that it has happened in the past, which is not true, and number two, or that it could happen in this election, and I invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and to go out there and try to get votes. » He said that two weeks before the election. Sean Hannity
L’un des premiers producteurs d’aluminium du monde, le russe Rusal, s’est retrouvé gravement fragilisé ce lundi par les nouvelles sanctions décrétées par les Etats-Unis contre des oligarques russes et leurs entreprises, qui risquent de porter un nouveau coup à l’économie russe. (…) Confronté à un vent de panique boursière généralisé sur les marchés russes, le gouvernement russe a dû monter au créneau pour assurer qu’il soutiendrait les entreprises visées par ce nouveau train de mesures punitives, qui constituent une escalade d’une violence inattendue dans la confrontation entre Moscou et Washington. Au total, ces sanctions, censées punir Moscou notamment pour ses « attaques » « les démocraties occidentales », ciblent 38 personnes et entreprises qui ne peuvent plus faire affaire avec des Américains, notamment sept Russes désignés comme des « oligarques » proches du Kremlin par l’administration de Donald Trump, présents dans des dizaines de sociétés en Russie comme à l’étranger. Le Dauphiné Libéré (09.04.2018)
How did Trump luck out by getting such hopeless geebos for opponents? It can’t just be chance. At every turn, these dummies choose to lock themselves into the most implausible and indefensible positions imaginable, then push all their chips into the center of the table. It’s almost supernatural – maybe Trump won the intervention of some ancient demon by heading over to the offices of the Weekly Standard and snatching away one of its Never Trump scribblers to use as a virgin sacrifice. How did this guy win, and in doing so crush the avatar of the establishment, the smartest woman in the world, Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit? One of his secrets to success is really no secret at all. It is to embrace the obvious. Unlike our exhausted establishment, Trump rarely holds to bizarre, indefensible positions. You would think that would be an instinctive thing for politicians of both parties – “I know! I’ll adopt stands on issues that won’t make my constituents ask ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’” – but it isn’t. Instead, the establishment has somehow talked itself into taking positions that are so clearly ridiculous that Normals scratch their heads, baffled at what they are being told by their betters via the lapdog liberal media. Look at NATO. The entire foreign policy establishment is scandalized that Trump says he expects the Europeans to cover their fair share of the NATO nut. Now a normal American is going to think “Yeah, I think they ought to pay their share of their own defense. Sounds reasonable.” But the establishment collectively wets itself – “HE’S DESTROYING THIS ESSENTIAL ALLIANCE BY ASKING THE PEOPLE BENEFITING FROM IT MOST TO ACTUALLY PARTICIPATE IN IT!” And the Normals (many of whom, like me, actually served in NATO) wonder, “Well, if it’s so essential, why aren’t the allies eager to pay for it?” And the establishment responds, “SHUT UP, RUSSIAN STOOGE! ASKING THE ALLIES TO MAKE NATO MORE EFFECTIVE BY PAYING WHAT THEY PROMISED, WHICH IS STILL A FRACTION OF WHAT THE U.S. PAYS, IS PLAYING RIGHT INTO PUTIN’S HANDS. ALSO, THE EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE SOMEHOW.” Here’s a test. Leave DC or New York, drive a few hours out to America, find a random guy on the street and ask, “Hey, don’t you think it’s awful that Trump wants our allies to increase their contributions to their own defense to just about half of what the U.S. pays?” You can safely assume he’ll respond, “Wait, why only half?” The Normal/Elite disconnect was also in full effect regarding the new SCOTUS dude. The establishment decided it’s going to bork Brett by pointing out that he bought baseball tickets and apparently liked beer in college, like there’s not a significant portion of Americans who wouldn’t be thrilled to have their next justice be nicknamed “Kegmaster K.” And what’s the new fussiness about alcohol, or are they upset because he quaffs brewskis (RUSSIANS!) instead of guzzling chardonnay? The Dems weren’t so picky about partying in 2016 when Stumbles McMyTurn was staggering all over the map. Well, not in Wisconsin. Then the establishment attacked Brett’s family for looking like a normal family instead of a traveling freak show. The Kavanaugh kids didn’t have nose rings or teen tatts, and they presumably know which bathroom to use. This, to the establishment, is unforgiveable. To Normal Americans, this constant social warfare against people who don’t want to be sketchy mutants is just more inspiration for more militancy. The Democrats have also decided that they want to go into November on the platform of abolishing ICE and opening the borders to future Democrat voters from festering Third World hellholes. Perhaps they didn’t read the polls, but Normal Americans – the ones not appearing on CNN, working for Soros-funded agitator collectives, or in college squandering their dads’ money on degrees in Oppression Studies – actually like borders. If Trump’s brain trust gathered together in his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate to concoct a scheme to get the Democrat Party to adopt the most tone-deaf possible platform, they could not have drafted one better than what the Democrats have created for themselves. The Dems ought to be required to report everything they have done lately to the Federal Elections Commission as an in-kind donation to the Republicans in 2018. And then there is the Mueller/ FBI/Collusion/Treason charade, which has normal people asking, “Is that still a thing?” Yeah, kind of, though it becomes less thingy every day as it becomes obvious that Sad Bassett Hound Mueller and the Conflict-of-Interest Crew’s got no-thing. The establishment is convinced that Peter Strzok came out of that hearing not looking like a guy who probably has a sex dungeon in his basement. But he totally looked like he has a sex dungeon in his basement, thereby launching a thousand memes of him leering, smirking, and generally channeling Paul Lynde. One of the secrets of Trump’s success is having really, really stupid enemies, enemies who are so tone-deaf and out-of-touch that they simply cannot adopt commonsense positions that resonate among normal Americans. The establishment instead insists on telling Americans that up is down, black is white, and girls can have penises. Nope. No wonder the Normals have gotten militant, and no wonder a leader like Donald Trump came along with the vision to exploit the opening the establishment left for an outsider to rise and prevail by embracing the obvious. Kurt Sclichter
Trump being Trump, he is unable to separate (a) the way Russia’s perfidy has been exploited by his political opponents to attack him (i.e., the unsuccessful attempt to delegitimize his presidency) from (b) Russia’s perfidy itself, as an attack on the United States. No matter how angry this president may be at the Democrats and the media, the significance to any president of Russia’s influence operation must be that it succeeded beyond Putin’s wildest dreams. Whether you’re a Democrat invested in the narrative that Russia’s shenanigans cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, or a Republican in denial that Putin sought to boost Trump at Clinton’s expense, the reality is that Putin was undoubtedly trying to sow discord in our body politic. That interpretation of events is something any president should be able to rally most of the country behind. The provocation warrants a determined response that bleeds Putin, the very opposite of kowtowing to the despot on the world stage. Now, let’s put to the side the recent cyber-espionage and other influence operations directed at our country. It has been only four months since Putin’s regime attempted to murder former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the British city of Salisbury. It has been only a few days since a British couple fell into a coma after exposure to the same Soviet-era nerve agent (Novichok) used on the Skripals. The second incident happened just seven miles from the first, strongly suggesting that Putin’s regime is guilty of depraved indifference to the dangers its targeted assassinations on Western soil — the territory of our closest ally — pose to innocent bystanders. In 2006, the Putin regime similarly murdered a former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London, poisoning his tea with radioactive polonium. Meanwhile, reporting that is based mainly on the account of a former KGB agent (who defected to the West and has been warned he is a target) indicates that Putin’s operatives are working off a hit list of eight people (including Sergei Skirpal) who reside in the West. Putin’s annexation of Crimea was just the most notorious of his recent adventures in territorial aggression. He has effectively annexed the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the separatist war he is puppeteering in eastern Ukraine still rages in this its fifth year. He is casting a menacing eye at the Baltics. This, even as Russia props up the monstrous Assad regime in Syria and allies with Iran, the jihadist regime best known for sponsoring anti-American terrorism around the world. And just five months ago, at a major speech touting improved weapons capabilities, Putin spiced up the demonstration with a video diagramming a hypothetical nuclear missile attack on . . . yes . . . Florida. There is no doubt that we have to deal with this monster. Realpolitik adherents may even be right that there is potential for cooperation with Russia in areas of mutual interest (at least provided that the dealing is done with eyes open about Putin’s core anti-Americanism). But there is no reason why we need to deal with Russia in a forum at which the U.S. president stands there and pretends that a brutal autocrat, who has become incalculably rich by looting his crumbling country, is a statesman promoting peace and better relations. I would say that no matter who was president. In the case of President Trump specifically, for all his “you’re fired” bravado and reports of mercurial outbursts at some subordinates, he does not like unpleasant face-to-face confrontations. He may unload at a rally, but face to face, the president’s m.o. is to defuse confrontation with unctuous banter — an easy solution for someone who seems not to believe that anything he says in the moment will bind him in the future. This, inevitably, leads to foolish and sometimes reprehensible assertions (e.g., saying, in apparent defense of Putin, “There are a lot of killers. What? You think our country’s so innocent?”). The president appears to subscribe to the Swamp school of thought that negotiations are good for their own sake — though he conflates what is good for him (promoting his image as a master deal-maker) with what is good for the country (negotiations often aren’t). This is another iteration of the president’s tendency to personalize things, particularly relations between governments. That trait puts him at a distinct disadvantage with someone like Putin, who knows well the uses of flattery and grievance.
NATO’s problems predated Trump and in many ways come back to Germany, whose example most other NATO nations ultimately tend to follow. The threat to both the EU and NATO is not Trump’s America, but a country that is currently insisting on an artificially low euro for mercantile purposes and that is at odds with its southern Mediterranean partners over financial liabilities, with its Eastern European neighbors over illegal immigration, with the United Kingdom over the conditions of Brexit, and with the U.S. over a paltry investment in military readiness of 1.3 percent of GDP while it’s piling up the largest account surplus in the world, at over $260 billion, and a $65 billion trade surplus with the U.S. Germany, a majority of whose tanks and fighters are thought not to be battle-ready, cannot expect an American-subsidized united NATO front against the threat of Vladimir Putin if it is now cutting a natural-gas agreement with Russia that undermines the Baltic States and Ukraine — countries that Putin is increasingly targeting. The gas deal will not only empower Putin; it will make Germany dependent on Russian energy — an untenable situation. Merkel can package all that in mellifluous diplomatic-speak, and Trump can rail about it in crude polemics, but the facts remain facts, and they are of Merkel’s making, not Trump’s. The same themes hold true regarding attitudes toward Putin, who (again) predated Trump and his press conference in Helsinki, where the president gave to the press an unfortunate apology-tour/Cairo-speech–like performance, reminiscent of past disastrous meetings with or assessments of Russian leaders by American presidents, such as FDR on Stalin: “I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of man. Harry [Hopkins] says he’s not and that he doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” Or Kennedy’s blown summit with Khrushchev in Geneva: “He beat the hell out of me. It was the worst thing in my life. He savaged me.” Or Reagan’s weird offer to share American SDI technology and research with Gorbachev or, without much consultation with his advisers, to eliminate all ballistic missiles at Reykjavik. Trump confused trying to forge a realist détente with some sort of bizarre empathy for Putin, whose actions have been hostile and bellicose to the U.S. and based on perceptions of past American weakness. But again, Trump did not create an empowered Putin — and he has done more than any other president so far to check Putin’s ambitions. Putin in 2016 continued longstanding Russian cyberattacks and election interference because of past impunity (Obama belatedly told Putin to “cut it out” only in September 2016). He swallowed Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine after the famous Hillary-managed “reset” — a surreal Chamberlain-like policy in which we simultaneously appeased Putin in fact while in rhetoric lecturing him about his classroom cut-up antics and macho style. Had Trump been overheard on a hot mic in Helsinki promising more flexibility with Putin on missile defense after our midterm elections, in expectation for electorally advantageous election-cycle quid pro quo good behavior from the Russians, we’d probably see articles of impeachment introduced on charges of Russian collusion. And yet the comparison would be even worse than that. After all, America kept Obama’s 2011 promise “to Vladimir,” in that we really did give up on creating credible missile defenses in Eastern Europe, breaking pledges made by a previous administration — music to Vladimir Putin’s ears. It would be preferable if Trump’s rhetoric reinforced his solid actions, which in relation to Putin’s aggression consist of wisely keeping or increasing tough sanctions, accelerating U.S. oil production, decimating Russian mercenaries in Syria, and arming Ukrainian resistance. But then again, Trump has not quite told us that he has looked into Putin’s eyes and seen a straightforward and trustworthy soul. Nor in desperation did he invite Putin into the Middle East after a Russian hiatus of nearly 40 years to prove to the world that Bashar al-Assad had eliminated his WMD trove — which Assad subsequently continued to use at his pleasure. There is currently no scandal over uranium sales to Russia, and the secretary of state’s spouse has not been discovered to have recently pocketed $500,000 to speak in Moscow. In a perfect world, we would like to see carefully chosen words enhancing effective muscular action. Instead, in the immediate past, we heard sober and judicious rhetoric ad nauseam, coupled with abject appeasement and widely perceived dangerous weakness. Now we have ill-timed bombast that sometimes mars positive achievement. Neither is desirable. But the latter is far preferable to the former. Victor Davis Hanson
We are in dangerous times. Amid the hysteria over the Russian summit, the Mueller collusion probe, nonstop unsupported allegations and rumors, the Strzok and Page testimonies, the ongoing congressional investigations into improper CIA and FBI behavior, and a completely unhinged media, there is a growing crisis of rising tensions between two superpowers that together possess a combined arsenal of 3,000 instantly deployable nuclear weapons and another 10,000 in storage. That latter existential fact apparently has been forgotten in all the recriminations. So it is time for all parties to deescalate and step back a bit. Trump understandably wants to avoid progressive charges that he is obstructing Robert Mueller’s ostensible investigation of Russian collusion, and he also wants some sort of détente with Russia. Mueller has likely indicted Russians, timed on the eve of the summit, in part on the assumption that they would more or less not personally defend themselves and never appear on U.S. soil. Add that all up, and Trump apparently has discussed with Putin an idea of allowing Mueller’s investigators to visit Russia to interview those they have indicted. But in the quid pro quo world of big-power rivalry, Putin, of course, wants reciprocity — the right also to interview American citizens or residents (among them a former U.S. ambassador to Russia) whom he believes have transgressed against Russia. Trump needs to squash Putin’s ridiculous “parity” request immediately. Mueller would learn little or nothing from interviewing his targets on Russian soil — and likely never imagined that he would or could. On the other hand, given recent Russian attacks on critics abroad, Moscow’s interviewing any Russian antagonist anywhere is not necessarily a safe or sane enterprise. And being indicted under the laws of a constitutional republic is hardly synonymous with earning the suspicion of the Russian autocracy. Most importantly, the idea that a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Professor Michael McFaul — long after the expiration of his government tenure — would submit to Russian questioning is absurd. Of course, it would also undermine the entire sanctity of American ambassadorial service. So, Putin’s offer, to the extent we know the details of it, will soon upon examination be seen as patently unhinged. In refusal, Trump has a good opportunity to remind the world why all American critics of the Putin government — and especially of his own government as well — are uniquely free and protected to voice any notion they wish. Victor Davis Hanson
Donald Trump avait déjà tenu de tels propos et indiqué ses doutes sur le rapport des renseignements concluant à l’ingérence de la Russie dans l’élection, au premier semestre 2017. Mais ce qui était peu prévisible, c’est qu’il a remis en cause le travail des renseignements américains devant Vladimir Poutine, et en terre étrangère. Cela montre qu’il a franchi un seuil, une étape. (…) Cela choque les Républicains qui ne peuvent désormais plus ignorer la position de Donald Trump, qui a dit devant des caméras, et face à Vladimir Poutine, qu’il fait davantage confiance au président russe qu’à la justice et la police de son pays. Or, le parti des Républicains est le parti de la loi et de l’ordre. Pour eux, voir un président des Etats-Unis faire moins confiance aux institutions qu’à un dirigeant étranger, cela pose un énorme problème. D’autant plus qu’avant l’élection de Trump, les Républicains étaient en opposition avec la Russie de Poutine. Leurs critiques reflètent aussi ce malaise. (…) au-delà des protestations verbales symboliques, il ne devrait rien se passer concrètement, pour trois raisons. D’abord, Trump est aujourd’hui bien plus proche de l’électorat républicain que ne le sont les élus du parti au Congrès (élus en 2012, 2014 et 2016). La preuve, c’est que selon l’institut de sondages américain Gallup, en 2014 22 % des sympathisants républicains sondés jugeait la Russie comme étant une amie ou un allié, mais ils sont 40 % aujourd’hui. L’électorat républicain, sans doute sous l’effet de Trump, s’est radouci envers la Russie. Deuxièmement, que pourraient faire les Républicains ? Les institutions américaines permettent au président des Etats-Unis de faire à peu près ce qu’il veut en politique étrangère. Un impeachment ou une motion de censure sont hautement improbables. D’autant que les élus sont en pleine campagne électorale des mid-terms, ils n’ont pas d’intérêt à aller contre le président. Enfin, il faut se souvenir que les Républicains ont passé un pacte faustien avec Trump. La plupart des élus y sont allés avec des pincettes, en se bouchant le nez, mais Trump leur a apporté la Maison Blanche, de manière inespérée, et il a exécuté l’agenda économique et social des conservateurs : baisse d’impôts, nomination de deux juges conservateurs à la Cour suprême… Cela vaut bien un Helsinki. (…) Trump n’a jamais fait mystère de sa volonté d’un « reboot », un redémarrage dans les échanges avec la Russie. Sauf qu’à Helsinki on a plutôt vu une soumission, une vassalisation du président américain. Pour Poutine, dont le pays est sous le coup de fortes sanctions à la fois américaines et européennes, c’est une victoire diplomatique et symbolique importante. C’est tout de même très étrange, pour un président dont l’entourage est sous le coup d’enquêtes fédérales pour une collusion avec la Russie, de donner autant de gages éventuels de quelque chose de trouble dans son lien avec Poutine. (…) Par ailleurs, sur le fond, les deux dirigeants n’ont pas annoncé grand-chose à l’issue de leur tête à tête de 2 heures et de leur entretien avec leurs conseillers d’une heure. Ils ont relancé l’idée d’un groupe commun de cybersécurité, mais c’est tout. En dépit de cette volonté affichée d’un nouveau départ, comme avec la Corée du Nord d’ailleurs, il n’y a aucune matière pour l’instant. Le seul dossier sur lequel ils ont insisté, c’est le désarmement nucléaire et la lutte contre la prolifération nucléaire. Mais Poutine a réitéré à Helsinki son soutien à l’Iran, à l’encontre de la position de Trump. Corentin Sellin
Les excuses ne sont pas le fort de Donald Trump. Il a été nourri par ses mentors – feus son père, Fred, et l’avocat maccarthyste Roy Cohn – dans la conviction qu’elles ne sont qu’un aveu de faiblesse. Depuis, il s’y tient: ne jamais reconnaître une erreur, ne jamais battre en retraite. Il faut donc que la tempête ait été puissante pour que le président américain ait effectué mardi un repli tactique. À Helsinki, la veille, il avait accordé plus de crédit aux protestations d’innocence de Vladimir Poutine qu’aux accusations étayées de ses services de renseignements à propos des interférences russes dans la campagne de 2016. Il était parfaitement satisfait de sa prestation, confirme un collaborateur à la Maison-Blanche, jusqu’à ce qu’il prenne la mesure des reproches quasi universels en regardant la télévision à bord d’Air Force One durant le vol de retour. Même Fox News, qui l’applaudit en tout, jugeait «une clarification nécessaire». Même Newt Gingrich, l’ancien speaker de la Chambre, qui a écrit deux livres en deux ans pour donner du sens au trumpisme, l’appelait à «corriger immédiatement la plus grave erreur de sa présidence». Trump s’est donc plié à cet exercice déplaisant, à sa manière. Il a formulé le démenti le moins vraisemblable qu’on puisse trouver, afin que ses supporteurs ne soient pas dupes. «Je voulais dire: je ne vois aucune raison pour laquelle ce ne serait PAS la Russie», a déclaré le président. (…) «Cette excuse défie toute crédibilité, estime Jonathan Lemire, le correspondant de l’Associated Press dont la question avait provoqué le dérapage. Pour admettre que sa langue ait fourché dans cette phrase, il faudrait ignorer tout le reste de sa conférence de presse» avec le président russe. (…) Bien peu, chez ses partisans comme parmi ses adversaires, ont pris cette mise au point pour argent comptant. Car Donald Trump l’a lue ostensiblement devant les caméras avec le ton mécanique de quelqu’un qui accomplit une formalité, et en s’écartant deux fois du script préparé par ses collaborateurs. D’abord pour s’exclamer: «Il n’y a pas eu de collusion du tout!», une phrase qu’il avait rajoutée à la main. Ensuite pour atténuer le démenti tout juste formulé: «J’accepte la conclusion de notre communauté du renseignement selon laquelle l’interférence de la Russie dans l’élection de 2016 a eu lieu. Ce pourrait aussi être d’autres gens ; des tas de gens un peu partout.» (…) «Trump a mis au point une méthode d’excuses composée à parts égales de retraite et de réaffirmation», analyse Marc Fisher dans le Washington Post, pointant «le changement de ton quand il exprime ses véritables sentiments». Selon lui, on assiste au même «processus» que l’été dernier lors des incidents racistes de Charlottesville: «Insulte, excuses réticentes, signal clair qu’il croit vraiment ce qu’il avait dit au départ, répétition.» De fait, le correctif de mardi ne vise pas à clore la polémique, il lui offre seulement la protection d’avoir dit une chose et son contraire. Maintenant qu’il a rempli cette «obligation formelle», le chef de la Maison-Blanche peut continuer à asséner sa version des faits. Le Figaro
Sous les yeux d’un Poutine buvant visiblement du petit-lait, Donald Trump lâche une réponse surréaliste ce lundi au palais présidentiel d’Helsinki où il donne une conférence de presse avec son homologue russe, au terme de leur sommet bilatéral de quelques heures, face à une salle pleine à craquer de journalistes. Du jamais-vu. Le reporter de l’agence AP vient tout juste de lui demander qui il croit, concernant l’existence d’une immixtion russe dans la campagne présidentielle de 2016. Ses propres services qui affirment unanimes qu’il y a eu une attaque russe massive pour orienter le cours de l’élection? Ou Poutine qui dément absolument? À la stupéfaction générale des journalistes, Donald Trump ne veut pas trancher. «J’ai confiance dans les deux. Je fais confiance à mes services, mais la dénégation de Vladimir Poutine a été très forte et très puissante», déclare-t-il. Ce faisant, il assène un coup terrible aux services de renseignement de son propre pays, au vu et su de la planète entière. C’est une manière de dire qu’il est si soupçonneux à l’encontre de l’enquête russe qu’il pencherait presque pour «la vérité» que Poutine entend imposer. «Ce que j’aimerais savoir, c’est où sont passés les serveurs?» (du Parti démocrate, qui ont été hackés par la Russie, NDLR), s’interroge Trump. Il insiste: «Et où sont passés les 33.000 e-mails de Hillary Clinton, ce n’est pas en Russie qu’ils se seraient perdus!» Pour le président américain, «il n’y a jamais eu collusion, l’élection, je l’ai gagnée haut la main», sans l’aide de personne. «Cette enquête russe nous empêche de coopérer, alors qu’il y a tant à faire», dit Trump. Sur l’estrade, où les deux hommes sont côte à côte, Poutine jubile, comme s’il assistait à un spectacle qui ne semble pas le concerner mais dont il se délecte néanmoins. Événement sans précédent dans l’histoire des deux pays, Trump ouvre un boulevard à son homologue qui a toujours défendu une forme de relativisme, destiné à démontrer que les institutions démocratiques des États-Unis ne sont pas plus fiables que la parole du président russe. C’est une technique éprouvée. (…) Avant la séance de questions, la conférence de presse avait pourtant plutôt bien commencé, les deux hommes mettant l’accent sur la nécessité de reconstruire une relation «très détériorée» sur une base pragmatique. «Notre relation n’a jamais été aussi mauvaise mais depuis quatre heures, cela a changé», avait déclaré Donald Trump, visiblement satisfait, mais plutôt sérieux et contenu. Lisant ses fiches d’un ton neutre, Vladimir Poutine, lui, avait énuméré une longue liste de sujets sur lesquels Washington et Moscou pourraient coopérer, de l’établissement d’un cessez-le-feu entre Israël et la Syrie sur le plateau du Golan jusqu’au désarmement bilatéral entre les deux plus grandes puissances nucléaires, en passant par la dénucléarisation de la péninsule nord-coréenne. Cerise sur le gâteau, le chef du Kremlin a aussi proposé de prolonger l’accord de livraison de gaz qui unit son pays à l’Ukraine et qui doit expirer à la fin de cette année. Une initiative susceptible d’apaiser à la fois Washington et l’Union européenne. Mais très vite, la relation russo-américaine a été rattrapée par ses vieux démons, ceux de l’ingérence russe dans le scrutin présidentiel de 2016. Toutes les inquiétudes que les observateurs américains et européens nourrissaient vis-à-vis de l’ambiguïté de Trump sur la Russie, et de sa capacité à être manipulé par l’ex-espion du KGB Vladimir Poutine, ont soudain trouvé confirmation. Ce lundi soir, des réactions indignées commençaient à fuser depuis Washington. Le Figaro
De retour d’Helsinki, le président américain s’est employé mardi à éteindre la tempête politique provoquée par ses propos tenus la veille, dans lesquels il désavouait ses propres services secrets. Au milieu des critiques suscitées par son attitude devant Poutine à Helsinki, Donald Trump, de retour mardi à Washington DC, a profité d’une réunion à la Maison-Blanche avec des élus pour se dédire: «J’ai relu le texte de mes déclarations et je me suis aperçu qu’il manquait une négation. Je voulais dire: «Je ne vois pas de raison pour que la Russie ne l’ait pas fait» (interférer dans l’élection, NDLR). Je pense que ceci clarifie la question. J’ai une foi et une confiance entières en nos formidables agences de renseignement. J’accepte leurs conclusions selon lesquelles des interventions de la Russie ont eu lieu. Nous agirons avec force pour repousser et stopper toute (nouvelle) interférence dans nos élections.» Cette ingérence de Moscou «n’a eu aucun impact» sur le résultat du scrutin qu’il a remporté, a toutefois tenu à souligner le milliardaire républicain. Difficile de se contredire plus explicitement, une démarche en soi remarquable de la part d’un président allergique à admettre le moindre tort. Mais les accusations touchaient un nerf sensible, jetant sur lui le soupçon infamant de faiblesse, ou pire, de trahison. «J’ai vu les renseignements russes manipuler beaucoup de gens dans ma carrière, mais je n’aurais jamais cru que le président des États-Unis serait l’un d’eux», avait ainsi déclaré Will Hurd, un ancien de la CIA élu républicain du Texas. Le Washington Post dénonçait «la collusion, à la vue de tous», entre Trump et Poutine. Le New York Times l’accusait de «s’être couché aux pieds» du président russe, par «mollesse» et «obséquiosité». Même le conservateur Wall Street Journal avait dénoncé son «empressement» auprès du chef du Kremlin comme «un embarras national». Le Figaro
Dans le flot de réactions inquiètes qui fusent, trois explications du «mystère d’Helsinki» émergent. La première, revendiquée à demi-mot par nombre de leaders démocrates et même républicains, est une explication carrément complotiste. Elle présuppose que Donald Trump a été «ferré» depuis longtemps par les services secrets russes et que ces derniers auraient finalement fini par le propulser au sommet du pouvoir américain, au terme d’une magnifique opération de déstabilisation. Une variante de cette hypothèse est que Trump a été compromis lors de son voyage russe de 2013 et que Moscou «le tient». Deuxième hypothèse, sans doute plus crédible: celle de l’obsession de la légitimité chez un président en divorce total avec le système politique qu’il est censé présider. Parce qu’il a le sentiment que toute la machine d’État – ce fameux État profond qu’il déteste – est contre lui et que son élection est constamment en question, Trump semble incapable d’accepter l’idée qu’une immixtion russe ait pu faciliter sa victoire. Son insécurité est telle qu’il préfère croire aux «contes» politiques de Poutine plutôt que de reconnaître les conclusions de ses services sur les attaques russes contre la démocratie américaine. Un scénario qui aurait été facilité par son ego surdimensionné, face à un ancien espion du KGB ultra-expérimenté. À ces versions peut s’en ajouter une troisième. Celle d’un plan de Trump en direction de la Russie, pour la rallier à l’Amérique, sur des dossiers clé comme la en dépit des divergences idéologiques et des conseils quasi unanimes des experts (que Trump a toujours méprisés). Ce mardi, plusieurs observateurs russes évoquaient une telle hypothèse, soulignant que la première partie de la conférence de presse avait fait apparaître certains thèmes de coopération potentiels, notamment le soutien à Israël (contre l’Iran?). «Je suis prêt à prendre un risque politique pour promouvoir la paix, plutôt que de sacrifier la paix à la politique», a d’ailleurs dit Trump pendant la conférence de presse, phrase qui a été noyée dans le scandale de la question de l’immixtion. Laure Mandeville

C’est bien la chasse aux sorcières et la conspiration gauchiste, imbécile !

A l’heure où au lendemain d’un aussi calamiteux qu’énigmatique sommet du président américain avec son homologue russe …

Qui nous a valu un surréaliste – mais depuis doublement désavoué – numéro de génuflexion de Donald Trump devant un Poutine empoisonneur des peuples et maitre reconnu des fausses équivalences morales

Comme, entre les références à – excusez du peu ! – Pearl Harbor, la Nuit de cristal et le 11/9, un tout aussi invraisemblable déluge des plus délirantes critiques de la part de ses adversaires politiques ou médiatiques …

Qui rappelle mis à part le chroniqueur de Fox news Sean Hannity ou l’historien militaire américain Victor Davis Hanson

Qui il y à peine six ans ces mêmes belles âmes n’avaient rien trouvé à redire lorsque le président Obama avait fait part à Poutine, sur un micro resté ouvert, de sa « flexibilité » possible après sa réélection …

Que deux semaines avant l’élection présidentielle de 2016 le même Obama rappelait au candidat Trump « l’impossibilité de manipuler les élections » américaines du fait de leur caractère « décentralisé » et du « nombre de bulletins » …

Et qu’enfin, contrairement à l‘Administration précédente et entre sanctions et actions militaires ou dénonciations de mauvais traités, il y a longtemps qu’il n’y avait pas eu un gouvernement américain aussi intransigeant avec la Russie et ses affidés ?

Et dès lors comment qualifier …

Pour expliquer un comportement aussi mystérieux et schizophrénique de la part du président américain …

Les agissements d’une gauche américaine qui n’ayant toujours pas digéré sa défaite de 2016 …

Court-circuite totalement, via ses chiens de garde médiatiques, les réelles avancées dudit sommet notamment concernant la sécurité d’Israël face à l’aventurisme militaire iranien …

Et place délibérément son président à nouveau devant un choix impossible

A savoir celui cette fois-ci de la génuflexion devant Poutine ..

Contre ses propres services qui n’avaient alors rien fait …

Ou sous prétexte d’une influence russe qui, hostilité anti-démocrate oblige après huit ans d’administration Obama, ne pouvait avoir qu’un effet marginal ou anecdotique …

L’assentiment à la délégitimation de sa propre élection ?

Le voyage européen de Trump, un «carnage» et une énigme
Laure Mandeville
Le Figaro
17/07/2018

DÉCRYPTAGE – Durant son périple de cinq jours sur le Vieux continent, le président américain a mis l’Otan en ébullition tout en amorçant un redémarrage des relations russo-américaines, quitte à provoquer le désarroi américain et occidental.

Le voyage avait commencé par une volée de bois de vert administrée à ses alliés de l’Otan et de l’Union européenne. Il s’est fini par une «génuflexion» devant le président Poutine à Helsinki et un désaveu de son propre pays, exprimé à la face du monde entier. «Un carnage diplomatique», a pour sa part écrit l’éditorialiste du Financial Times Edward Luce, qui affirme que le contraste entre la brutalité utilisée face aux Européens et le soutien inconditionnel apporté à Poutine (malgré l’annexion de la Crimée, l’invasion rampante de l’Ukraine, l’attaque au poison Novitchok contre l’ex-espion Skripal, les mensonges répétés sur la frappe d’un missile russe contre un avion de ligne néerlandais et, pour finir, les tentatives de déstabilisation des élections) a jeté «l’Occident dans une crise existentielle».

«Le résultat du voyage de cinq jours de M. Trump, est un Otan en ébullition et un redémarrage réel des relations russo-américaines, entièrement en faveur de M. Poutine», constate-t-il.

Difficile d’être en désaccord avec l’analyse. Mais reste une lourde énigme. Pourquoi Donald Trump a-t-il pris le risque de susciter un séisme américain et occidental, en prenant fait et cause pour Vladimir Poutine sur la question de l’immixtion russe dans la campagne présidentielle, allant jusqu’à dénigrer ses propres services de renseignements en sa présence?

Quand on revient sur le fil des événements, la séquence «occidentale» du voyage d’Europe est finalement assez compréhensible. Face à l’Otan, l’ancien homme d’affaires s’est comporté en accord avec ses priorités de toujours, à savoir qu’il lui fallait absolument arracher à ses alliés ce que ses prédécesseurs avaient toujours échoué à obtenir, faute, selon lui, de ténacité: un rééquilibrage du budget de la défense de l’Alliance qui allégerait le fardeau américain. «Il faut que ça change, l’état des lieux est injuste pour l’Amérique», n’a-t-il cessé de tonner, avant de parler de l’Otan comme d’un «facteur d’unification formidable». Tout dans cette partie était du Trump classique. Les «coups de poing» sur la table, la capacité à hurler le matin puis à apaiser le jeu le soir. Tout ne visait qu’un but: obtenir un changement favorable à l’intérêt de «L’Amérique d’abord».

Séquence russe

Le problème de la mystérieuse et scandaleuse séquence russe qui a suivi à Helsinki est que, en désavouant son pays, Trump a semblé oublier qu’il était le président des États-Unis. «À la fin de la semaine, “L’Amérique d’abord” s’est mise à ressembler incroyablement à “La Russie d’abord”», a résumé d’un tweet l’expert Richard Haas. À travers toute la classe politique américaine, les accusations de «trahison» et de «faiblesse» se sont multipliées. Interrogé sur le fait de savoir si on pouvait comparer le comportement de Trump avec Poutine à celui de Roosevelt face à Staline à Yalta, l’historien Robert Dallek semblait perplexe: «Roosevelt était face aux dures réalités de la sortie de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Nous n’avons pas d’idée claire mais juste des hypothèses sur la question de savoir pourquoi Trump semble être à un tel degré dans la poche de Vladimir Poutine», a-t-il répondu.

Dans le flot de réactions inquiètes qui fusent, trois explications du «mystère d’Helsinki» émergent. La première, revendiquée à demi-mot par nombre de leaders démocrates et même républicains, est une explication carrément complotiste. Elle présuppose que Donald Trump a été «ferré» depuis longtemps par les services secrets russes et que ces derniers auraient finalement fini par le propulser au sommet du pouvoir américain, au terme d’une magnifique opération de déstabilisation. Une variante de cette hypothèse est que Trump a été compromis lors de son voyage russe de 2013 et que Moscou «le tient».

L’obsession de la légitimité

Deuxième hypothèse, sans doute plus crédible: celle de l’obsession de la légitimité chez un président en divorce total avec le système politique qu’il est censé présider. Parce qu’il a le sentiment que toute la machine d’État – ce fameux État profond qu’il déteste – est contre lui et que son élection est constamment en question, Trump semble incapable d’accepter l’idée qu’une immixtion russe ait pu faciliter sa victoire. Son insécurité est telle qu’il préfère croire aux «contes» politiques de Poutine plutôt que de reconnaître les conclusions de ses services sur les attaques russes contre la démocratie américaine. Un scénario qui aurait été facilité par son ego surdimensionné, face à un ancien espion du KGB ultra-expérimenté.

À ces versions peut s’en ajouter une troisième. Celle d’un plan de Trump en direction de la Russie, pour la rallier à l’Amérique, sur des dossiers clé comme la Corée, la Chine ou l’Iran, en dépit des divergences idéologiques et des conseils quasi unanimes des experts (que Trump a toujours méprisés). Ce mardi, plusieurs observateurs russes évoquaient une telle hypothèse, soulignant que la première partie de la conférence de presse avait fait apparaître certains thèmes de coopération potentiels, notamment le soutien à Israël (contre l’Iran?). «Je suis prêt à prendre un risque politique pour promouvoir la paix, plutôt que de sacrifier la paix à la politique», a d’ailleurs dit Trump pendant la conférence de presse, phrase qui a été noyée dans le scandale de la question de l’immixtion.

Les deux heures de conversation en tête à tête entre les deux hommes ont-elles pu déboucher sur un accord stratégique secret, que Trump a jugé suffisamment important pour faire front avec Poutine, sur la question de l’immixtion dans la campagne américaine? «On avait l’impression qu’ils étaient alliés face aux journalistes», a noté un observateur russe. Le résultat immédiat de ce plan, s’il existe, sera sans doute à l’opposé de ce que voulait Trump. Un désarroi américain et occidental qui devrait susciter une levée de boucliers contre Poutine. «Je crains la réponse qui va venir Washington», a noté l’éditorialiste du Moskovski Komsomolets, appelant à ne pas crier victoire.

Voir aussi:

Trump prend parti pour Poutine, contre ses propres services
Laure Mandeville et Pierre Avril
Le Figaro
16/07/2018

VIDÉO – À Helsinki, le président des Etats-Unis a obstinément refusé de condamner Moscou pour l’ingérence dans la campagne présidentielle américaine.

À Helsinki

Sous les yeux d’un Poutine buvant visiblement du petit-lait, Donald Trump lâche une réponse surréaliste ce lundi au palais présidentiel d’Helsinki où il donne une conférence de presse avec son homologue russe, au terme de leur sommet bilatéral de quelques heures, face à une salle pleine à craquer de journalistes. Du jamais-vu. Le reporter de l’agence AP vient tout juste de lui demander qui il croit, concernant l’existence d’une immixtion russe dans la campagne présidentielle de 2016. Ses propres services qui affirment unanimes qu’il y a eu une attaque russe massive pour orienter le cours de l’élection? Ou Poutine qui dément absolument? À la stupéfaction générale des journalistes, Donald Trump ne veut pas trancher. «J’ai confiance dans les deux. Je fais confiance à mes services, mais la dénégation de Vladimir Poutine a été très forte et très puissante», déclare-t-il.

Ce faisant, il assène un coup terrible aux services de renseignement de son propre pays, au vu et su de la planète entière. C’est une manière de dire qu’il est si soupçonneux à l’encontre de l’enquête russe qu’il pencherait presque pour «la vérité» que Poutine entend imposer. «Ce que j’aimerais savoir, c’est où sont passés les serveurs?» (du Parti démocrate, qui ont été hackés par la Russie, NDLR), s’interroge Trump. Il insiste: «Et où sont passés les 33.000 e-mails de Hillary Clinton, ce n’est pas en Russie qu’ils se seraient perdus!» Pour le président américain, «il n’y a jamais eu collusion, l’élection, je l’ai gagnée haut la main», sans l’aide de personne. «Cette enquête russe nous empêche de coopérer, alors qu’il y a tant à faire», dit Trump.

Poutine jubile

Sur l’estrade, où les deux hommes sont côte à côte, Poutine jubile, comme s’il assistait à un spectacle qui ne semble pas le concerner mais dont il se délecte néanmoins. Événement sans précédent dans l’histoire des deux pays, Trump ouvre un boulevard à son homologue qui a toujours défendu une forme de relativisme, destiné à démontrer que les institutions démocratiques des États-Unis ne sont pas plus fiables que la parole du président russe. C’est une technique éprouvée.

«Moi aussi j’ai travaillé dans les services de renseignement, lance le chef du Kremlin au journaliste américain. Mais la Russie est un pays démocratique. Les États-Unis aussi non? Si l’on veut tirer un bilan définitif de cette affaire, cela doit être réglé non pas par un service de renseignement mais par la justice.» Au reporter qui le presse de dire s’il est intervenu dans le processus électoral américain, il répond seulement: «Je voulais que Trump gagne parce qu’il voulait normaliser les relations russo-américaines… Mais laissez tomber cette histoire d’ingérence, c’est une absurdité totale!… La Russie ne s’est jamais ingérée dans un processus électoral et ne le fera jamais.»

Vladimir Poutine a été piqué par la question d’un journaliste de Reuters qui évoquait la possibilité d’une extradition des douze agents russes suspectés par le procureur Robert Mueller d’avoir piraté le compte du serveur démocrate. «Nous y sommes prêts à condition que cette coopération soit réciproque», a rétorqué le chef du Kremlin, laissant entendre que les États-Unis devaient eux aussi poursuivre les espions américains opérant sur le sol russe.

Avant la séance de questions, la conférence de presse avait pourtant plutôt bien commencé, les deux hommes mettant l’accent sur la nécessité de reconstruire une relation «très détériorée» sur une base pragmatique. «Notre relation n’a jamais été aussi mauvaise mais depuis quatre heures, cela a changé», avait déclaré Donald Trump, visiblement satisfait, mais plutôt sérieux et contenu.

Lisant ses fiches d’un ton neutre, Vladimir Poutine, lui, avait énuméré une longue liste de sujets sur lesquels Washington et Moscou pourraient coopérer, de l’établissement d’un cessez-le-feu entre Israël et la Syrie sur le plateau du Golan jusqu’au désarmement bilatéral entre les deux plus grandes puissances nucléaires, en passant par la dénucléarisation de la péninsule nord-coréenne.

Cerise sur le gâteau, le chef du Kremlin a aussi proposé de prolonger l’accord de livraison de gaz qui unit son pays à l’Ukraine et qui doit expirer à la fin de cette année. Une initiative susceptible d’apaiser à la fois Washington et l’Union européenne. Mais très vite, la relation russo-américaine a été rattrapée par ses vieux démons, ceux de l’ingérence russe dans le scrutin présidentiel de 2016. Toutes les inquiétudes que les observateurs américains et européens nourrissaient vis-à-vis de l’ambiguïté de Trump sur la Russie, et de sa capacité à être manipulé par l’ex-espion du KGB Vladimir Poutine, ont soudain trouvé confirmation.

«Un signe de faiblesse»

Ce lundi soir, des réactions indignées commençaient à fuser depuis Washington. «La Maison-Blanche est maintenant confrontée à une seule, sinistre question: qu’est-ce qui peut bien pousser Donald Trump à mettre les intérêts de la Russie au-dessus de ceux des États-Unis», a écrit le chef de l’opposition démocrate au Sénat, Chuck Schumer, sur Twitter après la conférence de presse commune des deux dirigeants à Helsinki, parlant de propos «irréfléchis, dangereux et faibles».

«Le président Trump a raté une occasion de tenir la Russie clairement responsable pour son ingérence dans les élections de 2016 et de lancer un avertissement ferme au sujet des prochains scrutins», a regretté le sénateur républicain Lindsey Graham. «Cette réponse du président Trump sera considérée par la Russie comme un signe de faiblesse», a ajouté cet élu souvent en phase avec le milliardaire républicain. «C’est une honte», a dénoncé pour sa part l’ancien sénateur d’Arizona Jeff Flake, dans l’opposition républicaine à Trump. «Je n’aurais jamais pensé voir un jour notre président américain se tenir à côté du président russe et mettre en cause les États-Unis pour l’agression russe.»

Voir également:

Après avoir rencontré Poutine à Helsinki, Trump est-il «un faible» ou «un traître» ?
Philippe Gélie
Le Figaro
17/07/2018

Le chef de la Maison-Blanche a fait l’unanimité contre lui aux États-Unis en se désolidarisant de ses services de renseignement devant le président russe.

De notre correspondant à Washington,

Donald Trump est parvenu à faire quasiment l’unanimité contre lui avec sa prestation à Helsinki face à Vladimir Poutine. «Lamentable», «surréaliste», «répugnant», «horrible», «antipatriotique», «une honte nationale»… Un déluge de commentaires négatifs venus de la droite comme de la gauche. Même Fox News a eu des états d’âme, c’est dire.

Si l’empressement de Trump auprès de Poutine lui a valu son lot de reproches, c’est surtout l’échange avec Jonathan Lemire de l’Associated Press qui a marqué les esprits. «Le président russe nie avoir interféré dans l’élection de 2016, toutes les agences de renseignement américaines concluent l’inverse: qui croyez-vous?» À question simple, réponse alambiquée. «Où sont les serveurs (informatiques du Parti démocrate, NDLR)?», s’est lancé Trump, avant de donner son sentiment: «Le président Poutine dit que ce n’est pas la Russie. Je ne vois pas de raison pour que ce soit elle

Le directeur du renseignement national, Dan Coats, nommé par Trump, a jugé bon de publier une mise au point immédiate, apparemment sans l’avoir fait valider par la Maison-Blanche: «Nous avons été clairs dans notre évaluation des interférences russes dans l’élection de 2016 et de leurs efforts persistants, généralisés, de saper notre démocratie. Nous continuerons à fournir du renseignement objectif et sans fard en appui de notre sécurité nationale.»

Le «Charlottesville» de la politique étrangère?

«Extraordinaire», s’est exclamé le New York Times, pour qui cet épisode est «l’équivalent de Charlottesville en politique étrangère», une référence aux événements racistes de l’été dernier où Donald Trump avait vu «des gens bien des deux côtés». Cette fois, «il a jeté aux orties toute notion conventionnelle sur la façon dont un président doit se comporter à l’étranger. Au lieu de défendre l’Amérique contre ceux qui la menacent, il attaque ses propres concitoyens et institutions tout en applaudissant le chef d’une puissance hostile.»

Le site du Washington Post affichait lundi soir une pleine page de chroniques aux titres incendiaires: «Trump remplace la fierté nationale par la vanité personnelle», «C’est un fan de Poutine, un jour nous saurons pourquoi»… Même le Wall Street Journal, habituellement mesuré dans ses critiques, s’est fendu d’un éditorial sévère, titré: «La doctrine ‘Trump d’abord’». Estimant que son «empressement» au côté du président russe fut «un embarras national», il l’accuse «d’avoir projeté de la faiblesse.»

Plus que les adjectifs désobligeants, c’est ce soupçon qui risque de toucher un point sensible chez Trump. La plupart des interrogations suscitées par le sommet d’Helsinki oscillent entre deux infamies: est-il un faible ou un traître?

Les démocrates confortés dans leur thèse

Le représentant républicain du Texas Will Hurd, un ancien agent de la CIA, déclare sur CNN: «J’ai vu les renseignements russes manipuler beaucoup de gens dans ma carrière. Je n’aurais jamais cru que le président des États-Unis serait l’un d’eux.» John O’Brennan, ancien directeur de la CIA sous Barack Obama, ose tweeter le mot: la conférence de presse de Trump «n’était rien moins que de la trahison.» Nancy Pelosi, chef des démocrates à la Chambre, embraye: «Cela prouve que les Russes ont quelque chose sur le président, personnellement, financièrement ou politiquement.»

Dans les rangs républicains, John McCain est le plus sévère, comme d’habitude, l’accusant «d’avoir été non seulement incapable, mais de n’avoir pas voulu se dresser contre Poutine» et d’avoir fait «le choix conscient de défendre un tyran.» Lindsey Graham déplore «une occasion manquée» qui sera «perçue comme de la faiblesse» et recommande de vérifier si un système d’écoute n’a pas été dissimulé dans le ballon de foot offert par Poutine à Trump! Côté démocrate, le sénateur Chuck Schumer reproche lui aussi au président d’être «inconséquent, dangereux et faible.»

Ari Fleisher, ancien porte-parole de George W. Bush et supporteur de Trump, avoue son désarroi sur Twitter: «Je continue à croire qu’il n’y a pas eu de collusion entre sa campagne et la Russie, mais quand Trump accepte les arguments de Poutine aussi facilement et naïvement, je peux comprendre pourquoi les démocrates pensent que Poutine doit avoir quelque chose sur lui.»

Une rencontre programmée avec les élus du Congrès

Sur Fox News, Bret Baier a qualifié la performance présidentielle de «surréaliste» et Neil Cavuto de «répugnante», un ton inédit sur cette antenne. Il ne s’est guère trouvé que Sean Hannity, confident et inconditionnel du président, pour le défendre dans son émission lundi soir: c’est la «chasse aux sorcières», la «conspiration gauchiste» qui est «dégoûtante», a-t-il martelé, avant de diffuser l’interview que lui avait accordée Trump juste après le sommet. On n’y a rien appris de plus, mais le journaliste a fait de son mieux, saluant d’emblée la réponse «très forte» du chef de la Maison-Blanche sur «les serveurs démocrates».

Durant le vol du retour, Donald Trump a tweeté à bord d’Air Force One: «J’ai une grande confiance dans mes responsables du renseignement. Toutefois, pour construire un meilleur avenir, nous ne pouvons pas nous focaliser sur le passé. Les deux plus grandes puissances nucléaires doivent s’entendre!» Une rencontre avec les élus du Congrès a été ajoutée à son agenda ce mardi pour tenter d’apaiser leurs inquiétudes.

Voir de même:

Trump se dédit et accuse la Russie d’ingérence dans la présidentielle de 2016
Philippe Gélie
Le Figaro
17/07/2018

De retour d’Helsinki, le président américain s’est employé mardi à éteindre la tempête politique provoquée par ses propos tenus la veille, dans lesquels il désavouait ses propres services secrets.

Au milieu des critiques suscitées par son attitude devant Poutine à Helsinki, Donald Trump, de retour mardi à Washington DC, a profité d’une réunion à la Maison-Blanche avec des élus pour se dédire: «J’ai relu le texte de mes déclarations et je me suis aperçu qu’il manquait une négation. Je voulais dire: «Je ne vois pas de raison pour que la Russie ne l’ait pas fait» (interférer dans l’élection, NDLR). Je pense que ceci clarifie la question. J’ai une foi et une confiance entières en nos formidables agences de renseignement. J’accepte leurs conclusions selon lesquelles des interventions de la Russie ont eu lieu. Nous agirons avec force pour repousser et stopper toute (nouvelle) interférence dans nos élections.» Cette ingérence de Moscou «n’a eu aucun impact» sur le résultat du scrutin qu’il a remporté, a toutefois tenu à souligner le milliardaire républicain.

Difficile de se contredire plus explicitement, une démarche en soi remarquable de la part d’un président allergique à admettre le moindre tort. Mais les accusations touchaient un nerf sensible, jetant sur lui le soupçon infamant de faiblesse, ou pire, de trahison. «J’ai vu les renseignements russes manipuler beaucoup de gens dans ma carrière, mais je n’aurais jamais cru que le président des États-Unis serait l’un d’eux», avait ainsi déclaré Will Hurd, un ancien de la CIA élu républicain du Texas. Le Washington Post dénonçait «la collusion, à la vue de tous», entre Trump et Poutine. Le New York Times l’accusait de «s’être couché aux pieds» du président russe, par «mollesse» et «obséquiosité». Même le conservateur Wall Street Journal avait dénoncé son «empressement» auprès du chef du Kremlin comme «un embarras national».

Stupéfaction générale

Lundi, les dénégations du 45e président des États-Unis sur la question brûlante de l’ingérence russe dans la campagne 2016, attestée de façon unanime par les enquêteurs du FBI et les agences américaines du renseignement, avaient provoqué la stupéfaction générale. Interrogé lors d’une conférence de presse commune avec le président Vladimir Poutine à Helsinki sur la question d’une ingérence russe dans la présidentielle américaine, Trump avait affirmé que cette information lui avait été fournie par le chef de la CIA, mais qu’il n’avait aucune raison de la croire. «J’ai le président Poutine qui vient de dire que ce n’était pas la Russie (…) Et je ne vois pas pourquoi cela le serait», avait lancé Donald Trump, laissant entendre qu’il était plus sensible aux dénégations du dirigeant russe qu’aux conclusions de ses propres services.

Lors de son vol de retour de la capitale finlandaise, le président américain n’avait pu que constater les conséquences de ses égards vis-à-vis de son homologue russe, se retrouvant vertement critiqué jusque par des ténors du parti républicain. Donald Trump doit réaliser que «la Russie n’est pas notre alliée», a ainsi lancé le chef de file des républicains au Congrès, Paul Ryan. Le sénateur républicain John McCain a quant à lui dénoncé «un des pires moments de l’histoire de la présidence américaine».

Voir de plus:

Les zigzags diplomatiques de Trump sèment le trouble
Philippe Gélie
Le Figaro
18/07/2018

VIDÉOS – Les changements de pied du président américain sur l’attitude à adopter face à la Russie suscitent l’incompréhension en Europe et aux États-Unis.

De notre correspondant à Washington

Les excuses ne sont pas le fort de Donald Trump. Il a été nourri par ses mentors – feus son père, Fred, et l’avocat maccarthyste Roy Cohn – dans la conviction qu’elles ne sont qu’un aveu de faiblesse. Depuis, il s’y tient: ne jamais reconnaître une erreur, ne jamais battre en retraite.

Il faut donc que la tempête ait été puissante pour que le président américain ait effectué mardi un repli tactique. À Helsinki, la veille, il avait accordé plus de crédit aux protestations d’innocence de Vladimir Poutine qu’aux accusations étayées de ses services de renseignements à propos des interférences russes dans la campagne de 2016. Il était parfaitement satisfait de sa prestation, confirme un collaborateur à la Maison-Blanche, jusqu’à ce qu’il prenne la mesure des reproches quasi universels en regardant la télévision à bord d’Air Force One durant le vol de retour. Même Fox News, qui l’applaudit en tout, jugeait «une clarification nécessaire». Même Newt Gingrich, l’ancien speaker de la Chambre, qui a écrit deux livres en deux ans pour donner du sens au trumpisme (1), l’appelait à «corriger immédiatement la plus grave erreur de sa présidence».

Trump s’est donc plié à cet exercice déplaisant, à sa manière. Il a formulé le démenti le moins vraisemblable qu’on puisse trouver, afin que ses supporteurs ne soient pas dupes. «Je voulais dire: je ne vois aucune raison pour laquelle ce ne serait PAS la Russie», a déclaré le président. «On se demande bien qui a pensé à ça, mais peu importe», ironisait mercredi le Wall Street Journal dans son éditorial. «Cette excuse défie toute crédibilité, estime Jonathan Lemire, le correspondant de l’Associated Press dont la question avait provoqué le dérapage. Pour admettre que sa langue ait fourché dans cette phrase, il faudrait ignorer tout le reste de sa conférence de presse» avec le président russe. Même en lui faisant crédit de rectifier le tir, «cette déclaration a été faite avec 24 heures de retard et au mauvais endroit», a déclaré le sénateur démocrate Chuck Schumer.

«Obligation formelle»
Bien peu, chez ses partisans comme parmi ses adversaires, ont pris cette mise au point pour argent comptant. Car Donald Trump l’a lue ostensiblement devant les caméras avec le ton mécanique de quelqu’un qui accomplit une formalité, et en s’écartant deux fois du script préparé par ses collaborateurs. D’abord pour s’exclamer: «Il n’y a pas eu de collusion du tout!», une phrase qu’il avait rajoutée à la main. Ensuite pour atténuer le démenti tout juste formulé: «J’accepte la conclusion de notre communauté du renseignement selon laquelle l’interférence de la Russie dans l’élection de 2016 a eu lieu. Ce pourrait aussi être d’autres gens ; des tas de gens un peu partout.» Pour faire bonne mesure, il avait biffé de sa plume une phrase l’engageant à «amener toute personne impliquée devant la justice», une promesse qu’il n’a pas faite.

«Trump a mis au point une méthode d’excuses composée à parts égales de retraite et de réaffirmation», analyse Marc Fisher dans le Washington Post, pointant «le changement de ton quand il exprime ses véritables sentiments». Selon lui, on assiste au même «processus» que l’été dernier lors des incidents racistes de Charlottesville: «Insulte, excuses réticentes, signal clair qu’il croit vraiment ce qu’il avait dit au départ, répétition.» De fait, le correctif de mardi ne vise pas à clore la polémique, il lui offre seulement la protection d’avoir dit une chose et son contraire. Maintenant qu’il a rempli cette «obligation formelle», le chef de la Maison-Blanche peut continuer à asséner sa version des faits: «Tellement de gens au sommet du renseignement ont adoré ma performance à la conférence de presse d’Helsinki», a-t-il tweeté mercredi. Et: «Si la réunion de l’Otan a été un triomphe reconnu […], la rencontre avec la Russie pourrait se révéler être, sur le long terme, un succès encore plus grand.»

Les supporteurs du président l’approuvent quoi qu’il fasse et, lorsqu’ils ont des doutes, se convainquent qu’«il est plus dur en privé» ou qu’«il a un plan» ou qu’il concocte en secret «un mégadeal». Mais les responsables républicains semblent de moins en moins enclins à cette crédulité.

Tandis que le Wall Street Journalappelle le Congrès à «endiguer Poutine – et Trump», les élus envisagent d’adopter de nouvelles sanctions contre le Kremlin, voire d’inscrire la Russie sur la liste des États sponsors du terrorisme. Les démocrates demandent aussi à auditionner tous les participants au sommet d’Helsinki, ce que le secrétaire d’État, Mike Pompeo, fera mercredi prochain devant le Sénat.

(1) Understanding Trump , 2017, et Trump’s America , 2018.

Voir encore:

Sommet d’Helsinki: «On a vu une soumission, une vassalisation de Trump» face à Poutine
INTERVIEW Le spécialiste des Etats-Unis Corentin Sellin revient pour « 20 Minutes » sur l’attitude de Donald Trump lors de sa rencontre avec Vladimir Poutine…
Propos recueillis par Laure Cometti
20 minutes
17/07/18

Les propos de Donald Trump sur l’éventuelle ingérence russe lors de l’élection présidentielle de 2016 ont provoqué un coup de tonnerre outre-Atlantique. Lors de sa rencontre avec Vladimir Poutine à Helsinki, le président américain a indiqué croire davantage aux dénégations de son homologue russe  qu’aux rapports établis par les services de renseignements de son pays.

Ces déclarations faites lors d’une conférence de presse commune ont suscité de très virulentes critiques, même au sein de l’entourage du président des Etats-Unis. 20 Minutes revient sur cette séquence diplomatique et politique avec Corentin Sellin, agrégé d’histoire, professeur en classe préparatoire et spécialiste des Etats-Unis*.

Les propos de Donald Trump sur l’ingérence russe dans l’élection de 2016 sont-ils si nouveaux ?

Ils étaient prévisibles car Donald Trump avait déjà tenu de tels propos et indiqué ses doutes sur le rapport des renseignements concluant à l’ingérence de la Russie dans l’élection, au premier semestre 2017. Mais ce qui était peu prévisible, c’est qu’il a remis en cause le travail des renseignements américains devant Vladimir Poutine, et en terre étrangère. Cela montre qu’il a franchi un seuil, une étape.

Pourquoi cette prise de position du président américain choque autant aux Etats-Unis, même ses alliés Républicains ?

Cela choque les Républicains qui ne peuvent désormais plus ignorer la position de Donald Trump, qui a dit devant des caméras, et face à Vladimir Poutine, qu’il fait davantage confiance au président russe qu’à la justice et la police de son pays. Or, le parti des Républicains est le parti de la loi et de l’ordre. Pour eux, voir un président des Etats-Unis faire moins confiance aux institutions qu’à un dirigeant étranger, cela pose un énorme problème. D’autant plus qu’avant l’élection de Trump, les Républicains étaient en opposition avec la Russie de Poutine. Leurs critiques reflètent aussi ce malaise.

Ce tollé suscité par Trump chez les Républicains peut-il lui coûter quelque chose politiquement ?

Non, au-delà des protestations verbales symboliques, il ne devrait rien se passer concrètement, pour trois raisons. D’abord, Trump est aujourd’hui bien plus proche de l’électorat républicain que ne le sont les élus du parti au Congrès (élus en 2012, 2014 et 2016). La preuve, c’est que selon l’institut de sondages américain Gallup, en 2014 22 % des sympathisants républicains sondés jugeait la Russie comme étant une amie ou un allié, mais ils sont 40 % aujourd’hui. L’électorat républicain, sans doute sous l’effet de Trump, s’est radouci envers la Russie.

Deuxièmement, que pourraient faire les Républicains ? Les institutions américaines permettent au président des Etats-Unis de faire à peu près ce qu’il veut en politique étrangère. Un impeachment ou une motion de censure sont hautement improbables. D’autant que les élus sont en pleine campagne électorale des mid-terms, ils n’ont pas d’intérêt à aller contre le président.

Enfin, il faut se souvenir que les Républicains ont passé un pacte faustien avec Trump. La plupart des élus y sont allés avec des pincettes, en se bouchant le nez, mais Trump leur a apporté la Maison Blanche, de manière inespérée, et il a exécuté l’agenda économique et social des conservateurs : baisse d’impôts, nomination de deux juges conservateurs à la Cour suprême… Cela vaut bien un Helsinki.

Ce sommet marque-t-il un tournant dans les relations entre Washington et Moscou ?

Trump n’a jamais fait mystère de sa volonté d’un « reboot », un redémarrage dans les échanges avec la Russie. Sauf qu’à Helsinki on a plutôt vu une soumission, une vassalisation du président américain. Pour Poutine, dont le pays est sous le coup de fortes sanctions à la fois américaines et européennes, c’est une victoire diplomatique et symbolique importante.

C’est tout de même très étrange, pour un président dont l’entourage est sous le coup d’enquêtes fédérales pour une collusion avec la Russie, de donner autant de gages éventuels de quelque chose de trouble dans son lien avec Poutine. Selon le Washington Post, il y a aussi un problème interne à la Maison Blanche, car Trump n’a pas suivi les recommandations de ses conseillers.

Par ailleurs, sur le fond, les deux dirigeants n’ont pas annoncé grand-chose à l’issue de leur tête à tête de 2 heures et de leur entretien avec leurs conseillers d’une heure. Ils ont relancé l’idée d’un groupe commun de cybersécurité, mais c’est tout. En dépit de cette volonté affichée d’un nouveau départ, comme avec la Corée du Nord d’ailleurs, il n’y a aucune matière pour l’instant. Le seul dossier sur lequel ils ont insisté, c’est le désarmement nucléaire et la lutte contre la prolifération nucléaire. Mais Poutine a réitéré à Helsinki son soutien à l’Iran, à l’encontre de la position de Trump.

* Coauteur de Les Etats-Unis et le monde de la doctrine de Monroe à la création de l’ONU : (1823-1945) (Ed. Atlande).

Voir aussi:

Peter Beinart’s Amnesia
NATO’s problems, Putin’s aggression, and American passivity predate Trump, who had my vote in 2016 — a vote I don’t regret.
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review
July 17, 2018

Peter Beinart has posted a trademark incoherent rant, this time against Rich Lowry and me over our supposed laxity in criticizing Trumpian over-the-top rhetoric on NATO.

At various times, I have faulted Germany for much of NATO’s problems; I was delighted that we got out of the Iran deal and happier still that we pulled out of the empty Paris climate-change accord; and I agree that NAFTA needs changes. All that apparently for Beinart constitutes support for Trump’s sin of saying that the U.S. has “no obligation to meet America’s past commitments to other countries.”

Last time I looked, the Paris climate accord and the Iran deal (and its stealth “side” deals) were pushed through as quasi-executive orders and never submitted to Congress as treaties — largely because the Obama administration understood that both deals would have been summarily rejected and lacked support from most of Congress and also the American people, owing to the deal’s inherent flaws.

The U.S. may soon come closer to meeting carbon-emission-reduction goals than most of the signatories of the Paris farce. Following the Iran pullout, Iranians now seem more inclined to protest their theocratic government. They are confident in voicing their dissent in a way we have not seen since we ignored Iranian protesters during the Green Revolution of 2009. Incidents of Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf this year have mysteriously declined to almost zero.

The architects of NAFTA who in 1993 promised normalization and parity in North America through free trade and porous borders apparently did not envision something like the Andrés Manuel López Obrador presidency, which seems to think it exercises sovereignty over U.S. immigration policy, a cumulative influx of some 20 million foreign nationals illegally crossing the southern border over the last three decades, a current $71 billion Mexican trade surplus, $30 billion in remittances sent annually out of the U.S. to Mexico, record numbers of assassinations, and a nearly failed state as cartels virtually run affairs in some areas of Mexico. After all that, asking for clarifications of and likely modification to NAFTA is hardly breaking American commitments.

Beinart believes that, by giving some credence to Trump’s art-of-the-deal bombast about NATO, I therefore have excused Trump’s existential threats to the alliance. Beinart needs to take a deep breath and examine carefully whether Trump’s rhetoric about the vast majority of NATO’s members’ reluctance to meet their past promises undermines the alliance more than what the members themselves have actually done.

So far, Trump has upped U.S. defense spending and by extension its contribution to NATO’s military readiness, and he has gained some traction in getting members to pay what they pledged after the utter failure of past presidential jawboning (Obama rebuked “free-riders”). The real crisis in NATO is not U.S. capability or willpower, but whether a Dutch or Belgian youth would, could, or should march off to Erdogan’s Turkey should Ankara invoke Article V in a dispute with Israel, the Kurds, or Iraq, or whether governments such as those in Spain or Italy would really keep commitments and order their troops to Estonia if Russian troops swarmed in.

So NATO’s problems predated Trump and in many ways come back to Germany, whose example most other NATO nations ultimately tend to follow. The threat to both the EU and NATO is not Trump’s America, but a country that is currently insisting on an artificially low euro for mercantile purposes and that is at odds with its southern Mediterranean partners over financial liabilities, with its Eastern European neighbors over illegal immigration, with the United Kingdom over the conditions of Brexit, and with the U.S. over a paltry investment in military readiness of 1.3 percent of GDP while it’s piling up the largest account surplus in the world, at over $260 billion, and a $65 billion trade surplus with the U.S.

Germany, a majority of whose tanks and fighters are thought not to be battle-ready, cannot expect an American-subsidized united NATO front against the threat of Vladimir Putin if it is now cutting a natural-gas agreement with Russia that undermines the Baltic States and Ukraine — countries that Putin is increasingly targeting. The gas deal will not only empower Putin; it will make Germany dependent on Russian energy — an untenable situation.

Merkel can package all that in mellifluous diplomatic-speak, and Trump can rail about it in crude polemics, but the facts remain facts, and they are of Merkel’s making, not Trump’s.

