Guerre d’Ukraine: Il a même traité les Alliés de délinquants et l’Allemagne de captive de la Russie ! (Guess who four years ago laughed so hard when they were warned about not paying their military dues and relying on Russian oil and gas ?)

8 mars, 2022

Keith Farrell🇮🇪 (@lonewolfkeith85) / Twitter

FLASHBACK: Trump Ripped Germany's Cozy Relationship With Russia To The NATO General Secretary's Face | The Daily Caller“On commence ?” Tjeerd, Pays-Bas.NATO members' promise of spending 2% of their GDP on defence is proving hard to keep | The Economist

Un message annonce que la chaîne Youtube de RT est indisponible en Europe, le 1er mars 2022. (EYEPRESS NEWS / AFP)

On ne peut comprendre la vie qu’en regardant en arrière; on ne peut la vivre qu’en regardant en avant. Søren Kierkegaard
S’il a fallu repenser de fond en comble la sociologie des intellectuels, c’est que, du fait de l’importance des intérêts en jeu et des investissements consentis, il est suprêmement difficile, pour un intellectuel, d’échapper à la logique de la lutte dans laquelle chacun se fait volontiers le sociologue — au sens le plus brutalement sociologiste — de ses adversaires, en même temps que son propre idéologue, selon la loi des cécités et des lucidités croisées qui règle toutes les luttes sociales pour la vérité. Pierre Bourdieu
Presque aucun des fidèles ne se retenait de s’esclaffer, et ils avaient l’air d’une bande d’anthropophages chez qui une blessure faite à un blanc a réveillé le goût du sang. Car l’instinct d’imitation et l’absence de courage gouvernent les sociétés comme les foules. Et tout le monde rit de quelqu’un dont on voit se moquer, quitte à le vénérer dix ans plus tard dans un cercle où il est admiré. C’est de la même façon que le peuple chasse ou acclame les rois. Marcel Proust
Pour qu’il y ait cette unanimité dans les deux sens, un mimétisme de foule doit chaque fois jouer. Les membres de la communauté s’influencent réciproquement, ils s’imitent les uns les autres dans l’adulation fanatique puis dans l’hostilité plus fanatique encore. René Girard
Même le renoncement au mimétisme violent ne peut pas se répandre sans se transformer en mécanisme social, en mimétisme aveugle. Il y a une lapidation à l’envers symétrique de la lapidation à l’endroit non dénuée de violence, elle aussi. C’est ce que montrent bien les parodies de notre temps. Tous ceux qui auraient jeté des pierres s’il s’était trouvé quelqu’un pour jeter la première sont mimétiquement amenés à n’en pas jeter. Pour la plupart d’entre eux, la vraie raison de la non-violence n’est pas la dure réflexion sur soi, le renoncement à la violence : c’est le mimétisme, comme d’habitude. Il y a toujours emballement mimétique dans une direction ou dans une autre. En s’engouffrant dans la direction déjà choisie par les premiers, les « mimic men » se félicitent de leur esprit de décision et de liberté. Il ne faut pas se leurrer. Dans une société qui ne lapide plus les femmes adultères, beaucoup d’hommes n’ont pas vraiment changé. La violence est moindre, mieux dissimulée, mais structurellement identique à ce qu’elle a toujours été. Il n’y a pas sortie authentique du mimétisme, mais soumission mimétique à une culture qui prône cette sortie. Dans toute aventure sociale, quelle qu’en soit la nature, la part d’individualisme authentique est forcément minime mais pas inexistante. Il ne faut pas oublier surtout que le mimétisme qui épargne les victimes est infiniment supérieur objectivement, moralement, à celui qui les tue à coups de pierres. Il faut laisser les fausses équivalences à Nietzsche et aux esthétismes décadents. Le récit de la femme adultère nous fait voir que des comportements sociaux identiques dans leur forme et même jusqu’à un certain point dans leur fond, puisqu’ils sont tous mimétiques, peuvent néanmoins différer les uns des autres à l’infini. La part de mécanisme et de liberté qu’ils comportent est infiniment variable. Mais cette inépuisable diversité ne prouve rien en faveur du nihilisme cognitif ; elle ne prouve pas que les comportements sont incomparables et inconnaissables. Tout ce que nous avons besoin de connaître pour résister aux automatismes sociaux, aux contagions mimétiques galopantes, est accessible à la connaissance. René Girard
 Il faut se souvenir que le nazisme s’est lui-même présenté comme une lutte contre la violence: c’est en se posant en victime du traité de Versailles que Hitler a gagné son pouvoir. Et le communisme lui aussi s’est présenté comme une défense des victimes. Désormais, c’est donc seulement au nom de la lutte contre la violence qu’on peut commettre la violence. René Girard
Je me souviens très bien de la remilitarisation de la Rhénanie en 1935. Si les Français étaient entrés en Allemagne, ils auraient pu changer le cours des événements : les Allemands étaient incapables de leur opposer la moindre résistance. Seulement Albert Sarraut [président du Conseil] et le gouvernement français seraient passés pour les salopards qui empêchaient le monde de revenir à la normale. Ils n’étaient pas assez forts moralement pour tenir le coup. Par la suite, on a beaucoup reproché à Sarraut sa passivité. Mais il était dans une situation inextricable. René Girard
Les moyens dits pacifiques ne sont pas toujours ni même nécessairement les meilleurs pour préserver une paix existante. On sait aujourd’hui que si les Français et les Anglais avaient eu une autre attitude lors de l’entrée des troupes allemandes dans la zone démilitarisée en 1935, on aurait peut-être réussi à faire tomber Hitler et ainsi empêché la guerre de 1939. Il y a également de fortes chances qu’une action offensive des Alliés les aurait fait passer pour coupables aux yeux de l’opinion mondiale. En général ; on ne connaît qu’après coup l’utilité d’une guerre préventive pour préserver la paix. Julien Freund
Un des grands problèmes de la Russie – et plus encore de la Chine – est que, contrairement aux camps de concentration hitlériens, les leurs n’ont jamais été libérés et qu’il n’y a eu aucun tribunal de Nuremberg pour juger les crimes commis. Thérèse Delpech (2005)
La série Occupied (Okkupert en norvégien) (…) production franco-suédo-norvégienne tend (…) un miroir bien sombre à l’Europe et à ses voisins sur leur futur proche. Les géopoliticiens savent désormais que la culture populaire en général et les séries télévisées en particulier illustrent et façonnent les représentations collectives qui jouent un rôle essentiel dans les relations internationales. (…) De même que Homeland a révélé aux Américains plusieurs aspects inconnus ou occultés de la « global war on terror », de même, Occupied, diffusée peu après l’annexion de la Crimée par la Russie, peut avoir un effet de révélation sur eux-mêmes pour les Européens. Mais une dystopie est bien souvent l’envers d’une utopie… ou une utopie qui a mal tourné. Occupied n’est ni un réquisitoire radical contre l’Europe ni une déploration sur le sort de la Norvège. L’épisode inaugural de la série donne le ton. Conçu par le romancier norvégien Jo Nesbo, il plonge en quelques minutes le téléspectateur dans le cauchemar de la guerre hybride. Voici les éléments essentiels de cette exposition magistrale : dans un futur proche, les États-Unis ont quitté l’Alliance atlantique et se murent dans l’isolationnisme, comme les premières minutes de l’épisode nous l’apprennent. Les éléments se sont conjurés contre le Royaume de Norvège : le réchauffement climatique vient de produire inondations dans le pays, comme le montrent les images du générique. Ces événements ont conduit à l’élection de Jesper Berg au poste de premier ministre sur un programme de transition énergétique radicale : arrêter complètement la production et l’exportation d’hydrocarbures qui alimentent l’Europe et font la richesse du royaume. L’objectif est de remplacer toutes les énergies fossiles par des centrales au thorium. Le décor géopolitique est planté : le futur de l’Europe est marqué par l’abandon d’États-Unis isolationnistes, par le retrait de l’OTAN et par une transition énergétique rendue drastique par les effets dévastateurs du réchauffement climatique. Les risques structurels inhérents à la présidence Trump constituent la donne géopolitique et géoéconomique de notre continent. Toutefois, l’Union ne reste pas longtemps dans un statut de victime passive : au moment où il inaugure la grande centrale au thorium, le premier ministre Berg est enlevé par des forces spéciales russes et reçoit, lors de cet enlèvement, un avertissement vidéo de la part du commissaire européen français : la Norvège doit reprendre la production et l’exportation d’hydrocarbures vers l’Europe, faute de quoi, l’Union demandera à la Russie d’intervenir militairement en Norvège pour rétablir la production. (…) les forces armées russes s’engagent dans une occupation graduelle, l’Union européenne utilise la menace russe comme instrument de chantage, la population civile norvégienne hésite entre collaboration pour réduire les dommages et résistance armée… la Norvège sombre dans la guerre civile et dans un conflit international. Les origines du cauchemar ne sont donc pas seulement exogènes à l’Europe : elles lui sont internes. C’est la soif de ressources naturelles de l’Europe qui la conduisent à fouler aux pieds le choix souverain des électeurs norvégiens et à sous-traiter la violence militaire envers le territoire du royaume. Victime du réchauffement climatique et de l’abandon américain, l’Europe est elle-même un prédateur écologique, politique et militaire. La dystopie révèle crûment les principaux chefs d’accusation brandis depuis des mois contre l’Europe : mépris pour les souverainetés nationales, politiques de voisinage cyniques, dépendance à l’égard des États-Unis, etc. (…) À première vue, l’Union européenne d’Occupied est la caricature qu’en présentent ses détracteurs. Le Commissaire européen incarné par Hippolyte Girardot a tous les vices imputés à la construction européenne : soumis à une Chancelière allemande dont le nom n’est jamais prononcé, il exécute tous ses ordres destinés à répondre aux besoins de l’industrie allemande ; indifférent au sort d’une démocratie voisine et partenaire, il soumet le premier ministre norvégien à un chantage permanent ; ne visant que l’accroissement de son pouvoir, il utilise la violence militaire russe pour soumettre un État souverain. (…) Technocratie hors sol et méprisante pour les souverainetés nationales et populaire, l’Union semble démasquée. Toutefois (…) le téléspectateur (…) peut découvrir une image inversée de l’Union actuelle où ses faiblesses chroniques ont trouvé leur remède. Régulièrement accusée d’idéalisme, de pacifisme et de naïveté, notamment par Hubert Védrine, l’Union européenne apparaît dans la série comme prête et capable de défendre ses intérêts vitaux. Soucieuse de défendre ses capacités industrielles et ses lignes d’approvisionnement en matière première, l’Union met en œuvre les attributs de la puissance sur la scène internationale en exerçant une pression diplomatique sur ses partenaires et ses voisins. Prenant acte de l’abandon américain, elle se refuse à nourrir la chimère d’une Pax Americana et sous-traite son action extérieure à la seule puissance militaire disponible, la Russie. (…) La figure de la Russie est elle aussi présentée sous une forme apparemment caricaturale : puissance militaire sans égard pour la vie humaine, imperium en reconstruction, elle n’hésite pas à déclencher des opérations clandestines pour occuper les plates-formes pétrolières norvégiennes, traquer les opposants à l’occupation jusque dans les rues d’Oslo et faire disparaître les résistants. (…) Exécutrice des basses œuvres de l’Union européenne, prise dans une spirale impérialiste, la Russie d’Occupied est celle de la guerre dans le Donbass et de l’annexion de la Crimée. Plusieurs autorités publiques russes ont d’ailleurs protesté contre la série. En réalité, [l]es concepteurs de la série rappellent au public européen que Vladimir Poutine peut être perçu comme un centriste dans son propre pays. D’autre part, les forces d’occupation russes sont elles aussi prises dans la spirale et les dilemmes de l’occupation. Soit elles prennent entièrement la maîtrise de la Norvège mais suscitent un rejet complet et manquent leur objectif. Soit elles respectent a minima les institutions du pays et elles risquent d’apparaître comme faibles. Dans la série comme dans la réalité, l’action extérieure de la Russie paraît aventureuse. Loin de la stratégie mondiale qu’on lui prête. La russophobie attribuée à Occupied pourrait bien se révéler plus complexe que prévu : moins qu’un empire en reconstitution, la Russie apparaît comme une puissance fragile, opportuniste et subordonnée aux latitudes laissées par l’Union européenne. (…) Occupied apparaît comme un cauchemar norvégien : longtemps en conflit avec la Russie pour la délimitation de sa zone économique exclusive dans le Grand Nord, poste avancé de l’OTAN durant toute la guerre froide malgré une tradition de neutralisme et de pacifisme, cible d’incursions navales et aériennes, ce pays de 5 millions d’habitants se sait dépendant de l’extérieur pour assurer sa sécurité. Occupied le présente comme une victime de son environnement naturel et politique. Sans le soutien des États-Unis et de l’Union, la Norvège se considère elle-même comme une Ukraine aisément la proie des impérialismes environnants. La série est en réalité bien plus critique envers le royaume nordique que le téléspectateur français ne pourrait le penser. (…) La série pointe la naïveté de cette démocratie opulente et exemplaire. On peut même percevoir dans la mise en scène du personnel politique norvégien une certaine mauvaise conscience : forts de leurs convictions écologiques, assurés de leur prospérité économique et confiants dans les règles de droit, ils négligent l’alliance avec l’Union. Le pays a en effet refusé à deux reprises d’adhérer à l’Union européenne, en 1972 et 1994. Soucieux de préserver tout à la fois le modèle de protection sociale, sa souveraineté nationale et son alliance avec les États-Unis, la Norvège est dans une situation précaire à l’égard de l’Europe : la solidarité ne peut pleinement s’exercer pour un État partenaire mais non membre. La Norvège d’Occupied, victime idéale, ne paie-t-elle pas les conséquences de son refus de l’Europe ? Cyrielle Bret
La collection « 20 H 55 le jeudi » (auparavant  « 20 H 55 le dimanche »), initiée avec des films sur Ben Laden et sur le Vatican, propose des biopics documentés de personnages d’envergure exceptionnelle dont l’histoire épouse celle d’un pays, d’une région, du monde… Vladimir Poutine entre tout naturellement dans cette catégorie. C’est sans conteste un des hommes les plus puissants de la planète. À cela s’ajoute une dimension indéniablement romanesque. Lui consacrer un film permettait de mêler deux enjeux : raconter un pan de l’histoire contemporaine – l’URSS post-stalinienne, l’effondrement du communisme, la réorganisation de la Russie dans les années 90, le fonctionnement du pouvoir, ses coulisses – tout en racontant une trajectoire individuelle fascinante, celle d’un fils d’ouvriers pauvres, sauvé de la délinquance par une de ses institutrices et devenu officier du KGB, le parcours d’un homme de l’ombre qui, lorsqu’il accède au pouvoir, est vu par beaucoup comme une marionnette et qui, au terme d’une ascension fulgurante, concentre entre ses mains un pouvoir immense. L’histoire personnelle de cet homme en dit long sur la Russie d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, sur son rapport à la vie, à la mort, à la dureté et parfois à la cruauté. Et puis, elle nous permet de plonger dans un monde de coulisses, de complots, de manigances, de corruption, de mélange des genres… (…) Nous avons fait une demande de visa et d’autorisation de tournage. Il nous a fallu expliquer aux autorités russes quel était notre projet, en restant suffisamment vagues mais en présentant néanmoins une liste de personnes à interviewer la plus équilibrée possible. Ce n’était pas si difficile puisque notre film ne se veut ni à charge ni à décharge. Nous ne demandions pas aux gens de s’exprimer pour ou contre Poutine, même s’il y a forcément des personnes qui appartiennent à un camp ou à l’autre, voire qui affichent clairement leurs affinités ou inimitiés. Quoi qu’il en soit, on ne nous a pas fait de difficultés. Vous savez, les Russes, on est avec eux ou contre eux. C’est ainsi qu’ils voient les choses. Si nous étions allés enquêter sur des questions très précises, des sujets qui fâchent, la fortune cachée de Poutine, tel ou tel de ses amis, sa famille, les attentats de 1999 qui ont contribué à sa prise du pouvoir, etc., nous aurions eu des soucis, c’est certain. Mais notre démarche a été jugée suffisamment générale et équilibrée, sans doute. Les véritables difficultés sont souvent ailleurs, en fait. Dans la nécessité de faire le tri entre les points de vue, les thèses, les témoignages, la propagande… La notion de vérité est très complexe dans ce pays. Dans les propos des témoins de la jeunesse de Poutine, il y a sans doute pas mal de choses vraies. Mais leur récit cadre aussi très bien avec l’image que Poutine lui-même veut donner, celle d’un homme du peuple. Il est très rare de rencontrer quelqu’un qui dise la vérité ou qui ne dise que la vérité. (…) C’est le mode d’écriture et la grammaire visuelle propres à Magneto Presse et plus particulièrement à cette collection. Des interviews posées – avec quelques principes de réalisation, comme ces photos projetées qui évoquent le personnage –, des archives retravaillées et enfin des séquences d’évocation. Ainsi, pour l’enfance et la jeunesse de Poutine, qui sont évidemment peu ou pas du tout documentées en images, nous avons recréé en studio l’appartement communautaire où il a grandi, ses cours au KGB, son séjour en Allemagne de l’Est en utilisant des « sosies de dos » ou des « sosies flous ». Ces moments qui jouent des codes de la fiction – et qui sont filmés comme tels, avec assistant réalisateur, chef op’, équipe technique, figurants, etc. – donnent une puissance extraordinaire au récit en conviant tout un imaginaire de thriller, d’espionnage, de complots, etc. (…) Faire passer aux téléspectateurs un bon moment en leur apprenant des choses. Pour le reste, chacun se fera ou tentera de se faire sa propre opinion. Il y a des gens pour qui la fin justifie les moyens, ou plutôt pour qui des fins exceptionnelles justifient certains moyens hors normes, y compris par leur violence. Nous donnons cependant des pistes pour dépasser et remettre en question cette image de quasi-smicard incorruptible restaurant la fierté d’un peuple que véhicule la propagande. Elle est très éloignée de la véritable nature du pouvoir de cet homme. Ceux qui ont peur trouveront peut-être de quoi nourrir leur peur. Mais aussi de la relativiser. Il est vrai que Poutine concentre entre ses mains plus de force qu’aucun autre chef d’État car son pouvoir souffre peu de médiation. Mais la force de son pays est moindre qu’on veut bien le dire. Elle repose sur une économie à base d’hydrocarbures (c’est dire si elle est peu armée pour l’avenir), des têtes nucléaires, un siège à l’ONU, l’utilisation habile et opportuniste des faiblesses des autres… L’homme le plus puissant du monde est à la tête d’une puissance, pas d’une superpuissance. Christophe Widemann
As journalism, this is scattershot at best, but as a conversation that covers a vast span of Russian history, culture, and politics as refracted through the mind of Russia’s president – it’s often remarkable. Putin has a lot to say. Stone lets him say it. While the many points he makes are impossible to summarize here, Putin’s motives for this interview are not: He emerges as an intelligent, sane, reasonable leader caught in the vortex of an occasionally feckless, often contradictory superpower called the United States. Touché. Gay Verne (Newsday, June 12, 2017)
I can tell you this, that as head of state today, I believe it’s my duty to uphold traditional values and family values. But why? Because same-sex marriages will not produce any children. God has decided, and we have to care about birth rates in our country. We have to reinforce families. But that doesn’t mean that there should be any persecutions against anyone. (…)There is no longer an Eastern Bloc, no more Soviet Union. Therefore, why does NATO keep existing? My impression is that in order to justify its existence, NATO has a need of an external foe, there is a constant search for the foe, or some acts of provocation to name someone as an adversary. Nowadays, NATO is a mere instrument of foreign policy of the U.S. It has no allies, it has only vassals. Once a country becomes a NATO member, it is hard to resist the pressures of the U.S. And all of a sudden any weapon system can be placed in this country. An anti-ballistic missile system, new military bases, and if need be, new offensive systems. And what are we supposed to do? In this case we have to take countermeasures. We have to aim our missile systems at facilities that are threatening us. The situation becomes more tense. Why are we so acutely responding to the expansion of NATO? Well, as a matter of fact, we understand the value or lack thereof, and the threat of this organization. But what we’re concerned about is the following: We are concerned by the practice of how decisions are taken. I know how decisions are taken there. (…) Unlike many partners of ours, we never interfere within the domestic affairs of other countries. That is one of the principles we stick to in our work. Vladimir Putin
Oliver Stone, a revisionist history buff who’s spent the past few decades cozying up to dictators like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Putin (…) in addition to qualifying Hitler and claiming the Jews run the media, Stone helmed the 2014 documentary Ukraine on Fire—a bizarre slice of Kremlin propaganda alleging that the CIA orchestrated the 2014 Ukrainian revolution (based on scant evidence), and featuring cameos from Viktor Yanukovych and Putin. If that weren’t enough, in September, the JFK filmmaker posited that the Democratic National Committee hack was an inside job and not, as 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded, the work of Russian agents. Stone’s The Putin Interviews, a new four-part series debuting on Showtime on June 12, should thus be viewed as nothing short of hero worship (…) The Putin Interviews, a documentary comprised of conversations with the Russian president that took place between July 2015 and February 2017, is clearly intended to humanize Putin and demonize America.  (…) Stone not only fails to challenge Putin, but essentially cedes him the floor, allowing the cunning ex-KGB operative to spin more than the president’s toupee in a tornado. Putin denies Russia was the aggressor in virtually every global conflict, including the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. He champions Russia’s economy over that of the U.S., despite his GDP being a little more than half that of California’s. He even blames the Cuban Missile Crisis on the U.S. (…) The lion’s share of The Putin Interviews’ B-roll consists of news clips from RT, the propaganda arm of the Kremlin, and pro-Russia graphics.  (…) Stone suggests that Putin could influence the U.S. election by endorsing a candidate, thereby causing his or her popularity to plummet. “Unlike many partners of ours, we never interfere within the domestic affairs of other countries,” replies Putin, smiling wide. “That is one of the principles we stick to in our work.” The Putin Interviews offer, first and foremost, a staggering display of mendacity on the part of both interviewer and interviewee. During a back and forth aboard his jet, Putin claims to have in his possession a letter from the CIA admitting that they provided technical support to the Chechens—including terrorist organizations—during the Second Chechen War. When Stone requests that he provide the letter, Putin responds, “I don’t think it would be appropriate. My words are enough.” For Oliver Stone, they most certainly are. Marlow Stern
Oliver Stone filme Vladimir Poutine, lui donne la parole, comme s’il était un parfait inconnu. Ne connaissant rien à la Russie, le réalisateur américain est incapable de lui apporter la contradiction, ni même de saisir les perches lancées par Poutine, que ce soit sur l’Otan, les oligarques, la Tchétchénie, les pays voisins. Il n’approfondit jamais les thèmes abordés.   Stone se montre tellement inculte que, par contraste, Poutine apparaît modéré, plus fin, plus intelligent -ce qu’il est sans aucun doute. « Vous avez amélioré les salaires… stoppé les privatisations ». « Non, je n’ai pas arrêté les privatisations », le corrige Poutine. Au cours de l’exercice, Poutine ment de nombreuses fois, mais à plusieurs reprises, les mensonges ne sortent même pas de sa bouche. Il se contente d’enchaîner sur les affirmations du cinéaste.   Les compliments de Stone sur les avancées économiques dues au président reprennent sans recul la propagande du Kremlin. Il est vrai que le niveau de vie a augmenté entre 2000 et 2008, mais selon les économistes russes, c’est presque entièrement attribuable à la hausse des prix du baril. Un journal russe a d’ailleurs publié un article livrant 20 exemples de la façon dont Poutine a trompé Oliver Stone, après la sortie de ce film. Il montre notamment que Poutine semble ignorer que les fonds de réserve gouvernementaux sont inclus dans les fonds de réserve de la Banque centrale, sans être contredit par Stone.  (…) Donner la parole à Vladimir Poutine est tout à fait légitime. A condition qu’en face on lui apporte la contradiction. Ce que dit le président russe tout au long de ce film n’a rien de nouveau. On le retrouve intégralement sur RT et Sputnik [les chaines de propagande du Kremlin]. Ce n’est pas un documentaire. C’est un clip publicitaire. Il est surprenant qu’une chaîne publique consacre autant de temps à un tel objet.  (…) D’un bout à l’autre, la complaisance et la vacuité des échanges sont consternants. Cette façon de montrer le président avec son cheval ou faisant du sport… La naïveté de Stone est même parfois drôle. Il découvre étonné que les fidèles ne s’assoient pas dans les églises orthodoxes, avant d’embrayer sur le rôle de l’orthodoxie en Russie. Le décalage entre son ignorance et la question centrale de la religion dans la société russe est troublante. Son ingénuité l’amène à dérouler sans complexe le discours du Kremlin. Par exemple sur la promesse de non-élargissement de l’Otan que les Occidentaux auraient faite à Mikhaïl Gorbatchev à la chute de l’URSS. Gorbatchev lui-même a démenti que de telles promesses lui avaient été faites. Là encore, Poutine est plus subtil que Stone. Il soutient que cette promesse a été donnée par oral, non par écrit. Impossible à vérifier, donc.  Et à aucun moment Stone ne s’interroge sur la raison pour laquelle les pays de l’ex-bloc soviétique ont voulu rejoindre l’Otan. Pourquoi l’opinion ukrainienne qui était, il y a quelques années encore, hostile à l’entrée dans l’Alliance atlantique y est favorable, depuis la guerre dans l’est de son territoire?  (…) Le documentaire ne pêche pas seulement par ce qu’il affirme, mais aussi par ce qu’il élude…  Les exemples ne manquent pas. Aucune question sur sa fortune personnelle, sur les fastes du gouvernement. Il n’aborde pratiquement pas la société russe, à l’exception de l’homosexualité. Aucune mention de l’effondrement du système médical, de l’éducation. Rien sur les grands-mères à qui le gouvernement refuse que leurs retraites soient indexées sur le taux de l’inflation… Le réalisateur ne l’interroge pas non plus sur ce qu’a fait Poutine entre 1991 (la chute de l’URSS) et 1996″, moment où il entre au Kremlin. Ni sur son attitude au moment du putsch d’août 1991 contre Gorbatchev. Rapidement évoquées, la question des oligarques et celle de la privatisation de l’économie russe dans les années 1990, auraient mérité d’être creusées. Stone se contente d’étaler la vision du maître du Kremlin. Rien sur les véritables raisons pour lesquelles certains oligarques ont été adoubés et d’autres jetés derrière les barreaux. La stigmatisation de Mikhaïl Khodorkovski, qui a passé dix ans en prison m’a particulièrement choquée. Stone ne se contente pas de servir la soupe à Poutine, il se fait complice de la persécution de cet homme. Cécile Vaissié
En Italie, aujourd’hui, être un Russe est considéré une faute. Et apparemment, même être un Russe décédé, qui de plus a été condamné à mort en 1849 pour avoir lu une chose interdite. Ce qui est en train d’arriver en Ukraine est une chose horrible qui me donne envie de pleurer, mais ces réactions sont ridicules. Quand j’ai lu ce mail de l’université, je ne pouvais pas y croire. Paolo Nori
Quand on censure des médias, c’est qu’on est en guerre, mais on n’est pas en guerre et il va y avoir une réciprocité des Russes. Vladimir Poutine va frapper nos médias.  Nous avions un média très puissant en Russie, France 24, qui touche à peu près 28,2% de l’espace d’information russe, qui est multilingue, français et anglais. Fragiliser ça pour un petit média comme RT, qui avait très peu d’audience en France, est ridicule. Fabrice D’Almeida (historien et vice-président de l’Université Panthéon-Assas)
Le respect de l’accord de Minsk signifie la destruction du pays. Quand ils ont été signés sous le canon du pistolet russe – et le regard des Allemands et des Français – il était déjà clair pour toutes les personnes rationnelles qu’il était impossible d’appliquer ces documents. (…) S’ils insistent sur le respect des accords de Minsk tels qu’ils sont, ce sera très dangereux pour notre pays. Si la société n’accepte pas ces accords, cela pourrait conduire à une situation interne très difficile et la Russie compte là-dessus. (…) Personne n’a le droit de nous dicter si nous devons ou non rejoindre des alliances. C’est le droit souverain de notre peuple. (…) Malheureusement, [les Allemands] ne se sont pas excusés d’avoir tué des millions de nos concitoyens. Ils s’excusent auprès des Russes comme si nous étions un seul pays. Ils ne devraient pas parler de démocratie et puis dire qu’ils soutiennent des régimes autoritaires et s’associent à eux. Oleksiy Danilov (chef de la sécurité ukrainienne, 31 janvier 2022)
Sans l’Ukraine, la Russie cesse d’être un empire (…) Pour Moscou, en revanche, rétablir le contrôle sur l’Ukraine ― un pays de cinquante-deux millions d’habitants doté de ressources nombreuses et d’un accès à la mer Noire –, c’est s’assurer les moyens de redevenir un État impérial puissant, s’étendant sur l’Europe et l’Asie. La fin de l’indépendance ukrainienne aurait des conséquences immédiates pour l’Europe centrale. (…) La Russie peut-elle, dans le même mouvement, être forte et démocratique ? Si elle accroît sa puissance, ne  cherchera-t-elle pas à restaurer son domaine impérial ? Peut-elle prospérer en tant qu’empire et en tant que démocratie ? (…) Et la « réintégration » de l’Ukraine reste, à ce jour, une position de principe qui recueille le consensus de la classe politique. Le refus russe d’entériner le statut d’indépendance de l’Ukraine, pour des raisons historiques et politiques, se heurte frontalement aux vues américaines, selon lesquelles la Russie ne peut être à la fois impériale et démocratique. (…) D’autant que la Russie postsoviétique n’a accompli qu’une rupture partielle avec son passé. Presque tous ses dirigeants « démocratiques », bien que conscients du passif et sans illusions sur la valeur du système, en sont eux-mêmes le produit et y ont accompli leur carrière jusqu’au sommet de la hiérarchie. Ce n’étaient pas des anciens dissidents comme en Pologne ou  en République tchèque. Les institutions clés du pouvoir soviétique ― même affaiblies et frappées par la démoralisation et la corruption ― n’ont pas disparu. À Moscou, sur la place Rouge, le mausolée de Lénine, toujours en place, symbolise cette résistance de l’ordre soviétique. Imaginons un instant une Allemagne gouvernée par d’anciens gauleiters nazis, se gargarisant de slogans démocratiques et entretenant le mausolée d’Hitler au centre de Berlin. Zbigniew Brzezinski (“Le Grand Echiquier”, 1997)
La propagande russe présente la Russie comme un État menacé qui a besoin de toute urgence de « garanties de sécurité » de la part de l’Occident. (…) [Mais] il y a actuellement plus d’ogives nucléaires stockées en Russie que dans l’ensemble des trois États membres de l’OTAN dotés d’armes nucléaires : les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni et la France. Moscou dispose d’un large éventail de vecteurs pour ses milliers d’armes nucléaires : des missiles balistiques intercontinentaux aux bombardiers de longue portée en passant par les sous-marins nucléaires. La Russie possède l’une des trois armées conventionnelles les plus puissantes du monde, ainsi qu’un droit de veto au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU. La Fédération de Russie est donc l’un des États les plus protégés du monde sur le plan militaire. Le Kremlin utilise des troupes régulières et irrégulières, ainsi que le potentiel de sa menace nucléaire, pour mener diverses guerres et occuper de manière permanente plusieurs territoires dans les anciennes Républiques soviétiques. Non seulement en Europe orientale, mais aussi en Europe occidentale et sur d’autres continents, le Kremlin revendique sans complexe des droits spéciaux pour faire valoir ses intérêts sur le territoire d’États souverains. Contournant les règles, les traités et les organisations internationales, Moscou chasse des ennemis dans le monde entier. Le Kremlin tente de saper les processus électoraux, l’État de droit et la cohésion sociale dans des pays étrangers par des campagnes de propagande, des fake news et des attaques de pirates informatiques, entre autres. Ces agissements sont réalisés en partie en secret, mais dans le but évident d’entraver ou de discréditer la prise de décision démocratique dans les États pluralistes. Il s’agit en particulier de porter atteinte à l’intégrité politique et territoriale des États post-soviétiques en voie de démocratisation. En tant que première puissance économique d’Europe, l’Allemagne observe ces activités d’un œil critique, mais reste largement passive, depuis maintenant trois décennies. (…) En outre, la politique étrangère et la politique économique de Berlin ont contribué à l’affaiblissement politique et économique des pays d’Europe orientale non dotés d’armes nucléaires et au renforcement géo-économique d’une superpuissance nucléaire de plus en plus expansive. En 2008, l’Allemagne a joué un rôle central pour empêcher la Géorgie et l’Ukraine de rejoindre l’OTAN. (…) Pour les relations ukraino-russes déjà fragiles, la mise en service du premier gazoduc Nord Stream en 2011-2012, totalement superflu en termes énergétiques et économiques, a été une catastrophe. Rétrospectivement, cela semble avoir ouvert la voie à l’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie deux ans plus tard. Une grande partie de la capacité existante de transport de gaz entre la Sibérie et l’UE n’a pas été utilisée en 2021. Pourtant, la République fédérale se prépare maintenant à éliminer complètement le dernier levier économique de l’Ukraine sur la Russie avec l’ouverture du gazoduc Nord Stream 2 (…) L’attaque de Poutine contre l’Ukraine en 2014 apparaît comme une conséquence presque logique de la passivité politique allemande des vingt années précédentes vis-à-vis du néo-impérialisme russe. (…) Le Kremlin remet désormais aussi en question la souveraineté politique de pays comme la Suède et la Finlande. Il demande l’interdiction d’une éventuelle adhésion à l’OTAN non seulement pour les pays post-soviétiques mais aussi pour les pays scandinaves. Le Kremlin fait peur à toute l’Europe en lui promettant des réactions « militaro-techniques » au cas où l’OTAN ne répondrait pas « immédiatement », selon Poutine, aux exigences démesurées de la Russie visant à réviser l’ordre de sécurité européen. La Russie brandit la menace d’une escalade militaire si elle n’obtient pas de « garanties de sécurité », c’est-à-dire l’autorisation pour le Kremlin de suspendre le droit international en Europe. (…) Les crimes perpétrés par l’Allemagne nazie sur le territoire de l’actuelle Russie en 1941-1944 ne peuvent justifier l’attitude réservée de l’Allemagne d’aujourd’hui face au revanchisme et au nihilisme juridique international du Kremlin. Lettre ouverte de 73 experts allemands (Die Zeit, 14 janvier 2022)La propagande russe présente la Russie comme un État menacé qui a besoin de toute urgence de « garanties de sécurité » de la part de l’Occident. (…) [Mais] il y a actuellement plus d’ogives nucléaires stockées en Russie que dans l’ensemble des trois États membres de l’OTAN dotés d’armes nucléaires : les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni et la France. Moscou dispose d’un large éventail de vecteurs pour ses milliers d’armes nucléaires : des missiles balistiques intercontinentaux aux bombardiers de longue portée en passant par les sous-marins nucléaires. La Russie possède l’une des trois armées conventionnelles les plus puissantes du monde, ainsi qu’un droit de veto au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU. La Fédération de Russie est donc l’un des États les plus protégés du monde sur le plan militaire. Le Kremlin utilise des troupes régulières et irrégulières, ainsi que le potentiel de sa menace nucléaire, pour mener diverses guerres et occuper de manière permanente plusieurs territoires dans les anciennes Républiques soviétiques. Non seulement en Europe orientale, mais aussi en Europe occidentale et sur d’autres continents, le Kremlin revendique sans complexe des droits spéciaux pour faire valoir ses intérêts sur le territoire d’États souverains. Contournant les règles, les traités et les organisations internationales, Moscou chasse des ennemis dans le monde entier. Le Kremlin tente de saper les processus électoraux, l’État de droit et la cohésion sociale dans des pays étrangers par des campagnes de propagande, des fake news et des attaques de pirates informatiques, entre autres. Ces agissements sont réalisés en partie en secret, mais dans le but évident d’entraver ou de discréditer la prise de décision démocratique dans les États pluralistes. Il s’agit en particulier de porter atteinte à l’intégrité politique et territoriale des États post-soviétiques en voie de démocratisation. En tant que première puissance économique d’Europe, l’Allemagne observe ces activités d’un œil critique, mais reste largement passive, depuis maintenant trois décennies. (…) En outre, la politique étrangère et la politique économique de Berlin ont contribué à l’affaiblissement politique et économique des pays d’Europe orientale non dotés d’armes nucléaires et au renforcement géo-économique d’une superpuissance nucléaire de plus en plus expansive. En 2008, l’Allemagne a joué un rôle central pour empêcher la Géorgie et l’Ukraine de rejoindre l’OTAN. (…) Pour les relations ukraino-russes déjà fragiles, la mise en service du premier gazoduc Nord Stream en 2011-2012, totalement superflu en termes énergétiques et économiques, a été une catastrophe. Rétrospectivement, cela semble avoir ouvert la voie à l’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie deux ans plus tard. Une grande partie de la capacité existante de transport de gaz entre la Sibérie et l’UE n’a pas été utilisée en 2021. Pourtant, la République fédérale se prépare maintenant à éliminer complètement le dernier levier économique de l’Ukraine sur la Russie avec l’ouverture du gazoduc Nord Stream 2 (…) L’attaque de Poutine contre l’Ukraine en 2014 apparaît comme une conséquence presque logique de la passivité politique allemande des vingt années précédentes vis-à-vis du néo-impérialisme russe. (…) Le Kremlin remet désormais aussi en question la souveraineté politique de pays comme la Suède et la Finlande. Il demande l’interdiction d’une éventuelle adhésion à l’OTAN non seulement pour les pays post-soviétiques mais aussi pour les pays scandinaves. Le Kremlin fait peur à toute l’Europe en lui promettant des réactions « militaro-techniques » au cas où l’OTAN ne répondrait pas « immédiatement », selon Poutine, aux exigences démesurées de la Russie visant à réviser l’ordre de sécurité européen. La Russie brandit la menace d’une escalade militaire si elle n’obtient pas de « garanties de sécurité », c’est-à-dire l’autorisation pour le Kremlin de suspendre le droit international en Europe. (…) Les crimes perpétrés par l’Allemagne nazie sur le territoire de l’actuelle Russie en 1941-1944 ne peuvent justifier l’attitude réservée de l’Allemagne d’aujourd’hui face au revanchisme et au nihilisme juridique international du Kremlin. Lettre ouverte de 73 experts allemands (Die Zeit, 14 janvier 2022)
Bonjour tout le monde. Bonjour aux médias – les médias légitimes et les faux médias. Bonjour à tous les deux. Beaucoup de gens bien  ici. Surprenant. (…) Il suffit de regarder le tableau. Jetez un œil au tableau. C’est public. Et de nombreux pays ne paient pas ce qu’ils devraient. Et, franchement, de nombreux pays nous doivent une énorme somme d’argent depuis de nombreuses années, où ils nous sont débiteurs, en ce qui me concerne, parce que les États-Unis ont dû payer pour eux. Donc, si vous revenez 10 ou 20 ans en arrière, vous additionnez tout cela. Ce sont des sommes énormes qui sont dues. Les États-Unis ont payé et intensifié comme personne. Cela dure depuis des décennies, cela dit en passant. Cela a duré sous de nombreux présidents. Mais aucun autre président n’en a parlé comme moi. Il faut donc faire quelque chose, et le secrétaire général y a travaillé très dur. Cette année, depuis notre dernière réunion, des engagements ont été pris pour plus de 40 milliards de dollars supplémentaires dépensés par d’autres pays. C’est donc un pas, mais c’est un tout petit pas. Cela ressemble à beaucoup d’argent – et c’est le cas – mais c’est une très petite somme d’argent par rapport à ce qu’ils doivent et à ce qu’ils devraient payer. Et c’est un fardeau injuste pour les États-Unis. Nous sommes donc ici pour en parler, et je suis sûr que ce sera résolu. J’ai une grande confiance en le Secrétaire Général. Il a travaillé très, très dur là-dessus, et il sait que c’est un fait. Mais j’ai une grande confiance en lui et en ses représentants. (…) Je pense que c’est très triste quand l’Allemagne conclut un énorme accord pétrolier et gazier avec la Russie, où vous êtes censé vous protéger contre la Russie, et que l’Allemagne sort et paie des milliards et des milliards de dollars par an à la Russie. Nous protégeons donc l’Allemagne. Nous protégeons la France. Nous protégeons tous ces pays. Et puis de nombreux pays vont conclure un accord de gazoduc avec la Russie, où ils versent des milliards de dollars dans les coffres de la Russie. Nous sommes donc censés vous protéger contre la Russie, mais ils versent des milliards de dollars à la Russie, et je pense que c’est très inapproprié. Et l’ancien chancelier d’Allemagne est à la tête de la société de gazoduc qui fournit le gaz. En fin de compte, l’Allemagne aura près de 70 % de son pays contrôlé par la Russie avec du gaz naturel. Alors, dites-moi, est-ce normal ? (…) Je m’en suis plaint depuis que je suis entré. Cela n’aurait jamais dû être autorisé. Mais l’Allemagne est totalement contrôlée par la Russie, car elle obtiendra de 60 à 70 % de son énergie de la Russie et d’un nouveau gazoduc. Et vous me dites si c’est normal, parce que je pense que ce n’est pas le cas, et je pense que c’est une très mauvaise chose pour l’OTAN et je ne pense pas que cela aurait dû arriver. Et je pense que nous devons en parler avec l’Allemagne. En plus de cela, l’Allemagne ne paie qu’un peu plus de 1 %, alors que les États-Unis, en chiffres réels, paient 4,2 % d’un PIB beaucoup plus important. Donc je pense que c’est inapproprié aussi. Vous savez, nous protégeons l’Allemagne ; nous protégeons la France ; nous protégeons tout le monde, et pourtant nous payons beaucoup d’argent pour protéger. Or, cela dure depuis des décennies. Cela a été soulevé par d’autres présidents. Mais d’autres présidents n’ont jamais rien fait à ce sujet parce que je ne pense pas qu’ils l’aient compris ou qu’ils ne voulaient tout simplement pas s’impliquer. Mais je dois en parler, car je pense que c’est très injuste pour notre pays. C’est très injuste pour notre contribuable. Et je pense que ces pays doivent augmenter leur contribution non pas sur une période de 10 ans ; ils doivent le faire immédiatement. L’Allemagne est un pays riche. Ils disent qu’ils vont l’augmenter un peu d’ici 2030. Eh bien, ils pourraient l’augmenter immédiatement demain et n’avoir aucun problème. Je ne pense pas que ce soit juste pour les États-Unis. Alors il va falloir faire quelque chose parce qu’on ne va pas le supporter. Nous ne pouvons pas supporter ça. Et c’est anormal. Nous devons donc parler des milliards et des milliards de dollars qui sont versés au pays contre lequel nous sommes censés vous protéger. Vous savez, tout le monde est — tout le monde en parle partout dans le monde. Ils diront, eh bien, attendez une minute, nous sommes censés vous protéger de la Russie, mais pourquoi payez-vous des milliards de dollars à la Russie pour l’énergie ? Pourquoi les pays de l’OTAN, à savoir l’Allemagne, ont-ils un grand pourcentage de leurs besoins énergétiques payés, vous savez, à la Russie et pris en charge par la Russie ? Maintenant, si vous regardez cela, l’Allemagne est prisonnière de la Russie parce qu’elle fournit — elle s’est débarrassée de ses centrales au charbon. Ils se sont débarrassés de leur nucléaire. Ils obtiennent une grande partie du pétrole et du gaz de la Russie. Je pense que c’est quelque chose que l’OTAN doit examiner. Je pense que c’est très anormal. Vous et moi avons convenu que c’était anormal. Je ne sais pas ce que vous pouvez faire à ce sujet maintenant, mais cela ne semble certainement pas logique qu’ils aient payé des milliards de dollars à la Russie et maintenant nous devons les défendre contre la Russie. (…) Comment pouvez-vous être ensemble quand un pays tire son énergie de la personne contre laquelle vous voulez être protégé ou du groupe dont vous voulez être protégé ? (…) Cous ne faites que rendre la Russie plus riche. Vous ne traitez pas avec la Russie. Vous rendez la Russie plus riche. (…) Je pense que le commerce est merveilleux. Je pense que l’énergie est une toute autre histoire. Je pense que l’énergie est une histoire très différente du commerce normal. Et vous avez un pays comme la Pologne qui n’accepte pas le gaz [russe]. Vous jetez un coup d’œil à certains pays – ils ne l’accepteront pas, car ils ne veulent pas être captifs de la Russie. Mais l’Allemagne, en ce qui me concerne, est captive de la Russie, car elle tire une grande partie de son énergie de la Russie. Nous sommes donc censés protéger l’Allemagne, mais ils tirent leur énergie de la Russie. Expliquez-moi ça. Et cela ne peut pas être expliqué  et vous le savez. Président Trump (Petit-déjeuner de travail bilatéral de l’OTAN, Bruxelles, 11 juillet 2018)
L’Amérique est gouvernée par les Américains. Nous rejetons l’idéologie du mondialisme et nous embrassons la doctrine du patriotisme. Partout dans le monde, les nations responsables doivent se défendre contre les menaces à la souveraineté non seulement de la gouvernance mondiale, mais aussi d’autres nouvelles formes de coercition et domination. En Amérique, nous croyons fermement en la sécurité énergétique pour nous-mêmes et pour nos alliés. Nous sommes devenus le plus grand producteur d’énergie de la surface de la Terre. Les États-Unis sont prêts à exporter notre approvisionnement abondant et abordable de pétrole, de charbon propre et de gaz naturel. L’OPEP et les nations de l’OPEP, comme d’habitude, arnaquent le reste du monde, et je n’aime pas ça. Personne ne devrait aimer ça. Nous défendons beaucoup de ces nations pour rien, et ensuite ils en profitent. Nous voulons qu’ils arrêtent d’augmenter les prix, nous voulons qu’ils commencent à baisser les prix, et ils doivent désormais contribuer substantiellement à la protection militaire. Nous n’allons pas supporter ça – ces horribles prix — beaucoup plus longtemps. Le recours à un seul fournisseur étranger peut rendre un pays vulnérable à l’extorsion et à l’intimidation. C’est pourquoi nous félicitons les États européens, comme la Pologne, d’avoir dirigé la construction d’un gazoduc baltique afin que les nations ne dépendent pas de la Russie pour répondre à leurs besoins énergétiques. L’Allemagne deviendra totalement dépendante de l’énergie russe si elle ne change pas immédiatement de cap. Ici, dans l’hémisphère occidental, nous nous engageons à maintenir notre indépendance face à l’empiètement des puissances étrangères expansionnistes. Président Trump (ONU, New York, septembre 2018)
J’ai moi-même vécu dans une partie de l’Allemagne occupée par l’Union soviétique. Je suis très heureuse que nous soyons aujourd’hui unis, dans la liberté. Angela Merkel

Rira bien qui rira le dernier !

A l’heure où sous les yeux de nos caméras, l’un des deux derniers régimes à n’avoir toujours pas eu droit à son procès de Nuremberg pour leurs quelque 100 millions de victimes

Et de ce fait, incapable de faire son deuil d’empire

Le régime kleptocratique de Poutine poursuit sa destruction du peuple ukrainien

Profitant, sans compter l’étrange hémiplégie des plus perspicaces d’entre nous, de l’incroyable faiblesse d’un président américain

Qui après la débâcle militaire afghane et l’arrêt de toute nouvelle production de gaz et de pétrole aux Etats-Unis mêmes …

Comme de la levée des sanctions sur le gazoduc russo-allemand

Annonce enfin l’arrêt de ses faibles importations de pétrole russe

Tout en appelant à un nouvel accord nucléaire avec l’Etat-voyou iranien

Qui sous prétexte de libérer sa production pétrolière ….

Va lui permettre, avant sa sanctuarisation nucléaire, de relancer ses activités terroristes dans tout le Moyen-orient …

Comment ne pas repenser du côté européen …

Comme l’illustre étrangement bien sept ans après la série norvégienne « Occupied » actuellement sur Netflix …

A ces décennies d’apaisement et de compromissions …

Dont l’actuel emballement, entre interdiction contreproductive de médias russes et censure imbécile d’un cours sur Dostoievski,  dans la juste condamnation n’est que l’envers tout aussi mimétique …

Largement compensé néanmoins par la diffusion sur des chaines de télévision publiques à des heures de grande écoute par des publi-reportages à la gloire de Poutine

Après n’avoir cessé d’affaiblir la pauvre Ukraine …

A l’image d’une Allemagne qui après avoir profité du parapluie américain depuis plus de 70 ans  pour accumuler les excédents commerciaux …

Tout en refusant l’entrée de l’Ukraine dans l’OTAN …

Et lui imposant des accords inacceptables

A poussé la provocation jusqu’à construire non pas un mais deux gazoducs largement inutiles privant cette dernière de son dernier levier économique sur la Russie …

Mais comment ne pas repenser aussi à ces paroles, rétrospectivement si prophétiques, du président Trump tout au long de son mandat …

Qui avait alors provoqué, de la part de nos médias comme de nos responsables politiques, tant les condamnations que les moqueries …

Jusqu’à la délégation allemande à l’ONU un certain jour de septembre il y a quatre ans ?

FLASHBACK: Trump Warned UN About Relying On Russian Oil, Was Laughed At By German Delegation

Brianna Lyman
The Daily Caller

The German delegation appeared to laugh at former President Donald Trump during a 2018 United Nations (U.N.) speech in which the president warned about relying on Russian oil.

While speaking at the 73rd U.N. General Assembly, Trump criticized Germany for relying on Russian oil exports.

“Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation. That is why we congratulate European states, such as Poland, for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs,” Trump said. “Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.”

“Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers,” Trump continued as the camera then panned to the German delegation, who appeared to be laughing.

Trump made similar comments warning about Germany’s energy dependence during a 2018 meeting with German and NATO leaders.

“It’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia,” Trump said. “Where, you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia. So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia, but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate.”

“Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70% of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that’s appropriate, and I think it’s not,” he said while addressing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump approved sanctions to deter the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would allow Russia to bypass Ukraine to get gas to Europe and served as a major geopolitical win for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Upon taking office, President Joe Biden revoked the sanctions, only recently putting them back in place following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Voir aussi:

FLASHBACK: Trump Ripped Germany’s Cozy Relationship With Russia To The NATO General Secretary’s Face

Anders Hagstrom

Former President Donald Trump ripped Germany’s cozy relationship with Russia in 2018, a relationship some argue contributed to Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Numerous current and former German officials have stated that their efforts to create a “special relationship” with Russia since 2014 was a mistake and that Germany’s Russia policy is now in “ruins.” Trump warned Germany that its relationship with Russia could turn sour during a 2018 meeting with German and NATO leaders.

“It’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia. Where, you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said at the time. “So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia, but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate.”

“Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70% of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that’s appropriate, and I think it’s not,” he said, addressing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump maintained a critical tone against Germany throughout his presidency, accusing the country of “delinquency” in its NATO payments in 2020.

Germany, Hungary and Italy have reportedly stood in the way of the U.S. and NATO imposing the most stringent sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine this week. President Joe Biden alluded to the situation Thursday, saying that removing Russia from the international SWIFT banking system “is not a position that the rest of Europe wishes to take.”

Germany has since halted the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to move forward with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Biden also announced that the U.S. would sanction Putin personally Friday, one day after reporters pressed the White House on why it hadn’t already taken the step.

Russia carried out coordinated airstrikes on Ukrainian military bases across the country beginning Thursday morning. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a general call-to-arms to his citizens Thursday, saying the government will provide weapons.

“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country,” Zelensky tweeted early Thursday. “Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”

Biden’s Thursday sanctions package included blocks on technology exports to Russia, as well as sanctions against four major Russian banks, among other measures.

While the U.S. has ruled out deploying troops directly to Ukraine, Biden has increased the number of U.S. troops in NATO countries near Russia. Biden has threatened that if Putin goes beyond Ukraine and invades a NATO country, Russia will face the full force of American power, a threat he reiterated Thursday.

Voir également:

Sommet de l’Otan : duel entre Donald Trump et Angela Merkel

VIDÉO. Le président américain a accusé Berlin d’être sous le joug de la Russie et de ne pas assez contribuer aux efforts militaires de l’organisation.Source AFP

  • François d’Alançon, envoyé spécial à Bruxelles
  • La Croix

Comment les alliés réagissent au grand chambardement du lien transatlantique orchestré par Donald Trump ? Le sommet de l’Otan, mercredi 11 et jeudi 12 juillet à Bruxelles, a donné un aperçu des stratégies de « coping », adoptées par les uns et les autres, pour maîtriser, réduire ou tolérer les imprécations du président américain, comparé par Robin Niblett, directeur du think tank britannique Chatham House, à un parrain mafieux extorquant des concessions commerciales en échange d’une protection.

Mis sous pression sur la question du partage du fardeau financier, les alliés ont évité de s’opposer frontalement à Donald Trump, certains exhibant leurs efforts quand d’autres faisaient profil bas. Toujours pas satisfait, le président a proposé aux alliés de fixer un nouvel objectif de dépenses militaires à 4 % du PIB. « Chacun s’est demandé s’il était sérieux », a affirmé le président bulgare Roumen Radev. « L’Otan n’est pas un marché où l’on peut acheter la sécurité. » Dans un tweet, Donald Trump a ensuite exigé le respect immédiat de l’objectif des 2 % du PIB, et non en 2024, comme les pays de l’Alliance l’avaient décidé lors d’un sommet en 2014.

Trump attaque Merkel

L’explosion a été presque instantanée, au cours d’un petit-déjeuner de travail à l’ambassade des États-Unis. Donald Trump s’y est livré à un exercice de communication très calculé, tirant à boulets rouges sur sa cible favorite, Angela Merkel, en présence du secrétaire général de l’Alliance Jens Stoltenberg et sous l’œil des caméras des chaînes de télévision américaines. « L’Allemagne est totalement contrôlée par la Russie. Ils tirent 60 % de leur énergie de la Russie, ils lui paient des milliards de dollars et nous devons les défendre contre la Russie. Ce n’est pas normal », a lâché le président américain, comme s’il voulait se dédouaner de toute complicité envers la Russie, à quatre jours de son sommet bilatéral avec Vladimir Poutine à Helsinki.

Cette attaque planifiée lui a également permis d’enfoncer un coin dans l’unité des Européens sur un dossier, – la dépendance énergétique vis-à-vis de Moscou – qui les divise. La Pologne, notamment, estime que l’Europe n’a pas besoin du gazoduc Nord Stream 2 qui vise à doubler d’ici à 2020 les livraisons directes de gaz en Allemagne à partir de la Russie, via la mer Baltique.

Toujours prudente, Angela Merkel a répondu sur un ton courtois mais ferme, laissant entendre qu’elle n’avait pas besoin de leçon sur la façon de traiter avec les régimes autoritaires, compte tenu de son expérience de l’Allemagne de l’Est. « J’ai moi-même vécu dans une partie de l’Allemagne occupée par l’Union soviétique, a déclaré la chancelière. Je suis très heureuse que nous soyons aujourd’hui unis, dans la liberté, en tant que République fédérale d’Allemagne. Nous pouvons par conséquent mener nos propres politiques, nous pouvons prendre des décisions indépendantes ».

La tension a baissé d’un cran au cours d’une rencontre bilatérale en marge du sommet. Visage fermé, Donald Trump a assuré, sans vraiment convaincre, avoir de « très bonnes relations » avec Angela Merkel qui s’est, elle-même, prudemment déclarée satisfaite de leurs échanges de vues.

Macron définit quatre priorités

Autre souffre-douleur de Donald Trump, le premier ministre canadien Justin Trudeau a tenté de se prémunir contre des réprimandes en annonçant que les Forces armées canadiennes commanderont dès l’automne prochain une mission d’entraînement militaire de l’Otan en Irak où le Canada déploiera 250 militaires et quatre hélicoptères.

Dans un registre différent, Emmanuel Macron s’est voulu le bon élève de la classe en définissant quatre priorités pour l’Alliance : la « crédibilité des moyens de défense collective », « l’efficacité dans la lutte contre le terrorisme et dans les opérations », « la modernité dans la gestion des ressources » de l’Otan et « l’unité ». Selon son entourage, le chef de l’État a appelé « à ne pas fragiliser l’Alliance », sachant qu’« un contexte plus incertain serait source de davantage de dépenses militaires ». Le président français a, lui aussi, eu droit à un entretien bilatéral avec Donald Trump. « Nous avons une relation formidable », a assuré son homologue américain.

Dans le rôle d’homme-orchestre, le secrétaire général de l’Otan Jens Stoltenberg s’est employé à arrondir les angles, en insistant sur la capacité de l’Alliance à prendre des décisions, attribuant à Donald Trump le mérite de l’augmentation des dépenses militaires des alliés, « 6 % en termes réels, en 2017 ». Les différends ont toujours existé au sein de l’Alliance plaide le Norvégien qui s’efforce de maintenir l’unité au sein d’une alliance fracturée entre un pôle autoritaire incarné par Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan et Viktor Orban, avec l’appui de la Pologne, et un pôle libéral représenté par Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau et Emmanuel Macron.

Jens Stoltenberg a, par ailleurs, mis l’accent sur la déclaration de vingt-cinq pages adoptée par les 29 pays membres qui dénonce notamment « les actions agressives de la Russie portant atteinte à l’ordre international fondé sur les règles », condamne son action déstabilisatrice dans l’est de l’Ukraine et son annexion de la Crimée et adopte une série de mesures pour renforcer la réactivité militaire de l’Alliance.

« Dans le monde de Trump, les alliés sont un fardeau »

Les alliés, en particulier les Européens, font-ils le bon choix en s’efforçant de répondre aux exigences de Donald Trump, un partenaire en chef qui prend un malin plaisir à les diviser et distribue bons et mauvais points, comme dans un épisode de The Apprentice, son ancienne émission de téléréalité ?

Rien n’est moins sûr. « Les Européens se considèrent comme des alliés de l’Amérique, ce qui les rend particulièrement vulnérables face à Trump », commente le politologue bulgare Ivan Krastev, président du Center for Liberal Strategies à Sofia. « Dans le monde de Trump, l’Amérique n’est pas une force de stabilité mais un perturbateur et les alliés sont un fardeau. Le défi pour les dirigeants européens est d’apprendre à vivre dans un monde où l’Amérique n’a pas d’alliés en investissant dans une capacité de défense européenne autonome plutôt que dépendre des États-Unis. Le plus grand risque pour l’Union européenne serait de devenir le gardien d’un statu quo qui a cessé d’exister. »

Voir par ailleurs:

L’Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique nord mourra-t-elle sous peu, à l’âge de 70 ans, de la main d’un président américain ? Donald Trump a tant critiqué l’OTAN que le sommet de Londres, les 3 et 4 décembre prochains, pourrait bien commencer son éloge funèbre. Surtout si le président sortant est réélu en 2020 à la magistrature suprême des États-Unis. La tentation serait alors forte, pour lui, de quitter l’organisation et de la remplacer par des alliances bilatérales rénovées. Et un retrait américain de l’OTAN précipiterait assurément l’agonie d’une organisation déclarée en « mort cérébrale » par Emmanuel Macron.

Quel paradoxe ! L’alliance militaire sortie victorieuse de la Guerre froide et de son affrontement avec le Pacte de Varsovie, dissous en 1991, redoutée et critiquée à Moscou, à Téhéran et à Pékin, risque d’être démantelée, de l’intérieur, par son promoteur historique, les États-Unis. Quelle est l’espérance de vie réelle de l’OTAN ? Est-elle promise à la mort tant de fois annoncée ? Ou bien sera-t-elle ressuscitée par la résurgence de la puissance militaire russe ?

Le réquisitoire de Donald Trump contre l’OTAN

En matière d’Alliance atlantique, Donald Trump fait preuve d’une cohérence bien rare. Ses critiques sont constantes. Durant la campagne électorale de 2016, sa première déclaration de politique étrangère a consisté en u netirade contre l’OTAN. Dans son discours au Center for National Interest du 27 avril 2016, il avait été explicite : la clé de voûte de son action, la priorité donnée aux États-Unis (« America First ! »), exige un désengagement à l’égard de l’OTAN.

Depuis, le président n’a pas déjugé le candidat. Déclaration après déclaration, tweet après tweet, le locataire de la Maison Blanche a fustigé l’organisation créée en 1949. Quels sont ses griefs envers une institution où les États-Unis détiennent les leviers de commandement, à commencer par le commandement militaire suprême, le poste de Commandant suprême des forces alliées en Europe (SACEUR) ?

Le principal grief de Donald Trump est budgétaire et financier. Les États-Unis sont le principal contributeur au budget général de l’organisation : leur contribution directe au budget de l’OTAN s’est élevée en 2018 à plus de 22 %, devant l’Allemagne (14 %), la France (10 %) et le Royaume-Uni (9,8 %). Ils sont également le principal fournisseur d’effectifs militaires et civils. La présidence Trump estime que le fardeau est excessif pour les finances publiques américaines. L’effort de défense américain n’est selon elle payé que d’une ingratitude insigne de la part des alliés européens. En un mot, le retour sur investissement paraît trop faible au président-businessman.

La deuxième critique est d’ordre stratégique : les États-Unis de Donald Trump jugent l’OTAN obsolète. La raison d’être de l’Organisation était en effet la lutte contre l’URSS et le Pacte de Varsovie ainsi que le combat contre le communisme. Une fois ces ennemis disparus, l’Alliance a (désespérément) cherché d’autres missions : la principale a été d’intervenir militairement pour rétablir la paix en Bosnie (1995), au Kosovo (1999), en Afghanistan (2003) en solidarité avec les États-Unis pour répondre aux attentats du 11 septembre 2001, puis en Libye en 2011. Mais sa crise de vocation n’est aujourd’hui toujours pas surmontée. Pour Donald Trump, l’OTAN remplit très mal sa principale mission résiduelle, la seule qui vaille à ses yeux : non pas contenir la Russie mais lutter contre le terrorisme.

Un troisième grief essentiel tient à la transformation de la politique extérieure américaine par la présidence Trump : la critique du multilatéralisme ne concerne pas seulement le commerce, les droits de l’homme ou la non-prolifération nucléaire. Elle vise aussi les institutions de sécurité collective comme l’OSCE, l’ONU… et bien entendu l’OTAN. Le président américain a relancé les relations bilatérales en Europe au détriment des structures multilatérales. On le comprend : dans le face-à-face des relations bilatérales, le poids des États-Unis se fait bien mieux sentir que dans des formats multilatéraux ou ce poids est dilué, même s’il reste majeur.

Qu’elles soient tonitruantes ou modérées, les déclarations du président américain ont pour horizon un retrait de l’Alliance. Le réquisitoire viserait un arrêt de mort.

Chronique d’une mort (américaine) annoncée

Les Français aiment à brocarder les transgressions, les dérapages et les saillies du président américain en matière de politique étrangère. Toutefois, concernant l’OTAN, Donald Trump n’est pas profondément disruptif aux États-Unis.

Tout d’abord, le réquisitoire trumpien contre l’OTAN est la caisse de résonance d’un mouvement puissant, ancien et profond parmi les Républicains, qui sont nombreux à voir dans l’Alliance une entrave à la liberté d’action des États-Unis dans le monde. Les plus gaulliens des Français aiment à dépeindre l’OTAN comme un cheval de Troie américain en Europe. Pour bien des Américains, l’OTAN est plutôt une bride imposée à la puissance américaine par des coalitions d’États nettement plus faibles et beaucoup moins responsables stratégiquement. La revanche des nains militaires coalisés contre le géant stratégique américain, en quelque sorte.

La présidence Trump n’est même pas en rupture profonde avec les présidences précédentes malgré les déclarations de Bill Clinton et George Bush Jr. Au contraire, elle prolonge plusieurs critiques traditionnelles visant l’OTAN et les alliés des États-Unis. Le débat passe moins entre isolationnistes et interventionnistes ou entre néo-conservateurs et réalistes qu’entre ceux qui imaginent une vocation à l’OTAN et ceux qui la considèrent comme un fossile périmé. Ainsi, la présidence Clinton a artificiellement maintenu l’Alliance en vie pour l’adapter à la donne post-soviétique. Elle a abouti, en 1999 à la redéfinition du concept stratégique de l’OTAN vers des missions de maintien de la paix, de police des espaces maritimes et d’interventions humanitaires. La présidence Bush a utilisé le dispositif de solidarité entre alliés prévu par l’article 5 du Traité de Washington mais a été peu satisfaite de l’OTAN en raison du son fardeau budgétaire et de sa solidarité plus que limitée en Irak. Quant à la présidence Obama, elle a anémié l’Alliance en mettant en avant la nécessité d’un pivot vers l’Asie.

L’espérance de vie de l’OTAN paraît donc limitée dans la mesure où Donald Trump est loin d’être isolé dans sa posture de défiance à son égard.


À lire aussi : NATO’s future when America comes first


L’OTAN, un zombie régulièrement ressuscité

Le départ des États-Unis de l’OTAN est une dystopie redoutée par toute une partie de l’Europe – déjà imaginée dans la série Occupied comme je l’avais souligné sur The Conversation. Dans cette excellente fiction produite par Arte, le retrait américain de l’OTAN créait un appel d’air pour l’impérialisme russe en Norvège, pilier de l’Alliance en Arctique.

La mort de l’Alliance, tant de fois annoncée, n’est pourtant pas avérée. Plusieurs facteurs concourent à la maintenir en vie, bon an mal an.

Pour de nombreux États parties au traité de l’Atlantique nord, l’OTAN est tout à la fois la principale assurance vie et la colonne vertébrale de leur défense nationale. C’est tout particulièrement le cas des États ayant rejoint l’Alliance après la fin de l’URSS et qui redoutent de retomber dans la sphère d’influence russe. Dans les documents tenant lieu de Livre Blanc de la défense de la Pologne, de la Roumanie et des États baltes mais aussi des Pays-Bas, de la Norvège et de l’Allemagne, la participation à l’Alliance atlantique apparaît comme la raison d’être de l’action des forces armées. Agir en coalition avec l’OTAN et s’intégrer dans ses structures de commandement est le mode normal de ces États en matière militaire.

N’oublions pas à Paris que l’OTAN est également l’horizon stratégique et une véritable Terre promise stratégique pour plusieurs États directement exposés aux nouveaux risques géopolitiques : l’Ukraine et la Géorgie font de l’adhésion à l’Organisation leur objectif diplomatique et militaire cardinal à l’instar du Monténégro, intégré il y a peu.

Des forces de rappel essentielles agissent aussi aux États-Unis eux-mêmes. Pour les industries de défense américaines et donc pour la base industrielle et technologique de défense du pays, l’OTAN constitue un atout commercial essentiel. Pour s’intégrer techniquement dans les actions en coalition et pour solidifier leurs relations avec les États-Unis, plusieurs États membres ou partenaires de l’Alliance ont fait le choix d’équipements américains. Ainsi, la Pologne, la Roumanie et la Suède ont choisi de se procurer des systèmes de défense anti-aérienne Patriot. De même, l’achat d’avions de chasse F35 apparaît comme la garantie d’un soutien américain au sein de l’OTAN.

L’OTAN se trouve aujourd’hui dans une situation clinique bien difficile à définir : d’une part, elle a survécu à sa crise de vocation issue de la Guerre froide en se (re)trouvant un nouvel ennemi dans la Russie. C’est une cure de jeunesse précaire. Mais, d’autre part, elle est critiquée par son principal pilier, les États-Unis, qui menacent de lui couper les vivres. Aujourd’hui, l’organisation a tout d’un zombie de série B : elle est régulièrement mise en pièces, y compris par les administrations présidentielles américaines. Mais elle est incapable de mourir, régulièrement revivifiée par la résurgence de menaces sur la scène internationale. Et par l’incapacité européenne à se doter d’une solution de remplacement.

Voir aussi:

La série « Occupied », une dystopie européenne ?
Cyrille Bret, Géopoliticien et philosophe, Sciences Po

La Conversation

24 mai 2019

A quelques semaines des élections européennes, du 23 au 26 mai 2019, il est particulièrement plaisant et stimulant de voir (ou de revoir) la série Occupied (Okkupert en norvégien) diffusée sur Arte depuis 2015. Cette production franco-suédo-norvégienne tend en effet un miroir bien sombre à l’Europe et à ses voisins sur leur futur proche.

Les géopoliticiens savent désormais que la culture populaire en général et les séries télévisées en particulier illustrent et façonnent les représentations collectives qui jouent un rôle essentiel dans les relations internationales. Depuis La Géopolitique des séries publiée par Dominique Moïsi en 2016, l’analyse géopolitique des séries télévisées a même gagné le grand public. De même que Homeland a révélé aux Américains plusieurs aspects inconnus ou occultés de la « global war on terror », de même, Occupied, diffusée peu après l’annexion de la Crimée par la Russie, peut avoir un effet de révélation sur eux-mêmes pour les Européens. Mais une dystopie est bien souvent l’envers d’une utopie… ou une utopie qui a mal tourné. Occupied n’est ni un réquisitoire radical contre l’Europe ni une déploration sur le sort de la Norvège.

Du cauchemar au réquisitoire

L’épisode inaugural de la série donne le ton. Conçu par le romancier norvégien Jo Nesbo, il plonge en quelques minutes le téléspectateur dans le cauchemar de la guerre hybride. Voici les éléments essentiels de cette exposition magistrale : dans un futur proche, les États-Unis ont quitté l’Alliance atlantique et se murent dans l’isolationnisme, comme les premières minutes de l’épisode nous l’apprennent. Les éléments se sont conjurés contre le Royaume de Norvège : le réchauffement climatique vient de produire inondations dans le pays, comme le montrent les images du générique. Ces événements ont conduit à l’élection de Jesper Berg au poste de premier ministre sur un programme de transition énergétique radicale : arrêter complètement la production et l’exportation d’hydrocarbures qui alimentent l’Europe et font la richesse du royaume. L’objectif est de remplacer toutes les énergies fossiles par des centrales au thorium.

Le décor géopolitique est planté : le futur de l’Europe est marqué par l’abandon d’États-Unis isolationnistes, par le retrait de l’OTAN et par une transition énergétique rendue drastique par les effets dévastateurs du réchauffement climatique. Les risques structurels inhérents à la présidence Trump constituent la donne géopolitique et géoéconomique de notre continent.

Toutefois, l’Union ne reste pas longtemps dans un statut de victime passive : au moment où il inaugure la grande centrale au thorium, le premier ministre Berg est enlevé par des forces spéciales russes et reçoit, lors de cet enlèvement, un avertissement vidéo de la part du commissaire européen français : la Norvège doit reprendre la production et l’exportation d’hydrocarbures vers l’Europe, faute de quoi, l’Union demandera à la Russie d’intervenir militairement en Norvège pour rétablir la production. Le tragique du dilemme est souligné par la violence physique : le commando russe assassine un civil norvégien sur son passage. L’engrenage qui structure la série s’enclenche alors : les forces armées russes s’engagent dans une occupation graduelle, l’Union européenne utilise la menace russe comme instrument de chantage, la population civile norvégienne hésite entre collaboration pour réduire les dommages et résistance armée… la Norvège sombre dans la guerre civile et dans un conflit international.

Les origines du cauchemar ne sont donc pas seulement exogènes à l’Europe : elles lui sont internes. C’est la soif de ressources naturelles de l’Europe qui la conduisent à fouler aux pieds le choix souverain des électeurs norvégiens et à sous-traiter la violence militaire envers le territoire du royaume. Victime du réchauffement climatique et de l’abandon américain, l’Europe est elle-même un prédateur écologique, politique et militaire. La dystopie révèle crûment les principaux chefs d’accusation brandis depuis des mois contre l’Europe : mépris pour les souverainetés nationales, politiques de voisinage cyniques, dépendance à l’égard des États-Unis, etc.

La série n’est toutefois pas seulement un réquisitoire contre l’Europe. Comme toutes les dystopies subtiles, elle évite le manichéisme et révèle les ambiguïtés.

L’Union européenne entre cynisme et revendication de puissance

À première vue, l’Union européenne d’Occupied est la caricature qu’en présentent ses détracteurs. Le Commissaire européen incarné par Hippolyte Girardot a tous les vices imputés à la construction européenne : soumis à une Chancelière allemande dont le nom n’est jamais prononcé, il exécute tous ses ordres destinés à répondre aux besoins de l’industrie allemande ; indifférent au sort d’une démocratie voisine et partenaire, il soumet le premier ministre norvégien à un chantage permanent ; ne visant que l’accroissement de son pouvoir, il utilise la violence militaire russe pour soumettre un État souverain. La suite de la série montre même qu’il n’a que peu d’égards pour l’intégrité physique des dirigeants avec lesquels il négocie. Technocratie hors sol et méprisante pour les souverainetés nationales et populaire, l’Union semble démasquée.

Toutefois, la série n’est pas seulement à charge. Si le téléspectateur surmonte le dégoût qu’il éprouve pour le personnage qui incarne l’Union, il peut découvrir une image inversée de l’Union actuelle où ses faiblesses chroniques ont trouvé leur remède. Régulièrement accusée d’idéalisme, de pacifisme et de naïveté, notamment par Hubert Védrine, l’Union européenne apparaît dans la série comme prête et capable de défendre ses intérêts vitaux. Soucieuse de défendre ses capacités industrielles et ses lignes d’approvisionnement en matière première, l’Union met en œuvre les attributs de la puissance sur la scène internationale en exerçant une pression diplomatique sur ses partenaires et ses voisins. Prenant acte de l’abandon américain, elle se refuse à nourrir la chimère d’une Pax Americana et sous-traite son action extérieure à la seule puissance militaire disponible, la Russie.

Concernant l’Union européenne, la dystopie d’Occupied pourrait bien en réalité répondre au souhait d’une Europe puissance. Reste à savoir si les Européens sont prêts à la promouvoir.

La Russie entre opportunisme et impérialisme

La figure de la Russie est elle aussi présentée sous une forme apparemment caricaturale : puissance militaire sans égard pour la vie humaine, imperium en reconstruction, elle n’hésite pas à déclencher des opérations clandestines pour occuper les plates-formes pétrolières norvégiennes, traquer les opposants à l’occupation jusque dans les rues d’Oslo et faire disparaître les résistants. L’ambassadrice russe à Oslo, incarnée par l’actrice Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė, rendue célèbre par Soleil trompeur de Mikhalkov, reprend avec brio ce mélange de froideur, de calcul, de dureté et de cruauté prêté au président russe (réel) dans les relations internationales. Exécutrice des basses œuvres de l’Union européenne, prise dans une spirale impérialiste, la Russie d’Occupied est celle de la guerre dans le Donbass et de l’annexion de la Crimée. Plusieurs autorités publiques russes ont d’ailleurs protesté contre la série.

En réalité, la série est plus nuancée. D’une part, l’ambassadrice Sidorova, victime d’une tentative d’assassinat durant le premier épisode, n’est pas la plus radicale des impérialistes. La suite de la série souligne qu’elle agit pour un équilibre entre occupation des plates-formes pétrolières et respect minimal des institutions norvégiennes. Les concepteurs de la série rappellent au public européen que Vladimir Poutine peut être perçu comme un centriste dans son propre pays. D’autre part, les forces d’occupation russes sont elles aussi prises dans la spirale et les dilemmes de l’occupation. Soit elles prennent entièrement la maîtrise de la Norvège mais suscitent un rejet complet et manquent leur objectif. Soit elles respectent a minima les institutions du pays et elles risquent d’apparaître comme faibles. Dans la série comme dans la réalité, l’action extérieure de la Russie paraît aventureuse. Loin de la stratégie mondiale qu’on lui prête.

La russophobie attribuée à Occupied pourrait bien se révéler plus complexe que prévu : moins qu’un empire en reconstitution, la Russie apparaît comme une puissance fragile, opportuniste et subordonnée aux latitudes laissées par l’Union européenne.

La Norvège et sa mauvaise conscience européenne

Occupied apparaît comme un cauchemar norvégien : longtemps en conflit avec la Russie pour la délimitation de sa zone économique exclusive dans le Grand Nord, poste avancé de l’OTAN durant toute la guerre froide malgré une tradition de neutralisme et de pacifisme, cible d’incursions navales et aériennes, ce pays de 5 millions d’habitants se sait dépendant de l’extérieur pour assurer sa sécurité. Occupied le présente comme une victime de son environnement naturel et politique. Sans le soutien des États-Unis et de l’Union, la Norvège se considère elle-même comme une Ukraine aisément la proie des impérialismes environnants.

La série est en réalité bien plus critique envers le royaume nordique que le téléspectateur français ne pourrait le penser. La Norvège est victime d’elle-même. En effet, le premier ministre Jesper Berg provoque la crise et l’amplifie par sa naïveté politique. Il décrète unilatéralement la cessation de la production d’hydrocarbures, fort du vote populaire mais sans avoir préparé ses voisins et partenaires internationaux. La série pointe la naïveté de cette démocratie opulente et exemplaire. On peut même percevoir dans la mise en scène du personnel politique norvégien une certaine mauvaise conscience : forts de leurs convictions écologiques, assurés de leur prospérité économique et confiants dans les règles de droit, ils négligent l’alliance avec l’Union. Le pays a en effet refusé à deux reprises d’adhérer à l’Union européenne, en 1972 et 1994. Soucieux de préserver tout à la fois le modèle de protection sociale, sa souveraineté nationale et son alliance avec les États-Unis, la Norvège est dans une situation précaire à l’égard de l’Europe : la solidarité ne peut pleinement s’exercer pour un État partenaire mais non membre.

La Norvège d’Occupied, victime idéale, ne paie-t-elle pas les conséquences de son refus de l’Europe ?

Voir aussi:

 

Guerre en Ukraine : quatre questions sur l’interdiction de diffusion des médias russes RT et Sputnik dans l’Union européenne

La décision a été officialisée au Journal officiel de l’Union européenne, mercredi 2 mars.

Franceinfo

Clap de fin pour RT et Sputnik. Les Vingt-Sept ont approuvé de nouvelles sanctions contre Moscou, mardi 1er mars, avec l’interdiction de diffusion de ces médias russes au sein de l’Union européenne. En réponse à la guerre en Ukraine, les contenus de Sputnik et des chaînes de RT (ex-Russia Today) en anglais, allemand, français et espagnol ne pourront plus être diffusés sur les réseaux de télévision, ni sur internet.

Les deux médias sont les « canaux » des « actions de propagande » et « de déformation des faits » de la Russie, qui « menacent directement et gravement l’ordre et la sécurité publics de l’Union », écrivent les Vingt-Sept. Ces mesures d’interdiction « devraient être maintenues jusqu’à ce que l’agression contre l’Ukraine prenne fin et jusqu’à ce que la Fédération de Russie et ses médias associés cessent de mener des actions de propagande contre l’Union et ses Etats membres ». Franceinfo fait le point sur cette interdiction.

1Quels sont les médias visés ?

RT est une chaîne de télévision lancée en 2005 à l’initiative du Kremlin, sous le nom de « Russia Today », et financée par l’Etat russe. En France, elle emploie 176 salariés dont 100 journalistes. Une autorisation d’émettre dans l’Hexagone lui a été accordée par le CSA en décembre 2015. La France est ainsi le seul Etat membre de l’UE à accueillir sur son sol une filiale de RT et à lui accorder cette licence de diffusion.

Au quotidien, sur sa chaîne télévisée et ses contenus multimédia, RT promeut la position du Kremlin à l’étranger. Sa création résulte d’un besoin pour les élites russes « de repenser leur dispositif d’influence, de reforger un ensemble d’instruments, notamment médiatiques », analyse pour franceinfo Maxime Audinet, docteur en études slaves et auteur du livre Russia Today, un média d’influence au service de l’Etat russe » (éditions de l’INA). Franceinfo, qui a écouté ses programmes durant plusieurs heures, a observé peu de voix dissonantes parmi les invités.

Sputnik est un média web également financé par l’Etat russe. Il possède un site internet, ainsi qu’une déclinaison vidéo sur YouTube et sur les réseaux sociaux.

2Pourquoi cette décision a-t-elle été prise ?

Face à l’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie, la présidente de la Commission européenne a estimé qu’il était impératif de lutter contre ce qu’elle appelle « la machine médiatique du Kremlin ». « Les médias d’Etat Russia Today et Sputnik ainsi que leurs filiales (…) ne pourront plus diffuser leurs mensonges pour justifier la guerre de Poutine et pour semer la division dans notre Union. Nous développons donc des outils pour interdire leur désinformation toxique et nuisible en Europe », a déclaré Ursula von der Leyen le 27 février, trois jours après le début du conflit.

Un constat partagé par Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade. « Nous avons été, nous Européens, trop naïfs, trop indulgents avec ces organes de propagande et de désinformation massive », a jugé le porte-parole des députés La République en marche, mardi 1er mars.

3Où en est-on de l’entrée en vigueur de l’interdiction ?

L’interdiction de RT et Sputnik est officiellement entrée en vigueur dans l’UE mercredi 2 mars, à la mi-journée. Ursula von der Leyen avait annoncé le bannissement des chaînes RT dans toute l’UE trois jours plus tôt, sans préciser les contours d’une telle décision.

Chaque Etat membre, via son autorité de régulation des médias et ses opérateurs télécoms, est chargé de faire respecter cette interdiction. En avance sur le reste des Européens, l’Allemagne avait annoncé début février l’interdiction de la chaîne RT, dans un contexte de tensions avec le Kremlin.

En France comme dans le reste de l’Europe, le bannissement est intervenu progressivement après une réunion avec le secrétaire d’Etat au Numérique, Cédric O, lundi 28 février. Dans la foulée, TikTok et Facebook ont annoncé suspendre l’accès à ces comptes en Europe. Mardi, c’était au tour de YouTube de bloquer ces chaînes sur le continent « avec effet immédiat », « compte tenu de la guerre en cours en Ukraine ». Twitter a bloqué les comptes des deux chaînes jeudi, après avoir apposé la mention « Média affilié à un Etat, Russie » aux comptes de leurs journalistes et anciens journalistes. La diffusion à la télévision de RT France a cessé mercredi après-midi chez les différents opérateurs qui proposaient cette chaîne.

4Comment cette mesure est-elle justifiée juridiquement ?

Selon le texte publié au Journal officiel de l’UE« toute licence ou autorisation de diffusion, tout accord de transmission et de distribution conclu avec les personnes morales, entités ou organismes énumérés (…) sont suspendus ». Cela concerne tous les moyens de diffusion, que ce soit « le câble, le satellite, la télévision sur IP, les fournisseurs de services internet, les plateformes ou applications, nouvelles ou préexistantes, de partage de vidéos sur l’internet ». Le texte précise que « ces mesures n’empêchent pas ces médias et leur personnel d’exercer dans l’Union d’autres activités que la diffusion, telles que des enquêtes et des entretiens ».

En France, l’Autorité publique française de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique (Arcom) assure que ces décisions ont « pour effet de suspendre la convention et la distribution de RT France ». Elles sont « d’application directe et immédiate par tous les opérateurs concernés », dès le 2 mars.

Cette décision devrait toutefois faire l’objet de recours devant la justice. Mardi, le régulateur russe des médias, Roskomnadzor, a protesté contre ces mesures, estimant qu’elles « violent les principes fondamentaux de la libre circulation de l’information et son accès sans entrave ». RT France a de son côté lancé une pétition sur la plateforme Change.org pour dénoncer cette interdiction, réunissant 10 500 signatures en trois heures.

L’UE réfute toutefois ces accusations. Josep Borrell, le chef de la diplomatie européenne, a estimé que ces médias ne produisaient pas une information libre mais « une désinformation massive »« Nous nous appuyons sur de solides bases juridiques (…) et nous défendrons notre décision devant les tribunaux » européens, a également assuré une source européenne anonyme à l’AFP, tout en admettant que des représailles contre des médias européens en Russie étaient « une possibilité »« Vladimir Poutine va frapper nos médias », a ainsi prévenu Fabrice D’Almeida, historien et vice-président de l’Université Panthéon-Assas.

Voir également:

En Italie, Dostoïevski victime d’une tentative de censure ?

L’écrivain transalpin Paolo Nori, qui devait donner un cours sur le célèbre auteur russe Dostoïevski, a dénoncé une tentative de censure de l’université Milano Bicocca. La direction lui a demandé de reporter ses leçons au vu de l’actualité. L’université affirme qu’il s’agit d’un malentendu, mais Nori refuse désormais de se rendre sur place.

Il s’est exprimé dans une vidéo Instagram où il apparaît au bord des larmes, la voix cassée par l’émotion. Mardi 1er mars, l’écrivain italien Paolo Nori a dénoncé ce qui est à ses yeux une tentative de censure. En effet, l’université Milano Bicocca, où il devait tenir un cours sur Dostoïevski, lui a communiqué par courriel le report de ses leçons pour “éviter toute forme de polémique dans ce moment de forte tension”.

Une décision jugée incompréhensible par l’intéressé, qui a réagi avec des mots très durs :

En Italie, aujourd’hui, être un Russe est considéré une faute. Et apparemment, même être un Russe décédé, qui de plus a été condamné à mort en 1849 pour avoir lu une chose interdite. Ce qui est en train d’arriver en Ukraine est une chose horrible qui me donne envie de pleurer, mais ces réactions sont ridicules. Quand j’ai lu ce mail de l’université, je ne pouvais pas y croire.”

“Un équilibre littéraire en temps de guerre”

Quelques heures plus tard, la polémique rebondissait dans les médias transalpins, poussant l’université milanaise à faire marche arrière. Simple malentendu, s’est-on justifié depuis l’institut, qui a invité Nori à tenir son cours avant que la précision qui a suivi de la part d’un responsable ne ravive la polémique.

“L’intention était de restructurer le cours en ajoutant à Dostoïevski des auteurs ukrainiens”, a expliqué Maurizio Casiraghi, dont les propos sont rapportés par le Corriere della Sera. Une précision qui a fini de persuader Paolo Nori de ne pas se rendre à cette université.

“Un équilibre littéraire en temps de guerre” était donc la solution envisagée par l’institut, poursuit le quotidien milanais, qui, à travers un article signé par un de ses éditorialistes, propose une réflexion plus large sur le comportement à adopter vis-à-vis des Russes en ce moment de tension :

Dostoïevski est sauvé, mais reste le fond du débat : est-il juste d’exiger des Russes contemporains une prise de distance avec Poutine ? Si nous le faisions, le principe selon lequel les personnes se jugent sur la base de leur action et non par leur nationalité viendrait à manquer.”

Toutefois, le journal italien reconnaît une exception à cette règle pour les Russes “célèbres et liés à Poutine” : il est juste d’exiger de leur part une prise de distance de ce conflit.

Une référence à la polémique qui a entouré Valery Guerguiev, le chef d’orchestre considéré proche de Poutine, que le maire de Milan a “banni” du célèbre théâtre de La Scala, faute d’avoir accepté de se déclarer opposé à la guerre.

Une décision qui a fait couler beaucoup d’encre, mais qui rencontre donc l’approbation de l’éditorialiste transalpin.

Voir par ailleurs:

Le film d’Oliver Stone sur Poutine: « un clip publicitaire, pas un documentaire » 

Spécialiste de la Russie, l’universitaire Cécile Vaissié réagit à la diffusion par France 3 du film d’Oliver Stone Conversations avec Poutine.

« Consternant d’ignorance et de complaisance ». France 3 a diffusé lundi soir le premier volet de quatre heures de Conversations avec Poutine, un film réalisé par Oliver Stone, le réalisateur de Platoon et de JFK.

Le metteur en scène trois fois oscarisé, a réalisé ce montage à partir de 12 entretiens filmés entre juillet 2015 et février 2017 avec le président russe. Cécile Vaissié*, professeur en études russes et soviétiques à l’Université Rennes 2, réagit à ce document controversé.

Qu’est-ce qui vous a le plus frappé dans Conversations avec Poutine?

Oliver Stone filme Vladimir Poutine, lui donne la parole, comme s’il était un parfait inconnu. Ne connaissant rien à la Russie, le réalisateur américain est incapable de lui apporter la contradiction, ni même de saisir les perches lancées par Poutine, que ce soit sur l’Otan, les oligarques, la Tchétchénie, les pays voisins. Il n’approfondit jamais les thèmes abordés.

Stone se montre tellement inculte que, par contraste, Poutine apparaît modéré, plus fin, plus intelligent -ce qu’il est sans aucun doute. « Vous avez amélioré les salaires… stoppé les privatisations ». « Non, je n’ai pas arrêté les privatisations », le corrige Poutine. Au cours de l’exercice, Poutine ment de nombreuses fois, mais à plusieurs reprises, les mensonges ne sortent même pas de sa bouche. Il se contente d’enchaîner sur les affirmations du cinéaste.

Les compliments de Stone sur les avancées économiques dues au président reprennent sans recul la propagande du Kremlin. Il est vrai que le niveau de vie a augmenté entre 2000 et 2008, mais selon les économistes russes, c’est presque entièrement attribuable à la hausse des prix du baril. Un journal russe a d’ailleurs publié un article livrant 20 exemples de la façon dont Poutine a trompé Oliver Stone, après la sortie de ce film. Il montre notamment que Poutine semble ignorer que les fonds de réserve gouvernementaux sont inclus dans les fonds de réserve de la Banque centrale, sans être contredit par Stone.

L’objectif de Stone était peut-être de démontrer la vision de monde qu’a Poutine…

Donner la parole à Vladimir Poutine est tout à fait légitime. A condition qu’en face on lui apporte la contradiction. Ce que dit le président russe tout au long de ce film n’a rien de nouveau. On le retrouve intégralement sur RT et Sputnik [les chaines de propagande du Kremlin]. Ce n’est pas un documentaire. C’est un clip publicitaire. Il est surprenant qu’une chaîne publique consacre autant de temps à un tel objet.

Certains points vous ont-ils plus choqué que d’autres?

D’un bout à l’autre, la complaisance et la vacuité des échanges sont consternants. Cette façon de montrer le président avec son cheval ou faisant du sport…

La naïveté de Stone est même parfois drôle. Il découvre étonné que les fidèles ne s’assoient pas dans les églises orthodoxes, avant d’embrayer sur le rôle de l’orthodoxie en Russie. Le décalage entre son ignorance et la question centrale de la religion dans la société russe est troublante.

Son ingénuité l’amène à dérouler sans complexe le discours du Kremlin. Par exemple sur la promesse de non-élargissement de l’Otan que les Occidentaux auraient faite à Mikhaïl Gorbatchev à la chute de l’URSS. Gorbatchev lui-même a démenti que de telles promesses lui avaient été faites. Là encore, Poutine est plus subtil que Stone. Il soutient que cette promesse a été donnée par oral, non par écrit. Impossible à vérifier, donc.

Et à aucun moment Stone ne s’interroge sur la raison pour laquelle les pays de l’ex-bloc soviétique ont voulu rejoindre l’Otan. Pourquoi l’opinion ukrainienne qui était, il y a quelques années encore, hostile à l’entrée dans l’Alliance atlantique y est favorable, depuis la guerre dans l’est de son territoire?

Le seul moment qui aurait pu être intéressant est celui où il visionne Docteur Folamour avec Poutine. Il aurait pu discuter avec lui de cinéma, un sujet que Stone maîtrise, l’interroger sur le cinéma russe.

Le documentaire ne pêche pas seulement par ce qu’il affirme, mais aussi par ce qu’il élude…

Les exemples ne manquent pas. Aucune question sur sa fortune personnelle, sur les fastes du gouvernement. Il n’aborde pratiquement pas la société russe, à l’exception de l’homosexualité. Aucune mention de l’effondrement du système médical, de l’éducation. Rien sur les grands-mères à qui le gouvernement refuse que leurs retraites soient indexées sur le taux de l’inflation…

Le réalisateur ne l’interroge pas non plus sur ce qu’a fait Poutine entre 1991 (la chute de l’URSS) et 1996, moment où il entre au Kremlin. Ni sur son attitude au moment du putsch d’août 1991 contre Gorbatchev.

Rapidement évoquées, la question des oligarques et celle de la privatisation de l’économie russe dans les années 1990, auraient mérité d’être creusées. Stone se contente d’étaler la vision du maître du Kremlin. Rien sur les véritables raisons pour lesquelles certains oligarques ont été adoubés et d’autres jetés derrière les barreaux. La stigmatisation de Mikhaïl Khodorkovski, qui a passé dix ans en prison m’a particulièrement choquée. Stone ne se contente pas de servir la soupe à Poutine, il se fait complice de la persécution de cet homme.

Voir enfin:

 ‘The Putin Interviews’: Oliver Stone’s Wildly Irresponsible Love Letter to Vladimir Putin

TWO PEAS IN A POD

Showtime’s four-part series of interviews between Stone and Putin sees Russia’s authoritarian ruler give his thoughts on NATO, women, gays, Snowden, and more.

Marlow Stern

The Daily Beast

Jun. 06, 2017

When America sends its people to interview Vladimir Putin, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending an Anderson Cooper or a Christiane Amanpour, intrepid journalists well-versed in geopolitics and the art of the spiel. They’re sending people like Megyn Kelly, a race-baiter who rode the wave of one semi-challenging debate question all the way to a cushy gig at NBC News, or Oliver Stone, a revisionist history buff who’s spent the past few decades cozying up to dictators like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Putin.

Yes, in addition to qualifying Hitler and claiming the Jews run the media, Stone helmed the 2014 documentary Ukraine on Fire—a bizarre slice of Kremlin propaganda alleging that the CIA orchestrated the 2014 Ukrainian revolution (based on scant evidence), and featuring cameos from Viktor Yanukovych and Putin. If that weren’t enough, in September, the JFK filmmaker posited that the Democratic National Committee hack was an inside job and not, as 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded, the work of Russian agents. Stone’s The Putin Interviews, a new four-part series debuting on Showtime on June 12, should thus be viewed as nothing short of hero worship; the rough equivalent of a Twihard probing Robert Pattinson or Donald Trump interrogating a tacky gold chair.

The Putin Interviews, a documentary comprised of conversations with the Russian president that took place between July 2015 and February 2017, is clearly intended to humanize Putin and demonize America. In the first two parts provided to press, there are scenes of Putin feeding horses and strolling through lush gardens as string instruments sound; footage of the sexagenarian schooling men one-third of his age in hockey; and fawning Stone comments ranging from “You have a lot of discipline, Sir” to “You are a very lucky man” to “What do you bench?” OK, that last one I made up.

Stone not only fails to challenge Putin, but essentially cedes him the floor, allowing the cunning ex-KGB operative to spin more than the president’s toupee in a tornado. Putin denies Russia was the aggressor in virtually every global conflict, including the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. He champions Russia’s economy over that of the U.S., despite his GDP being a little more than half that of California’s. He even blames the Cuban Missile Crisis on the U.S.

At one point Stone, in an apparent effort to name-drop one of his movies, asks Putin: “Is Wall Street actively working to destroy the Russian economy in the interests of the United States?” He shrugs it off. “Do you think the National Security Agency had gone too far in its eavesdropping?” Of course he does.

Some of the director’s lame questions bear fruit in spite of themselves. When Stone asks Putin, “Do you ever have a bad day?” during a tour of the throne room, the Russian strongman giddily answers, “I’m not a woman so I don’t have bad days.” He then doubles down on the misogyny, explaining that, “There are certain natural cycles which men probably have as well, just less manifested. We are all human beings. It’s normal. But you should never lose control.”

A conversation about whether gays can serve in the military in Russia leads to the Stone question: “If you’re taking a shower in a submarine with a man and you know he’s gay, do they have a problem with that?”

Putin’s answer is not only homophobic, but completely bonkers. “Well, I prefer not to go to shower with him,” exclaims a cackling Putin. “Why provoke him? But you know, I’m a judo master and a SAMBO master as well. And I can tell you this, that as head of state today, I believe it’s my duty to uphold traditional values and family values. But why? Because same-sex marriages will not produce any children. God has decided, and we have to care about birth rates in our country. We have to reinforce families. But that doesn’t mean that there should be any persecutions against anyone.”

The lion’s share of The Putin Interviews’ B-roll consists of news clips from RT, the propaganda arm of the Kremlin, and pro-Russia graphics. Putin admits to never having seen Dr. Strangelove, and, in the first two episodes’ most surreal sequence, the two sit down to watch Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Cold War satire. “[Kubrick] foresaw some issues even from a technical point of view, things that make us think about real threats that exist,” Putin says in his mini-review. “The thing is that since that time, little has changed. The only difference is that the modern weapons systems have become more sophisticated, more complex. But this idea of a retaliatory weapon, and the inability to control such weapons systems, still hold true to this day. It has become even more difficult, even more dangerous.”

Stone and Putin chat in various locations throughout the doc, from the halls of the Kremlin to the great outdoors. In one exchange aboard Putin’s plane, he reveals his unvarnished thoughts on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“There is no longer an Eastern Bloc, no more Soviet Union. Therefore, why does NATO keep existing? My impression is that in order to justify its existence, NATO has a need of an external foe, there is a constant search for the foe, or some acts of provocation to name someone as an adversary,” says Putin.

“Nowadays, NATO is a mere instrument of foreign policy of the U.S. It has no allies, it has only vassals. Once a country becomes a NATO member, it is hard to resist the pressures of the U.S.,” he continues. “And all of a sudden any weapon system can be placed in this country. An anti-ballistic missile system, new military bases, and if need be, new offensive systems. And what are we supposed to do? In this case we have to take countermeasures. We have to aim our missile systems at facilities that are threatening us. The situation becomes more tense. Why are we so acutely responding to the expansion of NATO? Well, as a matter of fact, we understand the value or lack thereof, and the threat of this organization. But what we’re concerned about is the following: We are concerned by the practice of how decisions are taken. I know how decisions are taken there.”

Huddled inside a car with Putin behind the wheel—in what is without question the worst episode of Carpool Karaoke ever—they discuss the plight of whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who was granted asylum in Russia after leaking top-secret government documents revealing a complex web of surveillance conducted by the U.S. against its allies and own citizens. Putin claims that the U.S. refused to agree to a deal years back that “stipulated for a mutual extradition of criminals,” and since “Snowden didn’t violate any [Russian] law,” and since “the U.S. has never extradited any criminals to us who have sought asylum there,” they refused to extradite Snowden back to America.

While he doesn’t agree with what Snowden did, Putin refers to him as “courageous” several times and asserts, “Snowden is not a traitor. He didn’t betray the interests of his country. Nor did he transfer any information to any other country which would have been pernicious to his own country or to his own people. The only thing Snowden does he does publicly.”

The 2016 U.S. presidential election is briefly mentioned during a February 2016 chat within the halls of the Kremlin, with Putin maintaining that Russia is “going to be ready to work with whoever gets elected by the people of the United States.” When he adds, “I believe nothing is going to change no matter who gets elected,” he can’t help but unleash a knowing smirk.

Stone suggests that Putin could influence the U.S. election by endorsing a candidate, thereby causing his or her popularity to plummet. “Unlike many partners of ours, we never interfere within the domestic affairs of other countries,” replies Putin, smiling wide. “That is one of the principles we stick to in our work.”

The Putin Interviews offer, first and foremost, a staggering display of mendacity on the part of both interviewer and interviewee. During a back and forth aboard his jet, Putin claims to have in his possession a letter from the CIA admitting that they provided technical support to the Chechens—including terrorist organizations—during the Second Chechen War. When Stone requests that he provide the letter, Putin responds, “I don’t think it would be appropriate. My words are enough.”

For Oliver Stone, they most certainly are.

Voir par ailleurs:

Ukraine security chief: Minsk peace deal may create chaos

Yuras Karmanau

AP News

January 31, 2022

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s security chief warned the West on Monday against forcing the country to fulfill a peace deal for eastern Ukraine brokered by France and Germany, charging that an attempt to implement it could trigger internal unrest that would benefit Moscow.

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told The Associated Press that Ukraine has the capability to call up to 2.5 million people if Russia invades.

He said that about 120,000 Russian troops are concentrated near Ukraine and Moscow may stage provocations “at any moment,” but argued that launching a full-fledged invasion would require massive preparations that would be easily spotted.

“The preparatory period that will be noticed by the entire world could take from three to seven days,” Danilov said. “We aren’t seeing it yet. We clearly understand what’s going on and we are calmly preparing for it.”

He deplored the decision by the U.S., Britain, Australia, Germany and Canada to withdraw some of their diplomats and dependents from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, saying the move “wasn’t pleasant for us” and empasizing that “we don’t think that there is a threat right now.”

U.S. President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a call Thursday that there is a “distinct possibility” that Russia could invade the country in February. But the Ukrainian leader played down the war fears, arguing Friday that the Russian troop buildup could be part of Moscow’s attempts to exert “psychological pressure” and sow panic.

“We can’t allow panic in the country,” Danilov told the AP. “It’s very difficult for us to maintain control over the economic situation when all the media keep saying that the war will start tomorrow. Panic is a sister of defeat.”

Danilov said that Ukraine has the potential to quickly and dramatically beef up its 250,000-strong military in case of a Russian offensive.

“They will face a response from our society, our citizens, our military,” Danilov told the AP. “We can put 2 (million) to 2.5 million people under arms.”

He noted that up to 420,000 Ukrainians have gained combat experience in fighting with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and up to 1 million in the nation of 41 million people have hunting licenses.

Danilov pointed at the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s announcement Monday that it had thwarted a plot to stage riots in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to achieve his goal of destroying Ukraine through internal destabilization even without an invasion.

“Regrettably, we have many agents of influence of the Russian Federation here, who are behind the plans of destabilizing our country from within,” he said pointing at a pro-Russian party that has a sizeable presence in Ukraine’s parliament.

After the 2014 ouster of a Kremlin-friendly president in Kyiv, Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed an insurgency in the country’s eastern industrial heartland. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels has killed over 14,000 people, and efforts to reach a settlement there have stalled.

Since the start of the separatist conflict in Ukraine, Russia has been accused of sending troops and weapons to the separatists, something it has denied. It has given out over 700,000 Russian passports to people living in rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine.

“I have a question: Why the West is not reacting to that?” Danilov said.

He argued that Ukraine needs to revise the 2015 peace deal signed in Minsk that requires Ukraine to provide a broad autonomy to the rebel-held east and a sweeping amnesty to the rebels.

“The fulfillment of the Minsk agreement means the country’s destruction,” Danilov said. “When they were signed under the Russian gun barrel — and the German and the French watched — it was already clear for all rational people that it’s impossible to implement those documents.”

The agreement, which was brokered by France and Germany after a string of Ukrainian military defeats, was widely abhorred by the Ukrainian public as a betrayal of their national interests. Zelenskyy and his officials have made repeated calls for its modification.

Moscow has staunchly refused to amend the Minsk agreement and criticized Ukraine’s Western allies for failing to encourage Ukraine to fulfill its obligations.

Envoys from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met Wednesday for more than eight hours in Paris to discuss ways to implement the Minsk agreement. They made no visible progress but agreed to meet again in two weeks in Berlin.

Danilov warned the West against pressuring Ukraine into fulfilling the Minsk deal, saying it would provoke dangerous instability.

“If they insist on the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements as they are it will be very dangerous for our country,” he said. “If the society doesn’t accept those agreements, it could lead to a very difficult internal situation and Russia counts on that.”

He also argued that if Ukraine honors the deal it, that will allow Russia to demand the lifting of Western sanctions that were contingent on progress in implemeting the Minsk agreement.

Danilov called for negotiating a new document that could be realistically implemented, adding that it should force “Putin to simply pull his troops and tanks back.”

He denounced the Russian demands for NATO to bar Ukraine from ever joining the alliance, saying that the country, a former Soviet republic, has made a choice to seek to integrate into NATO and the European Union, which is reflected in its constitution. It is not a member of either bloc at this time.

“No one has the right to dictate to us whether we should or shouldn’t join alliances,” Danilov said. “It’s our people’s sovereign right.”

He also noted that Ukraine needs more Western weapons, saying “it’s our only request to our partners — give us more weapons to defend ourselves.”

He criticized Germany for refusing to provide Ukraine with weapons, charging that Berlin has also failed to properly apologize to Ukrainians for Nazi crimes during World War II when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

“Regrettably, they haven’t apologized for killing millions of our citizens,” he said. “They apologize to the Russians as if we were one country. They shouldn’t talk about democracy then and say that they support authoritarian regimes and partner with them.”

 


Mort de Jacques Chirac: La France qui triche a trouvé son héros (As amnesic France goes gaga over the death of its first former head of state to be convicted since Petain, ex-British spy chief confirms ‘Grand Philanderer’ Chirac was ‘a roguish individual who manoeuvred very cleverly’)

29 septembre, 2019

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https://i2.wp.com/davidphenry.com/Paris/StudentsProtesting1May2002.jpgImage result for Chirac, c'est Rastignac plus Ravaillac le Canard enchainé

Image result for Chirac s'énerve à jérusalemImage result for Tour Eiffel éteinte pour Chirac

Une droite qui voudrait que soit placé dans nos mairies et nos écoles le portrait d’un homme mis en examen, qui a perdu toute autorité morale. Richard Ferrand (14.04.2017)
Presque aucun des fidèles ne se retenait de s’esclaffer, et ils avaient l’air d’une bande d’anthropophages chez qui une blessure faite à un blanc a réveillé le goût du sang. Car l’instinct d’imitation et l’absence de courage gouvernent les sociétés comme les foules. Et tout le monde rit de quelqu’un dont on voit se moquer, quitte à le vénérer dix ans plus tard dans un cercle où il est admiré. C’est de la même façon que le peuple chasse ou acclame les rois. Marcel Proust
Un père, ça peut être une femme, une grand-mère. Agnès Buzyn (ministre française de la Santé)
L’enfant a le droit à un nom dès la naissance. Il a également le droit d’ acquérir une nationalité et, dans la mesure du possible, de connaître ses parents et d’être élevé par eux. Convention internationale des droits de l’enfant (article 7, 1989)
La loi ne doit pas mentir sur l’origine de la vie. Conférence des évêques
Une droite qui voudrait que soit placé dans nos mairies et nos écoles le portrait d’un homme mis en examen, qui a perdu toute autorité morale. Richard Ferrand (14.04.2017)
Le président Chirac incarna une certaine idée de la France. (…) Jacques Chirac était un destin français. (…) Jacques Chirac portait en lui l’amour de la France et des Français. Emmanuel Macron
Dans une autre publication, il tenait à peu près les mêmes propos concernant le candidat LR: “nous disons à François Fillon qu’il a perdu toute autorité morale pour diriger l’État et parler au nom de la France”. Lundi 30 septembre 2019 est une journée de deuil national à la suite du décès de M. Jacques CHIRAC, ancien Président de la République. Durant cette journée, les enseignants qui le souhaitent peuvent consacrer un cours à l’évocation de la mémoire de l’ancien chef de l’État. A cette fin, éduscol vous propose des ressources pédagogiques permettant de revenir sur la biographie de Jacques Chirac, son engagement politique national et international, sa relation à l’histoire des arts… Ministère de l’Education nationale
C’est très français au fond. La seule chose que l’on retiendra de la présidence de Jacques Chirac est une belle bravade sans conséquence: son refus spectaculaire de la guerre américaine en Irak. Laquelle, pour le coup, en eut de fâcheuses. Dieu sait combien Jacques Chirac représentait le caractère national. Au milieu de beaucoup de compromissions, ce fut une parenthèse de gloire, de panache et d’honneur. Cela n’a servi à rien mais le geste en était d’autant plus beau. Chirac eut quelque chose de Cyrano de Bergerac au cours de cet hiver 2002-2003, entraînant la Russie de Poutine et l’Allemagne de Schröder et bien d’autres nations derrière lui. Villepin, au contraire, avait peur de se fâcher avec l’Amérique. Il n’a pas troqué le retour de la France dans le comité militaire de l’Otan en échange de quelques postes honorifiques. Il a osé renouveler la dissuasion nucléaire française. C’est en souvenir de ces moments-là que la France est encore écoutée dans le monde. (…) Jacques Chirac avait un grand mérite: il connaissait l’histoire du monde et de ses civilisations. Il savait que l’Irak est un des berceaux de l’humanité et qu’on ne pouvait la détruire sans commettre l’irréparable. Il savait aussi que la démocratie ne se construit pas sur le sable d’une occupation militaire et que tôt ou tard, les chiites d’Irak se tourneraient vers leurs coreligionnaires iraniens, entraînant une terrible guerre de religions. Ce qui devait advenir arriva: la rage cumulée des pétromonarchies du golfe et des terroristes wahhabites a redoublé de violence. Daech et les destructions de Mossoul, Palmyre et Alep sont des contrecoups de la folle expédition de Dick Cheney et Donald Rumsfeld. Tout le Moyen-Orient a souffert de cette lamentable aventure mais pas seulement. Après les attentats de 2004-2005 et 2015-2016 en Europe, nous sommes loin d’avoir retrouvé l’équilibre. Depuis 2003, le Moyen-Orient est une région en guerre de religion, fracturée et travaillée par le terrorisme, minée par les migrations, incapable de se coordonner et d’avancer ensemble. Chirac avait au long de sa carrière noué des relations fidèles avec les chefs d’États d’Afrique et d’Asie. Il était soucieux du sort des Palestiniens, lui qui était intraitable avec l’antisémitisme. (…) Chirac s’intéressait et comprenait les relations internationales, sans avoir peur de quiconque. Le Figaro
Nous avons été présidés par un délinquant pendant 12 ans, et mon adversaire de 2002 est quelqu’un qui aurait dû être condamné à la prison. Le Pen
Attendu que la responsabilité de Jacques Chirac, maire de París, découle du mandat reçu de la collectivité des Parisiens ; qu’elle résulte également de l’autorité hiérarchique exercée par lui sur l’ensemble du personnel de la Ville de Paris et singulièrement sur ses collaborateurs immédiats au premier rang desquels son directeur de cabinet ; Attendu que le dossier et les débats ont établi que Jacques Chirac a été l’initiateur et l’auteur principal des délits d’abus de confiance, détournement de fonds publics, ingérence et prise illégale d’intérêts ; que sa culpabilité résulte de pratiques pérennes et réitérées qui lui sont personnellement imputables et dont le développement a été grandement favorisé par une parfaite connaissance des rouages de la municipalité ainsi que la qualité des liens tissés avec les différents acteurs administratifs et politiques au cours de ses années passées à la tête de la Ville de Paris ; qu’en multipliant les connexions entre son parti et la municipalité parisienne, Jacques Chirac a su créer et entretenir entre la collectivité territoriale et l’organisation politique une confusion telle qu’elle a pu entraîner ses propres amis politiques ; que le gain en résultant, nonobstant les économies des salaires payés par la mairie de Paris, a pu prendre la forme soit d’un renforcement des effectifs du parti politique dont il était le président soit d’un soutien à la contribution intellectuelle pour l’élaboration du programme politique de ce parti ; Attendu que par l’ensemble de ces agissements, Jacques Chirac a engagé les fonds de la Ville de Paris pour un montant total d’environ 1 400 000 euros ; Attendu que l’ancienneté des faits, l’absence d’enrichissement personnel de Jacques Chirac, l’indemnisation de la Ville de Paris par l’UMP et Jacques Chirac, ce dernier à hauteur de 500.000 euros, l’âge et l’état de santé actuel de Jacques Chirac, dont la dégradation est avérée, ainsi que les éminentes responsabilités de chef de l’Etat qu’il a exercées pendant les douze années ayant immédiatement suivi la période de prévention, sont autant d’éléments qui doivent être pris en considération pour déterminer la sanction qu’il convient d’appliquer à son encontre ; Attendu que ces éléments ne sauraient occulter le fait que, par son action délibérée, en ayant recours au cours de ces cinq années à dix neuf emplois totalement ou partiellement fictifs, Jacques Chirac a manqué à l’obligation de probité qui pèse sur les personnes publiques chargées de la gestion des fonds ou des biens qui leur sont confiés, cela au mépris de l’intérêt général des Parisiens ; que dans ces conditions, le recours à une peine d’emprisonnement avec sursis dont le quantum sera fixé à deux années apparaît tout à la fois adapté à la personnalité du prévenu et ainsi qu’à la nature et la gravité des faits qu’il a commis. Verdict de la 11e chambre correctionnelle de Paris (15.12.11)
Pour la première fois depuis Louis XVI et Philippe Pétain, un ancien chef de l’Etat français a été condamné par la justice de son pays. Jacques Chirac, 79 ans, reconnu coupable d’abus de confiance, de détournement de fonds publics et de prise illégale d’intérêts, a écopé ce jeudi matin de deux ans de prison avec sursis. Dans un communiqué, Jacques Chirac a annoncé qu’il ne ferait pas appel, même si « sur le fond [il] conteste catégoriquement ce jugement ». Il explique ne plus avoir « hélas, toutes les forces nécessaires pour mener par [lui-même], face à de nouveaux juges, le combat pour la vérité ». Nouvel obs
Janvier 1975. C’est l’époque du journalisme politique à la Françoise Giroud, la patronne de L’Express envoie alors de jeunes et jolies reporters pour faire parler les politiques. Jacqueline Chabridon, journaliste au Figaro, est mandatée par son rédacteur en chef pour suivre Jacques Chirac et en tirer un portrait du jeune Premier ministre de Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Elle n’en a guère envie, le voit comme « un soudard, un prêt-à-tout (…) sentencieux et ringard au possible », écrivent les auteurs. De son côté, il veut vérifier à qui il a affaire. Il la met au défi d’engloutir les copieuses portions de tête de veau trônant sur la table aussi vite que lui. Elle s’y colle, en bonne vivante. Il est séduit par cette petite jeune femme de 34 ans. Comme le dit son ami Jacques Toubon, alors conseiller technique à Matignon, « c’est le charme fait femme ». Pauline de Saint-Rémy d’expliquer : « On s’était imaginé une femme impressionnante, très élégante, très intello. Avec sa voix fluette, sa petite taille, elle est en fait très simple. Au sens noble du terme. » C’est peut-être cela qui plaît alors au Premier ministre. Elle est d’origine modeste, auvergnate, fille de communistes. Affirme simplement son goût pour la vie. « Jacques et Jacqueline, c’est aussi et avant tout une complicité de classe, relatent les journalistes dans leur livre. Une sorte de reconnaissance mutuelle. » De son côté, Jacqueline voit désormais derrière le technocrate ambitieux un homme qui a « du goût pour les gens ». Très vite, « son envie de la revoir vire à l’obsession. Il la veut à ses côtés, en public comme en privé », lit-on dans Jacques et Jacqueline (1). On prête à Chirac un parcours de séducteur « mais avec elle, ça a été différent, affirment Laureline Dupont et Pauline de Saint-Rémy. Pour elle, il a failli tout quitter ; ça a eu des répercussions sur sa vie politique, dans un moment charnière. » Le livre raconte l’appartement aménagé pour eux rue de Marignan, à Paris : c’est là qu’il installe sa collection d’ouvrages de la Pléiade, un mur entier. Il l’emmène en escapade à La Rochelle. Elle le suit dans ses déplacements, en tant que journaliste. Fin 1975, il organise même, selon les auteurs, un voyage de presse aux Antilles pour passer Noël en sa compagnie ! Les reporters présents sur place s’agacent des nombreux « briefings » du chef du gouvernement. Dans l’ouvrage, Jacques Toubon se souvient des chuchotements qu’il surprend alors : « Il [Chirac] n’a rien à nous dire… » « C’est ridicule ! C’est juste pour la voir. » Le couple fait face à l’incompréhension de son entourage devant cette histoire qui dure, devant ce mariage qu’il lui aurait promis. Jacqueline Chabridon, dont les premières noces avec le socialiste Charles Hernu ont été célébrées par François Mitterrand, se fait rabrouer par ses amis de gauche, expliquent les auteurs. Chirac, lui, encaisse l’hostilité de sa conseillère Marie-France Garaud. Elle s’inquiète. Et si l’affaire s’ébruitait ? « Beaucoup de gens savaient, à l’époque, souligne Laureline Dupont. Le sujet fait jaser dans les dîners parisiens. » Toujours selon le livre, Le Nouvel Observateur s’apprête à publier en avril 1976 un court article intitulé « La garçonnière du Premier ministre ». La publication sera stoppée. Mais c’en est trop pour les conseillers. Trop pour Bernadette Chirac aussi. Dans Jacques et Jacqueline, on la voit faire front commun avec Marie-France Garaud pour éloigner la maîtresse. Et puis à l’époque, on ne divorce pas. Surtout si l’on envisage la plus haute fonction… Été 1976. Jacqueline Chabridon découvre l’appartement vidé. Leur correspondance a disparu. Le choc. Dans un bureau anonyme, il lui annonce que c’est fini. Certains y ont vu la pression de ses proches. Les auteurs livrent une autre hypothèse : « De nombreux témoins nous ont dit que Chirac, qui s’apprêtait à lancer le RPR (Rassemblement pour la République, ndlr) – il venait de démissionner de Matignon pour ça -, avait besoin d’avoir le coeur et les mains libres. Parce qu’il entretenait un rapport charnel et chaleureux aux électeurs. Notre théorie, c’est qu’il a été rattrapé par son ambition, plus que par son entourage. » Apporter un autre éclairage sur Jacques Chirac, c’était un des objectifs des deux journalistes : « Il est plus humain et plus complexe qu’il n’y paraît, perclus de passions contraires. » Fallait-il pour autant, quarante ans après, remettre cet amour sous le feu des projecteurs ? « Certains seront heurtés car on est sur le terrain de la vie privée. Mais c’est un récit politique, pas un livre sulfureux, répond Pauline de Saint-Rémy. Nous voulions aussi donner un autre éclairage à cette époque politico-médiatique en nous intéressant à la petite histoire dans la grande histoire. » Jacqueline Chabridon, elle, a poursuivi la sienne. Le coeur à gauche. « Elle qui pensait ne jamais pouvoir voter pour lui a fini par le faire en avril 2002. Mais on a compris que ça lui avait fait un peu mal. » Aujourd’hui encore, elle est proche des socialistes. Voit François Hollande régulièrement. Et Laureline Dupont de conclure : « Elle a 75 ans et a l’air très heureuse. » Grazia
Voici un homme qui a dû se représenter à  sa réélection l’an dernier afin de préserver son immunité  présidentielle des poursuites judiciaires pour de graves accusations de corruption. Voici un homme qui a aidé Saddam Hussein à construire un réacteur nucléaire et qui savait très bien ce qu’il comptait en faire. Voici un homme à la tête de la France qui est en fait ouvertement à vendre. Il me fait penser au banquier de « L’Education Sentimentale » de Flaubert : un homme si habitué à la corruption qu’il payerait pour le plaisir de se vendre lui-même. Ici, également, est un monstre positif de vanité. Lui et son ministre des affaires étrangères, Dominique de Villepin, ont mielleusement déclaré que la « force est toujours le dernier recours.  » Vraiment ? Ce n’était pas la position de l’establishment français quand des troupes ont été envoyées au Rwanda pour tenter de sauver le client-régime qui venait de lancer un ethnocide contre les Toutsis. Ce n’est pas, on présume, la position des généraux français qui traitent actuellement comme leur fief  la population et la nation ivoiriennes. Ce n’était pas la position de ceux qui ont commandité la destruction d’un bateau désarmé, le Rainbow à l’ancre dans un port de Nouvelle Zélande après les manifestations contre la pratique officielle française d’essais nucléaires atmosphériques dans le Pacifique. (…) Nous nous rendons tous compte du fait que Saddam Hussein doit beaucoup d’argent à des compagnies françaises et à l’Etat français. Nous espérons tous que le parti Baath irakien n’a fait aucun cadeau privé à des personnalités politiques françaises, même si le moins qu’on puisse dire c’est que de tels scrupules des deux côtés seraient une anomalie. Est-il possible qu’il y ait plus en jeu que cela ? Il est très possible que le futur gouvernement de Bagdad ne se considère plus tellement responsable des dettes de Saddam. Ce seul fait conditionne-t-il la réponse de Chirac à une fin de régime en Irak ? (…) Charles de Gaulle avait un égo colossal, mais il se sentit obligé à un moment crucial de représenter une certaine idée de la  France à un moment où cette nation avait été trahie dans le servitude et la honte par son establishment politique et militaire. (…) Il avait un sens de l’histoire. Aux intérêts permanents de la France, il tenait à joindre une certaine idée de la liberté aussi. Il aurait approuvé les propos de Vaclav Havel – ses derniers en tant que président tchèque – parlant hardiment des droits du peuple irakien. Et on aime à penser qu’il aurait eu un mépris  pour son pygmée de successeur, l’homme vain, poseur et vénal qui, souhaitant jouer le rôle d’une Jeanne d’Arc travestie, fait de la France le proxénète abject de Saddam. C’est le cas du rat qui voulait rugir. Christopher Hitchens (2003)
Pasqua n’était guère cocaïnomane – «j’en suis sûr», atteste notre lascar – mais l’argent parallèle du secteur a pu l’intéresser… Fauré, précoce dealer au Maroc puis un peu partout ailleurs, raconte avoir été très vite pris en charge, dans les années 70, par l’Organisation de l’armée secrète. Initialement dédiée au maintien de l’Algérie française, l’OAS changera très vite de fusil d’épaule : «opérations homo» (assassinats ciblés) contre des indépendantistes basques ou corses, mais aussi braquages de banques. Le Service d’action civique (SAC) prendra ensuite le relais. Fauré, fort de ses compétences en la matière, met la main à l’ouvrage : «La recette Pasqua consistait à constituer des « mouvements patriotiques », en vérité violents, avec des voyous peu recommandables. Comment les rémunérer ? Tout simplement avec l’argent provenant de gros braquages de banques et de bijouteries, commis en toute impunité. Avec Pasqua, tout était possible, du moins pour les membres du SAC. Patriote, certainement prêt à mourir pour son pays, il gardait en revanche un œil attentif sur les caisses du parti. Moyennant la moitié de nos gains, il nous garantissait l’impunité sur des affaires juteuses et triées sur le volet, sachant exactement là ou il fallait frapper.» (…) A l’issue de l’entretien, Gérard Fauré croisera illico le parrain marseillais «Tony» Zampa, qui traînait là par hasard, lequel l’entreprend dans la foulée sur différentes affaires à venir : des investissements dans les casinos et la prostitution aux Pays-Bas. Cas peut-être unique dans les annales de la voyoucratie, il fera parallèlement équipe avec l’illustre Francis Vanverberghe, dit «Francis le Belge», «doté d’un savoir-vivre qui valait bien son savoir-tuer». (…) Pour la petite histoire, il reconstitue leur brouille à propos de… Johnny Hallyday : «Tous les deux voulaient le prendre sous tutelle, pour capter sa fortune ou l’utiliser comme prête-nom. Ils ont fini par s’entre-tuer pour ce motif et quelques autres.» Fauré considérait Johnny comme sa «plus belle prise de guerre» dans le microcosme de la coke. Mais lui gardera un chien de sa chienne après que le chanteur l’a balancé sans vergogne aux Stups, contre sa propre immunité. (…) «Si vous le voulez bien, j’attends votre version des faits s’agissant des deux chèques de M. Chirac rédigés à votre ordre. Je vous invite à bien réfléchir avant de répondre» : sollicitation d’une juge d’instruction parisienne en 1986, hors procès-verbal. Tempête sous un crâne à l’issue de laquelle Gérard Fauré évoquera une dette de jeu au backgammon… Dans son bouquin, l’explication est tout autre – «J’avais dû travestir la vérité.» S’il ne peut attester que l’ex-président prenait de la coke, il évoque son penchant pour les femmes… Pour l’anecdote, les deux chèques en question feront l’objet d’une rapide opposition de leur signataire. «Chirac, dont j’avais admiré la prestance et même les idées politiques, s’est avéré mauvais payeur.» (…) Le livre s’achève sur cet hommage indirect à la police française : lors d’une perquisition à son domicile, 10 des 15 kilos de cocaïne disparaissent, tout comme 90 % des 300 000 euros logés dans un tiroir. «Je n’ai pas pensé un seul instant me plaindre de la brigade du quai des Orfèvres, dans la mesure où les vols qu’elle commettait chez moi ne pouvaient qu’alléger ma future condamnation. » Libération
Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq War put him at loggerheads with George W. Bush and Tony Blair. As President he made a historic apology for France’s role in the Holocaust but his term was also marked by riots and a stinging defeat over EU integration. He also had a reputation as a womaniser and philanderer who repeatedly cheated on his long-suffering wife Bernadette during their 63 years of marriage. His reputed partners included Italian sex symbol Claudia Cardinale and there were rumours about a series of relationships with journalists and politicians. Chirac was also known for a love of fine living, revelling in the trappings of power including luxury trips abroad and life at the presidential palace. After leaving office, Chirac was found guilty of corruption dating back to his time as mayor of Paris and given a two-year suspended prison sentence. The Daily Mail
How many times have certain Western politicians cast an envious glance at Jacques Chirac and thought: just how the hell did he get away with it? France is in deep mourning following the news that its flamboyant, philandering former centre-Right president has died at the age of 86. World leaders joined in a chorus of tributes yesterday. Precisely what and whom they are mourning, however, remains as opaque as ever. Former French President Jacques Chirac was often seen in the company of beautiful women such as legendary actress Brigitte Bardot (….) The first ex-president in French history to be convicted of corruption, he managed to espouse contradictory opinions on just about everything during four decades in politics. Here was the great peacemonger – famous for keeping France out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq – who also flogged nuclear technology to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and who obliterated a South Pacific coral atoll with his own nuclear weapons. (…) He was the self-styled champion of human rights and the developing world who also sucked up to the most appalling tyrants, argued that ‘Africa is not ready for democracy’ and deplored the ‘noise and smell’ of workshy immigrants. And all the while, he was the family man who enjoyed affairs with umpteen women – from humble secretaries and party workers to film stars. As mayor of Paris, he kept a mayoral bus with a bedroom for assignations and used public funds to rent a flat for a political journalist from Le Figaro who was his then mistress. As president, so it was claimed by one biographer, he would never want for ‘naked women, burning with desire’ on board the presidential jet. On a state visit to Tunisia, he managed to bring along both his long-suffering wife, Bernadette, and his mistress du moment on the same trip. The two women did not exchange a word. Not that he would ever allow himself to be distracted from his work for long. Following the publication of the memoirs of the presidential chauffeur, Chirac could never quite shake off the nickname he acquired thereafter: ‘Five minutes – including shower’ (to add insult to injury, this was later reduced from ‘five’ to ‘three’). Routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as ‘Superliar’, Chirac would never have got where he got – or lasted as long as he did – in British politics. It was his good fortune to be blessed with a French media which seldom subjected him to the same scrutiny endured by his British counterparts. It also helped that he was sleeping with quite a few of them. (…) In 2011, he received a two-year prison sentence for abuse of trust and public funds, though the sentence was suspended. The Daily Mail
There were strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam. His recent obituaries are saying that Chirac got it right [on Iraq] and the rest of us got it wrong. But I am saying that Chirac’s motive for getting it right may not appear to be what it is.’‘He had this questionable relationship with Saddam Hussein. It raises a lot of questions as to what his motives were for opposing the UN Resolution in the build-up to the invasion. It was not a matter of conscience, it was his reputation. If it came out in the wash [that he received money from Saddam], it would have been damaging to him as a politician. It was a dimension which at the time was politically worrying – Chirac had a longstanding relationship with Saddam, which was not state to state, it was personal. He was a roguish individual who manoeuvred very cleverly.  Sir Richard Dearlove
J’ai un principe simple en politique étrangère. Je regarde ce que font les Américains et je fais le contraire. Alors, je suis sûr d’avoir raison. Jacques Chirac
Le multipartisme est une erreur politique, une sorte du luxe que les pays en voie de développement, qui doivent concentrer leurs efforts sur leur expansion économique n’ont pas les moyens de s’offrir. Jacques Chirac (Abidjan, février 1990)
Si les valeurs des droits de l’homme sont universelles, elles peuvent s’exprimer sous des formes différentes. Jacques Chirac (Paris, 1996, visite de Li Peng)
Ici, le message millénaire de l’islam rejoint l’héritage et les valeurs de la République. Jacques Chirac (Grande Mosquée de Paris, 9/4/02)
La guerre … est toujours la pire des solutions … Jacques Chirac (Paris, 17 janvier 2003, au côté de Hans Blix, président exécutif de la commission de contrôle de vérification et d’inspection des Nations Unies en Irak et de Mohamed El Baradei, directeur de l’Agence Internationale de l’Energie Atomique)
Cette institution met la Russie au premier rang des démocraties, pour le respect dû aux peuples premiers, pour le dialogue des cultures et tout simplement pour le respect de l’autre. Jacques Chirac (Saint-Pétersbourg, juin 2003, inauguration de l’Académie polaire)
Le premier des droits de l’homme, c’est de manger, d’être soigné, de recevoir une éducation et d’avoir un habitat. De ce point de vue, la Tunisie est très en avance sur beaucoup de pays. Jacques Chirac (Tunis, le 3 décembre 2003, jour où l’opposante Radhia Nasraoui entrait dans son 50e jour de grève de la faim)
Je n’ai pas à juger les choix de politique intérieure d’un homme démocratiquement élu. Mais je sais une chose : il a rendu sa dignité à un peuple privé de ses droits et de son identité.» Il « a rendu sa dignité à son peuple ». « On ne peut pas vouloir des élections au suffrage universel et contester leurs résultats. Jacques Chirac (sur le président bolivien Evo Morales, Brasilia, 25 mai 2006)
Les racines de l’Europe sont autant musulmanes que chrétiennes. Jacques Chirac
Ce n’est pas une politique de tuer des enfants. Chirac (accueillant Barak à Paris, le 4 octobre 2000)
La situation est tragique mais les forces en présence au Moyen-Orient font qu’au long terme, Israël, comme autrefois les Royaumes francs, finira par disparaître. Cette région a toujours rejeté les corps étrangers. Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin (Paris, automne 2001)
La France condamne les attaques du Hezbollah et toutes les actions terroristes unilatérales, où qu’elles se mènent, contre des soldats ou des populations civiles. Oui, ces attaques sont terroristes, et la France souhaite que la réplique frappe aussi peu que possible les populations civiles. Epargner les populations civiles est une contrainte que s’efforce de respecter Israël. Lionel Jospin (Jérusalem, 24 février 2000)
On his visit to Birzeit University, Lionel Jospin had the gall to speak of the Hizbullah fighters as terrorists, also expressing his « understanding » of Israel’s actions against Lebanon. Edward Said
Soudain, une pluie de pierres s’abat sur le groupe, petites d’abord, puis de plus en plus grosses. Les gardes du corps déploient aussitôt leur protection en kevlar. Le premier ministre disparaît littéralement sous les corps massés « en tortue » de sa protection rapprochée, avant d’être précipité à l’arrière de la Mercedes blindée qui l’attend. Une voiture, posée en travers de la route, barre le départ du cortège et immobilise quelques longues secondes celle de M. Jospin, criblée de pierres et de coups de pied, tandis qu’un enseignant, debout sur le toit du véhicule, lève les bras pour tenter de calmer les manifestants. Une vitre est atteinte par un pavé. Un photographe de l’Agence France-Presse, Manoucher Deghati, est renversé, la jambe cassée. Il sera transféré à l’hôpital de Jérusalem. Dans le hurlement des sirènes et sous les insultes des manifestants, le cortège repart, enfin. Le Monde
Vous savez bien que l’Irak est un pays pacifique géré par des gens pacifiques. Jacques Chirac (Journal marocain, septembre 1980)
Il y a un problème, c’est la possession probable d’armes de destruction massive par un pays incontrôlable, l’Irak. La communauté internationale a raison de s’émouvoir de cette situation. Et elle a eu raison de décider qu’il fallait désarmer l’Irak. (…) Il faut laisser aux inspecteurs le temps de le faire. Jacques Chirac
Dans l’immédiat, notre attention doit se porter en priorité sur les domaines biologique et chimique. C’est là que nos présomptions vis-à-vis de l’Iraq sont les plus significatives : sur le chimique, nous avons des indices d’une capacité de production de VX et d’ypérite ; sur le biologique, nos indices portent sur la détention possible de stocks significatifs de bacille du charbon et de toxine botulique, et une éventuelle capacité de production.  Dominique De Villepin (05.02.03)
Les visées militaires du programme nucléaire iranien ne font plus de doute mais les possibilités de négociations avec le régime de Téhéran n’ont pas été épuisées. (…) De l’avis des experts, d’ici deux à trois ans, l’Iran pourrait être en possession d’une arme nucléaire. Rapport parlementaire français (17 décembre 2008)
Même aux pires moments de notre relation, quand le général De Gaulle a quitté l’OTAN, critiqué la guerre du Vietnam et voulu remplacer le dollar par l’étalon-or, il n’est jamais allé aussi loin. Il n’a jamais tenté, lui, de monter une coalition contre nous. Kissinger (Paris, automne 2003)
Il est maintenant clair que les assurances données par Chirac ont joué un rôle crucial, persuadant Saddam Hussein de ne pas offrir les concessions qui auraient pu éviter une guerre et le changement de régime. Selon l’ex-vice président Tareq Aziz, s’exprimant depuis sa cellule devant des enquêteurs américains et irakiens, Saddam était convaincu que les Français, et dans une moindre mesure, les Russes allaient sauver son régime à la dernière minute. Amir Taheri
L’affaire Boidevaix-Mérimée est-elle l’arbre qui cache la forêt ? Certaines sources au Quai d’Orsay l’insinuent. « Il est impossible que Mérimée se soit mouillé pour une telle somme (156 000 dollars), qui n’est pas si importante au regard des risques encourus et des profits possibles », estime un diplomate qui a côtoyé l’ancien représentant de la France au Conseil de sécurité. « Nous sommes plusieurs à penser que les sommes en jeu sont en réalité colossales. » Olivier Weber (Le Point 01/12/05)
A senior U.S. official said France’s refusal to join in threatening force against Iraq doomed the united front assembled in November and convinced Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that he could split the international community and avert war without divulging his programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. (…) As the United States and Britain lobbied for a second U.N. resolution that would authorize the use of force, France played hardball, openly competing for Security Council votes and trying to intimidate supporters of the U.S. position among Eastern European countries. It wasn’t just France’s anti-war stance that Washington resented, but the « gleeful organizing against us, » a senior U.S. official said. This generated even more disfavor within the Bush administration than was reserved for Russia, which opposed the war less aggressively. (…) U.S.-French strains did not start with Iraq, and are unlikely to end anytime soon. Determined to act as a counterweight to American power in Europe and to preserve its influence among former colonies in Africa and the Middle East, France has long viewed the United States and its power with a mixture of gratitude, Old World disdain and sheer mischievousness. President Charles de Gaulle set the relationship on its rocky course in 1966 when he pulled France out of the military arm of the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization while remaining part of its political umbrella, the North Atlantic Council, and providing troops and equipment for NATO missions. In the years since, France has refused to give unblinking support for U.S. actions, even blocking the use of its airspace when the United States, under President Ronald Reagan, bombed Libya in 1986. The Baltimore Sun (09.05.2003)