The same themes hold true regarding attitudes toward Putin, who (again) predated Trump and his press conference in Helsinki, where the president gave to the press an unfortunate apology-tour/Cairo-speech–like performance, reminiscent of past disastrous meetings with or assessments of Russian leaders by American presidents, such as FDR on Stalin: “I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of man. Harry [Hopkins] says he’s not and that he doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” Or Kennedy’s blown summit with Khrushchev in Geneva: “He beat the hell out of me. It was the worst thing in my life. He savaged me.” Or Reagan’s weird offer to share American SDI technology and research with Gorbachev or, without much consultation with his advisers, to eliminate all ballistic missiles at Reykjavik.

Trump confused trying to forge a realist détente with some sort of bizarre empathy for Putin, whose actions have been hostile and bellicose to the U.S. and based on perceptions of past American weakness. But again, Trump did not create an empowered Putin — and he has done more than any other president so far to check Putin’s ambitions.

Putin in 2016 continued longstanding Russian cyberattacks and election interference because of past impunity (Obama belatedly told Putin to “cut it out” only in September 2016). He swallowed Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine after the famous Hillary-managed “reset” — a surreal Chamberlain-like policy in which we simultaneously appeased Putin in fact while in rhetoric lecturing him about his classroom cut-up antics and macho style.

Had Trump been overheard on a hot mic in Helsinki promising more flexibility with Putin on missile defense after our midterm elections, in expectation for electorally advantageous election-cycle quid pro quo good behavior from the Russians, we’d probably see articles of impeachment introduced on charges of Russian collusion. And yet the comparison would be even worse than that. After all, America kept Obama’s 2011 promise “to Vladimir,” in that we really did give up on creating credible missile defenses in Eastern Europe, breaking pledges made by a previous administration — music to Vladimir Putin’s ears.

It would be preferable if Trump’s rhetoric reinforced his solid actions, which in relation to Putin’s aggression consist of wisely keeping or increasing tough sanctions, accelerating U.S. oil production, decimating Russian mercenaries in Syria, and arming Ukrainian resistance. But then again, Trump has not quite told us that he has looked into Putin’s eyes and seen a straightforward and trustworthy soul. Nor in desperation did he invite Putin into the Middle East after a Russian hiatus of nearly 40 years to prove to the world that Bashar al-Assad had eliminated his WMD trove — which Assad subsequently continued to use at his pleasure. There is currently no scandal over uranium sales to Russia, and the secretary of state’s spouse has not been discovered to have recently pocketed $500,000 to speak in Moscow.

In a perfect world, we would like to see carefully chosen words enhancing effective muscular action. Instead, in the immediate past, we heard sober and judicious rhetoric ad nauseam, coupled with abject appeasement and widely perceived dangerous weakness. Now we have ill-timed bombast that sometimes mars positive achievement.

Neither is desirable. But the latter is far preferable to the former.

Finally, Beinart ends by mistakenly suggesting that in 2016 I weighed in with “count us out” Republicans along with the other National Review authors. And he now suggests that I have flipped back to Trump: “Now, it appears, Lowry and Hanson want back in.”

But here, too, he is mistaken. I never participated in the “Against Trump” NR issue and never counted myself “out” during the November 2016 election, so how could I beg to be let back in?

Rather, like about half the country and 90 percent of the Republican party, I (as a deplorable) saw the choice in 2016 as a rather easy one between the latest iteration of Hillary Clinton and her known progressive agenda and Trump’s proposed antithesis to the ongoing Obama project of fundamental transformation.

And so far, nothing since November 2016 has convinced me otherwise.

Voir également:

Putin’s False Equivalency
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review
July 19, 2018

We are in dangerous times. Amid the hysteria over the Russian summit, the Mueller collusion probe, nonstop unsupported allegations and rumors, the Strzok and Page testimonies, the ongoing congressional investigations into improper CIA and FBI behavior, and a completely unhinged media, there is a growing crisis of rising tensions between two superpowers that together possess a combined arsenal of 3,000 instantly deployable nuclear weapons and another 10,000 in storage. That latter existential fact apparently has been forgotten in all the recriminations. So it is time for all parties to deescalate and step back a bit.

Trump understandably wants to avoid progressive charges that he is obstructing Robert Mueller’s ostensible investigation of Russian collusion, and he also wants some sort of détente with Russia. Mueller has likely indicted Russians, timed on the eve of the summit, in part on the assumption that they would more or less not personally defend themselves and never appear on U.S. soil.

Add that all up, and Trump apparently has discussed with Putin an idea of allowing Mueller’s investigators to visit Russia to interview those they have indicted.

But in the quid pro quo world of big-power rivalry, Putin, of course, wants reciprocity — the right also to interview American citizens or residents (among them a former U.S. ambassador to Russia) whom he believes have transgressed against Russia.

Trump needs to squash Putin’s ridiculous “parity” request immediately. Mueller would learn little or nothing from interviewing his targets on Russian soil — and likely never imagined that he would or could.

On the other hand, given recent Russian attacks on critics abroad, Moscow’s interviewing any Russian antagonist anywhere is not necessarily a safe or sane enterprise. And being indicted under the laws of a constitutional republic is hardly synonymous with earning the suspicion of the Russian autocracy.

Most importantly, the idea that a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Professor Michael McFaul — long after the expiration of his government tenure — would submit to Russian questioning is absurd. Of course, it would also undermine the entire sanctity of American ambassadorial service.

McFaul, a colleague at the Hoover Institution, who would probably disagree with most of my views, years ago was targeted as an enemy by Vladimir Putin and more recently has been sharply critical of the Trump administration. But, of course, he is a widely admired patriot, a scholar, and voices his candid views, like all of us, under the assumption of free speech and absolute protection under the Constitution. As an ambassador, he was also accorded diplomatic immunity as insurance that his implementation of then U.S. policy would not earn him retaliation from Moscow, both then or now. McFaul is wise enough not to voluntarily submit to be questioned by Russian operatives, and the U.S. government must never suggest that he should.

So, Putin’s offer, to the extent we know the details of it, will soon upon examination be seen as patently unhinged. In refusal, Trump has a good opportunity to remind the world why all American critics of the Putin government — and especially of his own government as well — are uniquely free and protected to voice any notion they wish.

No, the President Did Not Need to Meet with Putin
Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review
July 17, 2018

The United States should have contacts with Russia, but the president should not be holding summit meetings with a despot.Prior to President Trump’s dismal performance at Monday’s meeting with Russian despot Vladimir Putin, I expressed bafflement over his longstanding insistence that we need to have good relations with Moscow. This has never made sense to me. We have often done quite well, thank you very much, while having a strained modus vivendi with Moscow, even when it was the seat of a much more important power than today’s Russia.

It is not possible to have good relations with a thug regime unless one is willing to overlook and effectively ratify its thug behavior. Yet the widely perceived “need” to have good relations with Russia leads seamlessly to a second wrongheaded notion: It was appropriate, indeed essential, for the two leaders to meet at a ceremonial summit.

There is no need, nor is it desirable, for the president of the United States to give the dictator of the Kremlin the kind of prestigious spectacle Putin got in Helsinki. When I’ve made this point, as recently as Monday night in a panel on The Story, Martha MacCallum’s Fox News program, I’ve gotten pushback that, I respectfully suggest, misses the point.

The counterargument, premised on the fact that it is important for the United States and Russia to have dialogue, maintains that this dialogue must be conducted at the chief-executive-to-chief-executive level. There is, after all, a long history of such meetings, tracing back to FDR’s recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933 (only after, I would note, years of antagonistic relations following the October Revolution).

To be clear, I did not and do not take the position that the United States should not have contacts with Russia in areas of mutual concern, or that it should not defuse tensions lest they escalate into unnecessary confrontations between the world’s two dominant nuclear powers. But these communications channels have long existed. They range from diplomatic, military, intelligence, and even law-enforcement contacts all the way up to occasional phone calls between the heads of state, and even the odd sidelines conferral between leaders at this or that multilateral conference.

The question, to the contrary, is whether the president of the United States should hold summit-style meetings with the Russian despot, complete with the pride, pomp, and circumstance of a glorious press conference, at which the two stand before the world as if they were amiable peers, trying their best to address the world’s problems.

We are no longer in the era of the Second World War, or even the Cold War. We are not in a ferocious global conflict in which a grudging alliance with Stalin’s Soviet Union makes sense (especially when the Russians are taking the vast majority of the casualties). Nor are we in a bipolar global order in which we are rivaled by a tyrannical Soviet empire. Modern Russia is a fading country. Yes, it has a worrisome nuclear stockpile, strong armed forces, and highly capable intelligence services; but these assets can scarcely obscure Russia’s declining population, pervasive societal dysfunction (high levels of drunkenness, disease, and unemployment), low life expectancy, and third-rate economy. Putin’s regime — more like a marriage of rulers and organized crime than a principled system of government — must terrorize its people to maintain its grip on power.

We don’t need summit meetings between our head of state and theirs. Even during the Cold War, when it could rightly be argued that we had to deal with our ubiquitous geopolitical foe, such meetings did not happen very often. For example, in the decade-plus between President Kennedy’s Vienna meeting with Khrushchev and President Nixon’s trip to Moscow, there appears to have been just one meeting (between LBJ and Alexei Kosygin in 1967). Contact was also sparse in the decade between the end of the Nixon–Ford term and Reagan’s first meeting with Gorbachev in 1985 (after which the meetings became more frequent as the Soviet Union declined and collapsed). Many of these meetings are memorable precisely because they were unusual events. Whether the top-level U.S.–U.S.S.R. meetings succeeded or not, they were arguably worth having because there was something potentially highly beneficial in them for us.

That is not true of top-level meetings with Putin’s Russia. We could have them or not have them and nothing would change for the better — in fact, as yesterday shows, things are more apt to change for the worse. Putin should be made to earn his meeting with America’s president by good behavior.

Whether you’re a Democrat invested in the narrative that Russia’s shenanigans cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, or a Republican in denial that Putin sought to boost Trump at Clinton’s expense, the reality is that Putin was undoubtedly trying to sow discord in our body politic.

Let’s consider the background circumstances of Monday’s meeting.

There is, of course, the cyber-espionage attack on the election. Trump being Trump, he is unable to separate (a) the way Russia’s perfidy has been exploited by his political opponents to attack him (i.e., the unsuccessful attempt to delegitimize his presidency) from (b) Russia’s perfidy itself, as an attack on the United States. No matter how angry this president may be at the Democrats and the media, the significance to any president of Russia’s influence operation must be that it succeeded beyond Putin’s wildest dreams.

Whether you’re a Democrat invested in the narrative that Russia’s shenanigans cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, or a Republican in denial that Putin sought to boost Trump at Clinton’s expense, the reality is that Putin was undoubtedly trying to sow discord in our body politic. That interpretation of events is something any president should be able to rally most of the country behind. The provocation warrants a determined response that bleeds Putin, the very opposite of kowtowing to the despot on the world stage.

Now, let’s put to the side the recent cyber-espionage and other influence operations directed at our country. It has been only four months since Putin’s regime attempted to murder former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the British city of Salisbury. It has been only a few days since a British couple fell into a coma after exposure to the same Soviet-era nerve agent (Novichok) used on the Skripals. The second incident happened just seven miles from the first, strongly suggesting that Putin’s regime is guilty of depraved indifference to the dangers its targeted assassinations on Western soil — the territory of our closest ally — pose to innocent bystanders. In 2006, the Putin regime similarly murdered a former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London, poisoning his tea with radioactive polonium. Meanwhile, reporting that is based mainly on the account of a former KGB agent (who defected to the West and has been warned he is a target) indicates that Putin’s operatives are working off a hit list of eight people (including Sergei Skirpal) who reside in the West.

Putin’s annexation of Crimea was just the most notorious of his recent adventures in territorial aggression. He has effectively annexed the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the separatist war he is puppeteering in eastern Ukraine still rages in this its fifth year. He is casting a menacing eye at the Baltics. This, even as Russia props up the monstrous Assad regime in Syria and allies with Iran, the jihadist regime best known for sponsoring anti-American terrorism around the world.

He may unload at a rally, but face to face, the president’s m.o. is to defuse confrontation with unctuous banter — an easy solution for someone who seems not to believe that anything he says in the moment will bind him in the future.

And just five months ago, at a major speech touting improved weapons capabilities, Putin spiced up the demonstration with a video diagramming a hypothetical nuclear missile attack on . . . yes . . . Florida.

There is no doubt that we have to deal with this monster. Realpolitik adherents may even be right that there is potential for cooperation with Russia in areas of mutual interest (at least provided that the dealing is done with eyes open about Putin’s core anti-Americanism). But there is no reason why we need to deal with Russia in a forum at which the U.S. president stands there and pretends that a brutal autocrat, who has become incalculably rich by looting his crumbling country, is a statesman promoting peace and better relations.

I would say that no matter who was president. In the case of President Trump specifically, for all his “you’re fired” bravado and reports of mercurial outbursts at some subordinates, he does not like unpleasant face-to-face confrontations. He may unload at a rally, but face to face, the president’s m.o. is to defuse confrontation with unctuous banter — an easy solution for someone who seems not to believe that anything he says in the moment will bind him in the future. This, inevitably, leads to foolish and sometimes reprehensible assertions (e.g., saying, in apparent defense of Putin, “There are a lot of killers. What? You think our country’s so innocent?”).

The president appears to subscribe to the Swamp school of thought that negotiations are good for their own sake — though he conflates what is good for him (promoting his image as a master deal-maker) with what is good for the country (negotiations often aren’t). This is another iteration of the president’s tendency to personalize things, particularly relations between governments. That trait puts him at a distinct disadvantage with someone like Putin, who knows well the uses of flattery and grievance.

Summit meetings with brutal dictators do not well serve the president. More important, they do not well serve the nation.

Voir de plus:

The Likeliest Explanation for Trump’s Helsinki Fiasco
Jonah Goldberg
National review
July 18, 2018

Character, not collusion, best explains the president’s bizarre deference to Vladimir Putin.Last week, I wrote that the best way to think about a Trump Doctrine is as nothing more than Trumpism on the international stage. By Trumpism, I do not mean a coherent ideological program, but a psychological phenomenon, or simply the manifestation of his character.

On Monday, we literally saw President Trump on an international stage, in Helsinki, and he seemed hell-bent on proving me right.

During a joint news appearance with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump demonstrated that, when put to the test, he cannot see any issue through a prism other than his grievances and ego.

In a performance that should elicit some resignations from his administration, the president sided with Russia over America’s national-security community, including Dan Coats, the Trump-appointed director of national intelligence.

Days ago, Coats issued a blistering warning that not only had Russia meddled in our election — undisputed by almost everyone save the president himself — but it is preparing to do so again. But when asked about Russian interference in Helsinki, Trump replied, “All I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia]. . . . I have confidence in both parties.”

Separately, when asked about the frosty relations between the two countries, Trump said, “I hold both countries responsible. . . . I think we’re all to blame. . . . I do feel that we have both made some mistakes.”

Even if Russia hadn’t meddled in the election at all, Trump would still admire Putin because Trump admires men like Putin — which is why he’s praised numerous other dictators and strongmen.

Amid these and other appalling statements, Trump made it clear that he can only understand the investigation into Russian interference as an attempt to rob him of credit for his electoral victory, and thus to delegitimize his presidency.

For most people with a grasp of the facts — supporters and critics alike — the question of Russian interference and the question of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign are separate. Russia did interfere in the election, full stop. Whether there was collusion is still an open question, even if many Trump supporters have made up their minds about it. Whether Russian interference, or collusion, got Trump over the finish line is ultimately unknowable, though I think it’s very unlikely.

But for Trump these distinctions are meaningless. Even when his own Department of Justice indicts twelve Russian intelligence agents, the salient issue for Trump in Helsinki is that “they admit these are not people involved in the campaign.” All you need to know is: We ran a brilliant campaign, and that’s why I’m president.

The great parlor game in Washington (and beyond) is to theorize why Trump is so incapable of speaking ill of Putin and so determined to make apologies for Russia.

Among the self-styled “resistance,” the answer takes several sometimes overlapping, sometimes contradictory forms. One theory is that the Russians have “kompromat” — that is, embarrassing or incriminating intelligence on Trump. Another is that he is a willing asset of the Russians — “Agent Orange” — with whom he colluded to win the presidency.

These theories can’t be wholly dismissed, even if some overheated versions get way ahead of the available facts. But their real shortcoming is that they are less plausible than the Aesopian explanation: This is who Trump is. Even if Russia hadn’t meddled in the election at all, Trump would still admire Putin because Trump admires men like Putin — which is why he’s praised numerous other dictators and strongmen.

The president’s steadfast commitment to a number of policies — animosity toward NATO, infatuation with protectionism, an Obama-esque obsession with eliminating nuclear weapons, and his determination that a “good relationship” with Russia should be a policy goal rather than a means to one — may have some ideological underpinning. (These policies all seem to be rooted in intellectual fads of the 1980s.)

But Trump’s stubborn refusal to listen to his own advisers in the matter of the Russia investigation likely stems from his inability to admit that his instincts are ever wrong. As always, Trump’s character trumps all.

Voir encore:

Sanctions américaines : le géant russe Rusal dégringole de 50 % en bourse
Les nouvelles sanctions décrétées par les Etats-Unis contre des oligarques russes et leurs entreprises ont fait l’effet d’un coup de tonnerre ce lundi.
Le Dauphiné libéré
09.04.2018

L’un des premiers producteurs d’aluminium du monde, le russe Rusal, s’est retrouvé gravement fragilisé ce lundi par les nouvelles sanctions décrétées par les Etats-Unis contre des oligarques russes et leurs entreprises, qui risquent de porter un nouveau coup à l’économie russe.

À la Bourse de Hong Kong, où ce géant est coté, l’action de Rusal a perdu 50 % de sa valeur, soit plus de 3,5 milliards d’euros partis en fumée. Le groupe a prévenu que les sanctions « pourraient aboutir à un défaut technique sur certaines obligations du groupe », affirmant évaluer « l’impact de tels défauts techniques sur sa position financière ».

Au delà de l’entreprise, qui joue un rôle majeur sur les marchés des matières premières, le prix de l’aluminium a connu sa plus forte hausse en trois ans sur la Bourse des métaux de Londres, le LME, la tonne prenant 3,55 %.

À Moscou, le marchés boursiers, pourtant habitués à de réguliers durcissements des sanctions occidentales depuis 2014, ont réagi violemment, chutant ce lundi de près de 10 %, tandis que le rouble revenait à ses plus bas niveau depuis plusieurs mois.

38 personnes et entreprises visées par les sanctions

Confronté à un vent de panique boursière généralisé sur les marchés russes, le gouvernement russe a dû monter au créneau pour assurer qu’il soutiendrait les entreprises visées par ce nouveau train de mesures punitives, qui constituent une escalade d’une violence inattendue dans la confrontation entre Moscou et Washington.

Au total, ces sanctions, censées punir Moscou notamment pour ses « attaques » « les démocraties occidentales », ciblent 38 personnes et entreprises qui ne peuvent plus faire affaire avec des Américains, notamment sept Russes désignés comme des « oligarques » proches du Kremlin par l’administration de Donald Trump, présents dans des dizaines de sociétés en Russie comme à l’étranger.

Parmi ces multimilliardaires figure Oleg Deripaska et les actifs sous son contrôle : les holdings Basic Element et En+ mais aussi Rusal, l’un des premiers producteurs mondiaux d’aluminium, dont il représente environ 7% de la production mondiale d’aluminium, au risque de déstabiliser tout ce secteur à l’échelle de la planète.

Oleg Deripaska, 50 ans et déjà proche du clan de Boris Eltsine dans les années 1990, a déclaré que son inclusion dans la liste était « désagréable mais anticipée » : « Les raisons de me mettre sur la liste des sanctions sont complètement dépourvues de fondements, ridicules, et simplement absurdes ».

Sa holding En+, également en chute libre à la bourse de Londres, a été « suspendue temporairement » par l’autorité financière. Elle avait débuté en fanfare sa cotation à Londres en novembre 2017, première société russe à s’y introduire depuis les sanctions de 2014.

« Il est très probable que l’impact soit défavorable aux activités et aux perspectives du groupe », a déclaré En+ dans un communiqué ce lundi. « Le groupe a l’intention de continuer à remplir ses engagements tout en recherchant des solutions (…) pour gérer l’impact des sanctions »

Moscou entend riposter

Moscou ayant promis une réponse « dure » dès vendredi, elle pourrait entraîner une nouvelle surenchère. « Cette histoire est scandaleuse au vu de l’illégalité (de ces sanctions), au vu de la violation de toutes les normes », a déclaré aux journalistes le porte-parole du Kremlin, Dmitri Peskov.

Le Premier ministre Dmitri Medvedev a demandé à ses adjoints de lui préparer des propositions concrètes pour soutenir les entreprises sanctionnées.

« Les sanctions américaines pourraient se traduire en une perturbation de l’offre mondiale, notamment aux Etats-Unis », ont expliqué les analystes de Commerzbank.

Voir par ailleurs:

Trump: Witch hunt drove a phony wedge between US, Russia
Fox news
July 16, 2018

President Trump addresses nuclear proliferation, European Union and media attacks. On ‘Hannity,’ the president calls Strzok a ‘disgrace’ to the country and FBI.

This is a rush transcript from « Hannity, » July 16, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this is a Fox News alert.

It is 9:00 p.m. in New York City and our nation’s capital, 6:00 p.m. on the West Coast. It is 4:00 a.m. in Helsinki, Finland. And earlier today, President Trump, he went face to face with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Now, this is their third in person meeting, but their first official summit. All topics were on the table and appeared to be a no-holds-barred open, productive, adult discussion on many of the issues between our two countries.

I sat down for an interview with the president right after he met with Vladimir Putin. We’re going to play that for you in just a moment.

But first, a lot to get to, so sit tight for our breaking news — Helsinki addition — opening monologue.

(MUSIC)

HANNITY: All right. President Trump is just not slowing down, and some people in the media, on the left, they are having a very hard time dealing with the fact that he moved so fast. As I like to call it, it’s kind of moving at the speed of Trump. Now, this was the president’s 21st visit to a foreign country in just 18 months. And after today’s one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin, the two leaders held a joint press conference.

Let’s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’m here today to continue the proud tradition of bold American diplomacy. From the earliest days of our republic, American leaders have understood that diplomacy and engagement is preferable to conflict and hostility. Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would not accomplish anything.

As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease artisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, big leaders, they also addressed the big elephant in the room, and that was election interference. Let’s watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore, so far that I know virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they are going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. It was a clean campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, of course, this meeting comes just days after the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 12 Russian agents who were accused of hacking the DNC and the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, even though the DNC, they have refused to turn over their hack server to the FBI.

When will they turn that over? Where is that server?

Now, President Trump weighed in on this very issue during this joint presser. Let’s take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Let me just say, we have two thoughts. We have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why would was the FBI told to lead the office of the Democratic National Committee?

I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentlemen that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They are missing. Where are they?

What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone. Just gone to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Exactly. What happened to all of those things?

And tonight, many on the left, they want you to believe this alleged interference is shocking, unprecedented turn of events, but we all know that Russian election meddling is not new at all. Now, remember, ahead of the 2016 presidential election cycle.

In 2014, the House Intel Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, he issued a very stern warning about Putin’s belligerent actions and attempts to denigrate the United States and, by the way, yes, impact our 2016 election. And we also know, you can go way back to 2008, we know that Russia hacked into both the McCain campaign and even the presidential campaign of Barack Obama himself.

And despite this, in 2016, when Hillary Clinton appeared to have a firm lead in the polls — oh, just before the election, it was President Obama who laughed off any notion that American elections could possibly be tampered with. How wrong he was. You may remember this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections. There’s no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Interesting. That’s when he thought Hillary was going to win.

Now that Trump is president, after nearly a decade of playing down Russian interference and its impact on our elections, the left is in total freak out mode, trying desperately to connect Russian hacking to the Trump presidency.

This is a total left-wing conspiracy, a fantasy. This is the witch hunt. Every single report, every investigation into our election shows absolutely no votes were changed, none were altered in the 2016 election. Not a single vote.

And by the way, it’s important to point out every major country in the world engages in election interference. As Senator Rand Paul put it, we all do it, and this includes the Clinton campaign.

In fact, if you’re looking for Russian interference, look no further than Hillary Clinton and the DNC in 2016. They actually paid, oh, yes, through a law firm that they funnel money, Fusion GPS. Yes, then they got a foreign entity, foreign spy by the name of Christopher Steele, he put together phony opposition research, and now the infamous dossier, which has been debunked, filled with lies, Russian lies, Russian propaganda, and all paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to manipulate you, the American people in the lead up to the 2016 election.

Nobody in the media seems to care about Obama’s attempt at interference in the last Israeli election against our number one ally in the Middle East, Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And by all accounts, today’s meeting, always productive and very important. As we all know, there are a lot of serious issues between the U.S. and Russia, but predictably, even before this meeting took place, yes, the destroy Trump, hate Trump media, they were already, hoping and predicting failure. You see, success for Donald Trump is bad for their agenda, especially in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: We have never had a summit with the KGB spy master, someone who has, you know, completely studied and examined Donald Trump, and a president who spends the weekend golfing and has not been preparing.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: What do you think is going through Putin’s mind? And how is he likely to be interpreting President Trump’s behavior?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He’s delighted. He’s absolutely delighted. He wants to throw the United States off balance, and he wants to divide the United States with its allies. Mission almost accomplished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CBS: This does not seem like a president who is really going there to really hold Putin accountable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, NBC: I just don’t see how we can expect anything to come out of this and why Donald Trump is forcing the issue so much.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: And it gets even worse. Take a look at this despicable cartoon, yes, published by so-called paper of record, The New York Times Opinion Page on Twitter early this morning.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOST: Do you have a relationship with a Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: I do have a relationship with him. And I think that he’s done a very brilliant and amazing job. Really, a lot of people would say, he has put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, that’s your corrupt mainstream media, pretty disgusting.

Now naturally, the anti-Trump hatred, the hysteria continued after today’s meeting. Look at this. Former CIA director, you know the guy that was a former communist turned CNN paid hack, John Brennan, he actually tweeted out: Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were his comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots, where are you?

John, let’s address you for a second here. What have you done on Obama’s watch to prevent Russian meddling? What role did you play in all of this?

Now, you had just undermined this country, and frankly, you should be ashamed. Let’s take a look at this corruption.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, MSNBC: We are under attack from Russia. If they were physical missiles, like during the Cuban missile crisis, Americans would be in the streets and protesting, and asking the president to protect us. These are invisible missiles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, MSNBC: It’s time for Americans to be out on the streets and it to speak up about the democracy that we hold dear, and what we expect of the president of the United States.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: You have been watching the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader joint that I have ever seen.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

Voir enfin:

TRANSCRIPT: Trump backtracks on Russia comments

CNN

July 17, 2018

(CNN)President Donald Trump, facing an onslaught of bipartisan fury over his glowing remarks about Vladimir Putin, said more than 24 hours afterward that he had misspoken during his news conference with the autocratic Russian leader.

Here are Trump’s full remarks, in which he said « there is some need for clarification » about his comments on Russian interference in the 2016 election, as released by the White House:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Yesterday, I returned from a trip from Europe where I met with leaders from across the region to seek a more peaceful future for the United States. We’re working very hard with our allies, and all over the world we’re working. We’re going to have peace. That’s what we want; that’s what we’re going to have. I say peace through strength.
I have helped the NATO Alliance greatly by increasing defense contributions from our NATO Allies by over $44 billion. And Secretary Stoltenberg was fantastic. As you know, he reported that they’ve never had an increase like this in their history, and NATO was actually going down as opposed to going up. And I increased it by my meeting last year — $44 billion. And this year will be over — it will be hundreds of billions of dollars over the coming years.
And I think there’s great unity with NATO. There’s a lot of very positive things happening. There’s a great spirit that we didn’t have before, and there’s a lot of money that they’re putting up. They weren’t paying their bills on time, and now they’re doing that. And I want to just say thank you very much to Secretary Stoltenberg. He really has been terrific. So we had a tremendous success.
I also had meetings with Prime Minister May on the range of issues concerning our special relationship, and that’s between the United Kingdom and ourselves. We met with the Queen, who is absolutely a terrific person, where she reviewed her Honor Guard for the first time in 70 years, they tell me. We walked in front of the Honor Guard, and that was very inspiring to see and be with her. And I think the relationship, I can truly say, is a good one. But she was very, very inspiring indeed.
Most recently, I returned from Helsinki, Finland, and I was going to give a news conference over the next couple of days about the tremendous success. Because as successful as NATO was, I think this was our most successful visit. And that had to do, as you know, with Russia.
I met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing humanity. We have never been in a worse relationship with Russia than we are as of a few days ago, and I think that’s gotten substantially better. And I think it has the possibility of getting much better. And I used to talk about this during the campaign. Getting along with Russia would be a good thing. Getting along with China would be a good thing. Not a bad thing; a good thing. In fact, a very good thing.
We’re nuclear powers — great nuclear powers. Russia and us have 90 percent of the nuclear weapons. So I’ve always felt getting along is a positive thing, and not just for that reason.
I entered the meeting with the firm conviction that diplomacy and engagement is better than hostility and conflict. And I feel that with everybody. We have 29 members in NATO, as an example, and I have great relationships — or at least very good relationships — with everybody.
The press covered it quite inaccurately. They said I insulted people. Well, if asking for people to pay up money that they are supposed to pay is insulting, maybe I did. But I can tell you, when I left, everybody was thrilled. And that’s the way this was, too.
My meeting with President Putin was really interesting in so many different ways because we haven’t had relationships with Russia for a long time, and we started. Let me begin by saying that, once again, the full faith and support for America’s intelligence agencies — I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies.
Whoops, they just turned off the light. That must be the intelligence agents. (Laughter.) There it goes. Okay. You guys okay? Good. (Laughter.) That was strange. But that’s okay.
So I’ll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there.
There was no collusion at all. And people have seen that, and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that. A lot of people have come out strongly on that.
I thought that I made myself very clear by having just reviewed the transcript. Now, I have to say, I came back, and I said, « What is going on? What’s the big deal? » So I got a transcript. I reviewed it. I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realized that there is need for some clarification.
It should have been obvious — I thought it would be obvious — but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn’t. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » The sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t — or why it wouldn’t be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » And the sentence should have been — and I thought it would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video — the sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative.
So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.
I have, on numerous occasions, noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections. Unlike previous administrations, my administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal any efforts — and repel — we will stop it, we will repel it — any efforts to interfere in our elections. We’re doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018.
And we have a lot of power. As you know, President Obama was given information just prior to the election — last election, 2016 — and they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious to all: They thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and they didn’t think it was a big deal.
When I won the election, they thought it was a very big deal. And all of the sudden they went into action, but it was a little bit late. So he was given that in sharp contrast to the way it should be. And President Obama, along with Brennan and Clapper and the whole group that you see on television now — probably getting paid a lot of money by your networks — they knew about Russia’s attempt to interfere in the election in September, and they totally buried it. And as I said, they buried it because they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win. It turned out it didn’t happen that way.
By contrast, my administration has taken a very firm stance — it’s a very firm stance — on a strong action. We’re going to take strong action to secure our election systems and the process. Furthermore, as has been stated — and we’ve stated it previously and on many occasions: No collusion.
Yesterday, we made significant progress toward addressing some of the worst conflicts on Earth. So when I met with President Putin for about two and a half hours, we talked about numerous things. And among those things are the problems that you see in the Middle East, where they’re much involved, we’re very much involved. I entered the negotiations with President Putin from a position of tremendous strength. Our economy is booming. And our military is being funded $700 billion this year; $716 billion next year.
It will be more powerful as a military than we’ve ever had before. President Putin and I addressed the range of issues, starting with the civil war in Syria and the need for humanitarian aid and help for people in Syria.
We also spoke of Iran and the need to halt their nuclear ambitions and the destabilizing activities taking place in Iran. As most of you know, we ended the Iran deal, which was one of the worst deals anyone could imagine. And that’s had a major impact on Iran. And it’s substantially weakened Iran. And we hope that, at some point, Iran will call us and we’ll maybe make a new deal, or we maybe won’t.
But Iran is not the same country that it was five months ago, that I can tell you. They’re no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean and the entire Middle East. They’ve got some big problems that they can solve, probably much easier if they deal with us. So we’ll see what happens. But we did discuss Iran.
We discussed Israel and the security of Israel. And President Putin is very much involved now with us in a discussion with Bibi Netanyahu on working something out with surrounding Syria and — Syria, and specifically with regards to the security and long-term security of Israel.
A major topic of discussion was North Korea and the need for it to remove its nuclear weapons. Russia has assured us of its support. President Putin said he agrees with me 100 percent, and they’ll do whatever they have to do to try and make it happen.
Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very, very well. We have no rush for speed. The sanctions are remaining. The hostages are back. There have been no tests. There have been no rockets going up for a period of nine months. And I think the relationships are very good. So we’ll see how that goes.
We have no time limit. We have no speed limit. We have — we’re just going through the process. But the relationships are very good. President Putin is going to be involved in the sense that he is with us. He would like to see that happen.
Perhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting prior to the press conference was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world. The United States and Russia have 90 percent, as I said, and we could have a big impact. But nuclear weapons is, I think, the greatest threat of our world today.
And they’re a great nuclear power. We’re a great nuclear power. We have to do something about nuclear. And so that was a matter that we discussed actually in great detail, and President Putin agrees with me.
The matters we discussed are profound in their importance and have the potential to save millions of lives. I understand the many disagreements between our countries, but I also understand the dialogue and the — when you think about it, dialogue with Russia or dialogue with other countries. But dialogue with Russia, in this case, where we’ve had such poor relationships for so many years, dialogue is a very important thing and it’s a very good thing.
So if we get along with them, great. If we don’t get along with them, then, well, we won’t get along with them. But I think we have a very good chance of having some very positive things.
I thought that the meeting that I had with President Putin was really strong. I think that they were willing to do things that, frankly, I wasn’t sure whether or not they would be willing to do. And we’ll be having future meetings and we’ll see whether or not that comes to fruition. But we had a very, very good meeting.
So I just wanted to clear up, I have the strongest respect for our intelligence agencies headed by my people. We have great people, whether it’s Gina or Dan Coats, or any of them. I mean, we have tremendous people, tremendous talent within the agencies. I think they’re being guided properly. And we all want the same thing; we want success for our country.
So with that, we’re going to start a meeting now on tax reductions. We’re going to be putting in a bill. Kevin Brady is with us, and I might ask Kevin just to say a couple of words about that, and then we’ll get back on to a private meeting. But, Kevin, could you maybe give just a brief discussion about what we’ll be talking about?
REPRESENTATIVE BRADY: Yes, sir. Mr. President, thank you for having members of the Ways and Means Committee here today. You know, peace through strength is foreign policy that works. And it works best when America has a strong economy and a strong military. Under your leadership, House and Senate Republicans are delivering on both of them.
Today is about how we can strengthen America’s economy even more. And we think the best place to start is with America’s middle-class families and our small businesses. So today, we’re here to talk to you about making permanent this tax relief — one, so they can continue to grow; two, so we can add a million and a half new jobs; and three, we can protect them against a future Washington trying to steal back those hard-earned dollars that you and the Republican Congress has given them.
So thank you very much for having us here today.
THE PRESIDENT: And the time of submittal, what would you think that would be, Kevin?
REPRESENTATIVE BRADY: So we anticipate to the House voting on this in September and the Senate setting a timetable as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, that’s great.
Thank you very much everybody. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Q Did you talk about reducing sanctions with Mr. Putin? Did you talk about — did you talk about rolling back sanctions?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re not lifting sanctions. What?
Q The Russians sanctions will remain. Is that what you meant?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, everything is remaining. We’re not lifting sanctions.
Q Are you going to increase sanctions on Russia, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Not lifting sanctions. No.
Publicités

Présidence Trump: Ils déversent leurs problèmes sur les États-Unis (As with many of his crusades, guess who basic numbers always seem to support in the end ?)

15 juillet, 2018
At that point, you’ve got Europe and a number of Gulf countries who despise Qaddafi, or are concerned on a humanitarian basis, who are calling for action. But what has been a habit over the last several decades in these circumstances is people pushing us to act but then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game. (…) Free riders (…) So what I said at that point was, we should act as part of an international coalition. But because this is not at the core of our interests, we need to get a UN mandate; we need Europeans and Gulf countries to be actively involved in the coalition; we will apply the military capabilities that are unique to us, but we expect others to carry their weight. Obama (2016)
Trump’s approval rating trajectory has diverged from past presidents. Trump’s approval rating has actually ticked up as the 2018 midterm elections approach. The Hill
Nous protégeons l’Allemagne, la France et tout le monde et nous payons beaucoup d’argent pour ça… Ça dure depuis des décennies mais je dois m’en occuper parce que c’est très injuste pour notre pays et pour nos contribuables. Nous sommes censés vous défendre contre la Russie alors pourquoi payez-vous des milliards de dollars à la Russie pour l’énergie ! En fait l’Allemagne est captive de la Russie. Donald Trump
Quand le Mexique nous envoie ces gens, ils n’envoient pas les meilleurs d’entre eux. Ils apportent des drogues. Ils apportent le crime. Ce sont des violeurs. Donald Trump
Ce que je dis – et j’ai beaucoup de respect pour les Mexicains. J’aime les Mexicains. J’ai beaucoup de Mexicains qui travaillent pour moi et ils sont géniaux. Mais nous parlons ici d’un gouvernement beaucoup plus intelligent que notre gouvernement. Beaucoup plus malin, plus rusé que notre gouvernement, et ils envoient des gens. Et ils envoient – si vous vous souvenez, il y a des années, quand Castro a ouvert ses prisons et il les a envoyés partout aux États-Unis (…) Et vous savez, ce sont les nombreux repris de justice endurcis qu’il a envoyés. Et, vous savez, c’était il y a longtemps, mais (…)  à titre d’exemple, cet horrible gars qui a tué une belle femme à San Francisco. Le Mexique ne le veut pas. Alors ils l’envoient. Comment pensez-vous qu’il est arrivé ici cinq fois? Ils le chassent. Ils déversent leurs problèmes sur États-Unis et nous n’en parlons pas parce que nos politiciens sont stupides. (…) Et je vais vous dire quelque chose: la jeune femme qui a été tuée – c’était une statistique. Ce n’était même pas une histoire. Ma femme me l’a rapporté. Elle a dit, vous savez, elle a vu ce petit article sur la jeune femme de San Francisco qui a été tuée, et j’ai fait des recherches et j’ai découvert qu’elle a été tuée par cet animal … qui est venu illégalement dans le pays plusieurs fois et qui d’ailleurs a une longue liste de condamnations. Et je l’ai rendu public et maintenant c’est la plus grande histoire du monde en ce moment. … Sa vie sera très importante pour de nombreuses raisons, mais l’une d’entre elles sera de jeter de la lumière et de faire la lumière sur ce qui se passe dans ce pays. Donald Trump
Ou vous avez des frontières ou vous n’avez pas de frontières. Maintenant, cela ne signifie pas que vous ne pouvez pas permettre à quelqu’un de vraiment bien devenir citoyen. Mais je pense qu’une partie du problème de ce pays est que nous accueillons des gens qui, dans certains cas, sont bons et, dans certains cas, ne sont pas bons et, dans certains cas, sont des criminels. Je me souviens, il y a des années, que Castro envoyait le pire qu’il avait dans ce pays. Il envoyait des criminels dans ce pays, et nous l’avons fait avec d’autres pays où ils nous utilisent comme dépotoir. Et franchement, le fait que nous permettons que cela se produise est ce qui fait vraiment du mal à notre pays. Donald Trump
I was in primary school in my native Colombia when my father was murdered. I was six – just one year older than my daughter is now. My father was an officer in the Colombian army at a time when wearing a uniform made you a target for narcoterrorists, Farc fighters and guerrilla groups. What I remember clearly from those early years is the bombing and the terror. I was so afraid, especially after my dad died. At night, I would curl up in my mother’s bed while she held me close. She could not promise me that everything was going to be all right, because it wasn’t true. I don’t want my daughter to grow up like that. But when I turn on my TV, I see terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and in Orlando. There are dangerous people coming across our borders. Trump was right. Some are rapists and criminals, but some are good people, too. But how do we know who is who, when you come here illegally? I moved to the US in 2006 on a work permit. It took nearly five years and thousands of dollars to become a US citizen. I know the process is not perfect, but it’s the law. Why would I want illegals coming in when I had to go through this? It’s not fair that they’re allowed to jump the line and take advantage of so many benefits, ones that I pay for with my tax dollars. People assume that because I’m a woman, I should vote for the woman; or that because I’m Latina, I should vote for the Democrat. The Democrats have been pandering to minorities and women for the last 50 years. They treat Latinos as if we’re all one big group. I’m Colombian – I don’t like Mariachi music. Donald Trump is not just saying what he thinks people want to hear, he’s saying what they’re afraid to say. I believe that he’s the only candidate who can make America strong and safe again. Ximena Barreto (31, San Diego, California)
This week, as President Trump comes out in support of a bill that seeks to halve legal immigration to the United States, his administration is emphasizing the idea that Americans and their jobs need to be protected from all newcomers—undocumented and documented. To support that idea, his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has turned to a moment in American history that is often referenced by those who support curbing immigration: the Mariel boatlift of 1980. But, in fact, much of the conventional wisdom about that episode is based on falsehoods rooted in Cold War rhetoric. During a press briefing on Wednesday, journalist Glenn Thrush asked Miller to provide statistics showing the correlation between the presence of low-skill immigrants and decreased wages for U.S.-born and naturalized workers. In response, Miller noted the findings of a recent study by Harvard economist George Borjas on the Mariel boatlift, which contentiously argued that the influx of over 125,000 Cubans who entered the United States from April to October of 1980 decreased wages for southern Florida’s less educated workers. Borjas’ study, which challenged an earlier influential study by Berkeley economist David Card, has received major criticisms. A lively debate persists among economists about the study’s methods, limited sample size and interpretation of the region’s racial categories—but Miller’s conjuring of Mariel is contentious on its own merits. The Mariel boatlift is an outlier in the pages of U.S. immigration history because it was, at its core, a result of Cold War posturing between the United States and Cuba. Fidel Castro found himself in a precarious situation in April 1980 when thousands of Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy seeking asylum. Castro opened up the port of Mariel and claimed he would let anyone who wanted to leave Cuba to do so. Across the Florida Straits, the United States especially prioritized receiving people who fled communist regimes as a Cold War imperative. Because the newly minted Refugee Act had just been enacted—largely to address the longstanding bias that favored people fleeing communism—the Marielitos were admitted under an ambiguous, emergency-based designation: “Cuban-Haitian entrant (status pending).” (…) In order to save face, Castro put forward the narrative that the Cubans who sought to leave the island were the dregs of society and counter-revolutionaries who needed to be purged because they could never prove productive to the nation. This sentiment, along with reports that he had opened his jails and mental institutes as part of this boatlift, fueled a mythology that the Marielitos were a criminal, violent, sexually deviant and altogether “undesirable” demographic. In reality, more than 80% of the Marielitos had no criminal past, even in a nation where “criminality” could include acts antithetical to the revolutionary government’s ideals. In addition to roughly 1,500 mentally and physically disabled people, this wave of Cubans included a significant number of sex workers and queer and transgender people—some of whom were part of the minority who had criminal-justice involvement, having been formerly incarcerated because of their gender and sexual transgression. Part of what made Castro’s propaganda scheme so successful was that his regime’s repudiation of Marielitos found an eager audience in the United States among those who found it useful to fuel the nativist furnace. U.S. legislators, policymakers and many in the general public accepted Castro’s negative depiction of the Marielitos as truth. By 1983, the film Scarface had even fictionalized a Marielito as a druglord and violent criminal. Then and now, the boatlift proved incredibly unpopular among those living in the United States and is often cited as one of the most vivid examples of the dangers of lax immigration enforcement. In fact, many of President Jimmy Carter’s opponents listed Mariel as one of his and the Democratic Party’s greatest failures, even as his Republican successor, President Ronald Reagan, also embraced the Marielitos as part of an ideological campaign against Cuba. Julio Capó, Jr.
For an economist, there’s a straightforward way to study how low-skill immigration affects native workers: Find a large, sudden wave of low-skill immigrants arriving in one city only. Watch what happens to wages and employment for native workers in that city, and compare that to other cities where the immigrants didn’t go. An ideal “natural experiment” like this actually happened in Miami in 1980. Over just a few months, 125,000 mostly low-skill immigrants arrived from Mariel Bay, Cuba. This vast seaborne exodus — Fidel Castro briefly lifted Cuba’s ban on emigration -— is known as the Mariel boatlift. Over the next few months, the workforce of Miami rose by 8 percent. By comparison, normal immigration to the US increases the nationwide workforce by about 0.3 percent per year. So if immigrants compete with native workers, Miami in the 1980s is exactly where you should see natives’ wages drop. Berkeley’s Card examined the effects of the Cuban immigrants on the labor market in a massively influential study in 1990. In fact, that paper became one of the most cited in immigration economics. The design of the study was elegant and transparent. But even more than that, what made the study memorable was what Card found. In a word: nothing. The Card study found no difference in wage or employment trends between Miami — which had just been flooded with new low-skill workers — and other cities. This was true for workers even at the bottom of the skills ladder. Card concluded that “the Mariel immigration had essentially no effect on the wages or employment outcomes of non-Cuban workers in the Miami labor market. » (…) Economists ever since have tried to explain this remarkable result. Was it that the US workers who might have suffered a wage drop had simply moved away? Had low-skill Cubans made native Miamians more productive by specializing in different tasks, thus stimulating the local economy? Was it that the Cubans’ own demand for goods and services had generated as many jobs in Miami as they filled? Or perhaps was it that Miami employers shifted to production technologies that used more low-skill labor, absorbing the new labor supply? Regardless, there was no dip in wages to explain. The real-life economy was evidently more complex than an “Econ 101” model would predict. Such a model would require wages to fall when the supply of labor, through immigration, goes up. This is where two new studies came in, decades after Card’s — in 2015. One, by Borjas, claims that Card’s analysis had obscured a large fall in the wages of native workers by using too broad a definition of “low-skill worker.” Card’s study had looked at the wages of US workers whose education extended only to high school or less. That was a natural choice, since about half of the newly-arrived Cubans had a high school degree, and half didn’t. Borjas, instead, focuses on workers who did not finish high school — and claimed that the Boatlift caused the wages of those workers, those truly at the bottom of the ladder, to collapse. The other new study (ungated here), by economists Giovanni Peri and Vasil Yasenov, of the UC Davis and UC Berkeley, reconfirms Card’s original result: It cannot detect an effect of the boatlift on Miami wages, even among workers who did not finish high school. (The wages of Miami workers with high school degrees (and no more than that) jump up right after the Mariel boatlift, relative to prior trends. The wages of those with less than a high school education appear to dip slightly, for a couple of years, although this is barely distinguishable amid the statistical noise. And these same inflation-adjusted wages were also falling in many other cities that didn’t receive a wave of immigrants, so it’s not possible to say with statistical confidence whether that brief dip on the right is real. It might have been — but economists can’t be sure. The rise on the left, in contrast, is certainly statistically significant, even relative to corresponding wage trends in other cities. Here is how the Borjas study reaches exactly the opposite conclusion. The Borjas study slices up the data much more finely than even Peri and Yasenov do. It’s not every worker with less than high school that he looks at. Borjas starts with the full sample of workers of high school or less — then removes women, and Hispanics, and workers who aren’t prime age (that is, he tosses out those who are 19 to 24, and 60 to 65). And then he removes workers who have a high school degree. In all, that means throwing out the data for 91 percent of low-skill workers in Miami in the years where Borjas finds the largest wage effect. It leaves a tiny sample, just 17 workers per year. When you do that, the average wages for the remaining workers look like this: (…) For these observations picked out of the broader dataset, average wages collapse by at least 40 percent after the boatlift. Wages fall way below their previous trend, as well as way below similar trends in other cities, and the fall is highly statistically significant. There are two ways to interpret these findings. The first way would be to conclude that the wage trend seen in the subgroup that Borjas focuses on — non-Hispanic prime-age men with less than a high school degree — is the “real” effect of the boatlift. The second way would be to conclude, as Peri and Yasenov do, that slicing up small data samples like this generates a great deal of statistical noise. If you do enough slicing along those lines, you can find groups for which wages rose after the Boatlift, and others for which it fell. In any dataset with a lot of noise, the results for very small groups will vary widely. Researchers can and do disagree about which conclusion to draw. But there are many reasons to favor the view that there is no compelling basis to revise Card’s original finding. There is not sufficient evidence to show that Cuban immigrants reduced any low-skill workers’ wages in Miami, even small minorities of them, and there isn’t much more that can be learned about the Mariel boatlift with the data we have. (…) Around 1980, the same time as the Boatlift, two things happened that would bring a lot more low-wage black men into the survey samples. First, there was a simultaneous arrival of large numbers of very low-income immigrants from Haiti without high school degrees: that is, non-Hispanic black men who earn much less than US black workers but cannot be distinguished from US black workers in the survey data. Nearly all hadn’t finished high school. That meant not just that Miami suddenly had far more black men with less than high school after 1980, but also that those black men had much lower earnings. Second, the Census Bureau, which ran the CPS surveys, improved its survey methods around 1980 to cover more low-skill black men due to political pressure after research revealed that many low-income black men simply weren’t being counted. (…) In sum, the evidence from the Mariel boatlift continues to support the conclusion of David Card’s seminal research: There is no clear evidence that wages fell (or that unemployment rose) among the least-skilled workers in Miami, even after a sudden refugee wave sharply raised the size of that workforce. This does not by any means imply that large waves of low-skill immigration could not displace any native workers, especially in the short term, in other times and places. But politicians’ pronouncements that immigrants necessarily do harm native workers must grapple with the evidence from real-world experiences to the contrary. Michael Clemens (Center for Global Development, Washington, DC)
His name was Luis Felipe. Born in Cuba in 1962, he came to the United States on a fishing boat and ended up in prison for shooting his girlfriend. He founded the New York chapter of the Latin Kings in 1986. Soon he was ordering murders from his prison cell. Esquire
Judge Martin says the extreme conditions are necessary to protect society.  »I do not do it out of my sense of cruelty, » the judge said at the sentencing, after Mr. Felipe had expressed remorse for the killings. But noting that the defendant had been convicted for ordering the murder of three Latin Kings and the attempted murder of four others, the judge said that without such restrictions,  »some of the young men sitting in this court today who are supporters of Mr. Felipe might well be murdered in the future. » (…) That Mr. Felipe, a man of charisma and intelligence, is nonetheless a ruthless criminal is not in dispute. His accounts of his background vary. He has said that his mother was a prostitute and that both parents are now dead. At the age of 9, he was sent to prison for robbery. On his 19th birthday in 1980, he arrived in the United States during the Mariel boatlift. In short order, Mr. Felipe became a street thug, settling in Chicago. There he joined the Latin Kings, a Hispanic organization established in the 1940’s. He moved to the Bronx. One night in 1981, in what has been described as a drunken accident, he shot and killed his girlfriend. He fled to Chicago and was not apprehended until 1984. Sentenced to nine years for second-degree manslaughter, he ended up at Collins Correctional Facility in Helmuth, N.Y. At Collins, he found an inmate system lorded over by black gangs and white guards. In 1986, he started a fledgling New York prison chapter of the Latin Kings. In a manifesto that followers circulated, he laid out elaborate laws and rituals, emphasizing Latin pride, family values, rigorous discipline and swift punishment. He was paroled in 1989 but by 1991 had returned to prison. He was eventually sent to Attica for a three-year sentence for possession of stolen property. His word spread, not least because he wrote thousands of letters, his prose a mix of flamboyant grandiosity and street bluntness. As King Blood, Inka, First Supreme Crown, Mr. Felipe corresponded with Latin Kings in and out of prison. (At its peak, the gang was estimated to have about 2,000 members.) He soared with self-aggrandizement, styling himself as both autocratic patriarch and jailhouse Ann Landers, dispensing advice about romance, family squabbles, schoolyard disputes. But in 1993 and 1994, disciplinary troubles erupted throughout the Latin Kings, with members vying for power, filching gang money, looking sideways at the wrong women. Infuriated, King Blood wrote to his street lieutenants: B.O.S. (beat on sight) and T.O.S. (terminate on sight).  »Even while he was in Attica in segregation, he was able to order the leader of the Latin Kings on Rikers Island to murder someone who ended up being badly slashed in the face, » said Alexandra A. E. Shapiro, a Federal prosecutor. One victim was choked and beheaded. A second was killed accidentally during an attempt on another man. A third was gunned down. Federal authorities, who had been monitoring Mr. Felipe’s mail, arrested 35 Latin Kings. Thirty-four pleaded guilty. Only Mr. Felipe insisted on a trial. The Latin Kings still revere him, said Antonio Fernandez, King Tone, the gang’s new leader, who is trying to reposition it as a mainstream organization.  »He brought a message of hope, » he said. NYT
Luis « King Blood » Felipe, who founded the New York chapter in 1986 (…) ran the gang from prison like a demented puppet-master. He ordered the murders of three Kings and plotted to murder three others. He routinely dispatched « T.O.S. » orders–shorthand for « Terminate on Sight. » In one particularly gory execution, a rival was strangled, decapitated and set afire in a bathtub. His Kings tattoo was peeled off his arm with a knife. Convicted of racketeering in 1996, Felipe was sentenced to life imprisonment in solitary confinement to cut him off from the Kings. LA Times
Julio Gonzalez, a jilted lover whose arson revenge at the unlicensed Happy Land nightclub in the Bronx in 1990 claimed 87 lives, making him the nation’s worst single mass murderer at the time, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Plattsburgh, N.Y., where he had been taken from prison. He was 61 (…) Mr. Gonzalez was born in Holguín, a city in Oriente Province in Cuba, on Oct. 10, 1954. He served three years in prison in the 1970s for deserting the Cuban Army. In 1980, when he was 25, he joined what became known as the Mariel boatlift, an effort organized by Cuban-Americans and agreed to by the Cuban government that brought thousands of Cuban asylum-seekers to the United States. It was later learned that many of the refugees had been released from jails and mental hospitals. Mr. Gonzalez was said to have faked a criminal record as a drug dealer to help him gain passage. (…) Mr. Gonzalez had just lost his job at a Queens lamp warehouse when he showed up at Happy Land. There he argued heatedly with his girlfriend, Lydia Feliciano, about their six-year on-again, off-again relationship and about her quitting as a coat checker at the club. Around 3 a.m., a bouncer ejected him. According to testimony, Mr. Gonzalez walked three blocks to an Amoco service station, where he found an empty one-gallon container and bought $1 worth of gasoline from an attendant he knew there. He returned to the club. (…) Mr. Gonzalez splashed the gasoline at the bottom of a rickety staircase, the club’s only means of exit, and ignited it. Then he went home and fell asleep. (…) Ms. Feliciano was among the six survivors. She recounted her argument with Mr. Gonzalez to the police, who went to his apartment, where he confessed. “I got angry, the devil got to me, and I set the fire,” he told detectives. (…) During a video conference-call interview at the time, he said he had not realized how many people were inside Happy Land that night, that he had nothing against them and that his anger had been directed at the bouncer. NYT
Cet exode des Marielitos a commencé par un coup de force. Le 5 avril 1980, 10 000 Cubains entrent dans l’ambassade du Pérou à La Havane et demandent à ce pays de leur accorder asile. Dix jours plus tard, Castro déclare que ceux qui veulent quitter Cuba peuvent le faire à condition d’abandonner leurs biens et que les Cubains de Floride viennent les chercher au port de Mariel. L’hypothèse est que Castro voit dans cette affaire une double opportunité : Il se débarrasse d’opposants -il en profite également pour vider ses prisons et ses asiles mentaux et sans doute infiltrer, parmi les réfugiés, quelques agents castristes ; Il espère que cet afflux soudain d’exilés va profondément déstabiliser le sud de la Floride et affaiblir plus encore le brave Président Jimmy Carter, préchi-prêcheur démocrate des droits de l’homme, un peu trop à gauche pour endosser l’habit de grand Satan impérialiste que taille à tous les élus de la Maison Blanche le leader cubain. De fait, du 15 avril au 31 octobre 1980, quelque 125 000 Cubains quitteront l’île. 2 746 d’entre eux ont été considérés comme des criminels selon les lois des Etats-Unis et incarcérés. Le Nouvel Obs
Avec l’autorisation du président Fidel Castro, 125 000 Cubains quittent leur île par le port de Mariel pour trouver refuge aux États-Unis. Cet exode massif posera plusieurs problèmes aux Américains qui y mettront un terme après deux mois. Le 3 avril 1980, six Cubains entrent de force à l’ambassade du Pérou à La Havane pour s’y réfugier. Les autorités cubaines demandent leur retour sans succès. Voulant donner une leçon au Pérou, le président Castro fait retirer les gardes protégeant l’ambassade. Celle-ci est submergée par plus de 10 000 personnes qui sont vite aux prises avec des problèmes de salubrité et le manque de nourriture. Pendant que d’autres ambassades sont envahies (Costa Rica, Espagne), la communauté cubano-américaine entreprend une campagne de support. Voulant récupérer le mouvement, Castro annonce le 23 avril une politique de porte ouverte pour ceux qui veulent quitter Cuba. Il invite les Cubains habitant aux États-Unis à venir chercher leurs proches au port de Mariel. Cet exode, qui se fait avec 17 000 navires de toutes sortes, implique environ 125 000 personnes, en grande partie des gens de la classe ouvrière, des Noirs et des jeunes. Son envergure reflète un profond mécontentement face à l’économie cubaine et la baisse de la ferveur révolutionnaire. D’abord favorables à cet exode, les États-Unis sont vite débordés. Le 14 mai, le président Jimmy Carter fait établir un cordon de sécurité pour arrêter les navires. Placés dans des camps militaires et des prisons fédérales, les réfugiés sont interrogés à leur arrivée. Parmi eux, on retrouve des criminels et des malades mentaux qui ont quitté avec le soutien des autorités cubaines, ce qui a un effet négatif sur la population. Carter cherche à remplacer l’exode maritime par un pont aérien avec un quota de 3000 personnes par année. Mais aucun accord n’est conclu avec Cuba. Submergées par un exode en provenance de Haïti, les autorités américaines mettront fin à l’exode cubain le 20 juin 1980. Perspective monde
As BuzzFeed investigative reporter Ken Bensinger chronicles in his new book, Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World’s Biggest Sports Scandal, the investigation’s origins began before FIFA handed the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar. The case had actually begun as an FBI probe into an illegal gambling ring the bureau believed was run by people with ties to Russian organized crime outfits. The ring operated out of Trump Tower in New York City. Eventually, the investigation spread to soccer, thanks in part to an Internal Revenue Service agent named Steve Berryman, a central figure in Bensinger’s book who pieced together the financial transactions that formed the backbone of the corruption allegations. But first, it was tips from British journalist Andrew Jennings and Christopher Steele ― the former British spy who is now known to American political observers as the man behind the infamous so-called “pee tape” dossier chronicling now-President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia ― that pointed the Americans’ attention toward the Russian World Cup, and the decades of bribery and corruption that had transformed FIFA from a modest organization with a shoestring budget into a multibillion-dollar enterprise in charge of the world’s most popular sport. Later, the feds arrested and flipped Chuck Blazer, a corrupt American soccer official and member of FIFA’s vaunted Executive Committee. It was Blazer who helped them crack the case wide open, as HuffPost’s Mary Papenfuss and co-author Teri Thompson chronicled in their book American Huckster, based on the 2014 story they broke of Blazer’s role in the scandal. Russia’s efforts to secure hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup never became a central part of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice’s case. Thanks to Blazer, it instead focused primarily on CONCACAF, which governs soccer in the Caribbean and North and Central America, and other officials from South America. But as Bensinger explained in an interview with HuffPost this week, the FIFA case gave American law enforcement officials an early glimpse into the “Machiavellian Russia” of Vladimir Putin “that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it.” And it was Steele’s role in the earliest aspects of the FIFA case, coincidentally, that fostered the relationship that led him to hand his Trump dossier to the FBI ― the dossier that has now helped form “a big piece of the investigative blueprint,” as Bensinger said, that former FBI director Robert Mueller is using in his probe of Russian meddling in the election that made Trump president. HuffPost
There are sort of these weird connections to everything going on in the political sphere in our country, which I think is interesting because when I was reporting the book out, it was mostly before the election. It was a time when Christopher Steele’s name didn’t mean anything. But what I figured out over time is that this had nothing to do with sour grapes, and the FBI agents who opened the case didn’t really care about losing the World Cup. The theory was that the U.S. investigation was started because the U.S. lost to Qatar, and Bill Clinton or Eric Holder or Barack Obama or somebody ordered up an investigation. What happened was that the investigation began in July or August 2010, four or five months before the vote happened. It starts because this FBI agent, who’s a long-term Genovese crime squad guy, gets a new squad ― the Eurasian Organized Crime Squad ― which is primarily focused on Russian stuff. It’s a squad that’s squeezed of resources and not doing much because under Robert Mueller, who was the FBI director at the time, the FBI was not interested in traditional crime-fighting. They were interested in what Mueller called transnational crime. So this agent looked for cases that he thought would score points with Mueller. And one of the cases they’re doing involves the Trump Tower. It’s this illegal poker game and sports book that’s partially run out of the Trump Tower. The main guy was a Russian mobster, and the FBI agent had gone to London ― that’s how he met Steele ― to learn about this guy. Steele told him what he knew, and they parted amicably, and the parting shot was, “Listen, if you have any other interesting leads in the future, let me know.” Steele had already been hired by the English bid for the 2018 World Cup at that point. What Chris Steele starts seeing on behalf of the English bid is the Russians doing, as it’s described in the book, sort of strange and questionable stuff. It looks funny, and it’s setting off alarm bells for Steele. So he calls the FBI agent back, and says, “You should look into what’s happening with the World Cup bid. » (…) It’s tempting to look at this as a reflection of the general U.S. writ large obsession with Russia, which certainly exists, but it’s also a different era. This was 2009, 2010. This was during the Russian reset. It was Obama’s first two years in office. He’s hugging Putin and talking about how they’re going to make things work. Russia is playing nice-nice. (…)That’s what I find interesting about this case is that, what we see in Russia’s attempt to win the World Cup by any means is the first sort of sign of the Russia we now understand exists, which is kind of a Machiavellian Russia that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it. It was like a dress rehearsal for that. (…) It’s one of these things that looks like an accident, but so much of world history depends on these accidents. Chris Steele, when he was still at MI-6, investigated the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who was the Russian spy poisoned with polonium. It was Steele who ran that investigation and determined that Putin probably ordered it. And then Steele gets hired because of his expertise in Russia by the English bid, and he becomes the canary in the coal mine saying, “Uh oh, guys, it’s not going to be that easy, and things are looking pretty grim for you.” (…) I don’t know if that would have affected whether or not Chris Steele later gets hired by Fusion GPS to put together the Trump dossier. But it’s certain that the relationship he built because of the FIFA case meant that the FBI took it more seriously.   (…) I think [FIFA vice president Jérôme Valcke] and others were recognizing this increasingly brazen attitude of the criminality within FIFA. They had gone from an organization where people were getting bribes and doing dirty stuff, but doing it very carefully behind closed doors. And it was transitioning to one where the impunity was so rampant that people thought they could do anything. And I think in his mind, awarding the World Cup to Russia under very suspicious circumstances and also awarding it to Qatar, which by any definition has no right to host this tournament, it felt to him and others like a step too far. I don’t think he had any advance knowledge that the U.S. was poking around on it, but he recognized that it was getting out of hand. People were handing out cash bribes in practically broad daylight, and as corrupt as these people were, they didn’t tend to do that. (…) The FIFA culture we know today didn’t start yesterday. It started in 1974 when this guy gets elected, and within a couple years, the corruption starts. And it starts with one bribe to Havelange, or one idea that he should be bribed. And it starts a whole culture, and the people all sort of learn from that same model. The dominoes fell over time. It’s not a new model, and things were getting more and more out of hand over time. FIFA had been able to successfully bat these challenges down over the years. There’s an attempted revolt in FIFA in 2001 or 2002 that Blatter completely shut down. The general secretary of FIFA was accusing Blatter and other people of either being involved in corruption or permitting corruption, and there’s a moment where it seems like the Executive Committee was going to turn against Blatter and vote him out and change everything. But they all blinked, and Blatter dispensed his own justice by getting rid of his No. 2 and putting in people who were going to be loyal to him. The effect of those things was more brazen behavior. (…) It was an open secret. I think it’s because soccer’s just too big and important in all these other countries. I think other countries have just never been able to figure out how to deal with it. The best you’d get was a few members of Parliament in England holding outraged press conferences or a few hearings, but nothing ever came of it. It’s just too much of a political hot potato because soccer elsewhere is so much more important than it is the U.S. People are terrified of offending the FIFA gods There’s a story about how Andrew Jennings, this British journalist, wanted to broadcast a documentary detailing FIFA corruption just a week or so before the 2010 vote, and when the British bid and the British government got a hold of it, they tried really hard to stifle the press. They begged the BBC not to air the documentary until after the vote, because they were terrified of FIFA. That’s reflective of the kind of attitudes that all these countries have. (…) it reminds me of questions about Chuck Blazer. Is he all bad, or all good? He’s a little bit of both. The U.S. women’s national team probably wouldn’t exist without him. The Women’s World Cup probably wouldn’t either. Major League Soccer got its first revenue-positive TV deal because of Chuck Blazer. (…) At the same time, he was a corrupt crook that stole a lot of money that could’ve gone to the game. And so, is he good or bad? Probably more bad than good, but he’s not all bad. That applies to the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a totally artificial thing that was made up ultimately as a money-making scheme for Blazer, but in the end, it’s probably benefited soccer in this country. So it’s clearly not all bad. (…) The money stolen from the sport isn’t just the bribes. Let’s say I’m a sports marketing firm, and I bribe you a million dollars to sign over a rights contract to me. The first piece of it is that million dollars that could have gone to the sport. But it’s also the opportunity cost: What would the value of those rights have been if it was taken to the free market instead of a bribe? All that money is taken away from the sport. And the second thing was traveling to South America and seeing the conditions of soccer for fans, for kids and for women. That was really eye-opening. There are stadiums in Argentina and Brazil that are absolutely decrepit. And people would explain, the money that was supposed to come to these clubs never comes. You have kids still playing with the proverbial ball made of rags and duct tape, and little girls who can’t play because there are no facilities or leagues for women at all. When you see that, and then you see dudes making millions in bribes and also marketing guys making far more from paying the bribes, I started to get indignant about it. FIFA always ties itself to children and the good of the game. But it’s absurd when you see how they operate. The money doesn’t go to kids. It goes to making soccer officials rich. (…) When massive amounts of money mixes with a massively popular cultural phenomenon, is it ever going to be clean? I wish it would be different, but it seems kind of hopeless. How do you regulate soccer, and who can oversee this to make sure that people behave in an ethical, clean and fair way that benefits everyone else? It’s not an accident that every single international sports organization is based in Switzerland. The answer is because the Swiss, not only do they offer them a huge tax break, they also basically say, “You can do whatever you want and we’re not going to bother you.” That’s exactly what these groups want. Well, how do you regulate that? I don’t think the U.S. went in saying, “We’re going to regulate soccer.” I think they thought if we can give soccer a huge kick in the ass, if we can create so much public and political pressure on them that sponsors will run away, they’ll feel they have no option but to react and clean up their act. It’s sort of, kick ’em where it hurts. (…) But also, the annoying but true reality of FIFA is that when the World Cup is happening, all the soccer fans around the world forget all their anger and just want to watch the tournament. For three and a half years, everyone bitches about what a mess FIFA is, and then during the World Cup everyone just wants to watch soccer. There could be some reinvigoration in the next few months when the next stupid scandal appears. And I do think Qatar could reinvigorate more of that. There’s a tiny piece of me that thinks we could still see Qatar stripped of the World Cup. That would certainly spur a lot of conversation about this. Ken Bensinger
The United States has the world’s largest trade deficit. It’s been that way since 1975. The deficit in goods and services was $566 billion in 2017. Imports were $2.895 trillion and exports were only $2.329 trillion. The U.S. trade deficit in goods, without services, was $810 billion. The United States exported $1.551 trillion in goods. The biggest categories were commercial aircraft, automobiles, and food. It imported $2.361 trillion. The largest categories were automobiles, petroleum, and cell phones. (…) The Largest U.S. Deficit Is With China More than 65 percent of the U.S. trade deficit in goods was with China. The $375 billion deficit with China was created by $506 billion in imports. The main U.S. imports from China are consumer electronics, clothing, and machinery. Many of these imports are actually made by American companies. They ship raw materials to be assembled in China for a lower cost. They are counted as imports even though they create income and profit for these U.S. companies. Nevertheless, this practice does outsource manufacturing jobs. America only exported $130 billion in goods to China. The top three exports were agricultural products, aircraft, and electrical machinery. The second largest trade deficit is $69 billion with Japan. The world’s fifth largest economy needs the agricultural products, industrial supplies, aircraft, and pharmaceutical products that the United States makes. Exports totaled $68 billion in 2017.Imports were higher, at $137 billion. Much of this was automobiles, with industrial supplies and equipment making up another large portion. Trade has improved since the 2011 earthquake, which slowed the economy and made auto parts difficult to manufacture for several months. The U.S. trade deficit with Germany is $65 billion. The United States exports $53 billion, a large portion of which is automobiles, aircraft, and pharmaceuticals. It imports $118 billion in similar goods: automotive vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, and medicine. (…) The trade deficit with Canada is $18 billion. That’s only 3 percent of the total Canadian trade of $582 billion. The United States exports $282 billion to Canada, more than it does to any other country. It imports $300 billion. The largest export by far is automobiles and parts. Other large categories include petroleum products and industrial machinery and equipment. The largest import is crude oil and gas from Canada’s abundant shale oil fields. The trade deficit with Mexico is $71 billion. Exports are $243 billion, mostly auto parts and petroleum products. Imports are $314 billion, with cars, trucks, and auto parts being the largest components. The Balance
On connaît les photos de ces hommes et de ces femmes débarquant sur des plages européennes, engoncés dans leurs gilets de sauvetage orange, tentant à tout prix de maintenir la tête de leur enfant hors de l’eau. Impossible également d’oublier l’image du corps du petit Aylan Kurdi, devenu en 2016 le symbole planétaire du drame des migrants. Ce que l’on sait moins c’est que le « business » des passeurs rapporte beaucoup d’argent. Selon la première étude du genre de l’Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime (l’UNODC), le trafic de migrants a rapporté entre 5,5 et 7 milliards de dollars (entre 4,7 et 6 milliards d’euros) en 2016. C’est l’équivalent de ce que l’Union européenne a dépensé la même année dans l’aide humanitaire, selon le rapport. (…) En 2016, au moins 2,5 millions de migrants sont passés entre les mains de passeurs, estime l’UNODC qui rappelle la difficulté d’évaluer une activité criminelle. De quoi faire fructifier les affaires de ces contrebandiers. Cette somme vient directement des poches des migrants qui paient des criminels pour voyager illégalement. Le tarif varie en fonction de la distance à parcourir, du nombre de frontières, les moyens de transport utilisés, la production de faux papiers… La richesse supposée du client est un facteur qui fait varier les prix. Evidemment, payer plus cher ne rend pas le voyage plus sûr ou plus confortable, souligne l’UNODC. Selon les estimations de cette agence des Nations unies, ce sont les passages vers l’Amérique du Nord qui rapportent le plus. En 2016, jusqu’à 820 000 personnes ont traversé la frontière illégalement, versant entre 3,1 et 3,6 milliards d’euros aux trafiquants. Suivent les trois routes de la Méditerranée vers l’Union européenne. Environ 375 000 personnes ont ainsi entrepris ce voyage en 2016, rapportant entre 274 et 300 millions d’euros aux passeurs. Pour atteindre l’Europe de l’Ouest, un Afghan peut ainsi dépenser entre 8000 € et 12 000 €. Sans surprise, les rédacteurs du rapport repèrent que l’Europe est une des destinations principales des migrants. (…) Les migrants qui arrivent en Italie sont originaires à 89 % d’Afrique, de l’Ouest principalement. 94 % de ceux qui atteignent l’Espagne sont également originaires d’Afrique, de l’Ouest et du Nord. En revanche, la Grèce accueille à 85 % des Afghans, Syriens et des personnes originaires des pays du Moyen-Orient. (…) des milliers de citoyens de pays d’Amérique centrale et de Mexicains traversent chaque année la frontière qui sépare les Etats-Unis du Mexique. Les autorités peinent cependant à quantifier les flux. Ce que l’on sait c’est qu’en 2016, 2 404 personnes ont été condamnées pour avoir fait passer des migrants aux Etats-Unis. 65 d’entre eux ont été condamnés pour avoir fait passer au moins 100 personnes.Toujours en 2016, le Mexique, qui fait office de « pays-étape » pour les voyageurs, a noté que les Guatémaltèques, les Honduriens et les Salvadoriens formaient les plus grosses communautés sur son territoire. En 2016, les migrants caribéens arrivaient principalement d’Haïti, note encore l’UNODC. (…) Sur les 8189 décès de migrants recensés par l’OIM en 2016, 3832 sont morts noyés (46 %) en traversant la Méditerranée. Les passages méditerranéens sont les plus mortels. L’un d’entre eux force notamment les migrants à parcourir 300 kilomètres en haute mer sur des embarcations précaires. C’est aussi la cruauté des passeurs qui est en cause. L’UNODC décrit le sort de certaines personnes poussées à l’eau par les trafiquants qui espèrent ainsi échapper aux gardes-côtes. Le cas de centaines de personnes enfermées dans des remorques sans ventilation, ni eau ou nourriture pendant des jours est également relevé. Meurtre, extorsion, torture, demande de rançon, traite d’être humain, violences sexuelles sont également le lot des migrants, d’où qu’ils viennent. En 2017, 382 migrants sont décédés de la main des hommes, soit 6 % des décès. (…) Le passeur est le plus souvent un homme mais des femmes (des compagnes, des sœurs, des filles ou des mères) sont parfois impliquées dans le trafic, définissent les rédacteurs de l’étude. Certains parviennent à gagner modestement leur vie, d’autres, membres d’organisations et de mafias font d’importants profits. Tous n’exercent pas cette activité criminelle à plein temps. Souvent le passeur est de la même origine que ses victimes. Il parle la même langue et partage avec elles les mêmes repères culturels, ce qui lui permet de gagner leur confiance. Le recrutement des futurs « clients » s’opère souvent dans les camps de réfugiés ou dans les quartiers pauvres. Facebook, Viber, Skype ou WhatsApp sont devenus des indispensables du contrebandier qui veut faire passer des migrants. Arrivé à destination, le voyageur publie un compte rendu sur son passeur. Il décrit s’il a triché, échoué ou s’il traitait mal les migrants. Un peu comme une note de consommateur, rapporte l’UNODC. Mieux encore, les réseaux sociaux sont utilisés par les passeurs pour leur publicité. Sur Facebook, les trafiquants présentent leurs offres, agrémentent leur publication d’une photo, détaillent les prix et les modalités de paiement. L’agence note que, sur Facebook, des passeurs se font passer pour des ONG ou des agences de voyages européennes qui organisent des passages en toute sécurité. D’autres, qui visent particulièrement les Afghans, se posent en juristes spécialistes des demandes d’asile… Le Parisien
Mr. Trump’s anger at America’s allies embodies, however unpleasantly, a not unreasonable point of view, and one that the rest of the world ignores at its peril: The global world order is unbalanced and inequitable. And unless something is done to correct it soon, it will collapse, with or without the president’s tweets. While the West happily built the liberal order over the past 70 years, with Europe at its center, the Americans had the continent’s back. In turn, as it unravels, America feels this loss of balance the hardest — it has always spent the most money and manpower to keep the system working. The Europeans have basically been free riders on the voyage, spending almost nothing on defense, and instead building vast social welfare systems at home and robust, well-protected export industries abroad. Rather than lash back at Mr. Trump, they would do better to ask how we got to this place, and how to get out. The European Union, as an institution, is one of the prime drivers of this inequity. At the Group of 7, for example, the constituent countries are described as all equals. But in reality, the union puts a thumb on the scales in its members’ favor: It is a highly integrated, well-protected free-trade area that gives a huge leg up to, say, German car manufacturers while essentially punishing American companies who want to trade in the region. The eurozone offers a similar unfair advantage. If it were not for the euro, Germany would long ago have had to appreciate its currency in line with its enormous export surplus. (…) how can the very same politicians and journalists who defended the euro bailout payments during the financial crisis, arguing that Germany profited disproportionately from the common currency, now go berserk when Mr. Trump makes exactly this point? German manufacturers also have the advantage of operating in a common market with huge wage gaps. Bulgaria, one of the poorest member states, has a per capita gross domestic product roughly equal to that of Gabon, while even in Slovakia, Poland and Hungary — three relative success stories among the recent entrants to the union — that same measure is still roughly a third of what it is in Germany. Under the European Union, German manufacturers can assemble their cars in low-wage countries and export them without worrying about tariffs or other trade barriers. If your plant sits in Detroit, you might find the president’s anger over this fact persuasive. Mr. Trump is not the first president to complain about the unfair burden sharing within NATO. He’s merely the first president not just to talk tough, but to get tough. (…) All those German politicians who oppose raising military spending from a meager 1.3 percent of gross domestic product should try to explain to American students why their European peers enjoy free universities and health care, while they leave it up to others to cover for the West’s military infrastructure (…) When the door was opened, in 2001, many in the West believed that a growing Chinese middle class, enriched by and engaged with the world economy, would eventually claim voice and suffrage, thereby democratizing China. The opposite has happened. China, which has grown wealthy in part by stealing intellectual property from the West, is turning into an online-era dictatorship, while still denying reciprocity in investment and trade relations. (…) China’s unchecked abuse of the global free-trade regime makes a mockery of the very idea that the world can operate according to a rules-based order. Again, while many in the West have talked the talk about taking on China, only Mr. Trump has actually done something about it. Jochen Bittner (Die Zeit)
Is the Trump administration out to wreck the liberal world order? No, insisted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview at his office in Foggy Bottom last week: The administration’s aim is to align that world order with 21st-century realities. Many of the economic and diplomatic structures Mr. Trump stands accused of undermining, Mr. Pompeo argues, were developed in the aftermath of World War II. Back then, he tells me, they “made sense for America.” But in the post-Cold War era, amid a resurgence of geopolitical competition, “I think President Trump has properly identified a need for a reset.” Mr. Trump is suspicious of global institutions and alliances, many of which he believes are no longer paying dividends for the U.S. “When I watch President Trump give guidance to our team,” Mr. Pompeo says, “his question is always, ‘How does that structure impact America?’ ” The president isn’t interested in how a given rule “may have impacted America in the ’60s or the ’80s, or even the early 2000s,” but rather how it will enhance American power “in 2018 and beyond.” Mr. Trump’s critics have charged that his “America First” strategy reflects a retreat from global leadership. “I see it fundamentally differently,” Mr. Pompeo says. He believes Mr. Trump “recognizes the importance of American leadership” but also of “American sovereignty.” That means Mr. Trump is “prepared to be disruptive” when the U.S. finds itself constrained by “arrangements that put America, and American workers, at a disadvantage.” Mr. Pompeo sees his task as trying to reform rules “that no longer are fair and equitable” while maintaining “the important historical relationships with Europe and the countries in Asia that are truly our partners.” The U.S. relationship with Germany has come under particular strain. Mr. Pompeo cites two reasons. “It is important that they demonstrate a commitment to securing their own people,” he says, in reference to Germany’s low defense spending. “When they do so, we’re prepared to do the right thing and support them.” And then there’s trade. The Germans, he says, need to “create tariff systems and nontariff-barrier systems that are equitable, reciprocal.” But Mr. Pompeo does not see the U.S.-German rift as a permanent reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. Once the defense and trade issues are addressed, “I’m very confident that the relationship will go from these irritants we see today to being as strong as it ever was.”  (…) In addition to renegotiating relationships with existing allies, the Trump administration is facing newly assertive great-power adversaries. “For a decade plus,” Mr. Pompeo says, U.S. foreign policy was “very focused on counterrorism and much less on big power struggles.” Today, while counterterrorism remains a priority, geopolitics is increasingly defined by conflicts with powerful states like China and Russia. Mr. Pompeo says the U.S. must be assertive but flexible in dealing with both Beijing and Moscow. He wants the U.S. relationship with China to be defined by rule-writing and rule-enforcing, not anarchic struggle. China, he says, hasn’t honored “the normal set of trade understandings . . . where these nation states would trade with each other on fair and reciprocal terms; they just simply haven’t done it. They’ve engaged in intellectual property theft, predatory economic practices.” Avoiding a more serious confrontation with China down the line will require both countries to appreciate one another’s long-term interests. The U.S. can’t simply focus on “a tariff issue today, or a particular island China has decided to militarize” tomorrow. Rather, the objective must be to create a rules-based structure to avoid a situation in which “zero-sum is the endgame for the two countries.” Mr. Pompeo also sees room for limited cooperation with Russia even as the U.S. confronts its revisionism. “There are many things about which we disagree. Our value sets are incredibly different, but there are also pockets where we find overlap,” he says. “That’s the challenge for a secretary of state—to identify those places where you can work together, while protecting America against the worst pieces of those governments’ activities.” (…) And the president’s agenda, as Mr. Pompeo communicates it, is one of extraordinary ambition: to rewrite the rules of world order in America’s favor while working out stable relationships with geopolitical rivals. Those goals may prove elusive. Inertia is a powerful force in international relations, and institutions and pre-existing agreements are often hard to reform. Among other obstacles, the Trump agenda creates the risk of a global coalition forming against American demands. American efforts to negotiate more favorable trading arrangements could lead China, Europe and Japan to work jointly against the U.S. That danger is exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s penchant for dramatic gestures and his volatile personal style. Yet the U.S. remains, by far, the world’s most powerful nation, and many countries will be looking for ways to accommodate the administration at least partially. Mr. Trump is right that the international rules and institutions developed during the Cold War era must be retooled to withstand new political, economic and military pressures. Mr. Pompeo believes that Mr. Trump’s instincts, preferences, and beliefs constitute a coherent worldview. (…) The world will soon see whether the president’s tweets of iron can be smoothly sheathed in a diplomatic glove. Walter Russell Mead
Illegal and illiberal immigration exists and will continue to expand because too many special interests are invested in it. It is one of those rare anomalies — the farm bill is another — that crosses political party lines and instead unites disparate elites through their diverse but shared self-interests: live-and-let-live profits for some and raw political power for others. For corporate employers, millions of poor foreign nationals ensure cheap labor, with the state picking up the eventual social costs. For Democratic politicos, illegal immigration translates into continued expansion of favorable political demography in the American Southwest. For ethnic activists, huge annual influxes of unassimilated minorities subvert the odious melting pot and mean continuance of their own self-appointed guardianship of salad-bowl multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements. No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans. Victor Davis Hanson
Much has been written — some of it either inaccurate or designed to obfuscate the issue ahead of the midterms for political purposes — about the border fiasco and the unfortunate separation of children from parents. (…) The media outrage usually does not include examination of why the Trump administration is enforcing existing laws that it inherited from the Bush and Obama administrations that at any time could have been changed by both Democratic and Republican majorities in Congress; of the use of often dubious asylum claims as a way of obtaining entry otherwise denied to those without legal authorization — a gambit that injures or at least hampers thousands with legitimate claims of political persecution; of the seeming unconcern for the safety of children by some would-be asylum seekers who illegally cross the border, rather than first applying legally at a U.S. consulate abroad; of the fact that many children are deliberately sent ahead, unescorted on such dangerous treks to help facilitate their own parents’ later entrance; of the cynicism of the cartels that urge and facilitate such mass rushes to the border to overwhelm general enforcement; and of the selective outrage of the media in 2018 in a fashion not known under similar policies and detentions of the past. In 2014, during a similar rush, both Barack Obama (“Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back.”) and Hillary Clinton (“We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay. So, we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”) warned — again to current media silence — would-be asylum seekers not to use children as levers to enter the U.S. (…) Mexico is the recipient of about $30 billion in annual remittances (aside from perhaps more than $20 billion annually sent to Central America) from mostly illegal aliens within the U.S. It is the beneficiary of an annual $71 billion trade surplus with the U.S. And it is mostly culpable for once again using illegal immigration and the lives of its own citizens — and allowing Central Americans unfettered transit through its country — as cynical tools of domestic and foreign policy. Illegal immigration, increasingly of mostly indigenous peoples, ensures an often racist Mexico City a steady stream of remittances (now its greatest source of foreign exchange), without much worry about how its indigent abroad can scrimp to send such massive sums back to Mexico. Facilitating illegal immigration also establishes and fosters a favorable expatriate demographic inside the U.S. that helps to recalibrate U.S. policy favorably toward Mexico. And Mexico City also uses immigration as a policy irritant to the U.S. that can be magnified or lessened, depending on Mexico’s own particular foreign-policy goals and moods at any given time.
All of the above call into question whether Mexico is a NAFTA ally, a neutral, or a belligerent, a status that may become perhaps clearer during its upcoming presidential elections. So far, it assumes that the optics of this human tragedy facilitate its own political agendas, but it may be just as likely that its cynicism could fuel renewed calls for a wall and reexamination of the entire Mexican–U.S. relationship and, indeed, NAFTA.
Victor Davis Hanson
This year there have been none of the usual Iranian provocations — frequent during the Obama administration — of harassing American ships in the Persian Gulf. Apparently, the Iranians now realize that anything they do to an American ship will be replied to with overwhelming force. Ditto North Korea. After lots of threats from Kim Jong-un about using his new ballistic missiles against the United States, Trump warned that he would use America’s far greater arsenal to eliminate North Korea’s arsenal for good. Trump is said to be undermining NATO by questioning its usefulness some 69 years after its founding. Yet this is not 1948, and Germany is no longer down. The United States is always in. And Russia is hardly out but is instead cutting energy deals with the Europeans. More significantly, most NATO countries have failed to keep their promises to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Yet the vast majority of the 29 alliance members are far closer than the U.S. to the dangers of Middle East terrorism and supposed Russian bullying. Why does Germany by design run up a $65 billion annual trade surplus with the United States? Why does such a wealthy country spend only 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense? And if Germany has entered into energy agreements with a supposedly dangerous Vladimir Putin, why does it still need to have its security subsidized by the American military? Trump approaches NAFTA in the same reductionist way. The 24-year-old treaty was supposed to stabilize, if not equalize, all trade, immigration, and commerce between the three supposed North American allies. It never quite happened that way. Unequal tariffs remained. Both Canada and Mexico have substantial trade surpluses with the U.S. In Mexico’s case, it enjoys a $71 billion surplus, the largest of U.S. trading partners with the exception of China. Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security. During the lifetime of NAFTA, Mexico has encouraged millions of its citizens to enter the U.S. illegally. Mexico’s selfish immigration policy is designed to avoid internal reform, to earn some $30 billion in annual expatriate remittances, and to influence U.S. politics. Yet after more than two decades of NAFTA, Mexico is more unstable than ever. Cartels run entire states. Murders are at a record high. Entire towns in southern Mexico have been denuded of their young males, who crossed the U.S. border illegally. The U.S. runs a huge trade deficit with China. The red ink is predicated on Chinese dumping, patent and copyright infringement, and outright cheating. Beijing illegally occupies neutral islands in the South China Sea, militarizes them, and bullies its neighbors. All of the above has become the “normal” globalized world. But in 2016, red-state America rebelled at the asymmetry. The other half of the country demonized the red-staters as protectionists, nativists, isolationists, populists, and nationalists. However, if China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all. Had NATO members and NAFTA partners just kept their commitments, and had Mexico not encouraged millions of its citizens to crash the U.S. border, there would now be little tension between allies. Instead, what had become abnormal was branded the new normal of the post-war world. Again, a rich and powerful U.S. was supposed to subsidize world trade, take in more immigrants than all the nations of the world combined, protect the West, and ensure safe global communications, travel, and commerce. After 70 years, the effort had hollowed out the interior of America, creating two separate nations of coastal winners and heartland losers. Trump’s entire foreign policy can be summed up as a demand for symmetry from all partners and allies, and tit-for-tat replies to would-be enemies. Did Trump have to be so loud and often crude in his effort to bully America back to reciprocity? Who knows? But it seems impossible to imagine that globalist John McCain, internationalist Barack Obama, or gentlemanly Mitt Romney would ever have called Europe, NATO, Mexico, and Canada to account, or warned Iran or North Korea that tit would be met by tat. Victor Davis Hanson

Attention: un dépotoir peut en cacher un autre !

Au lendemain du Sommet de l’Otan et de la visite au Royaume-Uni

D’un président américain contre lequel se sont à nouveau déchainés nos médias et nos belles âmes …

Et en cette finale de la Coupe du monde en un pays qui, entre dopage et corruption, empoisonne les citoyens de ses partenaires …

A l’heure où des mensonges nucléaires et de l’aventurisme militaire des Iraniens

Aux méga-excédents commerciaux et filouteries sur la propriété intellectuelle des Chinois …

Comme aux super surplus du commerce extérieur, la radinerie défensive et la mise sous tutelle énergétique russe des Allemands

Et sans parler, entre deux attentats terroristes ou émeutes urbaines, du « business » juteux (quelque 7 milliards annuels quand même !) des passeurs de prétendus « réfugiés » …

L’actualité comme les sondages confirment désormais presque quotidiennement les fortes intuitions de l’éléphant dans le magasin de porcelaine …

Comment qualifier un pays qui …

Derrière les « fake news » et images victimaires dont nous bassinent jour après jour nos médias …

Et entre le contrôle d’états entiers par les cartels de la drogue, les taux d’homicides records et les villes entières vidées de leurs forces vives par l’émigration sauvage …

Se permet non seulement, comme le rappelle l’historien militaire américain Victor Davis Hanson, d’intervenir dans la politique américaine …

Mais encourage, à la Castro et repris de justice compris, ses citoyens par millions à pénétrer illégalement aux États-Unis …

Alors qu’il bénéficie par ailleurs, avec plus de 70 milliards de dollars et sans compter les quelque 30 milliards de ses expatriés, du plus important excédent commercial avec les Etats-Unis après la Chine ?

Reciprocity Is the Method to Trump’s Madness
Victor Davis Hanson

National Review

July 12, 2018

The president sends a signal: Treat us the way we treat you, and keep your commitments.Critics of Donald Trump claim that there’s no rhyme or reason to his foreign policy. But if there is a consistency, it might be called reciprocity.

Trump tries to force other countries to treat the U.S. as the U.S. treats them. In “don’t tread on me” style, he also warns enemies that any aggressive act will be replied to in kind.

The underlying principle of Trump commercial reciprocity is that the United States is no longer powerful or wealthy enough to alone underwrite the security of the West. It can no longer assume sole enforcement of the rules and protocols of the post-war global order.

This year there have been none of the usual Iranian provocations — frequent during the Obama administration — of harassing American ships in the Persian Gulf. Apparently, the Iranians now realize that anything they do to an American ship will be replied to with overwhelming force.

Ditto North Korea. After lots of threats from Kim Jong-un about using his new ballistic missiles against the United States, Trump warned that he would use America’s far greater arsenal to eliminate North Korea’s arsenal for good.

Trump is said to be undermining NATO by questioning its usefulness some 69 years after its founding. Yet this is not 1948, and Germany is no longer down. The United States is always in. And Russia is hardly out but is instead cutting energy deals with the Europeans.

More significantly, most NATO countries have failed to keep their promises to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

Yet the vast majority of the 29 alliance members are far closer than the U.S. to the dangers of Middle East terrorism and supposed Russian bullying.

Why does Germany by design run up a $65 billion annual trade surplus with the United States? Why does such a wealthy country spend only 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense? And if Germany has entered into energy agreements with a supposedly dangerous Vladimir Putin, why does it still need to have its security subsidized by the American military?

Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security.

Trump approaches NAFTA in the same reductionist way. The 24-year-old treaty was supposed to stabilize, if not equalize, all trade, immigration, and commerce between the three supposed North American allies.

It never quite happened that way. Unequal tariffs remained. Both Canada and Mexico have substantial trade surpluses with the U.S. In Mexico’s case, it enjoys a $71 billion surplus, the largest of U.S. trading partners with the exception of China.

Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security.

During the lifetime of NAFTA, Mexico has encouraged millions of its citizens to enter the U.S. illegally. Mexico’s selfish immigration policy is designed to avoid internal reform, to earn some $30 billion in annual expatriate remittances, and to influence U.S. politics.

Yet after more than two decades of NAFTA, Mexico is more unstable than ever. Cartels run entire states. Murders are at a record high. Entire towns in southern Mexico have been denuded of their young males, who crossed the U.S. border illegally.

The U.S. runs a huge trade deficit with China. The red ink is predicated on Chinese dumping, patent and copyright infringement, and outright cheating. Beijing illegally occupies neutral islands in the South China Sea, militarizes them, and bullies its neighbors.

All of the above has become the “normal” globalized world.

If China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all.
But in 2016, red-state America rebelled at the asymmetry. The other half of the country demonized the red-staters as protectionists, nativists, isolationists, populists, and nationalists.

However, if China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all.

Had NATO members and NAFTA partners just kept their commitments, and had Mexico not encouraged millions of its citizens to crash the U.S. border, there would now be little tension between allies.

Instead, what had become abnormal was branded the new normal of the post-war world.

Again, a rich and powerful U.S. was supposed to subsidize world trade, take in more immigrants than all the nations of the world combined, protect the West, and ensure safe global communications, travel, and commerce.

After 70 years, the effort had hollowed out the interior of America, creating two separate nations of coastal winners and heartland losers.

Trump’s entire foreign policy can be summed up as a demand for symmetry from all partners and allies, and tit-for-tat replies to would-be enemies.

Did Trump have to be so loud and often crude in his effort to bully America back to reciprocity?

Who knows?

But it seems impossible to imagine that globalist John McCain, internationalist Barack Obama, or gentlemanly Mitt Romney would ever have called Europe, NATO, Mexico, and Canada to account, or warned Iran or North Korea that tit would be met by tat.

Voir aussi:

Pompeo on What Trump Wants
An interview with Trump’s top diplomat on America First and ‘the need for a reset.’
Walter Russell Mead
The Wall Street Journal
June 25, 2018

Is the Trump administration out to wreck the liberal world order? No, insisted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview at his office in Foggy Bottom last week: The administration’s aim is to align that world order with 21st-century realities.
Many of the economic and diplomatic structures Mr. Trump stands accused of undermining, Mr. Pompeo argues, were developed in the aftermath of World War II. Back then, he tells me, they “made sense for America.” But in the post-Cold War era, amid a resurgence of geopolitical competition, “I think President Trump has properly identified a need for a reset.”
Mr. Trump is suspicious of global institutions and alliances, many of which he believes are no longer paying dividends for the U.S. “When I watch President Trump give guidance to our team,” Mr. Pompeo says, “his question is always, ‘How does that structure impact America?’ ” The president isn’t interested in how a given rule “may have impacted America in the ’60s or the ’80s, or even the early 2000s,” but rather how it will enhance American power “in 2018 and beyond.”
Mr. Trump’s critics have charged that his “America First” strategy reflects a retreat from global leadership. “I see it fundamentally differently,” Mr. Pompeo says. He believes Mr. Trump “recognizes the importance of American leadership” but also of “American sovereignty.” That means Mr. Trump is “prepared to be disruptive” when the U.S. finds itself constrained by “arrangements that put America, and American workers, at a disadvantage.” Mr. Pompeo sees his task as trying to reform rules “that no longer are fair and equitable” while maintaining “the important historical relationships with Europe and the countries in Asia that are truly our partners.”
The U.S. relationship with Germany has come under particular strain. Mr. Pompeo cites two reasons. “It is important that they demonstrate a commitment to securing their own people,” he says, in reference to Germany’s low defense spending. “When they do so, we’re prepared to do the right thing and support them.” And then there’s trade. The Germans, he says, need to “create tariff systems and nontariff-barrier systems that are equitable, reciprocal.”
But Mr. Pompeo does not see the U.S.-German rift as a permanent reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. Once the defense and trade issues are addressed, “I’m very confident that the relationship will go from these irritants we see today to being as strong as it ever was.” He adds that he has a “special place in my heart” for Germany, having spent his “first three years as a soldier patrolling . . . the West and East German border.”
In addition to renegotiating relationships with existing allies, the Trump administration is facing newly assertive great-power adversaries. “For a decade plus,” Mr. Pompeo says, U.S. foreign policy was “very focused on counterrorism and much less on big power struggles.” Today, while counterterrorism remains a priority, geopolitics is increasingly defined by conflicts with powerful states like China and Russia.
Mr. Pompeo says the U.S. must be assertive but flexible in dealing with both Beijing and Moscow. He wants the U.S. relationship with China to be defined by rule-writing and rule-enforcing, not anarchic struggle. China, he says, hasn’t honored “the normal set of trade understandings . . . where these nation states would trade with each other on fair and reciprocal terms; they just simply haven’t done it. They’ve engaged in intellectual property theft, predatory economic practices.”
Avoiding a more serious confrontation with China down the line will require both countries to appreciate one another’s long-term interests. The U.S. can’t simply focus on “a tariff issue today, or a particular island China has decided to militarize” tomorrow. Rather, the objective must be to create a rules-based structure to avoid a situation in which “zero-sum is the endgame for the two countries.”
Mr. Pompeo also sees room for limited cooperation with Russia even as the U.S. confronts its revisionism. “There are many things about which we disagree. Our value sets are incredibly different, but there are also pockets where we find overlap,” he says. “That’s the challenge for a secretary of state—to identify those places where you can work together, while protecting America against the worst pieces of those governments’ activities.”
Mr. Pompeo says his most important daily task is to understand what the president is thinking. As he prepared for the job, “I spoke to every living former secretary of state,” Mr. Pompeo says. “They gave me two or three big ideas about things you needed to do to successfully deliver on American foreign policy. Not one of them got out of their top two without saying that a deep understanding and good relationship with the commander in chief—with the person whose foreign policy you’re implementing—is absolutely central.”
He continues: “It needs to be known around the world that when you speak, you’re doing so with a clear understanding of what the president is trying to achieve. So I spend a lot of time thinking about that—trying to make sure that I have my whole workforce, my whole team, understanding the commander’s intent in a deep way.”
And the president’s agenda, as Mr. Pompeo communicates it, is one of extraordinary ambition: to rewrite the rules of world order in America’s favor while working out stable relationships with geopolitical rivals. Those goals may prove elusive. Inertia is a powerful force in international relations, and institutions and pre-existing agreements are often hard to reform.
Among other obstacles, the Trump agenda creates the risk of a global coalition forming against American demands. American efforts to negotiate more favorable trading arrangements could lead China, Europe and Japan to work jointly against the U.S. That danger is exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s penchant for dramatic gestures and his volatile personal style.
Yet the U.S. remains, by far, the world’s most powerful nation, and many countries will be looking for ways to accommodate the administration at least partially. Mr. Trump is right that the international rules and institutions developed during the Cold War era must be retooled to withstand new political, economic and military pressures.
Mr. Pompeo believes that Mr. Trump’s instincts, preferences, and beliefs constitute a coherent worldview. The secretary’s aim is to undertake consistent policy initiatives based on that worldview. This endeavor will strike many of the administration’s critics as quixotic. But Mr. Pompeo is unquestionably right that no secretary of state can succeed without the support of the president, and he is in a better position than most to understand Mr. Trump’s mind.
The world will soon see whether the president’s tweets of iron can be smoothly sheathed in a diplomatic glove.
Voir également:

De Cuba aux Etats-Unis : il y a trente ans, les Marielitos

Michel Faure

C’était il y a trente ans très exactement. Mai 1980. J’étais jeune journaliste, envoyé spécial de Libération à Key West, en Floride. Je restais des heures, fasciné, sur le quai du port où arrivaient, les unes après les autres en un flot continu extraordinaire, des embarcations diverses -bateaux de pêche, petits et gros, vedettes de promenade, yachts chics– chargées de réfugiés cubains.

C’était une noria incessante, menée avec beaucoup d’enthousiasme. Ces bateaux battaient tous pavillon des Etats-Unis et, pour la plupart, étaient la propriété d’exilés cubains vivant en Floride. Ils débarquaient leurs passagers sous les vives lumières des télévisions et les applaudissements d’une foule de badauds émus aux larmes et scrutant chaque visage avec intensité, dans l’espoir d’y retrouver les traits d’un parent, d’un ami ou d’un amour perdu de vue depuis plus de vingt ans.

Puis les bateaux repartaient pour un nouveau voyage à Mariel, le port cubain d’où partaient les exilés et qui leur donnera un surnom, « los Marielitos ».

La Croix Rouge et la logistique gouvernementale américaine ont fait du bon travail. Les arrivants, épuisés, l’air perdu, souvent inquiets, étaient accueillis avec égards, hydratés, nourris et enveloppés de couvertures.

Ils passaient à travers un double contrôle, médical et personnel, avant d’être rassemblés sous un immense hangar, libres de répondre, s’ils le souhaitaient, aux questions des journalistes, avant d’être transportés par avion à Miami.

Quand les Cubains étaient accueillis sous les bravos

Ceux que j’ai rencontrés, dans ces instants encore très incertains pour eux, racontaient plus ou moins la même histoire : la misère de tous les jours sous la surveillance constante des CDR, les Comités de la révolution, les commissaires politiques du quartier qui avaient (et ont toujours) le pouvoir de vous rendre la vie à peu près tolérable ou de vous la pourrir à jamais.

Oser dire qu’on aurait aimé vivre ailleurs n’arrangeait pas votre cas. Un mot du CDR et vous perdiez votre boulot. Le travail privé n’existant pas, le seul fait de survivre était l’indice d’un délit, genre travail au noir. Pour des raisons éminemment politiques, vous vous retrouviez donc en prison, délinquant de droit commun.

Bref, la routine infernale, les engrenages implacables et cruels de la criminalisation de la vie quotidienne pour quiconque ne courbait pas l’échine.

A Miami, dans un stade gigantesque, j’ai assisté quelques jours plus tard à des scènes de tragédies antiques, émouvantes à en pleurer. Les milliers de sièges du stade étaient occupés par des familles cubaines vivant aux Etats-Unis et, de jour comme de nuit, arrivaient de l’aéroport des autobus qui déposaient leurs occupants débarqués de Mariel (en ce seul mois de mai 1980, ils furent 86 000).

Ils étaient accueillis dans le stade sous les bravos. Puis, dans le silence revenu, un speaker énonçait ces noms interminables dont le castillan a le secret, ces Maria de la Luz Martinez de Sanchez, ou ces José-Maria Antonio Perez Rodriguez.

Et soudain, un cri dans un coin du stade, le faisceau lumineux des télés pointé vers un groupe de gens sautant en l’air de joie puis dévalant les escaliers du stade pour tomber dans les bras des cousins ou frères et sœurs retrouvés.

La stratégie de Fidel Castro

Cet exode des Marielitos a commencé par un coup de force. Le 5 avril 1980, 10 000 Cubains entrent dans l’ambassade du Pérou à La Havane et demandent à ce pays de leur accorder asile.

Dix jours plus tard, Castro déclare que ceux qui veulent quitter Cuba peuvent le faire à condition d’abandonner leurs biens et que les Cubains de Floride viennent les chercher au port de Mariel.

L’hypothèse est que Castro voit dans cette affaire une double opportunité :

  • Il se débarrasse d’opposants -il en profite également pour vider ses prisons et ses asiles mentaux et sans doute infiltrer, parmi les réfugiés, quelques agents castristes ;
  • Il espère que cet afflux soudain d’exilés va profondément déstabiliser le sud de la Floride et affaiblir plus encore le brave Président Jimmy Carter, préchi-prêcheur démocrate des droits de l’homme, un peu trop à gauche pour endosser l’habit de grand Satan impérialiste que taille à tous les élus de la Maison Blanche le leader cubain.

De fait, du 15 avril au 31 octobre 1980, quelque 125 000 Cubains quitteront l’île. 2 746 d’entre eux ont été considérés comme des criminels selon les lois des Etats-Unis et incarcérés.

L’économie de la région de Miami a absorbé en deux ou trois ans le choc de cet exode et, depuis, se porte très bien, notamment parce que de nombreux exilés étaient des professionnels diplômés (médecins, professeurs…) qui non seulement se sont facilement intégrés au sein de la société de Miami, mais l’ont aussi dynamisée.

Parmi les Marielitos, un poète : Reinaldo Arenas

En août 1994, 30 000 autres Cubains, « los Balseros » -ainsi nommés parce qu’ils s’enfuyaient par la mer sur des embarcations aussi précaires que des « balsas », des chambres à air de camion- ont rejoint à leur tour les côtes de Floride.

Puis la politique a repris la main. Castro a compris que le spectacle de ces exodes à répétition et le nombre et la qualité des exilés fragilisaient l’image du régime et son avenir. Les Etats-Unis, quant à eux, ont entendu les voix des conservateurs défenseurs des frontières.

Tout cela a abouti à un accord migratoire qui traduit une politique américaine absurde et déshonorante consistant à n’admettre sur le territoire des Etats-Unis que ceux qui l’auront touché du pied, et renvoyer tous les autres en direction de Cuba qu’ils fuyaient.

L’accommodement avec une dictature l’a emporté sur la générosité à l’endroit de ses réfugiés.

Parmi les Marielitos, il faut noter la présence de l’écrivain et poète Reinaldo Arenas, qui mourra quelques années plus tard du sida, à New York. Son véritable crime fut d’être homosexuel et son livre, « Avant la Nuit », a été remarquablement adapté en 2000 par Julian Schnabel avec le film « Before the Night Falls ». Il montre la terrible épreuve que fut pour tous les exilés le passage des contrôles du port de Mariel.

Voir de même:

Trump Was Right: Castro Did Send Criminals to U.S.

The Weekly Standard

If you ever worry about the quality of news on the Internet, consider a recent story at BuzzFeed from reporter Adrian Carrasquillo. The writer notes indignantly that Donald Trump’s infamous campaign comments about Mexican immigrants were not unprecedented: Speaking on a radio talk show, in 2011, Trump had anticipated his claim that « Mexico was sending criminals and rapists » to the United States (in Carrasquillo’s words) by « appear[ing] to suggest Fidel Castro had hatched a similar gambit. »

Here is what Trump said in 2011:

I remember, years ago, where Castro was sending his worst over to this country. He was sending criminals over to this country, and we’ve had that with other countries where they use us as a dumping ground.

Carrasquillo acknowledged that Trump’s facts are not imaginary— »Trump was speaking about the Mariel boatlift in 1980, when more than 125,000 Cubans came to the U.S. because of the island’s floundering economy »—but he seems to have gleaned what knowledge he has about the Mariel boatlift from the Internet, or perhaps a friend or neighbor: « Castro did send prisoners and mentally ill people to the U.S. mixed in with other refugees, » Carrasquillo wrote.

In fact, of course, it was not Cuba’s « floundering economy »—Cuba’s economy, it could reasonably be argued, has always been floundering—that prompted the exodus; it was Fidel Castro’s malice. The Jimmy Carter administration, as Democratic administrations tend to do, had been seeking a rapprochement with the Cuban regime, and in early 1980, Castro—habitually angered by the official American welcome to Cuban refugees—rewarded Carter’s credulity by emptying his nation’s jails, prisons, and mental institutions and sending their occupants, in overcrowded vessels, across the Straits of Florida to Miami.

It was an extraordinarily cruel, and cynical, gesture on Castro’s part; but of course, hardly surprising. And in any case, it swiftly halted Carter’s flirtation with Cuba.

What Adrian Carrasquillo doesn’t appear to know, however, and what gives this episode contemporary resonance, is that the Mariel boatlift, and its attendant migrant crisis, had political repercussions that extend to the present day. One of the repositories for Cuban criminals chosen by the Carter White House was Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, where there were subsequent riots and mass escapes. The governor of Arkansas, one Bill Clinton, was furious that his state had been chosen to pay the price for Carter’s misjudgment—and he complained loudly and publicly about it. So loudly, in fact, that it made Carter’s efforts to settle refugees elsewhere politically toxic.

Jimmy Carter never forgave Bill Clinton for the Mariel/Fort Chaffee debacle. And vice versa, since it was one of the main reasons which led to Clinton’s defeat for re-election in November 1980. It also explains the continued enmity between the senior living Democratic ex-president, Carter, and Clinton—whose wife Hillary is currently running for president.

A handful of lessons may be drawn from all this: The roots of political issues are deep and complicated; the settlement of refugees is a sensitive matter; and it seldom pays presidents to trust the Castro regime. From a journalistic standpoint, however, it raises an urgent question: Does BuzzFeed employ editors with knowledge of events before, say, 2011?

Voir de plus:

Years Before Mexican Comments, Trump Said Castro Was Sending Criminals To U.S.
« I remember, years ago, where Castro was sending his worst over to this country. He was sending criminals over to this country, and we’ve had that with other countries where they use us as a dumping ground. »
Adrian Carrasquillo
BuzzFeed News
October 6, 2016

Four years before Donald Trump roiled the presidential race by announcing that Mexico was sending criminals and rapists — their worst — to the U.S., he appeared to suggest Fidel Castro had hatched a similar gambit.

Speaking on Laura Ingraham’s radio show in 2011, Trump took a rhetorical tact that will be familiar to anyone paying even a passing interest to the 2016 presidential election.

« You either have borders or you don’t have borders. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it possible for somebody that’s really good to become a citizen. But I think part of the problem that this country has is we’re taking in people that are, in some cases, good, and in some cases, are not good and in some cases are criminals, » Trump said.

« I remember, years ago, where Castro was sending his worst over to this country. He was sending criminals over to this country, and we’ve had that with other countries where they use us as a dumping ground, » he continued. « And frankly, the fact that we allow that to happen is what’s really hurting this country very badly. »

Liberal media watchdog Media Matters provided the audio from their archives, after a request by BuzzFeed News.

While Trump does not mention Fidel Castro’s full name, he made similar comments about Cubans on conservative radio last summer, just weeks after his initial remarks about Mexicans during his June announcement.

“And they’re sending — if you remember, years ago, when Castro opened up his jails, his prisons, and he sent them all over to the United States because let the United States have them,” Trump said. “And you know, these were the many hardcore criminals that he sent over. »

Trump was speaking about the Mariel boatlift in 1980, when more than 125,000 Cubans came to the U.S. because of the island’s floundering economy. Castro did send prisoners and mentally ill people to the U.S. mixed in with other refugees.

In a statement, Trump campaign senior advisor and Hispanic outreach director, AJ Delgado, said his remarks in 2011 were absolutely correct and only underscore his « keen awareness » of historical facts.

« The 1980 Mariel boatlift out of Cuba certainly did contain thousands of criminals, including violent criminals, the Castro regime having taken it as an opportunity to empty many of its prisons and send those individuals to the U.S, » she said, stressing that the matter is not in dispute.

« Worth noting, this 2011 audio also proves Mr. Trump’s years-long consistency: even five years ago, he was advocating for the same sound immigration policies he advocates today — one that places Americans’ safety and security first, » she added.

Trump’s relationship with Cuban-American voters is somewhat unusual for a Republican nominee. For years, support for the embargo on Cuba has been a major Republican plank; a recent Newsweek report also alleged that Trump violated the Cuban embargo when he disguised payments from his companies in Cuba in an attempt to make money on the island.

The Republican nominee changed his opinion on immigration multiple times in the past few years, including during the campaign. But he has also struck a nativist and restrictionist tone on the dangers and nefarious intentions of foreigners coming to the country for years. Though Barack Obama’s two campaigns showed the traditionally Republican voting bloc beginning to fray somewhat, that’s put more pressure on those voters, particularly younger ones.

« We know how Donald Trump feels about the Hispanic community, and this is just more of the same, » said Joe Garcia, a Cuban-American Democrat running for congress in Florida where Trump has become a flashpoint in his race against Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who has also denounced Trump. « Whether he makes hateful statements today or five years ago, Trump’s sentiments toward minority groups have been very clear. »

Ana Navarro, a CNN commentator and Republican strategist who has staunchly opposed Trump, noted that being a « marielito » was somewhat taboo for a while, « but it’s important not to forget all the good people who came. Many have gone on to make great contributions to the U.S. »

Jose Parra, a Democratic strategist from Florida who served as a senior adviser to Sen. Harry Reid, argued the comments leave no doubt that Trump doesn’t just have it out for Mexicans.

« Now we know that when he says Mexicans, he means all Hispanics, » Parra said. « He was talking about Cubans in this case… the issue is Hispanics not Mexicans. It’s immigrants period. »

Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed reporting.

Voir encore:

Trump Says Mexican Immigrants Are Just Like « Hardcore Criminals » Castro Sent To U.S.
Trump also took credit for bringing to the public’s attention the death of a San Francisco woman killed by an undocumented immigrant.
Andrew Kaczynski
BuzzFeed News
July 10, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday compared undocumented Mexican immigrants to the « hardcore criminals » Fidel Castro sent to the United States in the early 1980s.

Speaking on conservative radio, the real estate mogul addressed the controversy surrounding his characterization of Mexican immigrants as « rapists » in his presidential announcement speech.

« A lot of people said, ‘Would you apologize?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, I’d apologize, if there was something to apologize for, » Trump told radio host Wayne Dupree on Wednesday.

« But what I said is exactly true. You understand that, Wayne. And what I’m saying — and I have great respect for the Mexican people. I love the Mexican people. I have many Mexicans working for me and they’re great. »

« But that’s — we’re not talking about — we’re talking about a government that’s much smarter than our government, » Trump continued. « Much sharper, more cunning than our government, and they’re sending people. »

Trump then went on to compare the immigrants coming into the country from Mexico to Cuban exiles who came to the U.S. as a part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980. Many of those exiles were later found to be inmates released from Cuban prisons and mental health facilities.

« And they’re sending — if you remember, years ago, when Castro opened up his jails, his prisons, and he sent them all over to the United States because let the United States have them, » Trump stated. « And you know, these were the many hardcore criminals that he sent over. And, you know, that was a long time ago but essentially Mexico is sending over — as an example, this horrible guy that killed a beautiful woman in San Francisco. Mexico doesn’t want him. So they send him over. How do you think he got over here five times? They push him out. They’re pushing their problems onto the United States, and we don’t talk about it because our politicians are stupid. »

Trump then took credit for bringing to the public’s attention the death of the San Francisco woman killed by an undocumented immigrant.

« I don’t even think it’s a question of, uh, good politics. I think they’re just stupid. I don’t think they know what they’re doing. So I bring it up and, you’re right, it became a big story, » said Trump.

« And I’ll tell you something: the young woman that was killed — that was a statistic. That wasn’t even a story. My wife brought it up to me. She said, you know, she saw this little article about the young woman in San Francisco that was killed, and I did some research and I found out that she was killed by this animal … who illegally came into the country many times, by the way, and who has a long record of convictions. And I went public with it and now it’s the biggest story in the world right now. … Her life will be very important for a lot of reasons, but one of them would be that she’s throwing light and showing light on what’s happening in this country. »

Voir par ailleurs:

The White House Used This Moment as Proof the U.S. Should Cut Immigration. Its Real History Is More Complicated

Julio Capó, Jr.

Time
August 4, 2017

This week, as President Trump comes out in support of a bill that seeks to halve legal immigration to the United States, his administration is emphasizing the idea that Americans and their jobs need to be protected from all newcomers—undocumented and documented. To support that idea, his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has turned to a moment in American history that is often referenced by those who support curbing immigration: the Mariel boatlift of 1980. But, in fact, much of the conventional wisdom about that episode is based on falsehoods rooted in Cold War rhetoric.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, journalist Glenn Thrush asked Miller to provide statistics showing the correlation between the presence of low-skill immigrants and decreased wages for U.S.-born and naturalized workers. In response, Miller noted the findings of a recent study by Harvard economist George Borjas on the Mariel boatlift, which contentiously argued that the influx of over 125,000 Cubans who entered the United States from April to October of 1980 decreased wages for southern Florida’s less educated workers. Borjas’ study, which challenged an earlier influential study by Berkeley economist David Card, has received major criticisms. A lively debate persists among economists about the study’s methods, limited sample size and interpretation of the region’s racial categories—but Miller’s conjuring of Mariel is contentious on its own merits.

The Mariel boatlift is an outlier in the pages of U.S. immigration history because it was, at its core, a result of Cold War posturing between the United States and Cuba.

Fidel Castro found himself in a precarious situation in April 1980 when thousands of Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy seeking asylum. Castro opened up the port of Mariel and claimed he would let anyone who wanted to leave Cuba to do so. Across the Florida Straits, the United States especially prioritized receiving people who fled communist regimes as a Cold War imperative. Because the newly minted Refugee Act had just been enacted—largely to address the longstanding bias that favored people fleeing communism—the Marielitos were admitted under an ambiguous, emergency-based designation: “Cuban-Haitian entrant (status pending).” At this week’s press conference, Miller avoided discussions of guest workers because they enter under separate procedures. It’s important to note, however, that the Marielitos also entered under a separate category.

In order to save face, Castro put forward the narrative that the Cubans who sought to leave the island were the dregs of society and counter-revolutionaries who needed to be purged because they could never prove productive to the nation. This sentiment, along with reports that he had opened his jails and mental institutes as part of this boatlift, fueled a mythology that the Marielitos were a criminal, violent, sexually deviant and altogether “undesirable” demographic.

In reality, more than 80% of the Marielitos had no criminal past, even in a nation where “criminality” could include acts antithetical to the revolutionary government’s ideals. In addition to roughly 1,500 mentally and physically disabled people, this wave of Cubans included a significant number of sex workers and queer and transgender people—some of whom were part of the minority who had criminal-justice involvement, having been formerly incarcerated because of their gender and sexual transgression.

Part of what made Castro’s propaganda scheme so successful was that his regime’s repudiation of Marielitos found an eager audience in the United States among those who found it useful to fuel the nativist furnace. U.S. legislators, policymakers and many in the general public accepted Castro’s negative depiction of the Marielitos as truth. By 1983, the film Scarface had even fictionalized a Marielito as a druglord and violent criminal.

Then and now, the boatlift proved incredibly unpopular among those living in the United States and is often cited as one of the most vivid examples of the dangers of lax immigration enforcement. In fact, many of President Jimmy Carter’s opponents listed Mariel as one of his and the Democratic Party’s greatest failures, even as his Republican successor, President Ronald Reagan, also embraced the Marielitos as part of an ideological campaign against Cuba. And the political consequences of the reaction to Mariel didn’t stop there: the episode also helped birth the English-only movement in the United States, after Dade County residents voted to remove Spanish as a second official language in November of 1980. (The new immigration proposal that Trump supports would also privilege immigrants who can speak English.)

While the Mariel boatlift—with its massive influx of people in a short period of time—may appear to be an ideal case study for economists to explore whether immigrants decreased wages for U.S.-born workers, its Cold War-influenced and largely anomalous history makes it less so.

During this week’s press conference, Miller later told Thrush that, more than statistics, we should use “common sense” in crafting our policies. As the case of the Mariel boatlift shows, so-called common sense can be inextricably informed by ulterior motives, prejudice and global political disagreement. When history is used to inform policy decisions, this too must be factored.

Historians explain how the past informs the present

Julio Capó, Jr. is assistant professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was a visiting scholar at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. His book on Miami’s queer past, Welcome to Fairyland, is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.

Voir aussi:

There’s no evidence that immigrants hurt any American workers
The debate over the Mariel boatlift, a crucial immigration case study, explained.
Michael Clemens

Aug 3, 2017

Pressed by a New York Times reporter yesterday for evidence that immigration hurts American workers, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said: “I think the most recent study I would point to is the study from George Borjas that he just did about the Mariel Boatlift.” Michael Clemens recently explained why that much-cited study shouldn’t be relied upon:

Do immigrants from poor countries hurt native workers? It’s a perpetual question for policymakers and politicians. That the answer is a resounding “Yes!” was a central assertion of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. When a study by an economist at Harvard University recently found that a famous influx of Cuban immigrants into Miami dramatically reduced the wages of native workers, immigration critics argued that the debate was settled.

The study, by Harvard’s George Borjas, first circulated as a draft in 2015, and was finally published in 2017. It drew attention from the Atlantic, National Review, New Yorker, and others. Advocates of restricting immigration declared that the study was a “BFD” that had “nuked” their opponents’ views. The work underpinning the paper became a centerpiece of Borjas’s mass-market book on immigration, We Wanted Workers, which has been cited approvingly by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions as proving the economic harms of immigration.

But there’s a problem. The study is controversial, and its finding — that the Cuban refugees caused a large, statistically unmistakable fall in Miami wages — may be simply spurious. This matters because what happened in Miami is the one historical event that has most shaped how economists view immigration.

In his article, Borjas claimed to debunk an earlier study by another eminent economist, David Card, of UC Berkeley, analyzing the arrival of the Cubans in Miami. The episode offers a textbook case of how different economists can reach sharply conflicting conclusions from exactly the same data.

Yet this is not an “on the one hand, on the other” story: My own analysis suggests that Borjas has not proved his case. Spend a few minutes digging into the data with me, and it will become apparent that the data simply does not allow us to conclude that those Cubans caused a fall in Miami wages, even for low-skill workers.

The Mariel boatlift offered economists a remarkable opportunity to study the effect of immigration

For an economist, there’s a straightforward way to study how low-skill immigration affects native workers: Find a large, sudden wave of low-skill immigrants arriving in one city only. Watch what happens to wages and employment for native workers in that city, and compare that to other cities where the immigrants didn’t go.

An ideal “natural experiment” like this actually happened in Miami in 1980. Over just a few months, 125,000 mostly low-skill immigrants arrived from Mariel Bay, Cuba. This vast seaborne exodus — Fidel Castro briefly lifted Cuba’s ban on emigration -— is known as the Mariel boatlift. Over the next few months, the workforce of Miami rose by 8 percent. By comparison, normal immigration to the US increases the nationwide workforce by about 0.3 percent per year. So if immigrants compete with native workers, Miami in the 1980s is exactly where you should see natives’ wages drop.

Berkeley’s Card examined the effects of the Cuban immigrants on the labor market in a massively influential study in 1990. In fact, that paper became one of the most cited in immigration economics. The design of the study was elegant and transparent. But even more than that, what made the study memorable was what Card found.

In a word: nothing.

The Card study found no difference in wage or employment trends between Miami — which had just been flooded with new low-skill workers — and other cities. This was true for workers even at the bottom of the skills ladder. Card concluded that “the Mariel immigration had essentially no effect on the wages or employment outcomes of non-Cuban workers in the Miami labor market.”

You can see Card’s striking result in the graph below: There’s just no sign of a dip in low-skill Miami wages after the huge arrival of low-skill Cubans in 1980. The red line is the average wage, in each year, for workers in Miami, ages 19 to 65, whose education doesn’t go beyond high school. The dotted red lines show the interval of statistical confidence, so the true average wage could fall anywhere between the dotted lines.

These estimates come from a slice of a nationwide survey, in which small groups of individuals are chosen to represent the broader population. (It’s known as the March Supplement of the Current Population Survey, or CPS). Carving out low-skill workers in Miami alone, that leaves an average of 185 observations of workers per year, during the crucial years.

The gray dashed line shows what the wage would be if the pre-1980 trend had simply continued after 1980. As you can see, there is no dip in wages after those Cubans greatly increased the low-skill labor supply in 1980. If anything, wages rose relative to their previous trend in Miami. The same is true relative to wage trends in other, similar cities.

Current Population Survey, Clemens

Economists ever since have tried to explain this remarkable result. Was it that the US workers who might have suffered a wage drop had simply moved away? Had low-skill Cubans made native Miamians more productive by specializing in different tasks, thus stimulating the local economy? Was it that the Cubans’ own demand for goods and services had generated as many jobs in Miami as they filled? Or perhaps was it that Miami employers shifted to production technologies that used more low-skill labor, absorbing the new labor supply?

Regardless, there was no dip in wages to explain. The real-life economy was evidently more complex than an “Econ 101” model would predict. Such a model would require wages to fall when the supply of labor, through immigration, goes up.

Slicing up the data — all too finely

This is where two new studies came in, decades after Card’s — in 2015. One, by Borjas, claims that Card’s analysis had obscured a large fall in the wages of native workers by using too broad a definition of “low-skill worker.” Card’s study had looked at the wages of US workers whose education extended only to high school or less. That was a natural choice, since about half of the newly-arrived Cubans had a high school degree, and half didn’t.

Borjas, instead, focuses on workers who did not finish high school — and claimed that the Boatlift caused the wages of those workers, those truly at the bottom of the ladder, to collapse.

The other new study (ungated here), by economists Giovanni Peri and Vasil Yasenov, of the UC Davis and UC Berkeley, reconfirms Card’s original result: It cannot detect an effect of the boatlift on Miami wages, even among workers who did not finish high school.

In short, different well-qualified economists arrive at opposite conclusions about the effects of immigration, looking at the same data about the same incident, with identical modern analytical tools at their disposal. How that happened has a lot to teach about why the economics of immigration remains so controversial.

Suppose we are concerned that the graph above, covering all low-skill workers in Miami, is too aggregated — meaning it combines too many different kinds of workers. We would not want to miss the effects on certain subgroups that may have competed more directly with the newly-arrived Cubans. For example, the Mariel migrants were mostly men. They were Hispanic. Many of them were prime-age workers (age 25 to 59). So we should look separately at what happened to wages for each of those groups of low-skill workers who might compete with the immigrants more directly: men only, non-Cuban Hispanics only, prime-age workers only. Here’s what wages look like for those slices of the same data:

Here again, if anything, wages rose for each of these groups of low-skill workers after 1980, relative to their previous trend. There isn’t any dip in wages to explain. And, again, the same is true if you compare wage trends in Miami to trends in other, similar cities.

Peri and Yasenov showed that there is still no dip in wages even when you divide up low-skill workers by whether or not they finished high school. About half of the Mariel migrants had finished high school, and the other half hadn’t. So you might expect negative wage effects on both groups of workers in Miami. Here is what the wage trends look like for those two groups.

The wages of Miami workers with high school degrees (and no more than that) jump up right after the Mariel boatlift, relative to prior trends. The wages of those with less than a high school education appear to dip slightly, for a couple of years, although this is barely distinguishable amid the statistical noise. And these same inflation-adjusted wages were also falling in many other cities that didn’t receive a wave of immigrants, so it’s not possible to say with statistical confidence whether that brief dip on the right is real. It might have been — but economists can’t be sure. The rise on the left, in contrast, is certainly statistically significant, even relative to corresponding wage trends in other cities.

Here is how the Borjas study reaches exactly the opposite conclusion. The Borjas study slices up the data much more finely than even Peri and Yasenov do. It’s not every worker with less than high school that he looks at. Borjas starts with the full sample of workers of high school or less — then removes women, and Hispanics, and workers who aren’t prime age (that is, he tosses out those who are 19 to 24, and 60 to 65). And then he removes workers who have a high school degree.

In all, that means throwing out the data for 91 percent of low-skill workers in Miami in the years where Borjas finds the largest wage effect. It leaves a tiny sample, just 17 workers per year. When you do that, the average wages for the remaining workers look like this:

For these observations picked out of the broader dataset, average wages collapse by at least 40 percent after the boatlift. Wages fall way below their previous trend, as well as way below similar trends in other cities, and the fall is highly statistically significant.

How to explain the divergent conclusions?

There are two ways to interpret these findings. The first way would be to conclude that the wage trend seen in the subgroup that Borjas focuses on — non-Hispanic prime-age men with less than a high school degree — is the “real” effect of the boatlift. The second way would be to conclude, as Peri and Yasenov do, that slicing up small data samples like this generates a great deal of statistical noise. If you do enough slicing along those lines, you can find groups for which wages rose after the Boatlift, and others for which it fell. In any dataset with a lot of noise, the results for very small groups will vary widely.

Researchers can and do disagree about which conclusion to draw. But there are many reasons to favor the view that there is no compelling basis to revise Card’s original finding. There is not sufficient evidence to show that Cuban immigrants reduced any low-skill workers’ wages in Miami, even small minorities of them, and there isn’t much more that can be learned about the Mariel boatlift with the data we have.

Here are three reasons why Card’s canonical finding stands.

Borjas’s theory doesn’t fit the evidence

The first reason is economic theory. The simple theory underlying all of this analysis is that when the supply of labor rises, wages have to fall. But if we interpret the wage drop in Borjas’s subgroup as an effect of the Boatlift, we need to interpret the upward jumps in the other graphs above, too, as effects of the Boatlift. That is, we would need to interpret the sharp post-Boatlift rise in wages for low-skill Miami Hispanics, regardless of whether they had a high school degree, as another effect of the influx of workers.

But wait. The theory of supply and demand cannot explain how a massive infusion of low-skill Cuban Hispanics would cause wages to rise for other Hispanics, who would obviously compete with them. For the same reason, we would need to conclude that the boatlift caused a large rise in the wages of Miami workers with high school degrees only, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic — who constitute the large majority of low-skill workers in Miami. And so on.

Economic theory doesn’t offer a reason why such a big benefit should happen. So we should be suspicious of jumping to the rosy conclusion that the Mariel boatlift caused big wage increases for the other 91 percent of low-skill workers in Miami. One could reach that conclusion by the same method Borjas used, if one sought such a result. But we should hesitate to make strong conclusions — one way or another — from any handpicked subset of the data.

The study states that this was done because, among other reasons, the arrival of non-Cuban Hispanics in some of the other cities that Miami is being compared to — including Anaheim and Rochester — may have driven down wages in those places. But the graphs shown here are just for Miami, unaffected by that hypothetical concern.

As you can see above, the wages of low-skill Hispanics as a whole jumped upward in Miami in the years after the boatlift. Dropping the data on groups that experienced wage increases, without a sound theoretical reason to do so, ensures by construction that wages fall in the small group that remains. The method determines the result.

There’s too much noise in the data to conclude native workers were hurt

The second reason the data backs Peri and Yasenov’s interpretation is statistical noise caused by small subsamples. Because there is a great deal of noise in the data, if we’re willing to take low-skill workers in Miami and hand-pick small subsets of them, we can always find small groups of workers whose wages rose during a particular period, and other groups whose wages fell. But at some point we’re learning more about statistical artifacts than about real-world events.

Remember the key Borjas sample in each year — the one that experienced a large drop in wages — was just 17 men. By picking various small subsets of the data, a researcher could hypothetically get any positive or negative “effect” of the boatlift.

Race made a difference here

Yet another reason to believe the Card study remains solid has to do with something very different from statistical noise. Average wages in tiny slices of the data can change sharply because of small but systematic changes in who is getting interviewed. And it turns out that the CPS sample includes vastly more black workers in the data used for the Borjas study after the boatlift than before it.

Because black men earned less than others, this change would necessarily have the effect of exaggerating the wage decline measured by Borjas. The change in the black fraction of the sample is too big and long-lasting to be explained by random error. (This is my own contribution to the debate. I explore this problem in a new research paper that I co-authored with Jennifer Hunt, a professor of economics at Rutgers University.)

Around 1980, the same time as the Boatlift, two things happened that would bring a lot more low-wage black men into the survey samples. First, there was a simultaneous arrival of large numbers of very low-income immigrants from Haiti without high school degrees: that is, non-Hispanic black men who earn much less than US black workers but cannot be distinguished from US black workers in the survey data. Nearly all hadn’t finished high school.

That meant not just that Miami suddenly had far more black men with less than high school after 1980, but also that those black men had much lower earnings. Second, the Census Bureau, which ran the CPS surveys, improved its survey methods around 1980 to cover more low-skill black men due to political pressure after research revealed that many low-income black men simply weren’t being counted.

You can see what happened in the graph below, which has a point for each year’s group of non-Hispanic men with less than high school, in the data used by Borjas (ages 25 to 59). The horizontal axis is the fraction of the men in the sample who are black. The vertical axis is the average wage in the sample. Because black men in Miami at this skill level earned much less than non-blacks, it’s no surprise that the more black men are covered by each year’s sample, the lower the average wage.

But here’s the critical problem: The fraction of black workers in this sample increased dramatically between the years just before the boatlift (in red) and the years just after the boatlift (in blue). That demographic shift would make the average wage in this group appear to fall right after the boatlift, even if no one’s wages actually changed in any subpopulation. What changed was who was included in the sample.

Why hadn’t this problem affected Card’s earlier results? Because there wasn’t any shift like this for workers who had finished high school only (as opposed to less than high school). Here is the same graph for those workers (again, non-Hispanic males 25 to 59):

Here, too, you can see that in the years where the survey covered more black men, the average wage is lower. But for this group, there wasn’t any increase in the relative number of blacks surveyed after 1980. If anything, black fraction of the sample is a little lower right after 1980. So the average wage in the post-boatlift years (blue) isn’t any lower than the average wage in the pre-boatlift years (red). About two-thirds of Card’s sample was these workers, where the shift in the fraction of black workers did not happen.

When the statistical results in the Borjas study are adjusted to allow for changing black composition of the sample in each city, the result becomes fragile. In the dataset Borjas focuses on, the result suddenly depends on which set of cities one chooses to compare Miami to. And in the other, larger CPS dataset that covers the same period, there is no longer a statistically significant dip in wages at all.