Attention: un mensonge peut en cacher beaucoup d’autres !

Longue allocution présidentielle, unes et dossiers spéciaux médiatiques, drapeaux en berne, extinction de la Tour Eiffel, photo géante sur la façade de l’Hôtel de ville de Paris, messe, journée de deuil national, minute de silence dans les écoles …

A l’heure où après le mariage pour tous, l’on s’apprête à mentir à nos enfants sur leurs propres origines

Où jusque dans leurs salles de classe …

Une France étrangement amnésique multiplie, aussi hypocrites les uns que les autres, hagiographies et hommages …

Et où pour faire oublier le long feuilleton des gilets jaunes et le retour des affaires, la Macronie tente de nous refaire le coup des funérailles quasi-nationales de Johnny il y a deux ans …

Merci au Daily Mail et à l’ancien patron des services secrets britanniques …

Pour leur salutaire remise des pendules à l’heure …

Sur, entre le pillage systématique de la mairie de Paris pendant 20 ans et la fourniture de l’arme nucléaire puis, contre espèces sonnates et trébuchantes, l’indéfectible soutien au tyran Saddam …

Le maitre ès escrocqueries et repris de justice Chirac !

Saddam Hussein ‘bribed Jacques Chirac’ with £5million in bid to make the former French President oppose the US-led Iraq war

Jacques Chirac (pictured) was paid millions of pounds in bribes by Saddam Hussein to oppose the US-led war in Iraq, according to Britain’s former spy chief

Jacques Chirac was paid millions of pounds in bribes by Saddam Hussein to oppose the US-led war in Iraq, according to intelligence revealed for the first time by Britain’s former spy chief.

Sir Richard Dearlove – head of MI6 in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – spoke out as recent obituaries for the former French President cited his principled opposition to US President George Bush’s plans for military action.

But the former spymaster, speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, revealed that Chirac’s true motive for opposing the Gulf War was because he accepted ‘substantial amounts’ of cash from the Iraqi tyrant for his election campaigns.

Sir Richard, who made the sensational revelation only days after the French statesman’s death on Thursday aged 86, said: ‘There were strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam.

‘His recent obituaries are saying that Chirac got it right [on Iraq] and the rest of us got it wrong. But I am saying that Chirac’s motive for getting it right may not appear to be what it is.’

Chirac had led an alliance of France, Germany and Russia against plans by the US and Britain to invade Iraq over suspicions that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, which it would pass on to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.

Sir Richard Dearlove said there had been 'strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam'. French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, left, is seen with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, right, after arriving in Bagdad in 1976

Sir Richard Dearlove said there had been ‘strong indications in the US and UK [intelligence services] that Chirac received money from Saddam’. French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, left, is seen with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, right, after arriving in Bagdad in 1976

The French President addressed his nation on television to declare that he would use France’s veto at the UN to prevent George Bush and Tony Blair gaining a resolution that sanctioned a military invasion.

Chirac’s anti-war stance caused a massive rift between France and the US, prompting American media to deride the French as ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ and some restaurants to rename French fries as ‘Freedom fries’.

While the US and Britain went to war with Iraq without a UN resolution, France stayed out of the coalition.

At the time, MI6 and its US counterparts were gathering ‘reliable intelligence’ that Chirac had pocketed £5 million from the Iraqi dictator to fight his presidential elections in 1995 and in 2002.

The money came from Saddam’s own personal funds and was passed to Chirac through intermediaries, according to the intelligence.

Sir Richard told this newspaper that the ‘long relationship’ between Chirac and Saddam was the real reason why the French leader opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

‘He [Chirac] had this questionable relationship with Saddam Hussein,’ said Sir Richard. ‘It raises a lot of questions as to what his motives were for opposing the UN Resolution in the build-up to the invasion.’

He added: ‘It was not a matter of conscience, it was his [Chirac’s] reputation. If it came out in the wash [that he received money from Saddam], it would have been damaging to him as a politician.

‘It was a dimension which at the time was politically worrying – Chirac had a longstanding relationship with Saddam, which was not state to state, it was personal.’

Sir Richard said obituaries on Chirac praised the former leader’s stance without knowing the full facts. He went on: ‘He was a roguish individual who manoeuvred very cleverly.’

The former spymaster, known as ‘C’ during his five-year spell as head of MI6, is due to give further details at the Cliveden Literary Festival later today.

Last night, France’s embassy in London declined to comment on the revelations, but spokeswoman Aurelie Bonal said: ‘History has shown who took the right decision.’

Former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said: ‘Regardless of personal reasons, Chirac would have opposed the war because the French public opposed it so vehemently.’

Voir aussi:

Adieu to Le Grand Philanderer: As Jacques Chirac dies at 86, ROBERT HARDMAN bids farewell to a president so priapic even his official jet had room for illicit trysts

How many times have certain Western politicians cast an envious glance at Jacques Chirac and thought: just how the hell did he get away with it?

France is in deep mourning following the news that its flamboyant, philandering former centre-Right president has died at the age of 86. World leaders joined in a chorus of tributes yesterday.

Precisely what and whom they are mourning, however, remains as opaque as ever.

Former French President Jacques Chirac was often seen in the company of beautiful women such as legendary actress Brigitte Bardot, pictured here in October 1990

The first ex-president in French history to be convicted of corruption, he managed to espouse contradictory opinions on just about everything during four decades in politics.

Here was the great peacemonger – famous for keeping France out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq – who also flogged nuclear technology to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and who obliterated a South Pacific coral atoll with his own nuclear weapons.

Here was Chirac the ardent Eurosceptic who ended up a passionate advocate of a European superstate.

He was the self-styled champion of human rights and the developing world who also sucked up to the most appalling tyrants, argued that ‘Africa is not ready for democracy’ and deplored the ‘noise and smell’ of workshy immigrants.

And all the while, he was the family man who enjoyed affairs with umpteen women – from humble secretaries and party workers to film stars. As mayor of Paris, he kept a mayoral bus with a bedroom for assignations and used public funds to rent a flat for a political journalist from Le Figaro who was his then mistress.

Chirac, pictured here in 1987 with Madonna, was routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as 'Superliar'

Chirac, pictured here in 1987 with Madonna, was routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as ‘Superliar’

As president, so it was claimed by one biographer, he would never want for ‘naked women, burning with desire’ on board the presidential jet. On a state visit to Tunisia, he managed to bring along both his long-suffering wife, Bernadette, and his mistress du moment on the same trip. The two women did not exchange a word.

Not that he would ever allow himself to be distracted from his work for long. Following the publication of the memoirs of the presidential chauffeur, Chirac could never quite shake off the nickname he acquired thereafter: ‘Five minutes – including shower’ (to add insult to injury, this was later reduced from ‘five’ to ‘three’).

Routinely satirised on a top French comedy show as ‘Superliar’, Chirac would never have got where he got – or lasted as long as he did – in British politics. It was his good fortune to be blessed with a French media which seldom subjected him to the same scrutiny endured by his British counterparts. It also helped that he was sleeping with quite a few of them.

And even when scandals did emerge – be it bungs or mysterious six-figure payments for family entertainment – the publicity never seemed to do him lasting damage. As far as millions of what he called ‘my dear compatriots’ were concerned, he was a quintessentially French political chancer who put the gloire back in to French public life.

He may have enraged the wider world. The British public, for example, were appalled by his withering attack on the UK: ‘You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that.’ Yet it all played brilliantly to a domestic audience.

Chirac, pictured with the Princess of Wales in September 1995, criticised the UK with a withering remark: 'You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that'

Chirac, pictured with the Princess of Wales in September 1995, criticised the UK with a withering remark: ‘You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that’

And on the few occasions when his extra-marital infidelities did emerge into the public domain, they did little harm to his ratings. ‘Do you know where my husband is tonight?’ the aristocratic Bernadette, asked his chauffeur on the night in 1997 when Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a Paris car crash. According to the chauffeur, the president was enjoying a tryst with an Italian actress. When the story emerged some time later, the French public shrugged.

Chirac was the only surviving child of a well-to-do middle class family who shone at school and university and beyond, passing through the French Army – where he was top of his officer intake – and the prestigious Ecole Nationale d’Administration, the training school for elite civil servants.

His determination, along with his political and bureaucratic skills, were soon spotted by the French prime minister, Georges Pompidou who made him chief of staff and gave him the first of his many nicknames: ‘Le Bulldozer’. Having entered the French parliament in 1967, he was promoted to agriculture minister in the early Seventies. He wisely backed the new president, Giscard d’Estaing, and was rewarded with the post of prime minister.

He soon had a formidable power base from which to stake his claim for the top prize (while also dishing out fake jobs to chums). In 1977, he was elected mayor of Paris and remained there for nearly 20 years.

Chirac became president in 1995 and set about trying to apply a mild dose of Thatcherism to France’s bloated state sector. An inevitable succession of strikes and U-turns ensured that little changed.

At the same time, Chirac decided to conduct a series of nuclear tests on a far-flung Pacific atoll in the French colony of French Polynesia – just before France was due to sign a test ban treaty. There was outrage around the world, although a handful of France’s allies – including Britain – refused to condemn him.

Months later, the British government invited Chirac and his wife on a state visit to London where he was given the full Buckingham Palace treatment. She was said to be charmed by Chirac and the English-speaking Bernadette. However, within a year, Chirac was touring China, deploring Britain’s imperial record in Hong Kong to secure contracts for French businesses in China.

Having seen off a far-Right challenge by the National Front’s Jean-Marie Le Pen, Chirac won a second term as president in 2002.

Soon afterwards, his refusal to join the US and the UK in invading Iraq saw his approval ratings soar at home. However, his decision provoked such contempt among allies that he was derided by the tabloid press as a ‘cheese-eating surrender monkey’.

There was also another trip to stay with the Queen as Britain and France marked the centenary of the bilateral friendship agreement known as the ‘Entente Cordiale’.

Yet, at the same time, he was cosying up to a man whom Britain was trying to ostracise from the rest of the world.

Zimbabwe despot Robert Mugabe had been banned from visiting Europe. Yet Chirac gave him a special pass to attend a meeting of African nations in Paris.

By now, reports of corruption during his days as Mayor of Paris were catching up. In 2011, he received a two-year prison sentence for abuse of trust and public funds, though the sentence was suspended. Thereafter, he disappeared from public view. Bernadette, meanwhile, would have the last word.

Four years ago, she let it be known that she was not a fan of her husband’s policies and that she supported his successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Chirac loathed. She also accused her husband of ‘ruining her life’. His life in the public eye had certainly taken its toll on their two daughters, one of whom died in 2016 after a lifelong battle with anorexia.

In 2002, Bernadette had publicly acknowledged that she had been married to a serial womaniser. It had been difficult, she said but her husband had ‘always returned’ to her. ‘Anyway,’ she added, ‘I have often warned him: Napoleon lost everything on the day he abandoned Josephine.’

Voir également:

Death of a playboy president: France mourns as former head of state Jacques Chirac – famed for his love of fine living and many rumoured affairs – passes away aged 86

Former French President Jacques Chirac has died at the age of 86.

Chirac, who had suffered a series of health problems in recent years, died this morning ‘surrounded by his family’, his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux said today.

In Paris a minute’s silence was held in the National Assembly when the former President’s death was announced this morning while mourners have brought flowers to his home in the capital.

In a long career on the French right, Chirac was twice Prime Minister of France before serving as head of state from 1995 to 2007.

Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq War put him at loggerheads with George W. Bush and Tony Blair. As President he made a historic apology for France’s role in the Holocaust but his term was also marked by riots and a stinging defeat over EU integration.

He also had a reputation as a womaniser and philanderer who repeatedly cheated on his long-suffering wife Bernadette during their 63 years of marriage.

His reputed partners included Italian sex symbol Claudia Cardinale and there were rumours about a series of relationships with journalists and politicians.

Chirac was also known for a love of fine living, revelling in the trappings of power including luxury trips abroad and life at the presidential palace.

After leaving office, Chirac was found guilty of corruption dating back to his time as mayor of Paris and given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

His two immediate successors both paid tribute today, Nicolas Sarkozy declaring that ‘a part of my life has disappeared’ while Francois Hollande said France was ‘losing a statesman’. Current President Emmanuel Macron will speak later.

Voir encore:

« Jacques Chirac a manqué à l’obligation de probité » : le jugement

Pour la première fois depuis Louis XVI et Philippe Pétain, un ancien chef de l’Etat français a été condamné par la justice de son pays. Jacques Chirac, 79 ans, reconnu coupable d’abus de confiance, de détournement de fonds publics…

Augustin Scalbert

Pour la première fois depuis Louis XVI et Philippe Pétain, un ancien chef de l’Etat français a été condamné par la justice de son pays. Jacques Chirac, 79 ans, reconnu coupable d’abus de confiance, de détournement de fonds publics et de prise illégale d’intérêts, a écopé ce jeudi matin de deux ans de prison avec sursis.

Dans un communiqué, Jacques Chirac a annoncé qu’il ne ferait pas appel, même si « sur le fond [il] conteste catégoriquement ce jugement ». Il explique ne plus avoir « hélas, toutes les forces nécessaires pour mener par [lui-même], face à de nouveaux juges, le combat pour la vérité ».

Les réactions à cette première historique sous ce régime sont évidemment nombreuses. Certaines portent sur la sévérité du jugement.

Rue89 publie ci-dessous les attendus – c’est-à-dire les motivations – de la condamnation de Jacques Chirac, tels qu’ils ont été communiqués par la justice à l’Association de la presse judiciaire. (Les caractères gras sont de la rédaction.)

« Attendu que la responsabilité de Jacques Chirac, maire de París, découle du mandat reçu de la collectivité des Parisiens ; qu’elle résulte également de l’autorité hiérarchique exercée par lui sur l’ensemble du personnel de la Ville de Paris et singulièrement sur ses collaborateurs immédiats au premier rang desquels son directeur de cabinet ;

Attendu que le dossier et les débats ont établi que Jacques Chirac a été l’initiateur et l’auteur principal des délits d’abus de confiance, détournement de fonds publics, ingérence et prise illégale d’intérêts ;

que sa culpabilité résulte de pratiques pérennes et réitérées qui lui sont personnellement imputables et dont le développement a été grandement favorisé par une parfaite connaissance des rouages de la municipalité ainsi que la qualité des liens tissés avec les différents acteurs administratifs et politiques au cours de ses années passées à la tête de la Ville de Paris ;

qu’en multipliant les connexions entre son parti et la municipalité parisienne, Jacques Chirac a su créer et entretenir entre la collectivité territoriale et l’organisation politique une confusion telle qu’elle a pu entraîner ses propres amis politiques ;

que le gain en résultant, nonobstant les économies des salaires payés par la mairie de Paris, a pu prendre la forme soit d’un renforcement des effectifs du parti politique dont il était le président soit d’un soutien à la contribution intellectuelle pour l’élaboration du programme politique de ce parti ;

Attendu que par l’ensemble de ces agissements, Jacques Chirac a engagé les fonds de la Ville de Paris pour un montant total d’environ 1 400 000 euros ;

Attendu que l’ancienneté des faits, l’absence d’enrichissement personnel de Jacques Chirac, l’indemnisation de la Ville de Paris par l’UMP et Jacques Chirac, ce dernier à hauteur de 500.000 euros, l’âge et l’état de santé actuel de Jacques Chirac, dont la dégradation est avérée, ainsi que les éminentes responsabilités de chef de l’Etat qu’il a exercées pendant les douze années ayant immédiatement suivi la période de prévention, sont autant d’éléments qui doivent être pris en considération pour déterminer la sanction qu’il convient d’appliquer à son encontre ;

Attendu que ces éléments ne sauraient occulter le fait que, par son action délibérée, en ayant recours au cours de ces cinq années à dix neuf emplois totalement ou partiellement fictifs, Jacques Chirac a manqué à l’obligation de probité qui pèse sur les personnes publiques chargées de la gestion des fonds ou des biens qui leur sont confiés, cela au mépris de l’intérêt général des Parisiens ;

que dans ces conditions, le recours à une peine d’emprisonnement avec sursis dont le quantum sera fixé à deux années apparaît tout à la fois adapté à la personnalité du prévenu et ainsi qu’à la nature et la gravité des faits qu’il a commis. »

Voir enfin:

Chirac, le président qui a dit non à l’Amérique

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – Jacques Chirac a tenu tête à George Bush en refusant d’engager la France dans la guerre en Irak. Pour l’essayiste Hadrien Desuin, si, encore aujourd’hui, on écoute la France dans le monde, c’est notamment grâce à l’acte de bravoure de cet ancien président, fin connaisseur des relations internationales.


Spécialiste des questions internationales et de défense, Hadrien Desuin est essayiste. Il a publié La France atlantiste ou le naufrage de la diplomatie (éd. du Cerf, 2017).


C’est très français au fond. La seule chose que l’on retiendra de la présidence de Jacques Chirac est une belle bravade sans conséquence: son refus spectaculaire de la guerre américaine en Irak. Laquelle, pour le coup, en eut de fâcheuses.

Dieu sait combien Jacques Chirac représentait le caractère national. Au milieu de beaucoup de compromissions, ce fut une parenthèse de gloire, de panache et d’honneur. Cela n’a servi à rien mais le geste en était d’autant plus beau. Chirac eut quelque chose de Cyrano de Bergerac au cours de cet hiver 2002-2003, entraînant la Russie de Poutine et l’Allemagne de Schröder et bien d’autres nations derrière lui. Villepin, au contraire, avait peur de se fâcher avec l’Amérique.

Il n’a pas troqué le retour de la France dans le comité militaire de l’Otan en échange de quelques postes honorifiques. Il a osé renouveler la dissuasion nucléaire française.

C’est en souvenir de ces moments-là que la France est encore écoutée dans le monde. Malheureusement, la geste irakienne n’a pas eu de suites. Que ce soit en Libye et en Syrie, les leçons du vieux Chirac n’ont pas été retenues.

» LIRE AUSSI – Jacques Chirac, le mousquetaire du monde multipolaire

Jacques Chirac avait un grand mérite: il connaissait l’histoire du monde et de ses civilisations. Il savait que l’Irak est un des berceaux de l’humanité et qu’on ne pouvait la détruire sans commettre l’irréparable. Il savait aussi que la démocratie ne se construit pas sur le sable d’une occupation militaire et que tôt ou tard, les chiites d’Irak se tourneraient vers leurs coreligionnaires iraniens, entraînant une terrible guerre de religions. Ce qui devait advenir arriva: la rage cumulée des pétromonarchies du golfe et des terroristes wahhabites a redoublé de violence. Daech et les destructions de Mossoul, Palmyre et Alep sont des contrecoups de la folle expédition de Dick Cheney et Donald Rumsfeld. Tout le Moyen-Orient a souffert de cette lamentable aventure mais pas seulement. Après les attentats de 2004-2005 et 2015-2016 en Europe, nous sommes loin d’avoir retrouvé l’équilibre.

Depuis 2003, le Moyen-Orient est une région en guerre de religion, fracturée et travaillée par le terrorisme, minée par les migrations, incapable de se coordonner et d’avancer ensemble. Chirac avait au long de sa carrière noué des relations fidèles avec les chefs d’États d’Afrique et d’Asie. Il était soucieux du sort des Palestiniens, lui qui était intraitable avec l’antisémitisme.

L’ancien Premier ministre de Giscard et Mitterrand a aussi commis quelques erreurs. On pense notamment à sa gestion de la crise en Côte d’Ivoire ou lorsqu’il laissa l’Otan bombarder le Kosovo sans mandat des Nations unies.

Mais au moins Chirac s’intéressait et comprenait les relations internationales, sans avoir peur de quiconque.

Voir par ailleurs:

Richard Ferrand rattrapé par ses tweets sur la mise en examen de François Fillon

En 2017, il estimait que le candidat de la droite, alors mis en examen, avait « perdu toute autorité morale ».

Romain Herreros

Hufffington Post

12/09/2019

POLITIQUE – Les paroles s’envolent, les écrits restent. Après la mise en examen de Richard Ferrand ce jeudi 12 septembre, les réactions sont nombreuses dans la classe politique. Alors que la majorité et l’Elysée font bloc autour du président de l’Assemblée nationale, des responsables de l’opposition, à l’image du socialiste Olivier Faure ou du député LR Philippe Gosselin, estiment que l’élu du Finistère n’est plus en condition de diriger les débats sereinement.

Mais au delà de son maintien (ou non) au Perchoir, c’est la “présomption d’innocence” à géométrie variable de Richard Ferrand qui est pointée, notamment à droite. En cause, des tweets qu’il avait publiés en pleine campagne présidentielle, quand François Fillon, alors embourbé dans le “Penelope Gate”, avait été mis en examen pour détournement de fonds publics.

L’ex-député socialiste s’en prenait à cette droite qui “voudrait que soit placé dans nos mairies et nos écoles le portrait d’un homme mis en examen, qui a perdu toute autorité morale”. Dans une autre publication, il tenait à peu près les mêmes propos concernant le candidat LR: “nous disons à François Fillon qu’il a perdu toute autorité morale pour diriger l’État et parler au nom de la France”.

Des propos qui intervenaient dans un contexte où le candidat de la droite avait promis qu’il jetterai l’éponge en cas de mise en examen, et qui avait attaqué Nicolas Sarkozy sur ce point lors de la primaire de la droite.

Voir enfin:

Profil

Gérard Fauré, une clientèle haut de came

L’ancien dealer et braqueur de banque, qui a croisé la route de Charles Pasqua ou de Johnny Hallyday publie son autobiographie. Son parcours hors norme laisse entrevoir les liens entre politique et voyoucratie.

Renaud Lecadre

Barnum garanti. Aujourd’hui sort en librairie l’autobiographie d’un beau voyou. Gérard Fauré (1), fils d’un médecin militaire, fut un authentique trafiquant de cocaïne, doublé d’un braqueur de banques, et tueur à gages à l’occasion. A ce titre, l’intitulé du bouquin, Dealer du tout-Paris, le fournisseur des stars parle (1), pourrait prêter à confusion. Il n’était pas que cela. Mais comme le souligne son éditeur, Yannick Dehée, «c’est la première fois qu’un voyou parle sur les politiques». Et pas n’importe lesquels : Charles Pasqua et Jacques Chirac.

Un quart du manuscrit initial a été expurgé, des noms ont été initialisés ou anonymisés. Demeure le name-dropping dans le milieu du show-biz, visant des personnalités déjà connues pour leur addiction à la coke. Certains lecteurs s’en délecteront, mais il y a mieux – ou pire : l’interférence entre la politique et la voyoucratie, fournisseuse de services en tous genres. «On entre dans le dur», souligne un spécialiste du secteur.

Pasqua n’était guère cocaïnomane – «j’en suis sûr», atteste notre lascar – mais l’argent parallèle du secteur a pu l’intéresser… Fauré, précoce dealer au Maroc puis un peu partout ailleurs, raconte avoir été très vite pris en charge, dans les années 70, par l’Organisation de l’armée secrète. Initialement dédiée au maintien de l’Algérie française, l’OAS changera très vite de fusil d’épaule : «opérations homo» (assassinats ciblés) contre des indépendantistes basques ou corses, mais aussi braquages de banques. Le Service d’action civique (SAC) prendra ensuite le relais. Fauré, fort de ses compétences en la matière, met la main à l’ouvrage : «La recette Pasqua consistait à constituer des « mouvements patriotiques », en vérité violents, avec des voyous peu recommandables. Comment les rémunérer ? Tout simplement avec l’argent provenant de gros braquages de banques et de bijouteries, commis en toute impunité. Avec Pasqua, tout était possible, du moins pour les membres du SAC. Patriote, certainement prêt à mourir pour son pays, il gardait en revanche un œil attentif sur les caisses du parti. Moyennant la moitié de nos gains, il nous garantissait l’impunité sur des affaires juteuses et triées sur le volet, sachant exactement là ou il fallait frapper.»

L’auteur narre ainsi sa rencontre avec le politique, qu’il situe en 1978 : «Charles Pasqua donnait de sa voix tonitruante des ordres à tout le personnel, toutes les têtes brûlées de France et de l’Algérie française.» Et de lui lancer : «Alors, c’est toi le mec dont on me vante les mérites ? Bien. Tu vas reprendre du service dès aujourd’hui, avec tes amis, si tu veux bien. J’ai une mission de la plus haute importance, que tu ne peux pas te permettre de refuser, ni de rater. Compris ?»

Backgammon

A l’issue de l’entretien, Gérard Fauré croisera illico le parrain marseillais «Tony» Zampa, qui traînait là par hasard, lequel l’entreprend dans la foulée sur différentes affaires à venir : des investissements dans les casinos et la prostitution aux Pays-Bas. Cas peut-être unique dans les annales de la voyoucratie, il fera parallèlement équipe avec l’illustre Francis Vanverberghe, dit «Francis le Belge», «doté d’un savoir-vivre qui valait bien son savoir-tuer». Il en garde un souvenir mi-épaté mi-amusé : «Zampa ou « le Belge », qui pourtant étaient des gangsters d’envergure internationale, se seraient fait descendre comme des mouches s’ils avaient eu la mauvaise idée de mettre les pieds en Colombie ou au Venezuela, car ils étaient prétentieux.» Pour la petite histoire, il reconstitue leur brouille à propos de… Johnny Hallyday : «Tous les deux voulaient le prendre sous tutelle, pour capter sa fortune ou l’utiliser comme prête-nom. Ils ont fini par s’entre-tuer pour ce motif et quelques autres.» Fauré considérait Johnny comme sa «plus belle prise de guerre» dans le microcosme de la coke. Mais lui gardera un chien de sa chienne après que le chanteur l’a balancé sans vergogne aux Stups, contre sa propre immunité.

Notre voyou prétend n’avoir jamais balancé, lui, du moins jusqu’à ce livre. «Si vous le voulez bien, j’attends votre version des faits s’agissant des deux chèques de M. Chirac rédigés à votre ordre. Je vous invite à bien réfléchir avant de répondre» : sollicitation d’une juge d’instruction parisienne en 1986, hors procès-verbal. Tempête sous un crâne à l’issue de laquelle Gérard Fauré évoquera une dette de jeu au backgammon… Dans son bouquin, l’explication est tout autre – «J’avais dû travestir la vérité.» S’il ne peut attester que l’ex-président prenait de la coke, il évoque son penchant pour les femmes… Pour l’anecdote, les deux chèques en question feront l’objet d’une rapide opposition de leur signataire. «Chirac, dont j’avais admiré la prestance et même les idées politiques, s’est avéré mauvais payeur.»

Hommage

Ce livre-confession est une authentique plongée dans le commerce de la drogue. Notre trafiquant, dix-huit ans de prison au compteur, connaît son produit : «Aucune coke ne ressemble à une autre. Certaines, comme la colombienne, vous donnent envie de danser, de faire l’amour, mais rendent très agressif, parano et méfiant. La bolivienne rend morose, triste, et pousse parfois au suicide. La meilleure est la péruvienne, qui augmente votre tonus, votre joie de vivre et pousse à la méditation, au questionnement. La vénézuélienne a des effets uniquement sur la performance sexuelle. Les autres, brésilienne, chilienne ou surinamienne, ne sont que des pâles copies.» Son mode de transport aussi : dans le ventre d’une chèvre, elle-même logée dans l’estomac d’un boa que les douaniers, à l’aéroport d’arrivée, prendront soin de ne pas réveiller. Puis, une fois le coup du boa connu des gabelous, le ventre d’un nourrisson – une technique brésilienne consistant à empailler un bébé mort pour le maintenir en bon état, et ainsi faire croire qu’il dort au moment de passer la frontière…

Le livre s’achève sur cet hommage indirect à la police française : lors d’une perquisition à son domicile, 10 des 15 kilos de cocaïne disparaissent, tout comme 90 % des 300 000 euros logés dans un tiroir. «Je n’ai pas pensé un seul instant me plaindre de la brigade du quai des Orfèvres, dans la mesure où les vols qu’elle commettait chez moi ne pouvaient qu’alléger ma future condamnation.»

(1) Nouveau Monde, 224 pp., 17,90 €.


Populisme: Les sionistes ont même inventé le nationalisme ! (From the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli UN resolution, the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible, but is again threatened by transnational elites, says Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony)