You might think that there’s an easy solution: Just test for the effects of the boatlift on workers who aren’t black. But this is really pushing the data further than it can go. By the time you’ve discarded women, and Hispanics, and workers under 25, and workers over 59, and anyone who finished high school— and blacks, you’ve thrown away 98 percent of the data on low-skill workers in Miami. There are only four people left in each year’s survey, on average, during the years that the Borjas study finds the largest effect. The average wage in that minuscule slice of the data looks like this:

With samples that small, the statistical confidence interval (represented by the dotted lines) is huge, meaning we can’t infer anything general from the results. We can’t distinguish large declines in wages from large rises in wages — at least until several years after the boatlift happened, and those can’t be plausibly attributed to the boatlift. Taking just four workers at a time from the larger dataset, a researcher could achieve practically any result whatsoever. There may have been a wage decline in this group, or a rise, but there just isn’t sufficient evidence to know.

David Card’s canonical conclusion stands

In sum, the evidence from the Mariel boatlift continues to support the conclusion of David Card’s seminal research: There is no clear evidence that wages fell (or that unemployment rose) among the least-skilled workers in Miami, even after a sudden refugee wave sharply raised the size of that workforce.

This does not by any means imply that large waves of low-skill immigration could not displace any native workers, especially in the short term, in other times and places. But politicians’ pronouncements that immigrants necessarily do harm native workers must grapple with the evidence from real-world experiences to the contrary.

Michael Clemens is an economist at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC, and the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany. His book The Walls of Nations is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Voir aussi:

The Republican candidate wants to deport immigrants and build a wall to keep Mexicans out. So what drives los Trumpistas?

Lauren Gambino

‘Trump is our wakeup call’

Raul Rodriguez, 74, Apple Valley, California

I always carry a bullhorn with me to rallies and campaign events. Into it I shout: “America, wake up!” Americans have been asleep for way too long. We need to realise that the future of our country is at stake.

If we don’t elect Donald Trump, we’ll get another four years of Barack Obama and frankly, I don’t know what would happen to this wonderful country of ours. Obama has already done so much to destroy our way of life and Hillary Clinton is promising to carry on where he left off. Like Obama, she wants to change our fundamental values – the ones people like my father fought to defend.

My father was born in Durango, Mexico. When he came to the US he joined the military and served as a medic during the second world war. He was a very proud American – he truly loved this country. I think I got my sense of patriotism from him.

Obama and Hillary Clinton want to have open borders. They let illegal immigrants cross our borders and now they want to accept thousands of Syrians. We don’t know who these people are. If they want to come to this country, they have to do it the right way, like my father did it.

I’m tired of politicians telling voters what they want to hear and then returning to Washington and doing whatever their party tells them to do. Politicians are supposed to represent the people – not their parties or their donors.

Part of the reason I like Donald Trump is because he isn’t an established politician. Sometimes that hurts him and people get offended. But the truth hurts. Even if he doesn’t say it well, he’s not wrong. Trump is our wakeup call.

‘Democrats treat Latinos as if we’re all one big group’

Ximena Barreto, 31, San Diego, California

I was in primary school in my native Colombia when my father was murdered. I was six – just one year older than my daughter is now. My father was an officer in the Colombian army at a time when wearing a uniform made you a target for narcoterrorists, Farc fighters and guerrilla groups.

What I remember clearly from those early years is the bombing and the terror. I was so afraid, especially after my dad died. At night, I would curl up in my mother’s bed while she held me close. She could not promise me that everything was going to be all right, because it wasn’t true. I don’t want my daughter to grow up like that.

But when I turn on my TV, I see terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and in Orlando. There are dangerous people coming across our borders. Trump was right. Some are rapists and criminals, but some are good people, too. But how do we know who is who, when you come here illegally?

I moved to the US in 2006 on a work permit. It took nearly five years and thousands of dollars to become a US citizen. I know the process is not perfect, but it’s the law. Why would I want illegals coming in when I had to go through this? It’s not fair that they’re allowed to jump the line and take advantage of so many benefits, ones that I pay for with my tax dollars.

People assume that because I’m a woman, I should vote for the woman; or that because I’m Latina, I should vote for the Democrat. The Democrats have been pandering to minorities and women for the last 50 years. They treat Latinos as if we’re all one big group. I’m Colombian – I don’t like Mariachi music. Donald Trump is not just saying what he thinks people want to hear, he’s saying what they’re afraid to say. I believe that he’s the only candidate who can make America strong and safe again.

‘Trump beat the system: what’s more American than that?’

Bertran Usher, 20, Inglewood, California

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Bertran Usher, centre. Photograph: Edoardo Delille and Giulia Piermartiri/Institute

Donald Trump is the candidate America deserves. For decades, Americans have bemoaned politicians and Washington insiders. We despise political speak and crave fresh, new ideas. When you ask for someone with no experience, this is what you get. It’s like saying you don’t want a doctor to operate on you.

But Trump is a big FU to America. He beat the system and proved everyone wrong. What’s more American than that?

As a political science student who one day hopes to go into politics, I am studying this election closely. Both candidates are deeply unpopular and people of my generation are not happy with their choices. I believe we can learn what not to do from this election. I see how divided the country is, and it’s the clearest sign that politicians will have to learn to work together to make a difference. It’s not always easy, but I’ve seen this work.

I was raised in a multicultural household. My mother, a Democrat, is Latino and African American, raised in the inner city of Los Angeles. My father, a Republican, is an immigrant from Belize. My parents and I don’t always see eye to eye on everything, but our spirited debates have helped add nuance to my politics.

I’m in favour of small government, but I support gay rights. I believe welfare is an important service for Americans who need it, but I think our current programme needs to be scaled back. I think we need to have stricter enforcement of people who come to the country illegally, but I don’t think we should deport the DREAMers [children of immigrants who were brought to the country illegally, named after the 2001 Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act].

Trump can be a nut, but I think he’s the best candidate in this election. Though there are issues of his I disagree with, at least he says what’s on his mind, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, who hides what she’s thinking behind her smile.

It’s up to my generation to fix the political mess we’re in. I plan to be a part of the solution.

‘Trump’s The Art Of The Deal inspired me to be a businessman’

Omar Navarro, 27, Torrance, California

When I was a kid, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would tell them: I want to be president of the United States. If that doesn’t work out, I want to be a billionaire like Trump.

In a way, I supported him long before he announced he was running for president. He was my childhood hero. I read The Art Of The Deal as a student; it inspired me to become a businessman. Now I own a small business and am running for Congress in California’s 43rd district.

Trump built an empire and a strong brand that’s recognisable all around the world; he’s a household name and a world-class businessman. Almost anywhere you go, you can see the mark of Donald Trump on a building or property. When I see that, I see the American Dream.

Some people ask me how I can support Donald Trump as the son of a Mexican and Cuban immigrants. They are categorising me. In this country we label people: Hispanic, African American, Asian, Caucasian. We separate and divide people into social categories based on race, ethnicity, gender and creed. To me, this is a form of racism. I’m proud of my Hispanic heritage but I’m an American, full stop.

Like all immigrants, my parents came to this country for a better opportunity. But they did it legally. They didn’t cut the line. They assimilated to the American way of life, learned English and opened small businesses.

Why should we allow people to skirt the law? Imagine making a dinner reservation and arriving at the restaurant to find out that another family has been seated at your table. How is that fair?

We have to have laws and as a country we must enforce those laws. A society without laws is just anarchy. If someone invited you to their house and asked you to remove your shoes would you keep them on? If we don’t enforce the rules, why would anyone respect them? I believe Donald Trump will enforce the rules.

‘He has taken a strong stand against abortion’

Jimena Rivera, 20, student at the University of Texas at Brownsville

I’m Mexican, so I don’t have a vote, but I support Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who opposes abortion. He may have wavered in the beginning, but since becoming the nominee he has taken a strong stand against abortion.

Hillary Clinton is running as the leader of a party that has pushed a very pro-choice platform. Even Democrats like her running mate, Tim Kaine, who is a devout Catholic, compromise their faith to support abortion.

I don’t always agree with his positions on immigration. I see the border wall every day. I’m not convinced that it’s effective. The people who want to cross will find a way. I don’t think it’s right that they do, but most of them are looking for a better way of life. A wall won’t stop them.

‘Lower taxes and less regulation will create more jobs’

Marissa Desilets, 22, Palm Springs, California

I am a proud Hispanic conservative Republican woman. I became politically engaged as a political science and economics major at university. By my junior year, I was a member of the campus Republicans’ club. As a student of economics, I am very impressed with Trump’s economic agenda. I believe we must cut taxes for everyone and eliminate the death tax. Lowering taxes and reeling back regulations will create more jobs – meaning more tax-paying Americans. This in turn will generate more revenue for the Treasury.

I also support Trump because he favours strong leadership and promised to preserve the constitution of the United States. We must have a rule of law in this country. We must close our open borders. Like Trump says: “a nation without borders is not a nation.” This doesn’t mean we should not allow any immigrants. We should welcome new immigrants who choose to legally enter our beautiful country.

This won’t be the case if Hillary Clinton becomes president. I would expect the poor to become poorer and our country to become divided. I believe that liberals’ reckless domestic spending will bankrupt our future generations. I refuse to support a party that desires to expand the government and take away my civil liberties.

‘He has gone through so many divorces, yet raised such a close-knit family’

Dr Alexander Villicana, 80, Pasadena, California

I am an example of the opportunities this country has to offer. My parents came from Mexico at the turn of the 20th century. They were not educated but they worked hard to make a better life for us and it paid off.

I went to school and studied cosmetic surgery. Now I work as a plastic surgeon and have been in practice for the last 40 years. I have a beautiful family and my health. I am Hispanic – but I am a citizen of the United States and I feel very patriotic for this country that has given me so much.

I’m supporting Trump because I agree with his vision for our economy. He has experience at the negotiating table, so he knows what to do to create jobs and increase workers’ salaries. In Trump’s America people would be rewarded for their hard work rather than penalised with hefty taxes.

The security of our nation is a top priority for me. I think it would be impossible to deport 11 million people who are here illegally, but we have to do a better job of understanding who is in our country and who is trying to come into our country.

A lot of what Trump says, especially about security and immigration, is twisted by the media. What he said about Mexicans, for example, that wasn’t negative – it was the truth. There are Mexicans bringing over drugs and perpetrating rapes. But what he also said – and the media completely ignored – is that many Mexicans are good people coming over for a better quality of life.

He may be blunt and occasionally offensive but I find him likable. I was so impressed by Trump and his family at the Republican National Convention. It’s hard for me to imagine that someone who has gone through so many divorces has managed to raise such a close-knit family. None of his children had to work and yet they spoke with eloquence and integrity about their father.

‘When Trump is harsh about Mexicans, he is right’

Francisco Rivera, 43, Huntington Park, California

People ask me how I can support Donald Trump. I say, let me tell you a story. I was in line at the movie theatre recently when I saw a young woman toss her cupcake into a nearby planter as if it were a trash can. I walked over to her and said, “Honey, excuse me, does that look like a garbage can to you?” And you know what she told me? “There’s already trash in the planter, so what does it matter?”

I asked her what part of Mexico she was from. She seemed surprised and asked how I knew she was from Mexico. “Look at what you just did,” I told her. “Donald Trump may sound harsh when he speaks about Mexicans, but he is right. It’s people like you that make everyone look bad.”

I moved from Mexico with my family when I was seven. I still carry a photo of my brother and I near our home, to remind people how beautiful the city once was. Now I spend my time erasing graffiti from the walls and picking up trash. Sixty years ago, we accepted immigrants into our country who valued the laws, rules and regulations that made America the land of opportunity. Back in those days, people worked hard to improve themselves and their communities.

I’m tired of living in a lawless country. It’s like we put a security guard at the front door, but the Obama administration unlocked the back door. And I have seen what my own people have done to this country. They want to convert America into the country they left behind. This country has given me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had if my mom had raised her family in Mexico. I want America to be great again, and that’s why in November I am going to vote for Donald Trump.

‘I voted for Obama twice, but Hillary gets a free pass’

Teresa Mendoza, 44, Mesa, Arizona

In my day job I am a real estate agent but every now and then I dabble in standup comedy. Comedy used to be a safe space. You could say whatever you wanted to and it was understood that it was meant to make people laugh. Now everything has to be politically correct. You can’t say “Hand me the black crayon” without someone snapping back at you: “What do you mean by that?” Donald Trump offended a lot of people when he gave the speech calling [Mexicans] rapists and criminals but he didn’t offend me.

I was a liberal Democrat all my life. Before this I voted for Obama twice. I wanted to be a part of history. If it wasn’t for Obamacare and the ridiculous growth of our federal government, I’d probably still be a Democrat, asleep at the wheel. But I woke up and realised I’m actually much more in line with Republicans on major policy points.

I like to joke that I’m an original anchor baby. My parents came from Mexico in the 1970s under the Bracero work programme making me a California-born Chicana. We later became US citizens. But now that I’m a Republican, Hillary Clinton is trying to tell me I’m “alt-right”. It’s strange isn’t it? All of a sudden I’m a white nationalist.

My sons and I go back and forth. They don’t like Trump. But it’s what they’re hearing in school, from their friends and teachers, who are all getting their news from the same biased news outlets.

I’m very concerned about the role the media is taking in this election. The networks sensationalise and vilify Trump while they give Hillary Clinton a free pass. It amazes me. I don’t care if Trump likes to eat his fried chicken with a fork and a knife. I do care that Clinton has not been held responsible for the Benghazi attacks.

Voir également:

En 2016, le business des passeurs de migrants s’élevait à 7 milliards de dollars

Zoé Lauwereys
Le Parisien
10 juillet 2018

L’Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime (l’UNODC) livre un rapport détaillé sur le trafic fructueux des passeurs.

On connaît les photos de ces hommes et de ces femmes débarquant sur des plages européennes, engoncés dans leurs gilets de sauvetage orange, tentant à tout prix de maintenir la tête de leur enfant hors de l’eau. Impossible également d’oublier l’image du corps du petit Aylan Kurdi, devenu en 2016 le symbole planétaire du drame des migrants. Ce que l’on sait moins c’est que le « business » des passeurs rapporte beaucoup d’argent. Selon la première étude du genre de l’Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime (l’UNODC), le trafic de migrants a rapporté entre 5,5 et 7 milliards de dollars (entre 4,7 et 6 milliards d’euros) en 2016. C’est l’équivalent de ce que l’Union européenne a dépensé la même année dans l’aide humanitaire, selon le rapport.

A quoi correspond cette somme ?

En 2016, au moins 2,5 millions de migrants sont passés entre les mains de passeurs, estime l’UNODC qui rappelle la difficulté d’évaluer une activité criminelle. De quoi faire fructifier les affaires de ces contrebandiers. Cette somme vient directement des poches des migrants qui paient des criminels pour voyager illégalement. Le tarif varie en fonction de la distance à parcourir, du nombre de frontières, les moyens de transport utilisés, la production de faux papiers… La richesse supposée du client est un facteur qui fait varier les prix. Evidemment, payer plus cher ne rend pas le voyage plus sûr ou plus confortable, souligne l’UNODC.Selon les estimations de cette agence des Nations unies, ce sont les passages vers l’Amérique du Nord qui rapportent le plus. En 2016, jusqu’à 820 000 personnes ont traversé la frontière illégalement, versant entre 3,1 et 3,6 milliards d’euros aux trafiquants. Suivent les trois routes de la Méditerranée vers l’Union européenne. Environ 375 000 personnes ont ainsi entrepris ce voyage en 2016, rapportant entre 274 et 300 millions d’euros aux passeurs.Pour atteindre l’Europe de l’Ouest, un Afghan peut ainsi dépenser entre 8000 € et 12 000 €.

L’Europe, une destination de choix

Sans surprise, les rédacteurs du rapport repèrent que l’Europe est une des destinations principales des migrants. Les pays d’origine varient, mais l’UNODC parvient à chiffrer certains flux. Les migrants qui arrivent en Italie sont originaires à 89 % d’Afrique, de l’Ouest principalement. 94 % de ceux qui atteignent l’Espagne sont également originaires d’Afrique, de l’Ouest et du Nord. LIRE AUSSI >Migrants : pourquoi ils ont choisi la France

En revanche, la Grèce accueille à 85 % des Afghans, Syriens et des personnes originaires des pays du Moyen-Orient.

En route vers l’Amérique du Nord

Le nord de l’Amérique et plus particulièrement les Etats-Unis accueillent d’importants flux de migrants. Comme l’actualité nous l’a tristement rappelé récemment, des milliers de citoyens de pays d’Amérique centrale et de Mexicains traversent chaque année la frontière qui sépare les Etats-Unis du Mexique. Les autorités peinent cependant à quantifier les flux. Ce que l’on sait c’est qu’en 2016, 2 404 personnes ont été condamnées pour avoir fait passer des migrants aux Etats-Unis. 65 d’entre eux ont été condamnés pour avoir fait passer au moins 100 personnes.Toujours en 2016, le Mexique, qui fait office de « pays-étape » pour les voyageurs, a noté que les Guatémaltèques, les Honduriens et les Salvadoriens formaient les plus grosses communautés sur son territoire. En 2016, les migrants caribéens arrivaient principalement d’Haïti, note encore l’UNODC.

Un trafic mortel

S’appuyant sur les chiffres de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), le rapport pointe les risques mortels encourus par les migrants. Première cause : les conditions de voyage difficiles. Sur les 8189 décès de migrants recensés par l’OIM en 2016, 3832 sont morts noyés (46 %) en traversant la Méditerranée. Les passages méditerranéens sont les plus mortels. L’un d’entre eux force notamment les migrants à parcourir 300 kilomètres en haute mer sur des embarcations précaires.C’est aussi la cruauté des passeurs qui est en cause. L’UNODC décrit le sort de certaines personnes poussées à l’eau par les trafiquants qui espèrent ainsi échapper aux gardes-côtes. Le cas de centaines de personnes enfermées dans des remorques sans ventilation, ni eau ou nourriture pendant des jours est également relevé. Meurtre, extorsion, torture, demande de rançon, traite d’être humain, violences sexuelles sont également le lot des migrants, d’où qu’ils viennent. En 2017, 382 migrants sont décédés de la main des hommes, soit 6 % des décès.

Qui sont les passeurs ?

Le passeur est le plus souvent un homme mais des femmes (des compagnes, des sœurs, des filles ou des mères) sont parfois impliquées dans le trafic, définissent les rédacteurs de l’étude. Certains parviennent à gagner modestement leur vie, d’autres, membres d’organisations et de mafias font d’importants profits. Tous n’exercent pas cette activité criminelle à plein temps. Souvent le passeur est de la même origine que ses victimes. Il parle la même langue et partage avec elles les mêmes repères culturels, ce qui lui permet de gagner leur confiance. Le recrutement des futurs « clients » s’opère souvent dans les camps de réfugiés ou dans les quartiers pauvres.

Les réseaux sociaux, nouvel outil des passeurs

Facebook, Viber, Skype ou WhatsApp sont devenus des indispensables du contrebandier qui veut faire passer des migrants. Arrivé à destination, le voyageur publie un compte rendu sur son passeur. Il décrit s’il a triché, échoué ou s’il traitait mal les migrants. Un peu comme une note de consommateur, rapporte l’UNODC.Mieux encore, les réseaux sociaux sont utilisés par les passeurs pour leur publicité. Sur Facebook, les trafiquants présentent leurs offres, agrémentent leur publication d’une photo, détaillent les prix et les modalités de paiement.L’agence note que, sur Facebook, des passeurs se font passer pour des ONG ou des agences de voyages européennes qui organisent des passages en toute sécurité. D’autres, qui visent particulièrement les Afghans, se posent en juristes spécialistes des demandes d’asile…

Voir enfin:

How The Pee Tape Explains The World Cup

Bidding for the 2018 World Cup was the first glimpse of today’s “Machiavellian Russia,” Ken Bensinger explains in his new book about FIFA’s corruption scandal.

On the morning of May 27, 2015, Swiss police officers raided the Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich and arrested nine of the world’s top soccer officials on behalf of the United States government. In the coming days, the world would learn about deep-seated corruption throughout FIFA, global soccer’s governing body, that stretched from its top ranks to its regional confederations to its marketing partners around the world.

Top soccer officials from across North, South and Central America and the Caribbean were among those implicated in the case, which also brought down top executives from sports marketing firms that had bribed their way into controlling the broadcast and sponsorship rights associated with soccer’s biggest events. FIFA’s longtime president, Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, eventually resigned in disgrace.

It was the biggest organized-corruption scandal in sports history, and some within FIFA were skeptical of the Americans’ motives. In 2010 the U.S. had bid to host the 2022 World Cup, only to lose a contentious vote to Qatar. For FIFA officials, it felt like a case of sour grapes.

But as BuzzFeed investigative reporter Ken Bensinger chronicles in his new book, Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World’s Biggest Sports Scandal, the investigation’s origins began before FIFA handed the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar. The case had actually begun as an FBI probe into an illegal gambling ring the bureau believed was run by people with ties to Russian organized crime outfits. The ring operated out of Trump Tower in New York City.

Eventually, the investigation spread to soccer, thanks in part to an Internal Revenue Service agent named Steve Berryman, a central figure in Bensinger’s book who pieced together the financial transactions that formed the backbone of the corruption allegations. But first, it was tips from British journalist Andrew Jennings and Christopher Steele ― the former British spy who is now known to American political observers as the man behind the infamous so-called “pee tape” dossier chronicling now-President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia ― that pointed the Americans’ attention toward the Russian World Cup, and the decades of bribery and corruption that had transformed FIFA from a modest organization with a shoestring budget into a multibillion-dollar enterprise in charge of the world’s most popular sport. Later, the feds arrested and flipped Chuck Blazer, a corrupt American soccer official and member of FIFA’s vaunted Executive Committee. It was Blazer who helped them crack the case wide open, as HuffPost’s Mary Papenfuss and co-author Teri Thompson chronicled in their book American Huckster, based on the 2014 story they broke of Blazer’s role in the scandal.

Russia’s efforts to secure hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup never became a central part of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice’s case. Thanks to Blazer, it instead focused primarily on CONCACAF, which governs soccer in the Caribbean and North and Central America, and other officials from South America.

But as Bensinger explained in an interview with HuffPost this week, the FIFA case gave American law enforcement officials an early glimpse into the “Machiavellian Russia” of Vladimir Putin “that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it.” And it was Steele’s role in the earliest aspects of the FIFA case, coincidentally, that fostered the relationship that led him to hand his Trump dossier to the FBI ― the dossier that has now helped form “a big piece of the investigative blueprint,” as Bensinger said, that former FBI director Robert Mueller is using in his probe of Russian meddling in the election that made Trump president.

Ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final, which will take place in Moscow, HuffPost spoke with Bensinger about Red Card, the parallels between the FIFA case and the current American political environment, FIFA’s reform efforts, and whether the idea of corruption-free global soccer is at all possible.

The following is a lightly edited transcription of our discussion.

You start by addressing the main conspiracy theory around this, which is that this was a case of sour grapes from the United States losing out on hosting the 2022 World Cup. But the origin was a more traditional FBI investigation into Russian organized crime, right?

That’s correct. And there are sort of these weird connections to everything going on in the political sphere in our country, which I think is interesting because when I was reporting the book out, it was mostly before the election. It was a time when Christopher Steele’s name didn’t mean anything. But what I figured out over time is that this had nothing to do with sour grapes, and the FBI agents who opened the case didn’t really care about losing the World Cup. The theory was that the U.S. investigation was started because the U.S. lost to Qatar, and Bill Clinton or Eric Holder or Barack Obama or somebody ordered up an investigation.

What happened was that the investigation began in July or August 2010, four or five months before the vote happened. It starts because this FBI agent, who’s a long-term Genovese crime squad guy, gets a new squad ― the Eurasian Organized Crime Squad ― which is primarily focused on Russian stuff. It’s a squad that’s squeezed of resources and not doing much because under Robert Mueller, who was the FBI director at the time, the FBI was not interested in traditional crime-fighting. They were interested in what Mueller called transnational crime. So this agent looked for cases that he thought would score points with Mueller. And one of the cases they’re doing involves the Trump Tower. It’s this illegal poker game and sports book that’s partially run out of the Trump Tower. The main guy was a Russian mobster, and the FBI agent had gone to London ― that’s how he met Steele ― to learn about this guy. Steele told him what he knew, and they parted amicably, and the parting shot was, “Listen, if you have any other interesting leads in the future, let me know.”

It was the first sort of sign of the Russia we now understand exists, which is kind of a Machiavellian Russia that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it.

Steele had already been hired by the English bid for the 2018 World Cup at that point. What Chris Steele starts seeing on behalf of the English bid is the Russians doing, as it’s described in the book, sort of strange and questionable stuff. It looks funny, and it’s setting off alarm bells for Steele. So he calls the FBI agent back, and says, “You should look into what’s happening with the World Cup bid.” And my sense is the FBI agent, at that point, says something along the lines of: “What’s the World Cup? And what’s FIFA?”

He really didn’t know much about it, to the point that when he comes back to New York and opens the case, it’s sort of small and they don’t take it too seriously. They were stymied, trying to figure out how to make it a case against Russia. Meanwhile, the vote happens and Russia wins its bid for the 2018 World Cup.

So it’s more a result of the U.S. government’s obsession, if you will, with Russia and Russian crime generally?

The story would be different if this particular agent was on a different squad. But he was an ambitious agent just taking over a squad and trying to make a name for himself. This was his first management job, and he wanted to make big cases. He decides to go after Russia in Russia as a way to make a splash. It’s tempting to look at this as a reflection of the general U.S. writ large obsession with Russia, which certainly exists, but it’s also a different era. This was 2009, 2010. This was during the Russian reset. It was Obama’s first two years in office. He’s hugging Putin and talking about how they’re going to make things work. Russia is playing nice-nice. The public image is fairly positive in that period. It wasn’t, “Russia’s the great enemy.” It was more like, “Russia can be our friend!”

That’s what I find interesting about this case is that, what we see in Russia’s attempt to win the World Cup by any means is the first sort of sign of the Russia we now understand exists, which is kind of a Machiavellian Russia that will do anything to get what it wants and doesn’t care how it does it. It was like a dress rehearsal for that.

Steele has become this sort of household name in politics in the U.S., thanks to the Trump dossier. But here he is in the FIFA scandal. Was this coincidental, because he’s the Russia guy and we’re investigating Russia?

It’s one of these things that looks like an accident, but so much of world history depends on these accidents. Chris Steele, when he was still at MI-6, investigated the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who was the Russian spy poisoned with polonium. It was Steele who ran that investigation and determined that Putin probably ordered it. And then Steele gets hired because of his expertise in Russia by the English bid, and he becomes the canary in the coal mine saying, “Uh oh, guys, it’s not going to be that easy, and things are looking pretty grim for you.”

That’s critical. I don’t know if that would have affected whether or not Chris Steele later gets hired by Fusion GPS to put together the Trump dossier. But it’s certain that the relationship he built because of the FIFA case meant that the FBI took it more seriously. The very same FBI agent that he gave the tip on FIFA to was the agent he calls up in 2016 to say, “I have another dossier.”

The FBI must get a crazy number of wild, outlandish tips all the time, but in this case, it’s a tip from Christopher Steele, who has proven his worth very significantly to the FBI. This is just a year after the arrests in Zurich, and the FBI and DOJ are feeling very good about the FIFA case, and they’re feeling very good about their relationship with Christopher Steele.

If we think about the significance of the dossier ― and I realize that we’ve learned that the FBI had already begun to look into Trump and Russia prior to having it ― it’s also clear that the dossier massively increased the size of the investigation, led to the FISA warrants where we’re listening to Carter Page and others, and formed a big piece of the investigative blueprint for Mueller today. Steele proved his worth to the FBI at the right time, and that led to his future work being decisive

To the investigation itself: In 2010, FIFA votes to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, and you quote (now former) FIFA vice president Jérôme Valcke as saying, “This is the end of FIFA.” So there were some people within FIFA that saw this vote as a major turning point in its history?

I think he and others were recognizing this increasingly brazen attitude of the criminality within FIFA. They had gone from an organization where people were getting bribes and doing dirty stuff, but doing it very carefully behind closed doors. And it was transitioning to one where the impunity was so rampant that people thought they could do anything. And I think in his mind, awarding the World Cup to Russia under very suspicious circumstances and also awarding it to Qatar, which by any definition has no right to host this tournament, it felt to him and others like a step too far.

I don’t think he had any advance knowledge that the U.S. was poking around on it, but he recognized that it was getting out of hand. People were handing out cash bribes in practically broad daylight, and as corrupt as these people were, they didn’t tend to do that.

You write early in the book that this all started with the election, as FIFA president, of João Havelange in 1974. He takes advantage of modern marketing and media to begin to turn FIFA into the organization that we know today. Is it fair to say that this corruption scandal was four decades in the making?

I haven’t thought of it that way, but in a way, you’re right. The FIFA culture we know today didn’t start yesterday. It started in 1974 when this guy gets elected, and within a couple years, the corruption starts. And it starts with one bribe to Havelange, or one idea that he should be bribed. And it starts a whole culture, and the people all sort of learn from that same model. The dominoes fell over time. It’s not a new model, and things were getting more and more out of hand over time. FIFA had been able to successfully bat these challenges down over the years. There’s an attempted revolt in FIFA in 2001 or 2002 that Blatter completely shut down. The general secretary of FIFA was accusing Blatter and other people of either being involved in corruption or permitting corruption, and there’s a moment where it seems like the Executive Committee was going to turn against Blatter and vote him out and change everything. But they all blinked, and Blatter dispensed his own justice by getting rid of his No. 2 and putting in people who were going to be loyal to him. The effect of those things was more brazen behavior.

Everyone knew this was going on. Why didn’t it come to light sooner?

It was an open secret. I think it’s because soccer’s just too big and important in all these other countries. I think other countries have just never been able to figure out how to deal with it. The best you’d get was a few members of Parliament in England holding outraged press conferences or a few hearings, but nothing ever came of it. It’s just too much of a political hot potato because soccer elsewhere is so much more important than it is the U.S. People are terrified of offending the FIFA gods.

There’s a story about how Andrew Jennings, this British journalist, wanted to broadcast a documentary detailing FIFA corruption just a week or so before the 2010 vote, and when the British bid and the British government got a hold of it, they tried really hard to stifle the press. They begged the BBC not to air the documentary until after the vote, because they were terrified of FIFA. That’s reflective of the kind of attitudes that all these countries have.

A lot of the things that resulted from the bribery and the corruption, or that were done to facilitate bribery and corruption, helped grow the sport here. The Gold Cup, the Women’s World Cup, the growth of the World Cup and Copa America. To the average fan, these are “good” developments for the sport. And yet, they were only created to make these guys rich. How do you square that?

Well, it reminds me of questions about Chuck Blazer. Is he all bad, or all good? He’s a little bit of both. The U.S. women’s national team probably wouldn’t exist without him. The Women’s World Cup probably wouldn’t either. Major League Soccer got its first revenue-positive TV deal because of Chuck Blazer.

A lot of these guys were truly surprised. If they thought they were doing something wrong, they didn’t think it was something that anyone cared about.

At the same time, he was a corrupt crook that stole a lot of money that could’ve gone to the game. And so, is he good or bad? Probably more bad than good, but he’s not all bad.

That applies to the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a totally artificial thing that was made up ultimately as a money-making scheme for Blazer, but in the end, it’s probably benefited soccer in this country. So it’s clearly not all bad.

You’d like to think that we could take these things that end up being a good idea, and clean them up and wash away the bad.

Blazer is a fascinating figure, and it seems like there are hints of sympathy for him and some of the other corrupt players in the book. Were all of these guys hardened criminals, or did they get wrapped up in how the business worked, and how it had worked for so long?

There’s no question he’s greedy. But there’s something about the culture of corruption that it can almost sneak up on a person. Blazer had a longer history of it. He always had a touch of corruption about him. But I think a lot of the officials in the sport came up because they loved the sport and wanted to be involved in running it. And then they found out that people were lining their pockets and they thought: “Everyone else is doing it. I’d be a fool not to participate in this.”

And when they end up getting arrested and charged, it’s not the same as a mafia guy in Brooklyn. A lot of these guys were truly surprised. If they thought they were doing something wrong, they didn’t think it was something that anyone cared about. They clearly aren’t innocent, and they went to great lengths to hide it. But at the same time, the impunity came from a culture of believing it was OK to do that stuff. And this really was a case of the FBI and DOJ pulling the rug out from under these people.

One point you stress in the book is that fundamentally, this was a crime against the development of the sport, particularly in poorer nations and communities. How did FIFA’s corruption essentially rob development money from the lower levels of soccer?

That’s something that took me a little while to understand. But when I understood the way the bribery took place, it became clearer to me. The money stolen from the sport isn’t just the bribes. Let’s say I’m a sports marketing firm, and I bribe you a million dollars to sign over a rights contract to me. The first piece of it is that million dollars that could have gone to the sport. But it’s also the opportunity cost: What would the value of those rights have been if it was taken to the free market instead of a bribe?

All that money is taken away from the sport. And the second thing was traveling to South America and seeing the conditions of soccer for fans, for kids and for women. That was really eye-opening. There are stadiums in Argentina and Brazil that are absolutely decrepit. And people would explain, the money that was supposed to come to these clubs never comes. You have kids still playing with the proverbial ball made of rags and duct tape, and little girls who can’t play because there are no facilities or leagues for women at all. When you see that, and then you see dudes making millions in bribes and also marketing guys making far more from paying the bribes, I started to get indignant about it. FIFA always ties itself to children and the good of the game. But it’s absurd when you see how they operate. The money doesn’t go to kids. It goes to making soccer officials rich.

Former U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati pops up a couple times. He’s friends with Blazer, he ends up with a seat on the Executive Committee. Is there a chance U.S. Soccer is wrapped up in this, and we just don’t know about it yet?

I will say that I don’t believe Gulati is a cooperator. People wonder that and it’s reasonable. It’s curious how this guy who came up in Blazer’s shadow and rose to so much power, and literally had office space in the CONCACAF offices, could be clean. And he might not be clean, but more likely, he’s the kind of guy who decided to turn a blind eye to all the corruption and pretend he didn’t see it.

That said, there are legitimate questions about how U.S. Soccer operates that weirdly parallels a lot of the corruption that we saw in South America, the Caribbean and Central America. The relationship between U.S. Soccer, MLS and this entity called Soccer United Marketing ― that relationship is very questionable. MLS has the rights to the U.S. Soccer Federation wrapped up for years and years to come. There hasn’t been open bidding for those rights since 2002, I think it is. SUM has MLS, but it also has the rights for the U.S. Soccer Federation for men and women. There’s a lot of money to be made, and SUM’s getting all that, and since they haven’t put it out for public bid, it’s really not clear that U.S. Soccer is getting full value for its product. And in that sense it parallels the sort of corruption we saw.

What do you make of FIFA’s reform efforts?

FIFA is battling itself as it tries to reform itself. I’m suspicious of current FIFA president Gianni Infantino. This is a guy who grew up 6 miles from Sepp Blatter. His career echoes that. He was the general secretary of UEFA, which is not unlike being the general secretary of FIFA. Both of them are very similar in a lot of ways, in their ambitions and their role being the sport’s bureaucrat. Their promises to win elections by spilling money all over the place is just too similar. That said, I think Infantino recognizes that that culture is what led to these problems, and he sees an organization that’s in financial chaos right now. This World Cup’s going to bring in a lot of money, but the last three years have been massively income-negative. They’re losing money because of sponsors running away in droves and massive legal bills. I think he sees a pathway to financial security for FIFA by making more money and being more transparent.

When massive amounts of money mixes with a massively popular cultural phenomenon, is it ever going to be clean? It seems kind of hopeless.

But he still talks about patronage and handing out money, and federations around the world are still getting busted for taking bribes. The Ghana football federation got dissolved a week before the World Cup because a documentary came out that showed top officials taking bribes on secret camera. It’s still a deeply corrupt culture. Baby steps are being taken, but it seems like 42-plus years of corruption can’t be cleaned up in two or three years.

On that note, one of the marketing guys in the book says, “There will always be payoffs.” That stuck out to me, because I’m cynical about FIFA’s willingness or ability to clean this up at all. From your reporting, do you believe “there will always be payoffs” is the reality of the situation, given the structure of our major international sporting organizations?

This is like, “What is human nature all about?” When massive amounts of money mixes with a massively popular cultural phenomenon, is it ever going to be clean? I wish it would be different, but it seems kind of hopeless. How do you regulate soccer, and who can oversee this to make sure that people behave in an ethical, clean and fair way that benefits everyone else? It’s not an accident that every single international sports organization is based in Switzerland. The answer is because the Swiss, not only do they offer them a huge tax break, they also basically say, “You can do whatever you want and we’re not going to bother you.” That’s exactly what these groups want. Well, how do you regulate that?

I don’t think the U.S. went in saying, “We’re going to regulate soccer.” I think they thought if we can give soccer a huge kick in the ass, if we can create so much public and political pressure on them that sponsors will run away, they’ll feel they have no option but to react and clean up their act. It’s sort of, kick ’em where it hurts.

My cynicism about the ability for anyone to clean it up made me feel sorry for Steve Berryman, the IRS agent who’s one of the main investigators and one of your central characters. He said he’ll never stop until he cleans up the sport, and I couldn’t help but think, “That’ll never happen.”

That’s right. It’ll never happen. People like him are driven. It’s not just soccer for him. He cared so much about this. He felt, “I have to do this until it’s over, or else it’s a failed investigation.” I think people like him sometimes recognize that they can never get there, but it’s still disheartening, every piece of new corruption we see, and these guys think, “I’ve worked so hard, and … ”

The World Cup is going on right now, it’s in Russia, and corruption has barely been a part of the story. Do you think the book and the upcoming Qatari World Cup will reinvigorate that conversation, or are people just resigned to the belief that this is what FIFA is?

There is some of that resignation. But also, the annoying but true reality of FIFA is that when the World Cup is happening, all the soccer fans around the world forget all their anger and just want to watch the tournament. For three and a half years, everyone bitches about what a mess FIFA is, and then during the World Cup everyone just wants to watch soccer. There could be some reinvigoration in the next few months when the next stupid scandal appears. And I do think Qatar could reinvigorate more of that. There’s a tiny piece of me that thinks we could still see Qatar stripped of the World Cup. That would certainly spur a lot of conversation about this.

You talk at the end of the book about a shift in focus to corruption in the Asian federation. Are DOJ and the FBI tying up loose ends, or are there deeper investigations still going?

There are clear signs that there’s more. This is still cleaning up pieces from the old case, but just Tuesday, a Florida company pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in the FIFA case. It was a company that was known from the written indictments, but no one had known they were going to be pleading guilty, so it was a new piece of the case. This company’s going to pay $25 million in fines and forfeitures, and it was sort of a sign from DOJ that they have finished what they’re going to do.

That piece at the end of the book with the guy going off to the South Pacific is a guy named Richard Lai. He’s from Guam and he pleaded guilty in May or June of 2017. That was a pretty strong clue, too, that they’re looking at the Asian Football Confederation, which is the one that includes Qatar. I do know from sources that the cooperators in the case are still actively talking to prosecutors, and still spending many, many hours with them discussing many aspects of the case. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see more. That said, a lot of the people who were involved in the case in the beginning have moved on. It’s natural to have some turnover, and people who inherit a case aren’t necessarily as emotionally bought into it as the people who started. So at some point, it could get old.

But not Steve Berryman. He’s still going?

Steve Berryman will never stop.


Guerre froide 2.0: C’est la lutte finale, imbécile ! (Resisting the Antichrist: In Russian eyes, a new theological struggle pits a godless, materialistic and decadent postmodern West against the rest of the world’s defence of traditional religion and values led by a thermonuclear saber-rattling Putin regime)

21 mars, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Patriarch of Russia Kirill and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, visits the New Jerusalem Orthodox Monastery outside Moscow (November 15, 2017)

Ne croyez pas que je sois venu apporter la paix sur la terre; je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix, mais l’épée. Car je suis venu mettre la division entre l’homme et son père, entre la fille et sa mère, entre la belle-fille et sa belle-mère; et l’homme aura pour ennemis les gens de sa maison. Jésus (Matthieu 10 : 34-36)
Depuis que l’ordre religieux est ébranlé – comme le christianisme le fut sous la Réforme – les vices ne sont pas seuls à se trouver libérés. Certes les vices sont libérés et ils errent à l’aventure et ils font des ravages. Mais les vertus aussi sont libérées et elles errent, plus farouches encore, et elles font des ravages plus terribles encore. Le monde moderne est envahi des veilles vertus chrétiennes devenues folles. Les vertus sont devenues folles pour avoir été isolées les unes des autres, contraintes à errer chacune en sa solitude.  G.K. Chesterton
Tout se disloque. Le centre ne peut tenir. L’anarchie se déchaîne sur le monde Comme une mer noircie de sang : partout On noie les saints élans de l’innocence …Sûrement que quelque révélation, c’est pour bientôt … Sûrement que la Seconde Venue, c’est pour bientôt. La Seconde Venue ! A peine dits ces mots, Une image, immense, du Spiritus Mundi Trouble ma vue : quelque part dans les sables du désert, Une forme avec corps de lion et tête d’homme Et l’oeil nul et impitoyable comme un soleil Se meut, à cuisses lentes, tandis qu’autour Tournoient les ombres d’une colère d’oiseaux… La ténèbre, à nouveau ; mais je sais, maintenant, Que vingt siècles d’un sommeil de pierre, exaspérés Par un bruit de berceau, tournent au cauchemar, – Et quelle bête brute, revenue l’heure, Traîne la patte vers Bethléem, pour naître enfin ? Yeats (1919)
La Raison sera remplacée par la Révélation. À la place de la Loi rationnelle et des vérités objectives perceptibles par quiconque prendra les mesures nécessaires de discipline intellectuelle, et la même pour tous, la Connaissance dégénérera en une pagaille de visions subjectives (…) Des cosmogonies complètes seront créées à partir d’un quelconque ressentiment personnel refoulé, des épopées entières écrites dans des langues privées, les barbouillages d’écoliers placés plus haut que les plus grands chefs-d’œuvre. L’Idéalisme sera remplacé par le Matérialisme. La vie après la mort sera un repas de fête éternelle où tous les invités auront 20 ans … La Justice sera remplacée par la Pitié comme vertu cardinale humaine, et toute crainte de représailles disparaîtra … La Nouvelle Aristocratie sera composée exclusivement d’ermites, clochards et invalides permanents. Le Diamant brut, la Prostituée Phtisique, le bandit qui est bon pour sa mère, la jeune fille épileptique qui a le chic avec les animaux seront les héros et héroïnes du Nouvel Age, quand le général, l’homme d’État, et le philosophe seront devenus la cible de chaque farce et satire. Hérode (Pour le temps présent, oratorio de Noël, W. H. Auden, 1944)
Just over 50 years ago, the poet W.H. Auden achieved what all writers envy: making a prophecy that would come true. It is embedded in a long work called For the Time Being, where Herod muses about the distasteful task of massacring the Innocents. He doesn’t want to, because he is at heart a liberal. But still, he predicts, if that Child is allowed to get away, « Reason will be replaced by Revelation. Instead of Rational Law, objective truths perceptible to any who will undergo the necessary intellectual discipline, Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective visions . . . Whole cosmogonies will be created out of some forgotten personal resentment, complete epics written in private languages, the daubs of schoolchildren ranked above the greatest masterpieces. Idealism will be replaced by Materialism. Life after death will be an eternal dinner party where all the guests are 20 years old . . . Justice will be replaced by Pity as the cardinal human virtue, and all fear of retribution will vanish . . . The New Aristocracy will consist exclusively of hermits, bums and permanent invalids. The Rough Diamond, the Consumptive Whore, the bandit who is good to his mother, the epileptic girl who has a way with animals will be the heroes and heroines of the New Age, when the general, the statesman, and the philosopher have become the butt of every farce and satire. »What Herod saw was America in the late 1980s and early ’90s, right down to that dire phrase « New Age. »(…) Americans are obsessed with the recognition, praise and, when necessary, the manufacture of victims, whose one common feature is that they have been denied parity with that Blond Beast of the sentimental imagination, the heterosexual, middle-class white male. The range of victims available 10 years ago — blacks, Chicanos, Indians, women, homosexuals — has now expanded to include every permutation of the halt, the blind and the short, or, to put it correctly, the vertically challenged. (…) Since our newfound sensitivity decrees that only the victim shall be the hero, the white American male starts bawling for victim status too. (…) European man, once the hero of the conquest of the Americas, now becomes its demon; and the victims, who cannot be brought back to life, are sanctified. On either side of the divide between Euro and native, historians stand ready with tarbrush and gold leaf, and instead of the wicked old stereotypes, we have a whole outfit of equally misleading new ones. Our predecessors made a hero of Christopher Columbus. To Europeans and white Americans in 1892, he was Manifest Destiny in tights, whereas a current PC book like Kirkpatrick Sale’s The Conquest of Paradise makes him more like Hitler in a caravel, landing like a virus among the innocent people of the New World. Robert Hughes (24.06.2001)
La vérité biblique sur le penchant universel à la violence a été tenue à l’écart par un puissant processus de refoulement. (…) La vérité fut reportée sur les juifs, sur Adam et la génération de la fin du monde. (…) La représentation théologique de l’adoucissement de la colère de Dieu par l’acte d’expiation du Fils constituait un compromis entre les assertions du Nouveau Testament sur l’amour divin sans limites et celles sur les fantasmes présents en chacun. (…) Même si la vérité biblique a été de nouveau  obscurcie sur de nombreux points, (…) dénaturée en partie, elle n’a jamais été totalement falsifiée par les Églises. Elle a traversé l’histoire et agit comme un levain. Même l’Aufklärung critique contre le christianisme qui a pris ses armes et les prend toujours en grande partie dans le sombre arsenal de l’histoire de l’Eglise, n’a jamais pu se détacher entièrement de l’inspiration chrétienne véritable, et par des détours embrouillés et compliqués, elle a porté la critique originelle des prophètes dans les domaines sans cesse nouveaux de l’existence humaine. Les critiques d’un Kant, d’un Feuerbach, d’un Marx, d’un Nietzsche et d’un Freud – pour ne prendre que quelques uns parmi les plus importants – se situent dans une dépendance non dite par rapport à l’impulsion prophétique. Raymund Schwager
An advertent and sustained foreign policy uses a different part of the brain from the one engaged by horrifying images. If Americans had seen the battles of the Wilderness and Cold Harbor on TV screens in 1864, if they had witnessed the meat-grinding carnage of Ulysses Grant’s warmaking, then public opinion would have demanded an end to the Civil War, and the Union might well have split into two countries, one of them farmed by black slaves. (…) The Americans have ventured into Somalia in a sort of surreal confusion, first impersonating Mother Teresa and now John Wayne. it would help to clarify that self-image, for to do so would clarify the mission, and then to recast the rhetoric of the enterprise. Lance Morrow (1993
In recent years, skewering the politically correct and the political correctness of those mocking political correctness has become a thriving journalistic enterprise. One of the more interesting examples of the genre was a cover-story essay by Robert Hughes, which appeared in the February 3, 1992, edition of Time magazine. The essay was entitled “The Fraying of America.”  In it, Hughes cast a cold eye on the American social landscape, and his assessment was summarized in the article’s subtitle: “When a nation’s diversity breaks into factions, demagogues rush in, false issues cloud debate, and everybody has a grievance.” “Like others, Hughes found himself puzzling over how and why the status of ‘victim’ had become the seal of moral rectitude in American society. He began his essay by quoting a passage from W. H. Auden’s Christmas oratorio, For the Time Being. The lines he quoted were ones in which King Herod ruminates over whether the threat to civilization posed by the birth of Christ is serious enough to warrant murdering all the male children in one region of the empire. (The historical Herod may have been a vulgar and conniving Roman sycophant, but Auden’s Herod, let’s not forget, is watching the rough beast of the twentieth century slouching toward Bethlehem.) Weighing all the factors, Herod decides that the Christ child must be destroyed, even if to do so innocents must be slaughtered. For, he argues in the passage that Hughes quoted, should the Child survive: Reason will be replaced by Revelation . . . . Justice will be replaced by Pity as the cardinal virtue, and all fear of retribution will vanish . . . . The New Aristocracy will consist exclusively of hermits, bums and permanent invalids. The Rough Diamond, the Consumptive Whore, the bandit who is good to his mother, the epileptic girl who has a way with animals will be the heroes and heroines of the New Age, when the general, the statesman, and the philosopher have become the butt of every farce and satire. “Hughes quoted this passage from Auden in order to point out that Auden’s prophecy had come true. As Auden’s Herod had predicted, American society was awash in what Hughes termed the “all-pervasive claim to victimhood.” He noted that in virtually all the contemporary social, political, or moral debates, both sides were either claiming to be victims or claiming to speak on their behalf. It was clear to Hughes, however, that this was not a symptom of a moral victory over our scapegoating impulses. There can be no victims without victimizers. Even though virtually everyone seemed to be claiming the status of victim, the claims could be sustained only if some of the claims could be denied. (At this point, things become even murkier, for in the topsy-turvy world of victimology, a claimant denied can easily be mistaken for a victim scorned, the result being that denying someone’s claim to victim status can have the same effect as granting it.) Nevertheless, the algebraic equation of victimhood requires victimizers, and so, for purely logical reasons, some claims have to be denied. Some, in Hughes’s words, would have to remain “the butt of every farce and satire.” Hughes argued that all those who claim victim status share one thing in common, “they have been denied parity with that Blond Beast of the sentimental imagination, the heterosexual, middle-class, white male.” “Hughes realized that a hardy strain of envy and resentment toward this one, lone nonvictim continued to play an important role in the squabbles over who would be granted victim status. Those whose status as victim was secure were glaring at this last nonvictim with something of the vigilante’s narrow squint. Understandably, the culprit was anxious to remove his blemish. “Since our new found sensitivity decrees that only the victim shall be the hero,” Hughes wrote, “the white American male starts bawling for victim status too.” Gil Bailie
The gospel revelation gradually destroys the ability to sacralize and valorize violence of any kind, even for Americans in pursuit of the good. (…) At the heart of the cultural world in which we live, and into whose orbit the whole world is being gradually drawn, is a surreal confusion. The impossible Mother Teresa-John Wayne antinomy Times correspondent (Lance) Morrow discerned in America’s humanitarian 1992 Somali operation is simply a contemporary manifestation of the tension that for centuries has hounded those cultures under biblical influence. Gil Bailie
L’erreur est toujours de raisonner dans les catégories de la « différence », alors que la racine de tous les conflits, c’est plutôt la « concurrence », la rivalité mimétique entre des êtres, des pays, des cultures. La concurrence, c’est-à-dire le désir d’imiter l’autre pour obtenir la même chose que lui, au besoin par la violence. Sans doute le terrorisme est-il lié à un monde « différent » du nôtre, mais ce qui suscite le terrorisme n’est pas dans cette « différence » qui l’éloigne le plus de nous et nous le rend inconcevable. Il est au contraire dans un désir exacerbé de convergence et de ressemblance. (…) Ce qui se vit aujourd’hui est une forme de rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire. Lorsque j’ai lu les premiers documents de Ben Laden, constaté ses allusions aux bombes américaines tombées sur le Japon, je me suis senti d’emblée à un niveau qui est au-delà de l’islam, celui de la planète entière. Sous l’étiquette de l’islam, on trouve une volonté de rallier et de mobiliser tout un tiers-monde de frustrés et de victimes dans leurs rapports de rivalité mimétique avec l’Occident. Mais les tours détruites occupaient autant d’étrangers que d’Américains. Et par leur efficacité, par la sophistication des moyens employés, par la connaissance qu’ils avaient des Etats-Unis, par leurs conditions d’entraînement, les auteurs des attentats n’étaient-ils pas un peu américains ? On est en plein mimétisme.Ce sentiment n’est pas vrai des masses, mais des dirigeants. Sur le plan de la fortune personnelle, on sait qu’un homme comme Ben Laden n’a rien à envier à personne. Et combien de chefs de parti ou de faction sont dans cette situation intermédiaire, identique à la sienne. Regardez un Mirabeau au début de la Révolution française : il a un pied dans un camp et un pied dans l’autre, et il n’en vit que de manière plus aiguë son ressentiment. Aux Etats-Unis, des immigrés s’intègrent avec facilité, alors que d’autres, même si leur réussite est éclatante, vivent aussi dans un déchirement et un ressentiment permanents. Parce qu’ils sont ramenés à leur enfance, à des frustrations et des humiliations héritées du passé. Cette dimension est essentielle, en particulier chez des musulmans qui ont des traditions de fierté et un style de rapports individuels encore proche de la féodalité. (…) Cette concurrence mimétique, quand elle est malheureuse, ressort toujours, à un moment donné, sous une forme violente. A cet égard, c’est l’islam qui fournit aujourd’hui le ciment qu’on trouvait autrefois dans le marxismeRené Girard
Notre monde est de plus en plus imprégné par cette vérité évangélique de l’innocence des victimes. L’attention qu’on porte aux victimes a commencé au Moyen Age, avec l’invention de l’hôpital. L’Hôtel-Dieu, comme on disait, accueillait toutes les victimes, indépendamment de leur origine. Les sociétés primitives n’étaient pas inhumaines, mais elles n’avaient d’attention que pour leurs membres. Le monde moderne a inventé la « victime inconnue », comme on dirait aujourd’hui le « soldat inconnu ». Le christianisme peut maintenant continuer à s’étendre même sans la loi, car ses grandes percées intellectuelles et morales, notre souci des victimes et notre attention à ne pas nous fabriquer de boucs émissaires, ont fait de nous des chrétiens qui s’ignorent. René Girard
L’inauguration majestueuse de l’ère « post-chrétienne » est une plaisanterie. Nous sommes dans un ultra-christianisme caricatural qui essaie d’échapper à l’orbite judéo-chrétienne en « radicalisant » le souci des victimes dans un sens antichrétien. (…) Jusqu’au nazisme, le judaïsme était la victime préférentielle de ce système de bouc émissaire. Le christianisme ne venait qu’en second lieu. Depuis l’Holocauste, en revanche, on n’ose plus s’en prendre au judaïsme, et le christianisme est promu au rang de bouc émissaire numéro un. René Girard
Les événements qui se déroulent sous nos yeux sont à la fois naturels et culturels, c’est-à-dire qu’ils sont apocalyptiques. Jusqu’à présent, les textes de l’Apocalypse faisaient rire. Tout l’effort de la pensée moderne a été de séparer le culturel du naturel. La science consiste à montrer que les phénomènes culturels ne sont pas naturels et qu’on se trompe forcément si on mélange les tremblements de terre et les rumeurs de guerre, comme le fait le texte de l’Apocalypse. Mais, tout à coup, la science prend conscience que les activités de l’homme sont en train de détruire la nature. C’est la science qui revient à l’Apocalypse. René Girard
La religion doit être historicisée : elle fait des hommes des êtres qui restent toujours violents mais qui deviennent plus subtils, moins spectaculaires, moins proches de la bête et des formes sacrificielles comme le sacrifice humain. Il se pourrait qu’il y ait un christianisme historique qui soit une nécessité historique. Après deux mille ans de christianisme historique, il semble que nous soyons aujourd’hui à une période charnière – soit qui ouvre sur l’Apocalypse directement, soit qui nous prépare une période de compréhension plus grande et de trahison plus subtile du christianisme. (…) Oui, pour moi l’Apocalypse c’est la fin de l’histoire. (…) L’Apocalypse, c’est l’arrivée du royaume de Dieu. Mais on peut penser qu’il y a des « petites ou des demi-apocalypses » ou des crises c’est-à-dire des périodes intermédiaires… (…) Il faut prendre très au sérieux les textes apocalyptiques. Nous ne savons pas si nous sommes à la fin du monde, mais nous sommes dans une période-charnière. Je pense que toutes les grandes expériences chrétiennes des époques-charnières sont inévitablement apocalyptiques dans la mesure où elles rencontrent l’incompréhension des hommes et le fait que cette incompréhension d’une certaine manière est toujours fatale. Je dis qu’elle est toujours fatale, mais en même temps elle ne l’est jamais parce que Dieu reprend toujours les choses et toujours pardonne. (…) Je me souviens d’un journal dans lequel il y avait deux articles juxtaposés. Le premier se moquait de l’Apocalypse d’une certaine façon ; le second était aussi apocalyptique que possible. Le contact de ces deux textes qui se faisaient face et qui dans le même temps se donnaient comme n’ayant aucun rapport l’un avec l’autre avait quelque chose de fascinant. (…) Nous sommes encore proches de cette période des grandes expositions internationales qui regardait de façon utopique la mondialisation comme l’Exposition de Londres – la « Fameuse » dont parle Dostoievski, les expositions de Paris… Plus on s’approche de la vraie mondialisation plus on s’aperçoit que la non-différence ce n’est pas du tout la paix parmi les hommes mais ce peut être la rivalité mimétique la plus extravagante. On était encore dans cette idée selon laquelle on vivait dans le même monde : on n’est plus séparé par rien de ce qui séparait les hommes auparavant donc c’est forcément le paradis. Ce que voulait la Révolution française. Après la nuit du 4 août, plus de problème ! (…) L’Amérique connaît bien cela. Il est évident que la non-différence de classe ne tarit pas les rivalités mais les excite à mort avec tout ce qu’il y a de bon et de mortel dans ce phénomène. (…)  il n’y a plus de sacrifice et donc les hommes sont exposés à la violence et il n’y a plus que deux choix : soit on préfère subir la violence soit on cherche à l’infliger à autrui. Le Christ veut nous dire entre autres choses : il vaut mieux subir la violence (c’est le sacrifice de soi) que de l’infliger à autrui. Si Dieu refuse le sacrifice, il est évident qu’il nous demande la non-violence qui empêchera l’Apocalypse. René Girard
L’avenir apocalyptique n’est pas quelque chose d’historique. C’est quelque chose de religieux sans lequel on ne peut pas vivre. C’est ce que les chrétiens actuels ne comprennent pas. Parce que, dans l’avenir apocalyptique, le bien et le mal sont mélangés de telle manière que d’un point de vue chrétien, on ne peut pas parler de pessimisme. Cela est tout simplement contenu dans le christianisme. Pour le comprendre, lisons la Première Lettre aux Corinthiens : si les puissants, c’est-à-dire les puissants de ce monde, avaient su ce qui arriverait, ils n’auraient jamais crucifié le Seigneur de la Gloire – car cela aurait signifié leur destruction (cf. 1 Co 2, 8). Car lorsque l’on crucifie le Seigneur de la Gloire, la magie des pouvoirs, qui est le mécanisme du bouc émissaire, est révélée. Montrer la crucifixion comme l’assassinat d’une victime innocente, c’est montrer le meurtre collectif et révéler ce phénomène mimétique. C’est finalement cette vérité qui entraîne les puissants à leur perte. Et toute l’histoire est simplement la réalisation de cette prophétie. Ceux qui prétendent que le christianisme est anarchiste ont un peu raison. Les chrétiens détruisent les pouvoirs de ce monde, car ils détruisent la légitimité de toute violence. Pour l’État, le christianisme est une force anarchique, surtout lorsqu’il retrouve sa puissance spirituelle d’autrefois. Ainsi, le conflit avec les musulmans est bien plus considérable que ce que croient les fondamentalistes. Les fondamentalistes pensent que l’apocalypse est la violence de Dieu. Alors qu’en lisant les chapitres apocalyptiques, on voit que l’apocalypse est la violence de l’homme déchaînée par la destruction des puissants, c’est-à-dire des États, comme nous le voyons en ce moment. Lorsque les puissances seront vaincues, la violence deviendra telle que la fin arrivera. Si l’on suit les chapitres apocalyptiques, c’est bien cela qu’ils annoncent. Il y aura des révolutions et des guerres. Les États s’élèveront contre les États, les nations contre les nations. Cela reflète la violence. Voilà le pouvoir anarchique que nous avons maintenant, avec des forces capables de détruire le monde entier. On peut donc voir l’apparition de l’apocalypse d’une manière qui n’était pas possible auparavant. Au début du christianisme, l’apocalypse semblait magique : le monde va finir ; nous irons tous au paradis, et tout sera sauvé ! L’erreur des premiers chrétiens était de croire que l’apocalypse était toute proche. Les premiers textes chronologiques chrétiens sont les Lettres aux Thessaloniciens qui répondent à la question : pourquoi le monde continue-t-il alors qu’on en a annoncé la fin ? Paul dit qu’il y a quelque chose qui retient les pouvoirs, le katochos (quelque chose qui retient). L’interprétation la plus commune est qu’il s’agit de l’Empire romain. La crucifixion n’a pas encore dissout tout l’ordre. Si l’on consulte les chapitres du christianisme, ils décrivent quelque chose comme le chaos actuel, qui n’était pas présent au début de l’Empire romain. (..) le monde actuel (…) confirme vraiment toutes les prédictions. On voit l’apocalypse s’étendre tous les jours : le pouvoir de détruire le monde, les armes de plus en plus fatales, et autres menaces qui se multiplient sous nos yeux. Nous croyons toujours que tous ces problèmes sont gérables par l’homme mais, dans une vision d’ensemble, c’est impossible. Ils ont une valeur quasi surnaturelle. Comme les fondamentalistes, beaucoup de lecteurs de l’Évangile reconnaissent la situation mondiale dans ces chapitres apocalyptiques. Mais les fondamentalistes croient que la violence ultime vient de Dieu, alors ils ne voient pas vraiment le rapport avec la situation actuelle – le rapport religieux. Cela montre combien ils sont peu chrétiens. La violence humaine, qui menace aujourd’hui le monde, est plus conforme au thème apocalyptique de l’Évangile qu’ils ne le pensent. René Girard
Dans le monde actuel, beaucoup de choses correspondent au climat des grands textes apocalyptiques du Nouveau Testament, en particulier Matthieu et Marc. Il y est fait mention du phénomène principal du mimétisme, qui est la lutte des doubles : ville contre ville, province contre province… Ce sont toujours les doubles qui se battent et leur bagarre n’a aucun sens puisque c’est la même chose des deux côtés. Aujourd’hui, il ne semble rien de plus urgent à la Chine que de rattraper les Etats-Unis sur tous les plans et en particulier sur le nombre d’autoroutes ou la production de véhicules automobiles. Vous imaginez les conséquences ? Il est bien évident que la production économique et les performances des entreprises mettent en jeu la rivalité. Clausewitz le disait déjà en 1820 : il n’y a rien qui ressemble plus à la guerre que le commerce. Souvent les chrétiens s’arrêtent à une interprétation eschatologique des textes de l’Apocalypse. Il s’agirait d’un événement supranaturel… Rien n’est plus faux ! Au chapitre 16 de Matthieu, les juifs demandent à Jésus un signe. « Mais, vous savez les lire, les signes, leur répond-t-il. Vous regardez la couleur du ciel le soir et vous savez deviner le temps qu’il fera demain. » Autrement dit, l’Apocalypse, c’est naturel. L’Apocalypse n’est pas du tout divine. Ce sont les hommes qui font l’Apocalypse. René Girard
Quels sont les grands leaders du monde aujourd’hui ? Le président Xi, le président Poutine – on peut être d’accord ou pas, mais c’est un leader –, le grand prince Mohammed Ben Salman. Et que seraient aujourd’hui les Emirats sans le leadership de MBZ ? (…) Quel est le problème des démocraties ? C’est que les démocraties ont pu devenir des démocraties avec de grands leaders : de Gaulle, Churchill… Mais les démocraties détruisent tous les leaderships. C’est un grand sujet, ce n’est pas un sujet anecdotique ! Comment peut-on avoir une vision à dix, quinze ou vingt ans, et en même temps avoir un rythme électoral aux Etats-Unis tous les quatre ans ? Les démocraties sont devenues un champ de bataille, où chaque heure est utilisée par tout le monde, réseaux sociaux et autres, pour détruire celui qui est en place. Comment voulez-vous avoir une vision de long terme pour un pays ? C’est ce qui fait que, aujourd’hui, les grands leaders du monde sont issus de pays qui ne sont pas de grandes démocraties. (…) C’est une formidable bonne nouvelle que la Chine assume ses responsabilités internationales. On assiste à un changement de la politique chinoise comme jamais on n’en a connu avant. Jamais. La Chine, c’est quand même le pays qui a construit la Grande Muraille pour se protéger des barbares qui étaient de l’autre côté : nous. « One Road, One Belt »,  c’est un changement colossal ! Tout d’un coup, la Chine décomplexée dit : “Je pars à la conquête du monde.” Alors est-ce que c’est pour des raisons éducatives, politiques, économiques : peu importe.  (…) Le président Xi considère que deux mandats de cinq ans, dix ans, c’est pas assez. Il a raison ! Le mandat du président américain, en vérité c’est pas quatre ans, c’est deux ans : un an pour apprendre le job, un an pour préparer la réélection. Donc vous comparez le président chinois qui a une vision pour son pays et qui dit : “Dix ans, c’est pas assez”, au président américain qui a en vérité deux ans. Mais qui parierait beaucoup sur la réélection de Trump ? Ce matin, j’ai rencontré le prince héritier MBZ. Est-ce que vous croyez qu’on construit un pays comme ça, en deux ans ? Ici, en cinquante ans, vous avez construit un des pays les plus modernes qui soient. La question du leadership est centrale. La réussite du modèle émirien est sans doute l’exemple le plus important pour nous, pour l’ensemble du monde. J’ai été le chef de l’Etat qui a signé le contrat du Louvre à Abou Dhabi. J’y ai mis toute mon énergie. MBZ y a mis toute sa vision. On a mis dix ans ! En allant vite ! Sauf que MBZ est toujours là… Et moi ça fait six ans que je suis parti. (…) La question doit être posée comme ça : est-ce qu’on a besoin de la Russie ou pas ? Ma réponse est oui ! La Russie, c’est le pays à la plus grande superficie du monde. Qui peut dire qu’on ne doit pas parler avec eux ? Quelle est cette idée folle ? Je n’avais pas tout à fait compris dans l’administration Obama pourquoi Poutine et la Russie étaient devenus le principal adversaire. Y a-t-il un risque que la Russie envahisse d’autres pays ? Je n’y crois pas. La Russie doit perdre environ un demi-million d’habitants par an, sur le territoire le plus grand du monde. Est-ce que vous avez déjà vu des pays qui n’arrivent pas à occuper toute leur surface aller envahir des pays à côté ? Sur l’Ukraine, je pense que l’affaire n’a pas été bien gérée depuis le début et qu’il y avait moyen de faire mieux. Poutine est un homme prévisible, avec qui on peut parler et qui respecte la force. Nicolas Sarkozy
One must be blind not to see the approach of the terrible moments of history about which the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian spoke in his Revelation. Patriarch Kirill
We believe that Putin is the best and the only leader [for Russia]… He is trying to make Russia the state where Christians can live and can save their souls for eternal life. Konstantin Malofeev
Simply said, the Antichrist will not come before there will not be anymore supporters [of Orthodoxy]… What is the coming of Antichrist? It is secularism. It is modernization. Westernization. Materialism. Scientific development. The concept of progress. Putin is exactly the figure who is resisting the Antichrist on earth. Aleksandr Dugin
Thank God we live in a country where political correctness has not reached the point of absurdity. Andrei Konchalovsky
If the world were saved from demonic constructions such as the United States, it would be easier for everyone to live. And one of these days it will happen. n. Russian commander
Putin understands that there is no empire without Ukraine. The first move, I think, is Ukraine. But I don’t exclude a military attack in the Far East. They want to distract American attention, prolong the front of confrontation in order to create a favorable situation for aggression in Europe. If you look at the map, Russia is always helping the enemies of America: deep ties to North Korea, involvement in Afghanistan and Syria, backing Iran, and so on. Antoni Macierewicz (Poland’s defense minister)
Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine has two overarching goals.  First, the Russian people must believe the Kremlin version of domestic and world events (…) that Russia is a super power in a hostile world (…) Second, Kremlin propaganda must discredit Western democracy as dysfunctional and inferior to Russia’s managed “democracy.” Kremlin propaganda has largely failed in this regard. Russians consider their government corrupt, remote from the people, interested in preserving power rather than performing its duties, and lying about the true state of affairs. Nevertheless, Putin’s approval ratings remain high in the absence of rivals, who have fled the country, been indicted, or murdered. Putin, in fact, bases his legitimacy on high approval ratings. To counter the Russian people’s sense that they have no say in how they are governed, Kremlin propagandists must sell the story that Western democracies have it worse. Downtrodden Americans, they say, face poverty, hunger, racial and ethnic discrimination, unemployment, and they are governed by corrupt, inept, greedy, dysfunctional, and feuding politicians who sell out to the highest bidder on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. This brings us to how the ballyhooed Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election has given Putin a gift that keeps on giving—a paralyzed federal government, incapable of compromise, in which a significant portion of the governing class questions the legitimacy of a new president. Russia routinely meddles in the politics of other countries. Despite denials, the Kremlin contributes to pro-Russian political parties throughout the world, gathers compromising information, hacks into email accounts, offers lucrative contracts to foreign businesses, and circulates false news. Given this history, U.S. authorities should not have been surprised by Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race. To date, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted thirteen Russian “internet trolls,” who sowed discord on social media by posting inflammatory, distorted, slanted, and false information promoting the Russian narrative of a deeply divided electorate and a discredited American electoral system. Mueller’s indictment identifies the Internet Research Agency (IRA) of St. Petersburg as the nerve center of Russia’s trolling operations. Although putatively owned by a private Russian oligarch close to Putin, there is little doubt that the IRA is a mouthpiece of the Kremlin. The existence and activities of the IRA have been known since 2014. It employs hundreds of hackers and writers divided into geographical sections. It is not the sole source of Russian trolling, but it is the most important. Those American politicians and pundits, like Congressman Jerry Nagler and columnist Thomas Friedman, who label Russian intervention an act of warfare on par with Pearl Harbor or 9/11must attribute supernatural powers to Putin’s trolls. After all, the Mueller investigation revealed that Russia spent no more than a few million dollars on its election-meddling versus the over two billion dollars spent by the presidential candidates alone. The IRA’s St. Petersburg America desk constituted some 90 persons. Their social media posts accounted for an infinitesimal portion of social media political traffic and much of this came after the election. (…) that Western democracies, American democracy especially, are rotten, corrupt, and hapless is a cornerstone of the Kremlin narrative. As the Mueller indictment concludes: The stated goal of the Russian operation was “spreading distrust towards candidates and the political system in general.” The Russian trolls, according to the Mueller indictment, used a number of techniques to achieve this end. They encouraged fringe candidates. They tried to ally with disaffected religious, ethnic, and nationalist groups. They discredited the candidate they thought most likely to win. Once the winner was known, they immediately moved to discredit him. (…) The dozen ill-informed operatives indicted by Mueller held poorly attended rallies, had to be educated about red and blue states, and spent their limited funds in uncontested states. It would be almost crazy to believe that such Russian intervention could have made a difference. Why, then, do so many Americans believe that Russia was instrumental in throwing the election to Donald Trump? It may be that some of the President’s opponents actually believe this narrative. But there’s another explanation, too: Russian intervention provides opportunistic politicians and pundits a useful excuse for paralyzing the incoming government of a gutter-fighter President from a show business and construction background with no political experience. In their view, such a person should not be allowed to govern. Hence the paralysis, dysfunction, and chaos of American democracy—long claimed by Russian propagandists—is on its way to becoming reality. What a windfall for Putin and his oligarchs. Paul R. Gregory
Ivan Ilyin, came to imagine a Russian Christian fascism. Born in 1883, he finished a dissertation on God’s worldly failure just before the Russian Revolution of 1917. Expelled from his homeland in 1922 by the Soviet power he despised, he embraced the cause of Benito Mussolini and completed an apology for political violence in 1925. In German and Swiss exile, he wrote in the 1920s and 1930s for White Russian exiles who had fled after defeat in the Russian civil war, and in the 1940s and 1950s for future Russians who would see the end of the Soviet power. (…) For the young Ilyin, writing before the Revolution, law embodied the hope that Russians would partake in a universal consciousness that would allow Russia to create a modern state. For the mature, counter-revolutionary Ilyin, a particular consciousness (“heart” or “soul,” not “mind”) permitted Russians to experience the arbitrary claims of power as law. Though he died forgotten, in 1954, Ilyin’s work was revived after collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and guides the men who rule Russia today. (…) Because Ilyin found ways to present the failure of the rule of law as Russian virtue, Russian kleptocrats use his ideas to portray economic inequality as national innocence. In the last few years, Vladimir Putin has also used some of Ilyin’s more specific ideas about geopolitics in his effort translate the task of Russian politics from the pursuit of reform at home to the export of virtue abroad. By transforming international politics into a discussion of “spiritual threats,” Ilyin’s works have helped Russian elites to portray the Ukraine, Europe, and the United States as existential dangers to Russia. (…) Ilyin used the word Spirit (Dukh) to describe the inspiration of fascists. The fascist seizure of power, he wrote, was an “act of salvation.” The fascist is the true redeemer, since he grasps that it is the enemy who must be sacrificed. Ilyin took from Mussolini the concept of a “chivalrous sacrifice” that fascists make in the blood of others. (Speaking of the Holocaust in 1943, Heinrich Himmler would praise his SS-men in just these terms.) (…) What seemed to trouble Ilyin most was that Italians and not Russians had invented fascism: “Why did the Italians succeed where we failed?” Writing of the future of Russian fascism in 1927, he tried to establish Russian primacy by considering the White resistance to the Bolsheviks as the pre-history of the fascist movement as a whole. The White movement had also been “deeper and broader” than fascism because it had preserved a connection to religion and the need for totality. Ilyin proclaimed to “my White brothers, the fascists” that a minority must seize power in Russia. The time would come. The “White Spirit” was eternal. (…) “The fact of the matter,” wrote Ilyin, “is that fascism is a redemptive excess of patriotic arbitrariness.” Arbitrariness (proizvol), a central concept in all modern Russian political discussions, was the bugbear of all Russian reformers seeking improvement through law. Now proizvol was patriotic. The word for “redemptive” (spasytelnii), is another central Russian concept. It is the adjective Russian Orthodox Christians might apply to the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, the death of the One for the salvation of the many. Ilyin uses it to mean the murder of outsiders so that the nation could undertake a project of total politics that might later redeem a lost God. In one sentence, two universal concepts, law and Christianity, are undone. A spirit of lawlessness replaces the spirit of the law; a spirit of murder replaces a spirit of mercy. (…) Writing in Russian for Russian émigrés, Ilyin was quick to praise Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933. Hitler did well, in Ilyin’s opinion, to have the rule of law suspended after the Reichstag Fire of February 1933. Ilyin presented Hitler, like Mussolini, as a Leader from beyond history whose mission was entirely defensive. “A reaction to Bolshevism had to come,” wrote Ilyin, “and it came.” European civilization had been sentenced to death, but “so long as Mussolini is leading Italy and Hitler is leading Germany, European culture has a stay of execution.” Nazis embodied a “Spirit” (Dukh) that Russians must share. According to Ilyin, Nazis were right to boycott Jewish businesses and blame Jews as a collectivity for the evils that had befallen Germany. Above all, Ilyin wanted to persuade Russians and other Europeans that Hitler was right to treat Jews as agents of Bolshevism. This “Judeobolshevik” idea, as Ilyin understood, was the ideological connection between the Whites and the Nazis. The claim that Jews were Bolsheviks and Bolsheviks were Jews was White propaganda during the Russian Civil War. Of course, most communists were not Jews, and the overwhelming majority of Jews had nothing to do with communism. The conflation of the two groups was not an error or an exaggeration, but rather a transformation of traditional religious prejudices into instruments of national unity. Judeobolshevism appealed to the superstitious belief of Orthodox Christian peasants that Jews guarded the border between the realms of good and evil. It shifted this conviction to modern politics, portraying revolution as hell and Jews as its gatekeepers. As in Ilyin’s philosophy, God was weak, Satan was dominant, and the weapons of hell were modern ideas in the world. (…) As the 1930s passed, Ilyin began to doubt that Nazi Germany was advancing the cause of Russian fascism. This was natural, since Hitler regarded Russians as subhumans, and Germany supported European fascists only insofar as they were useful to the specific Nazi cause. Ilyin began to caution Russian Whites about Nazis, and came under suspicion from the German government. He lost his job and, in 1938, left Germany for Switzerland. He remained faithful, however, to his conviction that the White movement was anterior to Italian fascism and German National Socialism. In time, Russians would demonstrate a superior fascism. (…) World War II (…) was a confusing moment for both communists and their enemies, since the conflict began after the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany reached an agreement known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. (…) as the Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union (…) Ilyin (…) wrote of the German invasion of the USSR as a “judgment on Bolshevism.” After the Soviet victory at Stalingrad in February 1943, when it became clear that Germany would likely lose the war, Ilyin changed his position again. Then, and in the years to follow, he would present the war as one of a series of Western attacks on Russian virtue. Russian innocence was becoming one of Ilyin’s great themes. As a concept, it completed Ilyin’s fascist theory: the world was corrupt; it needed redemption from a nation capable of total politics; that nation was unsoiled Russia. As he aged, Ilyin dwelled on the Russian past, not as history, but as a cyclical myth of native virtue defended from external penetration. Russia was an immaculate empire, always under attack from all sides. A small territory around Moscow became the Russian Empire, the largest country of all time, without ever attacking anyone. Even as it expanded, Russia was the victim, because Europeans did not understand the profound virtue it was defending by taking more land. In Ilyin’s words, Russia has been subject to unceasing “continental blockade,” and so its entire past was one of “self-defense.” And so, “the Russian nation, since its full conversion to Christianity, can count nearly one thousand years of historical suffering.” (…) Democratic elections institutionalized the evil notion of individuality. “The principle of democracy,” Ilyin wrote, “was the irresponsible human atom.” Counting votes was to falsely accept “the mechanical and arithmetical understanding of politics.” It followed that “we must reject blind faith in the number of votes and its political significance.” Public voting with signed ballots will allow Russians to surrender their individuality. Elections were a ritual of submission of Russians before their Leader. (…) Russia today is a media-heavy authoritarian kleptocracy, not the religious totalitarian entity that Ilyin imagined. And yet, his concepts do help lift the obscurity from some of the more interesting aspects of Russian politics. Vladimir Putin, to take a very important example, is a post-Soviet politician who emerged from the realm of fiction. Since it is he who brought Ilyin’s ideas into high politics, his rise to power is part of Ilyin’s story as well. (…) In the early 2000s, Putin maintained that Russia could become some kind of rule-of-law state. Instead, he succeeded in bringing economic crime within the Russian state, transforming general corruption into official kleptocracy. Once the state became the center of crime, the rule of law became incoherent, inequality entrenched, and reform unthinkable. Another political story was needed. Because Putin’s victory over Russia’s oligarchs also meant control over their television stations, new media instruments were at hand. The Western trend towards infotainment was brought to its logical conclusion in Russia, generating an alternative reality meant to generate faith in Russian virtue but cynicism about facts. This transformation was engineered by Vladislav Surkov, the genius of Russian propaganda. He oversaw a striking move toward the world as Ilyin imagined it, a dark and confusing realm given shape only by Russian innocence. With the financial and media resources under control, Putin needed only, in the nice Russian term, to add the “spiritual resource.” And so, beginning in 2005, Putin began to rehabilitate Ilyin as a Kremlin court philosopher. (…) If Russia could not become a rule-of-law state, it would seek to destroy neighbors that had succeeded in doing so or that aspired to do so. Echoing one of the most notorious proclamations of the Nazi legal thinker Carl Schmitt, Ilyin wrote that politics “is the art of identifying and neutralizing the enemy.” In the second decade of the twenty-first century, Putin’s promises were not about law in Russia, but about the defeat of a hyper-legal neighboring entity. The European Union, the largest economy in the world and Russia’s most important economic partner, is grounded on the assumption that international legal agreements provide the basis for fruitful cooperation among rule-of-law states. (…) Putin predicted that Eurasia would overcome the European Union and bring its members into a larger entity that would extend “from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” (…) Modifying Ilyin’s views about Russian innocence ever so slightly, Russian leaders could see the Soviet Union not as a foreign imposition upon Russia, as Ilyin had, but rather as Russia itself, and so virtuous despite appearances. Any faults of the Soviet system became necessary Russian reactions to the prior hostility of the West. Questions about the influence of ideas in politics are very difficult to answer, and it would be needlessly bold to make of Ilyin’s writings the pillar of the Russian system. For one thing, Ilyin’s vast body of work admits multiple interpretations. (…) And yet, most often in the Russia of the second decade of the twenty-first century, it is Ilyin’s ideas that to seem to satisfy political needs and to fill rhetorical gaps, to provide the “spiritual resource” for the kleptocratic state machine. (…) Russia’s 2012 law on “foreign agents,” passed right after Putin’s return to the office of the presidency, well represents Ilyin’s attitude to civil society. Ilyin believed that Russia’s “White Spirit” should animate the fascists of Europe; since 2013, the Kremlin has provided financial and propaganda support to European parties of the populist and extreme right. The Russian campaign against the “decadence” of the European Union, initiated in 2013, is in accord with Ilyin’s worldview. (…) Putin first submitted to years of shirtless fur-and-feather photoshoots, then divorced his wife, then blamed the European Union for Russian homosexuality. Ilyin sexualized what he experienced as foreign threats. Jazz, for example, was a plot to induce premature ejaculation. When Ukrainians began in late 2013 to assemble in favor of a European future for their country, the Russian media raised the specter of a “homodictatorship.” (…) Putin justified Russia’s attempt to draw Ukraine towards Eurasia by Ilyin’s “organic model” that made of Russia and Ukraine “one people. » Timothy Snyder
The last two weeks have witnessed the upending of the European order and the close of the post-Cold War era. With his invasion of Crimea and the instant absorption of the strategic peninsula, Vladimir Putin has shown that he will not play by the West’s rules. The “end of history” is at an end—we’re now seeing the onset of Cold War 2.0. What’s on the Kremlin’s mind was made clear by Putin’s fire-breathing speech to the Duma announcing the annexation of Crimea, which blended retrograde Russian nationalism with a generous helping of messianism on behalf of his fellow Slavs, alongside the KGB-speak that Putin is so fond of. If you enjoy mystical references to Orthodox saints of two millennia past accompanied by warnings about a Western fifth column and “national traitors,” this was the speech for you. Putin confirmed the worst fears of Ukrainians who think they should have their own country. But his ambitions go well beyond Ukraine: By explicitly linking Russian ethnicity with membership in the Russian Federation, Putin has challenged the post-Soviet order writ large. For years, I studied Russia as a counterintelligence officer for the National Security Agency, and at times I feel like I’m seeing history in reverse. The Kremlin is a fiercely revisionist power, seeking to change the status quo by various forms of force. This will soon involve NATO members in the Baltics directly, as well as Poland and Romania indirectly. Longstanding Russian acumen in what I term Special War, an amalgam of espionage, subversion and terrorism by spies and special operatives, is already known to Russia’s neighbors and can be expected to increase. In truth, Putin set Russia on a course for Cold War 2.0 as far back as 2007, and perhaps earlier; Western counterintelligence noted major upswings in aggressive Russian espionage and subversion against NATO members as far back as 2006.The brief Georgia war of August 2008, which made clear that the Kremlin was perfectly comfortable with using force in the post-Soviet space, ought to have served as a bigger wake-up call for the West. John R. Schindler (2014)
Ever since Moscow’s Little Green Men seized Crimea in early 2014, we’ve been in a new Cold War with Russia. To the consternation of wishful-thinkers, as Vladimir Putin’s confrontation with the West has become transparent, the reality of what I termed Cold War 2.0 almost four years ago has grown difficult to deny. Since the Kremlin’s revanchism is driving this conflict, we’re in it whether we want to be or not. Europe is the central front  in Cold War 2.0, thanks to geography and history. Putin’s war on, and in, Ukraine continues on low boil, while the Russian military regularly delivers provocations—a too-close warship here, an aircraft buzz there—all along NATO’s eastern frontier, sending an aggressive message. Major military exercises like September’s Zapad mega-wargame demonstrate Putin’s seriousness about confronting the Atlantic Alliance. (…)  However, Kremlin provocations extend far beyond the former Soviet Union (…) This assessment sounds alarmist at first, particularly the mention of possible aggression in the Far East, but Western intelligence agencies that track Russian moves have been thinking along similar lines—though they seldom say so in public. Therefore, it’s worth taking a brief look at what Putin’s up to, and where. Russia’s footprint on the North Korean crisis is impossible to miss, and since that’s the world’s most dangerous strategic predicament at present, Moscow’s less-than-helpful role merits attention. Although Beijing is clearly exasperated by the unhinged antics of its semi-client regime in Pyongyang, Moscow seems perfectly pleased with the hazardous games played by North Korea. And why not? Pyongyang creates strategic confusion for the Americans, which the Kremlin always enjoys. Russian military and intelligence support to the increasingly isolated Kim regime is an open secret, while Putin’s sanctions-beating lifelines to Pyongyang are public and deeply annoying for both Beijing and Washington. Although Moscow is no more eager to see all-out war on the Korean peninsula than the Chinese or Americans, keeping the nasty Kim regime in place frustrates and distracts the Pentagon, which is Russia’s real aim here. Not to mention that backing North Korea is viewed in the Kremlin as payback for NATO’s “meddling” in Ukraine. A similar pattern can be detected in Afghanistan, where American-led forces are in their sixteenth year of a seemingly endless counterinsurgency against the Taliban—and it’s not going well. Therefore, Moscow has been giving clandestine support to the Taliban. A few months back, the U.S. military command in Afghanistan admitted that Russian arms were reaching the Taliban. That clandestine Kremlin assistance is costing lives is increasingly obvious. Russian aid has reached Taliban “special” units that launch attacks on Afghan military bases. A recent spate of Taliban assaults on Afghan forces, including nighttime raids, has inflicted unexpected casualties on American allies. Of concern to the Pentagon, Taliban fighters equipped with Russian-made night vision gear have been ambushing Afghan military and police with lethal effects. It seems only a matter of time before American troops are killed by Russian-equipped Taliban special operators. While the Kremlin is in truth no fonder of the Taliban than the West is, this spoiler strategy is inflicting pain on the Americans and our clients in Kabul, which is all the Russians seek here. Not to mention that payback against us in Afghanistan, three decades after U.S. clandestine aid killed and wounded thousands of Soviet troops in that country, must be delicious for Moscow, where revenge has always constituted a rational strategic motivation. However, the real fight is in the heart of the Middle East, where Russia and its Iranian allies are fundamentally transforming the region at high cost in blood. Together, Moscow and Tehran are challenging the American-constructed security system that’s an ailing holdover from the last Cold War. Even recent cooperation between America’s two clients, Israel and Saudi Arabia, appears insufficient to turn back the rising Russian-Iranian tide across the Middle East. We only have ourselves to blame for this. Putin has taken full advantage of the blank check written by Barack Obama in September 2013 when our president backed away from his “red line” in Syria, in effect outsourcing that country and its terrible civil war to the Kremlin. As I predicted at the time, the strategic consequences of Obama’s decision have been grave, making Putin the new Middle East power-broker—a message that was missed only in Washington think-tanks. For his part, Donald Trump has been only too willing to let his Russian counterpart and would-be buddy do whatever he likes in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. Moscow’s military intervention in the Middle East, begun under Obama, continues to flourish and shows no signs of abating. The balance of power in this vital region has shifted decisively from Washington to Moscow at appalling cost in human life, though none of that troubled President Obama very much, and it seems to trouble his successor not one bit. It would be naïve to think Putin restricts his poking to the Eastern Hemisphere. Closer to our home, the bear’s paw-prints are easily detectable. Take Venezuela, the Bolivarian dictatorship and economic basket-case that’s barely a viable country at all anymore, between currency collapse and serious food shortages. Russian money is keeping this anti-American regime afloat, and last week Moscow’s refinancing of $3.15 billion it’s owed by Caracas gives the flat-broke country a bit of financial breathing room. Without Russia, Venezuela would likely implode, and it’s worth considering whether the Bolivarian regime is actually Putin’s newest satellite state. Although sanctions and low oil prices have diminished the Kremlin’s largess toward anti-Americans all over the globe, the prospect of having a loyal (because utterly dependent) client so close to the United States seems too good for Putin to pass up. Then there’s Cuba, Moscow’s “fraternal ally” from the last Cold War, and apparently the second one too. Just 90 miles from Key West, Cuba has long served as a reliable base for Russian provocations against us, and nothing’s changed. Russian economic aid to that impoverished island is back, after falling off after 1991, and the Kremlin has begun to reopen its military and spy bases in the country, which were shuttered after the Soviet collapse. Western intelligence has detected a Kremlin hand behind the recent rash of sonic attacks on American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba. While Havana flatly denies that anything untoward has occurred, two dozen U.S. diplomats in the country have suffered serious health problems due to this mysterious problem, which remains officially unexplained. However, it’s known that the KGB experimented with sonic weapons, while an attack of this sophistication is widely considered to be beyond the technical abilities of Cuban intelligence. (….) In all, this amounts to a worldwide Russian effort to push back against what’s left of American hegemony. Since Moscow lacks the ability to directly counter NATO and the U.S. militarily, the Russians are provoking and prodding where they can with the techniques of Special War: it’s what the Kremlin does best. This should be considered a spoiler strategy, a strategy of tension—what left-wing Italians in the 1970s termed la strategia della tensione. Vladimir Putin seeks to expand Russian power on the cheap while causing problems for America and our allies wherever he can—without direct military confrontation. John Schindler
One of the more interesting aspects of Cold War 2.0 is the ideological struggle between the postmodern West and Russia—a struggle that most Westerners deny even exists. there is an undeniable ideological struggle between Vladimir Putin’s neo-traditionalist Russia and the post-modern West—one that prominent Russians talk about all the time. In the Kremlin’s imagination, this fight pits the godless, materialistic, doomed 21st century West, too lazy to even reproduce, against a tough, reborn Russia that was forged in the murderous fire of 74 years of Bolshevism. The yawning gap between Russian and Western values can be partly explained by the fact that Communism shielded the former from the West’s vast cultural shifts since the 1960s. Living under the Old Left provided protection against the New Left. As a result, Russians are living in our past and find current Western ways incomprehensible and even contemptible. Take the reaction to America’s present panic about sexual harassment, which is felling celebrities and politicians left and right. In Moscow, this looks like madness, punishing powerful men for doing what powerful men have always done. Their late-night TV uses our sex panic as a punchline, proof that Americans are weak and feminized, held hostage to radical ideology. There is an undeniable theological aspect to this Russian contempt for post-modern Western values. The Russian Orthodox Church, which isn’t exactly state-controlled but is tightly linked to the Kremlin, regularly denounces the godless West and its sins—homosexuality and feminism especially. Orthodox clerics regularly castigate our “Satanic” ways as an example of what Russia must repel if it wants to survive the 21st century. Denouncing the West as godless and decadent is a venerable tradition in Russian Orthodoxy with deep historical roots, and it’s been reborn after Communism with gusto. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the ROC, frequently breathes fire on post-modern Western ways, and a couple weeks back he shared them with John Huntsman, the newly arrived American ambassador in Moscow, in an awkward meet-and-greet that turned into a theology lecture. Simply put, Kirill explained, America today is doing to itself what the Bolsheviks did to Russia: forcing a godless, secular ideology onto society. “Christian values are being destroyed… The West is abandoning God, but Russia is not abandoning God, like the majority of people in the world. That means the distance between our values is increasing,” he stated bluntly. Kirill’s insistence that America and the West are the outliers here, with Russia and most of the world on the side of traditional religion and values, is an important point that merits pondering. The traditionalist nature of Putinism, always present, has grown more intense in recent years as the Kremlin has sought to enshrine an official ideology as confrontation with the West has grown. Whatever Vladimir Putin may actually believe, he has played the public role of an Orthodox believer quite effectively. He has cultivated senior ROC clerics, who provide regime-endorsing soundbites as needed, and the church gives Putin legitimacy in the eyes of average Russians, who aren’t especially religious in terms of church-going, yet they see an Orthodox identity as reassuring and plausible in Communism’s wake. Putin has returned the church’s affection, stating that Russia’s “spiritual shield”—meaning Orthodoxy—is as important to the country’s security as its nuclear shield. In turn, Orthodox leaders portray Putin’s as a God-given figure, divinely sent to bring the country back to faith and great-power status out of the wreckage of atheistic Bolshevism. (…) Recently, Putin has played up the Orthodox nationalist message in a series of public events. He visited Mount Athos, Greece’s famous Holy Mountain, in May 2016 in a pilgrimage of sorts. It was shown live, with great fanfare, in wall-to-wall coverage on Tsargrad TV, and Putin was treated by the monks there more like a visiting Byzantine emperor than as the Russian president. This month, Putin was present for the grand reopening of the New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow, a sprawling 17th century complex that was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II and was rebuilt from the ground up over the past decade at great expense. It did not go unnoticed that the monastery was originally constructed to glorify the Third Rome idea, the centuries-old religious myth that Moscow is the sole successor to Rome and Byzantium, which has long served as a driver of Russian nationalism and imperialism. Then, last week, Patriarch Kirill warned of coming Armageddon. (…) Adding that the world’s end is in the hands of humanity, and something that Russians and all nations must stop, Krill warned of Earth imminently “slipping into the abyss of the end of history.” These are the comments of a top cleric, not the Ministry of Defense, but it should be noted that the Russian military is now practicing for global thermonuclear war in a manner it hasn’t done since the last Cold War. Last month, in an apparent continuation of September’s Zapad mega-wargame, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces conducted a huge exercise that involved Putin himself. This exercise involved all three “legs” of Russia’s nuclear triad: land-based ballistic missiles, long-range bombers, and submarines with ballistic missiles. In all, several cruise missiles were fired while three ballistic missiles were launched—and Putin personally gave the launch orders. This is a rare move, not to mention a violation of our nuclear treaties with the Kremlin, and Moscow was sending a hard-to-miss message. (…) It would be a mistake to directly lump nuclear exercises in with apocalyptic messages from leading Kremlin ideologues. However, it’s hardly encouraging that the Putin regime is pushing propaganda about planetary end-times while indulging in saber-rattling nuclear wargames for the first time in decades. Whatever else this aggressive Moscow messaging means, none of it bodes well for peace. John Schindler

Religions de tous pays, unissez vous !

Au lendemain d’un nouveau triomphe électoral du Chaisier musical en chef  de la sainte Russie …

Dont la participation et le score rien de moins qu’africains ou même soviétiques …

En font rêver plus d’un notre Sarkozy national en tête ….

Dans un Occident ne s’étant toujours pas remis du vide stratégique et des folies migratoires laissés par l’ère Obama-Merkel…

Comment ne pas voir …

Avec l’ex-expert de la NSA John Schindler

La lutte proprement théologique qui se profile …

Derrière la convergence des revanchismes tant russe que chinois ou musulman …

Et sous la menace d’une probablement inévitable invasion démographique africaine de l’Europe …

Entre sous l’étendard d’une Amérique en proie aux pires dérives du politiquement correct …

La décadence postmoderne d’un Occident désormais livré au plus crasse du matérialisme et de la déchristianisation ….

Et sous la houlette d’un régime poutinien multipliant entre inaugurations ou visites de lieux saints orthodoxes les démonstrations de force y compris chimiques ou thermonucléaires

Un reste du monde défendant la religion et les valeurs traditionnelles abandonnées par ledit Occident ?

Russia Conducts Nuclear Exercises Amid Orthodox End-Times Talk

One of the more interesting aspects of Cold War 2.0 is the ideological struggle between the postmodern West and Russia—a struggle that most Westerners deny even exists. President Barack Obama, after Moscow seized Crimea in early 2014, pronounced that there was nothing big afoot: “After all, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology.”

Obama’s statement was wrong then, and it’s even more wrong now. As I’ve explained, there is an undeniable ideological struggle between Vladimir Putin’s neo-traditionalist Russia and the post-modern West—one that prominent Russians talk about all the time. In the Kremlin’s imagination, this fight pits the godless, materialistic, doomed 21st century West, too lazy to even reproduce, against a tough, reborn Russia that was forged in the murderous fire of 74 years of Bolshevism.

The yawning gap between Russian and Western values can be partly explained by the fact that Communism shielded the former from the West’s vast cultural shifts since the 1960s. Living under the Old Left provided protection against the New Left. As a result, Russians are living in our past and find current Western ways incomprehensible and even contemptible.

Take the reaction to America’s present panic about sexual harassment, which is felling celebrities and politicians left and right. In Moscow, this looks like madness, punishing powerful men for doing what powerful men have always done. Their late-night TV uses our sex panic as a punchline, proof that Americans are weak and feminized, held hostage to radical ideology. Andrei Konchalovsky, one of Russia’s top film directors (including some Hollywood hits), expressed his view plainly: “Thank God we live in a country where political correctness has not reached the point of absurdity.”

There is an undeniable theological aspect to this Russian contempt for post-modern Western values. The Russian Orthodox Church, which isn’t exactly state-controlled but is tightly linked to the Kremlin, regularly denounces the godless West and its sins—homosexuality and feminism especially. Orthodox clerics regularly castigate our “Satanic” ways as an example of what Russia must repel if it wants to survive the 21st century.

Denouncing the West as godless and decadent is a venerable tradition in Russian Orthodoxy with deep historical roots, and it’s been reborn after Communism with gusto. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the ROC, frequently breathes fire on post-modern Western ways, and a couple weeks back he shared them with John Huntsman, the newly arrived American ambassador in Moscow, in an awkward meet-and-greet that turned into a theology lecture.

Simply put, Kirill explained, America today is doing to itself what the Bolsheviks did to Russia: forcing a godless, secular ideology onto society. “Christian values are being destroyed… The West is abandoning God, but Russia is not abandoning God, like the majority of people in the world. That means the distance between our values is increasing,” he stated bluntly. Kirill’s insistence that America and the West are the outliers here, with Russia and most of the world on the side of traditional religion and values, is an important point that merits pondering.

The traditionalist nature of Putinism, always present, has grown more intense in recent years as the Kremlin has sought to enshrine an official ideology as confrontation with the West has grown. Whatever Vladimir Putin may actually believe, he has played the public role of an Orthodox believer quite effectively. He has cultivated senior ROC clerics, who provide regime-endorsing soundbites as needed, and the church gives Putin legitimacy in the eyes of average Russians, who aren’t especially religious in terms of church-going, yet they see an Orthodox identity as reassuring and plausible in Communism’s wake.

Putin has returned the church’s affection, stating that Russia’s “spiritual shield”—meaning Orthodoxy—is as important to the country’s security as its nuclear shield. In turn, Orthodox leaders portray Putin’s as a God-given figure, divinely sent to bring the country back to faith and great-power status out of the wreckage of atheistic Bolshevism.

Prominent here is Konstantin Malofeev, a hedge-fund billionaire turned militant Orthodox nationalist, who created Tsargrad TV, a 24-hour cable new network, to push those values to the public. Malofeev, like the Blues Brothers, thinks he’s on a mission from God, and his network is basically the Russian Fox News, if FNC focused on theology and mystical nationalism instead of blonde newsreaders.

Malofeev’s affection for Russia’s president and his system is clear: “We believe that Putin is the best and the only leader [for Russia]… He is trying to make Russia the state where Christians can live and can save their souls for eternal life.” While the deeply Eastern nature of Orthodoxy means it has little appeal for Western Christians, there’s no doubt that Kremlin messaging is reaching some, especially American Evangelicals, whom Moscow sees as potential allies abroad.

The notorious gadfly Aleksandr Dugin goes further: “Simply said, the Antichrist will not come before there will not be anymore supporters [of Orthodoxy]… What is the coming of Antichrist? It is secularism. It is modernization. Westernization. Materialism. Scientific development. The concept of progress.” He added that Putin is “exactly” the figure who is resisting the Antichrist on earth.

Dugin, it should be noted, isn’t some random flake or religious nut, he’s a Big Idea thinker who’s taken somewhat seriously in the Kremlin, although his real role seems to be Moscow’s ambassador-at-large to the Western far-right. He is close to the Russian security services and he runs a website that pushes his hardline Orthodox nationalist message in several languages, including English. Its name comes from the Greek word for “he who resists the Antichrist.”

Recently, Putin has played up the Orthodox nationalist message in a series of public events. He visited Mount Athos, Greece’s famous Holy Mountain, in May 2016 in a pilgrimage of sorts. It was shown live, with great fanfare, in wall-to-wall coverage on Tsargrad TV, and Putin was treated by the monks there more like a visiting Byzantine emperor than as the Russian president.

This month, Putin was present for the grand reopening of the New Jerusalem Monastery outside Moscow, a sprawling 17th century complex that was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II and was rebuilt from the ground up over the past decade at great expense. It did not go unnoticed that the monastery was originally constructed to glorify the Third Rome idea, the centuries-old religious myth that Moscow is the sole successor to Rome and Byzantium, which has long served as a driver of Russian nationalism and imperialism.

Then, last week, Patriarch Kirill warned of coming Armageddon. After a service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, he made a stunning statement: “One must be blind not to see the approach of the terrible moments of history about which the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian spoke in his Revelation.” Adding that the world’s end is in the hands of humanity, and something that Russians and all nations must stop, Krill warned of Earth imminently “slipping into the abyss of the end of history.”

These are the comments of a top cleric, not the Ministry of Defense, but it should be noted that the Russian military is now practicing for global thermonuclear war in a manner it hasn’t done since the last Cold War. Last month, in an apparent continuation of September’s Zapad mega-wargame, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces conducted a huge exercise that involved Putin himself. This exercise involved all three “legs” of Russia’s nuclear triad: land-based ballistic missiles, long-range bombers, and submarines with ballistic missiles. In all, several cruise missiles were fired while three ballistic missiles were launched—and Putin personally gave the launch orders.

This is a rare move, not to mention a violation of our nuclear treaties with the Kremlin, and Moscow was sending a hard-to-miss message. As Real Clear Defense reports, “The most striking thing about the exercise was that it was announced at all and that President Putin was characterized as ‘overseeing’ it and ordering the missile launches. This exercise was conducted in a sensitive period in U.S.-Russian relations. Russia did not have to announce the exercise. It has previously staged major strategic nuclear exercises without announcing them.”

It would be a mistake to directly lump nuclear exercises in with apocalyptic messages from leading Kremlin ideologues. However, it’s hardly encouraging that the Putin regime is pushing propaganda about planetary end-times while indulging in saber-rattling nuclear wargames for the first time in decades. Whatever else this aggressive Moscow messaging means, none of it bodes well for peace.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. 

Voir aussi:

Putin’s Strategy of Global Tension

Ever since Moscow’s Little Green Men seized Crimea in early 2014, we’ve been in a new Cold War with Russia. To the consternation of wishful-thinkers, as Vladimir Putin’s confrontation with the West has become transparent, the reality of what I termed Cold War 2.0 almost four years ago has grown difficult to deny. Since the Kremlin’s revanchism is driving this conflict, we’re in it whether we want to be or not.

Europe is the central front in Cold War 2.0, thanks to geography and history. Putin’s war on, and in, Ukraine continues on low boil, while the Russian military regularly delivers provocations—a too-close warship here, an aircraft buzz there—all along NATO’s eastern frontier, sending an aggressive message. Major military exercises like September’s Zapad mega-wargame demonstrate Putin’s seriousness about confronting the Atlantic Alliance.

What Putin wants was the subject of my recent interview with Antoni Macierewicz, Poland’s plain-spoken defense minister. What the Kremlin boss seeks, he explained, is restoration of the Russian empire, to which Ukraine (or at least most of it) belonged for centuries. “Putin understands that there is no empire without Ukraine,” he added.

However, Kremlin provocations extend far beyond the former Soviet Union, as Macierewicz elaborated:

The first move, I think, is Ukraine. But I don’t exclude a military attack in the Far East. They want to distract American attention, prolong the front of confrontation in order to create a favorable situation for aggression in Europe. If you look at the map, Russia is always helping the enemies of America: deep ties to North Korea, involvement in Afghanistan and Syria, backing Iran, and so on.

This assessment sounds alarmist at first, particularly the mention of possible aggression in the Far East, but Western intelligence agencies that track Russian moves have been thinking along similar lines—though they seldom say so in public. Therefore, it’s worth taking a brief look at what Putin’s up to, and where.

Russia’s footprint on the North Korean crisis is impossible to miss, and since that’s the world’s most dangerous strategic predicament at present, Moscow’s less-than-helpful role merits attention. Although Beijing is clearly exasperated by the unhinged antics of its semi-client regime in Pyongyang, Moscow seems perfectly pleased with the hazardous games played by North Korea.

And why not? Pyongyang creates strategic confusion for the Americans, which the Kremlin always enjoys. Russian military and intelligence support to the increasingly isolated Kim regime is an open secret, while Putin’s sanctions-beating lifelines to Pyongyang are public and deeply annoying for both Beijing and Washington. Although Moscow is no more eager to see all-out war on the Korean peninsula than the Chinese or Americans, keeping the nasty Kim regime in place frustrates and distracts the Pentagon, which is Russia’s real aim here. Not to mention that backing North Korea is viewed in the Kremlin as payback for NATO’s “meddling” in Ukraine.

A similar pattern can be detected in Afghanistan, where American-led forces are in their sixteenth year of a seemingly endless counterinsurgency against the Taliban—and it’s not going well. Therefore, Moscow has been giving clandestine support to the Taliban. A few months back, the U.S. military command in Afghanistan admitted that Russian arms were reaching the Taliban. That clandestine Kremlin assistance is costing lives is increasingly obvious. Russian aid has reached Taliban “special” units that launch attacks on Afghan military bases.

A recent spate of Taliban assaults on Afghan forces, including nighttime raids, has inflicted unexpected casualties on American allies. Of concern to the Pentagon, Taliban fighters equipped with Russian-made night vision gear have been ambushing Afghan military and police with lethal effects. It seems only a matter of time before American troops are killed by Russian-equipped Taliban special operators.

While the Kremlin is in truth no fonder of the Taliban than the West is, this spoiler strategy is inflicting pain on the Americans and our clients in Kabul, which is all the Russians seek here. Not to mention that payback against us in Afghanistan, three decades after U.S. clandestine aid killed and wounded thousands of Soviet troops in that country, must be delicious for Moscow, where revenge has always constituted a rational strategic motivation.

However, the real fight is in the heart of the Middle East, where Russia and its Iranian allies are fundamentally transforming the region at high cost in blood. Together, Moscow and Tehran are challenging the American-constructed security system that’s an ailing holdover from the last Cold War. Even recent cooperation between America’s two clients, Israel and Saudi Arabia, appears insufficient to turn back the rising Russian-Iranian tide across the Middle East.

We only have ourselves to blame for this. Putin has taken full advantage of the blank check written by Barack Obama in September 2013 when our president backed away from his “red line” in Syria, in effect outsourcing that country and its terrible civil war to the Kremlin. As I predicted at the time, the strategic consequences of Obama’s decision have been grave, making Putin the new Middle East power-broker—a message that was missed only in Washington think-tanks.

For his part, Donald Trump has been only too willing to let his Russian counterpart and would-be buddy do whatever he likes in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. Moscow’s military intervention in the Middle East, begun under Obama, continues to flourish and shows no signs of abating. The balance of power in this vital region has shifted decisively from Washington to Moscow at appalling cost in human life, though none of that troubled President Obama very much, and it seems to trouble his successor not one bit.

It would be naïve to think Putin restricts his poking to the Eastern Hemisphere. Closer to our home, the bear’s paw-prints are easily detectable. Take Venezuela, the Bolivarian dictatorship and economic basket-case that’s barely a viable country at all anymore, between currency collapse and serious food shortages. Russian money is keeping this anti-American regime afloat, and last week Moscow’s refinancing of $3.15 billion it’s owed by Caracas gives the flat-broke country a bit of financial breathing room. Without Russia, Venezuela would likely implode, and it’s worth considering whether the Bolivarian regime is actually Putin’s newest satellite state. Although sanctions and low oil prices have diminished the Kremlin’s largess toward anti-Americans all over the globe, the prospect of having a loyal (because utterly dependent) client so close to the United States seems too good for Putin to pass up.

Then there’s Cuba, Moscow’s “fraternal ally” from the last Cold War, and apparently the second one too. Just 90 miles from Key West, Cuba has long served as a reliable base for Russian provocations against us, and nothing’s changed. Russian economic aid to that impoverished island is back, after falling off after 1991, and the Kremlin has begun to reopen its military and spy bases in the country, which were shuttered after the Soviet collapse.

Western intelligence has detected a Kremlin hand behind the recent rash of sonic attacks on American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba. While Havana flatly denies that anything untoward has occurred, two dozen U.S. diplomats in the country have suffered serious health problems due to this mysterious problem, which remains officially unexplained. However, it’s known that the KGB experimented with sonic weapons, while an attack of this sophistication is widely considered to be beyond the technical abilities of Cuban intelligence. “Of course it was the Russians,” explained a senior NATO security official to me recently about this strange case. “We have no real doubt of that.”

In all, this amounts to a worldwide Russian effort to push back against what’s left of American hegemony. Since Moscow lacks the ability to directly counter NATO and the U.S. militarily, the Russians are provoking and prodding where they can with the techniques of Special War: it’s what the Kremlin does best. This should be considered a spoiler strategy, a strategy of tension—what left-wing Italians in the 1970s termed la strategia della tensione.

Vladimir Putin seeks to expand Russian power on the cheap while causing problems for America and our allies wherever he can—without direct military confrontation. So far, the Kremlin seems to be playing its rather poor hand well at the tables of global power, and Putin’s strategy of tension shows no signs of abating. Although the Trump White House is paying no attention to this new reality, the Pentagon and our Intelligence Community certainly are.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. 

Voir également:

How to Win Cold War 2.0

To beat Vladimir Putin, we’re going to have to be a little more like him.

The last two weeks have witnessed the upending of the European order and the close of the post-Cold War era. With his invasion of Crimea and the instant absorption of the strategic peninsula, Vladimir Putin has shown that he will not play by the West’s rules. The “end of history” is at an end—we’re now seeing the onset of Cold War 2.0.

What’s on the Kremlin’s mind was made clear by Putin’s fire-breathing speech to the Duma announcing the annexation of Crimea, which blended retrograde Russian nationalism with a generous helping of messianism on behalf of his fellow Slavs, alongside the KGB-speak that Putin is so fond of. If you enjoy mystical references to Orthodox saints of two millennia past accompanied by warnings about a Western fifth column and “national traitors,” this was the speech for you.

Putin confirmed the worst fears of Ukrainians who think they should have their own country. But his ambitions go well beyond Ukraine: By explicitly linking Russian ethnicity with membership in the Russian Federation, Putin has challenged the post-Soviet order writ large.

For years, I studied Russia as a counterintelligence officer for the National Security Agency, and at times I feel like I’m seeing history in reverse. The Kremlin is a fiercely revisionist power, seeking to change the status quo by various forms of force. This will soon involve NATO members in the Baltics directly, as well as Poland and Romania indirectly. Longstanding Russian acumen in what I term Special War, an amalgam of espionage, subversion and terrorism by spies and special operatives, is already known to Russia’s neighbors and can be expected to increase.

In truth, Putin set Russia on a course for Cold War 2.0 as far back as 2007, and perhaps earlier; Western counterintelligence noted major upswings in aggressive Russian espionage and subversion against NATO members as far back as 2006.The brief Georgia war of August 2008, which made clear that the Kremlin was perfectly comfortable with using force in the post-Soviet space, ought to have served as a bigger wake-up call for the West.

John R. Schindler is professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and a former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer. The views expressed here are his own.
Voir de même:

Avec Zapad 2017, la Russie se prépare « pour une grande guerre », dit un responsable militaire de l’Otan

Le général tchèque Petr Pavel, le président du comité militaire de l’Otan, ne passe pour être alarmiste. Ainsi, en juin 2016, lors d’une audition devant la commission sénatoriale des Affaires étrangères et des Forces armées, il avait estimé que la Russie « ne présentait pas une menace imminente » tout n’écartant pas la volonté de son président, Vladimir Poutine, de défier l’Alliance atlantique.

« Des intérêts communs existent entre l’Alliance, l’Union européenne, nos propres pays et la Russie. Nous devons accepter que la Russie puisse être un concurrent, un compétiteur, un adversaire, un pair ou un partenaire – voire tout cela en même temps. […] Cette complexité est une réalité de notre environnement stratégique contemporain » et cela « demande une approche pratique et sophistiquée qui prend en compte le fait que la Russie veut devenir un partenaire mondial et acquérir un pouvoir mondial », avait ainsi expliqué le général Pavel aux sénateurs français.

Cela étant, l’exercice Zapad 2017 qui, mené conjointement par les forces russes et biélorusses, vient de débuter, préoccupe depuis plusieurs mois les responsables de l’Otan, dans la mesure où ces manoeuvres se déroulent dans l’enclave russe de Kaliningrad et en Biélorussie, à deux pas du passage dit de Suwalki qui est le seul accès terrestre reliant les pays baltes aux autres pays de l’Alliance et de l’Union européenne.

Or, il est reproché à la Russie de manquer de transparence au sujet de cet exercice, qui vise à simuler l’infiltration de « groupes extrémistes » en Biélorussie et à Kaliningrad pour y commettre des actes terroristes à des fins de déstabilisation.

Officiellement, Zapad 2017 mobilise environ 13.000 soldats. Mais selon le secrétaire général de l’Otan, Jens Stoltenberg, il y a « toutes les raisons de croire que le nombre de troupes sera substantiellement plus élevé que ce qui a été annoncé ». En outre, certains estiment qu’il servira de prétexte aux forces russes pour laisser des matériels en Biélorussie en vue d’une utilisation future.

Les manoeuvres Zapad-2017 « sont désignées pour nous provoquer, pour tester nos défenses et c’est pour cela que nous devons être forts », a ainsi affirmé, le 10 septembre, Michael Fallon, le ministre britannique de la Défense.

« La Russie est capable de manipuler les chiffres avec une grande aisance, c’est pourquoi elle ne veut pas d’observateurs étrangers. Mais 12.700 soldats annoncés pour des manoeuvres stratégiques, c’est ridicule », a commenté Alexandre Golts, un expert militaire russe indépendant, cité par l’AFP.

Ce manque de transparence de la Russie, qui ne s’inscrit pas dans l’esprit du Document de Vienne de l’OSCE [Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe, ndlr], est un sujet de préoccupation pour le général Pavel, même s’il a rencontré, il y a deux semaines, le chef d’état-major des armées russes, le général Valery Gerasimov, pour évoquer cet exercice.

« Ce que nous voyons est une préparation sérieuse pour une grande guerre », a en effet dit le général tchèque lors d’un entretien donné le 16 septembre à l’Associated Press, en marge d’une réunion du comité militaire de l’Otan en Albanie. « Lorsque nous regardons uniquement l’exercice qui est présenté par la Russie, il ne devrait pas y avoir d’inquiétude. Mais quand on regarde la situation dans son ensemble, nous devons nous inquiéter parce que la Russie n’est pas transparente », a-t-il ajouté.

Le premier sujet de préoccupation du général Pavel porte sur le niveau des effectifs engagés dans l’exercice Zapad 2017. Selon lui, ils pourraient atteindre 70.000 soldats, voire 100.000.

« Nous avons une forte concentration de troupes dans les pays baltes. Nous avons une forte concentration de troupes en mer Noire. E le risque d’un incident peut être assez élevé en raison d’une erreur humaine ou d’une panne technologique », a souligné le général Pavel. « Nous devons être sûrs qu’un tel incident involontaire n’entraînera pas de conflit », a-t-il insisté.

Cela étant, la Biélorussie a annoncé, le 16 septembre, avoir invité des représentants de 7 pays (Lettonie, Lituanie, Estonie, Pologne, Suède, Norvège et d’Ukraine) pour observer les exercices de Zapad 2017 qui auront lieu sur son territoire. Il s’agit ainsi de répondre au « désir de développer la coopération et la bonne entente entre voisins, ainsi que les principes de réciprocité, d’ouverture et de transparence », a fait valoir le ministère biélorusse de la Défense. Jusqu’à présent, Moscou n’avait autorisé la venue que de trois oberservateurs de l’Otan, uniquement lors de la journée organisée pour les « visiteurs ».

Voir de plus:

Paul R. Gregory
Hoover
March 21, 2018

Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine has two overarching goals.

First, the Russian people must believe the Kremlin version of domestic and world events. In this regard, the agents of Russian “information technology” have succeeded. Polls show that Russians believe that Russia is a super power in a hostile world; that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine; that Crimea voluntarily joined Russia; and that a Ukrainian fighter shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Second, Kremlin propaganda must discredit Western democracy as dysfunctional and inferior to Russia’s managed “democracy.” Kremlin propaganda has largely failed in this regard. Russians consider their government corrupt, remote from the people, interested in preserving power rather than performing its duties, and lying about the true state of affairs. Nevertheless, Putin’s approval ratings remain high in the absence of rivals, who have fled the country, been indicted, or murdered.

Putin, in fact, bases his legitimacy on high approval ratings. To counter the Russian people’s sense that they have no say in how they are governed, Kremlin propagandists must sell the story that Western democracies have it worse. Downtrodden Americans, they say, face poverty, hunger, racial and ethnic discrimination, unemployment, and they are governed by corrupt, inept, greedy, dysfunctional, and feuding politicians who sell out to the highest bidder on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley.

This brings us to how the ballyhooed Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election has given Putin a gift that keeps on giving—a paralyzed federal government, incapable of compromise, in which a significant portion of the governing class questions the legitimacy of a new president.

Russia routinely meddles in the politics of other countries. Despite denials, the Kremlin contributes to pro-Russian political parties throughout the world, gathers compromising information, hacks into email accounts, offers lucrative contracts to foreign businesses, and circulates false news. Given this history, U.S. authorities should not have been surprised by Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.

To date, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted thirteen Russian “internet trolls,” who sowed discord on social media by posting inflammatory, distorted, slanted, and false information promoting the Russian narrative of a deeply divided electorate and a discredited American electoral system. Mueller’s indictment identifies the Internet Research Agency (IRA) of St. Petersburg as the nerve center of Russia’s trolling operations. Although putatively owned by a private Russian oligarch close to Putin, there is little doubt that the IRA is a mouthpiece of the Kremlin. The existence and activities of the IRA have been known since 2014. It employs hundreds of hackers and writers divided into geographical sections. It is not the sole source of Russian trolling, but it is the most important.

Those American politicians and pundits, like Congressman Jerry Nagler and columnist Thomas Friedman, who label Russian intervention an act of warfare on par with Pearl Harbor or 9/11must attribute supernatural powers to Putin’s trolls. After all, the Mueller investigation revealed that Russia spent no more than a few million dollars on its election-meddling versus the over two billion dollars spent by the presidential candidates alone. The IRA’s St. Petersburg America desk constituted some 90 persons. Their social media posts accounted for an infinitesimal portion of social media political traffic and much of this came after the election.

Despite such evidence, Gerald F. Seib, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, declares himself “frightened” by Russia’s “sophisticated and sustained effort to use technology, social media manipulation, and traditional covert measures to disrupt America’s political system.”

But a closer look at such trolls reveals a different picture. Over the past five years, Russian trolls have regularly attacked my articles at Forbes.com. Given the number of attacks and their organized nature, I suspect most came directly from the IRA.  The Kremlin clearly has not liked my posts on Russian domestic politics, the country’s faltering petro-economy, political assassinations, and foreign military intervention. What I encountered in the comments section of my pieces was an army of scripted trolls engaging in primitive invective and heavy doses of ad hominem blasts. These amateurs did not seem up to the monumental task for which they are now credited—of changing the course of American political history.

My trolls used the same clandestine social media techniques as those identified by Mueller in his indictments. They posted through leased servers with moving IP addresses. They assumed Anglo-Saxon (Jeff, RussM, Dave, John), exotic (Sadr Ewr, Er Ren), and computer generated (Hweits, Aij) monikers. Those with Anglo-Saxon names asserted they were Americans, even ex-Marines. They used provably false identities: One “Stanley Ford,” identifying himself as a graduate student at Stanford, expressed his dismay at my “shallow” Stanford economics seminar. But there is no such graduate student at Stanford and I had given no such seminar.

Other trolls, such as “Andrey,” wrote sometimes incomprehensible English: “Dear PAUL, can we badly know English language, but only one thing I want to say, YOU understand—Fack You.” (Russians have no English “u” sound in their alphabet.) Such “Andreys” were subsequently replaced by experienced trolls, such as “Jeff” and “RussM,” with an occasional guest rant by “Aij,” whose favorite topic was “filthy Jewish bankers.” My most prolific troll, “Jeff,” posted at times almost fifty comments per column. One troll appeared in person to pester me at a panel discussion in the Bay area. One volunteered that I am a fictional person. Another offered to drop by my office for a personal chat. For obvious reasons, I did not accept.

Troll “John’s” tirade is a classic ad hominem smear: “Gregory’s inane, badly written propaganda articles never had one original thought, just parroting what he could grab on the Internet. Gregory is a pitiful Nazi moron.”

My trolls made heavy use of moral equivalence. Did the U.S. not attack Iraq and did its police not gun down black teenagers in Missouri? Yes, Russia may be aiding the rebels in Syria and Ukraine, but are not American troops and CIA operatives swarming all over Ukraine? Yes, the shooting down of MH17 was a tragedy, but did not the United States down an Iranian passenger jet in 1988?

The “denying the obvious” technique is illustrated by three videos circulated by Russian trolls on the Internet and Russian TV. Each featured a wounded man lying in an east Ukrainian hospital bed. In one video, he claimed to be a heroic surgeon. In the second, he was a disillusioned neo-fascist financier. In the third video, the bandaged man declared himself an innocent bystander. The problem, I pointed out, was that each video featured the same Russian actor but in different roles. Unfazed, my trolls “saw no contradictions” until one of Russia’s main TV channels (NTV) declared that the versatile actor was mentally ill. When it comes to Ukraine, the official IRA line has been that the Russian tanks, radar, missile launchers, and the like were purchased at used weapon shops by the “patriots” fighting the neo-Nazis and extremists sent from Kiev. When I pointed out the inanity of this proposition, one troll’s unedited response read: “everything he (Gregory) says at the beginning is nothing BUT LIES! russia did not give the east ANYTHING.”

In a botched false-flag operation, trolls claimed that “Ukrainian” extremists fled in panic after firing on a separatist checkpoint, conveniently leaving behind a vast cache of Nazi regalia (plus “snipers’ diapers”). The video of the Nazi cache, however, is dated to the day before the alleged attack, according to the camera time code. My expose of the snipers’ diapers incident brought forth reinforcement from new trolls, who wanted to debate time zones and now to impute the time of day from the length of shadows.

My clashes with IRA trolls over Ukraine can seem at times comical, but they are dead serious. The trolls are pushing a strictly coordinated narrative both to the Russian people and to foreign audiences that Ukraine is an illegitimate state and that the United States and NATO are the aggressors.

Indeed, that Western democracies, American democracy especially, are rotten, corrupt, and hapless is a cornerstone of the Kremlin narrative. As the Mueller indictment concludes: The stated goal of the Russian operation was “spreading distrust towards candidates and the political system in general.” The Russian trolls, according to the Mueller indictment, used a number of techniques to achieve this end. They encouraged fringe candidates. They tried to ally with disaffected religious, ethnic, and nationalist groups. They discredited the candidate they thought most likely to win. Once the winner was known, they immediately moved to discredit him.

As noted above, the Russian people are largely on board with the IRA’s narrative. Why? The average Russian family gets its news from the major state networks, which offer topflight entertainment before and after news of the day. Russia’s trolls stand ready to swat down any unfavorable social media. Alternative messages have little hope of penetrating the Russian heartland.

Although the trolls are succeeding at home, Russian propaganda has had little effect on foreign audiences. Public opinion worldwide shows a negative opinion of Russia and Putin, according to Pew Research. But if Russian trolls cannot sway Western public opinion, how could they have influenced the outcome of the biggest game of all—a U.S. presidential election? The dozen ill-informed operatives indicted by Mueller held poorly attended rallies, had to be educated about red and blue states, and spent their limited funds in uncontested states. It would be almost crazy to believe that such Russian intervention could have made a difference.

Why, then, do so many Americans believe that Russia was instrumental in throwing the election to Donald Trump? It may be that some of the President’s opponents actually believe this narrative. But there’s another explanation, too: Russian intervention provides opportunistic politicians and pundits a useful excuse for paralyzing the incoming government of a gutter-fighter President from a show business and construction background with no political experience. In their view, such a person should not be allowed to govern. Hence the paralysis, dysfunction, and chaos of American democracy—long claimed by Russian propagandists—is on its way to becoming reality. What a windfall for Putin and his oligarchs.

Voir encore:

A Abou Dhabi, Sarkozy fait l’éloge des hommes forts

L’ancien président français regrette que « les démocraties détruisent tous les leaderships ».

Le Monde

Ces confidences peuvent paraître étonnantes de la part d’un ancien président français. Samedi 3 mars, lors du forum « Ideas Week-end » organisée à Abou Dhabi, la capitale des Emirats arabes unis, Nicolas Sarkozy a livré ses jugements sur l’état du monde, en maniant la provocation. A l’instar du site d’information Buzzfeed, Le Monde s’est procuré l’enregistrement de son intervention. Morceaux choisis.

  • Leadership et démocratie

« Quels sont les grands leaders du monde aujourd’hui ? Le président Xi, le président Poutine – on peut être d’accord ou pas, mais c’est un leader –, le grand prince Mohammed Ben Salman [d’Arabie saoudite]. Et que seraient aujourd’hui les Emirats sans le leadership de MBZ [Mohammed Ben Zayed] ?

Quel est le problème des démocraties ? C’est que les démocraties ont pu devenir des démocraties avec de grands leaders : de Gaulle, Churchill… Mais les démocraties détruisent tous les leaderships. C’est un grand sujet, ce n’est pas un sujet anecdotique ! Comment peut-on avoir une vision à dix, quinze ou vingt ans, et en même temps avoir un rythme électoral aux Etats-Unis tous les quatre ans ? Les démocraties sont devenues un champ de bataille, où chaque heure est utilisée par tout le monde, réseaux sociaux et autres, pour détruire celui qui est en place. Comment voulez-vous avoir une vision de long terme pour un pays ? C’est ce qui fait que, aujourd’hui, les grands leaders du monde sont issus de pays qui ne sont pas de grandes démocraties. »

  • La Chine

« C’est une formidable bonne nouvelle que la Chine assume ses responsabilités internationales. On assiste à un changement de la politique chinoise comme jamais on n’en a connu avant. Jamais. La Chine, c’est quand même le pays qui a construit la Grande Muraille pour se protéger des barbares qui étaient de l’autre côté : nous. « One Road, One Belt » [le projet de « nouvelles routes de la soie » du pouvoir chinois] : c’est un changement colossal ! Tout d’un coup, la Chine décomplexée dit : “Je pars à la conquête du monde.” Alors est-ce que c’est pour des raisons éducatives, politiques, économiques : peu importe. »

  • Xi président à vie

« Le président Xi considère que deux mandats de cinq ans, dix ans, c’est pas assez. Il a raison ! Le mandat du président américain, en vérité c’est pas quatre ans, c’est deux ans : un an pour apprendre le job, un an pour préparer la réélection. Donc vous comparez le président chinois qui a une vision pour son pays et qui dit : “Dix ans, c’est pas assez”, au président américain qui a en vérité deux ans. Mais qui parierait beaucoup sur la réélection de Trump ? Ce matin, j’ai rencontré le prince héritier MBZ. Est-ce que vous croyez qu’on construit un pays comme ça, en deux ans ? Ici, en cinquante ans, vous avez construit un des pays les plus modernes qui soient. La question du leadership est centrale. La réussite du modèle émirien est sans doute l’exemple le plus important pour nous, pour l’ensemble du monde. J’ai été le chef de l’Etat qui a signé le contrat du Louvre à Abou Dhabi. J’y ai mis toute mon énergie. MBZ y a mis toute sa vision. On a mis dix ans ! En allant vite ! Sauf que MBZ est toujours là… Et moi ça fait six ans que je suis parti. »

  • Comment traiter avec la Russie ?

« La question doit être posée comme ça : est-ce qu’on a besoin de la Russie ou pas ? Ma réponse est oui ! La Russie, c’est le pays à la plus grande superficie du monde. Qui peut dire qu’on ne doit pas parler avec eux ? Quelle est cette idée folle ? Je n’avais pas tout à fait compris dans l’administration Obama pourquoi Poutine et la Russie étaient devenus le principal adversaire. Y a-t-il un risque que la Russie envahisse d’autres pays ? Je n’y crois pas. La Russie doit perdre environ un demi-million d’habitants par an, sur le territoire le plus grand du monde. Est-ce que vous avez déjà vu des pays qui n’arrivent pas à occuper toute leur surface aller envahir des pays à côté ? Sur l’Ukraine, je pense que l’affaire n’a pas été bien gérée depuis le début et qu’il y avait moyen de faire mieux. Poutine est un homme prévisible, avec qui on peut parler et qui respecte la force. »

  • Le défi du populisme

« D’abord pour moi, M. Orban en Hongrie [le premier ministre], c’est pas un populiste. Mais là où il y a un grand leader, il n’y a pas de populisme ! Où est le populisme en Chine ? Où est le populisme ici ? Où est le populisme en Russie ? Où est le populisme en Arabie saoudite ? Si le grand leader quitte la table, les leaders populistes prennent la place. Parce que la polémique ne détruit pas le leader populiste, la polémique détruit le leader démocratique.

La seule solution, ce n’est pas de combattre le populisme, ça n’a pas de sens, c’est d’écouter ce que dit le peuple. Que dit le peuple ? L’Europe est à 12 kilomètres de l’Afrique par le détroit de Gibraltar. En trente ans, l’Afrique va passer d’un milliard d’habitants à 2,3 milliards. Le seul Nigeria, vous m’entendez, le Nigeria, dans trente ans, aura plus d’habitants que les Etats-Unis. Le peuple dit : “On ne peut pas accueillir toute l’immigration qui vient d’Afrique.” Et c’est vrai.

Il ne s’agit pas de supprimer l’immigration. Mais dans trente ans, il y aura 500 millions d’Européens, et 2,3 milliards d’Africains. Si l’Afrique ne se développe pas, l’Europe explosera. Ce n’est pas un sujet populiste, c’est un sujet tout court. »

Voir enfin:
Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism

Timothy Snyder
The NY Reviw of books
March 16, 2018

This is an expanded version of Timothy Snyder’s essay “God Is a Russian” in the April 5, 2018 issue of The New York Review.


“The fact of the matter is that fascism is a redemptive excess of patriotic arbitrariness.”

—Ivan Ilyin, 1927

“My prayer is like a sword. And my sword is like a prayer.”

—Ivan Ilyin, 1927

“Politics is the art of identifying and neutralizing the enemy.”

—Ivan Ilyin, 1948

The Russian looked Satan in the eye, put God on the psychoanalyst’s couch, and understood that his nation could redeem the world. An agonized God told the Russian a story of failure. In the beginning was the Word, purity and perfection, and the Word was God. But then God made a youthful mistake. He created the world to complete himself, but instead soiled himself, and hid in shame. God’s, not Adam’s, was the original sin, the release of the imperfect. Once people were in the world, they apprehended facts and experienced feelings that could not be reassembled to what had been God’s mind. Each individual thought or passion deepened the hold of Satan on the world.

And so the Russian, a philosopher, understood history as a disgrace. Nothing that had happened since creation was of significance. The world was a meaningless farrago of fragments. The more humans sought to understand it, the more sinful it became. Modern society, with its pluralism and its civil society, deepened the flaws of the world and kept God in his exile. God’s one hope was that a righteous nation would follow a Leader into political totality, and thereby begin a repair of the world that might in turn redeem the divine. Because the unifying principle of the Word was the only good in the universe, any means that might bring about its return were justified.

Thus this Russian philosopher, whose name was Ivan Ilyin, came to imagine a Russian Christian fascism. Born in 1883, he finished a dissertation on God’s worldly failure just before the Russian Revolution of 1917. Expelled from his homeland in 1922 by the Soviet power he despised, he embraced the cause of Benito Mussolini and completed an apology for political violence in 1925. In German and Swiss exile, he wrote in the 1920s and 1930s for White Russian exiles who had fled after defeat in the Russian civil war, and in the 1940s and 1950s for future Russians who would see the end of the Soviet power.

A tireless worker, Ilyin produced about twenty books in Russian, and another twenty in German. Some of his work has a rambling and commonsensical character, and it is easy to find tensions and contradictions. One current of thought that is coherent over the decades, however, is his metaphysical and moral justification for political totalitarianism, which he expressed in practical outlines for a fascist state. A crucial concept was “law” or “legal consciousness” (pravosoznanie). For the young Ilyin, writing before the Revolution, law embodied the hope that Russians would partake in a universal consciousness that would allow Russia to create a modern state. For the mature, counter-revolutionary Ilyin, a particular consciousness (“heart” or “soul,” not “mind”) permitted Russians to experience the arbitrary claims of power as law. Though he died forgotten, in 1954, Ilyin’s work was revived after collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and guides the men who rule Russia today.