28 juillet, 2019
Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to Return to The Land of Moab (William Blake)Toi qui as fixé les frontières, dressé les bornes de la terre, tu as créé l’été, l’hiver !  Psaumes 74: 17
Où tu iras j’irai, où tu demeureras je demeurerai; ton peuple sera mon peuple, et ton Dieu sera mon Dieu où tu mourras je mourrai, et j’y serai enterrée. Ruth (Ruth 1: 16)
Un peuple connait, aime et défend toujours plus ses moeurs que ses lois. Montesquieu
L’arbre de la liberté doit être revivifié de temps en temps par le sang des patriotes et des tyrans. Jefferson
Condamner le nationalisme parce qu’il peut mener à la guerre, c’est comme condamner l’amour parce qu’il peut conduire au meurtre. C.K. Chesterton
Le patriotisme est l’exact contraire du nationalisme. Le nationalisme est l’exact contraire du patriotisme, il en est sa trahison. Emmanuel Macron
Les démocrates radicaux veulent remonter le temps, rendre de nouveau le pouvoir aux mondialistes corrompus et avides de pouvoir. Vous savez qui sont les mondialistes? Le mondialiste est un homme qui veut qu’il soit bon de vivre dans le monde entier sans, pour dire le vrai, se soucier de notre pays. Cela ne nous convient pas. (…) Vous savez, il y a un terme devenu démodé dans un certain sens, ce terme est « nationaliste ». Mais vous savez qui je suis? Je suis un nationaliste. OK? Je suis nationaliste. Saisissez-vous de ce terme! Donald Trump
We have a very clear policy. We want to preserve Hungary as a Hungarian country. We have a right for that. It’s a sovereign right of Hungary to decide whom we would like to allow to enter the territory of the country, and with whom we would like to live together. That must be a national decision … a matter of national sovereignty, and we don’t want to give that up. And we do not accept either Brussels, New York or Geneva taking these kinds of decisions instead of us. (…) We think that the illegal migration is a threat to the European future, a threat to the European culture and to the European civilization. We are a country which sticks strictly to national identity, which would like to preserve religious heritage, historic heritage and cultural heritage. We do not want to lose them. Péter Szijjártó (Hungary’s foreign minister)
So apparently Donald Trump wants to make this an election about what it means to be American. He’s got his vision of what it means to be American, and he’s challenging the rest of us to come up with a better one. In Trump’s version, “American” is defined by three propositions. First, to be American is to be xenophobic. The basic narrative he tells is that the good people of the heartland are under assault from aliens, elitists and outsiders. Second, to be American is to be nostalgic. America’s values were better during some golden past. Third, a true American is white. White Protestants created this country; everybody else is here on their sufferance. When you look at Trump’s American idea you realize that it contradicts the traditional American idea in every particular. In fact, Trump’s national story is much closer to the Russian national story than it is toward our own. It’s an alien ideology he’s trying to plant on our soil. ​ Trump’s vision is radically anti-American.​ The real American idea is not xenophobic, nostalgic or racist; it is pluralistic, future-oriented and universal. America is exceptional precisely because it is the only nation on earth that defines itself by its future, not its past. America is exceptional because from the first its citizens saw themselves in a project that would have implications for all humankind. America is exceptional because it was launched with a dream to take the diverse many and make them one — e pluribus unum.​ (…) Trump’s campaign is an attack on that dream. The right response is to double down on that ideal. The task before us is to create the most diverse mass democracy in the history of the planet — a true universal nation. It is precisely to weave the social fissures that Trump is inclined to tear. David Brooks
In the matter of immigration, mark this conservative columnist down as strongly pro-deportation. The United States has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system. They need to return whence they came. I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic points of American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.​ (…) Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be — when “we” had just come off the boat.​ O.K., so I’m jesting about deporting “real Americans” en masse. (Who would take them in, anyway?) But then the threat of mass deportations has been no joke with this administration.​ On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security seemed prepared to extend an Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows the children of illegal immigrants — some 800,000 people in all — to continue to study and work in the United States. The decision would have reversed one of Donald Trump’s ugly campaign threats to deport these kids, whose only crime was to have been brought to the United States by their parents. Yet the administration is still committed to deporting their parents, and on Friday the D.H.S. announced that even DACA remains under review — another cruel twist for young immigrants wondering if they’ll be sent back to “home” countries they hardly ever knew, and whose language they might barely even speak.​ Beyond the inhumanity of toying with people’s lives this way, there’s also the shortsightedness of it. We do not usually find happiness by driving away those who would love us. Businesses do not often prosper by firing their better employees and discouraging job applications. So how does America become great again by berating and evicting its most energetic, enterprising, law-abiding, job-creating, idea-generating, self-multiplying and God-fearing people?​ Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious; and who do the most to remake it so that our ideas, and our appeal, may stay fresh.​ That used to be a cliché, but in the Age of Trump it needs to be explained all over again. We’re a country of immigrants — by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out.​ Bret Stephens
Obama est le premier président américain élevé sans attaches culturelles, affectives ou intellectuelles avec la Grande-Bretagne ou l’Europe. Les Anglais et les Européens ont été tellement enchantés par le premier président américain noir qu’ils n’ont pu voir ce qu’il est vraiment: le premier président américain du Tiers-Monde. The Daily Mail
Culturellement, Obama déteste la Grande-Bretagne. Il a renvoyé le buste de Churchill sans la moindre feuille de vigne d’une excuse. Il a insulté la Reine et le Premier ministre en leur offrant les plus insignifiants des cadeaux. A un moment, il a même refusé de rencontrer le Premier ministre. Dr James Lucier (ancien directeur du comité des Affaire étrangères du sénat américain)
We want our country back ! Marion Maréchal
La jeune génération n’est pas encouragée à aimer notre héritage. On leur lave le cerveau en leur faisant honte de leur pays. (…) Nous, Français, devons nous battre pour notre indépendance. Nous ne pouvons plus choisir notre politique économique ou notre politique d’immigration et même notre diplomatie. Notre liberté est entre les mains de l’Union européenne. (…) Notre liberté est maintenant entre les mains de cette institution qui est en train de tuer des nations millénaires. Je vis dans un pays où 80%, vous m’avez bien entendu, 80% des lois sont imposées par l’Union européenne. Après 40 ans d’immigration massive, de lobbyisme islamique et de politiquement correct, la France est en train de passer de fille aînée de l’Eglise à petite nièce de l’islam. On entend maintenant dans le débat public qu’on a le droit de commander un enfant sur catalogue, qu’on a le droit de louer le ventre d’une femme, qu’on a le droit de priver un enfant d’une mère ou d’un père. (…) Aujourd’hui, même les enfants sont devenus des marchandises (…) Un enfant n’est pas un droit (…) Nous ne voulons pas de ce monde atomisé, individualiste, sans sexe, sans père, sans mère et sans nation. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) La Tradition n’est pas la vénération des cendres, elle est la passation du feu. (…)Je ne suis pas offensée lorsque j’entends le président Donald Trump dire ‘l’Amérique d’abord’. En fait, je veux l’Amérique d’abord pour le peuple américain, je veux la Grande-Bretagne d’abord pour le peuple britannique et je veux la France d’abord pour le peuple français. Comme vous, nous voulons reprendre le contrôle de notre pays. Vous avez été l’étincelle, il nous appartient désormais de nourrir la flamme conservatrice. Marion Maréchal
La frontière a mauvaise presse : elle défend les contre-pouvoirs. N’attendons pas des pouvoirs établis, en position de force, qu’il fassent sa promo. Ni que que ces passe-muraille que sont évadés fiscaux, membres de la jet-set, stars du ballon rond, trafiquants de main-d’oeuvre, conférenciers à 50 000 dollars, multinationales adeptes des prix de transfert déclarent leur amour à ce qui leur fait barrage. […] Là est d’ailleurs le bouclier des humbles, contre l’ultra-rapide, l’insaisissable et l’omniprésent. Ce sont les dépossédés qui ont intérêt à la démarcation franche et nette. Leur seul actif est leur territoire, et la frontière, leur principale source de revenus (plus pauvre un pays, plus dépendant est-il de ses taxes douanières). La frontière rend égales (tant soit peu) des puissances inégales. Les riches vont où ils veulent, à tire-d’aile ; les pauvres vont où ils peuvent, en ramant. Ceux qui ont la maîtrise des stocks (de têtes nucléaires, d’or et de devises, de savoirs et de brevets) peuvent jouer avec les flux, en devenant encore plus riches. Ceux qui n’ont rien en stock sont les jouets des flux. Le fort est fluide. Le faible n’a pour lui que son bercail, une religion imprenable, un dédale inoccupable, rizières, montagnes, delta. Guerre asymétrique. Le prédateur déteste le rempart ; la proie aime bien. Régis Debray (Eloge des frontières, 2010)
En Europe comme aux Etats-Unis, la contestation émerge sur les territoires les plus éloignés des métropoles mondialisées. La « France périphérique » est celle des petites villes, des villes moyennes et des zones rurales. En Grande-Bretagne, c’est aussi la « Grande-Bretagne périphérique » qui a voté pour le Brexit. Attention : il ne s’agit pas d’un rapport entre « urbains » et « ruraux ». La question est avant tout sociale, économique et culturelle. Ces territoires illustrent la sortie de la classe moyenne des catégories qui en constituaient hier le socle : ouvriers, employés, petits paysans, petits indépendants. Ces catégories ont joué le jeu de la mondialisation, elles ont même au départ soutenu le projet européen. Cependant, après plusieurs décennies d’adaptation aux normes de l’économie-monde, elles font le constat d’une baisse ou d’une stagnation de leur niveau de vie, de la précarisation des conditions de travail, du chômage de masse et, in fine, du blocage de l’ascenseur social. Sans régulation d’un libre-échange qui défavorise prioritairement ces catégories et ces territoires, le processus va se poursuivre. C’est pourquoi la priorité est de favoriser le développement d’un modèle économique complémentaire (et non alternatif) sur ces territoires qui cumulent fragilités socio-économiques et sédentarisation des populations. Cela suppose de donner du pouvoir et des compétences aux élus et collectivités de ces territoires. En adoptant le système économique mondialisé, les pays développés ont accouché de son modèle sociétal : le multiculturalisme. En la matière, la France n’a pas fait mieux (ni pire) que les autres pays développés. Elle est devenue une société américaine comme les autres, avec ses tensions et ses paranoïas identitaires. Il faut insister sur le fait que sur ces sujets, il n’y a pas d’un côté ceux qui seraient dans l’ouverture et de l’autre ceux qui seraient dans le rejet. Si les catégories supérieures et éduquées ne basculent pas dans le populisme, c’est parce qu’elles ont les moyens de la frontière invisible avec l’Autre. Ce sont d’ailleurs elles qui pratiquent le plus l’évitement scolaire et résidentiel. La question du rapport à l’autre n’est donc pas seulement posée pour les catégories populaires. Poser cette question comme universelle – et qui touche toutes les catégories sociales – est un préalable si l’on souhaite faire baisser les tensions. Cela implique de sortir de la posture de supériorité morale que les gens ne supportent plus. J’avais justement conçu la notion d’insécurité culturelle pour montrer que, notamment en milieu populaire, ce n’est pas tant le rapport à l’autre qui pose problème qu’une instabilité démographique qui induit la peur de devenir minoritaire et de perdre un capital social et culturel très important. Une peur qui concerne tous les milieux populaires, quelles que soient leurs origines. C’est en partant de cette réalité qu’il convient de penser la question du multiculturalisme. Christophe Guilluy
Pour la première fois, le modèle mondialisé des classes dominantes, dont Hillary Clinton était le parangon, a été rejeté dans le pays qui l’a vu naître. Fidèles à leurs habitudes, les élites dirigeantes déprécient l’expression de la volonté populaire quand elles en perdent le contrôle. Ainsi, les médias, à travers le cas de la Pennsylvanie – l’un des swing states qui ont fait le succès de Trump -, ont mis l’accent sur le refus de mobilité de la working class blanche, les fameux « petits Blancs », comme cause principale de la précarité et du déclassement. Le « bougisme », qui est la maladie de Parkinson de la mondialisation, confond les causes et les conséquences. Il est incapable de comprendre que, selon la formule de Christopher Lasch, « le déracinement déracine tout, sauf le besoin de racines ». L’élection de Trump, c’est le cri de révolte des enracinés du local contre les agités du global. (…) La gauche progressiste n’a eu de cesse, depuis les années 1980, que d’évacuer la question sociale en posant comme postulat que ce n’est pas la pauvreté qui interdit d’accéder à la réussite ou à l’emploi, mais uniquement l’origine ethnique. Pourtant, l’actuelle dynamique des populismes ne se réduit pas à la seule révolte identitaire. En contrepoint de la protestation du peuple-ethnos, il y a la revendication du peuple-démos, qui aspire à être rétabli dans ses prérogatives de sujet politique et d’acteur souverain de son destin. Le populisme est aussi et peut-être d’abord un hyperdémocratisme, selon le mot de Taguieff, une demande de démocratie par quoi le peuple manifeste sa volonté d’être représenté et gouverné selon ses propres intérêts. Or notre postdémocratie oscille entre le déni et le détournement de la volonté populaire. (…) Au XIXe siècle, la bourgeoisie a eu recours à la loi pour imposer le suffrage censitaire. Aujourd’hui, les classes dominantes n’en éprouvent plus la nécessité, elles l’obtiennent de facto : il leur suffit de neutraliser le vote populiste en l’excluant de toute représentation par le mode de scrutin et de provoquer l’abstention massive de l’électorat populaire, qui, convaincu de l’inutilité du vote, se met volontairement hors jeu. Ne vont voter lors des élections intermédiaires que les inclus, des fonctionnaires aux cadres supérieurs, et surtout les plus de 60 ans, qui, dans ce type de scrutin, représentent autour de 35 % des suffrages exprimés, alors qu’ils ne sont que 22 % de la population. Ainsi, l’écosystème de la génération de 68 s’est peu à peu transformé en un egosystème imposé à l’ensemble de la société. Dans notre postdémocratie, c’est le cens qui fait sens et se traduit par une surreprésentation des classes favorisées aux dépens de la France périphérique, de la France des invisibles. (…) On est arrivé à une situation où la majorité n’est plus une réalité arithmétique, mais un concept politique résultant d’une application tronquée du principe majoritaire. Dans l’Assemblée élue en 2012 avec une participation de 55 %, la majorité parlementaire socialiste ne représente qu’un peu plus de 16 % des inscrits. La majorité qui fait et défait les lois agit au nom d’à peine plus de 1 Français sur 6 ! Nous vivons sous le régime de ce qu’André Tardieu appelait déjà avant-guerre le « despotisme d’une minorité légale ». On assiste, avec le système de l’alternance unique entre les deux partis de gouvernement, à une privatisation du pouvoir au bénéfice d’une partitocratie dont la légitimité ne cesse de s’éroder. (…) Plus les partis ont perdu en légitimité, plus s’est imposée à eux l’obligation de verrouiller le système de crainte que la sélection des candidats à l’élection présidentielle ne leur échappe. Avec la crise de la représentation, le système partisan n’a plus ni l’autorité ni la légitimité suffisante pour imposer ses choix sans un simulacre de démocratie. Les primaires n’ont pas d’autre fonction que de produire une nouvelle forme procédurale de légitimation. En pratique, cela revient à remettre à une minorité partisane le pouvoir de construire l’offre politique soumise à l’ensemble du corps électoral. Entre 3 et 4 millions de citoyens vont préorienter le choix des 46 millions de Français en âge de voter. Or la sociologie des électeurs des primaires à droite comme à gauche ne fait guère de doute : il s’agit des catégories supérieures ou moyennes, qui entretiennent avec la classe politique un rapport de proximité. Les primaires auront donc pour effet d’aggraver la crise de représentation en renforçant le poids politique des inclus au moment même où il faudrait rouvrir le jeu démocratique. (…) D’un tel processus de sélection ne peuvent sortir que des produits de l’endogamie partisane, des candidats façonnés par le conformisme de la doxa et gouvernés par l’économisme. Des candidats inaccessibles à la dimension symbolique du pouvoir et imperméables aux legs de la tradition et de l’Histoire nationale. Sarkozy et Hollande ont illustré l’inaptitude profonde des candidats sélectionnés par le système à se hisser à la hauteur de la fonction. Dans ces conditions, il est à craindre que, quel que soit l’élu, l’élection de 2017 ne soit un coup à blanc, un coup pour rien. D’autant que les hommes de la classe dirigeante n’ont ni les repères historiques ni les bases culturelles pour défendre les sociabilités protectrices face aux ravages de la mondialisation. En somme, ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font parce qu’ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils défont. Quant au FN, privé de toute espérance du pouvoir, contrairement à ce qu’on voudrait nous faire croire, il offre un repoussoir utile à la classe dirigeante, qui lui permet de se survivre à bon compte. Il est à ce jour encore la meilleure assurance-vie du système. Patrick Buisson
Les «élites» françaises, sous l’inspiration et la domination intellectuelle de François Mitterrand, on voulu faire jouer au Front National depuis 30 ans, le rôle, non simplement du diable en politique, mais de l’Apocalypse. Le Front National représentait l’imminence et le danger de la fin des Temps. L’épée de Damoclès que se devait de neutraliser toute politique «républicaine». Cet imaginaire de la fin, incarné dans l’anti-frontisme, arrive lui-même à sa fin. Pourquoi? Parce qu’il est devenu impossible de masquer aux Français que la fin est désormais derrière nous. La fin est consommée, la France en pleine décomposition, et la république agonisante, d’avoir voulu devenir trop bonne fille de l’Empire multiculturel européen. Or tout le monde comprend bien qu’il n’a nullement été besoin du Front national pour cela. Plus rien ou presque n’est à sauver, et c’est pourquoi le Front national fait de moins en moins peur, même si, pour cette fois encore, la manœuvre du «front républicain», orchestrée par Manuel Valls, a été efficace sur les électeurs socialistes. Les Français ont compris que la fin qu’on faisait incarner au Front national ayant déjà eu lieu, il avait joué, comme rôle dans le dispositif du mensonge généralisé, celui du bouc émissaire, vers lequel on détourne la violence sociale, afin qu’elle ne détruise pas tout sur son passage. Remarquons que le Front national s’était volontiers prêté à ce dispositif aussi longtemps que cela lui profitait, c’est-à-dire jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Le parti anti-système a besoin du système dans un premier temps pour se légitimer. Nous approchons du point où la fonction de bouc émissaire, théorisée par René Girard  va être entièrement dévoilée et où la violence ne pourra plus se déchaîner vers une victime extérieure. Il faut bien mesurer le danger social d’une telle situation, et la haute probabilité de renversement qu’elle secrète: le moment approche pour ceux qui ont désigné la victime émissaire à la vindicte du peuple, de voir refluer sur eux, avec la vitesse et la violence d’un tsunami politique, la frustration sociale qu’ils avaient cherché à détourner. Les élections régionales sont sans doute un des derniers avertissements en ce sens. Les élites devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Y-a-t-il une solution pour échapper à une telle issue? Avouons que cette responsabilité est celle des élites en place, ayant entonné depuis 30 ans le même refrain. A supposer cependant que nous voulions les sauver, nous pourrions leur donner le conseil suivant: leur seule possibilité de survivre serait d’anticiper la violence refluant sur elles en faisant le sacrifice de leur innocence. Elles devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Pour cela, elles devraient admettre de déconstruire la gigantesque hallucination collective produite autour du Front national, hallucination revenant aujourd’hui sous la forme inversée du Sauveur. Ce faisant, elles auraient tort de se priver au passage de souligner la participation du Front national au dispositif, ce dernier s’étant prêté de bonne grâce, sous la houlette du Père, à l’incarnation de la victime émissaire. Il faut bien avouer que nos élites du PS comme des Républicains ne prennent pas ce chemin, démontrant soit qu’elles n’ont strictement rien compris à ce qui se passe dans ce pays depuis 30 ans, soit qu’elles l’ont au contraire trop bien compris, et ne peuvent plus en assumer le dévoilement, soit qu’elles espèrent encore prospérer ainsi. Il n’est pas sûr non plus que le Front national soit prêt à reconnaître sa participation au dispositif. Il y aurait intérêt pourtant pour pouvoir accéder un jour à la magistrature suprême. Car si un tel aveu pourrait lui faire perdre d’un côté son «aura» anti-système, elle pourrait lui permettre de l’autre, une alliance indispensable pour dépasser au deuxième tour des présidentielles le fameux «plafond de verre». Il semble au contraire après ces régionales que tout changera pour que rien ne change. Deux solutions qui ne modifient en rien le dispositif mais le durcissent au contraire se réaffirment. La première solution, empruntée par le PS et désirée par une partie des Républicains, consiste à maintenir coûte que coûte le discours du front républicain en recherchant un dépassement du clivage gauche/droite. Une telle solution consiste à aller plus loin encore dans la désignation de la victime émissaire, et à s’exposer à un retournement encore plus dévastateur. (…) Car sans même parler des effets dévastateurs que pourrait avoir, a posteriori, un nouvel attentat, sur une telle déclaration, comment ne pas remarquer que les dernières décisions du gouvernement sur la lutte anti-terroriste ont donné rétrospectivement raison à certaines propositions du Front national? On voit mal alors comment on pourrait désormais lui faire porter le chapeau de ce dont il n’est pas responsable, tout en lui ôtant le mérite des solutions qu’il avait proposées, et qu’on n’a pas hésité à lui emprunter! La deuxième solution, défendue par une partie des Républicains suivant en cela Nicolas Sarkozy, consiste à assumer des préoccupations communes avec le Front national, tout en cherchant à se démarquer un peu par les solutions proposées. Mais comment faire comprendre aux électeurs un tel changement de cap et éviter que ceux-ci ne préfèrent l’original à la copie? Comment les électeurs ne remarqueraient-ils pas que le Front national, lui, n’a pas changé de discours, et surtout, qu’il a précédé tout le monde, et a eu le mérite d’avoir raison avant les autres, puisque ceux-ci viennent maintenant sur son propre terrain? Comment d’autre part concilier une telle proximité avec un discours diabolisant le Front national et cherchant l’alliance au centre? Curieuses élites, qui ne comprennent pas que la posture «républicaine», initiée par Mitterrand, menace désormais de revenir comme un boomerang les détruire. Christopher Lasch avait écrit La révolte des élites, pour pointer leur sécession d’avec le peuple, c’est aujourd’hui le suicide de celles-ci qu’il faudrait expliquer, dernière conséquence peut-être de cette sécession. Vincent Coussedière
With their politicization of their victory, their expletive-filled speech, and their publicly expressed contempt for half their fellow citizens, the women of the U.S. women’s soccer team succeeded in endearing themselves to America’s left. But they earned the rest of the country’s disdain, which is sad. We really wanted to love the team. What we have here is yet another example of perhaps the most important fact in the contemporary world: Everything the left touches, it ruins. Dennis Prager
The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School. Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans. Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market. The New York Times opinion team issued a Fourth of July video about “the myth of America as the greatest nation on earth.” The Times’ journalists conceded that the United States is “just OK.” During a recent speech to students at a Minnesota high school, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) offered a scathing appraisal of her adopted country, which she depicted as a disappointment whose racism and inequality did not meet her expectations as an idealistic refugee. Omar’s family had fled worn-torn Somalia and spent four-years in a Kenyan refugee camp before reaching Minnesota, where Omar received a subsidized education and ended up a congresswoman. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup earlier this month. Team stalwart Megan Rapinoe refused to put her hand over heart during the playing of the national anthem, boasted that she would never visit the “f—ing White House” and, with others, nonchalantly let the American flag fall to the ground during the victory celebration. The city council in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meeting on the rationale that it wished not to offend a “diverse community.” The list of these public pushbacks at traditional American patriotic customs and rituals could be multiplied. They follow the recent frequent toppling of statues of 19th-century American figures, many of them from the South, and the renaming of streets and buildings to blot out mention of famous men and women from the past now deemed illiberal enemies of the people. Such theater is the street version of what candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have been saying for months. They want to disband border enforcement, issue blanket amnesties, demand reparations for descendants of slaves, issue formal apologies to groups perceived to be the subjects of discrimination, and rail against American unfairness, inequality, and a racist and sexist past. In their radical progressive view — shared by billionaires from Silicon Valley, recent immigrants and the new Democratic Party — America was flawed, perhaps fatally, at its origins. Things have not gotten much better in the country’s subsequent 243 years, nor will they get any better — at least not until America as we know it is dismantled and replaced by a new nation predicated on race, class and gender identity-politics agendas. In this view, an “OK” America is no better than other countries. As Barack Obama once bluntly put it, America is only exceptional in relative terms, given that citizens of Greece and the United Kingdom believe their own countries are just as exceptional. In other words, there is no absolute standard to judge a nation’s excellence. About half the country disagrees. It insists that America’s sins, past and present, are those of mankind. But only in America were human failings constantly critiqued and addressed. (…) The traditionalists see American history as a unique effort to overcome human weakness, bias and sin. That effort is unmatched by other cultures and nations, and explains why millions of foreign nationals swarm into the United States, both legally and illegally. (…) If progressives and socialists can at last convince the American public that their country was always hopelessly flawed, they can gain power to remake it based on their own interests. These elites see Americans not as unique individuals but as race, class and gender collectives, with shared grievances from the past that must be paid out in the present and the future. Victor Davis Hanson
America is changing. By 2043, we’ll be a nation [that’s] majority people of color, and that’s — that is the game here — that’s what folks don’t want to understand what’s happening in this country. Roland Martin (African-American journalist)
How’d we lose the working class? Ask yourself, what did we do for them? You called them stupid. You marginalized them, took them for granted and you didn’t talk to them. For 20 years, the right wing has invested tremendous amounts of money in talk radio, in television, in every possible platform to be in their ears, before their eyes, and on their minds. And they don’t call them stupid. Rick Smith (talk-show host)
On several polarizing issues, Democrats are refusing to offer the reassurances to moderate opinion that they once did. They’re not saying: We will secure the border and insist on an orderly asylum process, but do it in a humane way; we will protect the right to abortion while working to make it less common; we will protect gun rights while setting sensible limits on them. The old rhetorical guardrails — trust us, there’s a hard stop on how far left we’ll go — are gone. Ramesh Ponnuru
Trump also highlighted a basic fact about the nature of leftist ideology. Just as the Iranian regime views the United States and Israel as two sides of the same coin, with the ayatollahs dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan” and Israel, “the Little Satan,” so the radical left views the U.S. and Israel – the most powerful democracy in the world and the only democracy in the Middle East – as states with no moral foundation for existing. Although other presidents have spoken out against hatred of Jews and Israel on the one hand and hatred of America on the other, it is hard to think of another example of a U.S. leader making the case that the two hatreds are linked as Trump did this week. This is important, because they are linked. The haters see both America and the Jews as all-powerful forces who use their power to bend the world to their nefarious, avaricious, greedy aims. They stereotype both Americans and pro-Israel and traditional Jews as vulgar and fascist. Pew Research Center studies of European perspectives on Jews and Americans show a massive overlap between anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-American ones. As the American left has become more radical, it has also become more aligned with those toxic European attitudes towards both the United States and Israel. One example is evident at the U.S.-Mexico border. The left’s opposition to enforcing American immigration laws goes hand-in-hand with the view that the Jewish people have no right to national self-determination in their homeland and that the Jewish state has no right to exist. As political philosopher Yoram Hazony argued in his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, nationalism — and, indeed, the concept of a nation itself — is a biblical concept. The nation of Israel is the first nation. And the American Founding Fathers’ conception of the United States and the American nation was rooted in the biblical concept of nationhood and nationalism of the Jews. Hazony contends that anti-nationalism is both inherently antisemitic and anti-American. And it is also imperialist. Anti-nationalists support international and transnational legal constructs and institutions that deny distinct nations large and small the ability to determine their own unique course in the world. As repositories of the concept of distinct nations, nation-states are, in Hazony’s view, inherently freer and more cohesive societies than imperialist societies that insist that one-size-fits-all and that there are people better equipped than the people themselves to decide what is good for them. As Trump tweeted, the four sirens of the socialist revolution are a dire threat to the Democratic Party. By embracing the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib with their repeated statements against the United States, Jews and Israel and their tolerance for terrorist groups and terrorists, and by embracing Ocasio-Cortez who likens America to Nazi Germany, replete with “concentration camps,” the Democratic Party is indeed embracing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. And, as Trump tweeted, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans — and certainly not the president — who are making Israel a partisan issue. They are doing so by abandoning Israel and embracing antisemitic conceptions of nationalism and of the Jewish and American nations. Trump’s tweet storm, however controversial, showed that he is personally committed to fighting hatred of Jews and Israel. As he was being targeted as a racist by Democrats, the Department of Justice was holding a conference on combatting antisemitism. The conference, which placed a spotlight on campus antisemitism, did not shy away from discussing and condemning antisemitism on the left as well as on the right, and Islamic antisemitism. In his remarks before the conference, Attorney General Willian Barr discussed the galloping hostility Jewish students face in U.S. universities today. In his words, “On college campuses today, Jewish students who support Israel are frequently targeted for harassment, Jewish student organizations are marginalized, and progressive Jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and their heritage in order to be part of ‘intersectional’ causes.” (…) It is a testament to the left’s increasing embrace of anti-Jewish bigotry, and its rejection of America’s right to borders, — and through them, to self-government and self-determination — that Trump is being branded a racist for standing up to these distressing trends. And it is a testament to Trump’s moral courage that he is willing to speak the truth about antisemitism and anti-Americanism even at the cost of wall-to-wall calumny by Democrats and the media. Caroline Glick
This month, Netroots Nation met in Philadelphia. The choice was no accident. Pennsylvania will probably be the key swing state in 2020. Donald Trump won it by only 44,000 votes or seven-tenths of a percentage point. He lost the prosperous Philadelphia suburbs by more than Mitt Romney did in 2012 but more than made up for it with new support in “left behind” blue-collar areas such as Erie and Wilkes-Barre. You’d think that this history would inform activists at Netroots Nation about the best strategy to follow in 2020. Not really. Instead, Netroots events seemed to alternate between pandering presentations by presidential candidates and a bewildering array of “intersectionality” and identity-politics seminars. Senator Elizabeth Warren pledged that, if elected, she would immediately investigate crimes committed by border-control agents. Julian Castro, a former Obama-administration cabinet member, called for decriminalizing illegal border crossings. But everyone was topped by Washington governor Jay Inslee. “My first act will be to ask Megan Rapinoe to be my secretary of State,” he promised. Naming the woke, purple-haired star of the championship U.S. Women’s Soccer team, he said, would return “love rather than hate” to the center of America’s foreign policy. It is true that a couple of panels tried to address how the Left could appeal to voters who cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016. (…)  But that kind of introspection was rare at Netroots Nation. Elizabeth Warren explicitly rejected calls to keep Democrats from moving too far to the left in the next campaign (…) Warren and her supporters point to polls showing that an increasing number of Americans are worried about income inequality, climate change, and America’s image around the world. But are those the issues that actually motivate people to vote, or are they peripheral issues that aren’t central to the decision most voters make? Consider a Pew Research poll taken last year that asked respondents to rank 23 “policy priorities” from terrorism to global trade in order of importance. Climate change came in 22nd out of 23. There is a stronger argument that Democrats will have trouble winning over independent voters if they sprinting so far to the left that they go over a political cliff. (…) Many leftists acknowledge that Democrats are less interested than they used to be in trimming their sails to appeal to moderates. Such trimming is no longer necessary, as they see it, because the changing demographics of the country give them a built-in advantage. Almost everyone I encountered at Netroots Nation was convinced that President Trump would lose in 2020. (…) It’s a common mistake on both the right and the left to assume that minority voters will a) always vote in large numbers and b) will vote automatically for Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 in part because black turnout fell below what Barack Obama was able to generate. There is no assurance that black turnout can be restored in 2020. As for other ethnic groups, a new poll by Politico/Morning Consult this month found that Trump’s approval among Hispanics is at 42 percent. An Economist/YouGov poll showed Trump at 32 percent among Hispanics; another poll from The Hill newspaper and HarrisX has it at 35 percent. In 2016, Trump won only 29 to 32 percent of the Hispanic vote. Netroots Nation convinced me that progressive activists are self-confident, optimistic about the chances for a progressive triumph, and assured that a Trump victory was a freakish “black swan” event. But they are also deaf to any suggestion that their PC excesses had anything to do with Trump’s being in the White House. That is apt to be the progressive blind spot going into the 2020 election. John Fund
The immigrant is the pawn of Latin American governments who view him as inanimate capital, someone who represents thousands of dollars in future foreign-exchange remittances, as well as one less mouth to feed at home — if he crosses the border, legality be damned. If that sounds a cruel or cynical appraisal, then why would the Mexican government in 2005 print a comic booklet (“Guide for the Mexican Migrant”) with instructions to its citizens on how best to cross into the United States — urging them to break American law and assuming that they could not read? Yet for all the savagery dealt out to the immigrant — the callousness of his government, the shakedowns of the coyotes and cartels, the exploitation of his labor by new American employers — the immigrant himself is not entirely innocent. He knows — or does not care to know — that by entering the U.S., he has taken a slot from a would-be legal immigrant, one, unlike himself, who played by the rules and waited years in line for his chance to become an American. He knowingly violates U.S. immigration law. And when the first act of an immigrant is to enter the U.S. illegally, the second to reside there unlawfully, and the third so often to adopt false identities, he undermines American law on the expectation that he will receive exemptions not accorded to U.S. citizens, much less to other legal immigrants. In terms of violations of federal law, and crimes such as hit-and-run accidents and identity theft, the illegal immigrant is overrepresented in the criminal-justice system, and indeed in federal penitentiaries. Certainly, no Latin American government would allow foreigners to enter, reside, and work in their own country in the manner that they expect their own citizens to do so in America. Historically, the Mexican constitution, to take one example, discriminates in racial terms against both the legal and illegal immigrants, in medieval terms of ethnic essence. Some $30 billion in remittances are sent back by mostly illegal aliens to Central American governments and roughly another $30 billion to Mexico. But the full implications of that exploitation are rarely appreciated. Most impoverished illegal aliens who send such staggering sums back not only entered the United States illegally and live here illegally, but they often enjoy some sort of local, state, or federal subsidy. They work at entry-level jobs with the understanding that they are to scrimp and save, with the assistance of the American taxpayer, whose laws they have shredded, so that they can send cash to their relatives and friends back home. In other words, the remitters are like modern indentured servants, helots in hock to their governments that either will not or cannot help their families and are excused from doing so thanks to such massive remittances. In sum, they promote illegal immigration to earn such foreign exchange, to create an expatriate community in the United States that will romanticize a Guatemala or Oaxaca — all the more so,  the longer and farther they are away from it. Few of the impoverished in Mexico paste a Mexican-flag sticker on their window shield; many do so upon arrival in the United States. Illegal immigration is a safety valve, by which dissidents are thanked for marching north rather than on their own nations’ capitals. Latin American governments really do not care that much that their poor are raped while crossing the Mexican desert, or sold off by the drug cartels, or that they drown in the Rio Grande, but they suddenly weep when they reach American detention centers — a cynicism that literally cost hundreds their lives. America is increasingly becoming not so much a nonwhite nation as an assimilated, integrated, and intermarried country. Race, skin color, and appearance, if you will, are becoming irrelevant. The construct of “Latino” — Mexican-American? Portuguese? Spanish? Brazilian? — is becoming immaterial as diverse immigrants soon cannot speak Spanish, lose all knowledge of Latin America, and become indistinguishable in America from the descendants of southern Europeans, Armenians, or any other Mediterranean immigrant group. In other words, a Lopez or Martinez was rapidly becoming as relevant or irrelevant in terms of grievance politics, or perceived class, as a Pelosi, Scalise, De Niro, or Pacino. If Pelosi was named “Ocasio-Cortez” and AOC “Pelosi,” then no one would know, or much care, from their respective superficial appearance, who was of Puerto Rican background and who of Italian ancestry. Such a melting-pot future terrifies the ethnic activists in politics, academia, and the media who count on replenishing the numbers of unassimilated “Latinos,” in order to announce themselves the champions of collective grievance and disparity and thereby find careerist advantage. When 1 million of some of the most impoverished people on the planet arrive without legality, a high-school diploma, capital, or English, then they are likely to remain poor for a generation. And their poverty then offers supposed proof that America is a nativist or racist society for allowing such asymmetry to occur — a social-justice crime remedied best the by Latino caucus, the Chicano-studies department, the La Raza lawyers association, or the former National Council of La Raza. Yet, curb illegal immigration, and the entire Latino race industry goes the way of the Greek-, Armenian-, or Portuguese-American communities that have all found parity once massive immigration of their impoverished countrymen ceased and the formidable powers of the melting pot were uninterrupted. Democrats once were exclusionists — largely because they feared that illegal immigration eroded unionization and overtaxed the social-service resources of their poor citizen constituents. Cesar Chavez, for example, sent his thugs to the border to club illegal aliens and drive them back into Mexico, as if they were future strike breakers. Until recently, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton called for strict border enforcement, worried that the wages of illegal workers were driving down those of inner-city or barrio American youth. What changed? Numbers. Once the pool of illegal aliens reached a likely 20 million, and once their second-generation citizen offspring won anchor-baby legality and registered to vote, a huge new progressive constituency rose in the American Southwest — one that was targeted by Democrats, who alternately promised permanent government subsidies and sowed fears with constant charges that right-wing Republicans were abject racists, nativists, and xenophobes. Due to massive influxes of immigrants, and the flight of middle-class citizens, the California of Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, and Pete Wilson long ago ceased to exist. Indeed, there are currently no statewide Republican office-holders in California, which has liberal supermajorities in both state legislatures and a mere seven Republicans out of 53 congressional representatives. Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado are becoming Californized. Soon open borders will do the same to Arizona and Texas. No wonder that the Democratic party has been willing to do almost anything to become the enabler of open borders, whether that is setting up over 500 sanctuary-city jurisdictions, suing to block border enforcement in the courts, or extending in-state tuition, free medical care, and driver’s licenses to those who entered and reside in America illegally. If most immigrants were right-wing, middle-class, Latino anti-Communists fleeing Venezuela or Cuba, or Eastern European rightists sick of the EU, or angry French and Germans who were tired of their failed socialist governments, the Democratic party would be the party of closed borders and the enemy of legal, meritocratic, diverse, and measured immigration. Employers over the past 50 years learned fundamental truths about illegal immigrants. The impoverished young male immigrant, arriving without English, money, education, and legality, will take almost any job to survive, and so he will work all the harder once he’s employed. For 20 years or so, young immigrant workers remain relatively healthy. But once physical labor takes its toll on the middle-aged immigrant worker, the state always was expected to step in to assume the health care, housing, and sustenance cost of the injured, ill, and aging worker — thereby empowering the employer’s revolving-door use of a new generation of young workers. Illegality — at least until recently, with the advent of sanctuary jurisdictions — was seen as convenient, ensuring asymmetry between the employee and the employer, who could always exercise the threat of deportation for any perceived shortcoming in his alien work force. Note that those who hire illegal aliens claim that no Americans will do such work, at least at the wages they are willing to, or can, pay. That is the mea culpa that employers voice when accused of lacking empathy for out-of-work Americans. If employers were fined for hiring illegal aliens, or held financially responsible for their immigrant workers’ health care and retirements, or if they found that such workers were not very industrious and made poor entry-level laborers, then both the Wall Street Journal and the Chamber of Commerce would be apt to favor strict enforcement of immigration laws.  Wealthy progressives favor open borders and illegal immigration for a variety of reasons. The more immigrants, the cheaper, more available, and more industrious are nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, and gardeners — the silent army that fuels the contemporary, two-high-income, powerhouse household. Championing the immigrant poor, without living among them and without schooling one’s children with them or socializing among them, is the affluent progressive’s brand. And to the degree that the paradox causes any guilt, the progressive virtue-signals his loud outrage at border detentions, at separations between parents in court and children in custody, and at the contrast between the burly ICE officers and vulnerable border crossers. In medieval fashion, the farther the liberal advocate of open borders is from the objects of his moral concern, the louder and more empathetic he becomes. Most progressives also enjoy a twofer: inexpensive immigrant “help” and thereby enough brief exposure to the Other to authenticate their 8-to-5 caring. If border crossers were temporarily housed in vacant summer dorms at Stanford, Harvard, or Yale, or were accorded affordable-housing tracts for immigrant communities in the vast open spaces of Portola Valley and the Boulder suburbs, or if immigrant children were sent en masse to language-immersion programs at St. Paul’s, Sidwell Friends, or the Menlo School, then the progressive social-justice warrior would probably go mute. Victor Davis Hanson
À bien des égards, ce que l’on pourrait appeler la classe intellectuelle conservatrice s’est trouvée à la traîne et même parfois à contre-courant de la dernière campagne. Le Weekly Standard, hebdomadaire néoconservateur fondé par Bill Kristol — l’une des voix de droite les plus violemment critiques de l’administration —, en a payé le prix en cessant il y a peu de paraître. Une fois Trump élu, le pragmatisme a toutefois dominé l’attitude de cette galaxie d’institutions vis-à-vis de la Maison Blanche. Ne leur devant pas sa victoire ni son programme, le président a, quant à lui, su utiliser leurs ressources et leurs compétences quand elles lui étaient utiles. L’illustration la plus frappante de cette relation fut la place centrale qu’il donna aux recommandations de la Heritage Foundation (le plus grand think tank conservateur à Washington) et de la Federalist Society (une association influente rassemblant plus de 40 000 juristes conservateurs) pour la nomination des juges à la Cour Suprême (Neil Gorsuch et Brett Kavanaugh) et dans les degrés inférieurs du système judiciaire. Malgré un style de gouvernement indéniablement nouveau, Trump ne semblait donc pas avoir profondément affecté l’infrastructure institutionnelle d’où s’élaborent la majorité des politiques publiques aux États-Unis. Envisagé comme un phénomène personnel qui disparaîtrait avec lui, certains pouvaient encore penser qu’il ne laisserait avec son départ pas d’héritage profond sur les plans institutionnels et intellectuels. Une conférence comme il s’en organise pourtant des dizaines chaque année à Washington DC vient peut-être de changer la donne. Et si, de manière pour le moins inattendue, Trump s’avérait être depuis Reagan le président ayant eu le plus d’impact sur la fabrique des idées et des élites dans son pays? Le chercheur israélien à l’origine de l’événement, Yoram Hazony, s’est fait connaître à l’automne dernier en publiant The Virtue of Nationalism [La vertu du nationalisme], un livre où il s’emploie à critiquer l’idéal post-national qui a dominé l’éducation politique des élites ces dernières décennies. En organisant ce rassemblement d’intellectuels, de journalistes et d’hommes politiques, il entend désormais jeter les bases d’un mouvement intellectuel, le «conservatisme national», dont il propagera les idées au travers de la Edmund Burke Foundation — créée en janvier en vue de préparer l’événement. Le programme mélange des invités prestigieux (l’entrepreneur Peter Thiel, le présentateur de Fox News Tucker Carlson), des étoiles montantes (le jeune sénateur Josh Hawley et J. D. Vance, l’auteur du best-seller Hillbilly Elegy) et des figures établies (Rusty Reno de la revue First Things ou encore Christopher DeMuth, l’ancien responsable du think tank AEI). S’il est évident que de nombreuses divergences existent entre ces invités, notamment sur les questions de politique étrangère, ils s’accordent assez largement autour de certains points fondamentaux qui constituent à des degrés divers des changements d’orientation profonds par rapport au consensus conservateur antérieur. Ce consensus, aussi connu sous le nom de «fusionnisme», reposait sur la compatibilité de la défense du marché et du libre-échange avec celle des valeurs familiales et religieuses. Libertariens et conservateurs pouvaient ainsi agir côte à côte afin de laisser d’un côté l’État hors de l’entreprise et de l’autre, hors de la famille — attitude résumée par la formule lapidaire de Reagan: «Le gouvernement n’est pas la solution à nos problèmes. Le gouvernement est le problème.» Pour les tenants du «conservatisme national» le danger vient non plus principalement de l’État mais du secteur privé, et plus particulièrement des GAFA et de Wall Street. C’est également à l’État qu’ils s’en remettent pour préserver l’existence nationale de l’ingérence croissante des institutions supranationales. Étonnante dans le paysage politique américain, cette défense de l’État réaffirme la primauté du politique et avec lui du vecteur d’action collective qu’est la nation. La question n’est plus de savoir si l’intervention de l’État est intrinsèquement mauvaise et la liberté du marché intrinsèquement bonne, mais de déterminer dans chaque cas laquelle des deux correspond à l’intérêt et à la volonté de la nation. Le critère permettant de juger une mesure politique n’est plus sa conformité à l’intérêt économique ou aux droits de l’homme mais sa capacité à protéger et renforcer la citoyenneté. Car les normes au fondement de l’État de droit, les principes économiques du capitalisme, n’ont de validité pratique qu’en raison des sentiments communs et des qualités partagées qui constituent les modes de vie des populations qui les adoptent. En déconnectant l’individu de ses solidarités concrètes, une pratique aveugle du libéralisme a selon eux dépossédé les citoyens de ce mode de vie et de leur capacité d’action sur les plans individuels et collectifs. L’objectif du «conservatisme national» est de leur restituer ces deux choses. Or, des hommes que ne relie rien d’autre que le fait d’être porteurs des mêmes droits ne suffisent pas à faire une nation. Et c’est parce que l’existence de cette dernière ne peut plus être prise pour acquis que le danger qui pèse sur elle nécessite une action politique spécifique en rupture avec le consensus des libéraux et conservateurs traditionnels. Les réflexions sur le devenir des nations ne sont pas nouvelles, surtout en France, où des auteurs comme Pierre Manent ont depuis les années 90 mené une critique écoutée des conservateurs américains à l’égard du projet post-national. Ce qui est inédit, c’est qu’une action aussi structurée émerge en vue de former une nouvelle classe dirigeante sur le fondement de ces constats. Adversaires ou alliés de l’actuel président feraient bien de surveiller cette initiative. Si elle réalise son ambition la Edmund Burke Foundation pourrait parvenir à associer au changement immédiat impulsé par Donald Trump une éducation politique susceptible d’affecter sur le long terme la formation des élites américaines, ce à quoi son style de gouvernement et les techniques de communication qui le caractérisent ne sauraient parvenir à eux seuls. Le sénateur Josh Hawley, âgé de 39 ans (ancien procureur général de l’état du Missouri), fait figure de symbole de cette classe politique en devenir: «Une nation républicaine requiert une économie républicaine […] Une économie fondée sur les échanges monétaires à Wall Street ne bénéficie en dernier ressort qu’à ceux qui possèdent déjà de l’argent. Une telle économie ne saurait soutenir une grande nation.» Hostile à l’inflation des diplômes universitaires et aux multinationales, favorable aux droits de douane, défenseur de «l’Amérique moyenne», il représente peut-être ce que pourrait devenir le «trumpisme» sans Trump. Alexis Carré
In a universal political order . . . in which a single standard of right is held to be in force everywhere, tolerance for diverse political and religious standpoints must necessarily decline. (…) We should not let a hairbreadth of our freedom be given over to foreign bodies under any name whatsoever, or to foreign systems of law that are not determined by our own nations. (…) “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination. Yoram Hazony
Custom quite often wears the mask of nature, and we are taken in [by this] to the point that the practices adopted by nations, based solely on custom, frequently come to seem like natural and universal laws of mankind. John Selden
Selden, and the other profoundly learned men, who drew this petition of right, were as well acquainted, at least, with all the general theories concerning the “rights of men” [as any defenders of the revolution in France]. . . . But, for reasons worthy of that practical wisdom which superseded their theoretic science, they preferred this positive, recorded, hereditary title to all which can be dear to the man and the citizen, to that vague speculative right, which exposed their sure inheritance to be scrambled for and torn to pieces by every wild, litigious spirit. Edmund Burke
I believe the British government forms the best model the world ever produced. Hamilton
Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not reason that discovered the singular and admirable mechanism of the English constitution…. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them. John Dickinson
It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. John Story
The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest. . . . Rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Thomas Jefferson
President Trump is often accused of creating a needless rift with America’s European allies. The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, expressed a different view recently when he told a joint session of Congress: “Allies must spend more on defense—this has been the clear message from President Trump, and this message is having a real impact.” Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks reflect a growing recognition that strategic and economic realities demand a drastic change in the way the U.S. conducts foreign policy. The unwanted cracks in the Atlantic alliance are primarily a consequence of European leaders, especially in Germany and France, wishing to continue living in a world that no longer exists. The U.S. cannot serve as the enforcer for the Europeans’ beloved “rules-based international order” any more. Even in the 1990s, it was doubtful the U.S. could indefinitely guarantee the security of all nations, paying for George H.W. Bush’s “new world order” principally with American soldiers’ lives and American taxpayers’ dollars. Today a $22 trillion national debt and the voting public’s indifference to the dreams of world-wide liberal empire have depleted Washington’s ability to wage pricey foreign wars. At a time of escalating troubles at home, America’s estimated 800 overseas bases in 80 countries are coming to look like a bizarre misallocation of resources. And the U.S. is politically fragmented to an extent unseen in living memory, with uncertain implications in the event of a major war. This explains why the U.S. has not sent massive, Iraq-style expeditionary forces to defend Ukraine’s integrity or impose order in Syria. If there’s trouble on Estonia’s border with Russia, would the U.S. have the will to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on an indefinite mission 85 miles from St. Petersburg? Although Estonia joined NATO in 2004, the certainties of 15 years ago have broken down. On paper, America has defense alliances with dozens of countries. But these are the ghosts of a rivalry with the Soviet Union that ended three decades ago, or the result of often reckless policies adopted after 9/11. These so-called allies include Turkey and Pakistan, which share neither America’s values nor its interests, and cooperate with the U.S. only when it serves their purposes. Other “allies” refuse to develop a significant capacity for self-defense, and are thus more accurately regarded as American dependencies or protectorates. Liberal internationalists are right about one thing, however: America cannot simply turn its back on the world. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 demonstrated that the U.S. can and will be targeted on its own soil. An American strategic posture aimed at minimizing the danger from rival powers needs to focus on deterring Russia and China from wars of expansion; weakening China relative to the U.S. and thereby preventing it from attaining dominance over the world economy; and keeping smaller hostile powers such as North Korea and Iran from obtaining the capacity to attack America or other democracies. To attain these goals, the U.S. will need a new strategy that is far less costly than anything previous administrations contemplated. Mr. Trump has taken a step in the right direction by insisting that NATO allies “pay their fair share” of the budget for defending Europe, increasing defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product in accordance with NATO treaty obligations. But this framing of the issue doesn’t convey the problem’s true nature or its severity. The real issue is that the U.S. can no longer afford to assume responsibility for defending entire regions if the people living in them aren’t willing and able to build up their own credible military deterrent. The U.S. has a genuine interest, for example, in preventing the democratic nations of Eastern Europe from being absorbed into an aggressive Russian imperial state. But the principal interested parties aren’t Americans. The members of the Visegrád Group—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—have a combined population of 64 million and a 2017 GDP of $2 trillion (about 50% of Russia’s, according to CIA estimates). The principal strategic question is therefore whether these countries are willing to do what is necessary to maintain their own national independence. If they are—at a cost that could well exceed the 2% figure devised by NATO planners—then they could eventually shed their dependent status and come to the table as allies of the kind the U.S. could actually use: strong frontline partners in deterring Russian expansion. The same is true in other regions. Rather than carelessly accumulate dependencies, the U.S. must ask where it can develop real allies—countries that share its commitment to a world of independent nations, pursue democratic self-determination (although not necessarily liberalism) at home, and are willing to pay the price for freedom by taking primary responsibility for their own defense and shouldering the human and economic costs involved. Nations that demonstrate a commitment to these shared values and a willingness to fight when necessary should benefit from relations that may include the supply of advanced armaments and technologies, diplomatic cover in dealing with shared enemies, preferred partnership in trade, scientific and academic cooperation, and the joint development of new technologies. Fair-weather friends and free-riding dependencies should not. Perhaps the most important candidate for such a strategic alliance is India. Long a dormant power afflicted by poverty, socialism and an ideology of “nonalignment,” India has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-expanding economies. In contrast to the political oppression of the Chinese communist model, India has succeeded in retaining much of its religious conservatism while becoming an open and diverse country—by far the world’s most populous democracy—with a solid parliamentary system at both the federal and state levels. India is threatened by Islamist terrorism, aided by neighboring Pakistan; as well as by rapidly increasing Chinese influence, emanating from the South China Sea, the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, where the Chinese navy has established its first overseas base. India’s values, interests and growing wealth could establish an Indo-American alliance as the central pillar of a new alignment of democratic national states in Asia, including a strengthened Japan and Australia. But New Delhi remains suspicious of American intentions, and with good reason: Rather than unequivocally bet on an Indian partnership, the U.S. continues to play all sides, haphazardly switching from confrontation to cooperation with China, and competing with Beijing for influence in fanaticism-ridden Pakistan. The rationalizations for these counterproductive policies tend to focus on Pakistan’s supposed logistical contributions to the U.S. war in Afghanistan—an example of how tactical considerations and the demands of bogus allies can stand in the way of meeting even the most pressing strategic needs. A similar confusion characterizes America’s relationship with Turkey. A U.S. ally during the Cold War, Turkey is now an expansionist Islamist power that has assisted the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al Qaeda and even ISIS; threatened Greece and Cyprus; sought Russian weapons; and recently expressed its willingness to attack U.S. forces in Syria. In reality, Turkey is no more an ally than Russia or China. Yet its formal status as the second-largest military in NATO guarantees that the alliance will continue to be preoccupied with pretense and make-believe, rather than the interests of democratic nations. Meanwhile, America’s most reliable Muslim allies, the Kurds, live under constant threat of Turkish invasion and massacre. The Middle East is a difficult region, in which few players share American values and interests, although all of them—including Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Iran—are willing to benefit from U.S. arms, protection or cash. Here too Washington should seek alliances with national states that share at least some key values and are willing to shoulder most of the burden of defending themselves while fighting to contain Islamist radicalism. Such natural regional allies include Greece, Israel, Ethiopia and the Kurds. A central question for a revitalized alliance of democratic nations is which way the winds will blow in Western Europe. For a generation after the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, U.S. administrations seemed willing to take responsibility for Europe’s security indefinitely. European elites grew accustomed to the idea that perpetual peace was at hand, devoting themselves to turning the EU into a borderless utopia with generous benefits for all. But Europe has been corrupted by its dependence on the U.S. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest economic power (with a GDP larger than Russia’s), cannot field more than a handful of operational combat aircraft, tanks or submarines. Yet German leaders steadfastly resist American pressure for substantial increases in their country’s defense capabilities, telling interlocutors that the U.S. is ruining a beautiful friendship. None of this is in America’s interest—and not only because the U.S. is stuck with the bill. When people live detached from reality, they develop all sorts of fanciful theories about how the world works. For decades, Europeans have been devising “transnationalist” fantasies to explain how their own supposed moral virtues, such as their rejection of borders, have brought them peace and prosperity. These ideas are then exported to the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world via international bodies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and other channels. Having subsidized the creation of a dependent socialist paradise in Europe, the U.S. now has to watch as the EU’s influence washes over America and other nations. For the moment, it is hard to see Germany or Spain becoming American allies in the new, more realistic sense of the term we have proposed. France is a different case, maintaining significant military capabilities and a willingness to deploy them at times. But the governments of these and other Western European countries remain ideologically committed to transferring ever-greater powers to international bodies and to the concomitant degradation of national independence. That doesn’t make them America’s enemies, but neither are they partners in defending values such as national self-determination. It is difficult to foresee circumstances under which they would be willing or able to arm themselves in keeping with the actual security needs of an emerging alliance of independent democratic nations. The prospects are better with respect to Britain, whose defense spending is already significantly higher, and whose public asserted a desire to regain independence in the Brexit referendum of 2016. With a population of more than 65 million and a GDP of $3 trillion (75% of Russia’s), the U.K. may yet become a principal partner in a leaner but more effective security architecture for the democratic world. Isolationists are also right about one thing: The U.S. cannot be, and should not try to be, the world’s policeman. Yet it does have a role to play in awakening democratic nations from their dependence-induced torpor, and assisting those that are willing to make the transition to a new security architecture based on self-determination and self-reliance. An alliance including the U.S., the U.K. and the frontline Eastern European nations, as well as India, Israel, Japan and Australia, among others, would be strong enough to exert sustained pressure on China, Russia and hostile Islamist groups. Helping these democratic nations become self-reliant regional actors would reduce America’s security burden, permitting it to close far-flung military installations and making American military intervention the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it would free American resources for the long struggle to deny China technological superiority, as well as for unforeseen emergencies that are certain to arise. Yoram Hazony and Ofir Haivry
The year 2016 marked a dramatic change of political course for the English-speaking world, with Britain voting for independence from Europe and the United States electing a president promising a revived American nationalism. Critics see both events as representing a dangerous turn toward “illiberalism” and deplore the apparent departure from “liberal principles” or “liberal democracy,” themes that surfaced repeatedly in conservative publications over the past year. Perhaps the most eloquent among the many spokesmen for this view has been William Kristol, who, in a series of essays in the Weekly Standard, has called for a new movement to arise “in defense of liberal democracy.” In his eyes, the historic task of American conservatism is “to preserve and strengthen American liberal democracy,” and what is needed now is “a new conservatism based on old conservative—and liberal—principles.” Meanwhile, the conservative flagship Commentary published a cover story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari entitled “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” seeking to raise the alarm about the dangers to liberalism posed by Brexit, Trump, and other phenomena. (…) But we see this confusion of conservatism with liberalism as historically and philosophically misguided. Anglo-American conservatism is a distinct political tradition—one that predates Locke by centuries. Its advocates fought for and successfully established most of the freedoms that are now exclusively associated with Lockean liberalism, although they did so on the basis of tenets very different from Locke’s. Indeed, when Locke published his Two Treatises of Government in 1689, offering the public a sweeping new rationale for the traditional freedoms already known to Englishmen, most defenders of these freedoms were justly appalled. They saw in this new doctrine not a friend to liberty but a product of intellectual folly that would ultimately bring down the entire edifice of freedom. Thus, liberalism and conservatism have been opposed political positions in political theory since the day liberal theorizing first set foot in England. Today’s confusion of conservative political thought with liberalism is in a way understandable, however. In the great twentieth-century battles against totalitarianism, conservatives and liberals were allies: They fought together, along with the Communists, against Nazism. After 1945, conservatives and liberals remained allies in the war against Communism. Over these many decades of joint struggle, what had for centuries been a distinction of vital importance was treated as if it were not terribly important, and in fact, it was largely forgotten. But since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, these circumstances have changed. The challenges facing the Anglo-American tradition are now coming from other directions entirely. Radical Islam, to name one such challenge, is a menace that liberals, for reasons internal to their own view of the political world, find difficult to regard as a threat and especially difficult to oppose in an effective manner. But even more important is the challenge arising from liberalism itself. It is now evident that liberal principles contribute little or nothing to those institutions that were for centuries the bedrock of the Anglo-American political order: nationalism, religious tradition, the Bible as a source of political principles and wisdom, and the family. Indeed, as liberalism has emerged victorious from the battles of the last century, the logic of its doctrines has increasingly turned liberals against all of these conservative institutions. On both of these fronts, the conservative and liberal principles of the Anglo-American tradition are now painfully at cross-purposes. The twentieth-century alliance between conservatism and liberalism is proving increasingly difficult to maintain. Among the effects of the long alliance between conservatism and liberalism has been a tendency of political figures, journalists, and academics to slip back and forth between conservative terms and ideas and liberal ones as if they were interchangeable. And until recently, there seemed to be no great harm in this. Now, however, it is becoming obvious that this lack of clarity is crippling our ability to think about a host of issues, from immigration and foreign wars to the content of the Constitution and the place of religion in education and public life. (…) Living in very different periods, these individuals nevertheless shared common ideas and principles and saw themselves as part of a common tradition of English, and later Anglo-American, constitutionalism. A politically traditionalist outlook of this kind was regarded as the mainstream in both England and America up until the French Revolution and only came to be called “conservative” during the nineteenth century, as it lost ground and became one of two rival camps. Because the name conservative dates from this time of decline, it is often wrongly asserted that those who continued defending the Anglo-American tradition after the revolution—men such as Burke and Hamilton—were the “first conservatives.” (…) The emergence of the Anglo-American conservative tradition can be identified with the words and deeds of a series of towering political and intellectual figures, among whom we can include individuals such as Sir John Fortescue, Richard Hooker, Sir Edward Coke, John Selden, Sir Matthew Hale, Sir William Temple, Jonathan Swift, Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, John Dickinson, and Alexander Hamilton. Men such as George Washington, John Adams, and John Marshall, often hastily included among the liberals, would also have placed themselves in this conservative tradition rather than with its opponents, whom they knew all too well.According to Fortescue, the English constitution provides for what he calls “political and royal government,” by which he means that English kings do not rule by their own authority alone (i.e., “royal government”), but together with the representatives of the nation in Parliament and in the courts (i.e., “political government”). In other words, the powers of the English king are limited by the traditional laws of the English nation, in the same way—as Fortescue emphasizes—that the powers of the Jewish king in the Mosaic constitution in Deuteronomy are limited by the traditional laws of the Israelite nation. This is in contrast with the Holy Roman Empire of Fortescue’s day, which was supposedly governed by Roman law, and therefore by the maxim that “what pleases the prince has the force of law,” and in contrast with the kings of France, who governed absolutely. Among other things, the English law is described as providing for the people’s representatives, rather than the king, to determine the laws of the realm and to approve requests from the king for taxes. In addition to this discussion of what later tradition would call the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, Fortescue also devotes extended discussion to the guarantee of due process under law, which he explores in his discussion of the superior protections afforded to the individual under the English system of trial by jury. Crucially, Fortescue consistently connects the character of a nation’s laws and their protection of private property to economic prosperity, arguing that limited government bolsters such prosperity, while an absolute government leads the people to destitution and ruin. In another of his writings, The Difference between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy (also known as The Governance of England, c. 1471), he starkly contrasts the well-fed and healthy English population living under their limited government with the French, whose government was constantly confiscating their property and quartering armies in their towns—at the residents’ expense—by unilateral order of the king. (…) Like later conservative tradition, Fortescue does not believe that either scripture or human reason can provide a universal law suitable for all nations. We do find him drawing frequently on the Mosaic constitution and the biblical “Four Books of Kings” (1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings) to assist in understanding the political order and the English constitution. Nevertheless, Fortescue emphasizes that the laws of each realm reflect the historic experience and character of each nation, just as the English common law is in accord with England’s historic experience. Thus, for example, Fortescue argues that a nation that is self-disciplined and accustomed to obeying the laws voluntarily rather than by coercion is one that can productively participate in the way it is governed. This, Fortescue proposes, was true of the people of England, while the French, who were of undisciplined character, could be governed only by the harsh and arbitrary rule of absolute royal government. On the other hand, Fortescue also insisted, again in keeping with biblical precedent and later conservative tradition, that this kind of national character was not set in stone, and that such traits could be gradually improved or worsened over time. (…) Fortescue wrote in the decades before the Reformation, and as a firm Catholic. But every page of his work breathes the spirit of English nationalism—the belief that through long centuries of experience, and thanks to a powerful ongoing identification with Hebrew Scripture, the English had succeeded in creating a form of government more conducive to human freedom and flourishing than any other known to man. First printed around 1545, Fortescue’s Praise of the Laws of England spoke in a resounding voice to that period of heightened nationalist sentiment in which English traditions, now inextricably identified with Protestantism, were pitted against the threat of invasion by Spanish-Catholic forces aligned with the Holy Roman Emperor. This environment quickly established Fortescue as England’s first great political theorist, paving the way for him to be read by centuries of law students in both England and America and by educated persons wherever the broader Anglo-American conservative tradition struck root. (…) the decisive chapter in the formation of modern Anglo-American conservatism: the great seventeenth-century battle between defenders of the traditional English constitution against political absolutism on one side, and against the first advocates of a Lockean universalist rationalism on the other (…) is dominated by the figure of John Selden (1584–1654), probably the greatest theorist of Anglo-American conservatism. (…) In 1628, Selden played a leading role in drafting and passing an act of Parliament called the Petition of Right, which sought to restore and safeguard “the divers rights and liberties of the subjects” that had been known under the traditional English constitution. Among other things, it asserted that “your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax . . . not set by common consent in Parliament”; that “no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs . . . but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land”; and that no man “should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.” In the Petition of Right, then, we find the famous principle of “no taxation without representation,” as well as versions of the rights enumerated in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments of the American Bill of Rights—all declared to be ancient constitutional English freedoms and unanimously approved by Parliament, before Locke was even born. Although not mentioned in the Petition explicitly, freedom of speech had likewise been reaffirmed by Coke as “an ancient custom of Parliament” in the 1590s and was the subject of the so-called Protestation of 1621 that landed Coke, then seventy years old, in the Tower of London for nine months. In other words, Coke, Eliot, and Selden risked everything to defend the same liberties that we ourselves hold dear in the face of an increasingly authoritarian regime. (…) But they did not do so in the name of liberal doctrines of universal reason, natural rights, or “self-evident” truths. These they explicitly rejected because they were conservatives, not liberals. (…) Selden sought to defend conservative traditions, including the English one, not only against the absolutist doctrines of the Stuarts but also against the claims of a universalist rationalism, according to which men could simply consult their own reason, which was the same for everyone, to determine the best constitution for mankind. This rationalist view had begun to collect adherents in England among followers of the great Dutch political theorist Hugo Grotius, whose On the Law of War and Peace (1625) suggested that it might be possible to do away with the traditional constitutions of nations by relying only on the rationality of the individual. (…) Selden responds to the claims of universal reason by arguing for a position that can be called historical empiricism. On this view, our reasoning in political and legal matters should be based upon inherited national tradition. This permits the statesman or jurist to overcome the small stock of observation and experience that individuals are able to accumulate during their own lifetimes (“that kind of ignorant infancy, which our short lives alone allow us”) and to take advantage of “the many ages of former experience and observation,” which permit us to “accumulate years to us, as if we had lived even from the beginning of time.” In other words, by consulting the accumulated experience of the past, we overcome the inherent weakness of individual judgement, bringing to bear the many lifetimes of observation by our forebears, who wrestled with similar questions under diverse conditions. (…)  Recalling the biblical Jeremiah’s insistence on an empirical study of the paths of old (Jer. 6:16), Selden argues that the correct method is that “all roads must be carefully examined. We must ask about the ancient paths, and only what is truly the best may be chosen.”  (…) Selden recognizes that, in making these selections from the traditions of the past, we tacitly rely upon a higher criterion for selection, a natural law established by God, which prescribes “what is truly best” for mankind in the most elementary terms. In his Natural and National Law, Selden explains that this natural law has been discovered over long generations since the biblical times and has come down to us in various versions. Of these, the most reliable is that of the Talmud, which describes the seven laws of the children of Noah prohibiting murder, theft, sexual perversity, cruelty to beasts, idolatry and defaming God, and requiring courts of law to enforce justice. The experience of thousands of years has taught us that these laws frame the peace and prosperity that is the end of all nations, and that they are the unseen root from which the diverse laws of all the nations ultimately derive. (…) In doing so, he seeks to gradually approach, by trial and error, the best that is possible for each nation. (…)  But (…) Stuart absolutism eventually pressed England toward civil war and, finally, to a Puritan military dictatorship that not only executed the king but destroyed Parliament and the constitution as well. Selden did not live to see the constitution restored. The regicide regime subsequently offered England several brand-new constitutions, none of which proved workable, and within eleven years it had collapsed. In 1660, two eminent disciples of Selden, Edward Hyde (afterward Earl of Clarendon) and Sir Matthew Hale, played a leading role in restoring the constitution and the line of Stuart kings. When the Catholic James II succeeded to the throne in 1685, fear of a relapse into papism and even of a renewed attempt to establish absolutism moved the rival political factions of the country to unite in inviting the next Protestants in line to the throne. The king’s daughter Mary and her husband, Prince William of Orange, the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, crossed the channel to save Protestant England and its constitution. Parliament, having confirmed the willingness of the new joint monarchs to protect the English from “all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties,” in 1689 established the new king and queen on the throne and ratified England’s famous Bill of Rights. This new document reasserted the ancient rights invoked in the earlier Petition of Right, among other things affirming the right of Protestant subjects to “have arms for their defense” and the right of “freedom of speech and debates” in Parliament, and that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”—the basis for the First, Second, and Eighth Amendments of the American Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was quickly extended to the wider public, with the termination of English press licensing laws a few years later. The restoration of a Protestant monarch and the adoption of the Bill of Rights were undertaken by a Parliament united around Seldenian principles. What came to be called the “Glorious Revolution” was glorious precisely because it reaffirmed the traditional English constitution and protected the English nation from renewed attacks on “their religion, rights and liberties.” Such attacks came from absolutists like Sir Robert Filmer on the one hand, whose Patriarcha (published posthumously, 1680) advocated authoritarian government as the only legitimate one, and by radicals like John Locke on the other. Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) responded to the crisis by arguing for the right of the people to dissolve the traditional constitution and reestablish it according to universal reason. Over the course of the seventeenth century, English conservatism was formed into a coherent and unmistakable political philosophy utterly opposed both to the absolutism of the Stuarts, Hobbes, and Filmer (what would later be called “the Right”), as well as to liberal theories of universal reason advanced first by Grotius and then by Locke (“the Left”). The centrist conservative view was to remain the mainstream understanding of the English constitution for a century and a half, defended by leading Whig intellectuals in works from William Atwood’s Fundamental Constitution of the English Government (1690) to Josiah Tucker’s A Treatise of Civil Government (1781), which strongly opposed both absolutism and Lockean theories of universal rights. This is the view upon which men like Blackstone, Burke, Washington, and Hamilton were educated. Not only in England but in British America, lawyers were trained in the common law by studying Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England (1628–44) and Hale’s History of the Common Law of England (1713). In both, the law of the land was understood to be the traditional English constitution and common law, amended as needed for local purposes. (…)  We have described the Anglo-American conservative tradition as subscribing to a historical empiricism, which proposes that political knowledge is gained by examining the long history of the customary laws of a given nation and the consequences when these laws have been altered in one direction or another. Conservatives understand that a jurist must exercise reason and judgment, of course. But this reasoning is about how best to adapt traditional law to present circumstances, making such changes as are needed for the betterment of the state and of the public, while preserving as much as possible the overall frame of the law. To this we have opposed a standpoint that can be called rationalist. Rationalists have a different view of the role of reason in political thought, and in fact a different understanding of what reason itself is. Rather than arguing from the historical experience of nations, they set out by asserting general axioms that they believe to be true of all human beings, and that they suppose will be accepted by all human beings examining them with their native rational abilities. From these they deduce the appropriate constitution or laws for all men. (…) Locke is known philosophically as an empiricist. But his reputation in this regard is based largely on his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1689), which is an influential exercise in empirical psychology. His Second Treatise of Government is not, however, a similar effort to bring an empirical standpoint to the theory of the state. Instead, it begins with a series of axioms that are without any evident connection to what can be known from the historical and empirical study of the state. Among other things, Locke asserts that, (1) prior to the establishment of government, men exist in a “state of nature,” in which (2) “all men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom,” as well as in (3) a “state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another.” Moreover, (4) this state of nature “has a law of nature to govern it”; and (5) this law of nature is, as it happens, nothing other than human “reason” itself, which “teaches all mankind, who will but consult it.” It is this universal reason, the same among all mankind, that leads them to (6) terminate the state of nature, “agreeing together mutually to enter into . . . one body politic” by an act of free consent. From these six axioms, Locke then proceeds to deduce the proper character of the political order for all nations on earth. (…)  Faced with this mass of unverifiable assertions, empiricist political theorists such as Hume, Smith, and Burke rejected all of Locke’s axioms and sought to rebuild political philosophy on the basis of things that can be known from history and from an examination of actual human societies and governments. (…) While Locke’s rationalist theories made limited headway in England, they were all the rage in France. Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762) went where others had feared to tread, embracing Locke’s system of axioms for correct political thought and calling upon mankind to consent only to the one legitimate constitution dictated by reason. Within thirty years, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the other French imitators of Locke’s rationalist politics received what they had demanded in the form of the French Revolution. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was followed by the Reign of Terror for those who would not listen to reason. Napoleon’s imperialist liberalism rapidly followed, bringing universal reason and the “rights of man” to the whole of continental Europe by force of arms, at a cost of millions of lives. In 1790, a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, the Anglo-Irish thinker and Whig parliamentarian Edmund Burke composed his famous defense of the English constitutional tradition against the liberal doctrines of universal reason and universal rights, entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke’s argument is frequently quoted today by conservatives who assume that his target was Rousseau and his followers in France. But Burke’s attack was not primarily aimed at Rousseau, who had few enthusiasts in Britain or America at the time. The actual target of his attack was contemporary followers of Grotius and Locke—individuals such as Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Charles James Fox, Charles Grey, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Price, who was the explicit subject of Burke’s attack in the first pages of Reflections on the Revolution in France, had opened his Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776) with the assertion that “the principles on which I have argued form the foundation of every state as far as it is free; and are the same with those taught by Mr. Locke.” And much the same could be said of the others, all of whom followed Locke in claiming that the only true foundation for political and constitutional thought was precisely in those “general theories concerning the rights of men” that Burke believed would bring turmoil and death to one country after another. The carnage taking place in France triggered a furious debate in England. It pitted supporters of the conservatism of Coke and Selden (both Whigs and Tories) against admirers of Locke’s universal rights theories (the so-called New Whigs). The conservatives insisted that these theories would uproot every traditional political and religious institution in England, just as they were doing in France. (…) Burke’s conservative defense of the traditional English constitution enjoyed a large measure of success in Britain, where it was continued after his death by figures such as Canning, Wellington, and Disraeli. That this is so is obvious from the fact that institutions such as the monarchy, the House of Lords, and the established Church of England, not to mention the common law itself, were able to withstand the gale winds of universal reason and universal rights, and to this day have their staunch supporters. But what of America? Was the American revolution an upheaval based on Lockean universal reason and universal rights? To hear many conservatives talk today, one would think this were so, and that there never were any conservatives in the American mainstream, only liberals of different shades. The reality, however, was rather different. When the American English, as Burke called them, rebelled against the British monarch, there were already two distinct political theories expressed among the rebels, and the opposition between these two camps only grew with time. First, there were those who admired the English constitution that they had inherited and studied. Believing they had been deprived of their rights under the English constitution, their aim was to regain these rights. Identifying themselves with the tradition of Coke and Selden, they hoped to achieve a victory against royal absolutism comparable to what their English forefathers had achieved in the Petition of Right and Bill of Rights. To individuals of this type, the word revolution still had its older meaning, invoking something that “revolves” and would, through their efforts, return to its rightful place—in effect, a restoration. Alexander Hamilton was probably the best-known exponent of this kind of conservative politics (…) And it is evident that they were quietly supported behind the scenes by other adherents of this view, among them the president of the convention, General George Washington. Second, there were true revolutionaries, liberal followers of Locke such as Jefferson, who detested England and believed—just as the French followers of Rousseau believed—that the dictates of universal reason made the true rights of man evident to all. For them, the traditional English constitution was not the source of their freedoms but rather something to be swept away before the rights dictated by universal reason. And indeed, during the French Revolution, Jefferson and his supporters embraced it as a purer version of what the Americans had started. (…) The tension between these conservative and liberal camps finds rather dramatic expression in America’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson in 1776, is famous for resorting, in its preamble, to the Lockean doctrine of universal rights as “self-evident” before the light of reason. Similarly, the Articles of Confederation, negotiated the following year as the constitution of the new United States of America, embody a radical break with the traditional English constitution. These Articles asserted the existence of thirteen independent states, at the same time establishing a weak representative assembly over them without even the power of taxation, and requiring assent by nine of thirteen states to enact policy. The Articles likewise made no attempt at all to balance the powers of this assembly, effectively an executive, with separate legislative or judicial branches of government. The Articles of Confederation came close to destroying the United States. After a decade of disorder in both foreign and economic affairs, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution, drafted at a convention initiated by Hamilton and James Madison, and presided over by a watchful Washington, while Jefferson was away in France. Anyone comparing the Constitution that emerged with the earlier Articles of Confederation immediately recognizes that what took place at this convention was a reprise of the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Despite being adapted to the American context, the document that the convention produced proposed a restoration of the fundamental forms of the English constitution: a strong president, designated by an electoral college (in place of the hereditary monarchy); the president balanced in strikingly English fashion by a powerful bicameral legislature with the power of taxation and legislation; the division of the legislature between a quasi-aristocratic, appointed Senate and a popularly elected House; and an independent judiciary. Even the American Bill of Rights of 1789 is modeled upon the Petition of Right and the English Bill of Rights, largely elaborating the same rights that had been described by Coke and Selden and their followers, and breathing not a word anywhere about universal reason or universal rights. The American Constitution did depart from the traditional English constitution, however, adapting it to local conditions on certain key points. The Americans, who had no nobility and no tradition of hereditary office, declined to institute these now. Moreover, the Constitution of 1787 allowed slavery, which was forbidden in England—a wretched innovation for which America would pay a price the framers could not have imagined in their wildest nightmares. Another departure—or apparent departure—was the lack of a provision for a national church, enshrined in the First Amendment in the form of a prohibition on congressional legislation “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The English constitutional tradition, of course, gave a central role to the Protestant religion, which was held to be indispensable and inextricably tied to English identity (although not incompatible with a broad measure of toleration). But the British state, in certain respects federative, permitted separate, officially established national churches in Scotland and Ireland. This British acceptance of a diversity of established churches is partially echoed in the American Constitution, which permitted the respective states to support their own established churches, or to require that public offices in the state be held by Protestants or by Christians, well into the nineteenth century. When these facts are taken into account, the First Amendment appears less an attempt to put an end to established religion than a provision for keeping the peace among the states by delegating forms of religious establishment to the state level. As early as 1802, however, Jefferson, now president, announced  that the First Amendment’s rejection of a national church in fact should be interpreted as an “act of the whole American people . . . building a wall of separation between church and state.” This characterization of the American Constitution as endorsing a “separation of church and state” was surely overwrought, and more compatible with French liberalism—which regarded public religion as abhorrent to reason—than with the actual place of state religion among “the whole American people” at the time. Yet on this point, Jefferson has emerged victorious. In the years that followed, his “wall of separation between church and state” interpretation was increasingly considered to be an integral part of the American Constitution, even if one that had not been included in the actual text. Lockean liberalism grew increasingly dominant in America after Jefferson’s election. Hamilton’s death in a duel in 1804, at the age of 47, was an especially heavy blow that left American conservatism without its most able spokesman. Nevertheless, the tradition of Selden and Burke was taken up by Americans of the next generation, including two of the country’s most prominent jurists, New York chancellor James Kent (1763–1847) and Supreme Court justice Joseph Story (1779–1845). Story’s influence was especially significant. Although appointed to the Supreme Court by Jefferson in the hope of undermining Chief Justice John Marshall, Story’s opinions almost immediately displayed the opposite inclination, and continued to do so throughout his thirty-four-year tenure on the court. Perhaps Story’s greatest contribution to the American conservative tradition is his famous Commentaries on the Constitution (3 vols., 1833), which were dedicated to Marshall and went on to be the most important and influential interpretation of the American constitutional tradition in the nineteenth century. These were overtly conservative in spirit, citing Burke with approval and repeatedly criticizing not only Locke’s theories but Jefferson himself. Among other things, Story forcefully rejected Jefferson’s claim that the American founding had been based on universal rights determined by reason, emphasizing that it was the rights of the English traditional law that Americans had always recognized and continued to recognize. (…) With Selden, we believe that, in their campaign for universal “liberal democracy,” liberals have confused certain historical-empirical principles of the traditional Anglo-American constitution, painstakingly developed and inculcated over centuries (Principle 1), for universal truths that are equally accessible to all human beings, regardless of historical or cultural circumstances. This means that, like all rationalists, they are engaged in applying local truths, which may hold good under certain conditions, to quite different situations and circumstances, where they often go badly wrong. For conservatives, these failures—for example, the repeated collapse of liberal constitutions in places such as Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, and Iraq, among many others—suggest that the principles in question have been overextended and should be regarded as true only within a narrower range of conditions. Liberals, on the other hand, explain such failures as a result of “poor implementation,” leaving liberal democracy as a universal truth that remains untouched by experience and unassailable, no matter what the circumstances. (…) Burke and Hamilton belonged to a generation that was still educated in the significance of the Anglo-American tradition as a whole. Only a few decades later, this had begun to change, and by the end of the nineteenth century, conservative views were increasingly in the minority and defensive both in Britain and America. But conservatism was really only broken in a decisive way by Franklin Roosevelt in America in 1932, and by Labour in Britain in 1945. At this point, socialism displaced liberalism as the worldview of the parties of the “Left,” driving some liberals to join with the last vestiges of the conservative tradition in the parties of the “Right.” In this environment, new leaders and movements did arise and succeed from time to time in raising the banner of Anglo-American conservatism once more. But these conservatives were living on a shattered political and philosophical landscape, having lost much of the chain of transmission that had connected earlier conservatives to their forefathers. Thus their roots remained shallow, and their victories, however impressive, brought about no long-term conservative restoration. The most significant of these conservative revivals was, of course, the one that reached its peak in the 1980s under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher and Reagan were genuine and instinctive conservatives, displaying traditional Anglo-American conservative attachments to nation and religion, as well as to limited government and individual freedom. They also recognized and gave voice to the profound “special relationship” that binds Britain and America together. Coming to power at a time of deep crisis in the struggle against Communism, their renewed conservatism succeeded in winning the Cold War and freeing foreign nations from oppression, in addition to liberating their own economies, which had long been shackled by socialism. In both countries, these triumphs shifted political discourse rightward for a generation. Yet the Reagan-Thatcher moment, for all its success, failed to touch the depths of the political culture in America and Britain. Confronted by a university system devoted almost exclusively to socialist and liberal theorizing, their movement at no point commanded the resources needed to revive Anglo-American conservatism as a genuine force in fundamental arenas such as jurisprudence, political theory, history, philosophy, and education—disciplines without which a true restoration was impossible. Throughout the conservative revival of the 1980s, academic training in government and political theory, for instance, continued to maintain its almost complete boycott of conservative thinkers such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale, just as it continued its boycott of the Bible as a source of English and American political principles. Similarly, academic jurisprudence remained a subject that is taught as a contest among abstract liberal theories. Education of this kind meant that a degree from a prestigious university all but guaranteed one’s ignorance of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, but only a handful of conservative intellectual figures, most visibly Russell Kirk and Irving Kristol, seem to have been alert to the seriousness of this problem. On the whole, the conservative revival of those years remained resolutely focused on the pressing policy issues of the day, leaving liberalism virtually unchallenged as the worldview that conservatives were taught at university or when they picked up a book on the history of ideas. (…) There may have been genuine advantages to soft-pedaling differences between conservatives and liberals until the 1980s, when all the strength that could be mustered had to be directed toward defeating Communism abroad and socialism at home. But we are no longer living in the 1980s. Those battles were won, and today we face new dangers. The most important among these is the inability of countries such as America and Britain, having been stripped of the nationalist and religious traditions that held them together for centuries, to sustain themselves while a universalist liberalism continues, year after year, to break down these historic foundations of their strength. Under such conditions of internal disintegration, there is a palpable danger that liberal rationalism, having established itself in a monopoly position in the state, will drive a broad public that cannot accept its regimented view of the world into the hands of genuinely authoritarian movements. Liberals of various persuasions have, in their own way, sought to warn us about this, from Fareed Zakaria’s “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” in Foreign Affairs (1997) to the Economist’s “Illiberalism: Playing with Fear” (2016) and Commentary’s “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” mentioned earlier. These and many other publications have made intensive use of the term illiberal as an epithet to describe those who have strayed from the path of Lockean liberalism. In so doing, they divide the political universe into two: there are liberals—those decent persons who are willing to exercise reason in the universally accepted manner and come to the appropriate liberal conclusions; and there are those others—the “illiberals,” who, out of ignorance, resentment, or some atavistic hatred, will not get with the program. When things are divided up this way, the latter group ends up including everyone from Brexiteers, Trump supporters, Evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews to dictators, Iranian ayatollahs, and Nazis. Once things are framed in this way, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that everyone in that second group is in some degree a threat that must be combated. We conservatives, however, have our own preferred division of the political universe: one in which Anglo-American conservatism appears as a distinct political category that is obviously neither authoritarian nor liberal. With the rest of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, we uphold the principles of limited government and individual liberties. But we also see clearly (again, in keeping with our conservative tradition) that the only forces that give the state its internal coherence and stability, holding limited government in place while staving off authoritarianism, are our nationalist and religious traditions. These nationalist and religious principles are not liberal. They are prior to liberalism, in conflict with liberalism, and presently being destroyed by liberalism. Our world desperately needs to hear a clear conservative voice. Any continued confusion of conservative principles with the liberalism on our Left, or with the authoritarianism on our Right, can only do harm. The time has arrived when conservatives must speak in our own voice again. In doing so, we will discover that we can provide the political foundations that so many now seek, but have been unable to find.
In our own day, we recognize the clash between conservatism and liberalism in the following areas, among others (here described only very briefly, and so in overly simple terms): Liberal Empire. Because liberalism is thought to be a dictate of universal reason, liberals tend to believe that any country not already governed as a liberal democracy should be pressed—or even coerced—to adopt this form of government. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that different societies are held together and kept at peace in different ways, so that the universal application of liberal doctrines often brings collapse and chaos, doing more harm than good. International Bodies. Similarly, liberals believe that, since liberal principles are universal, there is little harm done in reassigning the powers of government to international bodies. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that such international organizations possess no sound governing traditions and no loyalty to particular national populations that might restrain their spurious theorizing about universal rights. They therefore see such bodies as inevitably tending to arbitrariness and autocracy. Immigration. Liberals believe that, since liberal principles are accessible to all, there is nothing to be feared in large-scale immigration from countries with national and religious traditions very different from ours. Conservatives see successful large-scale immigration as possible only where the immigrants are strongly motivated to integrate and assisted in assimilating the national traditions of their new home country. In the absence of these conditions, the result will be chronic intercultural tension and violence. Law. Liberals regard the laws of a nation as emerging from the tension between positive law and the pronouncements of universal reason, as expressed by the courts. Conservatives reject the supposed universal reason of judges, which often amounts to little more than their succumbing to passing fashion. But conservatives also oppose an excessive regard for written documents, which leads, for example, to the liberal mythology of America as a “creedal nation” (or a “propositional nation”) created and defined solely by the products of abstract reason that are supposedly found in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Economy. Liberals regard the universal market economy, operating without regard to borders, as a dictate of universal reason and applicable equally to all nations. They therefore recognize no legitimate economic aims other than the creation of a “level field” on which all nations participate in accordance with universal, rational rules. Conservatives regard the market economy and free enterprise as indispensable for the advancement of the nation in its wealth and wellbeing. But they see economic arrangements as inevitably varying from one country to another, reflecting the particular historical experiences and innovations of each nation as it competes to gain advantage for its people. Education. Liberals believe that schools should teach students to recognize the Lockean goods of liberty and equality as the universal aims of political order, and to see America’s founding political documents as having largely achieved these aims. Conservatives believe education should focus on the particular character of the Anglo-American constitutional and religious tradition, with its roots in the Bible, and on the way in which this tradition has given rise to a unique family of nations with a distinctive political thought and practice that has influenced the world. Public Religion. Liberals believe that universal reason is the necessary and sufficient basis for just and moral government. This means that the religious traditions of the nation, which had earlier been the basis for a public understanding of justice and right, can be replaced in public discourse by universal reason itself. In its current form, liberalism asserts that all governments should embrace a Jeffersonian “wall separating church and state,” whose purpose is to banish the influence of religion from public life, relegating it to the private sphere. Conservatives hold that none of this is true. They see human reason as producing a constant profusion of ever-changing views concerning justice and morals—a fact that is evident today in the constant assertion of new and rapidly multiplying human rights. Conservatives hold that the only stable basis for national independence, justice, and public morals is a strong biblical tradition in government and public life. They reject the doctrine of separation of church and state, instead advocating an integration of religion into public life that also offers broad toleration of diverse religious views.
Hazony reviews the history of the conflict between nationalism and imperialism, from the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli U.N. resolution. The political concept of the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible. Ancient Israel was a national state posed against empires in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and Rome. Hazony de­clares that the Israelite nation was not based on race but on a “shared understanding of history, language, and religion.” He cites Exodus, noting that some Egyptians joined the Hebrews in fleeing Pharaoh, and points out that other foreigners joined the Jewish people once they had accepted “Israel’s God, laws, and understanding of history.” In Hazony’s telling, after the fall of the Roman imperium, the ideal of a universal empire lived on in the papacy and in the German-led Holy Roman Empire. The emergence of Protestantism resurrected the Hebrew Bible’s concept of the national state. For example, Dutch Protestant rebels in their war with imperial Spain modeled themselves on ancient Israelis fighting for national freedom against the Egyptian and Babylonian empires. The Thirty Years’ War was not simply a religious conflict but a struggle that pitted nationalism against imperialism, with the states of France (Catholic), the Netherlands (Calvinist), and Sweden (Lutheran) fighting against the German-Spanish Hapsburg empire.  Hazony describes a new “Protestant construction” of the West inspired by the Hebrew Bible. It was based on two core principles: national self-determination and a “moral minimum” order, roughly corresponding to recognizing the Ten Commandments as natural law. This Protestant construction has been challenged by a “liberal construction” based on individual rights and a universal order. Beginning in the Enlightenment with Locke and Kant, but particularly since World War II, the liberal construction has largely replaced the Protestant construction among Western elites, though Hazony optimistically remarks that the ideas of the Protestant construction are still strong in the U.S. and Britain. Further, the liberal construction has proved to be illiberal, leading to the suppression of free speech, “public shaming” campaigns, and “heresy hunts.” Hazony laments that “Western democracies are rapidly becoming one big university campus.” Hazony asserts that the “neutral state is a myth.” While the national state has historically been successful, a purely “neutral” or “civic” state based only on formal law and abstract principles and without attachments to a particular culture, language, religion, tradition, history, or shared sacrifice is unable to inspire the necessary mutual loyalty and national cohesion required for a free society to survive. He identifies the United States, Britain, and France as national, as opposed to neutral or civic, states.  One of Hazony’s most powerful insights is his understanding of the role that hatred plays in the conflict between nationalists and globalists. One hears repeatedly that nationalism means hatred of the “other.” Hazony, however, successfully flips the argument. He notes that “anti-nationalist hate” is as great as or greater than the hatred emanating from nationalists. In fact, the forces supporting universalism hate the particular, especially when particularist resistance to globalist homogenization “proves itself resilient and enduring.” Thus, “liberal internationalism is not merely a positive agenda. . . . It is an imperialist ideology that incites against . . . nationalists, seeking their delegitimization wherever they appear” throughout the West. Nowhere is this clearer than in the intense antipathy such liberal internationalists feel towards Israel. (…) He concludes that since World War II, and particularly since the 1990s, in elite circles in the West, a Kantian post-national moral paradigm has replaced the old liberal-nationalist paradigm of a world of independent states in which the Zionist dream was born.  This new paradigm insists that national states should increasingly cede sovereignty to supranational institutions, especially in matters of war and peace. In the new paradigm, Israel’s use of force to defend itself is seen as morally illegitimate. The leadership of the European Union and American progressives, for the most part, adheres to the new post-national paradigm; hence, they constantly excoriate Israeli attempts at self-defense.  Hazony declares that “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination.” (There is also a faction of Americans, Hazony writes, who favor a different, more muscular type of imperialist project: the establishment of a pax Americana in which America would serve as a contemporary Roman empire, providing peace and security for the entire world and policing the internal affairs of recalcitrant national states that are insufficiently liberal.)  For the EU and Western progressives, Hazony explains, the horror of Auschwitz was the result of atrocities committed by a national state, Germany, infused with a fanatical nationalism. But, as Hazony argues, Hitler’s genocide was inspired by a belief in Aryan racial superiority and imperialism. Hitler cared little for the German nation per se. For example, near the end of World War II, he told his confidant Albert Speer not to “worry” about the “German people”; they might as well perish, for “they had proven to be the weaker [nation] and the future belongs solely to the stronger eastern nation.” Not exactly the sentiments of a true nationalist. On the other hand, Hazony says, for Israelis, Auschwitz was the result of powerlessness: Jews did not have their own national state and the requisite military capability to protect themselves. (…) It is exactly this very human aspiration for national independence hailed by the liberal nationalists of yesteryear (e.g., Garibaldi, Kossuth, Herzl) that the new imperialists of 21st-century globalism (Merkel, Juncker, Soros) scorn. Hazony writes that other nations too have been subject to campaigns of vilification from European and transnational elites when they have ignored supranational authority and acted as independent national states. The United States, in particular, has been excoriated (since long before the Trump administration) for refusing to join the Interna­tional Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol and for deciding for itself when its national interest requires the use of force. Recently, globalist wrath “has been extended to Britain” because it returned “to a course of national independence and self-determination and to nations such as Czechia, Hungary, and Poland that insist on maintaining an immigration policy of their own that does not conform to the European Union’s theories concerning refugee resettlement. John Fonte
Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah. Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante. J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes. De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste. Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde. Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste. Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul! Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire. Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme. (…) Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne. Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte. Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore. Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines. Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies. Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu. (…) Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent. On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique. Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme. Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier. C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral». (…) En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même. Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne. En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne! (…) Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même. La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté. Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens. Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël. Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident. La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain. C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman. Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis. Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne… Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation. (…) [le modèle nationaliste] permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières. Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures. Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux. Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental. À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès. Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple. Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf. Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre. Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas… (…) La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts. La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres. (…) Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme. Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité. Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël… Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale. (…) un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde. Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins. N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières? Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu. (…) le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise. (…) Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral. Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations. Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela. Yoram Hazony

Après l’école, Supermanl’humourla fête nationale, Thanksgiving, les droits civiques, les Harlem globetrotters et le panier à trois points, le soft power, l’Amérique, le génocide et même eux-mêmes  et sans parler des chansons de Noël et de la musique pop ou d’Hollywood, la littérature, les poupées Barbie… le look WASP, … la nation  !