The Russian Federation of the early twenty-first century is a new country, formed in 1991 from the territory of the Russian republic of the Soviet Union. It is smaller than the old Russian Empire, and separated from it in time by the intervening seven decades of Soviet history. Yet the Russian Federation of today does resemble the Russian Empire of Ilyin’s youth in one crucial respect: it has not established the rule of law as the principle of government. The trajectory in Ilyin’s understanding of law, from hopeful universalism to arbitrary nationalism, was followed in the discourse of Russian politicians, including Vladimir Putin. Because Ilyin found ways to present the failure of the rule of law as Russian virtue, Russian kleptocrats use his ideas to portray economic inequality as national innocence. In the last few years, Vladimir Putin has also used some of Ilyin’s more specific ideas about geopolitics in his effort translate the task of Russian politics from the pursuit of reform at home to the export of virtue abroad. By transforming international politics into a discussion of “spiritual threats,” Ilyin’s works have helped Russian elites to portray the Ukraine, Europe, and the United States as existential dangers to Russia.

*

Ivan Ilyin was a philosopher who confronted Russian problems with German thinkers. This was typical of the time and place. He was child of the Silver Age, the late empire of the Romanov dynasty. His father was a Russian nobleman, his mother a German Protestant who had converted to Orthodoxy. As a student at Moscow between 1901 and 1906, Ilyin’s real subject was philosophy, which meant the ethical thought of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). For the neo-Kantians, who then held sway in universities across Europe as well as in Russia, humans differed from the rest of creation by a capacity for reason that permitted meaningful choices. Humans could then freely submit to law, since they could grasp and accept its spirit.

Law was then the great object of desire of the Russian thinking classes. Russian students of law, perhaps more than their European colleagues, could see it as a source of political transformation. Law seemed to offer the antidote to the ancient Russian problem of proizvol, of arbitrary rule by autocratic tsars. Even as a hopeful young man, however, Ilyin struggled to see the Russian people as the creatures of reason Kant imagined. He waited expectantly for a grand revolt that would hasten the education of the Russian masses. When the Russo-Japanese War created conditions for a revolution in 1905, Ilyin defended the right to free assembly. With his girlfriend, Natalia Vokach, he translated a German anarchist pamphlet into Russian. The tsar was forced to concede a new constitution in 1906, which created a new Russian parliament. Though chosen in a way that guaranteed the power of the empire’s landed classes, the parliament had the authority to legislate. The tsar dismissed parliament twice, and then illegally changed the electoral system to ensure that it was even more conservative. It was impossible to see the new constitution as having brought the rule of law to Russia.

Employed to teach law by the university in 1909, Ilyin published a beautiful article in both Russian (1910) and German (1912) on the conceptual differences between law and power. Yet how to make law functional in practice and resonant in life? Kant seemed to leave open a gap between the spirit of law and the reality of autocracy. G.W.F. Hegel (1770–1831), however, offered hope by proposing that this and other painful tensions would be resolved by time. History, as a hopeful Ilyin read Hegel, was the gradual penetration of Spirit (Geist) into the world. Each age transcended the previous one and brought a crisis that promised the next one. The beastly masses will come to resemble the enlightened friends, ardors of daily life will yield to political order.

The philosopher who understands this message becomes the vehicle of Spirit, always a tempting prospect. Like other Russian intellectuals of his own and previous generations, the young Ilyin was drawn to Hegel, and in 1912 proclaimed a “Hegelian renaissance.” Yet, just as the immense Russian peasantry had given him second thoughts about the ease of communicating law to Russian society, so his experience of modern urban life left him doubtful that historical change was only a matter of Spirit. He found Russians, even those of his own class and milieu in Moscow, to be disgustingly corporeal. In arguments about philosophy and politics in the 1910s, he accused his opponents of “sexual perversion.”

In 1913, Ilyin worried that perversion was a national Russian syndrome, and proposed Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) as Russia’s savior. In Ilyin’s reading of Freud, civilization arose from a collective agreement to suppress basic drives. The individual paid a psychological price for sacrifice of his nature to culture. Only through long consultations on the couch of the psychoanalyst could unconscious experience surface into awareness. Psychoanalysis therefore offered a very different portrait of thought than did the Hegelian philosophy that Ilyin was then studying. Even as Ilyin was preparing his dissertation on Hegel, he offered himself as the pioneer of Russia’s national psychotherapy, travelling with Natalia to Vienna in May 1914 for sessions with Freud. Thus the outbreak of World War I found Ilyin in Vienna, the capital of the Habsburg monarchy, now one of Russia’s enemies.

“My inner Germans,” Ilyin wrote to a friend in 1915, “trouble me more than the outer Germans,” the German and Habsburg realms making war against the Russian Empire. The “inner German” who helped Ilyin to master the others was the philosopher Edmund Husserl, with whom he had studied in Göttingen in 1911. Husserl (1859–1938), the founder of the school of thought known as phenomenology, tried to describe the method by which the philosopher thinks himself into the world. The philosopher sought to forget his own personality and prior assumptions, and tried to experience a subject on its own terms. As Ilyin put it, the philosopher must mentally possess (perezhit’) the object of inquiry until he attains self-evident and exhaustive clarity (ochevidnost).

Husserl’s method was simplified by Ilyin into a “philosophical act” whereby the philosopher can still the universe and anything in it—other philosophers, the world, God— by stilling his own mind. Like an Orthodox believer contemplating an icon, Ilyin believed (in contrast to Husserl) that he could see a metaphysical reality through a physical one. As he wrote his dissertation about Hegel, he perceived the divine subject in a philosophical text, and fixed it in place. Hegel meant God when he wrote Spirit, concluded Ilyin, and Hegel was wrong to see motion in history. God could not realize himself in the world, since the substance of God was irreconcilably different from the substance of the world. Hegel could not show that every fact was connected to a principle, that every accident was part of a design, that every detail was part of a whole, and so on. God had initiated history and then been blocked from further influence.

Ilyin was quite typical of Russian intellectuals in his rapid and enthusiastic embrace of contradictory German ideas. In his dissertation he was able, thanks to his own very specific understanding of Husserl, to bring some order to his “inner Germans.” Kant had suggested the initial problem for a Russian political thinker: how to establish the rule of law. Hegel had seemed to provide a solution, a Spirit advancing through history. Freud had redefined Russia’s problem as sexual rather than spiritual. Husserl allowed Ilyin to transfer the responsibility for political failure and sexual unease to God. Philosophy meant the contemplation that allowed contact with God and began God’s cure. The philosopher had taken control and all was in view: other philosophers, the world, God. Yet, even after contact was made with the divine, history continued, “the current of events” continued to flow.

Indeed, even as Ilyin contemplated God, men were killing and dying by the millions on battlefields across Europe. Ilyin was writing his dissertation as the Russian Empire gained and then lost territory on the Eastern Front of World War I. In February 1917, the tsarist regime was replaced by a new constitutional order. The new government tottered as it continued a costly war. That April, Germany sent Vladimir Lenin to Russia in a sealed train, and his Bolsheviks carried out a second revolution in November, promising land to peasants and peace to all. Ilyin was meanwhile trying to assemble the committee so he could defend his dissertation. By the time he did so, in 1918, the Bolsheviks were in power, their Red Army was fighting a civil war, and the Cheka was defending revolution through terror.

World War I gave revolutionaries their chance, and so opened the way for counter-revolutionaries as well. Throughout Europe, men of the far right saw the Bolshevik Revolution as a certain kind of opportunity; and the drama of revolution and counter-revolution was played out, with different outcomes, in Germany, Hungary, and Italy. Nowhere was the conflict so long, bloody, and passionate as in the lands of the former Russian Empire, where civil war lasted for years, brought famine and pogroms, and cost about as many lives as World War I itself. In Europe in general, but in Russia in particular, the terrible loss of life, the seemingly endless strife, and the fall of empire brought a certain plausibility to ideas that might otherwise have remained unknown or seemed irrelevant. Without the war, Leninism would likely be a footnote in the history of Marxist thought; without Lenin’s revolution, Ilyin might not have drawn right-wing political conclusions from his dissertation.

Lenin and Ilyin did not know each other, but their encounter in revolution and counter-revolution was nevertheless uncanny. Lenin’s patronymic was “Ilyich” and he wrote under the pseudonym “Ilyin,” and the real Ilyin reviewed some of that pseudonymous work. When Ilyin was arrested by the Cheka as an opponent of the revolution, Lenin intervened on his behalf as a gesture of respect for Ilyin’s philosophical work. The intellectual interaction between the two men, which began in 1917 and continues in Russia today, began from a common appreciation of Hegel’s promise of totality. Both men interpreted Hegel in radical ways, agreeing with one another on important points such as the need to destroy the middle classes, disagreeing about the final form of the classless community.

Lenin accepted with Hegel that history was a story of progress through conflict. As a Marxist, he believed that the conflict was between social classes: the bourgeoisie that owned property and the proletariat that enabled profits. Lenin added to Marxism the proposal that the working class, though formed by capitalism and destined to seize its achievements, needed guidance from a disciplined party that understood the rules of history. In 1917, Lenin went so far as to claim that the people who knew the rules of history also knew when to break them— by beginning a socialist revolution in the Russian Empire, where capitalism was weak and the working class tiny. Yet Lenin never doubted that there was a good human nature, trapped by historical conditions, and therefore subject to release by historical action.

Marxists such as Lenin were atheists. They thought that by Spirit, Hegel meant God or some other theological notion, and replaced Spirit with society. Ilyin was not a typical Christian, but he believed in God. Ilyin agreed with Marxists that Hegel meant God, and argued that Hegel’s God had created a ruined world. For Marxists, private property served the function of an original sin, and its dissolution would release the good in man. For Ilyin, God’s act of creation was itself the original sin. There was never a good moment in history, and no intrinsic good in humans. The Marxists were right to hate the middle classes, and indeed did not hate them enough. Middle-class “civil society” entrenches plural interests that confound hopes for an “overpowering national organization” that God needs. Because the middle classes block God, they must be swept away by a classless national community. But there is no historical tendency, no historical group, that will perform this labor. The grand transformation from Satanic individuality to divine totality must begin somewhere beyond history.

According to Ilyin, liberation would arise not from understanding history, but from eliminating it. Since the earthly was corrupt and the divine unattainable, political rescue would come from the realm of fiction. In 1917, Ilyin was still hopeful that Russia might become a state ruled by law. Lenin’s revolution ensured that Ilyin henceforth regarded his own philosophical ideas as political. Bolshevism had proven that God’s world was as flawed as Ilyin had maintained. What Ilyin would call “the abyss of atheism” of the new regime was the final confirmation of the flaws of world, and of the power of modern ideas to reinforce them.

After he departed Russia, Ilyin would maintain that humanity needed heroes, outsized characters from beyond history, capable of willing themselves to power. In his dissertation, this politics was implicit in the longing for a missing totality and the suggestion that the nation might begin its restoration. It was an ideology awaiting a form and a name.

*

Ilyin left Russia in 1922, the year the Soviet Union was founded. His imagination was soon captured by Benito Mussolini’s March on Rome, the coup d’état that brought the world’s first fascist regime. Ilyin was convinced that bold gestures by bold men could begin to undo the flawed character of existence. He visited Italy and published admiring articles about Il Duce while he was writing his book, On the Use of Violence to Resist Evil (1925). If Ilyin’s dissertation had laid groundwork for a metaphysical defense of fascism, this book was a justification of an emerging system. The dissertation described the lost totality unleashed by an unwitting God; second book explained the limits of the teachings of God’s Son. Having understood the trauma of God, Ilyin now “looked Satan in the eye.”

Thus famous teachings of Jesus, as rendered in the Gospel of Mark, take on unexpected meanings in Ilyin’s interpretations. “Judge not,” says Jesus, “that ye not be judged.” That famous appeal to reflection continues:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

For Ilyin, these were the words of a failed God with a doomed Son. In fact, a righteous man did not reflect upon his own deeds or attempt to see the perspective of another; he contemplated, recognized absolute good and evil, and named the enemies to be destroyed. The proper interpretation of the “judge not” passage was that every day was judgment day, and that men would be judged for not killing God’s enemies when they had the chance. In God’s absence, Ilyin determined who those enemies were.

Perhaps Jesus’ most remembered commandment is to love one’s enemy, from the Gospel of Matthew: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Ilyin maintained that the opposite was meant. Properly understood, love meant totality. It did not matter whether one individual tries to love another individual. The individual only loved if he was totally subsumed in the community. To be immersed in such love was to struggle “against the enemies of the divine order on earth.” Christianity actually meant the call of the right-seeing philosopher to apply decisive violence in the name of love. Anyone who failed to accept this logic was himself an agent of Satan: “He who opposes the chivalrous struggle against the devil is himself the devil.”

Thus theology becomes politics. The democracies did not oppose Bolshevism, but enabled it, and must be destroyed. The only way to prevent the spread of evil was to crush middle classes, eradicate their civil society, and transform their individualist and universalist understanding of law into a consciousness of national submission. Bolshevism was no antidote to the disease of the middle classes, but rather the full irruption of their disease. Soviet and European governments must be swept away by violent coups d’état.

Ilyin used the word Spirit (Dukh) to describe the inspiration of fascists. The fascist seizure of power, he wrote, was an “act of salvation.” The fascist is the true redeemer, since he grasps that it is the enemy who must be sacrificed. Ilyin took from Mussolini the concept of a “chivalrous sacrifice” that fascists make in the blood of others. (Speaking of the Holocaust in 1943, Heinrich Himmler would praise his SS-men in just these terms.)

Ilyin understood his role as a Russian intellectual as the propagation of fascist ideas in a particular Russian idiom. In a poem in the first number of a journal he edited between 1927 and 1930, he provided the appropriate lapidary motto: “My prayer is like a sword. And my sword is like a prayer.” Ilyin dedicated his huge 1925 book On the Use of Violence to Resist Evil to the Whites, the men who had resisted the Bolshevik Revolution. It was meant as a guide to their future.

What seemed to trouble Ilyin most was that Italians and not Russians had invented fascism: “Why did the Italians succeed where we failed?” Writing of the future of Russian fascism in 1927, he tried to establish Russian primacy by considering the White resistance to the Bolsheviks as the pre-history of the fascist movement as a whole. The White movement had also been “deeper and broader” than fascism because it had preserved a connection to religion and the need for totality. Ilyin proclaimed to “my White brothers, the fascists” that a minority must seize power in Russia. The time would come. The “White Spirit” was eternal.

Ilyin’s proclamation of a fascist future for Russia in the 1920s was the absolute negation of his hopes in the 1910s that Russia might become a rule-of-law state. “The fact of the matter,” wrote Ilyin, “is that fascism is a redemptive excess of patriotic arbitrariness.” Arbitrariness (proizvol), a central concept in all modern Russian political discussions, was the bugbear of all Russian reformers seeking improvement through law. Now proizvol was patriotic. The word for “redemptive” (spasytelnii), is another central Russian concept. It is the adjective Russian Orthodox Christians might apply to the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, the death of the One for the salvation of the many. Ilyin uses it to mean the murder of outsiders so that the nation could undertake a project of total politics that might later redeem a lost God.

In one sentence, two universal concepts, law and Christianity, are undone. A spirit of lawlessness replaces the spirit of the law; a spirit of murder replaces a spirit of mercy.

*

Although Ilyin was inspired by fascist Italy, his home as a political refugee between 1922 and 1938 was Germany. As an employee of the Russian Scholarly Institute (Russisches Wissenschaftliches Institut), he was an academic civil servant. It was from Berlin that he observed the succession struggle after Lenin’s death that brought Joseph Stalin to power. He then followed Stalin’s attempt to transform the political victory of the Bolsheviks into a social revolution. In 1933, Ilyin published a long book, in German, on the famine brought by the collectivization of Soviet agriculture.

Writing in Russian for Russian émigrés, Ilyin was quick to praise Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933. Hitler did well, in Ilyin’s opinion, to have the rule of law suspended after the Reichstag Fire of February 1933. Ilyin presented Hitler, like Mussolini, as a Leader from beyond history whose mission was entirely defensive. “A reaction to Bolshevism had to come,” wrote Ilyin, “and it came.” European civilization had been sentenced to death, but “so long as Mussolini is leading Italy and Hitler is leading Germany, European culture has a stay of execution.” Nazis embodied a “Spirit” (Dukh) that Russians must share.

According to Ilyin, Nazis were right to boycott Jewish businesses and blame Jews as a collectivity for the evils that had befallen Germany. Above all, Ilyin wanted to persuade Russians and other Europeans that Hitler was right to treat Jews as agents of Bolshevism. This “Judeobolshevik” idea, as Ilyin understood, was the ideological connection between the Whites and the Nazis. The claim that Jews were Bolsheviks and Bolsheviks were Jews was White propaganda during the Russian Civil War. Of course, most communists were not Jews, and the overwhelming majority of Jews had nothing to do with communism. The conflation of the two groups was not an error or an exaggeration, but rather a transformation of traditional religious prejudices into instruments of national unity. Judeobolshevism appealed to the superstitious belief of Orthodox Christian peasants that Jews guarded the border between the realms of good and evil. It shifted this conviction to modern politics, portraying revolution as hell and Jews as its gatekeepers. As in Ilyin’s philosophy, God was weak, Satan was dominant, and the weapons of hell were modern ideas in the world.

During and after the Russian Civil War, some of the Whites had fled to Germany as refugees. Some brought with them the foundational text of modern antisemitism, the fictional “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and many others the conviction that a global Jewish conspiracy was responsible for their defeat. White Judeobolshevism, arriving in Germany in 1919 and 1920, completed the education of Adolf Hitler as an antisemite. Until that moment, Hitler had presented the enemy of Germany as Jewish capitalism. Once convinced that Jews were responsible for both capitalism and communism, Hitler could take the final step and conclude, as he did in Mein Kampf, that Jews were the source of all ideas that threatened the German people. In this important respect, Hitler was indeed a pupil of the Russian White movement. Ilyin, the main White ideologist, wanted the world to know that Hitler was right.

As the 1930s passed, Ilyin began to doubt that Nazi Germany was advancing the cause of Russian fascism. This was natural, since Hitler regarded Russians as subhumans, and Germany supported European fascists only insofar as they were useful to the specific Nazi cause. Ilyin began to caution Russian Whites about Nazis, and came under suspicion from the German government. He lost his job and, in 1938, left Germany for Switzerland. He remained faithful, however, to his conviction that the White movement was anterior to Italian fascism and German National Socialism. In time, Russians would demonstrate a superior fascism.

*

From a safe Swiss vantage point near Zurich, Ilyin observed the outbreak of World War II. It was a confusing moment for both communists and their enemies, since the conflict began after the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany reached an agreement known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Its secret protocol, which divided East European territories between the two powers, was an alliance in all but name. In September 1939, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland, their armies meeting in the middle. Ilyin believed that the Nazi-Soviet alliance would not last, since Stalin would betray Hitler. In 1941, the reverse took place, as the Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union. Though Ilyin harbored reservations about the Nazis, he wrote of the German invasion of the USSR as a “judgment on Bolshevism.” After the Soviet victory at Stalingrad in February 1943, when it became clear that Germany would likely lose the war, Ilyin changed his position again. Then, and in the years to follow, he would present the war as one of a series of Western attacks on Russian virtue.

Russian innocence was becoming one of Ilyin’s great themes. As a concept, it completed Ilyin’s fascist theory: the world was corrupt; it needed redemption from a nation capable of total politics; that nation was unsoiled Russia. As he aged, Ilyin dwelled on the Russian past, not as history, but as a cyclical myth of native virtue defended from external penetration. Russia was an immaculate empire, always under attack from all sides. A small territory around Moscow became the Russian Empire, the largest country of all time, without ever attacking anyone. Even as it expanded, Russia was the victim, because Europeans did not understand the profound virtue it was defending by taking more land. In Ilyin’s words, Russia has been subject to unceasing “continental blockade,” and so its entire past was one of “self-defense.” And so, “the Russian nation, since its full conversion to Christianity, can count nearly one thousand years of historical suffering.”

Although Ilyin wrote hundreds of tedious pages along these lines, he also made clear that it did not matter what had actually happened or what Russians actually did. That was meaningless history, those were mere facts. The truth about a nation, wrote Ilyin, was “pure and objective” regardless of the evidence, and the Russian truth was invisible and ineffable Godliness. Russia was not a country with individuals and institutions, even should it so appear, but an immortal living creature. “Russia is an organism of nature and the soul,” it was a “living organism,” a “living organic unity,” and so on. Ilyin wrote of “Ukrainians” within quotation marks, since in his view they were a part of the Russian organism. Ilyin was obsessed by the fear that people in the West would not understand this, and saw any mention of Ukraine as an attack on Russia. Because Russia is an organism, it “cannot be divided, only dissected.”

Ilyin’s conception of Russia’s political return to God required the abandonment not only of individuality and plurality, but also of humanity. The fascist language of organic unity, discredited by the war, remained central to Ilyin. In general, his thinking was not really altered by the war. He did not reject fascism, as did most of its prewar advocates, although he now did distinguish between what he regarded as better and worse forms of fascism. He did not partake in the general shift of European politics to the left, nor in the rehabilitation of democracy. Perhaps most importantly, he did not recognize that the age of European colonialism was passing. He saw Franco’s Spain and Salazar’s Portugal, then far-flung empires ruled by right-wing authoritarian regimes, as exemplary.

World War II was not a “judgment on Bolshevism,” as Ilyin had imagined in 1941. Instead, the Red Army had emerged triumphant in 1945, Soviet borders had been extended west, and a new outer empire of replicate regimes had been established in Eastern Europe. The simple passage of time made it impossible to imagine in the 1940s, as Ilyin had in the 1920s, the members of the White emigration might someday return to power in Russia. Now he was writing their eulogies rather than their ideologies. What was needed instead was a blueprint for a post-Soviet Russia that would be legible in the future. Ilyin set about composing a number of constitutional proposals, as well as a shorter set of political essays. These last, published as Our tasks (Nashi zadachi), began his intellectual revival in post-Soviet Russia.

These postwar recommendations bear an unmistakable resemblance to prewar fascist systems, and are consistent with the metaphysical and ethical legitimations of fascism present in Ilyin’s major works. The “national dictator,” predicted Ilyin, would spring from somewhere beyond history, from some fictional realm. This Leader (Gosudar’) must be “sufficiently manly,” like Mussolini. The note of fragile masculinity is hard to overlook. “Power comes all by itself,” declared Ilyin, “to the strong man.” People would bow before “the living organ of Russia.” The Leader “hardens himself in just and manly service.”

In Ilyin’s scheme, this Leader would be personally and totally responsible for every aspect of political life, as chief executive, chief legislator, chief justice, and commander of the military. His executive power is unlimited. Any “political selection” should take place “on a formally undemocratic basis.” Democratic elections institutionalized the evil notion of individuality. “The principle of democracy,” Ilyin wrote, “was the irresponsible human atom.” Counting votes was to falsely accept “the mechanical and arithmetical understanding of politics.” It followed that “we must reject blind faith in the number of votes and its political significance.” Public voting with signed ballots will allow Russians to surrender their individuality. Elections were a ritual of submission of Russians before their Leader.

The problem with prewar fascism, according to Ilyin, had been the one-party state. That was one party too many. Russia should be a zero-party state, in that no party should control the state or exercise any influence on the course of events. A party represents only a segment of society, and segmentation is what is to be avoided. Parties can exist, but only as traps for the ambitious or as elements of the ritual of electoral subservience. (Members of Putin’s party were sent the article that makes this point in 2014.) The same goes for civil society: it should exist as a simulacrum. Russians should be allowed to pursue hobbies and the like, but only within the framework of a total corporate structure that included all social organizations. The middle classes must be at the very bottom of the corporate structure, bearing the weight of the entire system. They are the producers and consumers of facts and feelings in a system where the purpose is to overcome factuality and sensuality.

“Freedom for Russia,” as Ilyin understood it (in a text selectively quoted by Putin in 2014), would not mean freedom for Russians as individuals, but rather freedom for Russians to understand themselves as parts of a whole. The political system must generate, as Ilyin clarified, “the organic-spiritual unity of the government with the people, and the people with the government.” The first step back toward the Word would be “the metaphysical identity of all people of the same nation.” The “the evil nature of the ‘sensual’” could be banished, and “the empirical variety of human beings” itself could be overcome.

*

Russia today is a media-heavy authoritarian kleptocracy, not the religious totalitarian entity that Ilyin imagined. And yet, his concepts do help lift the obscurity from some of the more interesting aspects of Russian politics. Vladimir Putin, to take a very important example, is a post-Soviet politician who emerged from the realm of fiction. Since it is he who brought Ilyin’s ideas into high politics, his rise to power is part of Ilyin’s story as well.

Putin was an unknown when he was selected by post-Soviet Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, to be prime minister in 1999. Putin was chosen by political casting call. Yeltsin’s intimates, carrying out what they called “Operation Successor,” asked themselves who the most popular character in Russian television was. Polling showed that this was the hero of a 1970s program, a Soviet spy who spoke German. This fit Putin, a former KGB officer who had served in East Germany. Right after he was appointed prime minister by Yeltsin in September 1999, Putin gained his reputation through a bloodier fiction. When apartment buildings in Russian cities began to explode, Putin blamed Muslims and began a war in Chechnya. Contemporary evidence suggests that the bombs might have been planted by Russia’s own security organization, the FSB. Putin was elected president in 2000, and served until 2008.

In the early 2000s, Putin maintained that Russia could become some kind of rule-of-law state. Instead, he succeeded in bringing economic crime within the Russian state, transforming general corruption into official kleptocracy. Once the state became the center of crime, the rule of law became incoherent, inequality entrenched, and reform unthinkable. Another political story was needed. Because Putin’s victory over Russia’s oligarchs also meant control over their television stations, new media instruments were at hand. The Western trend towards infotainment was brought to its logical conclusion in Russia, generating an alternative reality meant to generate faith in Russian virtue but cynicism about facts. This transformation was engineered by Vladislav Surkov, the genius of Russian propaganda. He oversaw a striking move toward the world as Ilyin imagined it, a dark and confusing realm given shape only by Russian innocence. With the financial and media resources under control, Putin needed only, in the nice Russian term, to add the “spiritual resource.” And so, beginning in 2005, Putin began to rehabilitate Ilyin as a Kremlin court philosopher.

That year, Putin began to cite Ilyin in his addresses to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and arranged for the reinterment of Ilyin’s remains in Russia. Then Surkov began to cite Ilyin. The propagandist accepted Ilyin’s idea that “Russian culture is the contemplation of the whole,” and summarizes his own work as the creation of a narrative of an innocent Russia surrounded by permanent hostility. Surkov’s enmity toward factuality is as deep as Ilyin’s, and like Ilyin, he tends to find theological grounds for it. Dmitry Medvedev, the leader of Putin’s political party, recommended Ilyin’s books to Russia’s youth. Ilyin began to figure in the speeches of the leaders of Russia’s tame opposition parties, the communists and the (confusingly-named, extreme-right) Liberal Democrats. These last few years, Ilyin has been cited by the head of the constitutional court, by the foreign minister, and by patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church.

After a four-year intermission between 2008 and 2012, during which Putin served as prime minister and allowed Medvedev to be president, Putin returned to the highest office. If Putin came to power in 2000 as hero from the realm of fiction, he returned in 2012 as the destroyer of the rule of law. In a minor key, the Russia of Putin’s time had repeated the drama of the Russia of Ilyin’s time. The hopes of Russian liberals for a rule-of-law state were again disappointed. Ilyin, who had transformed that failure into fascism the first time around, now had his moment. His arguments helped Putin transform the failure of his first period in office, the inability to introduce of the rule of law, into the promise for a second period in office, the confirmation of Russian virtue. If Russia could not become a rule-of-law state, it would seek to destroy neighbors that had succeeded in doing so or that aspired to do so. Echoing one of the most notorious proclamations of the Nazi legal thinker Carl Schmitt, Ilyin wrote that politics “is the art of identifying and neutralizing the enemy.” In the second decade of the twenty-first century, Putin’s promises were not about law in Russia, but about the defeat of a hyper-legal neighboring entity.

The European Union, the largest economy in the world and Russia’s most important economic partner, is grounded on the assumption that international legal agreements provide the basis for fruitful cooperation among rule-of-law states. In late 2011 and early 2012, Putin made public a new ideology, based in Ilyin, defining Russia in opposition to this model of Europe. In an article in Izvestiia on October 3, 2011, Putin announced a rival Eurasian Union that would unite states that had failed to establish the rule of law. In Nezavisimaia Gazeta on January 23, 2012, Putin, citing Ilyin, presented integration among states as a matter of virtue rather than achievement. The rule of law was not a universal aspiration, but part of an alien Western civilization; Russian culture, meanwhile, united Russia with post-Soviet states such as Ukraine. In a third article, in Moskovskie Novosti on February 27, 2012, Putin drew the political conclusions. Ilyin had imagined that “Russia as a spiritual organism served not only all the Orthodox nations and not only all of the nations of the Eurasian landmass, but all the nations of the world.” Putin predicted that Eurasia would overcome the European Union and bring its members into a larger entity that would extend “from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

Putin’s offensive against the rule of law began with the manner of his reaccession to the office of president of the Russian Federation. The foundation of any rule-of-law state is a principle of succession, the set of rules that allow one person to succeed another in office in a manner that confirms rather than destroys the system. The way that Putin returned to power in 2012 destroyed any possibility that such a principle could function in Russia in any foreseeable future. He assumed the office of president, with a parliamentary majority, thanks to presidential and parliamentary elections that were ostentatiously faked, during protests whose participants he condemned as foreign agents.

In depriving Russia of any accepted means by which he might be succeeded by someone else and the Russian parliament controlled by another party but his, Putin was following Ilyin’s recommendation. Elections had become a ritual, and those who thought otherwise were portrayed by a formidable state media as traitors. Sitting in a radio station with the fascist writer Alexander Prokhanov as Russians protested electoral fraud, Putin mused about what Ivan Ilyin would have to say about the state of Russia. “Can we say,” asked Putin rhetorically, “that our country has fully recovered and healed after the dramatic events that have occurred to us after the Soviet Union collapsed, and that we now have a strong, healthy state? No, of course she is still quite ill; but here we must recall Ivan Ilyin: ‘Yes, our country is still sick, but we did not flee from the bed of our sick mother.’”

The fact that Putin cited Ilyin in this setting is very suggestive, and that he knew this phrase suggests extensive reading. Be that as it may, the way that he cited it seems strange. Ilyin was expelled from the Soviet Union by the Cheka—the institution that was the predecessor of Putin’s employer, the KGB. For Ilyin, it was the foundation of the USSR, not its dissolution, that was the Russian sickness. As Ilyin told his Cheka interrogator at the time: “I consider Soviet power to be an inevitable historical outcome of the great social and spiritual disease which has been growing in Russia for several centuries.” Ilyin thought that KGB officers (of whom Putin was one) should be forbidden from entering politics after the end of the Soviet Union. Ilyin dreamed his whole life of a Soviet collapse.

Putin’s reinterment of Ilyin’s remains was a mystical release from this contradiction. Ilyin had been expelled from Russia by the Soviet security service; his corpse was reburied alongside the remains of its victims. Putin had Ilyin’s corpse interred at a monastery where the NKVD, the heir to the Cheka and the predecessor of the KGB, had interred the ashes of thousands of Soviet citizens executed in the Great Terror. When Putin later visited the site to lay flowers on Ilyin’s grave, he was in the company of an Orthodox monk who saw the NKVD executioners as Russian patriots and therefore good men. At the time of the reburial, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church was a man who had previously served the KGB as an agent. After all, Ilyin’s justification for mass murder was the same as that of the Bolsheviks: the defense of an absolute good. As critics of his second book in the 1920s put it, Ilyin was a “Chekist for God.” He was reburied as such, with all possible honors conferred by the Chekists and by the men of God—and by the men of God who were Chekists, and by the Chekists who were men of God.

Ilyin was returned, body and soul, to the Russia he had been forced to leave. And that very return, in its inattention to contradiction, in its disregard of fact, was the purest expression of respect for his legacy. To be sure, Ilyin opposed the Soviet system. Yet, once the USSR ceased to exist in 1991, it was history—and the past, for Ilyin, was nothing but cognitive raw material for a literature of eternal virtue. Modifying Ilyin’s views about Russian innocence ever so slightly, Russian leaders could see the Soviet Union not as a foreign imposition upon Russia, as Ilyin had, but rather as Russia itself, and so virtuous despite appearances. Any faults of the Soviet system became necessary Russian reactions to the prior hostility of the West.

*

Questions about the influence of ideas in politics are very difficult to answer, and it would be needlessly bold to make of Ilyin’s writings the pillar of the Russian system. For one thing, Ilyin’s vast body of work admits multiple interpretations. As with Martin Heidegger, another student of Husserl who supported Hitler, it is reasonable to ask how closely a man’s political support of fascism relates to a philosopher’s work. Within Russia itself, Ilyin is not the only native source of fascist ideas to be cited with approval by Vladimir Putin; Lev Gumilev is another. Contemporary Russian fascists who now rove through the public space, such as Aleksander Prokhanov and Aleksander Dugin, represent distinct traditions. It is Dugin, for example, who made the idea of “Eurasia” popular in Russia, and his references are German Nazis and postwar West European fascists. And yet, most often in the Russia of the second decade of the twenty-first century, it is Ilyin’s ideas that to seem to satisfy political needs and to fill rhetorical gaps, to provide the “spiritual resource” for the kleptocratic state machine. In 2017, when the Russian state had so much difficulty commemorating the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ilyin was advanced as its heroic opponent. In a television drama about the revolution, he decried the evil of promising social advancement to Russians.

Russian policies certainly recall Ilyin’s recommendations. Russia’s 2012 law on “foreign agents,” passed right after Putin’s return to the office of the presidency, well represents Ilyin’s attitude to civil society. Ilyin believed that Russia’s “White Spirit” should animate the fascists of Europe; since 2013, the Kremlin has provided financial and propaganda support to European parties of the populist and extreme right. The Russian campaign against the “decadence” of the European Union, initiated in 2013, is in accord with Ilyin’s worldview. Ilyin’s scholarly effort followed his personal projection of sexual anxiety to others. First, Ilyin called Russia homosexual, then underwent therapy with his girlfriend, then blamed God. Putin first submitted to years of shirtless fur-and-feather photoshoots, then divorced his wife, then blamed the European Union for Russian homosexuality. Ilyin sexualized what he experienced as foreign threats. Jazz, for example, was a plot to induce premature ejaculation. When Ukrainians began in late 2013 to assemble in favor of a European future for their country, the Russian media raised the specter of a “homodictatorship.”

The case for Ilyin’s influence is perhaps easiest to make with respect to Russia’s new orientation toward Ukraine. Ukraine, like the Russian Federation, is a new country, formed from the territory of a Soviet republic in 1991. After Russia, it was the second-most populous republic of the Soviet Union, and it has a long border with Russia to the east and north as well as with European Union members to the west. For the first two decades after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russian-Ukrainian relations were defined by both sides according to international law, with Russian lawyers always insistent on very traditional concepts such as sovereignty and territorial integrity. When Putin returned to power in 2012, legalism gave way to colonialism. Since 2012, Russian policy toward Ukraine has been made on the basis of first principles, and those principles have been Ilyin’s. Putin’s Eurasian Union, a plan he announced with the help of Ilyin’s ideas, presupposed that Ukraine would join. Putin justified Russia’s attempt to draw Ukraine towards Eurasia by Ilyin’s “organic model” that made of Russia and Ukraine “one people.”

Ilyin’s idea of a Russian organism including Ukraine clashed with the more prosaic Ukrainian notion of reforming the Ukrainian state. In Ukraine in 2013, the European Union was a subject of domestic political debate, and was generally popular. An association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union was seen as a way to address the major local problem, the weakness of the rule of law. Through threats and promises, Putin was able in November 2013 to induce the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, not to sign the association agreement, which had already been negotiated. This brought young Ukrainians to the street to demonstrate in favor the agreement. When the Ukrainian government (urged on and assisted by Russia) used violence, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens assembled in Kyiv’s Independence Square. Their main postulate, as surveys showed at the time, was the rule of law. After a sniper massacre that left more than one hundred Ukrainians dead, Yanukovych fled to Russia. His main adviser, Paul Manafort, was next seen working as Donald Trump’s campaign manager.

By the time Yanukovych fled to Russia, Russian troops had already been mobilized for the invasion of Ukraine. As Russian troops entered Ukraine in February 2014, Russian civilizational rhetoric (of which Ilyin was a major source) captured the imagination of many Western observers. In the first half of 2014, the issues debated were whether or not Ukraine was or was not part of Russian culture, or whether Russian myths about the past were somehow a reason to invade a neighboring sovereign state. In accepting the way that Ilyin put the question, as a matter of civilization rather than law, Western observers missed the stakes of the conflict for Europe and the United States. Considering the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a clash of cultures was to render it distant and colorful and obscure; seeing it as an element of a larger assault on the rule of law would have been to realize that Western institutions were in peril. To accept the civilizational framing was also to overlook the basic issue of inequality. What pro-European Ukrainians wanted was to avoid Russian-style kleptocracy. What Putin needed was to demonstrate that such efforts were fruitless.

Ilyin’s arguments were everywhere as Russian troops entered Ukraine multiple times in 2014. As soldiers received their mobilization orders for the invasion of the Ukraine’s Crimean province in January 2014, all of Russia’s high-ranking bureaucrats and regional governors were sent a copy of Ilyin’s Our Tasks. After Russian troops occupied Crimea and the Russian parliament voted for annexation, Putin cited Ilyin again as justification. The Russian commander sent to oversee the second major movement of Russian troops into Ukraine, to the southeastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in summer 2014, described the war’s final goal in terms that Ilyin would have understood: “If the world were saved from demonic constructions such as the United States, it would be easier for everyone to live. And one of these days it will happen.”

Anyone following Russian politics could see in early 2016 that the Russian elite preferred Donald Trump to become the Republican nominee for president and then to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election. In the spring of that year, Russian military intelligence was boasting of an effort to help Trump win. In the Russian assault on American democracy that followed, the main weapon was falsehood. Donald Trump is another masculinity-challenged kleptocrat from the realm of fiction, in his case that of reality television. His campaign was helped by the elaborate untruths that Russia distributed about his opponent. In office, Trump imitates Putin in his pursuit of political post-truth: first filling the public sphere with lies, then blaming the institutions whose purpose is to seek facts, and finally rejoicing in the resulting confusion. Russian assistance to Trump weakened American trust in the institutions that Russia has been unable to build. Such trust was already in decline, thanks to America’s own media culture and growing inequality.

Ilyin meant to be the prophet of our age, the post-Soviet age, and perhaps he is. His disbelief in this world allows politics to take place in a fictional one. He made of lawlessness a virtue so pure as to be invisible, and so absolute as to demand the destruction of the West. He shows us how fragile masculinity generates enemies, how perverted Christianity rejects Jesus, how economic inequality imitates innocence, and how fascist ideas flow into the postmodern. This is no longer just Russian philosophy. It is now American life.


Conflit israélo-palestinien: Où est le Sadate palestinien ? (While the truth finally comes out on Obama’s links to Farrakhan and Kerry’s dissemblings on Iran and Palestine, guess who just called out Abbas’ mendacity ?)

27 janvier, 2018
Les lèvres du juste connaissent la grâce et la bouche des méchants la perversité. Proverbes 10: 32
Il y a une chose plus terrible que la calomnie, c’est la vérité. Talleyrand
Il y avait la vérité, il y avait le mensonge, et si l’on s’accrochait à la vérité, même contre le monde entier, on n’était pas fou. Orwell
La liberté, c’est la liberté de dire que deux et deux font quatre. Lorsque cela est accordé, le reste suit. George Orwell
I hate to agree with Donald Trump, but it doesn’t happen often, but I do. I don’t know why Israel — it has been their capital since 1949. It is where their government is. They’ve won all the wars thrown against them. I don’t understand why they don’t get to have their capital where they want. Bill Maher
L’Amérique a l’un des meilleurs présidents de tous les temps. M. Trump. J’aime Trump. J’adore Trump parce qu’il parle franchement aux Africains. Je ne sais pas s’il a été mal cité ou quoi que ce soit, mais quand il parle, je l’aime parce qu’il parle franchement.(…). Si vous regardez l’Afrique, l’Afrique fait douze fois la taille de l’Inde, en termes de superficie, beaucoup de ressources, et sa population est en croissance. Pourquoi ne pouvons-nous pas rendre l’Afrique forte? Yoweri Museveni
Iran received more than $100 billion in sanctions relief from the nuclear deal. Obama administration officials promised the regime would not use the sanctions relief windfall to underwrite terrorism and war and develop advanced weapons. Instead, Obama and his underlings promised it would go to ordinary Iranians. Iranian prosperity, they offered, would cause the regime to become moderate and peaceful. On Thursday Iran sanctions expert Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tweeted, “A US official I spoke to today believes Iranian expenditures on foreign adventures, nuclear research and missiles, coupled with losses from graft and corruption, have cost the regime $150b.-$200b. since the signing of the [initial draft nuclear deal with Iran in late]… in 2013.” In other words, the regime is a parasite that has lived on international welfare and the wealth of its people. Instead of developing Iranian society, Khamenei and his henchmen steal the people’s wealth and national treasure and use both to line their pockets and pay for their wars abroad. In an interview with Lee Smith at RealClearPolitics, Iranian banking expert Saeed Ghasseminejad revealed that in addition to squandering their earnings from sanctions relief, the regime has been stealing the savings of the Iranian middle class. First, regime-controlled banks, (including those that will be barred from the international financial system if Trump reinstates the sanctions) gave large loans to regime officials who never repaid them. The losses were passed to the regular account holders. Second, Ghasseminejad related details of a regime-licensed Ponzi scheme. Private banks offering high interest rates appeared out of nowhere. Their high rates attracted middle class investors who deposited their life savings. When depositors tried to withdraw their money, the banks declared bankruptcy. No one has been prosecuted and a large number of formerly middle class Iranians are now impoverished. According to Ghasseminejad, these newly impoverished Iranians are now in the streets calling for the regime to be overthrown. If Trump decides to keep sanctions frozen, it will serve as a rebuke to the protesters. And if media reports that the protests are dissipating are to be believed, then a decision by Trump to certify regime compliance with the nuclear deal will be their death knell. It isn’t that there is no risk to killing the nuclear deal. As The Jerusalem Post reported this week, in an interview with Iranian television Wednesday, Behrooz Kamalvandi, the deputy chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, threatened Trump that if he reinstates sanctions, “Iran is ready to increase the speed of its nuclear activities in various areas, especially enrichment, several times more than [in the] pre-nuclear deal era.” And he may be telling the truth. But the financial pressure on the regime will be far greater and the headwinds now facing the protesters calling for its overthrow will become a tailwind if Trump walks away from the deal. Middle class families that have not joined the protesters are more likely to take to the streets if sanctions are reinstated. Not only will they be hurt financially, they will become convinced that the regime is not invincible. Whereas the deal’s proponents insist that leaving killing the deal will harm “moderates” in the regime, if the protests tell us anything, they tell us – once again – that there is no distance between so-called “moderates” like President Hassan Rouhani and Zarif, and so-called “extremists like Revolutionary Guard Corps terror boss Qassem Suleimani. Their theft of the wealth of the Iranian people, their corruption and sponsorship of terrorism is no different than Suleimani’s. The only way to help the Iranians on the streets is to weaken the regime as a whole, because the regime as a whole oppresses the Iranian people and robs them blind. Israeli experts who were close to the Obama administration are calling for Trump to keep the deal alive. A paper published on Thursday by the left-leaning Institute for National Security Studies called for Trump to keep the deal alive, but enforce it fully. Co-authored by Obama’s ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and former security brass who oppose the Netanyahu government, the paper claimed that the US should insist that Iran open its military nuclear sites to UN inspectors. The problem with the recommendation is that there is no chance it will be implemented. Iran refuses to open its military sites to inspectors, and the Europeans side with them against the US. Trump is right that he’s damned if he maintains Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and damned if he kills the deal. But his supporters are right on this issue and the Washington establishment, Europe and the media are wrong. If Trump walks away, he will empower the Iranians calling for a new regime. He will weaken the regime’s ability to maintain its global war against the US and its allies. He will force the Europeans to abandon their love affair with the corruption kings in Tehran by making them choose between the US market and the Iranian market. And he will accomplish all of these things while freeing himself from the quarterly requirement to either lie and pretend Iran is behaving itself and be pilloried by his supporters, or tell the truth about its behavior and be pilloried by the people who always attack him. Most important, by walking away from a deal built on lies, distortion and corruption, Trump can quickly pivot to a policy based on truth. Unlike the nuclear deal, such a policy would have a chance of ending Iran’s nuclear ambitions, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its oppression of its long-suffering people once and for all. Caroline Glick
The problem he’s got there is that what he is just reported to have done in respect of the Palestinian Arabs is so similar to what he did in respect of the Vietnamese communists. That was back in 1970, when, just off active duty from the Navy after his brief tour in Vietnam, he went to Paris and met there with representatives of the Viet Cong. There’s no record — and we are not suggesting — that Mr. Kerry used with the Viet Cong the same words (“be strong” and the like) he reportedly relayed to Mr. Abbas. Then again, he didn’t have to. When Mr. Kerry returned from that long-ago trip to Paris, he started plumping in public for the Viet Cong’s talking points. Then he clambered up Capitol Hill and accused American GIs, still in the field in Vietnam, of acting like Genghis Khan and committing war crimes. Mr. Kerry eventually tried to parlay his Vietnam war story into his first presidential campaign, and for a while it looked like he might get away with it. Then, in one of the most memorable moments in American political history, his ex-comrades among the veterans of the riverine war in the Mekong Delta organized themselves as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and exposed Mr. Kerry’s duplicitous nature. In our opinion, he should have hung up his hat then. Now it seems he wants to try for the presidency again in 2020. Maybe by then we’ll see what Mr. Kerry has been saying to the Iranian ayatollahs as President Trump seeks to fulfill his electoral mandate to unravel the unratified articles of appeasement that Mr. Kerry inked with Iran. Has Mr. Kerry been quietly urging the Iranians, too, to stay strong against America until the former state secretary can ride to the rescue in the next presidential election? The New York Sun
Pas plus tard qu’hier, plus de vingt civils, des enfants pour la plupart, ont été victimes de ce qui ressemble à une attaque au gaz chloré. Ces récentes attaques en Ghouta orientale font craindre que le régime syrien de Bachar al-Assad continue à recourir aux armes chimiques contre son propre peuple. Quels que soient les auteurs de ces attaques, au final c’est à la Russie que revient la responsabilité des victimes de la Ghouta orientale et des innombrables autres civils qui ont été la cible d’armes chimiques depuis que la Russie s’est engagée dans le conflit en Syrie. En septembre 2013, la Russie a poussé, négocié et accepté l’accord-cadre pour l’élimination des armes chimiques en Syrie – un accord diplomatique entre les États-Unis et la Russie qui exigeait la destruction vérifiable de l’ensemble du stock d’armes chimiques de la Syrie. (…) En outre, en mars 2015, la Russie a soutenu l’adoption de la résolution 2209 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, soulignant que ceux qui utilisent comme arme n’importe quel produit chimique toxique, y compris le gaz chloré, devraient rendre des comptes. La Russie n’a pas respecté ces engagements. Depuis 2014 – depuis avril 2014, il y a de plus en plus de preuves que la Syrie continue à posséder illégalement des armes chimiques et à les utiliser contre ses propres citoyens. La mission d’enquête de l’OIAC a confirmé de multiples incidents liés au recours aux armes chimiques en Syrie, notamment l’usage comme arme de gaz chloré, un produit industriel toxique. Certains de ces incidents, dont l’attaque au gaz sarin du 14 avril, ont été après coup attribués à la Syrie par le Mécanisme d’enquête conjoint OIAC-ONU, un groupe d’experts indépendants et impartiaux établi en août 2015 par la résolution 2235 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, avec l’appui total de la Russie. On ne peut tout simplement pas nier que la Russie, en protégeant son allié syrien, a violé les promesses qu’elle avait faites aux États-Unis en tant que garant de l’accord-cadre. Elle a trahi la Convention sur l’interdiction des armes chimiques ainsi que la résolution 2218 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, et à ces occasions, opposé à deux reprises son veto à l’encontre de résolutions du Conseil de sécurité visant à mettre en œuvre le Mécanisme d’enquête conjoint et à prolonger son mandat. L’incapacité de la Russie à résoudre le problème des armes chimiques en Syrie remet en question son aptitude à résoudre la crise dans son ensemble. Au grand minimum, la Russie devrait cesser d’opposer son veto et à l’avenir, s’abstenir lors des votes du Conseil de sécurité sur ce sujet. (…) Nous en appelons à la communauté des nations responsables et civilisées afin de mettre fin à l’usage des armes chimiques. C’est à vous de choisir. Les habitants de la Ghouta orientale vous observent, le monde entier vous observe. Rex Tillerson
Real peace requires leaders who are willing to step forward, acknowledge hard truths, and make compromises. It requires leaders who look to the future, rather than dwell on past resentments. Above all, such leaders require courage. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was such a leader. (…) He said to the Israeli legislators, “You want to live with us in this part of the world. In all sincerity, I tell you, we welcome you among us, with full security and safety.” “We used to reject you,” he said. “Yet today, I tell you, and declare it to the whole world, that we accept to live with you in permanent peace based on justice.” (…) Compare those words to what Palestinian President Abbas said to the PLO Central Council 11 days ago. In his speech, President Abbas declared the landmark Oslo Peace Accords dead. He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American President. He called for suspending recognition of Israel. He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers. (…) Curiously, President Abbas’ speech has gotten little attention in the media. I encourage anyone who cares about the cause of a durable and just peace in the Middle East to read President Abbas’ speech for yourself. A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace. Despite all of this, the United States remains fully prepared and eager to pursue peace. We have done nothing to prejudge the final borders of Jerusalem. We have done nothing to alter the status of the holy sites. We remain committed to the possibility and potential of two states, if agreed to by the parties. Just as it did with Egypt, peace requires compromise. It requires solutions that take into account the core interests of all sides. And that is what the United States is focused on for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hate-filled speeches and end-runs around negotiations take us nowhere. Ultimately, peace will not be achieved without leaders with courage. King Hussein of Jordan was another such leader. In 1994, he ended 46 years of war and entered into a peace agreement with Israel that holds to this day. (…) I ask here today, where is the Palestinian King Hussein? Where is the Palestinian Anwar Sadat? If President Abbas demonstrates he can be that type of leader, we would welcome it. His recent actions demonstrate the total opposite. The United States remains deeply committed to helping the Israelis and the Palestinians reach a historic peace agreement that brings a better future to both peoples, just as we did successfully with the Egyptians and the Jordanians. But we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace. To get historic results, we need courageous leaders. History has provided such leaders in the past. For the sake of the Palestinian and Israeli people, we pray it does so again. Nikki Haley

Attention: une prétendue collusion peut en cacher bien d’autres !

A l’heure où se confirment …

Pendant que nos médias nous bassinent avec la prétendue collusion de l’actuelle administration américaine avec la Russie …

Le mensonge, tu par la presse pendant 12 ans, sur les liens avec le leader antisémite noir Farrakhan d’un ancien président américain lui-même passeur de messages secrets à l’ennemi …

Comme avec le Vietcong il y a 40 ans et le régime iranien plus récemment, les trahisons de son ancien secrétaire d’Etat avec cette fois le président Abbas …

Ou, révélé au prix fort par le peuple iranien dans les rues il y a un mois, la corruption sans nom de leurs dirigeants …

Comme, mis au jour par le secrétaire d’Etat Rex Tillerson il ya cinq jours, les dissimulations de Poutine sur l’utilisation d’armes chimiques par ses affidés syriens  …

Ou, de la part d’un président africain même, la réalité des récents propos volés du président américain sur les régimes faillis de la planète

Comment ne pas se réjouir …

Le pauvre Bill Maher compris …

Après la parole de vérité du président Trump sur Jérusalem le mois dernier …

Des paroles libres et fortes de l’ambassadrice américaine à l’ONU il y a deux jours …

Au maitre-faussaire et négationniste Abbas …

Lui posant la seule question qui vaille et que personne n’avait osé lui poser depuis 40 ans :

Ou est le Sadat palestinien ?

L’ambassadrice US clashe ABBAS : “Où est le Anouar el-Sadate palestinien? Où est le Roi Hussein palestinien ?”

L’ambassadrice des Etats-Unis aux Nations unies, Nikki Haley, a critiqué Mahmoud Abbas jeudi en estimant, devant le Conseil de sécurité, que le dirigeant palestinien n’avait pas le courage pour parvenir à un accord de paix.

“Nous n’allons pas courir après une gouvernance palestinienne qui n’a pas ce qu’il faut pour parvenir à la paix”, a estimé la représentante des Etats-Unis à l’ONU. “Pour obtenir des résultats historiques, nous avons besoin de dirigeants courageux”, a dit Nikki Haley.

M. Abbas “a rejeté tout rôle des Etats-Unis…Il a insulté le président américain”, a martelé l’ambassadrice. Tout en assurant que son pays était toujours “profondément engagé” pour parvenir à la paix.

“Où est le Anouar el-Sadate palestinien? Où est le Roi Hussein palestinien ?”, a fustigé la diplomate américaine.

La représentante s’est donc appuyée sur l’exemple de l’ancien Président égyptien Anouar el-Sadate.  Elle a rappelé que, le 19 novembre 1977, il avait été le premier Chef d’État arabe à se rendre en Israël, où il avait pris la parole devant la Knesset pour dire de quelle manière il envisageait la paix.  Elle a ensuite invoqué le Roi Hussein de Jordanie, qui a signé un traité de paix avec Israël le 26 octobre 1994.  À la lumière de ces deux exemples, Mme Haley a désapprouvé les propos tenus récemment par le Président de l’Autorité palestinienne, M. Mahmoud Abbas, selon lesquels les négociations de paix seraient au point mort.

Voir aussi:

Nikki Haley to the Security Council: Where is the Palestinian Anwar Sadat?
Unwatch
January 25, 2018

Click here for YouTube.
Full transcript:

During the past year, as the representative of the United States, I have most often taken the position that this monthly session on the Middle East is miscast. As I’ve pointed out many times, this session spends far too much time on Israel and the Palestinians and far too little time on the terrorist regimes and groups that undermine peace and security in the region, chief among them Iran, ISIS, Hezbollah, and Hamas. That remains my view. And I expect that in future months I will continue to focus on those threats from the Middle East that draw too little attention at the UN.

However, today I will set aside my usual practice. Today, I too will focus on the issue of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. What has changed?

The events of the past month have shed light on a critical aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian problem, and it is important that we do not miss the opportunity here at the UN to bring attention to it. The aspect I will address is the single most critical element to achieving peace. No, it’s not the issues of security, borders, refugees, or settlements. All of those are important parts of a peace agreement. But the single most important element is not any of those. The indispensable element is leaders who have the will to do what’s needed to achieve peace.

Real peace requires leaders who are willing to step forward, acknowledge hard truths, and make compromises. It requires leaders who look to the future, rather than dwell on past resentments. Above all, such leaders require courage. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was such a leader. Forty years ago, President Sadat did an exceptional thing. Egypt and Israel were still in a state of war. In fact, Sadat himself had led Egypt in war with Israel only a few years before. But Sadat made the courageous decision to pursue peace. And when he made that decision, he went to Jerusalem and delivered a speech before the Israeli Knesset. That he went to the Knesset was courageous in itself.

But what took real courage was what he said there. Sadat did not go to Jerusalem on bended knee. He spoke in no uncertain terms about the hard concessions he expected from the Israelis. And then he said the words that both he and the world knew marked a turning point. He said to the Israeli legislators, “You want to live with us in this part of the world. In all sincerity, I tell you, we welcome you among us, with full security and safety.”

“We used to reject you,” he said. “Yet today, I tell you, and declare it to the whole world, that we accept to live with you in permanent peace based on justice.”

These were the words that led to peace between Egypt and Israel. It was not an easy process. It took another 16 months of tough negotiations to reach a peace treaty, and both sides made difficult compromises. But Sadat’s words helped make Israel understand that it had a partner with whom it could make those painful compromises. Some have said these were the words that got Anwar Sadat killed. But no one can question that generations of Egyptians and Israeli citizens have enjoyed a peace that has stood the test of time.

Compare those words to what Palestinian President Abbas said to the PLO Central Council 11 days ago. In his speech, President Abbas declared the landmark Oslo Peace Accords dead. He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American President. He called for suspending recognition of Israel. He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers.

Once more, let’s contrast Sadat’s words with Abbas’. President Sadat acknowledged that some Arab leaders did not agree with him. But he told them it was his responsibility to, “exhaust all and every means in a bid to save my Egyptian Arab People and the entire Arab Nation, the horrors of new, shocking, and destructive wars.”

President Abbas also acknowledged criticism from other Arab leaders – and he, too, had a message for them. His response was “Get lost.” Curiously, President Abbas’ speech has gotten little attention in the media. I encourage anyone who cares about the cause of a durable and just peace in the Middle East to read President Abbas’ speech for yourself.

A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace.

Despite all of this, the United States remains fully prepared and eager to pursue peace. We have done nothing to prejudge the final borders of Jerusalem. We have done nothing to alter the status of the holy sites. We remain committed to the possibility and potential of two states, if agreed to by the parties.

Just as it did with Egypt, peace requires compromise. It requires solutions that take into account the core interests of all sides. And that is what the United States is focused on for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hate-filled speeches and end-runs around negotiations take us nowhere. Ultimately, peace will not be achieved without leaders with courage.

King Hussein of Jordan was another such leader. In 1994, he ended 46 years of war and entered into a peace agreement with Israel that holds to this day. When King Hussein signed the peace treaty, he said this: “These are the moments in which we live, the past and the future. When we come to live next to each other, as never before, we will be doing so, Israelis and Jordanians, together, without the need for any to observe our actions or supervise our endeavors. This is peace with dignity; this is peace with commitment.”

I ask here today, where is the Palestinian King Hussein? Where is the Palestinian Anwar Sadat? If President Abbas demonstrates he can be that type of leader, we would welcome it. His recent actions demonstrate the total opposite.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping the Israelis and the Palestinians reach a historic peace agreement that brings a better future to both peoples, just as we did successfully with the Egyptians and the Jordanians. But we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace. To get historic results, we need courageous leaders. History has provided such leaders in the past. For the sake of the Palestinian and Israeli people, we pray it does so again.

Thank you.

Voir également:

Département d’État des États-Unis
Allocution du secrétaire d’Etat Rex Tillerson
Le 23 janvier 2018
Paris, France

Allocution sur la responsabilité de la Russie dans l’utilisation passée et présente d’armes chimiques en Syrie

LE SECRÉTAIRE D’ÉTAT TILLERSON : Encore une fois, je voudrais remercier le ministre des Affaires étrangères, M. Le Drian, d’accueillir aujourd’hui la cérémonie de signatures pour le lancement du Partenariat international contre l’impunité d’utilisation d’armes chimiques.

Cette rencontre avait deux objectifs : mettre fin aux attaques aux armes chimiques et refuser l’impunité à ceux qui utilisent ou permettent l’utilisation de ce type d’armes. Pour savoir ce que ces armes peuvent causer aux humains, il suffit de regarder tout près de nous, en Ghouta orientale, en Syrie. Pas plus tard qu’hier, plus de vingt civils, des enfants pour la plupart, ont été victimes de ce qui ressemble à une attaque au gaz chloré.

Ces récentes attaques en Ghouta orientale font craindre que le régime syrien de Bachar al-Assad continue à recourir aux armes chimiques contre son propre peuple. Quels que soient les auteurs de ces attaques, au final c’est à la Russie que revient la responsabilité des victimes de la Ghouta orientale et des innombrables autres civils qui ont été la cible d’armes chimiques depuis que la Russie s’est engagée dans le conflit en Syrie.

En septembre 2013, la Russie a poussé, négocié et accepté l’accord-cadre pour l’élimination des armes chimiques en Syrie – un accord diplomatique entre les États-Unis et la Russie qui exigeait la destruction vérifiable de l’ensemble du stock d’armes chimiques de la Syrie.

À travers cet accord, la Russie assumait un rôle de garant, responsable de veiller à ce que son allié syrien cesse toute utilisation d’armes chimiques et déclare sans réserve son stock d’armes chimiques en vue de sa destruction sous contrôle international.

L’accord-cadre diplomatique entre États-Unis et Russie était entériné, sur le plan légal, par une décision du conseil exécutif de l’Organisation pour l’interdiction des armes chimiques (OIAC) et par la résolution 2118 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU.

En outre, en mars 2015, la Russie a soutenu l’adoption de la résolution 2209 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, soulignant que ceux qui utilisent comme arme n’importe quel produit chimique toxique, y compris le gaz chloré, devraient rendre des comptes.

La Russie n’a pas respecté ces engagements. Depuis 2014 – depuis avril 2014, il y a de plus en plus de preuves que la Syrie continue à posséder illégalement des armes chimiques et à les utiliser contre ses propres citoyens.

La mission d’enquête de l’OIAC a confirmé de multiples incidents liés au recours aux armes chimiques en Syrie, notamment l’usage comme arme de gaz chloré, un produit industriel toxique. Certains de ces incidents, dont l’attaque au gaz sarin du 14 avril, ont été après coup attribués à la Syrie par le Mécanisme d’enquête conjoint OIAC-ONU, un groupe d’experts indépendants et impartiaux établi en août 2015 par la résolution 2235 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, avec l’appui total de la Russie.

On ne peut tout simplement pas nier que la Russie, en protégeant son allié syrien, a violé les promesses qu’elle avait faites aux États-Unis en tant que garant de l’accord-cadre. Elle a trahi la Convention sur l’interdiction des armes chimiques ainsi que la résolution 2218 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU[1], et à ces occasions, opposé à deux reprises[2] son veto à l’encontre de résolutions du Conseil de sécurité visant à mettre en œuvre le Mécanisme d’enquête conjoint et à prolonger son mandat.

L’incapacité de la Russie à résoudre le problème des armes chimiques en Syrie remet en question son aptitude à résoudre la crise dans son ensemble. Au grand minimum, la Russie devrait cesser d’opposer son veto et à l’avenir, s’abstenir lors des votes du Conseil de sécurité sur ce sujet.

Plus de 25 pays partageant ces idées sont ici aujourd’hui pour faire en sorte que ceux qui recourent aux armes chimiques en seront un jour tenus responsables. La France, le Royaume-Uni, la Turquie et bien d’autres sont ici aujourd’hui pour faire respecter la Convention sur l’interdiction des armes chimiques et sa vision d’un monde débarrassé de ces armes abominables.

Nous utiliserons ce Partenariat pour faciliter les échanges de données sur les utilisations d’armes chimiques, y compris des informations sur les sanctions, pour collecter et préserver ces données et pour renforcer les compétences des États afin qu’ils puissent établir les responsabilités des acteurs impliqués. Cette initiative veut adresser un avertissement à ceux qui ont ordonné et exécuté des attaques à l’arme chimique : un jour vous devrez rendre des comptes de vos crimes contre l’humanité et justice sera rendue à vos victimes.

Nous en appelons à la communauté des nations responsables et civilisées afin de mettre fin à l’usage des armes chimiques. C’est à vous de choisir. Les habitants de la Ghouta orientale vous observent, le monde entier vous observe.

Je vous remercie.

[1] Résolution 2118 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU

[2] La Russie a opposé trois fois son veto à ces résolutions de mise en œuvre du Conseil de sécurité

Voir de même:

Our World: Curing Trump’s quarterly Iran headache
Trump is right that he’s damned if he maintains Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and damned if he kills the deal
Caroline B. Glick
The Jerusalem Post
January 11, 2018

It’s that time of the year again. In accordance with the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act, by Sunday US President Donald Trump must either certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal his predecessor Barack Obama concluded with the Iranian regime, or he must announce that Iran is breaching the accord.

Last October, after angrily certifying compliance at his two previous deadlines, Trump decertified Iranian compliance.

Trump could have walked away from the nuclear deal by reinstating the sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas industries, its banking sector and other foundations of Iran’s economy that were lifted when the deal was implemented. Doing so would have effectively killed the nuclear accord.

But Trump opted instead to pass the burden on to Congress. He gave lawmakers 90 days to put together a new sanctions bill that he would sign that could punish Iran’s misbehavior while presumably leaving the nuclear deal intact.

Congress failed to respond. No sanctions were passed. Democrats, keen to protect Obama’s most significant foreign policy legacy, have promised to filibuster any sanctions bill.

So now it is Trump’s problem to deal with, again. And he faces the same options.

Trump can stick with the deal, or he can walk away.

Media reports from the past two days indicate that Trump has opted to stick with the deal. Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has convinced him to certify Iranian compliance.

Reportedly, Trump’s biggest problem with the nuclear deal is not that it gives Iran a clear path to the bomb inside of a decade. It is that the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act requires him to revisit the issue every 90 days.

The certification process puts Trump in a no-win situation. If he certifies Iranian compliance, he angers his supporters and the overwhelming majority of Republican lawmakers. If he refuses to certify Iranian compliance, he will face the wrath of the media, the Washington foreign policy establishment, and the European Union.

All of the deal’s defenders argue that canceling it will destabilize the international security environment while empowering Iran’s “hard-liners.”

On Wednesday The Washington Free Beacon reported that McMaster, together with Sens. Bob Corker and Ben Cardin, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, respectively, are lobbying Trump to agree to a package that would amend the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act to strip him of the need to recertify Iranian compliance every 90 days. As for sanctions, the amended law would call for sanctions to be reinstated in six years, if Iran is not complying with the agreement.

The implications of McMaster’s reported proposal are enormous. Trump would lose his power to abrogate the deal, while Iran would be immune from sanctions until a really long time from now. The US would lose its leverage against the deal in respect not only to Iran but toward the Europeans, Russians and Chinese as well.

On the face of it, McMaster is right to want to keep the Iranian nuclear issue on the back burner. After all, there is the nuclear crisis with North Korea to consider. Moreover, the Europeans are dead set on protecting the deal.

On Thursday, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Commissioner Frederica Mogherini and her French, British and German counterparts met in Brussels with Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif to pledge their allegiance to the nuclear deal and stand as one against a possible US pullout from the agreement.

The Europeans will certainly be very angry if Trump walks away from the deal they made with Obama. But then, it isn’t clear why that should matter. Aside from passive aggressively voting against the US at the UN, as they did last month, Mogherini and her comrades don’t have much leverage. Will they prefer economic deals with Iran to their trade with the US?

THIS BRINGS us to North Korea.

Iran and North Korea are partners in nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation. They partnered in building the nuclear installation in Syria that Israel reportedly destroyed in September 2007. Iran’s ballistic missiles are based on North Korean designs. Iranians have reportedly been present during North Korea’s nuclear tests.

All of this information is public knowledge, and we can only speculate how much deeper their collaboration actually is. Given what is known and must be assumed about their collaboration, it is beyond foolish to treat the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs as unrelated to each other.

If North Korea cannot be set aside, neither can Iran.

Then there is the fact that hundreds of thousands of Iranians have been on the streets for weeks calling for the overthrow of the regime due to its squandering of Iran’s national wealth on wars and graft.

Nuclear deal supporters insist that reinstating sanctions will only harm the protesters. The regime, they argue, is not harmed by sanctions. The regime passes the economic losses Iran incurs from sanctions onto ordinary citizens. They suffer while the regime prospers through whatever sanctions busting trades they concoct with the Turks, Qataris, Russians and Chinese.

This claim is both morally repugnant and contradicted by the protests themselves.

If the regime were able to support itself without pilfering from the public, there wouldn’t be any protesters on the streets calling for Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to die.

Iran received more than $100 billion in sanctions relief from the nuclear deal. Obama administration officials promised the regime would not use the sanctions relief windfall to underwrite terrorism and war and develop advanced weapons. Instead, Obama and his underlings promised it would go to ordinary Iranians. Iranian prosperity, they offered, would cause the regime to become moderate and peaceful.

On Thursday Iran sanctions expert Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tweeted, “A US official I spoke to today believes Iranian expenditures on foreign adventures, nuclear research and missiles, coupled with losses from graft and corruption, have cost the regime $150b.-$200b. since the signing of the [initial draft nuclear deal with Iran in late]… in 2013.”

In other words, the regime is a parasite that has lives on international welfare and the wealth of its people. Instead of developing Iranian society, Khamenei and his henchmen steal the people’s wealth and national treasure and use both to line their pockets and pay for their wars abroad.

In an interview with Lee Smith at RealClearPolitics, Iranian banking expert Saeed Ghasseminejad revealed that in addition to squandering their earnings from sanctions relief, the regime has been stealing the savings of the Iranian middle class. First, regime-controlled banks, (including those that will be barred from the international financial system if Trump reinstates the sanctions) gave large loans to regime officials who never repaid them. The losses were passed to the regular account holders.

Second, Ghasseminejad related details of a regime-licensed Ponzi scheme. Private banks offering high interest rates appeared out of nowhere. Their high rates attracted middle class investors who deposited their life savings.

When depositors tried to withdraw their money, the banks declared bankruptcy.

No one has been prosecuted and a large number of formerly middle class Iranians are now impoverished.

According to Ghasseminejad, these newly impoverished Iranians are now in the streets calling for the regime to be overthrown.
If Trump decides to keep sanctions frozen, it will serve as a rebuke to the protesters. And if media reports that the protests are dissipating are to be believed, then a decision by Trump to certify regime compliance with the nuclear deal will be their death knell.

It isn’t that there is no risk to killing the nuclear deal. As The Jerusalem Post reported this week, in an interview with Iranian television Wednesday, Behrooz Kamalvandi, the deputy chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, threatened Trump that if he reinstates sanctions, “Iran is ready to increase the speed of its nuclear activities in various areas, especially enrichment, several times more than [in the] pre-nuclear deal era.”

And he may be telling the truth.

But the financial pressure on the regime will be far greater and the headwinds now facing the protesters calling for its overthrow will become a tailwind if Trump walks away from the deal. Middle class families that have not joined the protesters are more likely to take to the streets if sanctions are reinstated. Not only will they be hurt financially, they will become convinced that the regime is not invincible.

Whereas the deal’s proponents insist that leaving killing the deal will harm “moderates” in the regime, if the protests tell us anything, they tell us – once again – that there is no distance between so-called “moderates” like President Hassan Rouhani and Zarif, and so-called “extremists like Revolutionary Guard Corps terror boss Qassem Suleimani. Their theft of the wealth of the Iranian people, their corruption and sponsorship of terrorism is no different than Suleimani’s. The only way to help the Iranians on the streets is to weaken the regime as a whole, because the regime as a whole oppresses the Iranian people and robs them blind.

Israeli experts who were close to the Obama administration are calling for Trump to keep the deal alive. A paper published on Thursday by the left-leaning Institute for National Security Studies called for Trump to keep the deal alive, but enforce it fully.
Co-authored by Obama’s ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and former security brass who oppose the Netanyahu government, the paper claimed that the US should insist that Iran open its military nuclear sites to UN inspectors.

The problem with the recommendation is that there is no chance it will be implemented. Iran refuses to open its military sites to inspectors, and the Europeans side with them against the US.

Trump is right that he’s damned if he maintains Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and damned if he kills the deal. But his supporters are right on this issue and the Washington establishment, Europe and the media are wrong.

If Trump walks away, he will empower the Iranians calling for a new regime. He will weaken the regime’s ability to maintain its global war against the US and its allies. He will force the Europeans to abandon their love affair with the corruption kings in Tehran by making them choose between the US market and the Iranian market.

And he will accomplish all of these things while freeing himself from the quarterly requirement to either lie and pretend Iran is behaving itself and be pilloried by his supporters, or tell the truth about its behavior and be pilloried by the people who always attack him.

Most important, by walking away from a deal built on lies, distortion and corruption, Trump can quickly pivot to a policy based on truth. Unlike the nuclear deal, such a policy would have a chance of ending Iran’s nuclear ambitions, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its oppression of its long-suffering people once and for all.

Voir encore:


Diplomatie: Vous avez dit pays de merde ? (It’s not shit holes, it’s shit shows, stupid !)

15 janvier, 2018
Lorsqu’un Sanhédrin s’est déclaré unanime pour condamner, l’accusé sera acquitté. Le Talmud
Un jeune homme à cheveux longs grimpait le Golgotha. La foule sans tête  était à la fête  Pilate a raison de ne pas tirer dans le tas  C’est plus juste en somme  d’abattre un seul homme.  Ce jeune homme a dit la vérité  Il doit être exécuté… Guy Béart
Tous les problèmes du monde viennent actuellement de ce petit pays de merde Israël. Pourquoi accepterions-nous une troisième guerre mondiale à cause de ces gens là? Daniel Bernard (ambassadeur de France, Londres, décembre 2001)
Over the past few days, I have been the subject of grave accusations because of a comment I am reported to have made during a conversation with Lord Black. The facts are: while we were discussing the Israeli-Palestinian issue, I pointed out to Lord Black that this tragedy was taking place in a geographically limited area (I even specified that it was the equivalent of three French departments) that for 40 years had been suffering from a conflict whose equitable solution seems more out of reach than ever. Of course, I never meant to insult Israel or any other part of that region. The deliberately biased presentation of this conversation in some circles, accompanied by malicious accusations, is deeply shocking and insulting. Daniel Bernard
In the course of the discussion the ambassador referred to ‘little Israel’ in the sense that it is geographically small, but that nevertheless the scale of the consequences is huge and the repercussions around the world are tremendous. Yves Charpentier (French embassy spokesman)
Bernard assure ne pas s’en souvenir et le Quai d’Orsay a qualifié l’attribution de cette phrase à l’ambassadeur de France d’insinuations malveillantes. Libération
Beaucoup de déçus dans la lutte entre le monde islamique et les infidèles ont essayé de rejeter la responsabilité en annonçant qu’il n’est pas possible d’avoir un monde sans les États-Unis et le sionisme. Mais vous savez que ce sont un but et un slogan réalisables. Pour étayer ses propos, le président se réfère à la chute, dans l’histoire récente, de plusieurs régimes que personne ne voyait sombrer. Lorsque notre cher imam (Khomeiny) a annoncé que le régime (du Shah) devait être supprimé, beaucoup de ceux qui prétendaient être politiquement bien informés ont déclaré que ce n’était pas possible. Qui pouvait penser qu’un jour, nous pourrions être témoins de l’effondrement de l’empire de l’Est (Union soviétique) ? L’Imam a annoncé que Saddam devait s’en aller puis a ajouté qu’il s’affaiblirait plus vite que personne ne l’imagine.  L’Imam (Khomeiny) a annoncé que le régime occupant Jérusalem devait disparaître de la page du temps. Ahmadinejad (Conférence du monde sans sionisme, 25 octobre 2005)
L’Imam disait que ce régime qui occupe Jérusalem doit être rayé de la carte. Ahmadinejad (traduction fautive de l’Islamic Republic New Agency)
Mess is the president’s diplomatic term; privately, he calls Libya a “shit show,” in part because it’s subsequently become an isis haven—one that he has already targeted with air strikes. It became a shit show, Obama believes, for reasons that had less to do with American incompetence than with the passivity of America’s allies and with the obdurate power of tribalism. Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic, April 2016)
You said at the outset that we need to phase this. I think the first phase is what Chuck and Steny and I have mentioned, and others as well: We have a deadline looming and a lot of lives hanging. We can agree on some very fundamental and important things together on border security, on chain, on the future of diversity visas. Comprehensive, though, I worked on it for six months with Michael Bennet, and a number of — Bob Menendez, and Schumer, and McCain, and Jeff Flake — and it took us six months to put it together. We don’t have six months for the DACA bill. Dick Durbin
The people coming across the southern border live in hellholes. They don’t like that. They want to come here. Our problem is we can’t have everybody in the world who lives in a hellhole come to America. There are 11 million people coming through the southern border ‘cause they come from countries where they can’t find work, and life is miserable. So it seems to me that if you can control who gets a job you’ve gone a long way in controlling illegal immigration. Because as long as the jobs are available in America you can’t build a fence high enough to stop people. (…) I wasn’t slandering Mexico, I was just talking about all the places people want to leave, for whatever reason. Lindsay Graham (2013)
President Donald Trump is absolutely right. When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians. Mamady Traore (sociologist, Guinea)
La gauche angélique et irresponsable fait faussement passer Emmanuel Macron pour un opposant déterminé à l’immigration de peuplement. (…) Cet étalement de bons sentiments en dit long sur l’aveuglement face au raidissement de l’opinion. Partout en Europe, et singulièrement en France, les gens rejettent majoritairement une immigration qui ne s’assimile plus et qui porte en elle un nouvel antisémitisme. Reste que Macron n’est pas l’homme à poigne que croient voir les inconditionnels de l’accueil pour tous. Son soutien à la politique d’Angela Merkel, qui a fait entrer en Allemagne plus d’un million de « migrants » musulmans en 2015, ajouté à son mépris des « populistes » qui réclament le retour aux frontières, ne font pas du président un obstacle sérieux à l’idéologie immigrationniste. Tandis que les pays d’Europe de l’Est, qui ont déjà sauvé l’Europe de l’envahisseur ottoman en 1683, sonnent une nouvelle fois l’alarme sur une histoire qui se répète, Macron joint sa voix à celle de l’Union européenne pour accabler la Pologne ou la Hongrie. Le député Guy Verhofstadt a récemment sermonné ces deux nations : « Il n’y a pas de place pour des pays qui rejettent nos valeurs. Toute référence à l’identité nationale est potentiellement fanatique ». Pour sa part, le commissaire européen aux migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos, a admis (Le Figaro, vendredi), parlant d’ »impératif moral » mais aussi d’impératif « économique et social » : « Il est temps de regarder en face la vérité. Nous ne pourrons pas arrêter la migration ». Macron l’européen demeure, jusqu’à présent, dans cette logique de l’ouverture et du remplacement. Ivan Rioufol
Autant je n’apprecie pas l’homme mais cette fois-ci,Il a dit tout haut ce que les autres pensent tout bas.cette sortie mediatique doit interpeller nos decideurs africains qui appauvrissent leurs peuples.qui sont obligEs d’immigrer a la recherche d’une vie meilleure et certains au peril de leurs vie. Lûcïus L’inusable Ngoy
Il lui fallait un minimum de diplomatie. Il a parlé tout haut ce que les autres pensent tout bas. C est aux presidents africains de faire respecter leurs gouvernés. Madeleine Ngendakumana
J’espère juste que les dirigeants africains qui se plient devant les USA en tireront des leçons et seront agir dorénavant avec dignité sous la dépendance des grandes nations. André Bernard
Les autres utilisent les paroles diplomatiques pour cajoler les maux,mais Trump n’a pas besoin de ca. Il est direct dans ses propos et les diplomates les traitent d’un malade mental.Non,non,non il dit ce que les autres disent tt bas car depuis que les paroles diplomatiques sont prononces les maux ont atteint un niveau inexprimable. Adjuabe Tanzi
Mr Trump peut être qualifié de tous les maux sauf d’être hypocrite. Il reste cohérent ici et ailleurs lorsqu’il parle du système des nations unies , de l’ otan ou autres G5 SAHEL. Amara Tidiani Kante
N a t il pas raison? Pourtant en se retournant la tete on peut voir des presidents a vie, une pauvrete extreme, des pilleurs de l economie, des manipulations constitutionnelle et beaucoup d autres choses, alors si tu veux etre respecter, respecte toi le premier. Balde Moutarou
Ce président est tres important pour l’afrique! il aide les africains à faire l’introspection! il a dit la verité! mais ces africains qui viennent chez-vous cher puissant président ont peur de l’insécurité créée par des dirigeants africains mediocres et qui veulent s’eterniser au pouvoir! comme tu es puissant, aide les africains à faire partir ces dirigeants mediocres et ils ne viendront plus là chez-toi au paradis! je t’admire puisque tu n’est pas hypocrite, donc diplomate comme les autres le disent! Pascal Murhula
c’est que j’aime chez ce monsieur quoi qu’on dise de lui il ne pas hypocrite, il parle tout haut ce que les autres disent tout bas. il est temps de faire comprendre aux médiocres qu’ils sont mesquins. Ntinti Luzolo Junior (RFI)
Trump Is a Racist. Period. I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown. The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky. (…) The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others. (…) Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed. Charles M. Blow (NYT)
The recent protests by black players in the National Football League were rather sad for their fruitlessness. They may point to the end of an era for black America, and for the country generally—an era in which protest has been the primary means of black advancement in American life. There was a forced and unconvincing solemnity on the faces of these players as they refused to stand for the national anthem. They seemed more dutiful than passionate, as if they were mimicking the courage of earlier black athletes who had protested: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, fists in the air at the 1968 Olympics; Muhammad Ali, fearlessly raging against the Vietnam War; Jackie Robinson, defiantly running the bases in the face of racist taunts. The NFL protesters seemed to hope for a little ennoblement by association.(…) For the NFL players there was no real sacrifice, no risk and no achievement. Still, in black America there remains a great reverence for protest. Through protest—especially in the 1950s and ’60s—we, as a people, touched greatness. Protest, not immigration, was our way into the American Dream. Freedom in this country had always been relative to race, and it was black protest that made freedom an absolute. It is not surprising, then, that these black football players would don the mantle of protest. The surprise was that it didn’t work. They had misread the historic moment. They were not speaking truth to power. Rather, they were figures of pathos, mindlessly loyal to a black identity that had run its course. What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise. (…) Freedom came to blacks with an overlay of cruelty because it meant we had to look at ourselves without the excuse of oppression. Four centuries of dehumanization had left us underdeveloped in many ways, and within the world’s most highly developed society. When freedom expanded, we became more accountable for that underdevelopment. So freedom put blacks at risk of being judged inferior, the very libel that had always been used against us. To hear, for example, that more than 4,000 people were shot in Chicago in 2016 embarrasses us because this level of largely black-on-black crime cannot be blamed simply on white racism. (…) That’s why, in the face of freedom’s unsparing judgmentalism, we reflexively claim that freedom is a lie. We conjure elaborate narratives that give white racism new life in the present: “systemic” and “structural” racism, racist “microaggressions,” “white privilege,” and so on. All these narratives insist that blacks are still victims of racism, and that freedom’s accountability is an injustice. We end up giving victimization the charisma of black authenticity. Suffering, poverty and underdevelopment are the things that make you “truly black.” Success and achievement throw your authenticity into question. (…) For any formerly oppressed group, there will be an expectation that the past will somehow be an excuse for difficulties in the present. This is the expectation behind the NFL protests and the many protests of groups like Black Lives Matter. The near-hysteria around the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others is also a hunger for the excuse of racial victimization, a determination to keep it alive. To a degree, black America’s self-esteem is invested in the illusion that we live under a cloud of continuing injustice. (…) Watching the antics of Black Lives Matter is like watching people literally aspiring to black victimization, longing for it as for a consummation. But the NFL protests may be a harbinger of change. They elicited considerable resentment. There have been counterprotests. TV viewership has gone down. Ticket sales have dropped. What is remarkable about this response is that it may foretell a new fearlessness in white America—a new willingness in whites (and blacks outside the victim-focused identity) to say to blacks what they really think and feel, to judge blacks fairly by standards that are universal. We blacks have lived in a bubble since the 1960s because whites have been deferential for fear of being seen as racist. The NFL protests reveal the fundamental obsolescence—for both blacks and whites—of a victim-focused approach to racial inequality. It causes whites to retreat into deference and blacks to become nothing more than victims. It makes engaging as human beings and as citizens impermissible, a betrayal of the sacred group identity. Black victimization is not much with us any more as a reality, but it remains all too powerful as a hegemony. Shelby Steele
I have interviewed six presidents of the United States. I have traveled with them. I have been in their homes. They’ve been in my home on multiple occasions. I have flown on Air Force One with them and commercial jets and private jets and car caravans and Winnebagos. Went to Disney World with one. They all have used the ‘S-word.’ Even that old gentleman, Ronald Reagan, would sometimes occasionally, rarely use the ‘F-word.’ So, the White house is going to endure. Doug Wead
Sometimes choice words were reserved for the political opponents. President Reagan famously referred to enemies a few times as “SOBs.” While former President Obama once called Mitt Romney a « bullshitter » in a “Rolling Stone” interview. One of the more profane presidents in recent history was Richard Nixon. Nixon was caught on White House tapes using numerous vulgarities, including some offensive terms about gay people. Likewise, President Johnson was accused of often using the “N-word” when talking about African-Americans. Some of these remarks were caught on video. In 2000, George W. Bush was caught on a hot mic during a campaign rally calling Adam Clymer, a reporter with The New York Times, a « major league asshole. » In fact, both the younger Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are quoted in Mark Updegrove’s book, “The Last Republicans,” as dropping the “F-bomb.” George W. Bush even had this to say about two former colleagues. « [Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] never made one f—-ing decision. » Even the silver-tongued President Clinton had his moments. In 2008, Clinton forgot to hang up a phone call with reporter Susan Phillips before saying he wouldn’t take any « shit » from Obama, then a candidate. The Hill
« Shithole countries » : l’expression grossière utilisée par Donald Trump suscite un tollé mondial depuis vendredi. Mais comment est elle traduite ? Incontestablement vulgaire, le terme « shithole » a nécessité quelques trésors d’imagination aux médias du monde entier pour exprimer de manière fidèle la réalité de la grossièreté de Trump sans trop choquer le public. Car Shithole se réfère aux latrines extérieures pour désigner un endroit particulièrement repoussant. En français, de nombreux médias, dont l’AFP ou LCI, ont retenu la formule très crue de « pays de merde », proche du sens littéral et conforme au style souvent sans fioritures de Donald Trump. Des dictionnaires bilingues comme le Harrap’s suggèrent toutefois des alternatives moins grossières, comme « porcherie », « taudis » ou « trou paumé ». LCI
Dismissing places where human rights abuses, hunger, and disease are rampant as “shitholes” without offering a viable alternative for running their governments is unproductive. But silencing anyone who dares speak the truth about these places – and what that says about their ruling ideologies – is even worse. Frances Martel

Attention: un pays de merde peut en cacher un autre !

Alors qu’après la reconnaissance de Jérusalem

C’est avec la même belle unanimité …

Que nos belles âmes condamnent à nouveau …

Une expression volée du président Trump lors d’une réunion à huis clos avec des sénateurs américains …

Sur les « pays merdiques » – l’anglais étant plus proche de « pays taudis » ou « trous paumés – dont les ressortissants continuent à se bousculer, on se demande bien pourquoi, pour entrer aux Etats-Unis …

Comment ne pas rappeler …

Sans parler au sein même de l’ONU de certains pays appelant explicitement à l’annihilation d’un de ses membres …

A cette tristement fameuse petite phrase, volée elle aussi il y a 17 ans, d’un ambassadeur de France sur le « petit pays de merde Israël » …

Ou à cette allusion en privée de l’ancien président Obama sur le « show de merde » libyen …

Ou à l’évocation il y a quelques semaines par le même sénateur ayant probablement dénoncé M. Trump …

Des termes mêmes d’immigration « en chaine » qu’il lui reprochait quelques jours plus tard …

Ou la référence il y a à peine cinq ans du sénateur Graham aux « trous d’enfer » mexicains ?

Et comment ne pas  repenser …

Alors que contre les derniers défenseurs de la terre plate, l’essouflement du mouvement des droits civiques afro-américain est de plus en plus patent …

Comme le confirme la réaction – « inattendue » dixit RFI –  de nombre de commentateurs africains

A l’instar des millions de migrants des pays évoqués votant ou s’apprêtant à voter avec leurs pieds …

Tandis qu’au niveau de nos élites et face à l’immigration clandestine, c’est l’aveuglement à tous les étages …

A la fameuse chanson de Guy Béart …

Sur les appels, vieux comme le monde, à l’exécution de celui qui dit  la vérité ?

Martel: The Value of Calling a Shithole a ‘Shithole’

In a news cycle full of poverty, war, political intrigue, and all the usual torment, America’s media have wasted valuable time this week debating the value of President Donald Trump’s use of a bad word.

Leftist journalists, politicians, and celebrities have scuttled out of the woodwork to decry that Trump allegedly branded some unspecified nations “shitholes.” The use of the term, they argue, proves the president is racist – and, as we all learned during the Obama era, all “racist” talk must be silenced.

The circumstances surrounding how we got to this point in the news cycle – where a nation is hanging on to every word of the president’s, and this word happens to be “shithole” – matter little in comparison to what this outbreak of decency among the elite liberal left exposes. It is a fact that those of us with family roots in oppressed nations know all too well: the left divides the world into “paradises” and “shitholes” all the time, depending on how much money there is to be had in duping apolitical Americans into buying their classifications.

It takes barely any time to find a handful of examples of profiteers selling naive thrill seekers the notion that any variety of impoverished, exploited underdeveloped country is a secret oasis full of exotic beauty and free of the “stain” of Western luxury.

“North Korea is probably one of the safest places on Earth to visit provided you follow the laws as provided by our documentation and pre-tour briefings,” Young Pioneer Tours, the company that swindled 22-year-old Otto Warmbier into an excruciating state murder, still boasts on its website today. “North Korean’s [sic] are friendly and accommodating, if you let them into your world and avoid insulting their beliefs or ideology.”

“Deeply embedded in the past, Belarus offers a rare insight into a bygone world,” the British travel website Wanderlust boasts of Europe’s last remaining communist nation, which remains heavily contaminated after Soviet negligence resulted in 2.2 million citizens being bombarded with radioactive waste in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. “Located in the heart of Europe, Belarus is a living museum to Soviet Communism.”

“For 2,500 years, this powerful country has entranced, mystified and beguiled the world,” the New York Times boasts of the Islamic Republic of Iran (the Times offers its wealthiest subscribers tours to some of the world’s most repressive destinations through its “journeys” travel program). The tour includes a tour of the “family home of the religious leader who engineered Iran’s transition to an Islamic republic,” presumably former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomenei.

“Though Iran often rejects Western ways and is frequently under fire for its positions on human rights, its nuclear program and Israel, its role as a birthplace of civilization cannot be denied,” the Times gushes.

“The Republic of Congo is on the cusp of becoming one of the finest ecotourism destinations in Africa,” the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet‘s website claims, listing “a pleasantly laid-back capital city in Brazzaville, some decent beaches on its Atlantic coastline and the warm and welcoming Congolese culture” as its evidence.

Amnesty International’s page on Congo lists repression of dissidents, lack of press freedom, “harsh and inhumane” prison conditions, and widespread discrimination against the Pigmy ethnic minority as human rights concerns in the country. The World Bank found in its 2017 assessment that two-thirds of students who graduate primary school lack basic literacy and mathematical skills and nearly half the nation’s residents live below the poverty line.

Cuba, a nation drowning in garbage where unarmed mothers are beaten and arrested for going to church, you can find a “sexual Disneyland” where, “thankfully,” the Cuban government turns a blind eye to rampant sex trafficking.

Venezuela, where Marxism has forced people to actually eat the garbage laying around everywhere, was a “paradise for $20” in 2015, according to a Reuters headline quoting tourists at the time. “People should come. It’s so cheap, it’s ridiculous,” one tourist is featured as urging in the piece.

Do not be deceived by the earlier date on that piece – In 2015, Venezuela’s maternity wards were already killing infants with vermin infestations and McDonald’s was charging $133 for an order of fries.

Zimbabwe, a tyranny under leftist nonagenarian Robert Mugabe – and now spring chicken Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75 – for decades, isn’t a tragedy, but a profitable investment opportunity. “For companies willing to take on some risks, now is the time to buy local assets, which, though priced in USD [U.S. dollars], are still fairly cheap because of the associated risk,” the Harvard Business Review suggested last week, despite Mnangagwa exhibiting the same signs of authoritarianism as his predecessor and the nation’s impoverished growing impatient.

Silence is complicit in the propaganda of the oppression of these “shitholes.” Silence is necessary to keep the pockets of everyone from Carnival Cruises to the New York Times to the tourism arms of the regimes that welcome them.

President Trump’s alleged “crudening” of the language to describe these places from which so many flee serves as an opportunity to deny those who profit from masking reality the ability to do so.

President Trump is, of course, not the prime vehicle for the message that truth sets nations free in this particular case. His sons have publicly showcased vacations in Zimbabwe, very likely profiting longtime tyrant Robert Mugabe with their presence. Though, conversely, it is worth noting that Trump himself has, on multiple occasions, written about his refusal to build real estate commodities in Cuba citing human rights concerns. And then there’s the fact that the reporting surrounding Trump’s comments during the meeting in question is so convoluted and weaponized that it is difficult to even understand what argument he was trying to make by using the word.

Dismissing places where human rights abuses, hunger, and disease are rampant as “shitholes” without offering a viable alternative for running their governments is unproductive. But silencing anyone who dares speak the truth about these places – and what that says about their ruling ideologies – is even worse.

Voir aussi:

« Pays de merde » : les mille et une manières de traduire les « Shithole countries » de Trump

LCI
TRADUCTION – L’expression « pays de merde » que Donald Trump aurait prononcée alors qu’il abordait le thème de l’immigration venant de pays d’Afrique, du Salvador ou d’Haïti n’est pas traduite de manière équivalente par nos voisins. Certains sont plus poétiques que d’autres.

« Shithole countries » : l’expression grossière utilisée par Donald Trump  suscite un tollé mondial depuis vendredi. Mais comment est elle traduite ?  Incontestablement vulgaire, le terme « shithole » a nécessité quelques trésors d’imagination aux médias du monde entier pour exprimer de manière fidèle la réalité d e la grossièreté de Trump sans trop choquer le public. Car Shithole se réfère aux  latrines extérieures pour  désigner un endroit particulièrement repoussant.

En français, de nombreux médias, dont l’AFP ou LCI, ont retenu la formule très crue de « pays de merde », proche du sens littéral et conforme au style souvent  sans fioritures de Donald Trump. Des dictionnaires bilingues comme le Harrap’s suggèrent toutefois des  alternatives moins grossières, comme « porcherie », « taudis » ou « trou paumé ».

« Pays de chiottes » pour les Grecs, « endroit où les loups copulent » pour les Serbes

 La presse espagnole est à l’unisson de la française avec « paises de  mierda », des médias grecs introduisant quant à eux une nuance : « pays de  chiottes ».   Aux Pays-Bas, le grand quotidien Volkskrant et une bonne partie de la  presse néerlandophone esquivent la vulgarité en utilisant le terme  « achterlijke », ou « arriéré ». En Russie Ria Novosti parle de « trou sale », mais Troud (journal syndical)  va plus loin avec « trou à merde ». En Italie, le Corriere della Sera avance « merdier » (merdaio), et l’agence  tchèque CTK choisit de son côté de parler de « cul du monde ».

Les médias allemands optent souvent pour l’expression « Dreckslöcher », qui  peut se traduire par « trous à rats ». L’allégorie animalière est aussi de mise  dans la presse serbe, avec l’expression « vukojebina », à savoir « l’endroit où  les loups copulent ».

« Pays où les oiseaux ne pondent pas d’oeufs »

En Asie les médias semblent davantage à la peine pour trouver le mot juste  en langue locale, tout en évitant parfois de choquer.  Au Japon, la chaîne NHK a choisi de parler de « pays crasseux », l’agence  Jiji utilisant un terme familier mais pas forcément injurieux pouvant de  traduire par « pays ressemblant à des toilettes ».

Les médias chinois se contentent en général de parler de « mauvais pays »,  évitant de reproduire l’expression originale dans sa grossièreté. La version la plus allusive et la plus imagée revient sans conteste à  l’agence taïwanaise CNA, qui évoque des « pays où les oiseaux ne pondent pas  d’oeufs ».

Voir encore:

WATCH: A history of presidential potty mouths

« I have interviewed six presidents of the United States. I have traveled with them. I have been in their homes. They’ve been in my home on multiple occasions. I have flown on Air Force One with them and commercial jets and private jets and car caravans and Winnebagos. Went to Disney World with one. They all have used the ‘S-word.’ Even that old gentleman, Ronald Reagan, would sometimes occasionally, rarely use the ‘F-word.’ So, the White house is going to endure, » conservative author Doug Wead said.

Let’s take a look at some presidential profanity throughout history.

Sometimes choice words were reserved for the political opponents. President Reagan famously referred to enemies a few times as “SOBs.” While former President Obama once called Mitt Romney a « bullshitter » in a “Rolling Stone” interview.

One of the more profane presidents in recent history was Richard Nixon. Nixon was caught on White House tapes using numerous vulgarities, including some offensive terms about gay people.

Likewise, President Johnson was accused of often using the “N-word” when talking about African-Americans.

Some of these remarks were caught on video.

In 2000, George W. Bush was caught on a hot mic during a campaign rally calling Adam Clymer, a reporter with The New York Times, a « major league asshole. »

In fact, both the younger Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are quoted in Mark Updegrove’s book, “The Last Republicans,” as dropping the “F-bomb.”

George W. Bush even had this to say about two former colleagues.

« [Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] never made one f—-ing decision. »

Even the silver-tongued President Clinton had his moments. In 2008, Clinton forgot to hang up a phone call with reporter Susan Phillips before saying he wouldn’t take any « shit » from Obama, then a candidate.

Voir par ailleurs:

Immigration : Macron, ce faux dur

La gauche angélique et irresponsable fait faussement passer Emmanuel Macron pour un opposant déterminé à l’immigration de peuplement. Ce lundi, le secrétaire général de la CGT, Philippe Martinez, a de nouveau jugé « scandaleux » le « tri » voulu selon lui par le gouvernement entre les « bons » et les « mauvais » migrants. ‘L’histoire de notre pays et le devoir de notre pays c’est d’accueillir des gens qui sont dans la souffrance, les accueillir tous, tous », a déclaré Martinez sur France Inter. Jeudi, sur RTL, l’ancien candidat à la présidentielle, Benoit Hamon, avait déjà asséné : ‘Le tri des migrants, c’est le tri des pauvres ». Dimanche, sur BFMTV, le socialiste Julien Dray a comparé le recensement des migrants dans les centres d’hébergement d’urgence – opérations diligentées par des fonctionnaires et annoncées 48 h à l’avance – à des « rafles », assimilables à celle du Vel d’Hiv organisée en France occupée (1942) contre les juifs étrangers ou apatrides : une outrance inaugurée par L’Obs qui, sur sa une de jeudi, représente le visage de Macron entouré de barbelés. Déjà en 2015, le prix Nobel de littérature Jean-Marie Le Clézio, un des témoins cités dans le dossier de L’Obs, déclarait à l’hebdomadaire argentin Revista N : « Nous devrions éliminer les frontières pour laisser les gens circuler (…) Les restrictions de l’espace Schengen sont une honte. On ferme l’Europe à l’Afrique, l’Orient, l’Amérique latine, on se referme sur nous ».

Cet étalement de bons sentiments en dit long sur l’aveuglement face au raidissement de l’opinion. Partout en Europe, et singulièrement en France, les gens rejettent majoritairement une immigration qui ne s’assimile plus et qui porte en elle un nouvel antisémitisme. Reste que Macron n’est pas l’homme à poigne que croient voir les inconditionnels de l’accueil pour tous. Son soutien à la politique d’Angela Merkel, qui a fait entrer en Allemagne plus d’un million de « migrants » musulmans en 2015, ajouté à son mépris des « populistes » qui réclament le retour aux frontières, ne font pas du président un obstacle sérieux à l’idéologie immigrationniste. Tandis que les pays d’Europe de l’Est, qui ont déjà sauvé l’Europe de l’envahisseur ottoman en 1683, sonnent une nouvelle fois l’alarme sur une histoire qui se répète, Macron joint sa voix à celle de l’Union européenne pour accabler la Pologne ou la Hongrie. Le député Guy Verhofstadt a récemment sermonné ces deux nations : « Il n’y a pas de place pour des pays qui rejettent nos valeurs. Toute référence à l’identité nationale est potentiellement fanatique ». Pour sa part, le commissaire européen aux migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos, a admis (Le Figaro, vendredi), parlant d’ »impératif moral » mais aussi d’impératif « économique et social » : « Il est temps de regarder en face la vérité. Nous ne pourrons pas arrêter la migration ». Macron l’européen demeure, jusqu’à présent, dans cette logique de l’ouverture et du remplacement.

Voir encore:

Black Protest Has Lost Its Power
Have whites finally found the courage to judge African-Americans fairly by universal standards?
Shelby Steele
WSJ
Jan. 12, 2018

The recent protests by black players in the National Football League were rather sad for their fruitlessness. They may point to the end of an era for black America, and for the country generally—an era in which protest has been the primary means of black advancement in American life.

There was a forced and unconvincing solemnity on the faces of these players as they refused to stand for the national anthem. They seemed more dutiful than passionate, as if they were mimicking the courage of earlier black athletes who had protested: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, fists in the air at the 1968 Olympics; Muhammad Ali, fearlessly raging against the Vietnam War; Jackie Robinson, defiantly running the bases in the face of racist taunts. The NFL protesters seemed to hope for a little ennoblement by association.

And protest has long been an ennobling tradition in black American life. From the Montgomery bus boycott to the march on Selma, from lunch-counter sit-ins and Freedom Rides to the 1963 March on Washington, only protest could open the way to freedom and the acknowledgment of full humanity. So it was a high calling in black life. It required great sacrifice and entailed great risk. Martin Luther King Jr. , the archetypal black protester, made his sacrifices, ennobled all of America, and was then shot dead.

For the NFL players there was no real sacrifice, no risk and no achievement. Still, in black America there remains a great reverence for protest. Through protest—especially in the 1950s and ’60s—we, as a people, touched greatness. Protest, not immigration, was our way into the American Dream. Freedom in this country had always been relative to race, and it was black protest that made freedom an absolute.

It is not surprising, then, that these black football players would don the mantle of protest. The surprise was that it didn’t work. They had misread the historic moment. They were not speaking truth to power. Rather, they were figures of pathos, mindlessly loyal to a black identity that had run its course.

What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise.

Of course this does not mean there is no racism left in American life. Racism is endemic to the human condition, just as stupidity is. We will always have to be on guard against it. But now it is recognized as a scourge, as the crowning immorality of our age and our history.

Protest always tries to make a point. But what happens when that point already has been made — when, in this case, racism has become anathema and freedom has expanded?

What happened was that black America was confronted with a new problem: the shock of freedom. This is what replaced racism as our primary difficulty. Blacks had survived every form of human debasement with ingenuity, self-reliance, a deep and ironic humor, a capacity for self-reinvention and a heroic fortitude. But we had no experience of wide-open freedom.

Watch out that you get what you ask for, the saying goes. Freedom came to blacks with an overlay of cruelty because it meant we had to look at ourselves without the excuse of oppression. Four centuries of dehumanization had left us underdeveloped in many ways, and within the world’s most highly developed society. When freedom expanded, we became more accountable for that underdevelopment. So freedom put blacks at risk of being judged inferior, the very libel that had always been used against us.

To hear, for example, that more than 4,000 people were shot in Chicago in 2016 embarrasses us because this level of largely black-on-black crime cannot be blamed simply on white racism.

We can say that past oppression left us unprepared for freedom. This is certainly true. But it is no consolation. Freedom is just freedom. It is a condition, not an agent of change. It does not develop or uplift those who win it. Freedom holds us accountable no matter the disadvantages we inherit from the past. The tragedy in Chicago—rightly or wrongly—reflects on black America.

That’s why, in the face of freedom’s unsparing judgmentalism, we reflexively claim that freedom is a lie. We conjure elaborate narratives that give white racism new life in the present: “systemic” and “structural” racism, racist “microaggressions,” “white privilege,” and so on. All these narratives insist that blacks are still victims of racism, and that freedom’s accountability is an injustice.

We end up giving victimization the charisma of black authenticity. Suffering, poverty and underdevelopment are the things that make you “truly black.” Success and achievement throw your authenticity into question.

The NFL protests were not really about injustice. Instead such protests are usually genuflections to today’s victim-focused black identity. Protest is the action arm of this identity. It is not seeking a new and better world; it merely wants documentation that the old racist world still exists. It wants an excuse.

For any formerly oppressed group, there will be an expectation that the past will somehow be an excuse for difficulties in the present. This is the expectation behind the NFL protests and the many protests of groups like Black Lives Matter. The near-hysteria around the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others is also a hunger for the excuse of racial victimization, a determination to keep it alive. To a degree, black America’s self-esteem is invested in the illusion that we live under a cloud of continuing injustice.

When you don’t know how to go forward, you never just sit there; you go backward into what you know, into what is familiar and comfortable and, most of all, exonerating. You rebuild in your own mind the oppression that is fading from the world. And you feel this abstract, fabricated oppression as if it were your personal truth, the truth around which your character is formed. Watching the antics of Black Lives Matter is like watching people literally aspiring to black victimization, longing for it as for a consummation.

But the NFL protests may be a harbinger of change. They elicited considerable resentment. There have been counterprotests. TV viewership has gone down. Ticket sales have dropped. What is remarkable about this response is that it may foretell a new fearlessness in white America—a new willingness in whites (and blacks outside the victim-focused identity) to say to blacks what they really think and feel, to judge blacks fairly by standards that are universal.

We blacks have lived in a bubble since the 1960s because whites have been deferential for fear of being seen as racist. The NFL protests reveal the fundamental obsolescence—for both blacks and whites—of a victim-focused approach to racial inequality. It causes whites to retreat into deference and blacks to become nothing more than victims. It makes engaging as human beings and as citizens impermissible, a betrayal of the sacred group identity. Black victimization is not much with us any more as a reality, but it remains all too powerful as a hegemony.

Mr. Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is author of “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country” (Basic Books, 2015).

Voir enfin:

Trump Is a Racist. Period.
Charles M. Blow
The NYT
Jan. 14, 2018

I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.

The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.

So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.

Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.

The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.

Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.

It is not a stretch to say that Trump is racist. It’s not a stretch to say that he is a white supremacist. It’s not a stretch to say that Trump is a bigot.

Those are just facts, supported by the proof of the words that keep coming directly from him. And, when he is called out for his racism, his response is never to ameliorate his rhetoric, but to double down on it.

I know of no point during his entire life where he has apologized for, repented of, or sought absolution for any of his racist actions or comments.

Instead, he either denies, deflects or amps up the attack.

Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed.

“Racism” and “racist” are simply words that have definitions, and Trump comfortably and unambiguously meets those definitions.

We have unfortunately moved away from the simple definition of racism, to the point where the only people to whom the appellation can be safely applied are the vocal, violent racial archetypes.

Racism doesn’t require hatred, constant expression, or even conscious awareness. We want racism to be fringe rather than foundational. But, wishing isn’t an effective method of eradication.

We have to face this thing, stare it down and fight it back.

The simple acknowledgment that Trump is a racist is the easy part. The harder, more substantive part is this: What are we going to do about it?

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

First and foremost, although Trump is not the first president to be a racist, we must make him the last. If by some miracle he should serve out his first term, he mustn’t be allowed a second. Voters of good conscience must swarm the polls in 2020.

But before that, those voters must do so later this year, to rid the House and the Senate of as many of Trump’s defenders, apologists and accomplices as possible. Should the time come where impeachment is inevitable, there must be enough votes in the House and Senate to ensure it.

We have to stop thinking that we can somehow separate what racists believe from how they will behave. We must stop believing that any of Trump’s actions are clear of the venom coursing through his convictions. Everything he does is an articulation of who he is and what he believes. Therefore, all policies he supports, positions he takes and appointments he makes are suspect.

And finally, we have to stop giving a pass to the people — whether elected official or average voter — who support and defend his racism. If you defend racism you are part of the racism. It doesn’t matter how much you say that you’re an egalitarian, how much you say that you are race blind, how much you say that you are only interested in people’s policies and not their racist polemics.

As the brilliant James Baldwin once put it: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” When I see that in poll after poll a portion of Trump’s base continues to support his behavior, including on race, I can only conclude that there is no real daylight between Trump and his base. They are part of his racism.

When I see the extraordinary hypocrisy of elected officials who either remain silent in the wake of Trump’s continued racist outbursts or who obliquely condemn him, only to in short order return to defending and praising him and supporting his agenda, I see that there is no real daylight between Trump and them either. They too are part of his racism.

When you see it this way, you understand the enormity and the profundity of what we are facing. There were enough Americans who were willing to accept Trump’s racism to elect him. There are enough people in Washington willing to accept Trump’s racism to defend him. Not only is Trump racist, the entire architecture of his support is suffused with that racism. Racism is a fundamental component of the Trump presidency.


Reconnaissance de Jérusalem/Trump: Quand la condamnation est unanime (From Lincoln to Ike, Reagan or Bush, almost all GOP presidents have been stereotyped as not very bright and guess who got to have the last laugh in the end ?)

29 décembre, 2017
Lorsqu’un Sanhédrin s’est déclaré unanime pour condamner, l’accusé sera acquitté. Le Talmud
George Orwell disait,  je crois dans 1984, que dans les temps de tromperie généralisée, dire la vérité est un acte révolutionnaire. David Hoffmann
Le langage politique est destiné à rendre vraisemblables les mensonges, respectables les meurtres, et à donner l’apparence de la solidité à ce qui n’est que vent. George Orwell
Tout racisme est un essentialisme et le racisme de l’intelligence est la forme de sociodicée caractéristique d’une classe dominante dont le pouvoir repose en partie sur la possession de titres qui, comme les titres scolaires, sont censés être des garanties d’intelligence et qui ont pris la place, dans beaucoup de sociétés, et pour l’accès même aux positions de pouvoir économique, des titres anciens comme les titres de propriété et les titres de noblesse. Pierre Bourdieu
Reagan, je l’ai trouvé comme il est : habité de certitudes. Américain typique, il n’est pas très exportable. Mitterrand (sommet d’Ottawa, 1981)
Son étroitesse d’esprit est évidente. Cet homme n’a que quelques disques qui tournent et retournent dans sa tête. Mitterrand (sommet de Williamsburg, 1983)
Il est temps de tuer le président. Monisha Rajesh
Trump c’est le candidat qui redonne aux Américains l’espoir, l’espoir qu’il soit assassiné avant son investiture. Pablo Mira (France Inter)
This is a message to Trump the idiot. You idiot, your promise to Israel will not be successful. You idiot, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine for all eternity. Idriss
The Palestinians could have issued a low-key response, saying simply that no one, not even Trump, could decide the future of Jerusalem without their agreement. They could have kept their channels to the United States open and waited to see if anything would come of the much-vaunted Trump peace proposal. Instead, they declared “days of rage” that quickly fizzled, and then effectively severed ties with the Americans by announcing they would be boycotting any scheduled meetings with administration officials. This is idle talk based on wishful thinking. No other country has the resources, the skilled and experienced diplomatic corps, the investment in the region and the credibility to become the brokers of the process. The European Union is mired in a near-existential crisis, with Brexit cutting off one of its major members; its unofficial leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is struggling to build a coalition at home; and its unofficial leader-in-waiting, French President Emmanuel Macron, lacks the experience and attention span to devote himself properly. Russia has ulterior motives and does not really wish to help bring peace, just enhance its influence. China, which launched a Mideast conference this past week, is too far away – physically and mentally – to be much more than a bystander. And, most important, Israel can and will veto any other partner besides the Americans. Haaretz
Securing national borders seems pretty orthodox. In an age of anti-Western terrorism, placing temporary holds on would-be immigrants from war-torn zones until they can be vetted is hardly radical. Expecting “sanctuary cities” to follow federal laws rather than embrace the nullification strategies of the secessionist Old Confederacy is a return to the laws of the Constitution. Using the term “radical Islamic terror” in place of “workplace violence” or “man-caused disasters” is sensible, not subversive. Insisting that NATO members meet their long-ignored defense-spending obligations is not provocative but overdue. Assuming that both the European Union and the United Nations are imploding is empirical, not unhinged. Questioning the secret side agreements of the Iran deal or failed Russian reset is facing reality. Making the Environmental Protection Agency follow laws rather than make laws is the way it always was supposed to be. Unapologetically siding with Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East, used to be standard U.S. policy until Obama was elected. (…) Expecting the media to report the news rather than massage it to fit progressive agendas makes sense. In the past, proclaiming Obama a “sort of god” or the smartest man ever to enter the presidency was not normal journalistic practice. (…) Half the country is having a hard time adjusting to Trumpism, confusing Trump’s often unorthodox and grating style with his otherwise practical and mostly centrist agenda. In sum, Trump seems a revolutionary, but that is only because he is loudly undoing a revolution. Victor Davis Hanson
Donald Trump is on course to win re-election in 2020, senior British diplomats believe, as he approaches his first full year in office. They think that despite a string of negative headlines the US president has largely kept his support base onside since entering White House. Possible Democratic contenders are seen as either too old – such as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden – or lacking in the name recognition needed to defeat Mr Trump. There is also a belief the US president has curbed some of his most radical policy instincts since taking office, such as ignoring Nato or pulling out of Afghanistan. The Telegraph
Nearly a year into his presidency, Mr. Trump remains an erratic, idiosyncratic leader on the global stage, an insurgent who attacks allies the United States has nurtured since World War II and who can seem more at home with America’s adversaries… He has assiduously cultivated President Xi Jinping of China and avoided criticizing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — leaders of the two countries that his own national security strategy calls the greatest geopolitical threats to America. NYT
A website archiving all of Donald Trump’s tweets calculated that he “stupid-tweeted” 183 times since Oct. 7, 2011. That’s a whole lot of stupid. It’s over 30 stupids per year for the past 6 years, not to mention his oral stupids. In fact, calling people stupid is probably Donald Trump’s crowning example of staying on message. And I suspect he’ll continue to use this art form for as long as his mouth works and his fingers – or even just his middle ones – can gesticulate. But stupid-speak does not stupid make. In fact, his stupid strategy can be called insightful, crafty, and productive. His bullying paid off. He has earned the title America’s stupid-caller-in-chief. Stupid people can’t do that. But what’s impeccably good for the goose is not necessarily good for those of us who would love a gander at his impeachment. And the principal difference between him calling us stupid and us returning the favor is that he is in power. (…) Speaking from experience, no single political party or their voters has a lock on stupid. (…) While it may be good for a chuckle, calling or even thinking someone else stupid is virtually guaranteed to give them the last laugh. Jason Lorber (Vermont Democrat)
This time one year ago, the assumption dominating political coverage was that the only people more stupid than Donald Trump were the deplorables who elected him. Since then, of course, President-elect Trump has become President Trump. Over his 11 months in office, he has put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and four times as many judges on the appellate courts as Barack Obama did his first year; recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; withdrawn from the Paris climate accord; adopted a more resolute policy on Afghanistan than the one he’d campaigned on; rolled back the mandate forcing Catholic nuns, among others, to provide employees with contraception and abortifacients; signed legislation to open up drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; initiated a bold, deregulatory assault on the administrative state—and topped it all off with the first major overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years. And yet that Mr. Trump is a very stupid man remains the assumption dominating his press coverage. Add to this the sorry experience America had recently had with men, also outside conventional politics, who ran successfully for governorships: former pro wrestler and Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura in Minnesota and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. Their respective administrations each began with high enthusiasm but ended in defeat and disillusionment. What would make anyone think Mr. Trump would do better? In one sense he is not unique: Almost all GOP presidents are stereotyped as not very bright. Ask Ike, or George W. Bush, or even Lincoln. Nor is it uncommon, in the headiness of a White House, for even the lowliest staffer to come to regard himself as the intellectual superior of the president he works for. In Mr. Trump’s case, critics equate lowbrow tastes (e.g., well-done steaks covered in ketchup) as confirmation of a lack of brainpower. It can make for great sport. But starting out with the assumption that the president you are covering is a boob can prove debilitating to clear judgment. Quick show of hands: How many of those in the press who continue to dismiss Mr. Trump as stupid publicly asserted he could never win the 2016 election—or would never get anyone decent to work for him in the unlikely miracle he did get elected? The WSJ
Jérusalem est, évidemment, et depuis toujours, la capitale d’Israël. Et il y a quelque chose, non seulement d’absurde, mais de choquant dans le tollé planétaire qui a suivi la reconnaissance, par les Etats-Unis, de cette évidence. (…) D’où vient, alors, mon malaise ? (…) Et, deux semaines après cette annonce que j’attendais, moi aussi, depuis des années, pourquoi cette inquiétude qui m’étreint ? (…) D’abord Trump. Je sens trop le côté gros malin, acculé par des défaites diverses et consécutives, qui a trouvé là son coup fumant de fin de première année de mandat. Ami des juifs, dit-il ? Protecteur et saint patron d’Israël ? Pardon, mais je n’y crois guère. Je ne pense absolument pas que Donald Trump soit mû par le sentiment d’une union sacrée de l’Amérique et d’Israël ou, comme on disait déjà du temps des Pères pèlerins des Etats-Unis, de la nouvelle et de l’ancienne Jérusalem. Je n’imagine pas l’âme de Trump disponible, de quelque façon que ce soit, à la reconnaissance de la singularité juive, à la célébration des paradoxes de la pensée talmudique ou au goût de l’aventure qui animait la geste ardente, lyrique et héroïque des pionniers laïques du sionisme. Et je ne pense pas davantage que les fameux néo-évangélistes qui forment, paraît-il, ses bataillons d’électeurs les plus solides aient la moindre idée de ce qu’est, en vérité, cet Etat nommé par des poètes, bâti par des rêveurs et poursuivi jusqu’à aujourd’hui, dans le même souffle ou presque, par un peuple dont le roman national est semé de miracles rationnels, d’espérances sous les étoiles et de ferveurs logiques. Eh bien ? Eh bien l’Histoire nous apprend qu’un geste d’amitié abstrait, insincère, délié de l’Idée et de la Vérité, amputé de cette connaissance et de cet amour profonds qu’on appelle, en hébreu, l’Ahavat Israël, ne vaut, finalement, pas grand-chose – ou, pire, elle nous enseigne comment, en vertu d’une mauvaise chimie des fièvres politiques dont le peuple juif n’a eu que trop souvent à endurer l’épreuve et les foudres, il y a tous les risques que ce geste, un jour, se retourne en son contraire. (…) M. Trump a-t-il pensé à tout cela quand il a mis ses petites mains dans le dossier «Jérusalem» ? Bernard-Henri Lévy
Je partage l’attachement à Israël, de tous les juifs, mais d’un autre côté, la décision de Trump me paraît catastrophique parce qu’elle risque d’embraser la région, parce qu’elle risque d’empêcher la reprise des négociations entre les Palestiens et les Israéliens. Les Américains auraient dû procéder tout autrement. Benyamin Netanyahu ne propose rien aux Palestiniens. Il les pousse au désespoir et à l’extrémisme. Alain Finkielkraut
BHL n’a pas besoin des éditoriaux du Monde, ni même de ceux de Ha’aretz, car il sait déjà. Il sait ce qui est bon pour Israël et ce qui ne l’est pas. Il sait que Jérusalem est la capitale d’Israël, mais il sait aussi que Trump ne peut pas faire quelque chose de bon pour les Juifs. Ainsi BHL peut écrire dans son dernier éditorial que “Jérusalem est, évidemment, et depuis toujours, la capitale d’Israël” et qu’il “y a quelque chose, non seulement d’absurde, mais de choquant dans le tollé planétaire qui a suivi la reconnaissance, par les Etats-Unis, de cette évidence”. Mais dans la même foulée, il va convoquer A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz et même le rav Steinman z.l. pour nous expliquer doctement pourquoi la reconnaissance de la capitale d’Israël par les Etats-Unis n’est pas bonne pour les Juifs. (…) Dans son envolée lyrique sur tout ce que “l’âme de Trump” est incapable de saisir des subtilités du judaïsme, BHL commet une double erreur. La première est d’opposer de manière caricaturale la grandeur d’Israël et des Juifs et les basses motivations qu’il attribue (sans aucune preuve) à Donald Trump. En cela, il rejoint les pires adeptes du “Trump bashing”, qu’il prétend ne pas imiter. La seconde, plus grave encore, est de croire qu’en politique – et en politique internationale surtout – les intentions priment sur les actes. Or rien n’est plus faux. Car en réalité, peu nous importe ce que pense Trump, en son for intérieur, des Juifs. Après tout, l’histoire récente est pleine d’exemples de dirigeants politiques qui appréciaient les Juifs et le fameux “génie juif” célébré par BHL, et qui ont été les pires adversaires de l’Etat d’Israël. Ce qui compte ce sont les actes envers Israël, Etat et peuple. A cet égard, la reconnaissance de notre capitale Jérusalem est un acte fort et riche de signification, qui n’engage pas seulement le président Trump et les Etats-Unis, mais le reste du monde, qui s’engagera lui aussi sur cette voie, comme c’est déjà le cas. Cette reconnaissance est une décision politique capitale, qui n’obéit pas à un calcul passager et mesquin, comme le prétend BHL, car elle engage les Etats-Unis de manière ferme, et quasiment irréversible. Peu nous importe, dans ces circonstances, de savoir si Trump apprécie la “pensée talmudique” ou l’esprit juif viennois… L’attitude de BHL et d’autres intellectuels juifs vis-à-vis de Trump (et de Nétanyahou) ressemble à celle des rabbins non sionistes (et des Juifs assimilés) à l’égard de Theodor Herzl, qui n’était pas assez “casher” (ou trop Juif) à leurs yeux. Dans son mépris pour Donald Trump et pour l’Amérique qu’il incarne (ces “fameux néo-évangélistes” dont il parle avec dédain), BHL montre qu’il ne comprend rien à ce pays et à l’identification spirituelle et charnelle des chrétiens américains, sionistes ou évangélistes, au peuple et à la terre d’Israël. En réalité, BHL sait très bien que la reconnaissance de notre capitale par le président Trump est une bonne chose pour Israël. Seulement voilà, il éprouve comme il l’avoue un sentiment de “malaise”. Pour la simple et bonne raison que depuis des mois, depuis l’élection de Trump et même avant, BHL explique à qui veut l’entendre que Trump n’est pas un ami des Juifs. Il l’a dit à maintes reprises, sur CNN où il expliquait en février dernier que “Trump a un problème avec les Juifs” et dans le New York Times où il appelait les Juifs à se méfier du président américain. La seconde erreur de BHL est de croire qu’en politique internationale, les intentions priment sur les actes. “Trump, Dioclétien et le gardien de cochons” : sous ce titre quelque peu mystérieux, BHL s’était livré il y a presqu’un an à une attaque au vitriol contre le nouveau président des Etats-Unis, Donald Trump, accusé par avance de trahison envers Israël et de mépris envers les Juifs. Et pour mieux asséner ses coups, BHL conviait en renfort Freud, le Talmud, Kafka, Rachi et Proust… Après avoir pronostiqué pendant des semaines que Trump allait perdre car “l’Amérique de Tocqueville” n’élirait pas un tel homme, BHL annonçait alors l’inéluctable trahison de Trump envers Israël. C’est pourtant le même BHL qui avait, avec une certaine dose de courage intellectuel, et contrairement à d’autres, reconnu le danger de la politique d’Obama envers Israël à l’occasion du vote de la Résolution 2334 au Conseil de Sécurité. (“Mais voir cette administration qui a tant concédé à l’Iran, tant cédé à la Russie… se rattraper en donnant de la voix, in extremis, contre ce mouton noir planétaire, ce pelé, ce galeux, qu’est le Premier ministre d’Israël, quelle misère !” écrivait-il alors.) Entretemps, Trump a été élu, il est devenu le président américain le plus pro-israélien depuis 1948, comme l’ont prouvé non seulement sa dernière décision sur Jérusalem, mais aussi son attitude à l’ONU et face au président de l’Autorité palestinienne (ce sinistre has-been que même les pays arabes ont fini par lâcher et que seule la France continue de soutenir). Trump est en train de promouvoir une véritable “révolution copernicienne” au Moyen-Orient, pour reprendre l’expression de Michel Gurfinkiel, en reléguant au second plan le conflit israélo-arabe et en abandonnant la politique désastreuse du soutien à “l’Etat palestinien” et aux concessions israéliennes. Mais tout cela est trop simple et limpide pour notre amateur de “paradoxes talmudiques”. Aussi BHL s’évertue à démontrer, faisait feu de tout bois, que cela n’est pas bon pour Israël. Peu importe si les faits lui donnent tort, puisque lui-même est persuadé d’avoir raison. Pierre Lurçat
Toute unanimité est suspecte. Le Talmud stipule que si une condamnation est unanime, le tribunal doit gracier l’accusé. (…) Depuis 70 ans Jérusalem est la capitale en activité d’Israël et les Etats qui ont reconnu Israël ont reconnu cette réalité. N’est-ce pas à la résidence du Président à Jérusalem que leurs Ambassadeurs déposent leurs lettres de créance ? N’est-ce pas dans la Knesset à Jérusalem que Nicolas Sarkozy et François Hollande ont prononcé leurs importants discours ? Jérusalem est pour les diplomates le sein que l’hypocrite Tartuffe ne saurait voir. Déterminer sa capitale est un acte de souveraineté nationale : l’Allemagne réunifiée a choisi Berlin et malgré les souvenirs sinistres, personne n’a protesté. Ne pas admettre Jérusalem capitale d’Israël, c’est sous-entendre que bien que l’Etat d’Israël existe, il n’est pas totalement légitime. C’est ouvrir un boulevard à ceux qui espèrent la destruction du pays. La décision de Trump avait été actée il y a vingt-cinq ans par le Congrès américain et réitérée par l’ensemble des candidats à la Présidence, dont Barack Obama à l’Aipac en juin 2008. Sommes-nous si habitués à ce que les promesses n’engagent que ceux qui y croient, que nous trouvions choquant qu’elles soient respectées ? D’autant que les mots prononcés avec la reconnaissance n’écartent aucune évolution géopolitique ultérieure. Le problème de cette déclaration n’est pas son contenu mais le haro général qu’elle a suscité. Si l’accusé n’a trouvé personne pour le soutenir, disent les commentateurs du traité Sanhedrin, un soupçon pèse sur le travail des juges. Le soupçon est ici celui du panurgisme : montrer qu’on est un partisan de la paix, comme « l’ensemble de la communauté internationale», cette paix que recherchent, c’est un axiome, les dirigeants palestiniens. Ce discours lénifiant a conforté l’ambiguïté et n’a rien apporté à la résolution du conflit. Depuis que l’Unesco a déclaré, dans une résolution qui a bénéficié de beaucoup de lâchetés et de silences, que Jérusalem n’avait historiquement à voir qu’avec l’Islam, les dernières illusions sont tombées sur la validité de ces institutions internationales, perverties par le jeu des majorités automatiques et des pressions qui les accompagnent. Négliger les réalités présentes, discourir sur Jérusalem « capitale de la paix », ce qu’elle n’a malheureusement presque jamais été, voire rêver à un « corpus separatum », probablement défendu par des soldats népalais et bangladais, c’est rêver. La situation aurait été différente si les États arabes n’avaient pas déclenché la guerre en 1947, si les Jordaniens avaient écouté les objurgations israéliennes en juin 1967, et a fortiori si les Israéliens avaient perdu l’un ou l’autre de ces conflits. On ne refait pas le passé. Esquiver la vérité sous prétexte de ne pas heurter les sensibilités des ennemis d’Israël a fait suppurer la plaie qu’est devenu le conflit israélo-palestinien. Craindre de dire la vérité sous prétexte que cela pourrait « entraîner l’enfer sur la terre » (dixit le Hamas), c’est fortifier la menace terroriste. Les marionnettistes qui attisent les braises sont iraniens ou islamistes sunnites et pas américains. Ceux qui l’ignorent regardent le doigt quand le sage désigne la lune. C’est ce que dit non pas la Guemara, mais un proverbe chinois… Richard Prasquier

Rira bien qui rira le dernier !

Insultes, moqueries, appels à l’assassinat, condamnations, imprécations …

A l’heure où se confirme chaque un peu plus…

L’étendue des mensonges  que le précédent leader du Monde libre était prêt à couvrir …

Pour finaliser, avant la déjudaïsation de Jérusalem des derniers jours de son mandat, son tristement fameux accord nucléaire …

Avec, entre trafic de drogue et assassinats politiques, l’Etat terroriste iranien et ses affidés libanais ou argentins …

Et au lendemain d’une reconnaissance de Jérusalem

Qui a fait à nouveau le plein d’unanimité contre le président Trump …

Y compris – ô combien significativement ! – par ceux-là mêmes …

Qui comme notre BHL national ou même, plus étonnament, notre Finkielkraut l’appelaient depuis longtemps de leurs voeux …

Comment ne pas repenser …

Avec l’un de nos rares dirigeants à avoir sauvé l’honneur, le président du CRIF Richard Pasquier …

Et au-delà du racisme de l’intelligence si caractéristique justement de nos intelligentsias …

Au fameux avertissement du Talmud contre les verdicts trop unanimes …

Mais aussi ne pas déjà entrevoir …

Avec les plus lucides de ses critiques …

Comme les conseillers mêmes de la Première ministre britannique …

Que la plaisanterie pourrait bien un jour se retourner contre eux ?

Johnny, Trump et Jérusalem. Que dit la Guemara ?
Richard Prasquier
CRIF
15/12/2017

Cette semaine, l’actualité impose son contenu. Pour Johnny, respect. Il a rendu service en amortissant par l’impact médiatique de son décès le déchaînement de critiques qui a accueilli la déclaration du Président américain sur Jérusalem. Belle conclusion pour cet homme qui fut un authentique ami d’Israël.

L’unanimité des dithyrambes adressés au rocker français, qui n’avait pourtant pas que des admirateurs, fait pendant à l’unanimité des blâmes adressés au président américain. Toute unanimité est suspecte. Le Talmud stipule que si une condamnation est unanime, le tribunal doit gracier l’accusé. Cette décision saugrenue, je la comprends mieux aujourd’hui.

Laissons les arguments juridiques et historiques qui soulignent que l’illégalité de la décision du président américain n’est pas si flagrante que cela. Ils confortent les convaincus, mais glissent malheureusement sur les autres. Les considérations religieuses et mystiques ne sont pas recevables, laïcité oblige.

Limitons-nous aux faits. Depuis 70 ans Jérusalem est la capitale en activité d’Israël et les Etats qui ont reconnu Israël ont reconnu cette réalité. N’est-ce pas à la résidence du Président à Jérusalem que leurs Ambassadeurs déposent leurs lettres de créance ? N’est-ce pas dans la Knesset à Jérusalem que Nicolas Sarkozy et François Hollande ont prononcé leurs importants discours ?

Jérusalem est pour les diplomates le sein que l’hypocrite Tartuffe ne saurait voir. Déterminer sa capitale est un acte de souveraineté nationale : l’Allemagne réunifiée a choisi Berlin et malgré les souvenirs sinistres, personne n’a protesté. Ne pas admettre Jérusalem capitale d’Israël, c’est sous-entendre que bien que l’Etat d’Israël existe, il n’est pas totalement légitime. C’est ouvrir un boulevard à ceux qui espèrent la destruction du pays.

« Ne pas admettre Jérusalem capitale d’Israël, c’est sous-entendre que bien que l’Etat d’Israël existe, il n’est pas totalement légitime.»

La décision de Trump avait été actée il y a vingt-cinq ans par le Congrès américain et réitérée par l’ensemble des candidats à la Présidence, dont Barack Obama à l’Aipac en juin 2008. Sommes-nous si habitués à ce que les promesses n’engagent que ceux qui y croient, que nous trouvions choquant qu’elles soient respectées ? D’autant que les mots prononcés avec la reconnaissance n’écartent aucune évolution géopolitique ultérieure.

Le problème de cette déclaration n’est pas son contenu mais le haro général qu’elle a suscité. Si l’accusé n’a trouvé personne pour le soutenir, disent les commentateurs du traité Sanhedrin, un soupçon pèse sur le travail des juges. Le soupçon est ici celui du panurgisme : montrer qu’on est un partisan de la paix, comme « l’ensemble de la communauté internationale», cette paix que recherchent, c’est un axiome, les dirigeants palestiniens. Ce discours lénifiant a conforté l’ambiguïté et n’a rien apporté à la résolution du conflit.

Depuis que l’Unesco a déclaré, dans une résolution qui a bénéficié de beaucoup de lâchetés et de silences, que Jérusalem n’avait historiquement à voir qu’avec l’Islam, les dernières illusions sont tombées sur la validité de ces institutions internationales, perverties par le jeu des majorités automatiques et des pressions qui les accompagnent.

Négliger les réalités présentes, discourir sur Jérusalem « capitale de la paix », ce qu’elle n’a malheureusement presque jamais été, voire rêver à un « corpus separatum », probablement défendu par des soldats népalais et bangladais, c’est rêver. La situation aurait été différente si les États arabes n’avaient pas déclenché la guerre en 1947, si les Jordaniens avaient écouté les objurgations israéliennes en juin 1967, et a fortiori si les Israéliens avaient perdu l’un ou l’autre de ces conflits. On ne refait pas le passé.