Y a-t-il une élite intellectuelle trumpiste?
Alexis Carré

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – La tenue de la National Conservatism Conference réunissant des intellectuels conservateurs américains invite le politologue Alexis Carré à se demander s’il existe une élite intellectuelle représentative des idées de Donald Trump.

Alexis Carré est doctorant en philosophie politique à l’École normale supérieure. Il travaille sur les mutations de l’ordre libéral. Suivez-le sur Twitter et sur son site.


La victoire de Donald J. Trump ne fut pas exactement celle d’un intellectuel. Contrairement à celle de Ronald Reagan, elle n’a pas non plus été précédée par la création ou la mobilisation de think tanks et autres organismes de recherche qui structurent habituellement la discussion publique aux États-Unis, tout en servant d’écurie de formation pour les futurs cadres gouvernementaux. À bien des égards, ce que l’on pourrait appeler la classe intellectuelle conservatrice s’est trouvée à la traîne et même parfois à contre-courant de la dernière campagne. Le Weekly Standard, hebdomadaire néoconservateur fondé par Bill Kristol — l’une des voix de droite les plus violemment critiques de l’administration —, en a payé le prix en cessant il y a peu de paraître.

Une fois Trump élu, le pragmatisme a toutefois dominé l’attitude de cette galaxie d’institutions vis-à-vis de la Maison Blanche. Ne leur devant pas sa victoire ni son programme, le président a, quant à lui, su utiliser leurs ressources et leurs compétences quand elles lui étaient utiles. L’illustration la plus frappante de cette relation fut la place centrale qu’il donna aux recommandations de la Heritage Foundation (le plus grand think tank conservateur à Washington) et de la Federalist Society (une association influente rassemblant plus de 40 000 juristes conservateurs) pour la nomination des juges à la Cour Suprême (Neil Gorsuch et Brett Kavanaugh) et dans les degrés inférieurs du système judiciaire. Malgré un style de gouvernement indéniablement nouveau, Trump ne semblait donc pas avoir profondément affecté l’infrastructure institutionnelle d’où s’élaborent la majorité des politiques publiques aux États-Unis. Envisagé comme un phénomène personnel qui disparaîtrait avec lui, certains pouvaient encore penser qu’il ne laisserait avec son départ pas d’héritage profond sur les plans institutionnels et intellectuels. Une conférence comme il s’en organise pourtant des dizaines chaque année à Washington DC vient peut-être de changer la donne. Et si, de manière pour le moins inattendue, Trump s’avérait être depuis Reagan le président ayant eu le plus d’impact sur la fabrique des idées et des élites dans son pays?

Une force de frappe en devenir

Le chercheur israélien à l’origine de l’événement, Yoram Hazony, s’est fait connaître à l’automne dernier en publiant The Virtue of Nationalism [La vertu du nationalisme], un livre où il s’emploie à critiquer l’idéal post-national qui a dominé l’éducation politique des élites ces dernières décennies. En organisant ce rassemblement d’intellectuels, de journalistes et d’hommes politiques, il entend désormais jeter les bases d’un mouvement intellectuel, le «conservatisme national», dont il propagera les idées au travers de la Edmund Burke Foundation — créée en janvier en vue de préparer l’événement.

Le programme mélange des invités prestigieux (l’entrepreneur Peter Thiel, le présentateur de Fox News Tucker Carlson), des étoiles montantes (le jeune sénateur Josh Hawley et J. D. Vance, l’auteur du best-seller Hillbilly Elegy) et des figures établies (Rusty Reno de la revue First Things ou encore Christopher DeMuth, l’ancien responsable du think tank AEI). S’il est évident que de nombreuses divergences existent entre ces invités, notamment sur les questions de politique étrangère, ils s’accordent assez largement autour de certains points fondamentaux qui constituent à des degrés divers des changements d’orientation profonds par rapport au consensus conservateur antérieur.

La fin du consensus libéral et conservateur à droite 

Ce consensus, aussi connu sous le nom de «fusionnisme», reposait sur la compatibilité de la défense du marché et du libre-échange avec celle des valeurs familiales et religieuses. Libertariens et conservateurs pouvaient ainsi agir côte à côte afin de laisser d’un côté l’État hors de l’entreprise et de l’autre, hors de la famille — attitude résumée par la formule lapidaire de Reagan: «Le gouvernement n’est pas la solution à nos problèmes. Le gouvernement

est le problème.» Pour les tenants du «conservatisme national» le danger vient non plus principalement de l’État mais du secteur privé, et plus particulièrement des GAFA et de Wall Street. C’est également à l’État qu’ils s’en remettent pour préserver l’existence nationale de l’ingérence croissante des institutions supranationales. Étonnante dans le paysage politique américain, cette défense de l’État réaffirme la primauté du politique et avec lui du vecteur d’action collective qu’est la nation.

La question n’est plus de savoir si l’intervention de l’État est intrinsèquement mauvaise et la liberté du marché intrinsèquement bonne, mais de déterminer dans chaque cas laquelle des deux correspond à l’intérêt et à la volonté de la nation. Le critère permettant de juger une mesure politique n’est plus sa conformité à l’intérêt économique ou aux droits de l’homme mais sa capacité à protéger et renforcer la citoyenneté. Car les normes au fondement de l’État de droit, les principes économiques du capitalisme, n’ont de validité pratique qu’en raison des sentiments communs et des qualités partagées qui constituent les modes de vie des populations qui les adoptent.

En déconnectant l’individu de ses solidarités concrètes, une pratique aveugle du libéralisme a selon eux dépossédé les citoyens de ce mode de vie et de leur capacité d’action sur les plans individuels et collectifs. L’objectif du «conservatisme national» est de leur restituer ces deux choses. Or, des hommes que ne relie rien d’autre que le fait d’être porteurs des mêmes droits ne suffisent pas à faire une nation. Et c’est parce que l’existence de cette dernière ne peut plus être prise pour acquis que le danger qui pèse sur elle nécessite une action politique spécifique en rupture avec le consensus des libéraux et conservateurs traditionnels.

Vers une nouvelle élite?

Les réflexions sur le devenir des nations ne sont pas nouvelles, surtout en France, où des auteurs comme Pierre Manent ont depuis les années 90 mené une critique écoutée des conservateurs américains à l’égard du projet post-national. Ce qui est inédit, c’est qu’une action aussi structurée émerge en vue de former une nouvelle classe dirigeante sur le fondement de ces constats. Adversaires ou alliés de l’actuel président feraient bien de surveiller cette initiative. Si elle réalise son ambition la Edmund Burke Foundation pourrait parvenir à associer au changement immédiat impulsé par Donald Trump une éducation politique susceptible d’affecter sur le long terme la formation des élites américaines, ce à quoi son style de gouvernement et les techniques de communication qui le caractérisent ne sauraient parvenir à eux seuls.

Le sénateur Josh Hawley, âgé de 39 ans (ancien procureur général de l’état du Missouri), fait figure de symbole de cette classe politique en devenir: «Une nation républicaine requiert une économie républicaine […] Une économie fondée sur les échanges monétaires à Wall Street ne bénéficie en dernier ressort qu’à ceux qui possèdent déjà de l’argent. Une telle économie ne saurait soutenir une grande nation.» Hostile à l’inflation des diplômes universitaires et aux multinationales, favorable aux droits de douane, défenseur de «l’Amérique moyenne», il représente peut-être ce que pourrait devenir le «trumpisme» sans Trump.

Voir aussi:

Yoram Hazony : «Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale»
Paul Sugy
Le Figaro

21/12/2018

FIGAROVOX/GRAND ENTRETIEN – Le nationalisme est sur toutes les lèvres, et pourtant, affirme Yoram Hazony, ce concept n’a jamais été aussi mal compris. Le philosophe entend réhabiliter la «vertu du nationalisme», qu’il oppose à la «tentation impérialiste», et promouvoir la vision d’un monde fondé sur l’indépendance et la liberté des nations.

Yoram Hazony est spécialiste de la Bible et docteur en philosophie politique.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoram_Hazony

Il a fondé le Herzl Institute et enseigne la philosophie et la théologie à Jérusalem.

Ce penseur de la droite israélienne est également auteur de nombreux articles publiés dans les journaux américains les plus prestigieux, du New York Times au Wall Street Journal.

Presque inconnu en France, son livre The Virtue of Nationalism a suscité un vif débat aux Etats-Unis.

LE FIGARO MAGAZINE. – Le 11 novembre dernier, Emmanuel Macron déclarait aux chefs d’Etat du monde entier: «Le nationalisme est la trahison du patriotisme.» Qu’en pensez-vous?

Yoram HAZONY. –

Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah.

Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante.

J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes.

De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste.

Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde.

Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste.

Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul!

Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire.

Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme.

Donald Trump, lui, avait déclaré il y a quelques semaines: «Je suis nationaliste.» Y a-t-il aujourd’hui un retour du nationalisme?

Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne.

Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte.

Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore.

Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines.

Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies.

Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu.

Quel est ce «nouvel empire libéral» dont vous parlez? Et qu’entendez-vous exactement par «impérialisme»?

Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent.

On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique.

Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme.

Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier.

C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral».

Bien sûr, tous les «impérialistes libéraux» ne sont pas d’accord entre eux sur la stratégie à employer!

L’impérialisme américain a voulu imposer de force la démocratie dans un certain nombre de pays, comme en Yougoslavie, en Irak, en Libye ou en Afghanistan.

En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même.

Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne.

En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne!

Est-ce que, selon vous, le nationalisme et l’impérialisme sont deux visions de l’ordre mondial qui s’affrontaient déjà dans la Bible?

Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même.

La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté.

Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens.

Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël.

Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident.

La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain.

C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman.

Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis.

Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne…

Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation.

Pourquoi le modèle nationaliste est-il meilleur, selon vous?

Parce que ce modèle permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières.

Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures.

Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux.

Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental.

À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès.

Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple.

Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf.

Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre.

Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas…

Mais ce «nouvel ordre international» n’a-t-il pas permis, malgré tout, un certain nombre de progrès en facilitant les échanges marchands ou en créant une justice pénale internationale, par exemple?

Peut-être, mais nous n’avons pas besoin d’un nouvel impérialisme pour permettre l’essor du commerce international ou pour traîner en justice les criminels.

Des nations indépendantes sont tout à fait capables de se coordonner entre elles.

Alors, certes, il y aura toujours quelques désaccords à surmonter, et il faudra pour cela un certain nombre de négociations.

Et je suis tout à fait capable de comprendre que d’aucuns soient tentés de se dire que, si on crée un gouvernement mondial, on s’épargne toutes ces frictions.

Mais c’est là une immense utopie.

La diversité des nations rend strictement impossible de convenir, universellement, d’une vision unique en matière de commerce et d’immigration, de justice, de religion, de guerre ou de paix.

La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts.

La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres.

Ne redoutez-vous pas la compétition accrue à laquelle se livreraient les nations dans un monde tel que vous le souhaitez? Au risque de renforcer le rejet ou la haine de ses voisins?

Dans mon livre, je consacre un chapitre entier à cette objection qui m’est souvent faite.

Il arrive parfois qu’à force de vouloir le meilleur pour les siens, on en vienne à haïr les autres, lorsque ceux-ci sont perçus comme des rivaux.

Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme.

Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité.

Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël…

Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale.

En quoi le nationalisme est-il une «vertu»?

Dans le sens où un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde.

Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins.

N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières?

Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu.

Le nationaliste, lui, dessine une frontière par terre et dit au reste du monde: «Au-delà de cette limite, je renonce à faire imposer ma volonté. Je laisse mes voisins libres d’être différents.»

Un universaliste répondra que c’est immoral, car c’est la marque d’une profonde indifférence à l’égard des autres.

Mais c’est en réalité tout l’inverse: le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise.

Que vous inspirent les difficultés qu’ont les Britanniques à mettre en œuvre le Brexit? N’est-il pas déjà trop tard pour revenir en arrière?

Non, il n’est pas trop tard.

Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral.

Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations.

Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela.

Voir également:

In Defense of Nations
John Fonte
National Review
September 13, 2018

The Virtue of Nationalism, by Yoram Hazony (Basic, 304 pp., $18.99)

If the great struggle of the 20th century was between Western liberal democracy and totalitarianism, the major fault line of the 21st century is within the democratic family, pitting those who believe nations should be self-governing and sovereign against powerful forces advancing “global governance” by supranational authorities.

In a new book that will become a classic, Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony identifies this conflict as one “between nationalism and imperialism,” which he describes as “two irreconcilably opposed ways of thinking about political order.” Further, “the debate between nationalism and imperialism is upon us.” This “fault line” at “the heart of Western public life is not going away,” and one must “choose.”

Hazony poses the question: What would the best political order for the world look like? A universal empire with global law? A collection of autonomous tribes? Or an order of independent national states? He chooses the last model over universalism (i.e., empire, including the soft “global governance” variety) and tribalism. He explains that, first, unlike the rule of tribes, the national state establishes internal security and order and reduces the threat of violence. Second, unlike empire, the scope of the national state is limited, because it is confined to exercising authority within its borders.

Third, it provides for what Bill Buckley’s Yale mentor Willmoore Kendall called the greatest right of all, national freedom, the collective right of a free people to rule themselves. Fourth, national freedom permits nations to develop their own institutions “that may be tested through painstaking trial and error over centuries.” Thus, what might be called the sovereigntist option tends toward a realistic empirical style of governance as opposed to a utopian rationalist outlook. Hazony contrasts Margaret Thatcher’s empirical approach to economics, for example, with an overly rationalistic perspective that often leads to unworkable utopianism (e.g., socialist economics in practice).

Fifth, Hazony, quoting John Stuart Mill, argues that, historically, individual rights have been protected best in national states, particularly in England and America. He maintains that in a “universal political order . . . in which a single standard of right is held to be in force everywhere, tolerance for diverse political and religious standpoints must necessarily decline.” This is exactly what has happened as transnational progressive elites, including organs of the EU, the U.N., and, significantly, the American Bar Association, have promoted a “global rule of law” that is intolerant of longstanding religious and patriotic beliefs.

Hazony boldly declares that we should resist all efforts to establish supranational global institutions: “We should not let a hairbreadth of our freedom be given over to foreign bodies under any name whatsoever, or to foreign systems of law that are not determined by our own nations.” 

Hazony reviews the history of the conflict between nationalism and imperialism, from the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli U.N. resolution. The political concept of the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible. Ancient Israel was a national state posed against empires in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and Rome. Hazony de­clares that the Israelite nation was not based on race but on a “shared understanding of history, language, and religion.” He cites Exodus, noting that some Egyptians joined the Hebrews in fleeing Pharaoh, and points out that other foreigners joined the Jewish people once they had accepted “Israel’s God, laws, and understanding of history.”

In Hazony’s telling, after the fall of the Roman imperium, the ideal of a universal empire lived on in the papacy and in the German-led Holy Roman Empire. The emergence of Protestantism resurrected the Hebrew Bible’s concept of the national state. For example, Dutch Protestant rebels in their war with imperial Spain modeled themselves on ancient Israelis fighting for national freedom against the Egyptian and Babylonian empires. The Thirty Years’ War was not simply a religious conflict but a struggle that pitted nationalism against imperialism, with the states of France (Catholic), the Netherlands (Calvinist), and Sweden (Lutheran) fighting against the German-Spanish Hapsburg empire.

Hazony describes a new “Protestant construction” of the West inspired by the Hebrew Bible. It was based on two core principles: national self-determination and a “moral minimum” order, roughly corresponding to recognizing the Ten Commandments as natural law. This Protestant construction has been challenged by a “liberal construction” based on individual rights and a universal order. Beginning in the Enlightenment with Locke and Kant, but particularly since World War II, the liberal construction has largely replaced the Protestant construction among Western elites, though Hazony optimistically remarks that the ideas of the Protestant construction are still strong in the U.S. and Britain. Further, the liberal construction has proved to be illiberal, leading to the suppression of free speech, “public shaming” campaigns, and “heresy hunts.” Hazony laments that “Western democracies are rapidly becoming one big university campus.”

Hazony asserts that the “neutral state is a myth.” While the national state has historically been successful, a purely “neutral” or “civic” state based only on formal law and abstract principles and without attachments to a particular culture, language, religion, tradition, history, or shared sacrifice is unable to inspire the necessary mutual loyalty and national cohesion required for a free society to survive. He identifies the United States, Britain, and France as national, as opposed to neutral or civic, states. 

One of Hazony’s most powerful insights is his understanding of the role that hatred plays in the conflict between nationalists and globalists. One hears repeatedly that nationalism means hatred of the “other.” Hazony, however, successfully flips the argument. He notes that “anti-nationalist hate” is as great as or greater than the hatred emanating from nationalists. In fact, the forces supporting universalism hate the particular, especially when particularist resistance to globalist homogenization “proves itself resilient and enduring.”

Thus, “liberal internationalism is not merely a positive agenda. . . . It is an imperialist ideology that incites against . . . nationalists, seeking their delegitimization wherever they appear” throughout the West. Nowhere is this clearer than in the intense antipathy such liberal internationalists feel towards Israel.

As a proud nationalist, Hazony de­clares, “My first concern is for Israel.” He examines the hostility directed at the Jewish state by “many” in Europe and, increasingly, in America. He concludes that since World War II, and particularly since the 1990s, in elite circles in the West, a Kantian post-national moral paradigm has replaced the old liberal-nationalist paradigm of a world of independent states in which the Zionist dream was born. 

This new paradigm insists that national states should increasingly cede sovereignty to supranational institutions, especially in matters of war and peace. In the new paradigm, Israel’s use of force to defend itself is seen as morally illegitimate. The leadership of the European Union and American progressives, for the most part, adheres to the new post-national paradigm; hence, they constantly excoriate Israeli attempts at self-defense.

Hazony declares that “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination.” (There is also a faction of Americans, Hazony writes, who favor a different, more muscular type of imperialist project: the establishment of a pax Americana in which America would serve as a contemporary Roman empire, providing peace and security for the entire world and policing the internal affairs of recalcitrant national states that are insufficiently liberal.)

For the EU and Western progressives, Hazony explains, the horror of Auschwitz was the result of atrocities committed by a national state, Germany, infused with a fanatical nationalism. But, as Hazony argues, Hitler’s genocide was inspired by a belief in Aryan racial superiority and imperialism. Hitler cared little for the German nation per se. For example, near the end of World War II, he told his confidant Albert Speer not to “worry” about the “German people”; they might as well perish, for “they had proven to be the weaker [nation] and the future belongs solely to the stronger eastern nation.” Not exactly the sentiments of a true nationalist.

On the other hand, Hazony says, for Israelis, Auschwitz was the result of powerlessness: Jews did not have their own national state and the requisite military capability to protect themselves. Hazony quotes David Ben-Gurion’s famous World War II address in November 1942. He noted that there was “no Jewish army” and declared: Give us the right to fight and die as Jews. . . . We demand the right . . . to a homeland and independence.” It is exactly this very human aspiration for national independence hailed by the liberal nationalists of yesteryear (e.g., Garibaldi, Kossuth, Herzl) that the new imperialists of 21st-century globalism (Merkel, Juncker, Soros) scorn. 

Hazony writes that other nations too have been subject to campaigns of vilification from European and transnational elites when they have ignored supranational authority and acted as independent national states. The United States, in particular, has been excoriated (since long before the Trump administration) for refusing to join the Interna­tional Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol and for deciding for itself when its national interest requires the use of force. Recently, globalist wrath “has been extended to Britain” because it returned “to a course of national independence and self-determination and to nations such as Czechia, Hungary, and Poland that insist on maintaining an immigration policy of their own that does not conform to the European Union’s theories concerning refugee resettlement.”

A serious scholar, Hazony is a consistent thinker and is intellectually honest to a fault. As a result, many potential allies in the political-ideological struggle against transnational progressivism might well object to his critical portrayal of, for example, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Konrad Adenauer, Charles Krauthammer, the British Empire, a pax Americana, the papacy, and medieval Christianity, to say nothing of the World Trade Organi­zation and President George H. W. Bush’s “new world order.”

My only serious substantive difference with Hazony concerns his interpretation of John Locke and natural rights, a subject directly related to the American Founding and, therefore, to the crux of American nationalism. Hazony presents Locke as overly focused on individual autonomy and detached from the national state and the culture necessary to sustain it. However, in his famous Second Treatise, Locke explicitly favors the nationalist over the imperialist perspective, lauding “an entire, free, independent society, to be governed by its own laws” and decrying “the delivery . . . of the people into the subjection of a foreign power, either by the prince or the legislature.”

Locke in his other writing also emphasizes the centrality of morality, religion, and family, as well as individual rights, thereby supporting Hazony’s “moral minimum” for the well-being of any independent commonwealth. In any case, it should be stressed that the philosophical basis of the American Founding is much more than the theories of John Locke (as Hazony agrees). Leo Strauss, Harry Jaffa, and, recently, Thomas G. West in his brilliant and definitive work The Political Theory of the American Founding have argued that from the beginning, the American regime has contained pre-Enlighten­ment, pre-liberal, non-rational elements that are essential to its vitality and success.

Further, the law of nature and the natural rights envisioned by the American Founders were held to be accompanied by an equal set of duties and virtues commensurate with those rights, including the republican virtue of patriotism. Neither Locke nor, certainly, the Founders were utopian, but instead they balanced a belief in reason with an empirical outlook and a realistic view of human nature.

Caveats aside, Yoram Hazony has written a magnificent affirmation of democratic nationalism and sovereignty. The book is a tour de force that has the potential to significantly shape the debate between the supporters of supranational globalism and those of national-state democracy. The former will attempt to marginalize Hazony. Crucial will be the response of the Western (particularly American) center-right intelligentsia. Will mainstream conservatives embrace Hazony’s core thesis (with requisite qualifications) and recognize that they have been given a powerful intellectual and moral argument, or will this opportunity be squandered in sectarian squabbling over exactly what Locke meant and how to redefine “liberalism” in the 21st-century global world? 

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What Is Conservatism?

May 20, 2017

The year 2016 marked a dramatic change of political course for the English-speaking world, with Britain voting for independence from Europe and the United States electing a president promising a revived American nationalism. Critics see both events as representing a dangerous turn toward “illiberalism” and deplore the apparent departure from “liberal principles” or “liberal democracy,” themes that surfaced repeatedly in conservative publications over the past year. Perhaps the most eloquent among the many spokesmen for this view has been William Kristol, who, in a series of essays in the Weekly Standard, has called for a new movement to arise “in defense of liberal democracy.” In his eyes, the historic task of American conservatism is “to preserve and strengthen American liberal democracy,” and what is needed now is “a new conservatism based on old conservative—and liberal—principles.” Meanwhile, the conservative flagship Commentary published a cover story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari entitled “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” seeking to raise the alarm about the dangers to liberalism posed by Brexit, Trump, and other phenomena.

These and similar examples demonstrate once again that more than a few prominent conservatives in America and Britain today consider themselves to be not only conservatives but also liberals at the same time. Or, to get to the heart of the matter, they see conservatism as a branch or species of liberalism—to their thinking, the “classical” and most authentic form of liberalism. According to this view, the foundations of conservatism are to be found, in significant measure, in the thought of the great liberal icon John Locke and his followers. It is to this tradition, they say, that we must turn for the political institutions—including the separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism—that secure the freedoms of religion, speech, and the press; the right of private property; and due process under law. In other words, if we want limited government and, ultimately, the American Constitution, then there is only one way to go: Lockean liberalism provides the theoretical basis for the ordered freedom that conservatives strive for, and liberal democracy is the only vehicle for it.

Many of those who have been most outspoken on this point have been our long-time friends. We admire and are grateful for their tireless efforts on behalf of conservative causes, including some in which we have worked together as partners. But we see this confusion of conservatism with liberalism as historically and philosophically misguided. Anglo-American conservatism is a distinct political tradition—one that predates Locke by centuries. Its advocates fought for and successfully established most of the freedoms that are now exclusively associated with Lockean liberalism, although they did so on the basis of tenets very different from Locke’s. Indeed, when Locke published his Two Treatises of Government in 1689, offering the public a sweeping new rationale for the traditional freedoms already known to Englishmen, most defenders of these freedoms were justly appalled. They saw in this new doctrine not a friend to liberty but a product of intellectual folly that would ultimately bring down the entire edifice of freedom. Thus, liberalism and conservatism have been opposed political positions in political theory since the day liberal theorizing first set foot in England.

Today’s confusion of conservative political thought with liberalism is in a way understandable, however. In the great twentieth-century battles against totalitarianism, conservatives and liberals were allies: They fought together, along with the Communists, against Nazism. After 1945, conservatives and liberals remained allies in the war against Communism. Over these many decades of joint struggle, what had for centuries been a distinction of vital importance was treated as if it were not terribly important, and in fact, it was largely forgotten.

But since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, these circumstances have changed. The challenges facing the Anglo-American tradition are now coming from other directions entirely. Radical Islam, to name one such challenge, is a menace that liberals, for reasons internal to their own view of the political world, find difficult to regard as a threat and especially difficult to oppose in an effective manner. But even more important is the challenge arising from liberalism itself. It is now evident that liberal principles contribute little or nothing to those institutions that were for centuries the bedrock of the Anglo-American political order: nationalism, religious tradition, the Bible as a source of political principles and wisdom, and the family. Indeed, as liberalism has emerged victorious from the battles of the last century, the logic of its doctrines has increasingly turned liberals against all of these conservative institutions. On both of these fronts, the conservative and liberal principles of the Anglo-American tradition are now painfully at cross-purposes. The twentieth-century alliance between conservatism and liberalism is proving increasingly difficult to maintain.

Among the effects of the long alliance between conservatism and liberalism has been a tendency of political figures, journalists, and academics to slip back and forth between conservative terms and ideas and liberal ones as if they were interchangeable. And until recently, there seemed to be no great harm in this. Now, however, it is becoming obvious that this lack of clarity is crippling our ability to think about a host of issues, from immigration and foreign wars to the content of the Constitution and the place of religion in education and public life. In these and other areas, America, Britain, and their allies can neither recognize the difficulties ahead nor develop appropriate responses to them without a strong and intellectually capable conservatism. But to have a strong and intellectually capable conservatism, we must be able to see clearly what the Anglo-American conservative tradition is and what it is about. And to do this, we have to disentangle it from its old opponent—liberalism.

In this essay, we seek to clarify the historical and philosophical differences between the two major Anglo-American political traditions, conservative and liberal. We will begin by looking at some important events in the emergence of Anglo-American conservatism and its conflict with liberalism. After that, we will use these historical events as a basis for drawing some political distinctions that will be highly relevant for our own political context.

Fortescue and the Birth of Anglo-American Conservatism

The emergence of the Anglo-American conservative tradition can be identified with the words and deeds of a series of towering political and intellectual figures, among whom we can include individuals such as Sir John Fortescue, Richard Hooker, Sir Edward Coke, John Selden, Sir Matthew Hale, Sir William Temple, Jonathan Swift, Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, John Dickinson, and Alexander Hamilton. Men such as George Washington, John Adams, and John Marshall, often hastily included among the liberals, would also have placed themselves in this conservative tradition rather than with its opponents, whom they knew all too well.

Living in very different periods, these individuals nevertheless shared common ideas and principles and saw themselves as part of a common tradition of English, and later Anglo-American, constitutionalism. A politically traditionalist outlook of this kind was regarded as the mainstream in both England and America up until the French Revolution and only came to be called “conservative” during the nineteenth century, as it lost ground and became one of two rival camps.

Because the name conservative dates from this time of decline, it is often wrongly asserted that those who continued defending the Anglo-American tradition after the revolution—men such as Burke and Hamilton—were the “first conservatives.” But one has to view history in a peculiar and distorted way to see these men as having founded the tradition they were defending. In fact, neither the principles they upheld nor the arguments with which they defended them were new. They read them in the books of earlier thinkers and political figures such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale. These men, the intellectual and political forefathers of Burke and Hamilton, are conservatives in just the same way that John Locke is a liberal. The term was not yet in use, but the ideas that it designates are easily recognizable in their writings, their speeches, and their deeds.

Where does the tradition of Anglo-American conservatism begin? Any date one chooses will be somewhat arbitrary. Even the earliest surviving English legal compilations, dating from the twelfth century, are arguably recognizable as forerunners of this conservative tradition. But we will not make the case for this claim here. Instead, we will begin on what seems to us indisputable ground—with the writings of Sir John Fortescue, which date from the late fifteenth century. Fortescue (c. 1394–1479) occupies a position in the Anglo-American conservative tradition somewhat analogous to Locke in the later liberal tradition: although not the founder of this tradition, he is nonetheless its first truly outstanding expositor and the model in light of which the entire subsequent tradition developed.1 It is here that any conservative should begin his or her education in the Anglo-American tradition.

For eight years during the Wars of the Roses, beginning in 1463, John Fortescue lived in France with the court of the young prince Edward of Lancaster, the “Red Rose” claimant to the English throne, who had been driven into exile by the “White Rose” king Edward IV of York. Fortescue had been a member of Parliament and for nearly two decades chief justice of the King’s Bench, the English Supreme Court. In the exiled court, he became the nominal chancellor of England. While in exile, Fortescue composed several treatises on the constitution and laws of England, foremost among them a small book entitled Praise of the Laws of England.

Although Praise of the Laws of England is often mischaracterized as a work on law, anyone picking it up will immediately recognize it for what it is: an early great work of English political philosophy. Far from being a sterile rehearsal of existing law, it is written as a dialogue between the chancellor of England and the young prince he is educating, so that he may wisely rule his realm. It offers a theorist’s explanation of the reasons for regarding the English constitution as the best model of political government known to man. (Those who have been taught that it was Montesquieu who first argued that, of all constitutions, the English constitution is the one best suited for human freedom will be dismayed to find that this argument is presented more clearly by Fortescue nearly three hundred years earlier, in a work with which Montesquieu was probably familiar.)

According to Fortescue, the English constitution provides for what he calls “political and royal government,” by which he means that English kings do not rule by their own authority alone (i.e., “royal government”), but together with the representatives of the nation in Parliament and in the courts (i.e., “political government”). In other words, the powers of the English king are limited by the traditional laws of the English nation, in the same way—as Fortescue emphasizes—that the powers of the Jewish king in the Mosaic constitution in Deuteronomy are limited by the traditional laws of the Israelite nation. This is in contrast with the Holy Roman Empire of Fortescue’s day, which was supposedly governed by Roman law, and therefore by the maxim that “what pleases the prince has the force of law,” and in contrast with the kings of France, who governed absolutely. Among other things, the English law is described as providing for the people’s representatives, rather than the king, to determine the laws of the realm and to approve requests from the king for taxes.

In addition to this discussion of what later tradition would call the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, Fortescue also devotes extended discussion to the guarantee of due process under law, which he explores in his discussion of the superior protections afforded to the individual under the English system of trial by jury. Crucially, Fortescue consistently connects the character of a nation’s laws and their protection of private property to economic prosperity, arguing that limited government bolsters such prosperity, while an absolute government leads the people to destitution and ruin. In another of his writings, The Difference between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy (also known as The Governance of England, c. 1471), he starkly contrasts the well-fed and healthy English population living under their limited government with the French, whose government was constantly confiscating their property and quartering armies in their towns—at the residents’ expense—by unilateral order of the king. The result of such arbitrary taxation and quartering is, as Fortescue writes, that the French people have been “so impoverished and destroyed that they may hardly live. . . . Verily, they live in the most extreme poverty and misery, and yet they dwell in one of the most fertile parts of the world.”

Like later conservative tradition, Fortescue does not believe that either scripture or human reason can provide a universal law suitable for all nations. We do find him drawing frequently on the Mosaic constitution and the biblical “Four Books of Kings” (1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings) to assist in understanding the political order and the English constitution. Nevertheless, Fortescue emphasizes that the laws of each realm reflect the historic experience and character of each nation, just as the English common law is in accord with England’s historic experience. Thus, for example, Fortescue argues that a nation that is self-disciplined and accustomed to obeying the laws voluntarily rather than by coercion is one that can productively participate in the way it is governed. This, Fortescue proposes, was true of the people of England, while the French, who were of undisciplined character, could be governed only by the harsh and arbitrary rule of absolute royal government. On the other hand, Fortescue also insisted, again in keeping with biblical precedent and later conservative tradition, that this kind of national character was not set in stone, and that such traits could be gradually improved or worsened over time.

Fortescue was eventually permitted to return to England, but his loyalty to the defeated House of Lancaster meant that he never returned to power. He was to play the part of chancellor of England only in his philosophical dialogue, Praise of the Laws of England. His book, however, went on to become one of the most influential works of political thought in history. Fortescue wrote in the decades before the Reformation, and as a firm Catholic. But every page of his work breathes the spirit of English nationalism—the belief that through long centuries of experience, and thanks to a powerful ongoing identification with Hebrew Scripture, the English had succeeded in creating a form of government more conducive to human freedom and flourishing than any other known to man. First printed around 1545, Fortescue’s Praise of the Laws of England spoke in a resounding voice to that period of heightened nationalist sentiment in which English traditions, now inextricably identified with Protestantism, were pitted against the threat of invasion by Spanish-Catholic forces aligned with the Holy Roman Emperor. This environment quickly established Fortescue as England’s first great political theorist, paving the way for him to be read by centuries of law students in both England and America and by educated persons wherever the broader Anglo-American conservative tradition struck root.

The Greatest Conservative: John Selden

We turn now to the decisive chapter in the formation of modern Anglo-American conservatism: the great seventeenth-century battle between defenders of the traditional English constitution against political absolutism on one side, and against the first advocates of a Lockean universalist rationalism on the other. This chapter in the story is dominated by the figure of John Selden (1584–1654), probably the greatest theorist of Anglo-American conservatism.

Under the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, Fortescue’s account of the virtues of England’s traditional institutions had become an integral part of the self-understanding of a politically independent English nation. But in 1603, Elizabeth died childless and was succeeded by her distant relative, the king of Scotland, James Stuart. The Stuart kings had little patience for English theories of “political and royal rule.” In fact, James, himself a thinker of some ability, had four years earlier penned a political treatise of his own, in which he explained that kings rule by divine right and the laws of the realm are, as the title of his book suggested, a Basilikon Doron (Greek for “Royal Gift”). In other words, the laws are the king’s freely given gift, which he can choose to make or revoke as he pleases. James was too prudent a man to openly press for his absolutist theories among his English subjects, and he insisted that he meant to respect their traditional constitution. But the English, who had bought thousands of copies of the king’s book when he ascended to their throne, were never fully convinced. Indeed, the policies of James and, later, his son Charles I constantly rekindled suspicions that the Stuarts’ aim was a creeping authoritarianism that would eventually leave England as bereft of freedom as France.

When this question finally came to a head, most of the members of the English Parliament and common lawyers proved willing to risk their careers, their freedom, and even their lives in the defense of Fortescue’s “political and royal rule.” Among these were eminent names such as Sir John Eliot and the chief justice of the King’s Bench, Sir Edward Coke. But in the generation that bore the full brunt of the new absolutist ideas, it was John Selden who stood above all others. The most important common lawyer of his generation, he was also a formidable political philosopher and polymath who knew more than twenty languages. Selden became a prominent leader in Parliament, where he joined the older Coke in a series of clashes with the king. In this period, Parliament denied the king’s right to imprison Englishmen without showing cause, to impose taxes and forced loans without the approval of Parliament, to quarter soldiers in private homes, and to wield martial law in order to circumvent the laws of the land.

In 1628, Selden played a leading role in drafting and passing an act of Parliament called the Petition of Right, which sought to restore and safeguard “the divers rights and liberties of the subjects” that had been known under the traditional English constitution. Among other things, it asserted that “your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax . . . not set by common consent in Parliament”; that “no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs . . . but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land”; and that no man “should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.”

In the Petition of Right, then, we find the famous principle of “no taxation without representation,” as well as versions of the rights enumerated in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments of the American Bill of Rights—all declared to be ancient constitutional English freedoms and unanimously approved by Parliament, before Locke was even born. Although not mentioned in the Petition explicitly, freedom of speech had likewise been reaffirmed by Coke as “an ancient custom of Parliament” in the 1590s and was the subject of the so-called Protestation of 1621 that landed Coke, then seventy years old, in the Tower of London for nine months.

In other words, Coke, Eliot, and Selden risked everything to defend the same liberties that we ourselves hold dear in the face of an increasingly authoritarian regime. (In fact, John Eliot was soon to die in the king’s prison.) But they did not do so in the name of liberal doctrines of universal reason, natural rights, or “self-evident” truths. These they explicitly rejected because they were conservatives, not liberals. Let’s try to understand this.

Selden saw himself as an heir to Fortescue and, in fact, was involved in republishing the Praise for the Laws of England in 1616. His own much more extensive theoretical defense of English national traditions appeared in the form of short historical treatises on English law, as well as in a series of massive works (begun while Selden was imprisoned on ill-defined sedition charges for his activities in the 1628–29 Parliament) examining political theory and law in conversation with classical rabbinic Judaism. The most famous of these was his monumental Natural and National Law (1640). In these works, Selden sought to defend conservative traditions, including the English one, not only against the absolutist doctrines of the Stuarts but also against the claims of a universalist rationalism, according to which men could simply consult their own reason, which was the same for everyone, to determine the best constitution for mankind. This rationalist view had begun to collect adherents in England among followers of the great Dutch political theorist Hugo Grotius, whose On the Law of War and Peace (1625) suggested that it might be possible to do away with the traditional constitutions of nations by relying only on the rationality of the individual.

Then as now, conservatives could not understand how such a reliance on alleged universal reason could be remotely workable, and Selden’s Natural and National Law includes an extended attack on such theories in its first pages. There Selden argues that, everywhere in history, “unrestricted use of pure and simple reason” has led to conclusions that are “intrinsically inconsistent and dissimilar among men.” If we were to create government on the basis of pure reason alone, this would not only lead to the eventual dissolution of government but to widespread confusion, dissention, and perpetual instability as one government is changed for another that appears more reasonable at a given moment. Indeed, following Fortescue, Selden rejects the idea that a universally applicable system of rights is even possible. As he writes in an earlier work, what “may be most convenient or just in one state may be as unjust and inconvenient in another, and yet both excellently as well framed as governed.” With regard to those who believe that their reasoning has produced the universal truths that should be evident to all men, he shrewdly warns that

custom quite often wears the mask of nature, and we are taken in [by this] to the point that the practices adopted by nations, based solely on custom, frequently come to seem like natural and universal laws of mankind.

Selden responds to the claims of universal reason by arguing for a position that can be called historical empiricism. On this view, our reasoning in political and legal matters should be based upon inherited national tradition. This permits the statesman or jurist to overcome the small stock of observation and experience that individuals are able to accumulate during their own lifetimes (“that kind of ignorant infancy, which our short lives alone allow us”) and to take advantage of “the many ages of former experience and observation,” which permit us to “accumulate years to us, as if we had lived even from the beginning of time.” In other words, by consulting the accumulated experience of the past, we overcome the inherent weakness of individual judgement, bringing to bear the many lifetimes of observation by our forebears, who wrestled with similar questions under diverse conditions.

This is not to say that Selden is willing to accept the prescription of the past blindly. He pours scorn on those who embrace errors originating in the distant past, which, he says, have often been accepted as true by entire communities and “adopted without protest, and loaded onto the shoulders of posterity like so much baggage.” Recalling the biblical Jeremiah’s insistence on an empirical study of the paths of old (Jer. 6:16), Selden argues that the correct method is that “all roads must be carefully examined. We must ask about the ancient paths, and only what is truly the best may be chosen.” But for Selden, the instrument for such examination and selection is not the wild guesswork of individual speculation concerning various hypothetical possibilities. In the life of a nation, the inherited tradition of legal opinions and legislation preserves a multiplicity of perspectives from different times and circumstances, as well as the consequences for the nation when the law has been interpreted one way or another. Looking back upon these varied and changing positions within the tradition, and considering their real-life results, one can distinguish the true precepts of the law from the false turns that have been taken in the past. As Selden explains:

The way to find out the Truth is by others’ mistakings: For if I [wish] to go to such [and such] a place, and [some]one had gone before me on the right-hand [side], and he was out, [while] another had gone on the left-hand, and he was out, this would direct me to keep the middle way that peradventure would bring me to the place I desired to go.

Selden thus turns, much as the Hebrew Bible does, to a form of pragmatism to explain what is meant when statesmen and jurists speak of truth. The laws develop through a process of trial and error over generations, as we come to understand how peace and prosperity (“what is truly best,” “the place I desired to go”) arise from one turn rather than another.

Selden recognizes that, in making these selections from the traditions of the past, we tacitly rely upon a higher criterion for selection, a natural law established by God, which prescribes “what is truly best” for mankind in the most elementary terms. In his Natural and National Law, Selden explains that this natural law has been discovered over long generations since the biblical times and has come down to us in various versions. Of these, the most reliable is that of the Talmud, which describes the seven laws of the children of Noah prohibiting murder, theft, sexual perversity, cruelty to beasts, idolatry and defaming God, and requiring courts of law to enforce justice. The experience of thousands of years has taught us that these laws frame the peace and prosperity that is the end of all nations, and that they are the unseen root from which the diverse laws of all the nations ultimately derive.

Nonetheless, Selden emphasizes that no nation can govern itself by directly appealing to such fundamental law, because “diverse nations, as diverse men, have their diverse collections and inferences, and so make their diverse laws to grow to what they are, out of one and the same root.” Each nation thus builds its own unique effort to implement the natural law according to an understanding based on its own unique experience and conditions. It is thus wise to respect the different laws found among nations, both those that appear right to us and those that appear mistaken, for different perspectives may each have something to contribute to our pursuit of the truth. (Selden’s treatment of the plurality of human knowledge is cited by Milton as a basis for his defense of freedom of speech in Areopagitica.)

Selden thus offers us a picture of a philosophical parliamentarian or jurist. He must constantly maintain the strength and stability of the inherited national edifice as a whole—but also recognize the need to make repairs and improvements where these are needed. In doing so, he seeks to gradually approach, by trial and error, the best that is possible for each nation.

Selden’s view of the underlying principles of what was to become the Anglo-American traditional constitution is perhaps the most balanced and sophisticated ever written. But neither his intellectual powers nor his personal bravery, nor that of his colleagues in Parliament, were enough to save the day. Stuart absolutism eventually pressed England toward civil war and, finally, to a Puritan military dictatorship that not only executed the king but destroyed Parliament and the constitution as well. Selden did not live to see the constitution restored. The regicide regime subsequently offered England several brand-new constitutions, none of which proved workable, and within eleven years it had collapsed.

In 1660, two eminent disciples of Selden, Edward Hyde (afterward Earl of Clarendon) and Sir Matthew Hale, played a leading role in restoring the constitution and the line of Stuart kings. When the Catholic James II succeeded to the throne in 1685, fear of a relapse into papism and even of a renewed attempt to establish absolutism moved the rival political factions of the country to unite in inviting the next Protestants in line to the throne. The king’s daughter Mary and her husband, Prince William of Orange, the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, crossed the channel to save Protestant England and its constitution. Parliament, having confirmed the willingness of the new joint monarchs to protect the English from “all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties,” in 1689 established the new king and queen on the throne and ratified England’s famous Bill of Rights. This new document reasserted the ancient rights invoked in the earlier Petition of Right, among other things affirming the right of Protestant subjects to “have arms for their defense” and the right of “freedom of speech and debates” in Parliament, and that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”—the basis for the First, Second, and Eighth Amendments of the American Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was quickly extended to the wider public, with the termination of English press licensing laws a few years later.

The restoration of a Protestant monarch and the adoption of the Bill of Rights were undertaken by a Parliament united around Seldenian principles. What came to be called the “Glorious Revolution” was glorious precisely because it reaffirmed the traditional English constitution and protected the English nation from renewed attacks on “their religion, rights and liberties.” Such attacks came from absolutists like Sir Robert Filmer on the one hand, whose Patriarcha (published posthumously, 1680) advocated authoritarian government as the only legitimate one, and by radicals like John Locke on the other. Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) responded to the crisis by arguing for the right of the people to dissolve the traditional constitution and reestablish it according to universal reason.

The Challenge from Locke and Liberalism

Over the course of the seventeenth century, English conservatism was formed into a coherent and unmistakable political philosophy utterly opposed both to the absolutism of the Stuarts, Hobbes, and Filmer (what would later be called “the Right”), as well as to liberal theories of universal reason advanced first by Grotius and then by Locke (“the Left”). The centrist conservative view was to remain the mainstream understanding of the English constitution for a century and a half, defended by leading Whig intellectuals in works from William Atwood’s Fundamental Constitution of the English Government (1690) to Josiah Tucker’s A Treatise of Civil Government (1781), which strongly opposed both absolutism and Lockean theories of universal rights. This is the view upon which men like Blackstone, Burke, Washington, and Hamilton were educated. Not only in England but in British America, lawyers were trained in the common law by studying Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England (1628–44) and Hale’s History of the Common Law of England (1713). In both, the law of the land was understood to be the traditional English constitution and common law, amended as needed for local purposes.

Because Locke is today recognized as the decisive figure in the liberal tradition, it is worth looking more carefully at why his political theory was so troubling for conservatives. We have described the Anglo-American conservative tradition as subscribing to a historical empiricism, which proposes that political knowledge is gained by examining the long history of the customary laws of a given nation and the consequences when these laws have been altered in one direction or another. Conservatives understand that a jurist must exercise reason and judgment, of course. But this reasoning is about how best to adapt traditional law to present circumstances, making such changes as are needed for the betterment of the state and of the public, while preserving as much as possible the overall frame of the law. To this we have opposed a standpoint that can be called rationalist. Rationalists have a different view of the role of reason in political thought, and in fact a different understanding of what reason itself is. Rather than arguing from the historical experience of nations, they set out by asserting general axioms that they believe to be true of all human beings, and that they suppose will be accepted by all human beings examining them with their native rational abilities. From these they deduce the appropriate constitution or laws for all men.

Locke is known philosophically as an empiricist. But his reputation in this regard is based largely on his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1689), which is an influential exercise in empirical psychology. His Second Treatise of Government is not, however, a similar effort to bring an empirical standpoint to the theory of the state. Instead, it begins with a series of axioms that are without any evident connection to what can be known from the historical and empirical study of the state. Among other things, Locke asserts that, (1) prior to the establishment of government, men exist in a “state of nature,” in which (2) “all men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom,” as well as in (3) a “state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another.” Moreover, (4) this state of nature “has a law of nature to govern it”; and (5) this law of nature is, as it happens, nothing other than human “reason” itself, which “teaches all mankind, who will but consult it.” It is this universal reason, the same among all mankind, that leads them to (6) terminate the state of nature, “agreeing together mutually to enter into . . . one body politic” by an act of free consent. From these six axioms, Locke then proceeds to deduce the proper character of the political order for all nations on earth.

Three important things should be noticed about this set of axioms. The first is that the elements of Locke’s political theory are not known from experience. The “perfect freedom” and “perfect equality” that define the state of nature are ideal forms whose relationship with empirical reality is entirely unclear. Nor can the identity of natural law with reason, or the assertion that the law dictated by reason “teaches all mankind,” or the establishment of the state by means of purely consensual social contract, be known empirically. All of these things are stipulated as when setting out a mathematical system.

The second thing to notice is that there is no reason to think that any of Locke’s axioms are in fact true. Faced with this mass of unverifiable assertions, empiricist political theorists such as Hume, Smith, and Burke rejected all of Locke’s axioms and sought to rebuild political philosophy on the basis of things that can be known from history and from an examination of actual human societies and governments.

Third, Locke’s theory not only dispenses with the historical and empirical basis for the state, it also implies that such inquiries are, if not entirely unnecessary, then of secondary importance. If there exists a form of reason that is accessible to “all mankind, who will but consult it,” and that reveals to all the universal laws of nature governing the political realm, then there will be little need for the historically and empirically grounded reasoning of men such as Fortescue, Coke, and Selden. All men, if they will just gather together and consult with their own reason, can design a government that will be better than anything that “the many ages of experience and observation” produced in England. On this view, the Anglo-American conservative tradition—far from having brought into being the freest and best constitution ever known to mankind—is in fact shot through with unwarranted prejudice and an obstacle to a better life for all. Locke’s theory thus pronounces, in other words, the end of Anglo-American conservatism, and the end of the traditional constitution that conservatives still held to be among the most precious things on earth.

While Locke’s rationalist theories made limited headway in England, they were all the rage in France. Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762) went where others had feared to tread, embracing Locke’s system of axioms for correct political thought and calling upon mankind to consent only to the one legitimate constitution dictated by reason. Within thirty years, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the other French imitators of Locke’s rationalist politics received what they had demanded in the form of the French Revolution. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was followed by the Reign of Terror for those who would not listen to reason. Napoleon’s imperialist liberalism rapidly followed, bringing universal reason and the “rights of man” to the whole of continental Europe by force of arms, at a cost of millions of lives.2

In 1790, a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, the Anglo-Irish thinker and Whig parliamentarian Edmund Burke composed his famous defense of the English constitutional tradition against the liberal doctrines of universal reason and universal rights, entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France. In one passage, Burke asserted that

Selden, and the other profoundly learned men, who drew this petition of right, were as well acquainted, at least, with all the general theories concerning the “rights of men” [as any defenders of the revolution in France]. . . . But, for reasons worthy of that practical wisdom which superseded their theoretic science, they preferred this positive, recorded, hereditary title to all which can be dear to the man and the citizen, to that vague speculative right, which exposed their sure inheritance to be scrambled for and torn to pieces by every wild, litigious spirit.

In this passage, Burke correctly emphasizes that Selden and the other great conservative figures of his day had been quite familiar with the “general theories concerning the ‘rights of men’” that had now been used to overthrow the state in France. He then goes on to endorse Selden’s argument that universal rights, since they are based only on reason rather than “positive, recorded, hereditary title,” can be said to give everyone a claim to absolutely anything. Adopting a political theory based on such universal rights has one obvious meaning: that the “sure inheritance” of one’s nation will immediately be “scrambled for and torn to pieces” by “every wild litigious spirit” who knows how to use universal rights to make ever new demands.

Burke’s argument is frequently quoted today by conservatives who assume that his target was Rousseau and his followers in France. But Burke’s attack was not primarily aimed at Rousseau, who had few enthusiasts in Britain or America at the time. The actual target of his attack was contemporary followers of Grotius and Locke—individuals such as Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Charles James Fox, Charles Grey, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Price, who was the explicit subject of Burke’s attack in the first pages of Reflections on the Revolution in France, had opened his Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776) with the assertion that “the principles on which I have argued form the foundation of every state as far as it is free; and are the same with those taught by Mr. Locke.” And much the same could be said of the others, all of whom followed Locke in claiming that the only true foundation for political and constitutional thought was precisely in those “general theories concerning the rights of men” that Burke believed would bring turmoil and death to one country after another.

The carnage taking place in France triggered a furious debate in England. It pitted supporters of the conservatism of Coke and Selden (both Whigs and Tories) against admirers of Locke’s universal rights theories (the so-called New Whigs). The conservatives insisted that these theories would uproot every traditional political and religious institution in England, just as they were doing in France. It is against the backdrop of this debate that Burke reportedly stated in Parliament that, of all the books ever written, the Second Treatise was “one of the worst.”

 Liberalism and Conservatism in America

Burke’s conservative defense of the traditional English constitution enjoyed a large measure of success in Britain, where it was continued after his death by figures such as Canning, Wellington, and Disraeli. That this is so is obvious from the fact that institutions such as the monarchy, the House of Lords, and the established Church of England, not to mention the common law itself, were able to withstand the gale winds of universal reason and universal rights, and to this day have their staunch supporters.

But what of America? Was the American revolution an upheaval based on Lockean universal reason and universal rights? To hear many conservatives talk today, one would think this were so, and that there never were any conservatives in the American mainstream, only liberals of different shades. The reality, however, was rather different. When the American English, as Burke called them, rebelled against the British monarch, there were already two distinct political theories expressed among the rebels, and the opposition between these two camps only grew with time.

First, there were those who admired the English constitution that they had inherited and studied. Believing they had been deprived of their rights under the English constitution, their aim was to regain these rights. Identifying themselves with the tradition of Coke and Selden, they hoped to achieve a victory against royal absolutism comparable to what their English forefathers had achieved in the Petition of Right and Bill of Rights. To individuals of this type, the word revolution still had its older meaning, invoking something that “revolves” and would, through their efforts, return to its rightful place—in effect, a restoration. Alexander Hamilton was probably the best-known exponent of this kind of conservative politics, telling the assembled delegates to the constitutional convention of 1787, for example, that “I believe the British government forms the best model the world ever produced.” Or, as John Dickinson told the convention: “Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not reason that discovered the singular and admirable mechanism of the English constitution…. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them.” And it is evident that they were quietly supported behind the scenes by other adherents of this view, among them the president of the convention, General George Washington.

Second, there were true revolutionaries, liberal followers of Locke such as Jefferson, who detested England and believed—just as the French followers of Rousseau believed—that the dictates of universal reason made the true rights of man evident to all. For them, the traditional English constitution was not the source of their freedoms but rather something to be swept away before the rights dictated by universal reason. And indeed, during the French Revolution, Jefferson and his supporters embraced it as a purer version of what the Americans had started. As he wrote in a notorious letter in 1793 justifying the revolution in France: “The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest. . . . [R]ather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.”

The tension between these conservative and liberal camps finds rather dramatic expression in America’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson in 1776, is famous for resorting, in its preamble, to the Lockean doctrine of universal rights as “self-evident” before the light of reason. Similarly, the Articles of Confederation, negotiated the following year as the constitution of the new United States of America, embody a radical break with the traditional English constitution. These Articles asserted the existence of thirteen independent states, at the same time establishing a weak representative assembly over them without even the power of taxation, and requiring assent by nine of thirteen states to enact policy. The Articles likewise made no attempt at all to balance the powers of this assembly, effectively an executive, with separate legislative or judicial branches of government.

The Articles of Confederation came close to destroying the United States. After a decade of disorder in both foreign and economic affairs, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution, drafted at a convention initiated by Hamilton and James Madison, and presided over by a watchful Washington, while Jefferson was away in France. Anyone comparing the Constitution that emerged with the earlier Articles of Confederation immediately recognizes that what took place at this convention was a reprise of the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Despite being adapted to the American context, the document that the convention produced proposed a restoration of the fundamental forms of the English constitution: a strong president, designated by an electoral college (in place of the hereditary monarchy); the president balanced in strikingly English fashion by a powerful bicameral legislature with the power of taxation and legislation; the division of the legislature between a quasi-aristocratic, appointed Senate and a popularly elected House; and an independent judiciary. Even the American Bill of Rights of 1789 is modeled upon the Petition of Right and the English Bill of Rights, largely elaborating the same rights that had been described by Coke and Selden and their followers, and breathing not a word anywhere about universal reason or universal rights.

The American Constitution did depart from the traditional English constitution, however, adapting it to local conditions on certain key points. The Americans, who had no nobility and no tradition of hereditary office, declined to institute these now. Moreover, the Constitution of 1787 allowed slavery, which was forbidden in England—a wretched innovation for which America would pay a price the framers could not have imagined in their wildest nightmares.

Another departure—or apparent departure—was the lack of a provision for a national church, enshrined in the First Amendment in the form of a prohibition on congressional legislation “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The English constitutional tradition, of course, gave a central role to the Protestant religion, which was held to be indispensable and inextricably tied to English identity (although not incompatible with a broad measure of toleration). But the British state, in certain respects federative, permitted separate, officially established national churches in Scotland and Ireland. This British acceptance of a diversity of established churches is partially echoed in the American Constitution, which permitted the respective states to support their own established churches, or to require that public offices in the state be held by Protestants or by Christians, well into the nineteenth century. When these facts are taken into account, the First Amendment appears less an attempt to put an end to established religion than a provision for keeping the peace among the states by delegating forms of religious establishment to the state level.

As early as 1802, however, Jefferson, now president, announced  that the First Amendment’s rejection of a national church in fact should be interpreted as an “act of the whole American people . . . building a wall of separation between church and state.” This characterization of the American Constitution as endorsing a “separation of church and state” was surely overwrought, and more compatible with French liberalism—which regarded public religion as abhorrent to reason—than with the actual place of state religion among “the whole American people” at the time. Yet on this point, Jefferson has emerged victorious. In the years that followed, his “wall of separation between church and state” interpretation was increasingly considered to be an integral part of the American Constitution, even if one that had not been included in the actual text.