Esquiver la vérité sous prétexte de ne pas heurter les sensibilités des ennemis d’Israël a fait suppurer la plaie qu’est devenu le conflit israélo-palestinien. Craindre de dire la vérité sous prétexte que cela pourrait « entraîner l’enfer sur la terre » (dixit le Hamas), c’est fortifier la menace terroriste. Les marionnettistes qui attisent les braises sont iraniens ou islamistes sunnites et pas américains. Ceux qui l’ignorent regardent le doigt quand le sage désigne la lune. C’est ce que dit non pas la Guemara, mais un proverbe chinois…

Voir aussi:

The ‘Stupidity’ of Donald Trump

He’s had far more success than Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura

This time one year ago, the assumption dominating political coverage was that the only people more stupid than Donald Trump were the deplorables who elected him.

Since then, of course, President-elect Trump has become President Trump. Over his 11 months in office, he has put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and four times as many judges on the appellate courts as Barack Obama did his first year; recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; withdrawn from the Paris climate accord; adopted a more resolute policy on Afghanistan than the one he’d campaigned on; rolled back the mandate forcing Catholic nuns, among others, to provide employees with contraception and abortifacients; signed legislation to open up drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; initiated a bold, deregulatory assault on the administrative state—and topped it all off with the first major overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years.

And yet that Mr. Trump is a very stupid man remains the assumption dominating his press coverage.

Let this columnist confess: He did not see Mr. Trump’s achievements coming, at least at first. In the worst sense, populism means pandering to public appetites at the expense of sound policy. Too often populists who get themselves elected find either that they cannot implement what they promised, or that when they do, there are disastrous and unexpected consequences.

Add to this the sorry experience America had recently had with men, also outside conventional politics, who ran successfully for governorships: former pro wrestler and Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura in Minnesota and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. Their respective administrations each began with high enthusiasm but ended in defeat and disillusionment. What would make anyone think Mr. Trump would do better?

Start with Mr. Ventura. His populism, like Mr. Trump’s, featured open ridicule of the press. At one point he issued press cards listing them as “official jackals.” Also like Mr. Trump, he was treated as simple-minded because he was not a professional pol. When David Letterman listed his top 10 campaign slogans for Mr. Ventura, No. 1 was “it’s the stupidity, stupid.”

In his first year Mr. Ventura’s approval rating soared to 73%, and while in office he did manage to push through tax rebates and a property-tax reform. By his last year, however, his vetoes were regularly overridden, spending had shot up, and the magic was gone. In the end, he decided against seeking a second term.

Next came Mr. Schwarzenegger, who in 2003 announced his run for governor on “The Tonight Show.” Mr. Schwarzenegger’s pitch was essentially Mr. Trump’s: The state’s politics had been so corrupted by the political class that Californians needed a strongman from the outside to shake it up.

The Governator did succeed in getting himself re-elected three years later, which is more than Mr. Ventura did. In the end, however, he was defeated by those he’d denounced as the “girlie men” of Sacramento, and his package of reforms went nowhere. The man who entered office promising to cut spending and revive the state’s economy ended up signing a huge tax increase, while debt nearly tripled under his watch.

Now we have President Trump. In one sense he is not unique: Almost all GOP presidents are stereotyped as not very bright. Ask Ike, or George W. Bush, or even Lincoln. Nor is it uncommon, in the headiness of a White House, for even the lowliest staffer to come to regard himself as the intellectual superior of the president he works for.

In Mr. Trump’s case, critics equate lowbrow tastes (e.g., well-done steaks covered in ketchup) as confirmation of a lack of brainpower. It can make for great sport. But starting out with the assumption that the president you are covering is a boob can prove debilitating to clear judgment.

Quick show of hands: How many of those in the press who continue to dismiss Mr. Trump as stupid publicly asserted he could never win the 2016 election—or would never get anyone decent to work for him in the unlikely miracle he did get elected?

The Trump presidency may still go poof for any number of reasons—if the promised economic growth doesn’t materialize, if the public concludes that his inability to ignore slights on Twitter is getting the best of his presidency, or if Democrats manage to leverage his low approval ratings and polarizing personality into a recapture of the House and Senate this coming November. And yes, it’s possible to regard Mr. Trump’s presidency as not worth the price.

But stupid? Perhaps the best advice for anti-Trumpers comes from one of their own, a Vermont Democrat named Jason Lorber. Way back in April, in an article for the Burlington Free Press, the retired state politician wrote that “while it may be good for a chuckle, calling or even thinking someone else stupid is virtually guaranteed to give them the last laugh.”

Is that not what Mr. Trump is now enjoying at the close of his first year?

 Voir également:

Trump, the Insurgent, Breaks With 70 Years of American Foreign Policy
President Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from an anchor of the international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable.
Mark Landler
New York Times
Dec. 28, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump was already revved up when he emerged from his limousine to visit NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels last May. He had just met France’s recently elected president, Emmanuel Macron, whom he greeted with a white-knuckle handshake and a complaint that Europeans do not pay their fair share of the alliance’s costs.

On the long walk through the NATO building’s cathedral-like atrium, the president’s anger grew. He looked at the polished floors and shimmering glass walls with a property developer’s eye. (“It’s all glass,” he said later. “One bomb could take it out.”) By the time he reached an outdoor plaza where he was to speak to the other NATO leaders, Mr. Trump was fuming, according to two aides who were with him that day.

He was there to dedicate the building, but instead he took a shot at it.

“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Mr. Trump told the leaders, his voice thick with sarcasm. “I refuse to do that. But it is beautiful.” His visceral reaction to the $1.2 billion building, more than anything else, colored his first encounter with the alliance, aides said.

Nearly a year into his presidency, Mr. Trump remains an erratic, idiosyncratic leader on the global stage, an insurgent who attacks allies the United States has nurtured since World War II and who can seem more at home with America’s adversaries. His Twitter posts, delivered without warning or consultation, often make a mockery of his administration’s policies and subvert the messages his emissaries are trying to deliver abroad.

Mr. Trump has pulled out of trade and climate change agreements and denounced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. He has broken with decades of American policy in the Middle East by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And he has taunted Kim Jong-un of North Korea as “short and fat,” fanning fears of war on the peninsula.

He has assiduously cultivated President Xi Jinping of China and avoided criticizing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — leaders of the two countries that his own national security strategy calls the greatest geopolitical threats to America.

Above all, Mr. Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from a reliable anchor of the liberal, rules-based international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable. That is a seminal change from the role the country has played for 70 years, under presidents from both parties, and it has lasting implications for how other countries chart their futures.

Mr. Trump’s unorthodox approach “has moved a lot of us out of our comfort zone, me included,” the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, said in an interview. A three-star Army general who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and wrote a well-regarded book about the White House’s strategic failure in Vietnam, General McMaster defined Trump foreign policy as “pragmatic realism” rather than isolationism.

“The consensus view has been that engagement overseas is an unmitigated good, regardless of the circumstances,” General McMaster said. “But there are problems that are maybe both intractable and of marginal interest to the American people, that do not justify investments of blood and treasure.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers argue that he has blown the cobwebs off decades of foreign policy doctrine and, as he approaches his first anniversary, that he has learned the realities of the world in which the United States must operate.

They point to gains in the Middle East, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is transforming Saudi Arabia; in Asia, where China is doing more to pressure a nuclear-armed North Korea; and even in Europe, where Mr. Trump’s criticism has prodded NATO members to ante up more for their defense.

The president takes credit for eradicating the caliphate built by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, though he mainly accelerated a battle plan developed by President Barack Obama. His aides say he has reversed Mr. Obama’s passive approach to Iran, in part by disavowing the nuclear deal.

While Mr. Trump has held more than 130 meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders since taking office, he has left the rest of the world still puzzling over how to handle an American president unlike any other. Foreign leaders have tested a variety of techniques to deal with him, from shameless pandering to keeping a studied distance.

“Most foreign leaders are still trying to get a handle on him,” said Richard N. Haass, a top State Department official in the George W. Bush administration who is now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Everywhere I go, I’m still getting asked, ‘Help us understand this president, help us navigate this situation.’

“We’re beginning to see countries take matters into their own hands. They’re hedging against America’s unreliability.”

Few countries have struggled more to adapt to Mr. Trump than Germany, and few leaders seem less personally in sync with him than its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, the physicist turned politician. After she won a fourth term, their relationship took on weighty symbolism: the great disrupter versus the last defender of the liberal world order.

In one of their first phone calls, the chancellor explained to the president why Ukraine was a vital part of the trans-Atlantic relationship. Mr. Trump, officials recalled, had little idea of Ukraine’s importance, its history of being bullied by Russia or what the United States and its allies had done to try to push back Mr. Putin.

German officials were alarmed by Mr. Trump’s lack of knowledge, but they got even more rattled when White House aides called to complain afterward that Ms. Merkel had been condescending toward the new president. The Germans were determined not to repeat that diplomatic gaffe when Ms. Merkel met Mr. Trump at the White House in March.
Trump’s Way

At first, things again went badly. Mr. Trump did not shake Ms. Merkel’s hand in the Oval Office, despite the requests of the assembled photographers. (The president said he did not hear them.)

Later, he told Ms. Merkel that he wanted to negotiate a new bilateral trade agreement with Germany. The problem with this idea was that Germany, as a member of the European Union, could not negotiate its own agreement with the United States.

Rather than exposing Mr. Trump’s ignorance, Ms. Merkel said the United States could, of course, negotiate a bilateral agreement, but that it would have to be with Germany and the other 27 members of the union because Brussels conducted such negotiations on behalf of its members.

“So it could be bilateral?” Mr. Trump asked Ms. Merkel, according to several people in the room. The chancellor nodded.

“That’s great,” Mr. Trump replied before turning to his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, and telling him, “Wilbur, we’ll negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Europe.”

Afterward, German officials expressed relief among themselves that Ms. Merkel had managed to get through the exchange without embarrassing the president or appearing to lecture him. Some White House officials, however, said they found the episode humiliating.

For Ms. Merkel and many other Germans, something elemental has changed across the Atlantic. “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands,” she said in May. “The times in which we can fully count on others — they are somewhat over.”

Mr. Trump gets along better with Mr. Macron, a 40-year-old former investment banker and fellow political insurgent who ran for the French presidency as the anti-Trump. Despite disagreeing with him on trade, immigration and climate change, Mr. Macron figured out early how to appeal to the president: He invited him to a military parade.

But Mr. Macron has discovered that being buddies with Mr. Trump can also be complicated. During the Bastille Day visit, officials recalled, Mr. Trump told Mr. Macron he was rethinking his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

That prompted French diplomats to make a flurry of excited calls to the White House for clarification the following week, only to find out that American policy had not changed. White House officials say that Mr. Trump was merely reiterating that the United States would be open to rejoining the pact on more advantageous terms.

But the exchange captures Mr. Trump’s lack of nuance or detail, which leaves him open to being misunderstood in complex international talks.

There have been fewer misunderstandings with autocrats. Mr. Xi of China and King Salman of Saudi Arabia both won over Mr. Trump by giving him a lavish welcome when he visited. The Saudi monarch projected his image on the side of a hotel; Mr. Xi reopened a long-dormant theater inside the Forbidden City to present Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, an evening of Chinese opera.

“Did you see the show?” Mr. Trump asked reporters on Air Force One after he left Beijing in November. “They say in the history of people coming to China, there’s been nothing like that. And I believe it.”

Later, chatting with his aides, Mr. Trump continued to marvel at the respect Mr. Xi had shown him. It was a show of respect for the American people, not just for the president, one adviser replied gently.

Then, of course, there is the strange case of Mr. Putin. The president spoke of his warm telephone calls with the Russian president, even as he introduced a national security strategy that acknowledged Russia’s efforts to weaken democracies by meddling in their elections.

Mr. Trump has had a bumpier time with friends. He told off Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter, after she objected to his exploitation of anti-Muslim propaganda from a far-right group in Britain.

“Statecraft has been singularly absent from the treatment of some of his allies, particularly the U.K.,” said Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Trump’s feuds with Ms. May and other British officials have left him in a strange position: feted in Beijing and Riyadh but barely welcome in London, which Mr. Trump is expected to visit early next year, despite warnings that he will face angry protesters.

Aides to Mr. Trump argue that his outreach to autocrats has been vindicated. When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House in March, the president lavished attention on him. Since then, they say, Saudi Arabia has reopened cinemas and allowed women to drive.

But critics say Mr. Trump gives more than he gets. By backing the 32-year-old crown prince so wholeheartedly, the president cemented his status as heir to the House of Saud. The crown prince has since jailed his rivals as Saudi Arabia pursued a deadly intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

Mr. Trump granted an enormous concession to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he announced this month that the United States would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But he did not ask anything of Mr. Netanyahu in return.

That showed another hallmark of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy: how much it is driven by domestic politics. In this case, he was fulfilling a campaign promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. While evangelicals and some hard-line, pro-Israel American Jews exulted, the Palestinians seethed — leaving Mr. Trump’s dreams of brokering a peace accord between them and the Israelis in tatters.

With China, Mr. Trump’s cultivation of Mr. Xi probably persuaded him to put more economic pressure on its neighbor North Korea over its provocative behavior. But even the president has acknowledged, as recently as Thursday, that it is not enough. And in return for Mr. Xi’s efforts, Mr. Trump has largely shelved his trade agenda vis-à-vis Beijing.

“It was a big mistake to draw that linkage,” said Robert B. Zoellick, who served as United States trade representative under Mr. Bush. “The Chinese are playing him, and it’s not just the Chinese. The world sees his narcissism and strokes his ego, diverting him from applying disciplined pressure.”

Mr. Trump’s protectionist instincts could prove the most damaging in the long term, Mr. Zoellick said. Trade, unlike security, springs from deeply rooted convictions. Mr. Trump believes that multilateral accords — like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which he pulled out in his first week in office — are stacked against America.

“He views trade as zero-sum, win-lose,” Mr. Zoellick said.

For some of Mr. Trump’s advisers, the key to understanding his statecraft is not how he deals with Mr. Xi or Ms. Merkel, but the ideological contest over America’s role that plays out daily between the West Wing and agencies like the State Department and the Pentagon.

“There’s a chasm that can’t be bridged between the globalists and the nationalists,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist and the leader of the nationalist wing, who has kept Mr. Trump’s ear since leaving the White House last summer.

On the globalist side of the debate stand General McMaster; Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; and Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn. On the nationalist side, in addition to Mr. Bannon, stand Stephen Miller, the president’s top domestic adviser, and Robert Lighthizer, the chief trade negotiator. On many days, the nationalist group includes the commander in chief himself.

The globalists have curbed some of Mr. Trump’s most radical impulses. He has yet to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, though he has refused to recertify it. He has reaffirmed the United States’ support for NATO, despite his objections about those members he believes are freeloading. And he has ordered thousands of additional American troops into Afghanistan, even after promising during the campaign to stay away from nation-building.

This has prompted a few Europeans to hope that “his bark is worse than his bite,” in the words of Mr. Westmacott.

Mr. Trump acknowledges that being in office has changed him. “My original instinct was to pull out,” he said of Afghanistan, “and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”

Yet some things have not changed. Mr. Trump’s advisers have utterly failed to curb his Twitter posts, for example. Some gamely suggest that they create diplomatic openings. Others say they roll with the punches when he labels Mr. Kim of North Korea “Little Rocket Man.” For Mr. Tillerson, however, the tweets have severely tarnished his credibility in foreign capitals.

“All of them know they still can’t control the thunderbolt from on high,” said John D. Negroponte, who served as the director of national intelligence for Mr. Bush.

The tweets highlight that Mr. Trump still holds a radically different view of the United States’ role in the world than most of his predecessors. His advisers point to a revealing meeting at the Pentagon on July 20, when Mr. Mattis, Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Cohn walked the president through the country’s trade and security obligations around the world.

The group convened in the secure conference room of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a storied inner sanctum known as the tank. Mr. Mattis led off the session by declaring that “the greatest thing the ‘greatest generation’ left us was the rules-based postwar international order,” according to a person who was in the room.

After listening for about 50 minutes, this person said, Mr. Trump had heard enough. He began peppering Mr. Mattis and Mr. Tillerson with questions about who pays for NATO and the terms of the free trade agreements with South Korea and other countries.

The postwar international order, the president of the United States declared, is “not working at all.”

Voir enfin:

Analysis The Palestinians Just Gave Netanyahu What He Always Wanted for Christmas

If there is one goal the Israeli premier has devoted his entire career to, it is trying to sever ties between the Americans and the Palestinians – and Abbas has handed it to him wrapped with a bow
Anshel Pfeffer

Haaretz

Dec 27, 2017

Ever since President Donald Trump announced the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the focus has been almost entirely on the global chorus of condemnation, the overwhelming votes against Trump’s proclamation in the UN Security Council and General Assembly, and the – so far – tiny handful of countries supporting the move.

But while attention has largely been on these symbolic moves, something that escaped notice is that, in the aftermath of the recognition gesture, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accomplished one of his most cherished policy goals: Finally driving a massive wedge between the United States and the Palestinians.

When last Friday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published his Christmas message, announcing that the Palestinians “will not accept the U.S. as the mediator in the peace process, nor are we going to accept any plan from the U.S. side,” he could not have come up with a better Christmas present for Netanyahu.
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If there is one goal Netanyahu has devoted his career to – from the days when he was a Zionist student activist at MIT in the early 1970s – it is trying to sever ties between the Americans and the Palestinians. And Abbas gave it to him, just like that.

The battle against the U.S. administration recognizing the PLO and entering official talks with it dominated Israeli foreign policy throughout the 1980s, when Netanyahu was a diplomat in Washington and at the UN.

Thirty years ago, when leaving the diplomatic service to enter politics full-time with the Likud party, Netanyahu timed his resignation to follow a meeting between then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz and PLO-affiliated Palestinian academics, to portray it as an act of protest against the talks. Between 1988 and 1991, as deputy foreign minister his brief was mainly devoted to appearing in the American media, advocating against U.S.-PLO ties.

As prime minister (initially from 1996-1999 and then from 2009), Netanyahu had to contend with the new realities of the post-Oslo era – and, of course, with the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, which openly supported a Palestinian state. But every engagement of his with the Palestinians was slow, grudging and through gritted teeth.

He has never given up on his stated intent to convince the world – and when Netanyahu thinks of the world, it will always be the world as it looks from the Oval Office – that the Palestinian issue is a sideshow and its leadership does not deserve an equal place at the table.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017.Stephen Crowley/NYT

Netanyahu has never really cared about Jerusalem, beyond its symbolic significance. His government has not made any real efforts to solve the everyday problems of Israel’s poorest city. And even the much-beloved canard of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was never that high on his priority list. But the support for recognizing Jerusalem among Trump’s evangelical base, and the fact the U.S. president was willing to go ahead with the recognition as a low-cost (from his perspective) way of signaling he was keeping his election promises and showing how different he was from Obama, was a wonderful opportunity for Netanyahu.

He didn’t expect the world to suddenly fall in line with the U.S. president’s proclamation. Quite the opposite. He saw how much anger and opposition it would provoke, and therefore stoked Trump’s ego with encouragement and praise.

Netanyahu played the cards dealt to him brilliantly. The bigger the hoopla around Trump’s empty gesture, the bigger the insult to the Palestinians – an insult not delivered by Israel, but directly by the White House.

Trump himself made it clear the recognition of Jerusalem was not meant to prejudice the outcome of future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He even emphasized that the United States was not recognizing any specific borders of Israel’s capital. The United States hasn’t even changed its policy on not writing “Israel” in the passports of U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem, much less made any concrete steps for actually moving the embassy. But Netanyahu still declared that Trump’s announcement was an event of great historical importance, on a par with the Balfour Declaration and King Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

The Palestinians could have issued a low-key response, saying simply that no one, not even Trump, could decide the future of Jerusalem without their agreement. They could have kept their channels to the United States open and waited to see if anything would come of the much-vaunted Trump peace proposal.

Instead, they declared “days of rage” that quickly fizzled, and then effectively severed ties with the Americans by announcing they would be boycotting any scheduled meetings with administration officials.

No one has any illusions that this a favorable presidency as far as they are concerned. But, let’s face it, every single U.S. presidency has always been much more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian. The “honest broker” label has always been a myth. The only reason the United States has been mediating between the two sides for so long is that it’s the world’s sole superpower and has been invested in the region for so many years.

There is always talk of another government stepping in as a potential mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. This is idle talk based on wishful thinking. No other country has the resources, the skilled and experienced diplomatic corps, the investment in the region and the credibility to become the brokers of the process.

The European Union is mired in a near-existential crisis, with Brexit cutting off one of its major members; its unofficial leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is struggling to build a coalition at home; and its unofficial leader-in-waiting, French President Emmanuel Macron, lacks the experience and attention span to devote himself properly. Russia has ulterior motives and does not really wish to help bring peace, just enhance its influence. China, which launched a Mideast conference this past week, is too far away – physically and mentally – to be much more than a bystander. And, most important, Israel can and will veto any other partner besides the Americans.

All of this may change in the future if successive administrations follow Obama and Trump’s example by retreating from America’s traditional role in the region. But it will take decades for a new player to grow into the role of ultimate patron of the diplomatic process. By the time that happens, Abbas and Netanyahu will no longer be on the stage themselves.

It is much more likely that a new U.S. administration will reassert itself within a few years. When that happens, the Palestinians will have to rebuild their relationship with Washington and, depending on the views of that administration, it may be a better one than they had in the past. But for now at least, they have given Netanyahu what he’s always wanted for Christmas.
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.831169


Reconnaissance de Jérusalem: Le NYT veut-il la paix au Moyen-Orient ? (Its track record so far gives little evidence that it has the temperament or skill to navigate such a nuanced position)

8 décembre, 2017

The Old City of Jerusalem. The United States, like the rest of the world, hasn’t recognized the city as Israeli territory (NYT)

Jews leaving a section of Jerusalem’s Old City in 1948 (NYT)

al Aqsa

Spot the error: Praying with their behinds towards their holy Muslim site?

Si je t’oublie, Jérusalem, Que ma droite m’oublie! Que ma langue s’attache à mon palais, Si je ne me souviens de toi, Si je ne fais de Jérusalem Le principal sujet de ma joie! Psaume 137: 5-6
Voici, je ferai de Jérusalem une coupe d’étourdissement pour tous les peuples d’alentour, et aussi pour Juda dans le siège de Jérusalem. En ce jour-là, je ferai de Jérusalem une pierre pesante pour tous les peuples; tous ceux qui la soulèveront seront meurtris; et toutes les nations de la terre s’assembleront contre elle. Zacharie 12: 2-3
When the Muslims in Jerusalem pray in their mosques, even in the « Al Aktza » mosque built on the edge of Temple Mount, they actually stand with their back turned to Temple Mount. And, when they bow down in their prayers they show their behind to the site of the Holy Temple. How consistent is that with considering it a Muslim holy site? Holyland
Je partage l’attachement à Israël, de tous les juifs, mais d’un autre côté, la décision de Trump me paraît catastrophique parce qu’elle risque d’embraser la région, parce qu’elle risque d’empêcher la reprise des négociations entre les Palestiens et les Israéliens. Les Américains auraient dû procéder tout autrement. Benyamin Netanyahu ne propose rien aux Palestiniens. Il les pousse au désespoir et à l’extrémisme. Alain Finkielkraut
If nothing else, Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital shows how disenthralled his administration is with traditional pieties about the Middle East. It’s about time. (…) What Jerusalem is is the capital of Israel, both as the ancestral Jewish homeland and the modern nation-state. When Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit the country in 1974, he attended his state dinner in Jerusalem. It’s where President Anwar Sadat of Egypt spoke when he decided to make peace in 1977. It’s what Congress decided as a matter of law in 1995. When Barack Obama paid his own presidential visit to Israel in 2013, he too spent most of his time in Jerusalem. So why maintain the fiction that Jerusalem isn’t the capital? The original argument, from 1947, was that Jerusalem ought to be under international jurisdiction, in recognition of its religious importance. But Jews were not allowed to visit the Western Wall during the 19 years when East Jerusalem was under Jordanian occupation. Yasir Arafat denied that Solomon’s Temple was even in Jerusalem, reflecting an increasingly common Palestinian denial of history. Would Jews be allowed to visit Jewish sites, and would those sites be respected, if the city were redivided? Doubtful, considering Palestinian attacks on such sites, which is one of the reasons why it shouldn’t be. The next argument is that any effort by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would set the proverbial Arab street on fire and perhaps lead to another intifada. But this misapprehends the nature of the street, which has typically been a propaganda tool of Arab leaders to channel domestic discontent and manipulate foreign opinion. And it also misrepresents the nature of the last intifada, which was a meticulously preplanned event waiting for a convenient pretext (Ariel Sharon’s September 2000 walk on the Temple Mount) to look like a spontaneous one. (…) Then again, recognition does several genuinely useful things. It belatedly aligns American words with deeds. It aligns word as well as deed with reality. And it aligns the United States with the country toward which we are constantly professing friendship even as we have spent seven decades stinting it of the most basic form of recognition. Recognition also tells the Palestinians that they can no longer hold other parties hostage to their demands. East Jerusalem could have been the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state 17 years ago, if Arafat had simply accepted the terms at Camp David. He didn’t because he thought he could dictate terms to stronger powers. Nations pay a price for the foolhardiness of their leaders, as the Kurds recently found out. (…) For the international community, that means helping Palestinians take steps to dismantle their current klepto-theocracy, rather than fueling a culture of perpetual grievance against Israel. Mahmoud Abbas is now approaching the 13th anniversary of his elected four-year term. Someone should point this out. Hamas has run Gaza for a decade, during which it has spent more time building rockets and terror tunnels than hotels or hospitals. Someone should point this out, too. It is indicative of the disastrous political choices that help explain 70 years of Palestinian failure. Meantime, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. For those who have lived in denial, it must be some sort of shock. Bret Stephens
Although Israel’s government has been located in Jerusalem since its founding in 1948, the United States, like the rest of the world, hasn’t recognized the city as Israeli territory, even after the Arab-Israeli War in 1967, when Israel drove back Jordan from East Jerusalem and occupied it. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel promised to negotiate Jerusalem’s future as part of a peace agreement. It has been assumed that under any deal, the city would remain its capital. Palestinians anticipated being able to locate their capital in East Jerusalem and to have access to Muslim holy sites there. East Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967, but Israel has steadily built settlements there, placing some 200,000 of its citizens among the Arab population and complicating any possible peace agreement. Mr. Trump boasts of being a consummate dealmaker, but dealmakers don’t usually make concessions before negotiations begin, as the president has here. The big winner is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, whose hard-line government has shown no serious interest in peace, at least not a two-state solution that could win Palestinian support. The blowback was swift. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, warned of “dangerous consequences” to the peace process, while Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the royal palace said, cautioned against the move, “stressing that Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world.” Turkey threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel; other criticism came from Egypt, the Arab League and France. King Salman of Saudi Arabia told Mr. Trump a decision on Jerusalem before a final peace deal would hurt talks and increase regional tensions. (…) But some analysts doubt Mr. Trump really wants a peace agreement and say any possible proposal may be intended as political cover so Israel and the Sunni Arabs, once enemies, can intensify their incipient collaboration against Iran. The constituency Mr. Trump is most clearly courting is his own political base of evangelicals and other pro-Israel hard-liners. His predecessors had also made pandering campaign promises in support of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem. But once in office they chose not to prioritize their domestic politics over delicate peace diplomacy, and they put that promise on hold. Some optimists think that Mr. Trump could lessen the harm of a decision on Jerusalem by making clear he will not prejudge the future of East Jerusalem or other core questions like the borders of a Palestinian state. His track record so far gives little evidence that he has the temperament or skill to navigate such a nuanced position. The NYT
Seul contre tous. Donald Trump a ignoré tous les avertissements, polis ou pressants selon les dirigeants, toutes les suppliques, jusqu’à celle du pape François, avant d’annoncer, mercredi 6 décembre, sa décision de reconnaître officiellement Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël. Les réactions d’alarme et d’indignation qui ont accueilli cette décision au sein de la communauté internationale – à l’exception du premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Nétanyahou, qui a applaudi des deux mains – confirment, pour ceux qui en doutaient encore, que le président américain n’hésite à transgresser aucun tabou. Il est clair à présent que les Etats-Unis de Donald Trump ne se contentent pas de décider de façon unilatérale, en faisant fi de l’avis de leurs partenaires les plus proches. Ils ont entrepris le démantèlement d’un système de relations internationales qu’ils ont eux-mêmes édifié après la deuxième guerre mondiale. L’annonce de M. Trump sur Jérusalem est, tout simplement, un viol de la diplomatie comme mode de règlement des conflits. En vertu des accords d’Oslo, signés sous les auspices des Etats-Unis en 1993, Israël s’était engagé à négocier le statut futur de Jérusalem dans le cadre d’accords de paix. Le roi de Jordanie, l’un des dirigeants les plus modérés du Moyen-Orient, a souligné que la question de Jérusalem « est cruciale pour parvenir à la paix et la stabilité dans la région et dans le monde ». Le processus de paix lancé à Oslo est malheureusement aujourd’hui au point mort : il n’y a pas, à l’heure actuelle, de négociations de paix entre Israéliens et Palestiniens. Mais en rallumant l’étincelle de Jérusalem, le président américain prend ouvertement le risque d’accroître les tensions et de provoquer de nouvelles violences dans une région toujours au bord de l’explosion, sans pour autant préciser ses projets sur une relance d’un processus de paix. L’envoi du vice-président Michael Pence au Proche-Orient ne fait guère illusion à cet égard. Pis, par sa décision, M. Trump consacre la politique du fait accompli de M. Nétanyahou. Si le gouvernement israélien a été installé à Jérusalem dès 1948, Jérusalem-Est était entièrement arabe jusqu’à 1967. [sic] Depuis, à la faveur de colonies de peuplement construites par Israël, quelque 200 000 Israéliens se sont installés parmi les Palestiniens, rendant la question du statut de la ville encore plus complexe. Jérusalem capitale de l’Etat d’Israël est « une réalité », clame Donald Trump, évitant soigneusement de mentionner Jérusalem-Est comme possible capitale d’un Etat palestinien. Logiquement, ce raisonnement entérine aussi les colonies de peuplement dans les territoires occupés comme « une réalité », au mépris du droit international. Mais, pas plus que l’art de la diplomatie, le droit international n’entre visiblement pas dans les paramètres de la politique étrangère trumpienne, tout entière guidée par son obsession de rompre avec ses prédécesseurs et ses impératifs de politique intérieure – en l’occurrence le souci de satisfaire les chrétiens évangéliques et les lobbys pro-israéliens. La liste des engagements internationaux auxquels M. Trump a tourné le dos depuis son entrée en fonctions, en janvier, s’allonge (…) Le moment est venu de prendre acte de cette réalité. Comme cela se fait déjà pour l’accord sur le climat, il faut apprendre à contourner une administration fédérale américaine engagée dans une dangereuse déstabilisation de la communauté internationale. Le Monde
Amidst some questionable journalism about the American move to acknowledge the location of Israel’s capital, a passage in yesterday’s New York Times editorial stands out as particularly stunning and perverse. The editorial, titled « Does Trump Want Peace in the Middle East, » effectively ratifies the cleansing of Jews from Jerusalem’s Old City and other formerly Jewish areas of Jerusalem during the 1948 Independence War. In a paragraph criticizing the return of Jews to what the newspaper describes as « settlements » in those parts of Jerusalem, the editorial bases its disapproval on the fact that « East Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967. » It is true that this section of Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967. This is because Jews, long a majority and plurality in these parts of the city, were forced out in 1948, when the area was seized by Jordanian troops. Jerusalem neighborhoods like the Jewish Quarter, Shimon Hatzadik, and Silan indeed became Jew-free, their synagogues razed and their cemeteries desecrated. To consider the 19-year period during which Jews were exiled from the Old City and surrounding areas as the starting point of history, and to use it as a bludgeon to attack Israel and delegitimize the presence of Jews in eastern Jerusalem, effectively communicates the newspaper’s acceptance of the expulsion of the Jews and seeming endorsement of an ethically cleansed eastern Jerusalem. In 1948, the New York Times published the following account of Jews pouring out from the Old City walls: Thus the Jews have been eliminated from the City of David for the first time since the sixteenth century. Except for sixty years in the sixteenth century they are believed to have been there continuously since the return from the Babylonian captivity. New Jerusalem was largely created in the last seventy years. All last night and early today the noncombatants were trekking out through the Zion Gate over Mount Zion and through the Valley of Hinnon to the Yemin Moshe quarter from where they were driven to billets in the Katamon quarter. They are mostly orthodox and poor. This is why « east Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967, » as today’s editorial writers who represent the voice of The New York Times know. To omit the purge of Jews from their neighborhoods and holy places while approvingly citing the ethnically « exclusive » nature of eastern Jerusalem amounts to the promotion of a revisionist history by The Times. Camera

Attention: un nettoyage ethnique peut en cacher un autre !

 Au lendemain de la décision historique du Président Trump …
De reconnaitre enfin en Jérusalem une réalité juive plus que multi-millénaire …
Quelle meilleure illustration comme le montre bien la réponse du site de réinformation Camera
De la mauvaise foi d’une communauté occidentale largement hostile à toute réelle avancée de situation dans la région …
Que cet ultime éditorial du quotidien de référence américain …
Suivi le lendemain de son homologue parisien
Mettant en cause la veille même de ladite annonce la volonté et la compétence de leur président sur la question …
Et lui attribuant de sombres projets d’expulsion de la présence arabe de la Ville sainte …
A l’instar de la photo illustrant l’article …
En contredisant d’ailleurs une autre d’un article précédent lui aussi hautement révisionniste
Sur la base justement d’une présentation tronquée et trompeuse de ladite réalité sur le terrain …
 Omettant notamment de préciser que la réalité « exclusivement arabe » de la ville en 1967  (Vieille ville et Quartier juif compris) …
Sans compter la prière face à la Mecque et donc fesses à Al Aqsa
N’a non seulement duré que 19 ans …
Mais résultait d’une éviction forcée de sa population juive par l’Armée jordanienne ?
Does President Trump Want Peace in the Middle East?
The editorial board
NYT
Dec. 5, 2017
In the debate over a potential Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, no issue is more charged with emotion than the future of Jerusalem. Should the holy city be the capital of the Israelis alone or shared with the Palestinians?
Yet now, with no serious peace talks underway, President Trump is reportedly planning to grant the Israelis’ wish and confound the Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American Embassy there from Tel Aviv, thereby tossing aside decades of American diplomacy. Why?
Mr. Trump insists he is committed to achieving the “ultimate” Middle East peace agreement that eluded his predecessors. But his decision to tip the scales toward Israel on this critical matter, communicated to Arab and Israeli leaders on Tuesday, almost certainly will make an agreement harder to reach by inflaming doubts about America’s honesty and fairness as a broker in negotiations, raising new tension in the region and perhaps inciting violence.
Although Israel’s government has been located in Jerusalem since its founding in 1948, the United States, like the rest of the world, hasn’t recognized the city as Israeli territory, even after the Arab-Israeli War in 1967, when Israel drove back Jordan from East Jerusalem and occupied it. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel promised to negotiate Jerusalem’s future as part of a peace agreement. It has been assumed that under any deal, the city would remain its capital.
Palestinians anticipated being able to locate their capital in East Jerusalem and to have access to Muslim holy sites there. East Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967, but Israel has steadily built settlements there, placing some 200,000 of its citizens among the Arab population and complicating any possible peace agreement.
Mr. Trump boasts of being a consummate dealmaker, but dealmakers don’t usually make concessions before negotiations begin, as the president has here. The big winner is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, whose hard-line government has shown no serious interest in peace, at least not a two-state solution that could win Palestinian support. The blowback was swift. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, warned of “dangerous consequences” to the peace process, while Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the royal palace said, cautioned against the move, “stressing that Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world.” Turkey threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel; other criticism came from Egypt, the Arab League and France. King Salman of Saudi Arabia told Mr. Trump a decision on Jerusalem before a final peace deal would hurt talks and increase regional tensions.
That Saudi warning might be expected, given that Jerusalem is home to the Aqsa Mosque and that the Saudi king holds the title of custodian of Islam’s two other holiest mosques, in Mecca and Medina. A Saudi-sponsored Arab peace initiative still on the table calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from East Jerusalem as part of a far-reaching deal. Yet the Saudis may well be edging away from that position. Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, has close ties to Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, who is drafting a comprehensive peace plan.
While that plan is not yet public, Crown Prince Mohammed is said to have outlined a proposal to Mr. Abbas last month that favored the Israelis more than any proposal previously embraced by the American government. Palestinians would get limited sovereignty over a state that covers only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank. Most Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not get East Jerusalem as their capital, and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
No Palestinian leader could accept such a plan and retain popular support, and the White House and Saudis denied they are working on such ideas. But some analysts doubt Mr. Trump really wants a peace agreement and say any possible proposal may be intended as political cover so Israel and the Sunni Arabs, once enemies, can intensify their incipient collaboration against Iran.
The constituency Mr. Trump is most clearly courting is his own political base of evangelicals and other pro-Israel hard-liners. His predecessors had also made pandering campaign promises in support of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem. But once in office they chose not to prioritize their domestic politics over delicate peace diplomacy, and they put that promise on hold.
Some optimists think that Mr. Trump could lessen the harm of a decision on Jerusalem by making clear he will not prejudge the future of East Jerusalem or other core questions like the borders of a Palestinian state. His track record so far gives little evidence that he has the temperament or skill to navigate such a nuanced position.

Voir aussi:

Ignoring Exile of Jews, NY Times Approvingly Notes East Jerusalem « Was Exclusively Arab in 1967 »
Gilead Ini
Camera
December 7, 2017

Amidst some questionable journalism about the American move to acknowledge the location of Israel’s capital, a passage in yesterday’s New York Times editorial stands out as particularly stunning and perverse.

The editorial, titled « Does Trump Want Peace in the Middle East, » effectively ratifies the cleansing of Jews from Jerusalem’s Old City and other formerly Jewish areas of Jerusalem during the 1948 Independence War.

In a paragraph criticizing the return of Jews to what the newspaper describes as « settlements » in those parts of Jerusalem, the editorial bases its disapproval on the fact that « East Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967. »

new york times exclusively arab editorial

It is true that this section of Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967. This is because Jews, long a majority and plurality in these parts of the city, were forced out in 1948, when the area was seized by Jordanian troops. Jerusalem neighborhoods like the Jewish Quarter, Shimon Hatzadik, and Silan indeed became Jew-free, their synagogues razed and their cemeteries desecrated.

To consider the 19-year period during which Jews were exiled from the Old City and surrounding areas as the starting point of history, and to use it as a bludgeon to attack Israel and delegitimize the presence of Jews in eastern Jerusalem, effectively communicates the newspaper’s acceptance of the expulsion of the Jews and seeming endorsement of an ethically cleansed eastern Jerusalem.

In 1948, the New York Times published the following account of Jews pouring out from the Old City walls:

Thus the Jews have been eliminated from the City of David for the first time since the sixteenth century. Except for sixty years in the sixteenth century they are believed to have been there continuously since the return from the Babylonian captivity. New Jerusalem was largely created in the last seventy years.

All last night and early today the noncombatants were trekking out through the Zion Gate over Mount Zion and through the Valley of Hinnon to the Yemin Moshe quarter from where they were driven to billets in the Katamon quarter. They are mostly orthodox and poor.

This is why « east Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967, » as today’s editorial writers who represent the voice of The New York Times know. To omit the purge of Jews from their neighborhoods and holy places while approvingly citing the ethnically « exclusive » nature of eastern Jerusalem amounts to the promotion of a revisionist history by The Times.
Voir également:

New York Times Downplays Judaism’s Ties to Jerusalem
Ricki Hollander, Tamar Sternthal
Camera
December 7, 2017

In advance of President Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, The New York Times engaged in historical revisionism about Jerusalem with the publication of a lengthy background essay that minimizes historic Jewish ties to the city (« The Conflict in Jerusalem Is Dinstinctly Modern: Here’s the History« ). The article was filled with erroneous assertions, misleading quotes and belittling aspersions about Jewish belief.

The article’s historical departure point is « 1917-48: British Mandate, » and it begins with a quote, devoid of context, to imply that Jerusalem was relatively unimportant to Jews both before and during that time:

« It was for the British that Jerusalem was so important – they are the ones who established Jerusalem as a capital, » said Prof. Yeshoshua Ben-Arieh, a historical geographer at Hebrew University. « Before, it was not anyone’s capital since the times of the First and Second Temples. »

Not mentioned in the article is that the same professor noted in his book, Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century, that under the Ottoman empire, in the 19th century, « Jerusalem became the principal town of Eretz Israel (or Palestine, as it was then known). » He wrote that the Jewish population comprised a majority in Jerusalem’s Old City, which prompted construction of new Jewish neighborhoods outside the walls of the Old City to accommodate the population growth. « By the start of the First World War, » Ben-Arieh wrote, « the Jewish community in Jerusalem numbered about 45,000, out of a population of 70,000 (with 12,000 Muslims and 13,000 Christians). »

Why would so many Jews want to live in Jerusalem, if it was unimportant to them? As the author explained in his book:

The basis for the great increase in the Jewish population of Jerusalem was the intense yearning for the eternal city and the flow of immigrants into it, which began, for religious motives, in the 1840’s. Jews continued to come to Jerusalem in the periods of the First and Second Aliyah as well.

During the period of early Zionism, Ben-Arieh acknowledged, Jews flocked more to Jerusalem than to the agricultural settlements outside the city because « many Jews preferred to come and settle in Jerusalem. »

Contrary to the article’s implication, Jerusalem remained the central focus of tradition, prayer, and yearning for the nearly two millenia after the destruction of the second Jewish Temple in 70 CE. Daily prayers (said while facing Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site) and grace after meals include multiple supplications for the restoration of Jerusalem and the temple. Jews observe the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, the date on which both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, as a day of mourning. The Jewish wedding ceremony concludes with the chanting of the biblical phrase, « If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning, » and the breaking of a glass by the groom to commemorate the destruction of the Temples. And Yom Kippur services and the Passover Seder conclude each year with the phrase « Next Year in Jerusalem. »

While ignoring the inconvenient facts mentioned in Ben Arieh’s book, the article continues to offer quotes from those identified as experts to suggest that early Zionists did not care for Jerusalem.

« Zionism recoiled from Jerusalem, particularly the Old City…Jerusalem was regarded as a symbol of the diaspora… »

« Jerusalem was something of a backwater, a regression to a conservative culture that they were trying to move away from… »

And later:

The early Israeli state was hesitant to focus too much on Jerusalem, given pressure from the United Nations and from the European powers, according to Issam Nassar, a historian at Illinois State University.

Having accepted the idea of international control of Jerusalem, the early Israeli leadership sought alternatives for a capital, perhaps Herzliya or somewhere in the south. They also realized that not having control of Jerusalem’s holy sites might have some advantages, according to Dr. Ramon.

These quotes and paraphrases, however, are completely belied by the direct statements of Israel’s early leaders. Although they accepted the temporary exclusion of Jerusalem as part of the partition proposal, they did so very reluctantly, with the hope and belief that the status of the city would change in the intended referendum following the planned 10-year-period of internationalization. Below are excerpts from their statements, ignored by the article, which eloquently articulate Jerusalem’s place in pre- and early-state Zionist thinking:

Chaim Weizmann (Statement to Jerusalem’s Advisory Council, December 1, 1948):

Jerusalem holds a unique place in the heart of every Jew. Jerusalem is to us the quintessence of the Palestine idea. Its restoration symbolizes the redemption of Israel. Rome was to the Italians the emblem of their military conquests and political organization. Athens embodies for the Greeks the noblest their genius had wrought in art and thought. To us, Jerusalem has both a spiritual and a temporal significance. It is the City of God, the seat of our ancient sanctuary. But it is also the capital of David and Solomon, the City of the Great King, the metropolis of our ancient commonwealth.

To the followers of the two other great monotheistic religions, Jerusalem is a site of sacred associations and holy memories. To us it is that and more than that. It is the centre of our ancient national glory. It was our lodestar in all our wanderings. It embodies all that is noblest in our hopes for the future. Jerusalem is the eternal mother of the Jewish people, precious and beloved even its desolation. When David made Jerusalem the capital of Judea, on that day there began the Jewish Commonwealth. When Titus destroyed it on the 9th of Av, on that day, there ended the Jewish Commonwealth. But even though our Commonwealth was destroyed, we never gave up Jerusalem….

…An almost unbroken chain of Jewish settlement connects the Jerusalem of our day with the Holy City of antiquity. To countless generations of Jews in every land of their dispersion the ascent to Jerusalem was the highest that life could offer. In every generation, new groups of Jews from one part or another of our far-flung Diaspora came to settle here. For over a hundred years, we have formed the majority of its population. And now that, by the will of God, a Jewish Commonwealth has been re-established, is it to be conceived that Jerusalem – Jerusalem of all places – should be out of it?

David Ben Gurion (Statement to Knesset, December 5, 1949):

…Jewish Jerusalem is an organic and inseparable part of the state of Israel, as it is an inseparable part of the history and religion of Israel and of the soul of our people. Jerusalem is the very heart of the State of Israel. We feel pride in that Jerusalem is sanctified – also in the eyes of adherents of other faiths, and we freely and willingly are ready to make all the necessary arrangements to enable the adherents of the other faiths to enjoy their religious needs in Jerusalem. Moreover, we will give to the United Nations all our assistance to assure this. But we cannot conceive that the United Nations will try to tear Jerusalem form Israel or to impair the sovereignty of Israel in its eternal capital.

David Ben Gurion (Statement to Knesset, December 13, 1949):

From the establishment of the Provisional Government we made the peace, the security and the economic consolidation of Jerusalem our principal care. In the stress of war, when Jerusalem was under siege, we were compelled to establish the seat of Government in Ha’Kirya at Tel Aviv. But for the State of Israel there has always been and always will be one capital only – Jerusalem the Eternal. Thus it was 3,000 years ago – and thus it will be, we believe, until the end of time.

The article further deceives by suggesting that Jewish attachment to the city is an invention of recent decades, following Israel’s victory in the Six-Day-War. The article deceptively talks of a « new emphasis on Jerusalem as integral to Israel’s identity. »

This is obviously false. The newspaper’s current journalists authors and editors would be well-served by acquainting themselves with the history they purport to write about, perhaps even by reading archived editions of their own newspaper. Nearly seventy years ago, the New York Times, reporting on the expulsion of Jews from eastern Jerusalem, wrote:

Because it was important to religious Jews and also to many non-religious Zionists that Jews should live in the « City of David » at the spiritual center of Zion beside the Wailing [Western] Wall, which they consider to be part of the western wall of King Solomon’s Temple, the army of Israel was willing to pay a high price to defend this quarter. (May 30, 1948)

But apparently, the current crop of journalists at the New York Times prefer to rely on Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American propagandist  and PLO associate under Yasir Arafat  who is quoted in support of their false assertion:

« [After 1967] Jerusalem became the center of a cult-like devotion that had not really existed previously, » said Rashid Khalidi, a professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University. « This has now been fetishized to an extraordinary degree as hard-line religious nationalism has come to predominate in Israeli politics, with the Western Wall as its focus. »

« Cult-like? » « Fetishized? » « Not existed previously? » Not only is this quote outrageously dishonest, it diminishes and deprecates the reverence for Judaism’s holiest sites. It is hard to imagine the Times relying on similar slurs about Muslim devotion to Mecca, Medina or even the Al Aqsa Mosque.

But double standards and dishonesty apparently rule the day, even in a news article purporting to provide historical background of current events. It is all part of the revisionist history offered by the increasingly agenda-driven New York Times
Voir également:

Jerusalem Denial Complex

If nothing else, Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital shows how disenthralled his administration is with traditional pieties about the Middle East. It’s about time.
One piety is that “Mideast peace” is all but synonymous with Arab-Israeli peace. Seven years of upheaval, repression, terrorism, refugee crises and mass murder in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and Syria have put paid to that notion.
Another piety is that only an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could reconcile the wider Arab world to the Jewish state. Yet relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh, Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Manama are flourishing as never before, even as the prospect of a Palestinian state is as remote as ever.
A third is that intensive mediation by the United States is essential to progress on the ground. Yet recent American involvement — whether at the Camp David summit in 2000 or John Kerry’s efforts in 2013 — has had mostly the opposite effect: diplomatic failure, followed by war.
Which brings us to Jerusalem, and the piety that pretending it isn’t what it is can be a formula for anything except continued self-delusion.
What Jerusalem is is the capital of Israel, both as the ancestral Jewish homeland and the modern nation-state. When Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit the country in 1974, he attended his state dinner in Jerusalem. It’s where President Anwar Sadat of Egypt spoke when he decided to make peace in 1977. It’s what Congress decided as a matter of law in 1995. When Barack Obama paid his own presidential visit to Israel in 2013, he too spent most of his time in Jerusalem.
So why maintain the fiction that Jerusalem isn’t the capital?
The original argument, from 1947, was that Jerusalem ought to be under international jurisdiction, in recognition of its religious importance. But Jews were not allowed to visit the Western Wall during the 19 years when East Jerusalem was under Jordanian occupation. Yasir Arafat denied that Solomon’s Temple was even in Jerusalem, reflecting an increasingly common Palestinian denial of history.
Would Jews be allowed to visit Jewish sites, and would those sites be respected, if the city were redivided? Doubtful, considering Palestinian attacks on such sites, which is one of the reasons why it shouldn’t be.
The next argument is that any effort by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would set the proverbial Arab street on fire and perhaps lead to another intifada.
But this misapprehends the nature of the street, which has typically been a propaganda tool of Arab leaders to channel domestic discontent and manipulate foreign opinion. And it also misrepresents the nature of the last intifada, which was a meticulously preplanned event waiting for a convenient pretext (Ariel Sharon’s September 2000 walk on the Temple Mount) to look like a spontaneous one.
Finally there’s the view that recognition is like giving your college freshman a graduation gift: a premature reward for an Israeli government that hasn’t yet done what’s needed to make a Palestinian state possible.
But this also gets a few things wrong. It will have no effect on whether or how a Palestinian state comes into being, whatever the current histrionics in Ramallah. And it’s not much of a bargaining chip, since most Israelis couldn’t care less where the embassy is ultimately located.
Then again, recognition does several genuinely useful things.
It belatedly aligns American words with deeds. It aligns word as well as deed with reality. And it aligns the United States with the country toward which we are constantly professing friendship even as we have spent seven decades stinting it of the most basic form of recognition.
Recognition also tells the Palestinians that they can no longer hold other parties hostage to their demands. East Jerusalem could have been the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state 17 years ago, if Arafat had simply accepted the terms at Camp David. He didn’t because he thought he could dictate terms to stronger powers. Nations pay a price for the foolhardiness of their leaders, as the Kurds recently found out.
Peace and a Palestinian state will come when Palestinians aspire to create a Middle Eastern Costa Rica — pacifist, progressive, neighborly and democratic — rather than another Yemen: by turns autocratic, anarchic, fanatical and tragic.
For the international community, that means helping Palestinians take steps to dismantle their current klepto-theocracy, rather than fueling a culture of perpetual grievance against Israel. Mahmoud Abbas is now approaching the 13th anniversary of his elected four-year term. Someone should point this out.
Hamas has run Gaza for a decade, during which it has spent more time building rockets and terror tunnels than hotels or hospitals. Someone should point this out, too. It is indicative of the disastrous political choices that help explain 70 years of Palestinian failure.
Meantime, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. For those who have lived in denial, it must be some sort of shock.
Voir par ailleurs:
Photo

An aerial view of Jerusalem’s Old City. Credit Ariel Schalit/Associated Press

In December 1917 — 100 years ago this month — the British general Edmund Allenby seized control of Jerusalem from its Ottoman Turkish defenders. Dismounting his horse, he entered the Old City on foot, through Jaffa Gate, out of respect for its holy status.

In the century since, Jerusalem has been fought over in varying ways, not only by Jews, Christians and Muslims but also by external powers and, of course, modern-day Israelis and Palestinians.

It is perhaps fitting that President Trump appears to have chosen this week to announce that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite concerns from leaders of Arab countries, Turkey and even close allies like France.

Conflicts over Jerusalem go back thousands of years — including biblical times, the Roman Empire and the Crusades — but the current one is a distinctly 20th-century story, with roots in colonialism, nationalism and anti-Semitism. The New York Times asked several experts to walk readers through pivotal moments of the past century.

1917-48: British Mandate

Photo

British soldiers awaiting the arrival of Gen. Edmund Allenby at
Jaffa Gate in 1917. Credit Culture Club/Getty Images
Photo

Palestinian prisoners in the Old City of Jerusalem during the British Mandate.
Credit Fox Photos, via Getty Images
Photo

The British authorities deported Jewish immigrants from Haifa
in 1947. Credit Pinn Hans/Agence France-Press – Getty Images
Photo

Haganah fighters in Jerusalem in April 1948.
Credit Israeli Government Press Office, via Getty Images

“It was for the British that Jerusalem was so important — they are the ones who established Jerusalem as a capital,” said Prof. Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, a historical geographer at Hebrew University. “Before, it was not anyone’s capital since the times of the First and Second Temples.”

The three decades of British rule that followed Allenby’s march on Jerusalem saw an influx of Jewish settlers drawn by the Zionist vision of a Jewish homeland, while the local Arab population adjusted to the reality of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled the city since 1517.

“Paradoxically, Zionism recoiled from Jerusalem, particularly the Old City,” said Amnon Ramon, senior researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research. “First because Jerusalem was regarded as a symbol of the diaspora, and second because the holy sites to Christianity and Islam were seen as complications that would not enable the creation of a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Many early Zionists were secular European socialists, motivated more by concerns about nationalism, self-determination and escape from persecution than by religious visions.

“Jerusalem was something of a backwater, a regression to a conservative culture that they were trying to move away from,” according to Michael Dumper, professor in Middle East politics at the University of Exeter in England. “Tel Aviv was the bright new city on a hill, the encapsulation of modernity.”

For Arabs, he said: “There was still something of the shock at not being in the Ottoman Empire. There was a reordering of their society. The local Palestinian aristocracy, the big families of Jerusalem, emerged as leaders of the Palestinian national movement, which was suddenly being confronted by Jewish migration.”

Opposition to that migration fueled several deadly riots by Palestinians, while Jews chafed at British rule and at immigration restrictions imposed in 1939 — restrictions that blocked many Jews fleeing the Holocaust from entering. After the war, in 1947, the United Nations approved a partition plan that provided for two states — one Jewish, one Arab — with Jerusalem governed by a “special international regime” owing to its unique status.

1948-67: A Divided City

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David Ben-Gurion reading Israel’s Declaration of Independence
on May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv.
Credit Zoltan Kluger/Israeli Government Press Office, via Getty Images
Photo

Damaged buildings in Ben Yehuda Street in central Jerusalem
after car bombs in February 1948.
Credit Hugo H. Mendelsohn/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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Palestinians in Jerusalem leaving the Jewish sector to go to Arab
territory around 1948. Credit Three Lions/Getty Images
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Jews leaving a section of Jerusalem’s Old City in 1948. Credit John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

The Arabs rejected the partition plan, and a day after Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948, the Arab countries attacked the new state. They were defeated. Amid violence by militias and mobs on both sides, huge numbers of Jews and Arabs were displaced.

Jerusalem was divided: The western half became part of the new state of Israel (and its capital, under an Israeli law passed in 1950), while the eastern half, including the Old City, was occupied by Jordan. “For the Palestinians, it was seen as a rallying point,” Professor Dumper said.

Israel and Jordan, he said, were largely focused elsewhere. Israel built up its prosperous coastal areas — including Haifa, Tel Aviv and Ashkelon — into a thriving commercial zone, while the Jordanian king, Abdullah I, focused on the development of Amman, Jordan’s capital.

The early Israeli state was hesitant to focus too much on Jerusalem, given pressure from the United Nations and from the European powers, according to Issam Nassar, a historian at Illinois State University.

Having accepted the idea of international control of Jerusalem, the early Israeli leadership sought alternatives for a capital, perhaps Herzliya or somewhere in the south. They also realized that not having control of Jerusalem’s holy sites might have some advantages, according to Dr. Ramon.

While Israel moved many government functions to Jerusalem during the country’s first two decades, foreign governments largely avoided Jerusalem and opened embassies in Tel Aviv, in recognition of the United Nations resolution.

1967-93: Two Wars and an Intifada

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Israeli soldiers at the Aqsa Mosque during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.
Credit Gilles Caron/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images
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After Israel seized East Jerusalem in 1967, its soldiers carried a
confiscated portrait of King Hussein of Jordan.
Credit Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos
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A wall dividing East and West Jerusalem, near the Damascus Gate,
in 1967. Credit Micha Bar-Am/Magnum Photos
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Palestinians and Israelis clashing in Jerusalem in 1993.
Credit Menahem Kahana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

No event has shaped the modern contest over Jerusalem as much as the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, in which Israel not only defeated invading Arab armies but also seized control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria.

“The turning points in 1967 were two: the great victory, including the fast shift from fears of defeat before the war to euphoria and the feeling that everything was possible, and the emotional impact of occupying the Old City,” said Menachem Klein, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

Images of Israeli soldiers praying at the Western Wall, to which they had been denied access during Jordanian rule, became seared into Israel’s national consciousness.

“Jerusalem became the center of a cultlike devotion that had not really existed previously,” said Rashid Khalidi, a professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University. “This has now been fetishized to an extraordinary degree as hard-line religious nationalism has come to predominate in Israeli politics, with the Western Wall as its focus.”

The victory of the right-leaning party Likud in 1977, under the leadership of Menachem Begin, helped solidify this new emphasis on Jerusalem as integral to Israel’s identity. Religious settlers became more prominent in political life in Israel, beginning a long ascendance that has never really halted. Old-line socialists with roots in Russia and Eastern Europe gave way to a more diverse — and also more religious — population of Israelis with origins in the Middle East, North Africa and other regions.

As part of this shift, Jerusalem’s symbolic importance intensified. Its role in Jewish history was emphasized in military parades and curriculums, and students from across Israel were taken there on school visits. This process culminated in 1980, when lawmakers passed a bill declaring that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” — although Israel stopped short of annexing East Jerusalem, a move that would most likely have drawn international outrage.

1993-present: Oslo and Beyond

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Israeli soldiers refusing Palestinians entry into Jerusalem from
the West Bank in 2016. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times
Photo

Palestinians hurling shoes at the Israeli police at the Aqsa Mosque
in 2001, during the second intifada. Credit Getty Images
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The scene after a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in
West Jerusalem in 2001. Credit Getty Images
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Construction work in a Jewish settlement in the mainly Palestinian
eastern sector of Jerusalem in November.
Credit Ahmad Gharabli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The 1993 Oslo accords provided for the creation of a Palestinian Authority to govern the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while deferring a resolution on core issues: borders, refugees and Jerusalem’s status. In the nearly quarter-century since, the prospects for a lasting peace deal have seemed ever more elusive.

A visit by the right-wing politician Ariel Sharon in 2000 to the sacred complex known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary — which contains Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock — set off violent clashes and led to a second Palestinian uprising that claimed the lives of about 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis over five years.

Palestinians say that Jewish settlers have encroached on East Jerusalem, and that Israel has compounded the problem by revoking residency permits. Even so, the ethnic composition of Jerusalem’s population has remained about 30 percent to 40 percent Arab.

“The entire international community has been in accord that Israeli annexation and settlement of East Jerusalem since 1967 is illegal, and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” Professor Khalidi said. “If Trump changes this position, given the importance of Jerusalem to Arabs and Muslims, it is hard to see how a sustainable Palestinian-Israeli agreement or lasting Arab-Israeli normalization is possible.”

Professor Ben-Arieh says the conflict over the city is likely to endure. “The Arab-Jewish conflict escalated into a nationalistic conflict, with Jerusalem at its center,” he said. “Jerusalem was a city holy to three religions, but the moment that, in the land of Israel, two nations grew — the Jewish people and the local Arab people — both embraced Jerusalem. More than Jerusalem needed them, they needed Jerusalem. »

 Voir enfin:

Donald Trump, seul contre tous

Editorial. En décidant de reconnaître officiellement Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël, le président américain transgresse les règles de la diplomatie, piétine les accords passés et s’isole un peu plus.

Le Monde

Editorial du « Monde ». Seul contre tous. Donald Trump a ignoré tous les avertissements, polis ou pressants selon les dirigeants, toutes les suppliques, jusqu’à celle du pape François, avant d’annoncer, mercredi 6 décembre, sa décision de reconnaître officiellement Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël. Les réactions d’alarme et d’indignation qui ont accueilli cette décision au sein de la communauté internationale – à l’exception du premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Nétanyahou, qui a applaudi des deux mains – confirment, pour ceux qui en doutaient encore, que le président américain n’hésite à transgresser aucun tabou.

Il est clair à présent que les Etats-Unis de Donald Trump ne se contentent pas de décider de façon unilatérale, en faisant fi de l’avis de leurs partenaires les plus proches. Ils ont entrepris le démantèlement d’un système de relations internationales qu’ils ont eux-mêmes édifié après la deuxième guerre mondiale. L’annonce de M. Trump sur Jérusalem est, tout simplement, un viol de la diplomatie comme mode de règlement des conflits.

En vertu des accords d’Oslo, signés sous les auspices des Etats-Unis en 1993, Israël s’était engagé à négocier le statut futur de Jérusalem dans le cadre d’accords de paix. Le roi de Jordanie, l’un des dirigeants les plus modérés du Moyen-Orient, a souligné que la question de Jérusalem « est cruciale pour parvenir à la paix et la stabilité dans la région et dans le monde ». Le processus de paix lancé à Oslo est malheureusement aujourd’hui au point mort : il n’y a pas, à l’heure actuelle, de négociations de paix entre Israéliens et Palestiniens.

Mépris du droit international

Mais en rallumant l’étincelle de Jérusalem, le président américain prend ouvertement le risque d’accroître les tensions et de provoquer de nouvelles violences dans une région toujours au bord de l’explosion, sans pour autant préciser ses projets sur une relance d’un processus de paix. L’envoi du vice-président Michael Pence au Proche-Orient ne fait guère illusion à cet égard.

Pis, par sa décision, M. Trump consacre la politique du fait accompli de M. Nétanyahou. Si le gouvernement israélien a été installé à Jérusalem dès 1948, Jérusalem-Est était entièrement arabe jusqu’à 1967. Depuis, à la faveur de colonies de peuplement construites par Israël, quelque 200 000 Israéliens se sont installés parmi les Palestiniens, rendant la question du statut de la ville encore plus complexe. Jérusalem capitale de l’Etat d’Israël est « une réalité », clame Donald Trump, évitant soigneusement de mentionner Jérusalem-Est comme possible capitale d’un Etat palestinien. Logiquement, ce raisonnement entérine aussi les colonies de peuplement dans les territoires occupés comme « une réalité », au mépris du droit international.

Mais, pas plus que l’art de la diplomatie, le droit international n’entre visiblement pas dans les paramètres de la politique étrangère trumpienne, tout entière guidée par son obsession de rompre avec ses prédécesseurs et ses impératifs de politique intérieure – en l’occurrence le souci de satisfaire les chrétiens évangéliques et les lobbys pro-israéliens.

Contourner les Etats-Unis

La liste des engagements internationaux auxquels M. Trump a tourné le dos depuis son entrée en fonctions, en janvier, s’allonge : l’accord de libre-échange transpacifique ; l’accord de Paris sur le climat ; l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien ; l’Unesco, dont Washington et Israël ont annoncé leur retrait ; l’Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC), où les délégués américains sont de plus en plus réfractaires, et, tout récemment, le pacte mondial sur la gestion des migrants et des réfugiés adopté à l’ONU. Sans parler du discours très offensif à l’égard du système multilatéral prononcé par M. Trump en septembre devant l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies et de la destruction de l’appareil diplomatique américain. Cette liste est suffisamment longue pour faire prendre conscience aux alliés des Etats-Unis que le monde est entré dans une nouvelle ère.

Le moment est venu de prendre acte de cette réalité. Comme cela se fait déjà pour l’accord sur le climat, il faut apprendre à contourner une administration fédérale américaine engagée dans une dangereuse déstabilisation de la communauté internationale.

Voir par ailleurs:

VIDÉO – Jérusalem, capitale d’Israël ? Pour Alain Finkielkraut, « la décision de Trump risque d’embraser la région »

PARTI PRIS – Invité de « L’Entretien d’Audrey » sur LCI ce dimanche, le philosophe Alain Finkielkraut a dénoncé la décision de Donald Trump de reconnaître Jérusalem comme la capitale d’Israël. Il a aussi jugé que le Crif avait outrepassé ses prérogatives en demandant à Emmanuel Macron de suivre la voie de son homologue américain.

« Catastrophique ». C’est l’adjectif employé par Alain Finkielkraut pour dénoncer la décision historique de Donald Trump de reconnaîre Jérusalem comme la capitale d’Israël. Invité ce dimanche de « L’Entretien d’Audrey » sur LCI, le philosophe et écrivain s’est prononcé contre le choix du président des États-Unis, qui a d’ailleurs ravivé les tensions autour de la bande de Gaza.

« Je partage l’attachement à Israël, de tous les juifs, mais d’un autre côté, la décision de Trump me paraît catastrophique parce qu’elle risque d’embraser la région, parce qu’elle risque d’empêcher la reprise des négociations entre les Palestiens et les Israéliens. Les Américains auraient dû procéder tout autrement », a-t-il regretté, fustigeant également la position du Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahu : « Il ne propose rien aux Palestiniens. Il les pousse au désespoir et à l’extrémisme. »

Dans la foulée de cette prise de position par Trump, le Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (Crif) et le Consistoire ont appelé dès jeudi le président français Emmanuel Macron à faire de même. Une déclaration qui ne fait pas l’unanimité au sein de la communauté juive, allant même jusqu’à la crisper, a estimé Finkielkraut. « Le Crif me semble sortir de ses prérogatives et je ne suis pas sûr qu’il soit répresentatif dans le monde juif. La plupart des juifs, pas tous, sont attachés à Israël, soucieux d’Israël et sont conscients de la vulnérabilité d’Israël (…). Il n’en reste pas moins que tous les juifs ne sont pas d’accord avec la politique de Netanyahu. Le Crif, au lieu de demander à Macron de s’aligner sur Trump, devrait lui ne pas s’aligner sur Netanyahu et le gouvernement d’Israël parce que ces décisions peuvent être et doivent être discutées.

Interrogé sur une (possible) montée de l’antisémitisme en France suite à ces deux décisions communes qu’il « dénonce », Alain Finkielkraut a estimé qu’il « était possible qu’elles alimentent cette haine ». « Aujourd’hui, il y a en effet un nouveau antisémiste qui prend prétexte de la situation faite aux Palestiniens pour attaquer, voire molester, des juifs comme on l’a vu tout récemment à Livry-Gargan (en Seine-Saint-Denis, ndlr). Ce prétexte palestinien ne doit pas être accepté. »


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