Lockean liberalism grew increasingly dominant in America after Jefferson’s election. Hamilton’s death in a duel in 1804, at the age of 47, was an especially heavy blow that left American conservatism without its most able spokesman. Nevertheless, the tradition of Selden and Burke was taken up by Americans of the next generation, including two of the country’s most prominent jurists, New York chancellor James Kent (1763–1847) and Supreme Court justice Joseph Story (1779–1845). Story’s influence was especially significant. Although appointed to the Supreme Court by Jefferson in the hope of undermining Chief Justice John Marshall, Story’s opinions almost immediately displayed the opposite inclination, and continued to do so throughout his thirty-four-year tenure on the court. Perhaps Story’s greatest contribution to the American conservative tradition is his famous Commentaries on the Constitution (3 vols., 1833), which were dedicated to Marshall and went on to be the most important and influential interpretation of the American constitutional tradition in the nineteenth century. These were overtly conservative in spirit, citing Burke with approval and repeatedly criticizing not only Locke’s theories but Jefferson himself. Among other things, Story forcefully rejected Jefferson’s claim that the American founding had been based on universal rights determined by reason, emphasizing that it was the rights of the English traditional law that Americans had always recognized and continued to recognize. As he wrote:

[This] has been the uniform doctrine in America ever since the settlement of the colonies. The universal principle (and the practice has conformed to it) has been, that the common law is our birthright and inheritance, and that our ancestors brought hither with them upon their emigration all of it, which was applicable to their situation. The whole structure of our present jurisprudence stands upon the original foundations of the common law.

Regarding the American Constitution’s deviation from English tradition in the matter of a national religion, Story’s view was appropriately balanced. On the one hand, he confirmed “the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s conscience” as an integral part of the nation’s constitutional heritage. At the same time, he asserted the traditional Anglo-American conservative view that “the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well-being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice.” For this reason, he was confident that the ongoing circumstances of his day, in which some of the states continued to “support and sustain, in some form, the Christian religion,” as being “without the slightest suspicion that it was against the principles of public law or republican liberty.” Story thus recognized no wall of separation between the government and religion at the state level as being either required by the American constitution or desirable.

As for the breach in conservative principles that had opened up with the barring of an establishment of religion at the national level, Story wrote with prescient concern:

It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape.

Principles of the Conservative Tradition

As we have seen, the period between John Selden and Edmund Burke gave rise to two highly distinct and conflicting Anglo-American political traditions, conservative and liberal. Both were opposed to royal absolutism and devoted to freedom. But they were bitterly divided on theoretical grounds, as well as on a wide range of policy matters. Indeed, many of the principal issues that divided these two traditions continue to divide liberals and conservatives today.

What is the substance of the Anglo-American conservative political tradition? We can summarize the principles of conservatism as they appeared in the writings and deeds of the early architects of this tradition as follows:

(1) Historical Empiricism. The authority of government derives from constitutional traditions known, through the long historical experience of a given nation, to offer stability, well-being, and freedom. These traditions are refined through trial and error over many centuries, with repairs and improvements being introduced where necessary, while maintaining the integrity of the inherited national edifice as a whole. Such empiricism entails a skeptical standpoint with regard to the divine right of the rulers, the universal rights of man, or any other abstract, universal systems. Written documents express and consolidate the constitutional traditions of the nation, but they can neither capture nor define this political tradition in its entirety.

(2) Nationalism. The diversity of national experiences means that different nations will have different constitutional and religious traditions. The Anglo-American tradition harkens back to principles of a free and just national state, charting its own course without foreign interference, whose origin is in the Bible. These include a conception of the nation as arising out of diverse tribes, its unity anchored in common traditional law and religion. Such nationalism is not based on race, embracing new members who declare that “your people is my people, and your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16).

(3) Religion. The state upholds and honors the biblical God and religious practices common to the nation. These are the centerpiece of the national heritage and indispensable for justice and public morals. At the same time, the state offers wide toleration to religious and social views that do not endanger the integrity and well-being of the nation as a whole.

(4) Limited Executive Power. The powers of the king (or president) are limited by the laws of the nation, which he neither determines nor adjudicates. The powers of the king (or president) are limited by the representatives of the people, whose advice and consent he must obtain both respecting the laws and taxation.

(5) Individual Freedoms. The security of the individual’s life and property is mandated by God as the basis for a society that is both peaceful and prosperous, and is to be protected against arbitrary actions of the state. The ability of the nation to seek truth and conduct sound policy depends on freedom of speech and debate. These and other fundamental rights and liberties are guaranteed by law, and may be infringed upon only by due process of law.

These principles can serve as a useful summary of the conservative political tradition as it existed long before Locke and long before liberalism, serving as the basis for the restoration of the English constitution in 1689, and for the restoration that was the ratification of the American Constitution of 1787. Moreover, we see them as principles that we can affirm today, and which can serve as a sound basis for political conservatism in Britain, America, and other countries in our time.

Conservatism versus Liberalism in Current Affairs

How do these conservative principles conflict with those of liberalism? We understand the crucial differences between ourselves and our liberal friends in the following way:

Liberalism is a political doctrine based on the assumption that reason is everywhere the same and accessible, in principle, to all individuals; and that one need only consult reason to arrive at the one form of government that is everywhere the best, for all mankind. In its current form, liberalism asserts that this one best form of government is “liberal democracy.” This is a term popularized in the 1920s to describe a type kind of government that borrows certain principles from the earlier Anglo-American conservative tradition, including those limiting executive power and guaranteeing individual freedoms (Principles 4 and 5 above). But liberalism regards these principles as stand-alone entities, detachable from the broader Anglo-American tradition in which they arose. Liberals thus tend to have few, if any, qualms about discarding the national and religious foundations of Anglo-American government (Principles 2 and 3), regarding these as unnecessary, if not simply contrary to universal reason.

With Selden, we believe that, in their campaign for universal “liberal democracy,” liberals have confused certain historical-empirical principles of the traditional Anglo-American constitution, painstakingly developed and inculcated over centuries (Principle 1), for universal truths that are equally accessible to all human beings, regardless of historical or cultural circumstances. This means that, like all rationalists, they are engaged in applying local truths, which may hold good under certain conditions, to quite different situations and circumstances, where they often go badly wrong. For conservatives, these failures—for example, the repeated collapse of liberal constitutions in places such as Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, and Iraq, among many others—suggest that the principles in question have been overextended and should be regarded as true only within a narrower range of conditions. Liberals, on the other hand, explain such failures as a result of “poor implementation,” leaving liberal democracy as a universal truth that remains untouched by experience and unassailable, no matter what the circumstances.

The liberal assertion that Principles 4 and 5 are universal truths that are readily recognized by all human beings has had far-reaching consequences even in the United States and Britain. The fact is that what is now called “liberal democracy” refers not to the traditional Anglo-American constitution but to a rationalist reconstruction of it that has been entirely detached from the Protestant religion and the Anglo-American nationalist tradition.  Far from being a time-tested form of government, this liberal-democratic ideal is something new to both America and Britain, dating only from the mid-twentieth century. The claim that liberal-democratic regimes of this kind can be maintained for long without the conservative principles they have blithely discarded is a hypothesis now being tested for the first time. Those who believe that a favorable outcome of this experiment is assured draw this conclusion not from historical or empirical evidence, for we have none. Rather, their confidence derives from the closed Lockean-rationalist system that holds them captive, preventing them from being able to anticipate any of the other quite possible outcomes before us.

These pronounced differences between conservatives and liberals do not, of course, remain at the rarified level of political theory. They quickly lead to disagreements over proposed policy, expressed in somewhat different ways from one generation to the next. In our own day, we recognize the clash between conservatism and liberalism in the following areas, among others (here described only very briefly, and so in overly simple terms):

Liberal Empire. Because liberalism is thought to be a dictate of universal reason, liberals tend to believe that any country not already governed as a liberal democracy should be pressed—or even coerced—to adopt this form of government. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that different societies are held together and kept at peace in different ways, so that the universal application of liberal doctrines often brings collapse and chaos, doing more harm than good.

International Bodies. Similarly, liberals believe that, since liberal principles are universal, there is little harm done in reassigning the powers of government to international bodies. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that such international organizations possess no sound governing traditions and no loyalty to particular national populations that might restrain their spurious theorizing about universal rights. They therefore see such bodies as inevitably tending to arbitrariness and autocracy.

Immigration. Liberals believe that, since liberal principles are accessible to all, there is nothing to be feared in large-scale immigration from countries with national and religious traditions very different from ours. Conservatives see successful large-scale immigration as possible only where the immigrants are strongly motivated to integrate and assisted in assimilating the national traditions of their new home country. In the absence of these conditions, the result will be chronic intercultural tension and violence.

Law. Liberals regard the laws of a nation as emerging from the tension between positive law and the pronouncements of universal reason, as expressed by the courts. Conservatives reject the supposed universal reason of judges, which often amounts to little more than their succumbing to passing fashion. But conservatives also oppose an excessive regard for written documents, which leads, for example, to the liberal mythology of America as a “creedal nation” (or a “propositional nation”) created and defined solely by the products of abstract reason that are supposedly found in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Economy. Liberals regard the universal market economy, operating without regard to borders, as a dictate of universal reason and applicable equally to all nations. They therefore recognize no legitimate economic aims other than the creation of a “level field” on which all nations participate in accordance with universal, rational rules. Conservatives regard the market economy and free enterprise as indispensable for the advancement of the nation in its wealth and wellbeing. But they see economic arrangements as inevitably varying from one country to another, reflecting the particular historical experiences and innovations of each nation as it competes to gain advantage for its people.

Education. Liberals believe that schools should teach students to recognize the Lockean goods of liberty and equality as the universal aims of political order, and to see America’s founding political documents as having largely achieved these aims. Conservatives believe education should focus on the particular character of the Anglo-American constitutional and religious tradition, with its roots in the Bible, and on the way in which this tradition has given rise to a unique family of nations with a distinctive political thought and practice that has influenced the world.

Public Religion. Liberals believe that universal reason is the necessary and sufficient basis for just and moral government. This means that the religious traditions of the nation, which had earlier been the basis for a public understanding of justice and right, can be replaced in public discourse by universal reason itself. In its current form, liberalism asserts that all governments should embrace a Jeffersonian “wall separating church and state,” whose purpose is to banish the influence of religion from public life, relegating it to the private sphere. Conservatives hold that none of this is true. They see human reason as producing a constant profusion of ever-changing views concerning justice and morals—a fact that is evident today in the constant assertion of new and rapidly multiplying human rights. Conservatives hold that the only stable basis for national independence, justice, and public morals is a strong biblical tradition in government and public life. They reject the doctrine of separation of church and state, instead advocating an integration of religion into public life that also offers broad toleration of diverse religious views.

The Restoration of Conservatism?

Burke and Hamilton belonged to a generation that was still educated in the significance of the Anglo-American tradition as a whole. Only a few decades later, this had begun to change, and by the end of the nineteenth century, conservative views were increasingly in the minority and defensive both in Britain and America. But conservatism was really only broken in a decisive way by Franklin Roosevelt in America in 1932, and by Labour in Britain in 1945. At this point, socialism displaced liberalism as the worldview of the parties of the “Left,” driving some liberals to join with the last vestiges of the conservative tradition in the parties of the “Right.” In this environment, new leaders and movements did arise and succeed from time to time in raising the banner of Anglo-American conservatism once more. But these conservatives were living on a shattered political and philosophical landscape, having lost much of the chain of transmission that had connected earlier conservatives to their forefathers. Thus their roots remained shallow, and their victories, however impressive, brought about no long-term conservative restoration.

The most significant of these conservative revivals was, of course, the one that reached its peak in the 1980s under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher and Reagan were genuine and instinctive conservatives, displaying traditional Anglo-American conservative attachments to nation and religion, as well as to limited government and individual freedom. They also recognized and gave voice to the profound “special relationship” that binds Britain and America together. Coming to power at a time of deep crisis in the struggle against Communism, their renewed conservatism succeeded in winning the Cold War and freeing foreign nations from oppression, in addition to liberating their own economies, which had long been shackled by socialism. In both countries, these triumphs shifted political discourse rightward for a generation.

Yet the Reagan-Thatcher moment, for all its success, failed to touch the depths of the political culture in America and Britain. Confronted by a university system devoted almost exclusively to socialist and liberal theorizing, their movement at no point commanded the resources needed to revive Anglo-American conservatism as a genuine force in fundamental arenas such as jurisprudence, political theory, history, philosophy, and education—disciplines without which a true restoration was impossible. Throughout the conservative revival of the 1980s, academic training in government and political theory, for instance, continued to maintain its almost complete boycott of conservative thinkers such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale, just as it continued its boycott of the Bible as a source of English and American political principles. Similarly, academic jurisprudence remained a subject that is taught as a contest among abstract liberal theories. Education of this kind meant that a degree from a prestigious university all but guaranteed one’s ignorance of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, but only a handful of conservative intellectual figures, most visibly Russell Kirk and Irving Kristol, seem to have been alert to the seriousness of this problem. On the whole, the conservative revival of those years remained resolutely focused on the pressing policy issues of the day, leaving liberalism virtually unchallenged as the worldview that conservatives were taught at university or when they picked up a book on the history of ideas.

This is why conservative discourse today is so often just a pastiche of liberal themes and principles, with the occasional reference to Burke or Hamilton thrown in as a rhetorical ornament. We have not made the effort necessary to understand the intellectual and political heritage for which these great Anglo-American conservatives stood their ground, to know what it was and what it was about. As a consequence, conservatives remain uprooted from the wisdom of past generations and speak so unpersuasively when they talk of passing the tradition to future generations. For one cannot pass on what one does not have.

There may have been genuine advantages to soft-pedaling differences between conservatives and liberals until the 1980s, when all the strength that could be mustered had to be directed toward defeating Communism abroad and socialism at home. But we are no longer living in the 1980s. Those battles were won, and today we face new dangers. The most important among these is the inability of countries such as America and Britain, having been stripped of the nationalist and religious traditions that held them together for centuries, to sustain themselves while a universalist liberalism continues, year after year, to break down these historic foundations of their strength. Under such conditions of internal disintegration, there is a palpable danger that liberal rationalism, having established itself in a monopoly position in the state, will drive a broad public that cannot accept its regimented view of the world into the hands of genuinely authoritarian movements.

Liberals of various persuasions have, in their own way, sought to warn us about this, from Fareed Zakaria’s “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” in Foreign Affairs (1997) to the Economist’s “Illiberalism: Playing with Fear” (2016) and Commentary’s “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” mentioned earlier. These and many other publications have made intensive use of the term illiberal as an epithet to describe those who have strayed from the path of Lockean liberalism. In so doing, they divide the political universe into two: there are liberals—those decent persons who are willing to exercise reason in the universally accepted manner and come to the appropriate liberal conclusions; and there are those others—the “illiberals,” who, out of ignorance, resentment, or some atavistic hatred, will not get with the program. When things are divided up this way, the latter group ends up including everyone from Brexiteers, Trump supporters, Evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews to dictators, Iranian ayatollahs, and Nazis. Once things are framed in this way, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that everyone in that second group is in some degree a threat that must be combated.

We conservatives, however, have our own preferred division of the political universe: one in which Anglo-American conservatism appears as a distinct political category that is obviously neither authoritarian nor liberal. With the rest of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, we uphold the principles of limited government and individual liberties. But we also see clearly (again, in keeping with our conservative tradition) that the only forces that give the state its internal coherence and stability, holding limited government in place while staving off authoritarianism, are our nationalist and religious traditions. These nationalist and religious principles are not liberal. They are prior to liberalism, in conflict with liberalism, and presently being destroyed by liberalism.

Our world desperately needs to hear a clear conservative voice. Any continued confusion of conservative principles with the liberalism on our Left, or with the authoritarianism on our Right, can only do harm. The time has arrived when conservatives must speak in our own voice again. In doing so, we will discover that we can provide the political foundations that so many now seek, but have been unable to find.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume I, Number 2 (Summer 2017): 219–46.

Notes

Fortescue is now available in an easily readable edition, transcribed in modern English spelling. See John Fortescue, On the Laws and Governance of England, ed. Shelley Lockwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).2 Our account diverges here from that of Leo Strauss, who presents Rousseau as a critic of Locke and asserts that “the first crisis of modernity occurred in the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.” See Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), 252. Strauss is right in seeing Rousseau, especially in his Discourses, as demanding a return to the cohesive community of classical antiquity, as well as to the virtues that are required to maintain such social cohesion and to wage wars in defense of the community. But it is a mistake to regard this demand as initiating “the first crisis of modernity.” What is now regarded as political modernity is more accurately regarded as emerging from the conservative tradition represented by Fortescue, Coke, and Selden. The first crisis of modernity is that which universalist-rationalists such as Grotius and Locke initiate against this conservative tradition. In certain ways, Rousseau does side with earlier conservative tradition, which likewise held that Lockean rationalism would make social cohesion impossible and destroy the possibility of virtue. But while Rousseau believed he could revive social cohesion and virtue while retaining Locke’s liberal axioms as a point of departure, Anglo-American conservatism regards this entire effort as futile. The intractable contradictions in Rousseau’s thought derive from the fact that there is no way to square this circle. Once liberal axioms are accepted, there is neither any need for, nor any possibility of, the social cohesion and virtue that Rousseau insists are necessary. Rousseau’s “civil religion” and his nation-state have no hope of playing the role that the traditional religion and nation play in conservative thought. These are ersatz creations of the Lockean universe, in which Rousseau’s thought remains imprisoned.

Voir par ailleurs:

Why America Needs New Alliances

Yoram Hazony and Ofir Haivry
Wal Street Journal
June 11, 2019

President Trump is often accused of creating a needless rift with America’s European allies. The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, expressed a different view recently when he told a joint session of Congress: “Allies must spend more on defense—this has been the clear message from President Trump, and this message is having a real impact.”

Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks reflect a growing recognition that strategic and economic realities demand a drastic change in the way the U.S. conducts foreign policy. The unwanted cracks in the Atlantic alliance are primarily a consequence of European leaders, especially in Germany and France, wishing to continue living in a world that no longer exists. The U.S. cannot serve as the enforcer for the Europeans’ beloved “rules-based international order” any more. Even in the 1990s, it was doubtful the U.S. could indefinitely guarantee the security of all nations, paying for George H.W. Bush’s “new world order” principally with American soldiers’ lives and American taxpayers’ dollars.

Today a $22 trillion national debt and the voting public’s indifference to the dreams of world-wide liberal empire have depleted Washington’s ability to wage pricey foreign wars. At a time of escalating troubles at home, America’s estimated 800 overseas bases in 80 countries are coming to look like a bizarre misallocation of resources. And the U.S. is politically fragmented to an extent unseen in living memory, with uncertain implications in the event of a major war.

This explains why the U.S. has not sent massive, Iraq-style expeditionary forces to defend Ukraine’s integrity or impose order in Syria. If there’s trouble on Estonia’s border with Russia, would the U.S. have the will to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on an indefinite mission 85 miles from St. Petersburg? Although Estonia joined NATO in 2004, the certainties of 15 years ago have broken down.

On paper, America has defense alliances with dozens of countries. But these are the ghosts of a rivalry with the Soviet Union that ended three decades ago, or the result of often reckless policies adopted after 9/11. These so-called allies include Turkey and Pakistan, which share neither America’s values nor its interests, and cooperate with the U.S. only when it serves their purposes. Other “allies” refuse to develop a significant capacity for self-defense, and are thus more accurately regarded as American dependencies or protectorates.

Liberal internationalists are right about one thing, however: America cannot simply turn its back on the world. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 demonstrated that the U.S. can and will be targeted on its own soil. An American strategic posture aimed at minimizing the danger from rival powers needs to focus on deterring Russia and China from wars of expansion; weakening China relative to the U.S. and thereby preventing it from attaining dominance over the world economy; and keeping smaller hostile powers such as North Korea and Iran from obtaining the capacity to attack America or other democracies.

To attain these goals, the U.S. will need a new strategy that is far less costly than anything previous administrations contemplated. Mr. Trump has taken a step in the right direction by insisting that NATO allies “pay their fair share” of the budget for defending Europe, increasing defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product in accordance with NATO treaty obligations.

But this framing of the issue doesn’t convey the problem’s true nature or its severity. The real issue is that the U.S. can no longer afford to assume responsibility for defending entire regions if the people living in them aren’t willing and able to build up their own credible military deterrent.

The U.S. has a genuine interest, for example, in preventing the democratic nations of Eastern Europe from being absorbed into an aggressive Russian imperial state. But the principal interested parties aren’t Americans. The members of the Visegrád Group—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—have a combined population of 64 million and a 2017 GDP of $2 trillion (about 50% of Russia’s, according to CIA estimates). The principal strategic question is therefore whether these countries are willing to do what is necessary to maintain their own national independence. If they are—at a cost that could well exceed the 2% figure devised by NATO planners—then they could eventually shed their dependent status and come to the table as allies of the kind the U.S. could actually use: strong frontline partners in deterring Russian expansion.

The same is true in other regions. Rather than carelessly accumulate dependencies, the U.S. must ask where it can develop real allies—countries that share its commitment to a world of independent nations, pursue democratic self-determination (although not necessarily liberalism) at home, and are willing to pay the price for freedom by taking primary responsibility for their own defense and shouldering the human and economic costs involved.

Nations that demonstrate a commitment to these shared values and a willingness to fight when necessary should benefit from relations that may include the supply of advanced armaments and technologies, diplomatic cover in dealing with shared enemies, preferred partnership in trade, scientific and academic cooperation, and the joint development of new technologies. Fair-weather friends and free-riding dependencies should not.

Perhaps the most important candidate for such a strategic alliance is India. Long a dormant power afflicted by poverty, socialism and an ideology of “nonalignment,” India has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-expanding economies. In contrast to the political oppression of the Chinese communist model, India has succeeded in retaining much of its religious conservatism while becoming an open and diverse country—by far the world’s most populous democracy—with a solid parliamentary system at both the federal and state levels. India is threatened by Islamist terrorism, aided by neighboring Pakistan; as well as by rapidly increasing Chinese influence, emanating from the South China Sea, the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, where the Chinese navy has established its first overseas base.

India’s values, interests and growing wealth could establish an Indo-American alliance as the central pillar of a new alignment of democratic national states in Asia, including a strengthened Japan and Australia. But New Delhi remains suspicious of American intentions, and with good reason: Rather than unequivocally bet on an Indian partnership, the U.S. continues to play all sides, haphazardly switching from confrontation to cooperation with China, and competing with Beijing for influence in fanaticism-ridden Pakistan. The rationalizations for these counterproductive policies tend to focus on Pakistan’s supposed logistical contributions to the U.S. war in Afghanistan—an example of how tactical considerations and the demands of bogus allies can stand in the way of meeting even the most pressing strategic needs.

A similar confusion characterizes America’s relationship with Turkey. A U.S. ally during the Cold War, Turkey is now an expansionist Islamist power that has assisted the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al Qaeda and even ISIS; threatened Greece and Cyprus; sought Russian weapons; and recently expressed its willingness to attack U.S. forces in Syria. In reality, Turkey is no more an ally than Russia or China. Yet its formal status as the second-largest military in NATO guarantees that the alliance will continue to be preoccupied with pretense and make-believe, rather than the interests of democratic nations. Meanwhile, America’s most reliable Muslim allies, the Kurds, live under constant threat of Turkish invasion and massacre.

The Middle East is a difficult region, in which few players share American values and interests, although all of them—including Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Iran—are willing to benefit from U.S. arms, protection or cash. Here too Washington should seek alliances with national states that share at least some key values and are willing to shoulder most of the burden of defending themselves while fighting to contain Islamist radicalism. Such natural regional allies include Greece, Israel, Ethiopia and the Kurds.

A central question for a revitalized alliance of democratic nations is which way the winds will blow in Western Europe. For a generation after the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, U.S. administrations seemed willing to take responsibility for Europe’s security indefinitely. European elites grew accustomed to the idea that perpetual peace was at hand, devoting themselves to turning the EU into a borderless utopia with generous benefits for all.

But Europe has been corrupted by its dependence on the U.S. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest economic power (with a GDP larger than Russia’s), cannot field more than a handful of operational combat aircraft, tanks or submarines. Yet German leaders steadfastly resist American pressure for substantial increases in their country’s defense capabilities, telling interlocutors that the U.S. is ruining a beautiful friendship.

None of this is in America’s interest—and not only because the U.S. is stuck with the bill. When people live detached from reality, they develop all sorts of fanciful theories about how the world works. For decades, Europeans have been devising “transnationalist” fantasies to explain how their own supposed moral virtues, such as their rejection of borders, have brought them peace and prosperity. These ideas are then exported to the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world via international bodies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and other channels. Having subsidized the creation of a dependent socialist paradise in Europe, the U.S. now has to watch as the EU’s influence washes over America and other nations.

For the moment, it is hard to see Germany or Spain becoming American allies in the new, more realistic sense of the term we have proposed. France is a different case, maintaining significant military capabilities and a willingness to deploy them at times. But the governments of these and other Western European countries remain ideologically committed to transferring ever-greater powers to international bodies and to the concomitant degradation of national independence. That doesn’t make them America’s enemies, but neither are they partners in defending values such as national self-determination. It is difficult to foresee circumstances under which they would be willing or able to arm themselves in keeping with the actual security needs of an emerging alliance of independent democratic nations.

The prospects are better with respect to Britain, whose defense spending is already significantly higher, and whose public asserted a desire to regain independence in the Brexit referendum of 2016. With a population of more than 65 million and a GDP of $3 trillion (75% of Russia’s), the U.K. may yet become a principal partner in a leaner but more effective security architecture for the democratic world.

Isolationists are also right about one thing: The U.S. cannot be, and should not try to be, the world’s policeman. Yet it does have a role to play in awakening democratic nations from their dependence-induced torpor, and assisting those that are willing to make the transition to a new security architecture based on self-determination and self-reliance. An alliance including the U.S., the U.K. and the frontline Eastern European nations, as well as India, Israel, Japan and Australia, among others, would be strong enough to exert sustained pressure on China, Russia and hostile Islamist groups.

Helping these democratic nations become self-reliant regional actors would reduce America’s security burden, permitting it to close far-flung military installations and making American military intervention the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it would free American resources for the long struggle to deny China technological superiority, as well as for unforeseen emergencies that are certain to arise.

Voir aussi:

Jaco Gericke’s ‘The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion’

Yoram Hazony
Jerusalem letters
November 7, 2013

The universities are no “ivory tower.” They are more like radio towers, broadcasting certain ways of looking at the world into the society we live in. Of course, radio waves are difficult to detect. If you don’t know what to look for, you’ll think there’s nothing going on at all. And the same thing is true for the academic transmission of ideas, which takes place through the medium of our children. While at university, our children are immersed in a particular range of ideas, and it is ideas within this range that they usually end up seeing as normal and legitimate. Show me the ideas that are ascendant in the universities of America and Europe today, and I will show you the thoughts that will dominate public discourse throughout the Western world—including Israel, of course—a generation or two from now.

That’s why I like to keep track of trends in ideas at the universities, even in disciplines far removed from the things I am presently writing about myself. I like to know what is going to happen in the world. I like to know what everyone is going to be thinking a generation from now.

Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most important intellectual trends taking place in the universities right now is a pronounced shift toward a greater openness to the Hebrew Bible (“Tanach”), belief in God, and religion generally. This is happening slowly, but the indicators are clear. In a previous letter, I wrote about the rise of Christian theology as a legitimate discipline in mainstream philosophy departments. In this letter, I want to touch on another significant indicator in the same direction.

As is well known, university treatments of the Bible have for generations focused on attempts at reconstructing the compositional histories of various biblical texts. The devotion of vast resources to this project over the last two hundred years has yielded little in the way of firm answers as to how the Bible was really composed. But what it has done is to divert attention from what I take to be the most interesting and important parts of Biblical Studies: Figuring out the ideas that the Hebrew Scriptures were meant to bring into the world, and working out their place in the intellectual history of mankind down to our own day.

In the last generation, however, there has been a growing interest in academic scholarship aimed at trying to understand the ideas of the Bible—the metaphysics, theory of knowledge, ethics, and political thought that are in fact characteristic of the biblical worldview. Among the most recent entries in this project are my own The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture(Cambridge 2012)which has just won the second place award for best book in Theology and Religion in 2012 given by the Association of American Publishers, academic division; Dru Johnson’s Biblical Knowing (Wipf and Stock, 2013); and Jaco Gericke’s The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion (Society of Biblical Literature, 2012). The interest in such books by leading academic presses, at academic conferences, in academic journals, and on prize committees is a clear indication that something new and potentially quite significant is taking place.

Below is a review of Gericke’s book that I wrote at the request of the German theological journal Theologische Literaturzeitung, and which appeared in print a few weeks ago. But before getting into my thoughts on the book itself, I’d like to say a few words about its author, Jaco Gericke. Jaco (pronounced “Yaku”) is a young Old Testament scholar at North-West University in South Africa. He entered a graduate program in theology in order to become a Christian minister, but academic Bible study ended up destroying his Christian faith rather than deepening it. When he finished his Ph.D. in 2003, Jaco added an appendix to his doctoral dissertation called “Autobiography of a Died-Again Christian,” in which he declared the end of his allegiance with Christianity.

It is fascinating and painful reading. But perhaps more fascinating is what happened afterward. Over the next decade, Jaco gradually constructed a new agenda for his intellectual life. Boldly declaring that university “biblical scholars have not made a beginning in coming to terms with the conceptual content” of the Hebrew Scriptures—an assessment that is surely right—Jaco remade himself into an intellectual historian of the ideas of the Bible. His aim now is to try to initiate a “new era” in academic research and instruction into the Hebrew Bible by seeking an objective clarification of the philosophy explicit and implicit in the biblical texts.

I very much admire this fellow, whom I met this summer for the first time at a Bible conference organized by my new institute, the Herzl Institute / Machon Herzl in Jerusalem. I admire the fact that, unlike others who have broken with Christianity, Jaco has rebuilt his life so as to try and contribute something truly positive to our understanding of the Bible. He is back in the game, lecturing with a winning gentleness that masks an extraordinary passion to understand what the Bible really was all about.

Moved by his life’s journey and his academic work, I invited Jaco over for Shabbat and had him tell his story to my children. Changing what the Western world thinks of the Bible is a prodigious undertaking. It means moving a mountain. Yet in face to face conversation, you get the feeling that despite the disappointments he has experienced, or perhaps because of them, Jaco Gericke is someone who may be able to pull this off.

So here is my review of Gericke’s book, The Hebrew Bible and the Philosophy of Religion. His next book is going to be about the biblical God.

II.

In academia, philosophy and Bible studies tend to react to one another like oil and water. Each discipline possesses a finely tuned repertoire of arguments for why the other is not really relevant to its concerns. Some of these arguments go back centuries and speak to deeply held premises that guide scholars in each field. But Jacko Gericke wants to change all that, and his new book The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion presents a compelling case for why we would be better off if the wall separating the study of Hebrew Scripture from philosophical investigation were torn down.

Gericke’s book is in two parts: The first argues that philosophy (or more exactly, “philosophy of religion”) is crucial to the study of the Hebrew Bible. The second consists of case studies in the theology, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics of Hebrew Scripture, which seek to show that the theoretical discussion in the first half of the book is more than just talk. Both parts reflect a staggering quantity of reading in the relevant disciplines, and Gericke’s careful citations are going to be a crucial roadmap for anyone approaching the question of the relationship between Bible and philosophy from now on.

Are philosophical tools really crucial for the study of the Hebrew Bible? Gericke’s argument is refreshingly candid: The biblical texts, he says, are riddled with concepts and assumptions—“metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical assumptions about the nature of reality, existence, life, knowledge, truth, belief, good and evil, value, and so on”—that are different from our own. Without a conscious effort to reconstruct these concepts and assumptions, we cannot “prevent ourselves from reading our own anachronistic philosophical-theological assumptions into and onto the biblical discourse.” Tools for engaging in such philosophical reconstruction are familiar and are commonly employed by scholars who seek to describe the views of other ancient philosophies and religions, but “for a number of historical reasons, the study of ancient Israelite religion has been one of the few” such areas of study that have remained “utterly lacking in a philosophical approach.” Consequently, there exists a “yawning philosophical gap in research on the Hebrew Bible.”

Gericke believes that Old Testament scholars have frequently expended their energies on anachronistic readings that have forced the texts to express late theological conceptions that were entirely unknown to the biblical authors. His hope is that with the introduction of philosophical techniques for reconstructing the actual ideas found in the biblical texts, we can enter into a “new era” in the academic study of the Bible—“one in which both believer and skeptic can together read the ancient texts” from a “relatively neutral” perspective such as that which is normally accepted when approaching the study of Greek philosophy or any other ancient culture.

Gericke is at his best when he is cataloguing and demolishing various anachronisms that have been dragged into current readings of the Hebrew Bible from medieval or modern theology. Among these are “dualist metaphysical assumptions,” including the distinctions between supernatural and naturaltranscendent and immanentreality and appearance,religious and secular. The absence of such oppositions means, for example, that the Bible knows of no “other” world, and that gods, far from being “ineffable,” are for the biblical authors a “natural kind.” Similarly, Gericke turns time and again to debunking the claims of “perfect being” theology to be describing the God of Hebrew Scripture. He shows that medieval conceptions of God’s perfection are responsible for creating the so-called “problem of evil,” and that theodicy in the modern sense is unknown in the Hebrew Scriptures because the biblical God is not assumed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, or all-good. Gericke also questions whether the biblical authors would have recognized a distinction between “revelation” and “nature,” and suggests that in biblical narrative, worldly events may have been accepted as evidence that God has “spoken.”

Gericke offers some powerful constructive arguments, especially in the area of ethics. He rejects the common belief that the biblical ethics is a form of “divine command theory” (i.e., that God’s will defines what is morally right), and shows convincingly that the Bible assumes a standard of right that is independent of God’s will. But he is not as confident in his claims about biblical metaphysics and epistemology. For instance, Gericke makes a great case for the need for a careful clarification of the biblical concept of a “god,” but the results of his study on the subject are inconclusive. His tentative suggestion that the authors of the biblical narratives may have known that what they were writing was fiction covers old ground, and I don’t think Gericke’s version of this proposal is any more persuasive than its predecessors. A more credible and interesting suggestion, also presented tentatively, is that the biblical texts tend to rely on an evidentialist theory of knowledge—that is, the view that one’s beliefs can only be justified by evidence.

Overall, Gericke’s case studies are more successful in clarifying what the Bible does not say than in reconstructing what it does. I don’t see this as an objection to the book. Gericke says his constructive proposals are preliminary. His principal aim is to propose a research agenda that will introduce profound changes in the way the Hebrew Bible is studied and taught in the university setting, and to describe methods by which this agenda can be pursued. And this he does in a manner that is compelling and much needed.

I do have some questions about the way Gericke frames his vision for a “new era” in Bible scholarship. In particular, I wonder at Gericke’s references to the “folk philosophical presuppositions” of the biblical texts, and to their “precritical” or “prephilosophical” character. Occasionally, he will also mention that the texts are “naïve” or “primitive” as well. All of this makes it sound as though the authors of the Bible were only capable of dim premonitions concerning the metaphysical or ethical issues that we later readers are fortunate enough to have firmly in our grasp.

But if Gericke is right that modern “biblical scholars have not made a beginning in coming to terms with the conceptual content” of the Hebrew Bible, then all these judgments about the supposedly naïve and uncritical nature of biblical thought may be premature. Perhaps an impartial philosophical elucidation of the Hebrew Bible such as Gericke proposes will lead to the conclusion that the prophets and scholars who assembled these texts were in fact quite conscious of the positions they were advancing in opposition to their surroundings and to one another? Perhaps what Gericke is calling the “philosophical assumptions” of the biblical texts, or at least some of them, are actually the intended philosophical teachings of these works? Indeed, the fact that such a possibility is so foreign to so many scholars may be a consequence of the very same prejudices that Gericke is at such pains to combat.

This is a wonderful book, brimming with intellectual energy. I cannot help marveling at the love of the Hebrew Bible that Gericke continues to exhibit, given the pain and disappointments in his personal spiritual life, which he is trusting enough to mention to his readers in passing. I have no doubt that there will be others who will be moved by the vision he articulates, and who will wish to take part in pursuing it.

Voir enfin:

Trump’s Tweetstorm Correctly Linked Anti-Americanism to Antisemitism
President Donald Trump’s tweets on Sunday drew predictable condemnation. But aside from the partisan debate about whether they were racist, they contained an important truth: hatred of Jews and hatred of America are linked
Caroline Glick
Breitbart
17 Jul 2019

Trump told the so-called “squad” of radical Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — they could leave the country if they hate it so much. He drew criticism because he said that they came from foreign countries; in fact, only Omar did.

But Trump also highlighted a basic fact about the nature of leftist ideology. Just as the Iranian regime views the United States and Israel as two sides of the same coin, with the ayatollahs dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan” and Israel, “the Little Satan,” so the radical left views the U.S. and Israel – the most powerful democracy in the world and the only democracy in the Middle East – as states with no moral foundation for existing.

Although other presidents have spoken out against hatred of Jews and Israel on the one hand and hatred of America on the other, it is hard to think of another example of a U.S. leader making the case that the two hatreds are linked as Trump did this week.

This is important, because they are linked. The haters see both America and the Jews as all-powerful forces who use their power to bend the world to their nefarious, avaricious, greedy aims. They stereotype both Americans and pro-Israel and traditional Jews as vulgar and fascist.

Pew Research Center studies of European perspectives on Jews and Americans show a massive overlap between anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-American ones. As the American left has become more radical, it has also become more aligned with those toxic European attitudes towards both the United States and Israel.

One example is evident at the U.S.-Mexico border. The left’s opposition to enforcing American immigration laws goes hand-in-hand with the view that the Jewish people have no right to national self-determination in their homeland and that the Jewish state has no right to exist. As political philosopher Yoram Hazony argued in his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, nationalism — and, indeed, the concept of a nation itself — is a biblical concept. The nation of Israel is the first nation. And the American Founding Fathers’ conception of the United States and the American nation was rooted in the biblical concept of nationhood and nationalism of the Jews.

Hazony contends that anti-nationalism is both inherently antisemitic and anti-American. And it is also imperialist. Anti-nationalists support international and transnational legal constructs and institutions that deny distinct nations large and small the ability to determine their own unique course in the world. As repositories of the concept of distinct nations, nation-states are, in Hazony’s view, inherently freer and more cohesive societies than imperialist societies that insist that one-size-fits-all and that there are people better equipped than the people themselves to decide what is good for them.

As Trump tweeted, the four sirens of the socialist revolution are a dire threat to the Democratic Party. By embracing the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib with their repeated statements against the United States, Jews and Israel and their tolerance for terrorist groups and terrorists, and by embracing Ocasio-Cortez who likens America to Nazi Germany, replete with “concentration camps,” the Democratic Party is indeed embracing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

And, as Trump tweeted, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans — and certainly not the president — who are making Israel a partisan issue. They are doing so by abandoning Israel and embracing antisemitic conceptions of nationalism and of the Jewish and American nations.

Trump’s tweet storm, however controversial, showed that he is personally committed to fighting hatred of Jews and Israel. As he was being targeted as a racist by Democrats, the Department of Justice was holding a conference on combatting antisemitism. The conference, which placed a spotlight on campus antisemitism, did not shy away from discussing and condemning antisemitism on the left as well as on the right, and Islamic antisemitism.

In his remarks before the conference, Attorney General Willian Barr discussed the galloping hostility Jewish students face in U.S. universities today.

In his words, “On college campuses today, Jewish students who support Israel are frequently targeted for harassment, Jewish student organizations are marginalized, and progressive Jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and their heritage in order to be part of ‘intersectional’ causes.”

He added: “We must ensure for the future of our country and our society – that college campuses remain open to ideological diversity and respectful of people of all faiths.”

In her remarks at the Justice Department conference, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos championed Israel, and discussed actions her department is taking to combat campus antisemitism and specifically the so-called “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel and its American supporters.

In DeVos’s words, the BDS campaign is “one of the most pernicious threats” of antisemitism on college campuses.

“These bullies claim they stand for human rights, but we all known that BDS stands for antisemitism,” she said.

She noted that education department intervention forced Williams College to cancel an antisemitic ruling against a Jewish campus group, and that the department is currently investigating the use of federal funds by Duke University and the University of North Carolina to finance a conference featuring antisemitic and pro-terror speakers.

It is a testament to the left’s increasing embrace of anti-Jewish bigotry, and its rejection of America’s right to borders, — and through them, to self-government and self-determination — that Trump is being branded a racist for standing up to these distressing trends.

And it is a testament to Trump’s moral courage that he is willing to speak the truth about antisemitism and anti-Americanism even at the cost of wall-to-wall calumny by Democrats and the media.


Présidence Trump: Le pire président (What if Trump’s very flaws were his strengths and his unpresidentiality the very quality needed to bring long-overdue changes to America and the world ?)

13 juillet, 2019

Image result for High noon Trump

Ainsi parle l’Éternel à son oint, à Cyrus (…) C’est moi qui ai suscité Cyrus dans ma justice. Il rebâtira ma ville, et libérera mes captifs, sans rançon ni présents, dit l’Éternel des armées. Esaïe 45: 1-13
Là où le péché abonde, la grâce surabonde. Paul (Romains 5 : 20)
Où est le péril, croît, le salutaire aussi. Hölderlin
La vertu même devient vice, étant mal appliquée, et le vice est parfois ennobli par l’action. Frère Laurent (Roméo et Juliette, Shakespeare)
Le monde moderne n’est pas mauvais : à certains égards, il est bien trop bon. Il est rempli de vertus féroces et gâchées. Lorsqu’un dispositif religieux est brisé (comme le fut le christianisme pendant la Réforme), ce ne sont pas seulement les vices qui sont libérés. Les vices sont en effet libérés, et ils errent de par le monde en faisant des ravages ; mais les vertus le sont aussi, et elles errent plus férocement encore en faisant des ravages plus terribles. Le monde moderne est saturé des vieilles vertus chrétiennes virant à la folie. Elles ont viré à la folie parce qu’on les a isolées les unes des autres et qu’elles errent indépendamment dans la solitude. Ainsi des scientifiques se passionnent-ils pour la vérité, et leur vérité est impitoyable. Ainsi des « humanitaires » ne se soucient-ils que de la pitié, mais leur pitié (je regrette de le dire) est souvent mensongère. G.K. Chesterton
Comme une réponse, les trois slogans inscrits sur la façade blanche du ministère de la Vérité lui revinrent à l’esprit. La guerre, c’est la paix. La liberté, c’est l’esclavage. L’ignorance, c’est la force. 1984 (George Orwell)
La liberté, c’est la liberté de dire que deux et deux font quatre. Lorsque cela est accordé, le reste suit. George Orwell (1984)
Il est des idées d’une telle absurdité que seuls les intellectuels peuvent y croire. George Orwell
Les intellectuels sont portés au totalitarisme bien plus que les gens ordinaires. George Orwell
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
Parler de liberté n’a de sens qu’à condition que ce soit la liberté de dire aux gens ce qu’ils n’ont pas envie d’entendre. George Orwell
I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. General Curtis LeMay
La démocratie est le pire système de gouvernement, à l’exception de tous les autres qui ont pu être expérimentés dans l’histoire. Winston Churchill (1947)
To label him a great or good or even a weak president misses the point. He was merely necessary. Herbert Parmet (Eisenhower, 1972)
Je n’avais pas pensé au président Trump comme candidat à la présidentielle jusqu’à ce qu’il devienne candidat à la présidentielle. Et dans ses premières apparitions, j’ai pensé que c’était un phénomène éphémère, mais je lui attribue un immense mérite d’avoir analysé un aspect de la situation américaine, la stratégie disponible, de l’avoir menée contre la direction de son propre parti, et de l’avoir emporté. Maintenant, son défi est d’appliquer cette même compétence à la situation internationale. (…) Donald Trump est un phénomène que les pays étrangers n’ont pas vu, cela a donc été une expérience choquante pour eux qu’il entre en fonction. En même temps, et je crois qu’il a la possibilité d’entrer dans l’histoire comme un très grand président, parce que chaque pays a maintenant deux choses à considérer. Premièrement, leur perception que le président précédent ou le président sortant a essentiellement retiré l’Amérique de la politique internationale, de sorte qu’ils ont dû faire leur propre évaluation de leurs besoins. Et, deuxièmement, voici un nouveau président qui pose beaucoup de questions inconnues. Et à cause de la combinaison du vide partiel et des nouvelles questions, on pourrait imaginer que quelque chose de remarquable et de nouveau en émerge. Je ne dis pas que ce sera le cas. Je dis que c’est une opportunité extraordinaire. (…) Je pense qu’il opère par une sorte d’instinct qui est une forme d’analyse différente de la mienne, plus académique. Mais il a soulevé un certain nombre de questions que j’estime importantes, très importantes. Et si elles sont traitées correctement, cela pourrait conduire à de bons – d’excellents résultats. Henry Kissinger (Dec. 20, 2016)
Many of the younger — they’re not so young anymore — neoconservatives have gone over to the Never Trump movement. And they are extremely angry with anybody who doesn’t share their view. But I describe myself as anti-anti Trump. While I have no great admiration for him, to put it mildly, I think she’s worse. Between the two, he’s the lesser evil. (…) I think the Iran deal is one of the most catastrophic actions that any American president has ever taken. That’s how seriously I regard it. It paves the way for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, I think that we would be in great danger of seeing an outbreak of a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel. So that alone would be enough to turn me against the Obama administration and virtually everyone who took part in it, and certainly Hillary Clinton. It overshadows everything from my point of view. (…) I’m not 100 percent sure, not even 50 percent sure. [Trump] has described it as the worst deal ever made, and he has said he would renegotiate it — and he may very well mean that. (…) I find Trump impossible to predict. I don’t think anyone knows exactly what he would do about anything. But the fact of the matter is, you’re dealing here not just with two individuals, you know, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, you’re dealing with two political parties. (…) I think there is no question that on Israel the Democrats can no longer be trusted. The liberal community, generally, and the Democratic Party, particularly, have grown increasingly unfriendly to Israel over 50 years, and it’s reached a point now where there are elements within the party who are positively hostile to Israel, and many who are simply cold and unfriendly. (…) If Trump were to be elected, he’s not an emperor, he’s just one person, and he’s got a whole party and constituency coming along with him and so does Hillary. You know, you’re not voting for king. You’re voting for a president whose powers are limited and circumscribed by the Constitution and by the other branches of government. So to me, it’s just a no-brainer.  (…) While I can’t predict for you what Trump will do about anything. I can predict for you what Hillary will do about everything. (…) I think she would continue the policy of daylight between Israel and the United States that Obama inaugurated. And by the way, she played along with that completely. There was the 45-minute harangue, the chewing out she gave to Bibi at one point. So I think this distancing from Israel would continue and probably grow worse. (…) Hillary has a worse character than Donald Trump. She’s a thief and a liar and a brazen unprincipled opportunist. She has never done anything good in her entire political career. Even as a woman, she has gotten to where she is on the shoulders of her husband, not on her own merits. No, I have no respect for her whatsoever on any front. (….) That’s a long time ago, and he’s said more reassuring things since then. He’s gone out of his way in several speeches to describe Israel as our strongest ally. And I think he would no longer say that he’s neutral. But I would not bet my life on anything about Trump. I can imagine him going the opposite direction on everything that he says he’s for. (…) I once said that Trump is Pat Buchanan without the anti-Semitism. By that, I meant that he seemed to be a nativist, an isolationist, and a protectionist. Those are sort of the three pillars of the Buchanan political creed. But whereas Buchanan really believes that stuff, I don’t think Trump does. I think he’s perfectly capable of turning on a dime on each one of those issues. (…)  again, I’m not saying I would confidently predict what he would do as president. I only have a sort of hunch. (…) I think the Jews will vote for Hillary. They’ll revert to their old obsession with sticking with the Democratic Party, I think. (…) Trump certainly believes in the traditional American system, I think. He has no reason not to, and when he keeps saying that he wants to ‘Make America Great Again,’ that’s not that different from what Reagan was saying, ‘Our best days lie ahead,’ and so on. (…) [Even my son] thinks that Trump is worse, and I think that Hillary is worse. He keeps trying to persuade me. He sends me things, articles, showing how bad Trump is. And I keep saying, ‘I know all this. I don’t need to be persuaded.’” Norman Podhoretz (2016)
Trump’s move from Queens to Manhattan was, as I understand the real estate business, a quite daring move. Maybe that was the longest journey in the world because the Manhattan real estate world is a world unto its own. The competition is very fierce, you’re dealing with many, many clever people. I think it was Tom Klingenstein who said he always thought Trump was Jewish because he fit in so well with the real-estatenicks in Manhattan, most of whom were, and are, Jewish. (…) I take it as an affectionate remark. He had the qualities that all those guys had in common, and you might have thought, other things being equal, that he was one of them. And in a certain sense he was, but not entirely. I know a few of those guys and they’re actually very impressive. You have to get permits, and you have to deal with the mob, and you have to know how to handle workers who are very recalcitrant, many of whom are thuggish. You’re in a battlefield there, so you have to know how to operate politically as well as in a managerial capacity, and how to sweet talk and also how to curse. It’s not an easy field to master.(…)  I do see [Trump’s blue collar sensibility] and even before Trump—long before Trump—actually going back to when I was in the army in the 1950s, I got to know blue-collar Americans. I’m “blue collar” myself, I suppose. I’m from the working class—my father was a milk man. But in the army I got to know people from all over the country and I fell in love with Americans—they were just great! These guys were unlike anybody I had ever met in New York or in England or France. They were mostly blue-collar kids and I think Trump has, in that sense, the common touch. That’s one of the things—it may be the main thing—that explains his political success. It doesn’t explain his success in general, but his political success, yes. Also—I often explain this to people—when I was a kid, you would rather be beaten up than back away from a fight. The worst thing in the world you could be called was a sissy. And I was beaten up many times. Trump fights back. The people who say: “Oh, he shouldn’t lower himself,” “He should ignore this,” and “Why is he demeaning himself by arguing with some dopey reporter?” I think on the contrary—if you hit him, he hits back; and he is an equal opportunity counter puncher. It doesn’t matter who you are. And actually Obama, oddly enough, made the same statement: “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun.” (…) when he first appeared on the scene, I disliked him because he resembled one of the figures that I dislike most in American politics and with whom I had tangled, namely Pat Buchanan—I had tangled with him in print and I had accused him of anti-Semitism. And he came back at me, and I came back at him. And it was a real street fight. And I said to my wife: “This guy [Trump] is Buchanan without the anti-Semitism,” because he was a protectionist, a nativist, and an isolationist. And those were the three pillars of Pat Buchanan’s political philosophy. How did I know he wasn’t an anti-Semite? I don’t know—I just knew. And he certainly wasn’t and isn’t, and I don’t think he’s a racist or any of those things. (…) that’s what’s so interesting. At first, I disliked him because I thought he was a Buchananite, and then when he said that they lied us into Iraq—that put me off, because that is itself one of the big lies of the century, and no matter how often it’s been refuted and refuted decisively, it just stays alive. And when Trump committed himself to that, I thought, “well, to hell with him.” (…) So for a while I was supporting Marco Rubio and I was enthusiastic about him. As time went on, and I looked around me, however, I began to be bothered by the hatred that was building up against Trump from my soon to be new set of ex-friends. It really disgusted me. I just thought it had no objective correlative. You could think that he was unfit for office—I could understand that—but my ex-friends’ revulsion was always accompanied by attacks on the people who supported him. They called them dishonorable, or opportunists, or cowards—and this was done by people like Bret Stephens, Bill Kristol, and various others. And I took offense at that. So that inclined me to what I then became: anti-anti-Trump. By the time he finally won the nomination, I was sliding into a pro-Trump position, which has grown stronger and more passionate as time has gone on. On the question of his isolationism, he doesn’t seem to give a damn. He hires John Bolton and Mike Pompeo who, from my point of view, as a neoconservative (I call myself a “paleo-neoconservative” because I’ve been one for so long), couldn’t be better. And that’s true of many of his other cabinet appointments. He has a much better cabinet than Ronald Reagan had, and Reagan is the sacred figure in Republican hagiography. Trump is able to do that because, not only is he not dogmatic, he doesn’t operate on the basis of fixed principles. Now some people can think that’s a defect—I don’t think it’s a defect in a politician at a high level. I remember thinking to myself once on the issue of his embrace of tariffs, and some of my friends were very angry. I said to myself for the first time, “Was thou shalt not have tariffs inscribed on the tablets that Moses brought down from Sinai? Maybe Trump has something on this issue, in this particular”—and then I discovered to my total amazement that there are a hundred tariffs (I think that’s right) against America from all over the world. So the idea that we’re living in a free trade paradise was itself wrong, and in any case, there was no reason to latch onto it as a sacred dogma. And that was true of immigration. I was always pro-immigration because I’m the child of immigrants. And I thought it was unseemly of me to oppose what not only had saved my life, but had given me the best life I think I could possibly have had. I wrote a book called My Love Affair with America, and that states it accurately. So I was very reluctant to join in Trump’s skepticism about the virtues of immigration. (…) We weren’t arguing about illegal immigration. We were arguing about immigration. (…) In 1924, immigration virtually stopped and the rationale for the new policy was to give newcomers a chance to assimilate—which may or may not have been the main reason—but it probably worked. What has changed my mind about immigration now—even legal immigration—is that our culture has weakened to the point where it’s no longer attractive enough for people to want to assimilate to, and we don’t insist that they do assimilate. When I was a kid, I lived in a neighborhood that had immigrant Jews, immigrant Italians (mainly from Sicily), and immigrant blacks—that is, they had come up from the South recently. It was incidentally one of the things that made me a lifelong skeptic about integration because far from understanding each other and getting to know each other, all we did was fight. In any case, the stuff that went on in the public schools! I had an incident when I went to school at the age of five. Although I was born in Brooklyn, I was bilingual and Yiddish was in a sense my first language, so I came to school with a bit of an accent. And the story was: I was wandering around in the hall, and the teacher said: “Where are you going?” And I said: “I’m goink op de stez.” And they slapped me into a remedial speech class. Now, if anyone did that now, federal marshals would materialize out of the wall and arrest them for cultural genocide. But, of course, they did me an enormous favor. I imagine my life would have been very different if I had not been subjected to that “speech therapy,” as they called it. And parents then did not object—on the contrary, they were very humble. If the teacher thought so, and the school thought so, they must be right. That was the culture of the prewar period. You certainly wanted your children to be Americans—real Americans—even if you wanted them to hold on to their ancestral culture as well. You were free to do that on your own time and your own dime. And it worked. It worked beautifully. (…) [Back to Trump] it wasn’t a lightbulb, and it wasn’t the road to Damascus revelation. It was that as I watched the appointments he was making even at the beginning, I was astonished. And he couldn’t have been doing this by accident. So that everything he was doing by way of policy as president, belied the impression he had given to me of a Buchananite. He was the opposite of a Buchananite in practice. The fact is he was a new phenomenon. And I still to this day haven’t quite figured out how he reconciled all of this in his own head. Maybe because, as I said earlier, he was not dogmatic about things. He did what he had to do to get things done. (…) [ he didn’t have principles] okay, but he had something—he had instincts. And he knew, from my point of view, who the good guys were. Now, he made some mistakes, for example, with Secretary of State Tillerson, but so did Reagan. I used to point out to people that it took Lincoln three years to find the right generals to fight the civil war, so what did you expect from George W. Bush? In Trump’s case, most of his appointments were very good and they’ve gotten better as time’s gone on. And even the thing that I held almost sacred, and still do really, which is the need for American action abroad—interventionism—which he still says he’s against. I mean, he wants to pull out all our troops from Syria and I think it was probably Bolton who talked him out of doing it all in one stroke. Even concerning interventionism, I began to rethink. I found my mind opening to possibilities that hadn’t been there before. And in this case it was a matter of acknowledging changing circumstances rather than philosophical or theoretical changes. (…) [As to Iraq] I am intransigent on Iraq. I think it was the right thing to do at the time. I’ve even gone so far as to say Bush would have deserved to be impeached if he had not gone in. Every intelligence agency in the world said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction—nuclear weapons, actually—every one of his own intelligence agencies said so. Saddam himself said so. Especially after 9/11, there was almost no good reason not to go in. The administration had gone through all the diplomatic kabuki, which I always knew wouldn’t work. It’s inconceivable that they could have been lying. Who would be stupid enough to lie when you’re going to be exposed in a week? It’s ridiculous! Nobody was lying, except Saddam. (…) I still feel it was the right thing to do and the story’s not over yet, by the way. I mean, it’s assumed Iraq is a disaster and Iran is taking over—that’s not quite true. Many Iraqis are trying to resist Iran. I’m told that Baghdad has become what Beirut used to be—full of cafés and nightlife and traffic jams and liveliness; and they had a decent election. (…) [About democratizing Iraq] I know, it’s as if the effort to democratize was somehow ignoble instead of just misplaced. I mean, let me put it this way, we obviously did a bad job of the occupation and we are not an imperial power despite what the Left says. We’re not good at it. Although, in the case of Germany, Japan, and Korea, we’ve stationed troops there for 50 years. If you’re going to do it, you need to be prepared to do what is necessary when it’s over—when you’ve won. And we were not prepared. Many mistakes were made, and the will to see it through to the end was absent. So that I agree to. But my hope was not that we could have an election and overnight everything would be fine, but that we could clear the ground a bit in which seeds of democratization could be planted. That was what I used to call “draining the swamp.” And that swamp, we knew, was the swamp in which terrorism festered. So it seemed to me to make sense as a policy. (…) [Trump] was against what he called stupid wars or unnecessary wars. But I think that, again, he’s willing to be flexible under certain circumstances. I think that if we were hit by any of those people, he would respond with a hydrogen bomb. (…)  some of [my ex-friends] have gone so far as to make me wonder whether they’ve lost their minds altogether. I didn’t object to their opposition to Trump. There was a case to be made, and they made it—okay. Of course, they had no reasonable alternative. A couple of them voted for Hillary, which I think would have been far worse for the country than anything Trump could have done. But, basically, I think we’re all in a state of confusion as to what’s going on. Tom Klingenstein has made a brilliant effort to explain it, in terms that haven’t really been used before. He says that our domestic politics has erupted into a kind of war between patriotism and multiculturalism, and he draws out the implications of that war very well. I might put it in different terms—love of America versus hatred of America. But it’s the same idea. We find ourselves in a domestic, or civil, war almost. In 1969-70, we neocons analyzed the international situation in a similar way, behind a clarifying idea that had a serious impact because it was both simple and sufficiently complex in its implications. I had by then become alienated from my long-term friend Hannah Arendt, whose book The Origins of Totalitarianism had had an enormous effect on me. Although she had become an ex-friend, her book’s argument still inspired me, and I think a lot of other people, to fight. And that argument was that the Soviet Union was an evil, moral and political, comparable to Nazi Germany. As we had fought to defend the West in World War II from the evil coming from, as it were, the Right, so we had to fight it coming from the Left in the Cold War, which I liked to call World War III. (And I’ve tried to say since 9/11, we have to fight an evil coming from the 7th century in what amounts to World War IV—but that name hasn’t caught on.) But the important point is we offered a wholehearted, full-throated defense of America. Not merely a defense, but a celebration, which is what I thought it deserved, nothing less. It was like rediscovering America—its virtues, its values, and how precious the heritage we had been born to was, and how it was, in effect, worth dying for. And that had a refreshing impact, I think, because that’s how most people felt. But all they had heard—though nothing compared to now—was that America was terrible. It was the greatest danger to peace in the world, it was born in racism, and genocide, and committed every conceivable crime. And then when new crimes were invented like sexism and Islamophobia, we were guilty of those, too. (…)  one of the Soviet officials, after the fall of the Soviet Union, actually put it correctly when he said: “You’ve lost your enemy.” And that’s, I think, the largest cause. (…) the external threat inspired us, but it also gave rise to a new appreciation of what we were fighting for—not just against. I was a Democrat, you know, by heritage, and in 1972 I helped found a movement called, “The Coalition for a Democratic Majority,” which was an effort to save the Democratic Party from the McGovernites who had taken it over. We knew exactly what was wrong, but it metastasized. The long march through the institutions, as the Maoists called it, was more successful than I would have anticipated. The anti-Americanism became so powerful that there was virtually nothing to stop it. Even back then I once said, and it’s truer now: this country is like a warrior tribe which sends all its children to a pacifist monk to be educated. And after a while—it took 20 or 40 years—but little by little it turned out that Antonio Gramsci—the Communist theoretician who said that the culture is where the power is, not the economy—turned out to be right; and little by little the anti-Americanism made its way all the way down to kindergarten, practically. And there was no effective counterattack. I’m not sure why. I mean, some of us tried, but we didn’t get very far. (…) The crack I make these days is that the Left thinks that the Constitution is unconstitutional. When Barack Obama said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming this country,” well it wasn’t five days, but he was for once telling the truth. He knew what he was doing. I’ve always said that Obama, from his own point of view, was a very successful president. I wrote a piece about that in the Wall Street Journal which surprised a lot of people. Far from being a failure, within the constraints of what is still the democratic political system, he had done about as much as you possibly could to transform the country into something like a social democracy. The term “social democrat,” however, used to be an honorable one. It designated people on the Left who were anti-Communist, who believed in democracy, but who thought that certain socialist measures could make the world more equitable. Now it’s become a euphemism for something that is hard to distinguish from Communism. And I would say the same thing about anti-Zionism. I gave a talk to a meeting of the American Jewish Committee, which was then the publisher of Commentary, two years or so after the Six Day War. And I said what’s happened since that war is that anti-Semitism has migrated from the Right, which was its traditional home, to the Left, where it is getting a more and more hospitable reception. And people walked out on the talk, I mean, literally just got up. These were all Jews, you understand. Today, anti-Semitism, under the cover of anti-Zionism, has established itself much more firmly in the Democratic Party than I could ever have predicted, which is beyond appalling. The Democrats were unable to pass a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism, for example, which is confirmation of the Gramscian victory. I think they are anti-American—that’s what I would call them. They’ve become anti-American. (…) some of them say they’re pro-socialism, but most of them don’t know what they’re talking about. They ought to visit a British hospital or a Canadian hospital once in a while to see what Medicare for All comes down to. They don’t know what they’re for. I mean, the interesting thing about this whole leftist movement that started in the ’60s is how different it is from the Left of the ’30s. The Left of the ’30s had a positive alternative in mind—what they thought was positive—namely, the Soviet Union. So America was bad; Soviet Union, good. Turn America into the Soviet Union and everything is fine. The Left of the ’60s knew that the Soviet Union was flawed because its crimes that had been exposed, so they never had a well-defined alternative. One day it was Castro, the next day Mao, the next day Zimbabwe, I mean, they kept shifting—as long as it wasn’t America. Their real passion was to destroy America and the assumption was that anything that came out of those ruins would be better than the existing evil. That was the mentality—there was never an alternative and there still isn’t. So Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union—I mean, I don’t know him personally, but I have relatives who resemble him; I know him in my bones—and he’s an old Stalinist if there ever was one. Things have gone so haywire, he was able to revive the totally discredited idea of socialism, and others were so ignorant that they picked it up. As for attitudes toward America, I believe that Howard Zinn’s relentlessly anti-American People’s History of the United States sells something like 130,000 copies a year, and it’s a main text for the study of American History in the high schools and in grade schools. So, we have miseducated a whole generation, two generations by now, about almost everything. (…) The only way I know out of this is to fight it intellectually, which sounds weak. But the fact that Trump was elected is a kind of miracle. I now believe he’s an unworthy vessel chosen by God to save us from the evil on the Left. And he’s not the first unworthy vessel chosen by God. There was King David who was very bad—I mean he had a guy murdered so he could sleep with his wife, among other things. And then there was King Solomon who was considered virtuous enough—more than his father—to build the temple, and then desecrated it with pagan altars; but he was nevertheless considered a great ancestor. So there are precedents for these unworthy vessels, and Trump, with all his vices, has the necessary virtues and strength to fight the fight that needs to be fought. And if he doesn’t win in 2020, I would despair of the future. I have 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, and they are hostages to fortune. So I don’t have the luxury of not caring what’s going to happen after I’m gone. (…)  His virtues are the virtues of the street kids of Brooklyn. You don’t back away from a fight and you fight to win. That’s one of the things that the Americans who love him, love him for—that he’s willing to fight, not willing but eager to fight. And that’s the main virtue and all the rest stem from, as Klingenstein says, his love of America. I mean, Trump loves America. He thinks it’s great or could be made great again. Eric Holder, former attorney general, said, “When was it ever great?” And Michelle Obama says that the first time she was ever proud of her country was when Obama won. (…) Mainly they think [Trump]’s unfit to be president for all the obvious reasons—that he disgraces the office. I mean, I would say Bill Clinton disgraced the office. I was in England at Cambridge University when Harry Truman was president, and there were Americans there who were ashamed of the fact that somebody like Harry Truman was president. (…) [A haberdasher] and no college degree. And, of course, Andrew Jackson encountered some of that animosity. There’s snobbery in it and there’s genuine, you might say, aesthetic revulsion. It’s more than disagreements about policy, because the fact of the matter is they have few grounds for disagreement about policy. I mean, I’ve known Bill Kristol all his life, and I like him. But I must say I’m shocked by his saying that if it comes to the deep state versus Trump, he’ll take the deep state. You know, I was raised to believe that the last thing in the world you defend is your own, and I am proud to have overcome that education. I think the first thing in the world you defend is your own, especially when it’s under siege both from without and within. So the conservative elite has allowed its worst features—its sense of superiority—to overcome its intellectual powers, let’s put it that way. I don’t know how else to explain this. (…) I often quote and I have always believed in Bill Buckley’s notorious declaration that he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone book than by the faculty of Harvard University. That’s what I call intelligent populism. And Trump is Exhibit A of the truth of that proposition. Norman Podhoretz (2019)
Sir Andrew … told me he knew a former MI6 officer by the name of Christopher Steele, who had been commissioned to investigate connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents as well as potentially compromising information about the President-elect that Putin allegedly possessed. Steele had prepared a report that Wood had not read and conceded was mostly raw, unverified intelligence, but that the author strongly believed merited a thorough examination by counterintelligence experts. Steele was a respected professional, Wood assured us, who had good Russian contacts and long experience collecting and analyzing intelligence on the Kremlin. (…) I was skeptical that Trump or his aides had actively cooperated with Russia’s interference. And I certainly did not want to believe that the Kremlin could have acquired kompromat on an American President. (…) Our impromptu meeting felt charged with a strange intensity. No one wise-cracked to lighten the mood. We spoke in lowered voices. The room was dimly lit, and the atmosphere was eerie. It all seemed too strange a scenario to believe at first, but even a remote risk that the President of the United States might be vulnerable to Russian extortion had to be investigated. (…) The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true. I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation’s security should have done. I put the dossier in my office safe, called the office of the director of the FBI, Jim Comey, and asked for a meeting. (…) I did what duty demanded I do, anyone who disagrees with his decision can ‘go to hell’. John McCain
The late Sen. John McCain provided intimate details of how he obtained the infamous so-called Steele dossier in his 2018 book, ‘The Restless Wave.’ The Republican senator was attending an annual security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia shortly after the presidential election in November 2016 when retired a British diplomat approached him. According to McCain, he didn’t recall ever having a previous conversation with Sir Andrew Wood, but may have met him before in passing. Chris Brose, a staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and David Kramer, a former assistant secretary of state with Russian expertise, joined McCain and Wood in a room off the main conference hall. After discussing Russian election interference for a few minutes, Wood explained why he’d approached McCain in the first place. ‘He told me he knew a former MI6 officer by the name of Christopher Steele, who had been commissioned to investigate connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents as well as potentially compromising information about the President-elect that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin allegedly possessed,’ McCain wrote. Wood told McCain that Steele had compiled a report, while careful to note the information was unverified, which the former British spy « strongly believed merited a thorough examination by counterintelligence experts.’ ‘Our impromptu meeting felt charged with a strange intensity,’ McCain wrote. ‘No one wise-cracked to lighten the mood. We spoke in lowered voices. The room was dimly lit, and the atmosphere was eerie.’ It all seemed ‘too strange a scenario to believe » at first, he wrote, but the six-term senator felt that ‘even a remote risk that the President of the United States might be vulnerable to Russian extortion had to be investigated.’ After further discussion, the group agreed to send Kramer to London to meet Steele. When Kramer returned from the meeting and told McCain that Steele seemed to be a reputable source, the Republican senator agreed to receive a copy of the dossier. ‘The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true,’ McCain said. ‘I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation’s security should have done. I put the dossier in my office safe, called the office of the director of the FBI, Jim Comey, and asked for a meeting.’ McCain ultimately turned the dossier over to Comey in a meeting on December 9, 2016 that he said lasted about 10 minutes. ‘I did what duty demanded I do, » McCain wrote, adding that anyone who disagrees with his decision can « go to hell.’ The Trump-Russia dossier alleges the Kremlin has been « cultivating, supporting, and assisting » Trump for years under the watchful eye of Putin. The most salacious allegation claims Trump once paid Russian prostitutes to perform sexual acts in front of him that involved urination in a Moscow hotel. Trump has dismissed the dossier as ‘fake’ and ‘phony.’ In general, the concern surrounding the dossier is that, if it were all true, the Russian government could have enough incriminating evidence on Trump to make him vulnerable to blackmail, though the president has fervently pushed back against this perception. Some details within the dossier have been verified, but much of it remains unconfirmed. With that said, it continues to be one of the most controversial topics of conversation regarding the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia. McCain wrote that he suspects Wood approached him about the Steele dossier because he has been such a persistent, staunch critic of Putin over the years, and that he would « take their concerns seriously.’ The Arizona senator’s last book, which he co-wrote with Mark Salter, came out in May 2018. Business insider
How can evangelicals support Donald Trump? That question continues to befuddle and exasperate liberals. How, they wonder, can a man who is twice divorced, a serial liar, a shameless boaster (including about alleged sexual assault) and an unrepentant xenophobe earn the enthusiastic backing of so many devout Christians? About 80% of evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016; according to a recent poll, almost 70% of white evangelicals approve of how he has handled the presidency – far more than any other religious group. To most Democrats, such support seems a case of blatant hypocrisy and political cynicism. Since Trump is delivering on matters such as abortion, the supreme court and moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, conservative Christians are evidently willing to overlook the president’s moral failings. In embracing such a one-dimensional explanation, however, liberals risk falling into the same trap as they did in 2016, when their scorn for evangelicals fed evangelicals’ anger and resentment, contributing to Trump’s huge margin among this group. Bill Maher fell into this trap during a biting six-minute polemic he delivered on his television show in early March. Evangelicals, he said, “needed to solve this little problem” – they want to support a Republican president, but this particular one “happens to be the least Christian person ever”. “How to square the circle?” he asked. “Say that Trump is like King Cyrus.” According to Isaiah 45, God used the non-believer Cyrus as a vessel for his will; many evangelicals today believe that God is similarly using the less-than-perfect Trump to achieve Christian aims. But Trump isn’t a vessel for God’s will, Maher said, and Cyrus “wasn’t a fat, orange-haired, conscience-less scumbag”. Trump’s supporters “don’t care”, he ventured, because “that’s religion. The more it doesn’t make sense the better, because it proves your faith.” Maher portrayed evangelical Christians as a dim-witted group willing to make the most ludicrous theological leaps to advance their agenda. As I watched, I tried to imagine how evangelicals would view this routine. I think they would see a secular elitist eager to assert what he considers his superior intelligence. They would certainly sense his contempt for the many millions of Americans who believe fervently in God, revere the Bible and see Trump as representing their interests. Maher’s diatribe reminded me of a pro-Trump acquaintance from Ohio who now lives in Manhattan and who says that New York liberals are among the most intolerant people he has ever met. Liberals have good cause to decry the ideology of conservative Christians, given their relentless assault on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, transgender rights and climate science. But the disdain for Christians common among the credentialed class can only add to the sense of alienation and marginalization among evangelicals. Many evangelicals feel themselves to be under siege. In a 2016 survey, 41% said it was becoming more difficult to be an evangelical. And many conservative Christians see the national news media as unrelievedly hostile to them. Most media coverage of evangelicals falls into a few predictable categories. One is the exotic and titillating – stories of ministers who come out as transgender, or stories of evangelical sexual hypocrisies. Another favorite subject is progressive evangelicals who challenge the Christian establishment. (…) In 2016, [ the Times’ Nicholas Kristof,] wrote a column criticizing the pervasive discrimination toward Christians in liberal circles. He quoted Jonathan Walton, a black evangelical and professor of Christian morals at Harvard, who compared the common condescension toward evangelicals to that directed at racial minorities, with both seen as “politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor”. Strangely, the group most overlooked by the press is the people in the pews. It would be refreshing for more reporters to travel through the Bible belt and talk to ordinary churchgoers about their faith and values, hopes and struggles. Such reporting would no doubt show that the world of American Christianity is far more varied and complex than is generally thought. It would reveal, for instance, a subtle but important distinction between the Christian right and evangelicals in general, who tend to be less political (though still largely conservative). This kind of deep reporting would probably also highlight the enduring power of a key tenet of the founder of Protestantism. “Faith, not works,” was Martin Luther’s watchword. In his view, it is faith in Christ that truly matters. If one believes in Christ, then one will feel driven to do good works, but such works are always secondary. Trump’s own misdeeds are thus not central; what he stands for – the defense of Christian interests and values – is. Luther also preached the doctrine of original sin, which holds that all humans are tainted by Adam’s transgression in the Garden of Eden and so remain innately prone to pride, anger, lust, vengeance and other failings. Many evangelicals have themselves struggled with divorce, broken families, addiction and abuse. We are thus all sinners – the president included. (…) I can hear the reactions of some readers to this column: Enough! Enough trying to understand a group that helped put such a noxious man in the White House. Yet such a reaction is both ungenerous and shortsighted. Liberals take pride in their empathy for “the other” and their efforts to understand the perspective of groups different from themselves. They should apply that principle to evangelicals. If liberals continue to scoff, they risk reinforcing the rage of evangelicals – and their support for Trump. Michael Massing
To adopt for a moment the language of the center-left, the “populist cancer” is not at all limited to the Visegrád Group. Above all, the arguments used in Austria, in Poland, in Italy, and in Sweden are exactly the same. One of the constants in Europe’s long history is the struggle against Islam; today, that struggle has simply returned to the foreground. (…) Trump is pursuing and amplifying the policy of disengagement initiated by Obama; this is very good news for the rest of the world. (…) But what’s most remarkable about the new American policies is certainly the country’s position on trade, and there Trump has been like a healthy breath of fresh air; you’ve really done well to elect a president with origins in what is called “civil society.” President Trump tears up treaties and trade agreements when he thinks it was wrong to sign them. He’s right about that; leaders must know how to use the cooling-off period and withdraw from bad deals. Unlike free-market liberals (who are, in their way, as fanatical as communists), President Trump doesn’t consider global free trade the be-all and end-all of human progress. When free trade favors American interests, President Trump is in favor of free trade; in the contrary case, he finds old-fashioned protectionist measures entirely appropriate. President Trump was elected to safeguard the interests of American workers; he’s safeguarding the interests of American workers. During the past fifty years in France, one would have wished to come upon this sort of attitude more often. President Trump doesn’t like the European Union; he thinks we don’t have a lot in common, especially not “values”; and I call this fortunate, because, what values? “Human rights”? Seriously? He’d rather negotiate directly with individual countries, and I believe this would actually be preferable; I don’t think that strength necessarily proceeds from union. It’s my belief that we in Europe have neither a common language, nor common values, nor common interests, that, in a word, Europe doesn’t exist, and that it will never constitute a people or support a possible democracy (see the etymology of the term), simply because it doesn’t want to constitute a people. In short, Europe is just a dumb idea that has gradually turned into a bad dream, from which we shall eventually wake up. And in his hopes for a “United States of Europe,” an obvious reference to the United States, Victor Hugo only gave further proof of his grandiloquence and his stupidity; it always does me a bit of good to criticize Victor Hugo. Logically enough, President Trump was pleased about Brexit. Logically enough, so was I; my sole regret was that the British had once again shown themselves to be more courageous than us in the face of empire. The British get on my nerves, but their courage cannot be denied. President Trump doesn’t consider Vladimir Putin an unworthy negotiating partner; neither do I. I don’t believe Russia has been assigned the role of humankind’s universal guide—my admiration for Dostoevsky doesn’t extend that far—but I admire the persistence of orthodoxy in its own lands, I think Roman Catholicism would do well to take inspiration from it, and I believe that the “ecumenical dialogue” could be usefully limited to a dialogue with the Orthodox Church (Christianity is not only a “religion of the Book,” as is too quickly said; it’s also, and perhaps above all, a religion of the Incarnation). I’m painfully aware that the Great Schism of 1054 was, for Christian Europe, the beginning of the end; but on the other hand, I believe that the end is never certain until it arrives. It seems that President Trump has even managed to tame the North Korean madman; I found this feat positively classy. It seems that President Trump recently declared, “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist!” Me too, precisely so. Nationalists can talk to one another; with internationalists, oddly enough, talking doesn’t work so well. France should leave NATO, but maybe such a step will become pointless if lack of operational funding causes ­NATO to disappear on its own. That would be one less thing to worry about, and a new reason to sing the praises of President Trump. In summary, President Trump seems to me to be one of the best American presidents I’ve ever seen. On the personal level, he is, of course, pretty repulsive. If he consorted with a porn star, that’s not a problem, who gives a shit, but making fun of handicapped people is bad behavior. With an equivalent agenda, an authentic Christian conservative—which is to say, an honorable and moral person—would have been better for America. But maybe it could happen next time, or the time after that, if you insist on keeping Trump. In six years, Ted Cruz will still be comparatively young, and surely there are other outstanding Christian conservatives. You’ll be a little less competitive, but you’ll rediscover the joy of living within the borders of your magnificent country, practicing honesty and virtue. (…) China will scale back its overweening ambitions. This outcome will be the hardest to achieve, but in the end, China will limit its aspirations, and India will do the same. China has never been a global imperialist power, nor has India—unlike the United States, their military aims are local. Their economic aims, it’s true, are global. They have some economic revenge to take, they’re taking it at the moment, which is indeed a matter of some concern; Donald Trump is quite right to not let himself be pushed around. But in the end, their contentiousness will subside, their growth rate will subside. All this will take place within one human lifetime. You have to get used to the idea, worthy American people: in the final analysis, maybe Donald Trump will have been a necessary ordeal for you. Michel Houellebecq
Sur un plan personnel, Trump est bien sûr assez repoussant, notamment pour s’être moqué des handicapés lors d’un meeting électoral fin 2015. Avec un programme équivalent, un conservateur authentiquement chrétien – une personne honorable et morale – aurait été mieux pour l’Amérique. En attendant, autant vous habituer à l’idée: en dernière analyse, peut-être que Trump aura été une épreuve nécessaire pour vous. Michel Houellebecq
Comment les évangéliques peuvent-ils soutenir Donald Trump? Cette question continue de brouiller et d’exaspérer les progressistes. Comment, se demandent-ils, un homme qui est divorcé deux fois, un menteur en série, un fanfaron éhonté (y compris au sujet d’une agression sexuelle présumée) et un xénophobe impénitent peut-il obtenir le soutien enthousiaste de tant de chrétiens dévots? Environ 80% des évangéliques ont voté pour Trump en 2016; selon un récent sondage, près de 70% des évangéliques blancs approuvent la façon dont il a géré la présidence – bien plus que tout autre groupe religieux. Pour la plupart des démocrates, un tel soutien semble être un cas d’hypocrisie flagrante et de cynisme politique. Étant donné que Trump se prononce sur des questions telles que l’avortement, la Cour suprême et le déplacement de l’ambassade américaine en Israël à Jérusalem, les chrétiens conservateurs sont évidemment prêts à ignorer les défauts moraux du président. Cependant, en adoptant une telle explication unidimensionnelle, les libéraux risquent de tomber dans le même piège qu’en 2016, lorsque leur mépris pour les évangéliques a nourri la colère et le ressentiment des évangéliques, contribuant à l’énorme marge de Trump parmi ce groupe. Bill Maher est tombé dans ce piège dans la diatribe mordante de six minutes qu’il a prononcée lors de son émission de télévision début mars. Les évangéliques, a-t-il dit, « devaient résoudre ce petit problème » – ils veulent soutenir un président républicain, mais celui-ci « se trouve être le moins chrétien de tous les temps ». « Comment résoudre cette quadrature du cercle? », a-t-il demandé. « Dire que Trump est comme le roi Cyrus. » Selon Ésaïe 45, Dieu a utilisé le non-croyant Cyrus comme véhicule de sa volonté; de nombreux évangéliques croient aujourd’hui que Dieu utilise de la même manière un Trump moins que parfait pour atteindre les objectifs chrétiens. Mais Trump n’est pas un vaisseau pour la volonté de Dieu, a déclaré Maher, et Cyrus « n’était pas un nul gras, aux cheveux orange et sans conscience ». Les partisans de Trump « ne s’en soucient pas », s’est-il aventuré, parce que « c’est la religion. Moins cela a de sens, mieux c’est, car cela prouve votre foi. »Maher a dépeint les chrétiens évangéliques comme un groupe humble disposé à faire les sauts théologiques les plus ridicules pour faire avancer leur programme. Pendant que je regardais, j’ai essayé d’imaginer comment les évangéliques verraient cette routine. Je pense qu’ils verraient un élitiste laïc désireux d’affirmer ce qu’il considère comme son intelligence supérieure. Ils ressentiraient certainement son mépris pour les millions d’Américains qui croient ardemment en Dieu, vénèrent la Bible et considèrent Trump comme représentant leurs intérêts. La diatribe de Maher m’a rappelé une connaissance pro-Trump de l’Ohio qui vit maintenant à Manhattan et qui dit que les libéraux de New York sont parmi les personnes les plus intolérantes qu’il ait jamais rencontrées. Les libéraux ont de bonnes raisons de dénoncer l’idéologie des chrétiens conservateurs, étant donné leur assaut incessant contre les droits à l’avortement, le mariage homosexuel, les droits des transgenres et la science du climat. Mais le mépris pour les chrétiens, commun à la classe diplômée, ne peut qu’ajouter au sentiment d’aliénation et de marginalisation des évangéliques. De nombreux évangéliques se sentent assiégés. Dans une enquête de 2016, 41% ont déclaré qu’il devenait plus difficile d’être évangélique. Et de nombreux chrétiens conservateurs considèrent les médias nationaux comme hostiles à leur égard. La plupart des reportages médiatiques sur les évangéliques se répartissent en quelques catégories prévisibles. L’une est les histoires exotiques et émouvantes – des histoires de pasteurs qui se révèlent transgenres, ou des histoires d’hypocrisies sexuelles évangéliques. Un autre sujet de prédilection est celui des évangélistes progressistes qui défient l’establishment chrétien. (…) En 2016, [léditorialiste du NYT Nicholas Kristof] a écrit une chronique critiquant la discrimination omniprésente envers les chrétiens dans les milieux de gauche. Il a cité Jonathan Walton, un évangélique noir et professeur de morale chrétienne à Harvard, qui a comparé la condescendance commune envers les évangéliques à celle dirigée contre les minorités raciales, les deux étant considérées comme «politiquement peu sophistiquées, manquant d’éducation, en colère, amères, émotionnelles, pauvres». Étrangement, le groupe le plus négligé par la presse est celui des blancs. Il serait rafraîchissant que davantage de journalistes parcourent la « Bible belt » et parlent aux fidèles ordinaires de leur foi et de leurs valeurs, de leurs espoirs et de leurs luttes. De tels reportages montreraient sans aucun doute que le monde du christianisme américain est beaucoup plus varié et complexe qu’on ne le pense généralement. Cela révélerait, par exemple, une distinction subtile mais importante entre la droite chrétienne et les évangéliques en général, qui ont tendance à être moins politiques (quoique encore largement conservateurs). Ce genre de reportage approfondi mettrait probablement également en évidence le pouvoir durable d’un principe clé du fondateur du protestantisme.«La foi, pas les œuvres», était le mot d’ordre de Martin Luther. Selon lui, c’est la foi en Christ qui compte vraiment. Si l’on croit en Christ, on se sent poussé à faire de bonnes œuvres, mais ces œuvres sont toujours secondaires. Les propres manquements de Trump ne sont donc pas centraux; mais c’est ce qu’il représente – la défense des intérêts et des valeurs chrétiennes – qui l’est. Luther a également prêché la doctrine du péché originel, selon laquelle tous les humains sont entachés par la transgression d’Adam dans le jardin d’Eden et restent donc naturellement enclins à l’orgueil, la colère, la luxure, la vengeance et d’autres défauts. De nombreux évangéliques ont eux-mêmes lutté contre le divorce, la rupture dans leurs familles, la toxicomanie et les abus. Nous sommes donc tous pécheurs – y compris le président. (…) J’entends les réactions de certains lecteurs à cette chronique: Il y en assez d’essayer de comprendre un groupe qui a permis l’arrivée d’un homme aussi nocif à la Maison Blanche. Pourtant, une telle réaction est à la fois peu généreuse et à courte vue. Les libéraux sont fiers de leur empathie pour ‘l’autre’ et de leurs efforts pour comprendre la perspective de groupes différents d’eux. Ils devraient appliquer ce principe aux évangéliques. Si la gauche continue ses moqueries, elle risque de renforcer la rage des évangéliques – et leur soutien à Trump. » Michael Massing
Sur les plans géographique, culturel et social, il existe bien des points communs entre les situations françaises et américaines, à commencer par le déclassement de la classe moyenne. C’est « l’Amérique périphérique » qui a voté Trump, celle des territoires désindustrialisés et ruraux qui est aussi celle des ouvriers, employés, travailleurs indépendants ou paysans. Ceux qui étaient hier au cœur de la machine économique en sont aujourd’hui bannis. Le parallèle avec la situation américaine existe aussi sur le plan culturel, nous avons adopté un modèle économique mondialisé. Fort logiquement, nous devons affronter les conséquences de ce modèle économique mondialisé : l’ouvrier – hier à gauche –, le paysan – hier à droite –, l’employé – à gauche et à droite – ont aujourd’hui une perception commune des effets de la mondialisation et rompent avec ceux qui n’ont pas su les protéger. La France est en train de dngevenir une société américaine, il n’y a aucune raison pour que l’on échappe aux effets indésirables du modèle. (…) Dans l’ensemble des pays développés, le modèle mondialisé produit la même contestation. Elle émane des mêmes territoires (Amérique périphérique, France périphérique, Angleterre périphérique… ) et de catégories qui constituaient hier la classe moyenne, largement perdue de vue par le monde d’en haut. (…) Faire passer les classes moyennes et populaires pour « réactionnaires », « fascisées », « pétinisées » est très pratique. Cela permet d’éviter de se poser des questions cruciales. Lorsque l’on diagnostique quelqu’un comme fasciste, la priorité devient de le rééduquer, pas de s’interroger sur l’organisation économique du territoire où il vit. L’antifascisme est une arme de classe. Pasolini expliquait déjà dans ses Écrits corsaires que depuis que la gauche a adopté l’économie de marché, il ne lui reste qu’une chose à faire pour garder sa posture de gauche : lutter contre un fascisme qui n’existe pas. C’est exactement ce qui est en train de se passer. Christophe Guilluy
Madame Hidalgo persécute l’artisan qui roule dans une vieille camionnette, mais elle rêve d’attirer toujours plus de touristes dont les autocars font trembler les pavés parisiens, elle veut une ville verte et cycliste pour accueillir des foules livrées par Airbus. Bref, elle psalmodie avec la même conviction l’urgence écologique et l’impératif touristique, ce qui est à hurler de rire. (…) On ne cesse de nous rappeler que la planète n’est pas renouvelable, mais les vieilles pierres, les églises, les temples ne le sont pas non plus. Il est tout de même curieux qu’on trouve normal de pénaliser un travailleur qui n’a pas les moyens de se payer une voiture propre mais qu’on refuse toute mesure de restriction touristique au prétexte que les classes moyennes brésiliennes ou indiennes ont aussi le droit de visiter Chambord. Du reste, cet argument est d’une rare hypocrisie: si nous nous mettons en quatre pour recevoir le touriste, même modeste, ce n’est évidemment pas par esprit démocratique mais parce que, pauvre ou pas, nous pourrons le soulager de quelques devises. Rassurez-vous, je ne prétends pas qu’il faudrait interdire le tourisme, mais au moins le réguler. On somme les Chinois de modérer leurs émissions de carbone, pourquoi serait-il intolérable de leur demander de réduire leurs voyages? Alors oui, peut-être faudra-t-il à l’avenir attendre plus longtemps et payer plus cher pour visiter nos monuments. Mais si on ne restreint pas les flux, ces générations futures pour lesquelles on nous demande de changer nos habitudes n’auront plus rien à visiter. (…) On a (…) vendu la mobilité, la flexibilité, la désaffiliation comme des idéaux à des classes populaires ou moyennes qui non seulement n’ont pas les moyens financiers et culturels de passer leur vie à sauter les frontières ou à s’installer ailleurs que dans l’endroit où ils ont acheté une maison invendable, mais qui, en plus, semblent assez largement rétives aux beautés du nomadisme. (…) Le tourisme éthique et citoyen inventé par les marchands de voyages et le «guide du Roublard» (encore Muray) n’étaient pas mal non plus. Encore une fois, le tourisme écologique est un oxymore. Ou pour le dire autrement, une vaste blague. Cependant, aujourd’hui, certains écolos (et les technos du ministère) rêvent de «valoriser» la nature et d’en faire à son tour un patrimoine touristique bien plus profitable que l’élevage qui occupe actuellement les déserts français. Les promoteurs de ce Yellowstone à la française, sur lequel Causeur publie une enquête, aimeraient donc se débarrasser du pastoralisme, cette activité humaine ancestrale, pour implanter des loups et des ours. Le calcul est simple: des touristes fortunés susceptibles de payer pour voir des prédateurs, il y en a beaucoup, alors que ces éleveurs nous coûtent un pognon de dingue. En somme, cette écologie de l’ensauvagement lutte contre l’homme et pour le touriste. (…) Je ne me moque nullement de ces bénéfices, je me désole que nous acceptions de n’être plus qu’un pays où on vient passer ses vacances ou, pire encore, un pays qu’on traverse pour aller en Italie ou en Espagne. Nous sommes fiers de notre médaille d’or du nombre de touristes mais ce chiffre masque le fait que beaucoup ne dépensent chez nous que le prix de deux pleins et de trois sandwiches. Par ailleurs, on oublie toujours, quand on parle des recettes du tourisme, de compter le coût des nuisances qu’il occasionne et des investissements qu’il nécessite, dont une partie notable est à la charge de la collectivité. Cela dit, je ne me désole pas que des milliards d’étrangers rêvent de visiter Paris, je me désole du fait que «la ville de demain», comme dit la maire, soit d’abord conçue pour eux et si peu pour ceux qui y vivent. Et aussi que nous renoncions à être une grande nation industrielle pour être la première destination touristique du monde. Comme si nous n’avions plus rien d’autre à vendre que notre passé débité en visites guidées et produits dérivés. (…) Quand Paris a «gagné» les JO, – contre personne car il n’y avait pas d’autres candidats – nous avons été les seuls à dénoncer cette catastrophe. On nous disait: vous n’aimez rien, ce sera formidable pour la ville, la grande fête du sport, et tout ce baratin. Plus l’échéance approche et plus on se rend compte que ce sera, comme toujours, la grande fête du business, de la pub, de la vente de bière, de la fête obligatoire et du bruit. Paris va se transformer en ville-sandwich mais joue les vertueuses en refusant Total, un peu comme une prostituée qui refuserait les hommes mariés. Et je ne vous parle même pas des retards dans les chantiers et des dépassements de budget qui s’annoncent. Dans quatre ans, tous ceux qui nous sommaient hier de nous enthousiasmer hurleront au scandale. (…) Muray était un prophète, il a deviné toutes les potentialités diaboliques et comiques de notre époque sans autre et sans ailleurs bien avant qu’elles soient accomplies. Autant dire que les occasions de lui rendre hommage ne manquent pas. Il est impossible de comprendre ce qui se joue dans l’arraisonnement touristique du monde sans le lire. Elisabeth Lévy
I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice. And what that means is just because a woman, or let’s also not forget someone in the trans community — a trans female — is poor, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exercise that right to choose. So I absolutely would cover that right to have an abortion. Julian Castro
Let me just be very clear: we have to have a secure border. But I am in favor of saying that we’re not going to treat people who are undocumented [and] cross the borders as criminals, that is correct. What we cannot do is have any more policy like we have under this current president that is about inhumane conduct, that is about putting babies in cages, that is about separating children from their parents and we have got to have policy that is about passing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway toward citizenship. I would not make it punishable by jail. It should be a civil enforcement issue, but not a criminal enforcement issue. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
I’ve been to that facility, where they talk about cages. That facility was built under President Obama under (Homeland Security) Secretary Jeh Johnson. I was there because I was there when it was built. The kids are being house in the same facility built under the Obama administration.’ If you want to call them cages, call them cages. But if the left wants to call them cages and the Democrats want to call them cages then they have to accept the fact that they were built and funded in FY 2015. It’s chain link dividers that keeps children separate from unrelated adults. It’s about protecting children. Thomas Homan (Obama’s executive associate director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
Ne fermez pas les portes à ceux qui frappent. Le monde des migrants et des réfugiés est la croix de l’humanité. Pape François
Des associations comme SOS Méditerranée et Sea Watch nous honorent et nous obligent face à l’inertie des gouvernements européens. Carola Rackete et Pia Klemp sont les emblèmes de ce combat, porteuses des valeurs européennes auxquelles la Ville de Paris appelle une nouvelle fois notre continent à rester fidèle. Patrick Klugman (adjoint à la maire de Paris chargé des Relations internationales)
L’Eglise est dans son rôle quand elle fait preuve de compassion et de charité pour les plus vulnérables. Elle sort de ses fonctions quand elle fait de la politique, par son opposition aux Etats qui entendent contrôler leurs frontières. Une chose est d’aider des migrants qui risquent la mort. Une autre est de rester indifférent aux peuples d’Europe qui voient l’immigration de masse comme une force potentielle de déstabilisation de leur civilisation fatiguée. François se comporte comme s’il avait déjà tiré un trait sur la vieille Europe infertile et décadente, pour lui préférer la plus prolifique clientèle du tiers-monde. Et se plaçant en chef de file des humanitaires, sans manifester de curiosité particulière pour leurs arrangements avec les passeurs en Méditerranée, le Pape est en train de transformer l’Eglise catholique en une super-ONG à la George Soros. Il est également en train de vider de sa substance le subtil message religieux, qui s’adresse à chaque croyant soucieux de sa rédemption, au profit de lourds slogans humanitaires culpabilisant les Etats. Le plus grave est que François ne semble pas vouloir mesurer la force conquérante de l’islam au contact de l’Occident, et la faiblesse de l’Europe oublieuse de ses propres racines. Le cardinal Robert Sarah remarque avec justesse : « L’Europe veut s’ouvrir à toutes les cultures – ce qui peut être louable et source de richesse – et à toutes les religions du monde, mais elle ne s’aime plus« . Le pape, non plus, n’aime pas l’Europe. Ivan Rioufol
Arrêtée par la police italienne, le capitaine du bateau Sea Watch, Carola Rackete, semble être devenue l’héroïne de toute une gauche européenne dont l’activisme humanitaire et victimiste pro-migrants sert en réalité une idéologie anti-nationale, anti-frontières et viscéralement hostile à la civilisation européenne-occidentale assimilée au Mal et dont les « fautes » passées et présentes ne pourraient être expiées qu’en acceptant l’auto-submersion migratoire et islamique… Rappelons que le Sea-Watch 3, navire de 600 tonnes battant pavillon hollandais et cofinancé par les fonds de George Soros et autres riches contributeurs, a non seulement « récupéré » des migrants illégaux acheminés par des passeurs nord-africains, ce qui est en soi un viol de la loi, mais a délibérément forcé le blocus des eaux territoriales italiennes, donc violé la souveraineté de ce pays. De ce fait, son capitaine, l’Allemande Carola Rackete, va être présentée à un juge en début de semaine, à Agrigente, dans le sud de la Sicile, puis répondra des faits « d’aide à l’immigration clandestine » (punie de prison par la loi italienne et le « décret-sécurité » (decreto-sicurezza) du gouvernement / Ligue (5 étoiles de Rome), puis de « résistance à un bateau de guerre ». Quant aux 42 migrants clandestins de la Sea Watch 3 débarqués après l’arrestation de la capitaine-activiste allemande (11 migrants plus « vulnérables » avaient déjà été débarqués légalement), ils ont fini par débarquer à Lampedusa après que la France, l’Allemagne, le Portugal, le Luxembourg et la Finlande ont accepté un plan de répartition visant à en accueillir chacun quelques-uns. (…) Pendant ce temps, des petites embarcations moins identifiables et qui ne font pas la une des médias continuent d’arriver chaque jour à Lampedusa et au sud d’Agrigente (200 ces derniers jours). Et d’autres navires affrétés par des ONG pro-migrants continuent de défier les autorités italiennes ou d’autres pays (Malte, Espagne, Grèce, etc.) dans l’indifférence générale et en violation banalisée de la loi et du principe de protection des frontières. On peut citer par exemple l’ONG espagnole Proactiva open arms, qui patrouille au large de la Libye malgré la menace d’une amende de 200 000 à 900 000 euros brandie par les autorités espagnoles. « Si je dois payer par la prison ou par une amende le fait de sauver les vies de quelques personnes, je le ferais », a d’ailleurs assuré Oscar Camps, fondateur de l’ONG. Utilisant la même rhétorique de « résistance » et de « désobéissance civile » face à une autorité étatique « répressive », Carola Rackette expliquait elle aussi au Spiegel, quelques jours seulement avant d’accoster à Lampedusa : « Si nous ne sommes pas acquittés par un tribunal, nous le serons dans les livres d’histoire. » (…) La stratégie d’intimidation psychologique des ONG et lobbies subversifs pro-migrants consiste en fait à adopter une rhétorique victimaire et hautement culpabilisatrice qui a pour but de faire passer pour des horribles racistes / fascistes les défenseurs des frontières et des lois sécuritaires pourtant démocratiquement adoptées. Carola Rackete a ainsi déclaré au journal italien La Repubblica : « J’ai la peau blanche, j’ai grandi dans un pays riche, j’ai le bon passeport, j’ai pu faire trois universités différentes et j’ai fini mes études à 23 ans. Mon obligation morale est d’aider les gens qui n’ont pas bénéficié des mêmes conditions que moi (…). Les pauvres, ils ne se sentent pas bienvenus, imaginez leur souffrance (…), j’ai voulu accoster de force car beaucoup risquaient de se suicider sur la bateau et étaient en danger depuis 17 jours d’immobilisation ». (…) Très fier de lui et de son « coup », Chris Grodotzki, le président de l’ONG Sea Watch, se réjouit que « dans toute l’Europe, Carole est devenue un symbole. Nous n’avons jamais reçu autant de dons », indiquant qu’en Italie une cagnotte a recueilli dimanche 400 000 euros. Samedi, en Allemagne, deux stars de la télévision, Jan Böhmermann et Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, ont lancé quant à eux une cagnotte et 500 000 euros ont été récoltés en moins de vingt-quatre heures. En fait, l’aide aux migrants clandestins est une activité lucrative pour les ONG, et pas seulement pour les passeurs et les établissements payés pour offrir le gîte et l’accueil avec les deniers publics. (…) D’après Matteo Salvini, Carola Rackete serait une « criminelle » qui aurait tenté de « tuer des membres des forces de l’ordre italienne ». Il est vrai que la vedette de la Guarda della Finanza, (12 mètres), très légère, n’aurait pas résisté au choc du navire de la Sea Watch (600 tonnes) si elle ne s’était pas retirée. Inculpée par le procureur d’Agrigente, la capitaine de la Sea Watch risque jusqu’à dix ans de prison pour « résistance ou violence envers un navire de guerre ». En fait, bien moins que dans de nombreux autres pays du monde, y compris démocratiques comme l’Australie, les Etats-Unis ou la Hongrie. Le procureur d’Agrigente, Luigi Patronaggio, qui est pourtant connu pour ne pas être du tout favorable à la Ligue de Matteo Salvini, a d’ailleurs qualifié le geste de Carola Rackete de « violence inadmissible » et placé la capitaine du navire humanitaire aux « arrêts domiciliaires » (contrôle judiciaire avec assignation à résidence), avant le lancement d’une procédure de flagrant délit. L’intéressée a répondu via le Corriere della Sera, en affirmant que « ce n’était pas un acte de violence, seulement de désobéissance ». (…) Depuis, de Rome à Berlin, et au sein de toute la gauche et l’extrême-gauche européenne, « Carola » est devenue une nouvelle « héroïne de la désobéissance civile », le concept clef de la gauche marxiste ou libertaire pour justifier moralement le fait de bafouer délibérément les règles des Etats et de violer les lois démocratiques qui font obstacle à leur idéologie anti-nationale. Et la désinformation médiatique consiste justement à faire passer l’appui que Carola Rackete a reçu – de la part de stars de TV, de politiques bien-pensants et de lobbies pro-migrants chouchoutés par les médias – pour un « soutien de l’Opinion publique ». En Allemagne, du président de l’Église évangélique, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, au PDG de Siemens, Joe Kaeser, de nombreuses voix se sont élevées pour prendre sa défense comme si elle était une nouvelle Pasionaria « antifasciste / antinazie », 90 ans plus tard… (…) En Italie, outre la figure de Leo Luca Orlando, le maire de Palerme, qui accorde régulièrement la « citoyenneté d’honneur » de sa ville aux dirigeants d’ONG pro-migrants et qui assimile les « cartes de séjours » et contrôles aux frontières à des « instruments de torture », l’ensemble de la gauche (hors le parti 5 étoiles allié de la Ligue), et surtout le parti démocrate, (PD), jouent cette carte de « l’illégalité légitime » et appuie les ONG anti-frontières. « Par nécessité, vous pouvez enfreindre la loi », ont déclaré aux membres de la Sea Watch les députés de gauche montés à bord du bateau Sea Watch 3 avant l’arrestation de Carole Rackete. Premier à être monté à bord du Sea Watch 3, l’élu du PD Graziano Delrio ose lancer : « Dans certains cas, vous ne pouvez pas respecter les lois et vous pouvez même au contraire, dans des cas de nécessité, enfreindre les lois. » (..;) Détail stupéfiant, les représentants du PD venus manifester leur solidarité avec la capitaine (étrangère) d’un navire (étranger) faisant le travail de passeurs / trafiquants d’êtres humains, n’ont pas même condamné ou regretté le fait que la « militante humanitaire Carole » a failli tuer les policiers de la vedette de la Guardia di Finanza qui bloquait le Sea Watch 3. Estimant qu’il ne pouvait manquer ce « coup médiatique » afin de complaire aux lobbies et médias immigrationnistes dominant, l’ex-Premier ministre (PD) Matteo Renzi était lui aussi sur le pont du Sea Watch 3 lorsque Carola Rackete a décidé de forcer le blocus. Avec lui, d’autres parlementaires de gauche (Matteo Orfini, Davide Faraone, Nicola Fratoianni et Riccardo Magi) ont carrément « béni » cette action illégale et violente qui a pourtant mis en danger les membres des forces de leur propre pays. (..;) Étaient également venus applaudir la capitaine allemande et son action illégale : le curé de Lampedusa, Don Carmelo La Magra ; l’ancien maire de l’île Giusi Nicolini, le médecin et député européen Pietro Bartolo, et le secrétaire local du parti PD Peppino Palmeri, lequel a déclaré pompeusement que « l’humanité a gagné, (…). Je pense que oui, nous devons être unis dans une fraternité universelle »… Plutôt que de respecter la légalité des lois approuvées démocratiquement par le Parlement de leur propre pays dont ils sont élus, ces représentants de la gauche ont accusé le gouvernement Ligue / 5 étoiles d’avoir « laissé au milieu de la mer pendant 16 jours un bateau qui avait besoin d’un refuge » (Matteo Orfini), alors qu’en réalité, sur les 53 migrants illégaux au départ présents sur le Sea Watch 3, onze avaient été débarqués en Italie en raison de leur état vulnérable, les autres étant nourris et auscultés par des médecins envoyés par l’Etat italien. (..;) Dès qu’elle est descendue du navire accompagnée des policiers italiens venus l’arrêter, Carola Rackete a été saluée par les ovations d’un groupe d’activistes ainsi que par le curé de la paroisse de Lampedusa, Carmelo La Magra, lequel dormait dans le cimetière de sa paroisse depuis une semaine « en signe de solidarité ». Rivalisant avec les plus virulents pro-migrants d’extrême-gauche, le curé de Lampedusa a exulté : « Noël vient quand il arrive. Bienvenue aux migrants à Porto Salvo di Lampedusa. » Le prêtre de l’église de San Gerlando di Lampedusa s’est ainsi joint à l’appel de l’Action catholique italienne « à permettre le débarquement immédiat des 42 personnes à bord du Sea Watch ». (..;) Au début du mois de mai dernier, lors de son voyage en Bulgarie, le Pape avait donné le ton et répondu ainsi à la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini : « Ne fermez pas les portes à ceux qui frappent. Le monde des migrants et des réfugiés est la croix de l’humanité. » Preuve que les curés pro-migrants et l’Église catholique de plus en plus immigrationniste sont, comme la gauche anti-nationale post-ouvrière, totalement déconnectés des peuples et de leurs ouailles : rappelons qu’à Lampedusa la Ligue de Salvini est arrivée en tête avec 45 % des voix aux dernières élections européennes ; que plus de 65 % des Italiens (catholiques) approuvent ses lois et actions visant à combattre l’immigration clandestine ; et que le Pape François, certes populaire auprès des médias quand il défend les migrants, exaspère de plus en plus et a même rendu antipapistes des millions d’Italiens qui se sentent trahis par un souverain Pontife qui semble préférer les musulmans aux chrétiens et les Africains aux Européens. A tort ou à raison d’ailleurs. (…) Il est vrai que la Sicile et en particulier Lampedusa sont plus que jamais en première ligne face à l’immigration clandestine : rien que pendant les deux dernières semaines durant lesquelles le Sea Watch est resté bloqué au large de l’île, Lampedusa a assisté impuissante, malgré la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini et de son nouveau « décret sécurité », plus de 200 clandestins (majoritairement tunisiens et aucunement des « réfugiés » politiques syriens) acheminés par des barques de fortunes plus difficiles à repérer que les navires des ONG. Depuis des années, la ville est littéralement défigurée, l’arrivée de migrants entraînant des faits quotidiens de violences, d’agressions, de vols et destructions de commerces. (…) Malgré cela, le médiatique curé de Lampedusa, grand adepte du pape François, martèle qu’il faut « accueillir, protéger, promouvoir et intégrer les migrants et les réfugiés ». Dans une autre ville de Sicile, Noto, où nous nous sommes rendus le 27 juin dernier, une immense croix en bois a été construite à partir de morceaux d’une embarcation de migrants et a été carrément érigée dans l’entrée de la plus grande église du centre-ville. A Catania, ville très catholique-conservatrice et de droite – où se déroule chaque année début février la troisième plus grande fête chrétienne au monde, la Santa Agata – la cathédrale a été prise d’assauts par des sit-in pro-migrants en défense de Carola Rackete et de la Sea Watch. (…) Quant à Palerme, l’alliance entre l’Église catholique et le maire de la Ville, Leo Luca Orlando, chef de file de la lutte contre la politique migratoire de Matteo Salvini, est totale, alors même que Orlando est un anticlérical patenté à la fois islamophile et pro-LGBT. Sa dernière trouvaille a consisté à proposer d’éliminer le terme même de « migrant », puisque « nous sommes tous des personnes ». D’après lui, le terme « migrants » devrait être supprimé, tout comme la gauche a réussi à faire supprimer celui de « clandestin », remplacé dans le jargon journalistique par celui, trompeur, mais plus valorisant, de « migrant ». Cette manipulation sémantique visant à abolir la distinction migrant régulier / illégal est également très présente dans le pacte de Marrakech des Nations-unies. (..;) Récemment, à l’occasion de la rupture du jeûne du ramadan, le médiatique maire palermitain s’est affiché en train de prier avec une assemblée de musulmans, consacrant même une « journée consacrée à l’islam » en rappelant le « glorieux passé arabo-islamique » de la Sicile (en réalité envahie et libérée deux siècles plus tard par les Normands). Orlando utilise lui aussi à merveille l’arme de la culpabilisation lorsqu’il ne cesse de justifier l’immigration illimitée au nom du fait que les Siciliens « ont eu eux aussi des grands-parents qui ont décidé d’aller vivre dans un autre pays en demandant à être considérés comme des personnes humaines ». Bref, « on est tous des migrants ». Une musique bien connue aussi en France. (…) A chaque nouvelle affaire de blocage de bateaux d’ONG pro-migrants par les autorités italiennes obéissant à la politique de la Ligue, le maire de Palerme se déclare prêt à accueillir des navires dans le port de Palerme. Lors de notre visite, le 26 juin dernier, Orlando nous a d’ailleurs remis une brochure consacrée à l’accueil des migrants, « chez eux chez nous ». Comme le Pape ou l’ex-maire de Lampedusa, Leoluca Orlando est depuis quelques années tellement obsédé par « l’impératif d’accueil » des migrants, alors que la Sicile connaît encore une grande pauvreté et un chômage de masse, qu’il suscite une réaction de rejet et d’exaspération, d’autant que de nombreuses initiatives en faveur des migrants sont financées par des citoyens italiens-siciliens hyper-taxés et précarisés. (…) Le 28 juin, lorsque nous avons parlé de la question migratoire au maire de la seconde ville de Sicile, Catania, Salvatore Pogliese, ex-membre d’Alleanza nazionale élu député européen et maire sous les couleurs de Forza Italia, celui-ci nous confiait qu’il jugeait absurdes et extrêmes les vues du maire de Palerme ou du curé de Lampedusa. Et il rappelait que lorsque des maires pro-migrants jouent aux « héros » en réclamant l’ouverture sans limites des ports pour accueillir les « réfugiés » du monde entier, ils mentent puisque l’ouverture des ports relève, comme en France, non pas des maires, mais de l’Etat central (ministères des Transports et de l’Intérieur). (..;) Une autre alliance de forces « progressistes » / pro-migrants n’a pas manqué de surprendre les analystes de la vie politique italienne, notamment à l’occasion de la Gay Pride, organisée à Milan le 28 juin, par le maire de gauche, Beppe Sala, champion de la « diversité » et des minorités en tout genre : l’alliance de la gauche et des multinationales et des Gafam. C’est ainsi que certains journaux italiens de droite ont relevé le fait que les sponsors de la Gay Pride, officiellement indiqués sur le site de l’événement – Google, Microsoft, eBay, Coca-Cola, PayPal, RedBull, Durex, Benetton, etc. – ont tenu et obtenu que soient associées à la cause des gays celle des migrants afin de « prendre en compte toutes les différences, pas seulement liées à l’identité et à l’orientation sexuelle (immigration, handicap, appartenance ethnique, etc.) ». (..;) Les « migrants » illégaux et autres faux réfugiés secourus par les ONG immigrationnistes, adeptes des « ports ouverts », ont donc eu droit à un traitement de faveur et ont pu officiellement venir « exprimer toute sa solidarité avec le capitaine du navire (Sea Watch 3) Carola Rackete, avec les membres de l’équipage et avec toutes les personnes à bord », écrit sur Facebook « Ensemble sans murs », qui « participera avec enthousiasme au défilé de mode de Milan ». L’idéologie diversitaire est si puissante, et l’accueil des migrants est tellement devenu la « cause des causes » capable de surpasser les autres, qu’elle s’invite même chez les lobbies LGBT, pourtant la « minorité » la plus directement persécutée – avec les juifs – par l’islamisme. (..;) Or, une grande majorité d’immigrés clandestins est de confession musulmane : Subsahariens, Erythréens, Soudanais, Égyptiens, Syriens, Turcs, Maghrébins ou Pakistanais et Afghans qui émigrent en masse dans la Vieille Europe de façon tant légale (regroupement familial, migrations économiques, visas étudiants, mineurs non-accompagnés…) qu’illégale. (..;) Pour bien comprendre « d’où parlent » les défenseurs des migrants clandestins qui ne cessent d’apostropher Victor Orban, Matteo Salvini ou encore le « diable en chef » Donald Trump pour leurs politiques de contrôle de l’immigration, il suffit de constater le deux poids deux mesures et l’indignation sélective de la gauche et de l’Église catholique qui dénoncent les « populistes européens xénophobes / islamophobes / racistes » mais très peu le néo-Sultan Erdogan et encore moins les pays d’Afrique, du Maghreb, d’Amérique latine ou d’Asie qui répriment extrêmement sévèrement et violemment l’immigration clandestine et / ou l’islamisme. (…) Deux exemples flagrants suffiront à s’en convaincre : l’ONU a récemment condamné « l’islamophobie » européenne et occidentale, notamment de la France et de l’Italie, mais pas les massacres de masse de musulmans en Chine ou en Inde. Ensuite, le 5 septembre 2018, lorsque la marine marocaine a fait tirer sur une embarcation de migrants clandestins, faisant un mort et un blessé grave, puis fait arrêter le capitaine espagnol du bateau, l’ONU n’a pas bronché. Pas plus dans de nombreux cas de mauvais traitements, persécutions de migrants subsahariens ou de chrétiens dans l’ensemble des pays d’Afrique du Nord et arabes. (..;) Les Etats européens et les « militants » antifascistes hostiles aux « populistes » n’ont pas manifesté la moindre indignation face à ces phénomènes récurrents. Pas plus que les antiracistes français et leurs alliés féministes et pro-LGBT ne dénoncent la misogynie et l’homophobie islamiques, de facto exonérées par primat xénophile et auto-racisme anti-occidental. Ce dernier exemple est significatif : loin de se laisser culpabiliser, les autorités marocaines ont pourtant assumé le fait qu’une « unité de combat de la Marine royale » a ouvert le feu sur l’embarcation (un « go-fast » léger) en tuant une passagère. Comme Carola Rackete, le capitaine de la vedette de clandestins n’avait pas obéi aux ordres des militaires marocains l’intimant de stopper sa course. (..;) Morale de l’histoire : l’immigrationnisme des ONG comme la Sea Watch et autres « No Borders » est – comme l’antiracisme à sens unique – une arme subversive tournée contre les seuls peuples blancs-judéo-chrétiens-occidentaux et leurs Etats-Nations souverains. D’évidence, les forces cosmopolitiquement correctes (gauche internationaliste-marxiste ; libéraux-multiculturalistes ; multinationales / Mc Word ; Église catholique ; fédéralistes européens et autres instances onusiennes) veulent détruire en premier lieu les vieilles nations européennes culpabilisées et vieillissantes, sorte de terra nullius en devenir conçue comme le laboratoire de leurs projets néo-impériaux / mondialistes respectifs. (..) Ces différentes forces ne sont pas amies, mais elles convergent dans un même projet de destruction des Etats-souverains occidentaux. Voilà d’où parlent les No Borders. Et à l’aune de ce constat, le fait que le milliardaire Soros et les multinationales précitées sponsorisent des opérations pro-migrants, pourtant exécutées par des ONG et forces de gauche et d’extrême-gauche ou chrétiennes / tiersmondistes, en dit long sur la convergence des forces cosmopolitiquement correctes hostiles à l’Etat-Nation et à la défense de l’identité occidentale. Alexandre del Valle
Cela s’inscrit dans la ligne politique engagée par l’Iran depuis quarante ans. Ils déploient une politique de chantage sans pour autant l’assumer. Ils déploient une politique de chantage sans pour autant l’assumer. Ils jettent de l’huile sur le feu, mais de manière modérée. La seule chose qui leur reste, c’est leur pouvoir de nuisance. Mahnaz Shirali
Le Président américain Donald Trump est présenté comme un abruti erratique guidé par ses impulsions, ignorant et dangereux. Bien que le rapport Mueller ait montré qu’il n’y a jamais eu aucune «collusion» entre Trump et la Russie, les journalistes français en leur grande majorité se refusent à le dire explicitement et à reconnaître qu’ils ont pratiqué la désinformation à dose intensive pendant deux ans. Les résultats obtenus par ­Trump, tant sur le plan intérieur que sur le plan extérieur, sont à peine notés et ne le sont parfois pas du tout. Quand ils le sont, le nom de Trump est le plus souvent omis, comme si le citer positivement, ne serait-ce qu’une seule fois, était absolument impensable. Ce n’est, en soi, pas grave: ­Trump gouverne sans se préoccuper de ce que diront des journalistes français. Cela contribue néanmoins à entraver la compréhension des choses de tous ceux qui ne s’informeraient que grâce à la presse française, et nombre de gens seront dès lors surpris lorsque Trump sera réélu en novembre 2020 (car tout l’indique: il sera réélu). On leur expliquera sans doute que c’est parce que le peuple américain est lui-même ignorant et dangereux. Cela contribue aussi à empêcher de voir que l’action et les idées de Trump ont un impact beaucoup plus vaste, et qui excède de beaucoup les frontières des États-Unis. La politique économique menée par Donald Trump – qui ajoute à une forte baisse des impôts et à une déréglementation radicale, un refus de se soumettre aux lubies écologistes et un nationalisme économique basé sur la renégociation de tous les accords internationaux antécédemment négociés et sur la création de rapports de force – porte ses fruits et mène divers gouvernements sur la planète à adopter des mesures allant dans la même direction. Sa politique intérieure – basée sur un retour à une immigration strictement contrôlée et sur la réaffirmation des valeurs qui fondent la civilisation occidentale – porte, elle aussi, ses fruits, même si elle est, dans plusieurs États du pays, entravée par les décisions délétères de la gauche américaine qui entend protéger les immigrants illégaux (criminels compris). Plusieurs gouvernements sur la planète adoptent des mesures allant dans le même sens. Au Proche-Orient, Donald ­Trump conduit une asphyxie du régime iranien qui progresse et, n’en déplaise à ceux qui refusent de le voir, diminue la dangerosité de celui-ci. Il met en place un rapprochement entre les pays du monde arabe sunnite et Israël qui modifie profondément la donne régionale et, n’en déplaise là encore à ceux qui refusent de le voir, fait apparaître pour la première fois des espoirs réels qu’émerge une paix durable. L’anéantissement de l’État islamique permet de juguler le terrorisme islamique sur les cinq continents. L’action d’endiguement de la Chine communiste déstabilise celle-ci et freine les ambitions hégémoniques nourries par Xi Jinping. La Corée du Nord n’est plus une menace pour la Corée du Sud et le Japon. L’arrivée au pouvoir de Jaïr Bolsonaro au Brésil est au cœur d’un changement majeur dans toute l’Amérique latine. En Europe, Trump ne cesse d’appuyer les dirigeants «populistes» d’Europe centrale contre les orientations anti-démocratiques et islamophiles de l’Union européenne, et la perspective d’une Europe des nations souveraines fait son chemin. L’ère Trump est en son aurore. La grande presse du monde qui parle anglais le dit explicitement. Ne comptez pas sur la grande presse française pour vous le dire! Guy Millière
Trump ne voulait pas du rôle de policier mondial, mais il se trouve obligé de l’assumer, puisqu’il n’y a aucune puissance capable de remplacer les États-Unis dans ce domaine-clé. C’est l’Amérique, pas l’ONU impotente et corrompue, qui maintient les routes commerciales, et le monde entier en profite, gratuitement – comme si cela allait de soi. Or, non seulement, cela ne va pas de soi, mais beaucoup d’obligés geignent contre un pseudo «impérialisme américain», sans jamais se remettre en question. Si l’Amérique trouve certes son compte dans ce service planétaire assuré à grands frais par sa flotte et ses services de surveillance, ce n’est pas elle qui en a le plus besoin, mais ses alliés qui, eux, ne sont pas sevrés du brut que leur vend l’OPEP. C’est aussi l’Amérique qui en assume les risques comme on vient de voir avec la descente en flammes d’un drone de 100 millions de dollars, heureusement sans pilote, qui croisait dans l’espace international et non iranien. Cela, après des attaques iraniennes, sans raison non plus, sur des pétroliers norvégien et japonais. Alors, «l’opinion internationale» (c’est-à-dire la gauche mondialiste et ses médias désinformateurs) se dit «soulagée» que Trump n’ait pas poursuivi «son escalade», mais tous ces trolls qui renversent ignominieusement les responsabilités, déplorent à présent son «manque de stratégie». Qu’est-ce que des anti-américains et anti-militaristes primaires peuvent comprendre aux questions de stratégie avec leur logiciel bloqué? La véritable question est: pourquoi l’ayatollah Khamenei décide-t-il maintenant de provoquer Trump? Les sanctions asphyxient son économie de rente, d’autant que l’aide concoctée par les Européens cupides, hypocrites et lâches, tarde à se matérialiser. Les dirigeants de l’UE, qui mar­chent au pas de l’oie avec Merkel, entretiennent une cécité criminelle vis-à-vis de l’Iran. Sous Merkel, l’Allemagne oublie qu’elle doit tout aux États-Unis. Elle remercie par une politique teigneuse de tarifs douaniers. Elle se targue cyniquement d’être la plus mauvaise payeuse de l’OTAN, achète le gaz de la Russie et refuse le gaz américain. Et voici qu’elle pactise avec les ayatollahs contre les USA. L’Allemagne et l’UE illustrent tout ce qui est inacceptable pour Trump: l’archétype de l’allié félon aux prétentions disproportionnées au vu de la réalité. Et elles sont coupables de négligence inadmissible envers notre sécurité collective en dissimulant le danger pour l’Occident qu’est la République islamique, nullement différente (dans ses visées hégémoniques et ses méthodes internes brutales) de l’État islamique que l’Iran aidait et que Trump a éradiqué. L’Iran n’a jamais cessé l’enrichissement d’uranium et continue d’alimenter le terrorisme islamique. Les sanctions ne sont que justice et, malgré leur dureté renforcée, Trump espère des Iraniens éclairés un énième et décisif soulèvement contre ses dirigeants. Car il n’en a qu’après ce régime meurtrier et sympathise avec les Iraniens, mais il leur rappelle qu’il ne peut intervenir militairement, sauf attaque avec victimes américaines, auquel cas la réponse serait foudroyante. Loin de vouloir la guerre, il veut «redonner à l’Iran sa grandeur». Khamenei sait qu’à la Maison Blanche, Trump s’est entouré volontairement de conseillers aux vues opposées qui représentent chacun une partie de la base de Trump et qui constituent un «brain-trust». Il table sur le fait que Trump est tenu par l’impératif de sa réélection. Les « deux côtés de l’équation », comme Trump les appelle, sont parfaitement honorables et défendent des arguments que l’on ne peut négliger. Pour le moment, le côté «colombe» exulte, les isolationnistes, les libertariens, et toute la mouvance du «The American Conservative». Les «faucons» comprennent que l’heure de l’action militaire n’est pas venue. Mais ce serait mal connaître ­Trump que de penser qu’il ne va pas trouver le moyen de faire payer aux criminels de Téhéran leurs méfaits. Il doit, seul, parvenir à empêcher les ayatollahs d’accéder au nucléaire et faire cesser leur financement du terrorisme, sans engager de troupes et sans dépenser des milliards. C’est une tâche de police mondiale à laquelle les Européens devraient participer. La stratégie de Trump, c’est de voir venir, de ne pas dévoiler son jeu et de se tenir prêt à frapper. Ceux qui lui font confiance ne sont pas inquiets et savourent un divertissement politique quotidien de qualité. Evelyne Joslain
Critics describe President Donald Trump’s foreign policy as a muddled, unpredictable collection of impulses, with the one organizing principle being the coddling of like-minded, ruthless dictators. But there is, in fact, a defining diplomatic strategy: He is cleaning up the messes left by his predecessors. Trump, regularly derided as the most irresponsible of presidents, is actually taking ownership of the most terrifying problems the country faces and trying to solve them in a direct way that his recent predecessors avoided. With respect to Iran, China, North Korea and even Russia, Trump is taking tough stances. He is getting cozy with dictators because the man who considers himself an artist of the deal understands that those are the people he must strike bargains with. Under Trump, China has finally been recognized as a long-term strategic opponent and potential enemy, rather than a nation of billions yearning for democracy. Capitalism has indeed taken hold in China — though without economic nor political liberalization. Instead, authoritarian China is using its newfound riches to expand its economic, political and military influence. Since Clinton permanently normalized trade relations with China in 2000, American manufacturing has relocated to China for its cheap labor, the Chinese have consistently cheated on trade and the annual U.S. trade deficit with China has soared from $83 billion to a record $419 billion in 2018. Recognizing that placating China and quietly nudging it to play fair is not going to work; Trump has taken a more direct approach and assessed tariffs on Chinese imports while threatening even more. The Chinese are now at the table, talking, and Washington may at last secure a more equitable deal. After two and a half decades of Washington dithering, by 2017 the North Koreans were on the cusp of being able to load their bombs on missiles that could reach the continental United States. So Trump decided to try something different. (…) Trump likely cannot succeed in disarming Kim of his weapons by disarming him personally. The North Korean dictator is probably just buying more time. But Trump is at least taking an unconventional approach rather than re-enacting the failures of the past. Since Clinton, administrations have fostered quixotic illusions of reasonable moderates within the Tehran leadership. But there was little change in that country’s behavior — which has included supporting terrorist groups like Hezbollah and killing more than 600 U.S. troops in Iraq through militia surrogates. Obama’s 2015 Iran deal was the ultimate can-kicking exercise, granting Iran sanctions relief in return for limits on its nuclear program that would expire over the next dozen years. The arrangement could have given Iran the cash it would need to complete its nuclear ambitions once sunset clauses allowing it to enrich more uranium were invoked. (…) But Trump has reasoned the time to get tough with Iran is now, not in a dozen years when they are stronger and have perfected technologies related to nuclear weapons. U.S. policy toward Russia pre-Trump had also been marked by years of complacency — remember Russian President Vladimir Putin convincing Bush there was a soul behind his eyes? During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama dismissed Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s concerns about Russia with a quip about the 1980s wanting its foreign policy back. Obama was also caught on an open mic whispering to Russia’s then-President Dmitri Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” after the election. (…) Trump’s administration, Foreign Policy explained, “has held a tough line on Russia, building on his predecessor’s policies by layering on further sanctions, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, and providing lethal weapons support to Ukraine — a step that former President Barack Obama had been unwilling to take.” Trump’s demand that European nations pay their North Atlantic Treaty Organization obligations — another can regularly kicked down the road — might seem hostile toward long-time allies, but ensures they have skin in the game when it comes to confronting Russia. The Washington establishment, so used to conventional ways, is aghast. But business as usual has strengthened our enemies. Trump’s iconoclasm is worth a try. Keith Koffler
Presidents are drawn to intellectuals — thinkers who can elevate their impulses, distill coherence from chaos and sometimes write the very history they helped shape. It is not always a fruitful partnership. John F. Kennedy had wordsmiths and chroniclers in Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., as well as the whiz kids who authored Vietnam. George W. Bush met with historians, philosophers and theologians during dark times in his presidency, when the fiasco of Iraq weighed heavy. Ronald Reagan leaned on the governing plans of the Heritage Foundation, while Bill Clinton combined endless policy salons with the centrist blueprints of the Democratic Leadership Council. Barack Obama had, well, himself. And recall how Jimmy Carter took inspiration from the writings of Christopher Lasch for his ill-fated “malaise” speech in 1979. Yes, surrounding yourself with the brightest does not always prove best. Being a Trump intellectual is an entirely different task. Donald Trump won the White House campaigning against established expertise. He doesn’t like to read beyond a page or so. His brain trust is more “Fox & Friends” than American Enterprise Institute, his influences more Bannon than Buckley. (…) Presidents and intellectuals are always an awkward love affair, especially so when one side seems desperate and the other indifferent. Trump has seemed more concerned about retaining the affections of conservative media figures such as Fox News host Sean Hannity or commentator Ann Coulter, whose 2015 book “Adios, America” likely inspired his attack on Mexican immigrants in the speech announcing his presidential bid. Yet, for all their declared high principle, Trump’s intellectuals have tied themselves to the whims and feuds of their leader, captive minds to that indefinable mix of ideology, impulse and invective known as Trumpism. Hanson, to his credit, attempts to define it in broad terms. Trumpism, he concludes, “was the idea that there were no longer taboo subjects. Everything was open for negotiation; nothing was sacred.” A useful interpretation, but a partial one. Even if nothing is sacred, must everything be profane? (…)  In September 2016, Michael Anton, a former aide in the George W. Bush White House, published “The Flight 93 Election,” a pseudonymous essay that previewed this adversarial fixation in melodramatic terms. Voting for Trump, he wrote in the Claremont Review of Books, was like charging the cockpit of a hijacked plane on Sept. 11, 2001. You might die, but if you do nothing, death is certain. A Hillary Clinton presidency would constitute an extinction-level event for American freedom and true conservatism; it would be “pedal-to-the-metal on the entire progressive-Left agenda.” Or, as Anton put it in an excess of metaphor, “Russian Roulette with a semi-auto.” The essay drew criticism for its imagery, anonymity and hostility toward conventional conservatives as well as immigrants — Anton decried America’s “ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners” — thus making the writer a perfect candidate for a job in the Trump White House. Anton, whose identity was revealed by the late Weekly Standard, served for 14 months as a National Security Council official. Then-White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon dubbed him “one of the most significant intellects in this nationalist movement.” So with his new book, “After the Flight 93 Election,” Anton would seem well-positioned to move beyond the election and argue a more concrete case for the president, drawing on the administration’s first two years and on the author’s experience in the Trump White House. Except Anton doesn’t even try; the “After” of his title is an afterthought. Instead, he reprints his original essay, plus a follow-up “restatement” that was posted a week later, arguing that Trump constituted “the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation” and that concerns over despotism were pointless because the candidate was more “buffoon” than tyrant. Also, Hillary was still way worse. The book’s only new material is the preface and a lengthy rumination (titled “Pre-Statement on Flight 93”) that purports to explain “the essences of conservatism, Americanism, and Western civilization, and to review the main threats to their survival.” The system of federalism, separation of powers and limited government bequeathed to us by the founders is under siege, Anton writes, and the barbarians rattling the gate are the latest iteration of early-20th-century progressives and 1960s radicals, justifying an ever-expanding administrative state with social-justice mantras of personal identity. “The post-1960s Left co-opts the language of ‘justice’ and ‘rights’ as a rhetorical device to get what it wants: the transfer of power, honor, and wealth between groups as retribution for past offenses.” The result, Anton contends, is crime, family dissolution, weak foreign policy, limitless government and restricted speech. (…) In “The Case for Trump,” historian Victor Davis Hanson also treats 2016 as a reaction by voters tired of progressive orthodoxy, globalization and left-wing identity politics. “Trump did not create these divides,” Hanson writes. “He simply found existing sectarianism politically useful.” Trump’s insults, vile language and incessant denigration of opponents are just part of his “uncouth authenticity,” which appeals to supporters and enrages the rest. From the start of his campaign, Trump displayed “an uncanny ability to troll and create hysteria among his media and political critics,” Hanson marvels. “In their anti-Trump rage, they revealed their own character flaws.” Hanson relishes those flaws, and, despite the title, his book focuses less on the case for Trump than on the case against everyone else. Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” line typified the “toxic venom” with which liberals regard the nation’s interior, he writes, while Clinton’s past misdeeds, real or alleged, provided “scandal vaccination” for Trump’s bankruptcies, sexual misconduct and endless lawsuits. Clinton’s problem, Hanson explains, was threefold: She lied so much that her various deceptions could not be reconciled; she never learned from her past scandals; and she thought herself exempt from accountability. The fact that this trifecta nicely describes Trump’s behavior while in office does not seem to occur to Hanson. He’d rather indulge in casual sexism, criticizing Clinton’s “shrill” voice and her “signature off-putting laugh,” and inexplicably suggesting that while “Trump’s bulk fueled a monstrous energy; Hillary’s girth sapped her strength.” Hanson, a senior fellow with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, assails the “deep state,” even while acknowledging that Trump’s use of the term is so vague as to be meaningless. He praises the “inspired” and “impressive” Cabinet members Trump has assembled, largely forgetting their high-profile scandals, conflicts of interest, obeisance and resignations. “The Case for Trump” is notable for such omissions. (…) Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer disagree with some of Trump’s hard-line positions on immigration and worry about his trade protectionism. “To say the least, Donald Trump is a work in progress on trade,” they admit. “He is playing a high-stakes game of poker here with a big upside. But if it doesn’t work, the ramifications scare us to death.” So why did the veteran conservative economists sign on as advisers for Trump’s 2016 campaign, and why did they write a book — titled “Trumponomics” and published late last year — enthusiastically defending the economic policies and instincts of a leader who thinks trade wars are good and easy to win? The answer is simple: “We liked his tax plan.” Forget single-issue voters; Moore and Laffer are single-issue thinkers. Cutting taxes is the siren that lured them to Trump, and for which they appear willing to make any substantive or intellectual sacrifices. The authors recount their role in helping shape the 2017 tax bill — they’re especially proud of their op-eds, which they quote extensively in the book, along with praise thereof — and reiterate their belief that tax cuts and deregulation will unleash so much economic activity that hard choices melt away. “We have always believed that the shrewdest way to make entitlement programs solvent is to restore rapid growth,” they write. And they swoon over Trump’s “unyielding optimism” about the nation’s economic potential, even when he embraces growth projections that the two economists consider unrealistic. Washington Post
Hanson himself calls Trump “flawed,” but his presidency exemplary. Hanson is a retired classics professor from California State University, Fresno, and senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and he has written two dozen books on topics ranging from the ancient world to the Second World War. He lives on a working farm in a multiracial, rural area in the interior of California, southeast of San Francisco. He doesn’t live in an Ivory Tower. He also uses his hometown of Selma as a classic example of why America elected Trump. Once prosperous with family-run farms and food-processing plants and other manufacturing jobs, now most jobs are gone, unemployment high, crime and drug abuse commonplace. “In 1970, we did not have keys for our outside doors; in 2018, I have six guard dogs,” he writes.  While he is a conservative with an upfront agenda, his critics come from the left and the right. One of the nastiest attacks upon Hanson comes from a Republican who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and calls him a “Nazi sympathizer,” “racist enabler” and a “treasonous sophist.” A liberal writer says it’s oxymoronic to call Hanson a “pro-Trump intellectual.” If his ideas are ticking off both ends of the spectrum, they must have some merit, or, at the very least, be interesting. In defending his book, Hanson’s tone is civil. He tells stories from antiquity to make a point; or he acknowledges that Trump is a blowhard like the character Rodney Dangerfield played in the movie Caddyshack. But that doesn’t mean Trump’s policies aren’t working, he says. When one defends a position with reasoned thought, instead of rants and personal attacks like so many Trump supporters and detractors, it’s a welcome change. Some of Hanson’s observations are disagreeable, others are worthy of pointing out and giving Trump his due.  For example, Trump’s stand towards China and its murky trade practices is a reprieve from the appeasement of recent years. His support of the Catholic and Jewish faiths is also admirable. Ultimately, though, The Case for Trump crumbles on two fundamental points. It is disingenuous to separate the man from the presidency, but Hanson does. “Trump’s own uncouthness,” he writes, “was in its own manner contextualized by his supporters as a long overdue pushback to the elite disdain and indeed hatred shown them.”  Hanson also points out character flaws in former presidents as somehow a reason to hand Trump a “get-out-of-jail-free-card” for his extracurricular activities with hookers and porn stars. “It doesn’t mean Donald Trump is a saint,” Hanson said during a recorded book tour event, “but he’s not an aberration either.” My mother often said “two wrongs don’t make a right” and that applies here, along with Trump’s penchant to surround himself with hucksters, grifters, con men, liars and felons. Then there are the relentless and often vicious personal tweets and attacks on the Constitution. Sorry, but these character cancers cannot be ignored simply because one likes Trump’s tax cuts and deregulation that may or may not have boosted economic growth. Besides, Hanson doesn’t make the case — with hard facts — that Trump’s policies are actually working. Has picking on allies like Canada really helped Wisconsin dairy farmers? Has he really tamed Kim Jong Un and his nuclear aspirations? Have Trump policies really boosted growth more than simply the cyclical nature of the economy itself? The list goes on and on. Trump opponents probably won’t read the book, but it’s not your regular right-wing diatribe camouflaged as a book. It’s readable and, at times, highly entertaining in how he skewers Trump’s adversaries. But, in the end, the book can’t make a case that electing a status quo disruptor like Donald Trump is any more than a Pyrrhic victory in the classical tragic sense. Bob Brehl
One lesson, however, has not fully sunk in and awaits final elucidation in the 2012 election: that of the Chicago style of Barack Obama’s politicking. In 2008 few of the true believers accepted that, in his first political race, in 1996, Barack Obama sued successfully to remove his opponents from the ballot. Or that in his race for the US Senate eight years later, sealed divorced records for both his primary- and general-election opponents were mysteriously leaked by unnamed Chicagoans, leading to the implosions of both candidates’ campaigns. Or that Obama was the first presidential candidate in the history of public campaign financing to reject it, or that he was also the largest recipient of cash from Wall Street in general, and from BP and Goldman Sachs in particular. Or that Obama was the first presidential candidate in recent memory not to disclose either undergraduate records or even partial medical. Or that remarks like “typical white person,” the clingers speech, and the spread-the-wealth quip would soon prove to be characteristic rather than anomalous. Few American presidents have dashed so many popular, deeply embedded illusions as has Barack Obama. And for that, we owe him a strange sort of thanks. Victor Davis Hanson
Presidents run for re-election against real opponents, not public perceptions. For all the media hype, voters often pick the lesser of two evils, not their ideals of a perfect candidate. Victor Davis Hanson
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
What makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism from an advancing civilization that they seek to protect. And yet they willingly accept the challenge to be of service . . . Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change . . . In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism . . . or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries. Victor Davis Hanson
Trump’s own uncouthness was in its own manner contextualized by his supporters as a long overdue pushback to the elite disdain and indeed hatred shown them. (…) Trumpism was the idea that there were no longer taboo subjects. Everything was open for negotiation; nothing was sacred. Victor Davis Hanson
The very idea that Donald Trump could, even in a perverse way, be heroic may appall half the country. Nonetheless, one way of understanding both Trump’s personal excesses and his accomplishments is that his not being traditionally presidential may have been valuable in bringing long-overdue changes in foreign and domestic policy. Tragic heroes, as they have been portrayed from Sophocles’ plays (e.g., Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes) to the modern western film, are not intrinsically noble. Much less are they likeable. Certainly, they can often be obnoxious and petty, if not dangerous, especially to those around them. These mercurial sorts never end well — and on occasion neither do those in their vicinity. Oedipus was rudely narcissistic, Hombre’s John Russell (Paul Newman) arrogant and off-putting. Tragic heroes are loners, both by preference and because of society’s understandable unease with them. Ajax’s soliloquies about a rigged system and the lack of recognition accorded his undeniable accomplishments are Trumpian to the core — something akin to the sensational rumors that at night Trump is holed up alone, petulant, brooding, eating fast food, and watching Fox News shows. Outlaw leader Pike Bishop (William Holden), in director Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, is a killer whose final gory sacrifice results in the slaughter of the toxic General Mapache and his corrupt local Federales. A foreboding Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), of John Ford’s classic 1956 film The Searchers, alone can track down his kidnapped niece. But his methods and his recent past as a Confederate renegade make him suspect and largely unfit for a civilizing frontier after the expiration of his transitory usefulness. These characters are not the sorts that we would associate with Bob Dole, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, or Mitt Romney. The tragic hero’s change of fortune — often from good to bad, as Aristotle reminds us — is due to an innate flaw (hamartia), or at least in some cases an intrinsic and usually uncivilized trait that can be of service to the community, albeit usually expressed fully only at the expense of the hero’s own fortune. The problem for civilization is that the creation of those skill sets often brings with it past baggage of lawlessness and comfortability with violence. Trump’s cunning and mercurialness, honed in Manhattan real estate, global salesmanship, reality TV, and wheeler-dealer investments, may have earned him ostracism from polite Washington society. But these talents also may for a time be suited for dealing with many of the outlaws of the global frontier. (…) So what makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their full knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism. Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change, given his megalomania and Manichean views of the human experience. Clint Eastwood’s Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan cannot serve as the official face of the San Francisco police department. But Dirty Harry alone has the skills and ruthlessness to ensure that the mass murderer Scorpio will never harm the innocent again. So, in the finale, he taunts and then shoots the psychopathic Scorpio, ending both their careers, and walks off — after throwing his inspector’s badge into the water. Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) of High Noon did about the same thing, but only after gunning down (with the help of his wife) four killers whom the law-abiding but temporizing elders of Hadleyville proved utterly incapable of stopping. (…) In other words, tragic heroes are often simply too volatile to continue in polite society. In George Stevens’s classic 1953 western Shane, even the reforming and soft-spoken gunslinger Shane (Alan Ladd) understands his own dilemma all too well: He alone possesses the violent skills necessary to free the homesteaders from the insidious threats of hired guns and murderous cattle barons. (And how he got those skills worries those he plans to help.) Yet by the time of his final resort to lethal violence, Shane has sacrificed all prior chances of reform and claims on reentering the civilized world of the stable “sodbuster” community. (…) Trump could not cease tweeting, not cease his rallies, not cease his feuding, and not cease his nonstop motion and unbridled speech if he wished to. It is his brand, and such overbearing made Trump, for good or evil, what he is — and will likely eventually banish him from establishment Washington, whether after or during his elected term. His raucousness can be managed, perhaps mitigated for a time — thus the effective tenure of his sober cabinet choices and his chief of staff, the ex–Marine general, no-nonsense John Kelly — but not eliminated. His blunt views cannot really thrive, and indeed can scarcely survive, in the nuance, complexity, and ambiguity of Washington. Trump is not a mannered Mitt Romney, who would never have left the Paris climate agreement. He is not a veteran who knew the whiz of real bullets and remains a Washington icon, such as John McCain, who would never have moved the American embassy to Jerusalem. Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush certainly would never have waded into no-win controversies such as the take-a-knee NFL debacle and unvetted immigration from suspect countries in the Middle East and Africa, or called to account sanctuary cities that thwarted federal law. Our modern Agamemnon, Speaker Paul Ryan, is too circumspect to get caught up with Trump’s wall or a mini-trade war with China. Trump does not seem to care whether he is acting “presidential.” The word — as he admits — is foreign to him. He does not worry whether his furious tweets, his revolving-door firing and hiring, and his rally counterpunches reveal a lack of stature or are becoming an embarrassing window into his own insecurities and apprehensions as a Beltway media world closes in upon him in the manner that, as the trapped western hero felt, the shrinking landscape was increasingly without options in the new 20th century. The real moral question is not whether the gunslinger Trump could or should become civilized (again, defined in our context as becoming normalized as “presidential”) but whether he could be of service at the opportune time and right place for his country, crude as he is. After all, despite their decency, in extremis did the frontier farmers have a solution without Shane, or the Mexican peasants a realistic alternative to the Magnificent Seven, or the town elders a viable plan without Will Kane? Perhaps we could not withstand the fire and smoke of a series of Trump presidencies, but given the direction of the country over the last 16 years, half the population, the proverbial townspeople of the western, wanted some outsider, even with a dubious past, to ride in and do things that most normal politicians not only would not but could not do — before exiting stage left or riding off into the sunset, to the relief of most and the regrets of a few. The best and the brightest résumés of the Bush and Obama administrations had doubled the national debt — twice. Three prior presidents had helped to empower North Korea, now with nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at the West Coast. Supposedly refined and sophisticated diplomats of the last quarter century, who would never utter the name “Rocket Man” or stoop to call Kim Jong-un “short and fat,” nonetheless had gone through the “agreed framework,” “six-party talks,” and “strategic patience,” in which three administrations gave Pyongyang quite massive aid to behave and either not to proliferate or at least to denuclearize. And it was all a failure, and a deadly one at that. For all of Obama’s sophisticated discourse about “spread the wealth around” and “You didn’t build that,” quantitative easing, zero interest rates, massive new regulations, the stimulus, and shovel-ready, government-inspired jobs, he could not achieve 3 percent annualized economic growth. Half the country, the more desperate half, believed that the remedy for a government in which the IRS, the FBI, the DOJ, and the NSA were weaponized, often in partisan fashion and without worry about the civil liberties of American citizens, was not more temporizing technicians but a pariah who cleaned house and moved on. Certainly Obama was not willing to have a showdown with the Chinese over their widely acknowledged cheating and coerced expropriation of U.S. technology, with the NATO allies over their chronic welching on prior defense commitments, with the North Koreans after they achieved the capability of hitting U.S. West Coast cities, or with the European Union over its mostly empty climate-change accords. Moving on, sometimes fatally so, is the tragic hero’s operative exit. Antigone certainly makes her point about the absurdity of small men’s sexism and moral emptiness in such an uncompromising way that her own doom is assured. Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, unheroically kills the thuggish Liberty Valance, births the career of Ranse Stoddard and his marriage to Doniphon’s girlfriend, and thereby ensures civilization is Shinbone’s frontier future. His service done, he burns down his house and degenerates from feared rancher to alcoholic outcast. (…) He knows that few appreciate that the tragic heroes in their midst are either tragic or heroic — until they are safely gone and what they have done in time can be attributed to someone else. Worse, he knows that the tragic hero’s existence is solitary and without the nourishing networks and affirmation of the peasant’s agrarian life. (…) By his very excesses Trump has already lost, but in his losing he might alone be able to end some things that long ago should have been ended. Victor Davis Hanson
That is how human nature is. (…) if you talk to people in the military, the diplomatic corps, the academic world, and, just to take one example, China, they will tell you in the last two years they have had an awakening. They feel that Chinese military superiority is now to deny help to America’s allies. They believe that the trade deficit is unsustainable. They will tell you all of that, and you are almost listening to Donald Trump in 2015, but they won’t mention the word “Trump,” because to do so would contaminate that argument. What I am getting at is he looked at the world empirically. (…) he said, “This is what’s wrong, and this is what we would have to do to address this problem.” And he said it in such a way—whether he wanted to say it in that way or whether he was forced to say it in that way, I don’t know—but he said it in such a way that was designed to grab attention, to be polarizing, to get through bureaucratic doublespeak. So now he succeeded, but if I were to ask anybody at Stanford University, or anybody that I know is a four-star general or a diplomat, “What caused your sudden change about China?,” they would not say Donald Trump, and yet we know who it was. [Like a hero out of Greek myth] as long as we understand the word “hero.” Americans don’t know what that word means. They think it means you live happily ever after or you are selfless. Whether it is Achilles or Sophocles’s Ajax or Antigone, they can act out of insecurity, they can act out of impatience—they can act out of all sorts of motives that are less than what we say in America are heroic. But the point that they are making is, I see a skill that I have. I see a problem. I want to solve that problem, and I want to solve that problem so much that the ensuing reaction to that solution may not necessarily be good for me. And they accept that. (…) I tried to use as many examples as I could of the classic Western, whether it was “Shane” or “High Noon” or “The Magnificent Seven.” They all are the same—the community doesn’t have the skills or doesn’t have the willpower or doesn’t want to stoop to the corrective method to solve the existential problem, whether it is cattle barons or banditos. So they bring in an outsider, and immediately they start to be uneasy because he is uncouth—his skills, his attitude—and then he solves the problem, and they declare to him, whether it is Gary Cooper in “High Noon” or Alan Ladd in “Shane,” “I think it’s better you leave. We don’t need you anymore. We feel dirty that we ever had to call you in.” I think that is what is awaiting Trump. (…) I think Trump really did think that there were certain problems and he had particular skills that he could solve. Maybe in a naïve fashion. But I think he understood, for all the emoluments-clause hysteria, that he wasn’t going to make a lot of money from it or be liked for it. (…) I look at everything empirically. I know what the left said, and the media said, but I ask myself, “What actually happened?” There are a billion Muslims in the world, and he has, I think, six countries who were not able to substantiate that their passports were vetted. [Trump’s final travel plan limits or prevents travel from seven countries.] We didn’t even, in the final calibration, base it on religion. I think we have two countries that are not predominantly Muslim. (…) As far as separation, I remember very carefully that the whole child separation was started during Barack Obama. (…) It was unapologetically said this came from Obama and we are going to continue to practice deterrence. As someone who lives in a community that is ninety per cent Hispanic, probably forty per cent undocumented, I can tell you that it’s a very different world from what people are talking about in Washington. I have had people knock on my door and ask me where the ob-gyn lives, because they got her name in Oaxaca. And the woman in the car is six months pregnant and living across the border and given the name of a nice doctor in Selma, California, that will deliver the baby. (…) It has happened once, but I know people who come from Mexico with the names of doctors and clinics in Fresno County where they know they will get, for free, twenty to thirty thousand dollars of medical care and an anchor baby. I know that’s supposed to be an uncouth thing to say. (…) As I am talking right now, I have a guy, a U.S. citizen, tiling my kitchen, and he does not like the idea that people hire people illegally for twelve dollars an hour in cash, when he should be getting eighteen, nineteen, twenty dollars. But, when you make these arguments, they are just brushed aside by the left or the media, by saying, oh, these are anecdotal or racist or stereotype. (…) [Trump saying there were good people on both sides] was very clumsy (…) But there wasn’t a monolithic white racist protest movement. There were collections of people. Some of them were just out there because maybe they are deluded and maybe they are not. I don’t know what their hearts are like, but they did not want statues torn down or defaced. (…) You can argue that what was O.K. in 2010 suddenly was racist in 2017. But, in today’s polarized climate, Trump should have said, “While both groups are demonstrating, we can’t have a group on any side that identifies by race.” He should have said that. He just said there were good people on both sides. It was clumsy. (…) I was trying to look at Trump in classical terms, so words like eirôneia, or irony—how could it be that the Republican Party supposedly was empathetic, but a millionaire, a billionaire Manhattanite started using terms I had never heard Romney or McCain or Paul Ryan say? He started saying “our.” Our miners. And then, on the left, every time Hillary Clinton went before a Southern audience, she started speaking in a Southern accent. And Barack Obama, I think you would agree, when he gets before an inner-city audience, he suddenly sounded as if he spoke in a black patois. When Trump went to any of these groups, he had the same tie, the same suit, the same accent. What people thought was that, whatever he is, he is authentic. (…) I read a great deal about the Mar-a-Lago project, and I was shocked that the people who opposed that on cultural and social grounds were largely anti-Semitic. Trump had already announced that he was not going to discriminate against Jews and Mexicans and other people. He said, “I want wealthy people.” I went to Palm Beach and talked to wealthy Jewish donors and Cubans, and they said the same thing to me—“He likes rich people. He doesn’t care what you look like.” (…) I don’t know what the driving force was, but I found that he was indifferent. And I think the same thing is true of blacks and Hispanics. (…)  [using birtherism as a way of discrediting Obama]  was absurd. I think it was demonstrable that Obama was born in the United States. The only ambiguity was that two things gave rise to the conspiracy theorists. One was—and I think this is a hundred-per-cent accurate—an advertising group that worked in concert with his publisher put on a booklet that Obama was born in Kenya. That gave third-world cachet to “Dreams from My Father.” And he didn’t look at it or didn’t change it. [In 1991, four years before Obama’s first book was published, his literary agency incorrectly stated on a client list that Obama was born in Kenya.] And he left as a young kid and went to Indonesia and applied when he came back as a Fulbright Fellow, and I don’t know if this is substantiated or just rumor, but he probably was given dual citizenship. [The claim that Obama was a Fulbright Fellow from Indonesia, and therefore had Indonesian citizenship, originated in a hoax e-mail, from April 1, 2009, and has been discredited.] (…) What I am getting at is, here you have a guy named Barack Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, and there were indications in his past that there was ambiguity. (…) I think Trump was doing what Trump does, which is trying to sensationalize it. I don’t think it was racial. I think it was political. (…) I mean carefully calibrated in a political sense. That’s my point. Not that it was careful in the sense of being humane or sympathetic. By that I mean, there were elements in Ted Cruz’s personality that offended people. And he got Ted Cruz really angry, and Ted Cruz doesn’t come across well. (…) if you go back and look at the worst tweets, they are retaliatory. What he does is he waits like a coiled cobra until people attack him, and then he attacks them in a much cruder, blunter fashion. And he has an uncanny ability to pick people that have attacked him, whether it’s Rosie O’Donnell, Megyn Kelly—there were elements in all those people’s careers that were starting to bother people, and Trump sensed that out. I don’t think he would have gotten away with taking on other people that were completely beloved. Colin Kaepernick. People were getting tired of him, so he took him on. All that stuff was calibrated. Trump was replying and understood public sympathy would be at least fifty-fifty, if not in his favor. Victor Davis Hanson

Et si, à l’instar de la démocratie selon Churchill, Donald Trump était le pire président – à l’exception de tous les autres ?

En ces temps proprement orwelliens

Où des élus démocrates assimilent aux camps nazis les camps de rétention pour migrants clandestins …

Ou, entre deux subventions de l’avortement à quasi-terme ou des transsexuels, des candidats du même parti proposent de décriminaliser l’immigration illégale …

Pendant que de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, on célèbre avec le maître-démagoque du Vatican et une Mairie de Paris plus touristophile que jamais le trafic d’êtres humains …

Et après 30 ou 40 ans de tolérance …

D’une Corée du nord finalement capable d’atteindre avec ses missiles nucléaires la totalité du territoire américain

D’un Iran menaçant un de ses voisins de rayage de la carte et mettant l’ensemble de la région à feu et à sang …

D’une Chine empilant les surplus commerciaux grâce au pillage des secrets industriels de ses partenaires tout en militarisant les eaux territoriales de ses voisins

D’une Allemagne accumulant elle aussi les excédents commerciaux tout en réduisant à 1,25% sa contribution à ses défenses militaires …

Comment brusquement ne pas voir …

Avec l’historien américain Victor Davis Hanson

Ou les politologues français Guy Millière ou Evelyne Joslain

Ou même le grand manitou du néoconservatisme Norman Podhoretz

Comme l’avait pressenti dès son élection l’ancien secrétaire d’etat Henry Kissinger lui-même …

Et avec ses électeurs de 2016 comme probablement de 2020 …

La véritable force finalement des si nombreuses faiblesses …

Y compris pour les plus pragmatiques des évangéliques

D’un président aussi peu « présidentiel » que l’actuel président américain ?

Donald Trump, Tragic Hero
His very flaws may be his strengths
Victor Davis Hanson
April 12, 2018

The very idea that Donald Trump could, even in a perverse way, be heroic may appall half the country. Nonetheless, one way of understanding both Trump’s personal excesses and his accomplishments is that his not being traditionally presidential may have been valuable in bringing long-overdue changes in foreign and domestic policy.

Tragic heroes, as they have been portrayed from Sophocles’ plays (e.g., Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes) to the modern western film, are not intrinsically noble. Much less are they likeable. Certainly, they can often be obnoxious and petty, if not dangerous, especially to those around them. These mercurial sorts never end well — and on occasion neither do those in their vicinity. Oedipus was rudely narcissistic, Hombre’s John Russell (Paul Newman) arrogant and off-putting.

Tragic heroes are loners, both by preference and because of society’s understandable unease with them. Ajax’s soliloquies about a rigged system and the lack of recognition accorded his undeniable accomplishments are Trumpian to the core — something akin to the sensational rumors that at night Trump is holed up alone, petulant, brooding, eating fast food, and watching Fox News shows.

Outlaw leader Pike Bishop (William Holden), in director Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, is a killer whose final gory sacrifice results in the slaughter of the toxic General Mapache and his corrupt local Federales. A foreboding Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), of John Ford’s classic 1956 film The Searchers, alone can track down his kidnapped niece. But his methods and his recent past as a Confederate renegade make him suspect and largely unfit for a civilizing frontier after the expiration of his transitory usefulness. These characters are not the sorts that we would associate with Bob Dole, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, or Mitt Romney.

The tragic hero’s change of fortune — often from good to bad, as Aristotle reminds us — is due to an innate flaw (hamartia), or at least in some cases an intrinsic and usually uncivilized trait that can be of service to the community, albeit usually expressed fully only at the expense of the hero’s own fortune. The problem for civilization is that the creation of those skill sets often brings with it past baggage of lawlessness and comfortability with violence. Trump’s cunning and mercurialness, honed in Manhattan real estate, global salesmanship, reality TV, and wheeler-dealer investments, may have earned him ostracism from polite Washington society. But these talents also may for a time be suited for dealing with many of the outlaws of the global frontier.

At rare times, a General George S. Patton (“Give me an army of West Point graduates and I’ll win a battle. Give me a handful of Texas Aggies and I’ll win a war”) could be harnessed to serve the country in extremis. General Curtis LeMay did what others could not — and would not: “I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. . . . Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.” Later, the public exposure given to the mentalities and behaviors of such controversial figures would only ensure that they would likely be estranged from or even caricatured by their peers — once, of course, they were no longer needed by those whom they had benefited. When one is willing to burn down with napalm 75 percent of the industrial core of an often-genocidal wartime Japan, and thereby help bring a vicious war to an end, then one looks for sorts like Curtis LeMay and his B-29s. In the later calm of peace, one is often shocked that one ever had. A sober and judicious General Omar Bradley grows on us in peace even if he was hardly Patton in war.

So what makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their full knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism. Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change, given his megalomania and Manichean views of the human experience. Clint Eastwood’s Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan cannot serve as the official face of the San Francisco police department. But Dirty Harry alone has the skills and ruthlessness to ensure that the mass murderer Scorpio will never harm the innocent again. So, in the finale, he taunts and then shoots the psychopathic Scorpio, ending both their careers, and walks off — after throwing his inspector’s badge into the water. Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) of High Noon did about the same thing, but only after gunning down (with the help of his wife) four killers whom the law-abiding but temporizing elders of Hadleyville proved utterly incapable of stopping.

The out-of-place Ajax in Sophocles’ tragedy of the same name cannot function apart from the battlefield. Unlike Odysseus, he lacks the tact and fluidity to succeed in a new world of nuanced civic rules. So he would rather “live nobly, or nobly die” — “nobly” meaning according to an obsolete black-and-white code that is no longer compatible with the ascendant polis.

In other words, tragic heroes are often simply too volatile to continue in polite society. In George Stevens’s classic 1953 western Shane, even the reforming and soft-spoken gunslinger Shane (Alan Ladd) understands his own dilemma all too well: He alone possesses the violent skills necessary to free the homesteaders from the insidious threats of hired guns and murderous cattle barons. (And how he got those skills worries those he plans to help.) Yet by the time of his final resort to lethal violence, Shane has sacrificed all prior chances of reform and claims on reentering the civilized world of the stable “sodbuster” community. As Shane tells young Joey after gunning down the three villains of the film and thereby saving the small farming community: “Can’t break the mold. I tried it, and it didn’t work for me. . . . Joey, there’s no living with . . . a killing. There’s no going back from one. Right or wrong, it’s a brand. A brand sticks. There’s no going back.”

Trump could not cease tweeting, not cease his rallies, not cease his feuding, and not cease his nonstop motion and unbridled speech if he wished to. It is his brand, and such overbearing made Trump, for good or evil, what he is — and will likely eventually banish him from establishment Washington, whether after or during his elected term. His raucousness can be managed, perhaps mitigated for a time — thus the effective tenure of his sober cabinet choices and his chief of staff, the ex–Marine general, no-nonsense John Kelly — but not eliminated. His blunt views cannot really thrive, and indeed can scarcely survive, in the nuance, complexity, and ambiguity of Washington.

Trump is not a mannered Mitt Romney, who would never have left the Paris climate agreement. He is not a veteran who knew the whiz of real bullets and remains a Washington icon, such as John McCain, who would never have moved the American embassy to Jerusalem. Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush certainly would never have waded into no-win controversies such as the take-a-knee NFL debacle and unvetted immigration from suspect countries in the Middle East and Africa, or called to account sanctuary cities that thwarted federal law. Our modern Agamemnon, Speaker Paul Ryan, is too circumspect to get caught up with Trump’s wall or a mini-trade war with China.

Trump does not seem to care whether he is acting “presidential.” The word — as he admits — is foreign to him. He does not worry whether his furious tweets, his revolving-door firing and hiring, and his rally counterpunches reveal a lack of stature or are becoming an embarrassing window into his own insecurities and apprehensions as a Beltway media world closes in upon him in the manner that, as the trapped western hero felt, the shrinking landscape was increasingly without options in the new 20th century.

The real moral question is not whether the gunslinger Trump could or should become civilized (again, defined in our context as becoming normalized as “presidential”) but whether he could be of service at the opportune time and right place for his country, crude as he is. After all, despite their decency, in extremis did the frontier farmers have a solution without Shane, or the Mexican peasants a realistic alternative to the Magnificent Seven, or the town elders a viable plan without Will Kane?

Perhaps we could not withstand the fire and smoke of a series of Trump presidencies, but given the direction of the country over the last 16 years, half the population, the proverbial townspeople of the western, wanted some outsider, even with a dubious past, to ride in and do things that most normal politicians not only would not but could not do — before exiting stage left or riding off into the sunset, to the relief of most and the regrets of a few.

The best and the brightest résumés of the Bush and Obama administrations had doubled the national debt — twice. Three prior presidents had helped to empower North Korea, now with nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at the West Coast. Supposedly refined and sophisticated diplomats of the last quarter century, who would never utter the name “Rocket Man” or stoop to call Kim Jong-un “short and fat,” nonetheless had gone through the “agreed framework,” “six-party talks,” and “strategic patience,” in which three administrations gave Pyongyang quite massive aid to behave and either not to proliferate or at least to denuclearize. And it was all a failure, and a deadly one at that.

For all of Obama’s sophisticated discourse about “spread the wealth around” and “You didn’t build that,” quantitative easing, zero interest rates, massive new regulations, the stimulus, and shovel-ready, government-inspired jobs, he could not achieve 3 percent annualized economic growth. Half the country, the more desperate half, believed that the remedy for a government in which the IRS, the FBI, the DOJ, and the NSA were weaponized, often in partisan fashion and without worry about the civil liberties of American citizens, was not more temporizing technicians but a pariah who cleaned house and moved on. Certainly Obama was not willing to have a showdown with the Chinese over their widely acknowledged cheating and coerced expropriation of U.S. technology, with the NATO allies over their chronic welching on prior defense commitments, with the North Koreans after they achieved the capability of hitting U.S. West Coast cities, or with the European Union over its mostly empty climate-change accords.

Moving on, sometimes fatally so, is the tragic hero’s operative exit. Antigone certainly makes her point about the absurdity of small men’s sexism and moral emptiness in such an uncompromising way that her own doom is assured. Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, unheroically kills the thuggish Liberty Valance, births the career of Ranse Stoddard and his marriage to Doniphon’s girlfriend, and thereby ensures civilization is Shinbone’s frontier future. His service done, he burns down his house and degenerates from feared rancher to alcoholic outcast.

The remnants of The Magnificent Seven would no longer be magnificent had they stayed on in the village, settled down to age, and endlessly rehashed the morality and utility of slaughtering the outlaw Calvera and his banditos. As Chris rides out, he sums up to Vin their dilemma: “The old man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.” He knows that few appreciate that the tragic heroes in their midst are either tragic or heroic — until they are safely gone and what they have done in time can be attributed to someone else. Worse, he knows that the tragic hero’s existence is solitary and without the nourishing networks and affirmation of the peasant’s agrarian life.

John Ford’s most moving scene in his best film, The Searchers, is Ethan Edwards’s final exit from a house of shadows, swinging open the door and walking alone into sunlit oblivion. If he is lucky, Trump may well experience the same self-inflicted fate.

By his very excesses Trump has already lost, but in his losing he might alone be able to end some things that long ago should have been ended.

Voir aussi:

Q & A
The Classicist Who Sees Donald Trump as a Tragic Hero
Isaac Chotiner
The New Yorker
February 20, 2019

Many of the books written in support of Donald Trump’s Presidency have been authored by Trump family hangers-on or charlatans looking to make a buck. (Examples include “Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency,” by Corey Lewandowski and David N. Bossie, and “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump,” by Gregg Jarrett.) “The Case for Trump,” by Victor Davis Hanson, is different. (There isn’t even a subtitle.) Hanson, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, is a classicist and military historian, who was awarded the National Humanities Medal by George W. Bush, in 2007. His previous book, “The Second World Wars,” was respectfully reviewed by the Times and The New Yorker.

But Hanson has another side, one that is well suited for the age of Trump. A longtime contributor to the National Review, he has a history of hostility to undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants, who he claims are undermining American culture, and to African-Americans who speak about the persistence of racism, including Barack Obama, whom he has described as a leading member of “the new segregationists.” In his new book, which will be published by Basic Books, in March, Hanson explains why he thinks Trump was elected, and why he views the President as akin to a classically tragic hero, whom America needs but will never fully appreciate.

I recently spoke by phone with Hanson, who was in his home, in California. During our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed whether Trump should be compared to heroes of Greek myth, Hanson’s view of the Charlottesville protesters, and whether the President is carefully choosing the people he attacks.

I want to start with a quote from your book. You compare the President to others you admire in American history, writing, “What makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism from an advancing civilization that they seek to protect. And yet they willingly accept the challenge to be of service . . . Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change . . . In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism . . . or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries.” I wonder how your training as a classicist informs this passage, but I also want to ask, is our flawed, sinful country not worthy of Donald Trump?

No, I don’t mean that, as to the latter. I mean that that is how human nature is. So, if you talk to people in the military, the diplomatic corps, the academic world, and, just to take one example, China, they will tell you in the last two years they have had an awakening. They feel that Chinese military superiority is now to deny help to America’s allies. They believe that the trade deficit is unsustainable. They will tell you all of that, and you are almost listening to Donald Trump in 2015, but they won’t mention the word “Trump,” because to do so would contaminate that argument. What I am getting at is he looked at the world empirically.

Empirically?

Yes, empirically, and he said, “This is what’s wrong, and this is what we would have to do to address this problem.” And he said it in such a way—whether he wanted to say it in that way or whether he was forced to say it in that way, I don’t know—but he said it in such a way that was designed to grab attention, to be polarizing, to get through bureaucratic doublespeak. So now he succeeded, but if I were to ask anybody at Stanford University, or anybody that I know is a four-star general or a diplomat, “What caused your sudden change about China?,” they would not say Donald Trump, and yet we know who it was.

Do you feel that in some ways he is a hero out of Greek myth?

Yeah, as long as we understand the word “hero.” Americans don’t know what that word means. They think it means you live happily ever after or you are selfless. Whether it is Achilles or Sophocles’s Ajax or Antigone, they can act out of insecurity, they can act out of impatience—they can act out of all sorts of motives that are less than what we say in America are heroic. But the point that they are making is, I see a skill that I have. I see a problem. I want to solve that problem, and I want to solve that problem so much that the ensuing reaction to that solution may not necessarily be good for me. And they accept that.

It reminds me of Trump saying that people will get sick of winning. It seems like you are saying we have gotten sick of it, and that is the tragedy of Trump.

I think so. I tried to use as many examples as I could of the classic Western, whether it was “Shane” or “High Noon” or “The Magnificent Seven.” They all are the same—the community doesn’t have the skills or doesn’t have the willpower or doesn’t want to stoop to the corrective method to solve the existential problem, whether it is cattle barons or banditos. So they bring in an outsider, and immediately they start to be uneasy because he is uncouth—his skills, his attitude—and then he solves the problem, and they declare to him, whether it is Gary Cooper in “High Noon” or Alan Ladd in “Shane,” “I think it’s better you leave. We don’t need you anymore. We feel dirty that we ever had to call you in.” I think that is what is awaiting Trump.

How does this fit, in a Greek sense, with the man we are often confronted with—constantly tweeting, spending much of his day watching cable news, obsessed with small slights. Do these things, allowing for the modern context, also remind you of great heroes of myth?

Have you read Sophocles’s Ajax ever? It’s one of his best plays.

No, I haven’t.

You have a neurotic hero who cannot get over the fact that he was by all standards the successor to Achilles and deserves Achilles’s armor, and yet he was outsmarted by this wily, lesser Odysseus, who rigged the contest and got the armor. All he does is say, “This wasn’t fair. I’m better. Doesn’t anybody know this?” It’s true, but you want to say to Ajax, “Shut up and just take it.” Achilles has elements of a tragic hero. He says, at the beginning of the Iliad, “I do all the work. I kill all the Trojans. But when it comes to assigning booty, you always give it to mediocrities—deep-state, administrative nothings.” So he stalks off. And the gods tell him, “If you come back in, you will win fame, but you are going to end up dead.” So he makes a tragic, heroic decision that he is going to do that.

I think Trump really did think that there were certain problems and he had particular skills that he could solve. Maybe in a naïve fashion. But I think he understood, for all the emoluments-clause hysteria, that he wasn’t going to make a lot of money from it or be liked for it.

You don’t have much to say about child separation, the ban on certain Muslims, Charlottesville—the more controversial aspects of his Presidency. Are these nicks on a glorious record, or are they actually accomplishments?

I look at everything empirically. I know what the left said, and the media said, but I ask myself, “What actually happened?” There are a billion Muslims in the world, and he has, I think, six countries who were not able to substantiate that their passports were vetted. [Trump’s final travel plan limits or prevents travel from seven countries.] We didn’t even, in the final calibration, base it on religion. I think we have two countries that are not predominantly Muslim.

It was very clever how they did that.

Yeah. And so that’s one thing. As far as separation, I remember very carefully that the whole child separation was started during Barack Obama.

The policy of separating was a Trump thing.

It was used by Trump. It was unapologetically said this came from Obama and we are going to continue to practice deterrence. As someone who lives in a community that is ninety per cent Hispanic, probably forty per cent undocumented, I can tell you that it’s a very different world from what people are talking about in Washington. I have had people knock on my door and ask me where the ob-gyn lives, because they got her name in Oaxaca. And the woman in the car is six months pregnant and living across the border and given the name of a nice doctor in Selma, California, that will deliver the baby.

This has happened once? More than once?

It has happened once, but I know people who come from Mexico with the names of doctors and clinics in Fresno County where they know they will get, for free, twenty to thirty thousand dollars of medical care and an anchor baby. I know that’s supposed to be an uncouth thing to say.

Just a bit.

And they will be here. As I am talking right now, I have a guy, a U.S. citizen, tiling my kitchen, and he does not like the idea that people hire people illegally for twelve dollars an hour in cash, when he should be getting eighteen, nineteen, twenty dollars. But, when you make these arguments, they are just brushed aside by the left or the media, by saying, oh, these are anecdotal or racist or stereotype.

Right, people hear a story about someone knocking on your door wanting an ob-gyn and they say that is anecdotal. Charlottesville was the last one you are going to address, Trump saying there were good people on both sides.

That was very clumsy to say. But there wasn’t a monolithic white racist protest movement. There were collections of people. Some of them were just out there because maybe they are deluded and maybe they are not. I don’t know what their hearts are like, but they did not want statues torn down or defaced.

History buffs, really.

Yeah. You can argue that what was O.K. in 2010 suddenly was racist in 2017. But, in today’s polarized climate, Trump should have said, “While both groups are demonstrating, we can’t have a group on any side that identifies by race.” He should have said that. He just said there were good people on both sides. It was clumsy.

This is what you were saying about Greek heroes. You don’t get the perfect person who will phrase everything or do everything perfectly.

You don’t. You don’t. I was trying to look at Trump in classical terms, so words like eirôneia, or irony—how could it be that the Republican Party supposedly was empathetic, but a millionaire, a billionaire Manhattanite started using terms I had never heard Romney or McCain or Paul Ryan say? He started saying “our.” Our miners. And then, on the left, every time Hillary Clinton went before a Southern audience, she started speaking in a Southern accent. And Barack Obama, I think you would agree, when he gets before an inner-city audience, he suddenly sounded as if he spoke in a black patois. When Trump went to any of these groups, he had the same tie, the same suit, the same accent. What people thought was that, whatever he is, he is authentic.

Honest, authentic.

I don’t know about honest, but authentic and genuine. Honest in the sense that . . .

The larger sense.

Yeah.

Race has been a big part of Trump’s Presidency. There is not a lot of that in your book. The index contains an entry for “blacks,” which just says, when you turn to the page, that “African-Americans increasingly began to control big-city governments.” But there wasn’t a larger discussion of race. Where do you think Trump stands on racial issues?

When I wrote the book, I was interested, so I actually looked at things. I read a great deal about the Mar-a-Lago project, and I was shocked that the people who opposed that on cultural and social grounds were largely anti-Semitic. Trump had already announced that he was not going to discriminate against Jews and Mexicans and other people. He said, “I want wealthy people.” I went to Palm Beach and talked to wealthy Jewish donors and Cubans, and they said the same thing to me—“He likes rich people. He doesn’t care what you look like.”

Egalitarian, yeah.

I don’t know what the driving force was, but I found that he was indifferent. And I think the same thing is true of blacks and Hispanics.

What did you think about him using birtherism as a way of discrediting Obama?

You mean when he was a private citizen? He dropped that.

Well, what do you think about it?

I think it was absurd. I think it was demonstrable that Obama was born in the United States. The only ambiguity was that two things gave rise to the conspiracy theorists. One was—and I think this is a hundred-per-cent accurate—an advertising group that worked in concert with his publisher put on a booklet that Obama was born in Kenya. That gave third-world cachet to “Dreams from My Father.” And he didn’t look at it or didn’t change it. [In 1991, four years before Obama’s first book was published, his literary agency incorrectly stated on a client list that Obama was born in Kenya.] And he left as a young kid and went to Indonesia and applied when he came back as a Fulbright Fellow, and I don’t know if this is substantiated or just rumor, but he probably was given dual citizenship. [The claim that Obama was a Fulbright Fellow from Indonesia, and therefore had Indonesian citizenship, originated in a hoax e-mail, from April 1, 2009, and has been discredited.]

Rumors are fine.

Yeah. While in Indonesia. What I am getting at is, here you have a guy named Barack Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, and there were indications in his past that there was ambiguity.

You don’t think Trump was using it as a racially—

No, no, I think Trump was doing what Trump does, which is trying to sensationalize it. I don’t think it was racial. I think it was political.

You write, “Trump picked his targets carefully. His epithets even more carefully.” On the other hand, you have him making fun of Mika Brzezinski’s looks or saying that Ted Cruz’s dad had a role in the J.F.K. assassination.

I mentioned how that was crude in the book.

O.K., so do we think he picks his targets carefully, or maybe not?

If you go back and look at that, I mean carefully calibrated in a political sense. That’s my point. Not that it was careful in the sense of being humane or sympathetic. By that I mean, there were elements in Ted Cruz’s personality that offended people. And he got Ted Cruz really angry, and Ted Cruz doesn’t come across well.

Right, if someone accused your dad of killing J.F.K., or said that your wife was unattractive, you might get a little—

I think so. But if you go back and look at the worst tweets, they are retaliatory.

What he does is he waits like a coiled cobra until people attack him, and then he attacks them in a much cruder, blunter fashion. And he has an uncanny ability to pick people that have attacked him, whether it’s Rosie O’Donnell, Megyn Kelly—there were elements in all those people’s careers that were starting to bother people, and Trump sensed that out. I don’t think he would have gotten away with taking on other people that were completely beloved. Colin Kaepernick. People were getting tired of him, so he took him on. All that stuff was calibrated. Trump was replying and understood public sympathy would be at least fifty-fifty, if not in his favor.

No, I mean, if you are going to attack a woman as ugly you want to make sure you at least have public sympathy on your side.

I think so. There are certain women that may be homely.

Voir également:

Book paints Trump as tragic hero
Robert Brehl
The Catholic register
March 26, 2019

In a new book, The Case for Trump, scholarly classicist Victor Davis Hanson paints the U.S. president as a tragic hero like Achilles or Ajax from classic Greek literature.

“What makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism from an advancing civilization that they seek to protect. And yet they willingly accept the challenge to be of service,” Hanson writes.

“Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change. … In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism … or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries.”

Donald Trump, with metaphorical sword and shield in hand, slaying 21st century dragons like illegal immigrants or foreign despots threatening America; all the while, his selfless bravery misunderstood. It’s quite an image.

But it would be wrong to swiftly dismiss Hanson’s ideas and his book, especially by those opposed to the president and his policies. Hanson himself calls Trump “flawed,” but his presidency exemplary.

Hanson is a retired classics professor from California State University, Fresno, and senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and he has written two dozen books on topics ranging from the ancient world to the Second World War. He lives on a working farm in a multiracial, rural area in the interior of California, southeast of San Francisco. He doesn’t live in an Ivory Tower.

He also uses his hometown of Selma as a classic example of why America elected Trump. Once prosperous with family-run farms and food-processing plants and other manufacturing jobs, now most jobs are gone, unemployment high, crime and drug abuse commonplace. “In 1970, we did not have keys for our outside doors; in 2018, I have six guard dogs,” he writes. 

While he is a conservative with an upfront agenda, his critics come from the left and the right. One of the nastiest attacks upon Hanson comes from a Republican who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and calls him a “Nazi sympathizer,” “racist enabler” and a “treasonous sophist.” A liberal writer says it’s oxymoronic to call Hanson a “pro-Trump intellectual.”

If his ideas are ticking off both ends of the spectrum, they must have some merit, or, at the very least, be interesting.

In defending his book, Hanson’s tone is civil. He tells stories from antiquity to make a point; or he acknowledges that Trump is a blowhard like the character Rodney Dangerfield played in the movie Caddyshack. But that doesn’t mean Trump’s policies aren’t working, he says. When one defends a position with reasoned thought, instead of rants and personal attacks like so many Trump supporters and detractors, it’s a welcome change.

Some of Hanson’s observations are disagreeable, others are worthy of pointing out and giving Trump his due. 

For example, Trump’s stand towards China and its murky trade practices is a reprieve from the appeasement of recent years. His support of the Catholic and Jewish faiths is also admirable.

Ultimately, though, The Case for Trump crumbles on two fundamental points.

It is disingenuous to separate the man from the presidency, but Hanson does. “Trump’s own uncouthness,” he writes, “was in its own manner contextualized by his supporters as a long overdue pushback to the elite disdain and indeed hatred shown them.” 

Hanson also points out character flaws in former presidents as somehow a reason to hand Trump a “get-out-of-jail-free-card” for his extracurricular activities with hookers and porn stars. 

“It doesn’t mean Donald Trump is a saint,” Hanson said during a recorded book tour event, “but he’s not an aberration either.”

My mother often said “two wrongs don’t make a right” and that applies here, along with Trump’s penchant to surround himself with hucksters, grifters, con men, liars and felons. Then there are the relentless and often vicious personal tweets and attacks on the Constitution. 

Sorry, but these character cancers cannot be ignored simply because one likes Trump’s tax cuts and deregulation that may or may not have boosted economic growth.

Besides, Hanson doesn’t make the case — with hard facts — that Trump’s policies are actually working. Has picking on allies like Canada really helped Wisconsin dairy farmers? Has he really tamed Kim Jong Un and his nuclear aspirations? Have Trump policies really boosted growth more than simply the cyclical nature of the economy itself? The list goes on and on.

Trump opponents probably won’t read the book, but it’s not your regular right-wing diatribe camouflaged as a book. It’s readable and, at times, highly entertaining in how he skewers Trump’s adversaries.

But, in the end, the book can’t make a case that electing a status quo disruptor like Donald Trump is any more than a Pyrrhic victory in the classical tragic sense.

Voir de même:

Trump’s policies on Iran, North Korea and Russia are cleaning up messes left by Obama, Bush and Clinton

Business as usual has strengthened our enemies for decades. Trump’s iconoclasm is worth a try.
Keith Koffler

Trump, however, has decided a nuclear Iran is not acceptable — neither now nor 12 years from now. He withdrew from the deal and re-invoked sanctions in the hope that the Iranians will renegotiate the terms that legally could have put them on a path toward nuclear weapons.

Of course, this path too has drawbacks — Iran responded by claiming it will increase its uranium enrichment. But Trump has reasoned the time to get tough with Iran is now, not in a dozen years when they are stronger and have perfected technologies related to nuclear weapons.

U.S. policy toward Russia pre-Trump had also been marked by years of complacency — remember Russian President Vladimir Putin convincing Bush there was a soul behind his eyes? During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama dismissed Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s concerns about Russia with a quip about the 1980s wanting its foreign policy back. Obama was also caught on an open mic whispering to Russia’s then-President Dmitri Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” after the election.

In key ways, the White House has been strengthening U.S. posture toward Russia — even if Trump seems to be buddying up to Putin. The Brookings Institution noted this, asserting, “The Trump administration’s policy actions often seem at odds with the president’s rhetoric,” and listing a series of Trump policy actions toward Russia.

Trump’s administration, Foreign Policy explained, “has held a tough line on Russia, building on his predecessor’s policies by layering on further sanctions, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, and providing lethal weapons support to Ukraine — a step that former President Barack Obama had been unwilling to take.”

Trump’s demand that European nations pay their North Atlantic Treaty Organization obligations — another can regularly kicked down the road — might seem hostile toward long-time allies, but ensures they have skin in the game when it comes to confronting Russia.

The Washington establishment, so used to conventional ways, is aghast. But business as usual has strengthened our enemies. Trump’s iconoclasm is worth a try.

Guy Milliere

Les 4 vérités
02 juillet, 2019

Les semaines se suivent et se ressemblent dans la grande presse française.

Le Président américain Donald Trump est présenté comme un abruti erratique guidé par ses impulsions, ignorant et dangereux.

Bien que le rapport Mueller ait montré qu’il n’y a jamais eu aucune «collusion» entre Trump et la Russie, les journalistes français en leur grande majorité se refusent à le dire explicitement et à reconnaître qu’ils ont pratiqué la désinformation à dose intensive pendant deux ans.

Les résultats obtenus par ­Trump, tant sur le plan intérieur que sur le plan extérieur, sont à peine notés et ne le sont parfois pas du tout. Quand ils le sont, le nom de Trump est le plus souvent omis, comme si le citer positivement, ne serait-ce qu’une seule fois, était absolument impensable.

Ce n’est, en soi, pas grave: ­Trump gouverne sans se préoccuper de ce que diront des journalistes français. Cela contribue néanmoins à entraver la compréhension des choses de tous ceux qui ne s’informeraient que grâce à la presse française, et nombre de gens seront dès lors surpris lorsque Trump sera réélu en novembre 2020 (car tout l’indique: il sera réélu).

On leur expliquera sans doute que c’est parce que le peuple américain est lui-même ignorant et dangereux.

Cela contribue aussi à empêcher de voir que l’action et les idées de Trump ont un impact beaucoup plus vaste, et qui excède de beaucoup les frontières des États-Unis.

J’ai écrit en 2017 un premier livre sur l’action et les idées de ­Trump et j’y disais que la révolution Trump venait de commencer.

Depuis, la révolution Trump suit son cours, aux États-Unis et sur le reste de la planète.

J’ai écrit en 2018 un deuxième livre expliquant la doctrine ­Trump («Ce que veut Trump»).

Je publierai un troisième livre en 2020 qui portera sur l’ère Trump. Car nous sommes dans l’ère ­Trump.

La politique économique menée par Donald Trump – qui ajoute à une forte baisse des impôts et à une déréglementation radicale, un refus de se soumettre aux lubies écologistes et un nationalisme économique basé sur la renégociation de tous les accords internationaux antécédemment négociés et sur la création de rapports de force – porte ses fruits et mène divers gouvernements sur la planète à adopter des mesures allant dans la même direction.

Sa politique intérieure – basée sur un retour à une immigration strictement contrôlée et sur la réaffirmation des valeurs qui fondent la civilisation occidentale – porte, elle aussi, ses fruits, même si elle est, dans plusieurs États du pays, entravée par les décisions délétères de la gauche américaine qui entend protéger les immigrants illégaux (criminels compris).

Plusieurs gouvernements sur la planète adoptent des mesures allant dans le même sens.

La façon de Trump d’affronter la gauche et les médias désinformateurs contribue à donner à d’autres dirigeants conservateurs le courage d’affronter la gauche et les médias désinformateurs d’une même façon.
La politique étrangère menée par Donald Trump change le monde.

Au Proche-Orient, Donald ­Trump conduit une asphyxie du régime iranien qui progresse et, n’en déplaise à ceux qui refusent de le voir, diminue la dangerosité de celui-ci.

Il met en place un rapprochement entre les pays du monde arabe sunnite et Israël qui modifie profondément la donne régionale et, n’en déplaise là encore à ceux qui refusent de le voir, fait apparaître pour la première fois des espoirs réels qu’émerge une paix durable.

L’anéantissement de l’État islamique permet de juguler le terrorisme islamique sur les cinq continents.

L’action d’endiguement de la Chine communiste déstabilise celle-ci et freine les ambitions hégémoniques nourries par Xi Jinping. La Corée du Nord n’est plus une menace pour la Corée du Sud et le Japon.

L’arrivée au pouvoir de Jaïr Bolsonaro au Brésil est au cœur d’un changement majeur dans toute l’Amérique latine.

En Europe, Trump ne cesse d’appuyer les dirigeants «populistes» d’Europe centrale contre les orientations anti-démocratiques et islamophiles de l’Union européenne, et la perspective d’une Europe des nations souveraines fait son chemin.

L’ère Trump est en son aurore. La grande presse du monde qui parle anglais le dit explicitement. Ne comptez pas sur la grande presse française pour vous le dire!

Voir encore:

Evelyne Joslain

Les 4 vérités
02 juillet, 2019

Trump ne voulait pas du rôle de policier mondial, mais il se trouve obligé de l’assumer, puisqu’il n’y a aucune puissance capable de remplacer les États-Unis dans ce domaine-clé.

C’est l’Amérique, pas l’ONU impotente et corrompue, qui maintient les routes commerciales, et le monde entier en profite, gratuitement – comme si cela allait de soi. Or, non seulement, cela ne va pas de soi, mais beaucoup d’obligés geignent contre un pseudo «impérialisme américain», sans jamais se remettre en question.

Si l’Amérique trouve certes son compte dans ce service planétaire assuré à grands frais par sa flotte et ses services de surveillance, ce n’est pas elle qui en a le plus besoin, mais ses alliés qui, eux, ne sont pas sevrés du brut que leur vend l’OPEP.

C’est aussi l’Amérique qui en assume les risques comme on vient de voir avec la descente en flammes d’un drone de 100 millions de dollars, heureusement sans pilote, qui croisait dans l’espace international et non iranien. Cela, après des attaques iraniennes, sans raison non plus, sur des pétroliers norvégien et japonais.

Alors, «l’opinion internationale» (c’est-à-dire la gauche mondialiste et ses médias désinformateurs) se dit «soulagée» que Trump n’ait pas poursuivi «son escalade», mais tous ces trolls qui renversent ignominieusement les responsabilités, déplorent à présent son «manque de stratégie».

Qu’est-ce que des anti-américains et anti-militaristes primaires peuvent comprendre aux questions de stratégie avec leur logiciel bloqué?

La véritable question est: pourquoi l’ayatollah Khamenei décide-t-il maintenant de provoquer Trump?

Les sanctions asphyxient son économie de rente, d’autant que l’aide concoctée par les Européens cupides, hypocrites et lâches, tarde à se matérialiser.
Les dirigeants de l’UE, qui mar­chent au pas de l’oie avec Merkel, entretiennent une cécité criminelle vis-à-vis de l’Iran.

Sous Merkel, l’Allemagne oublie qu’elle doit tout aux États-Unis. Elle remercie par une politique teigneuse de tarifs douaniers. Elle se targue cyniquement d’être la plus mauvaise payeuse de l’OTAN, achète le gaz de la Russie et refuse le gaz américain. Et voici qu’elle pactise avec les ayatollahs contre les USA.

L’Allemagne et l’UE illustrent tout ce qui est inacceptable pour Trump: l’archétype de l’allié félon aux prétentions disproportionnées au vu de la réalité. Et elles sont coupables de négligence inadmissible envers notre sécurité collective en dissimulant le danger pour l’Occident qu’est la République islamique, nullement différente (dans ses visées hégémoniques et ses méthodes internes brutales) de l’État islamique que l’Iran aidait et que Trump a éradiqué.

L’Iran n’a jamais cessé l’enrichissement d’uranium et continue d’alimenter le terrorisme islamique. Les sanctions ne sont que justice et, malgré leur dureté renforcée, Trump espère des Iraniens éclairés un énième et décisif soulèvement contre ses dirigeants. Car il n’en a qu’après ce régime meurtrier et sympathise avec les Iraniens, mais il leur rappelle qu’il ne peut intervenir militairement, sauf attaque avec victimes américaines, auquel cas la réponse serait foudroyante. Loin de vouloir la guerre, il veut «redonner à l’Iran sa grandeur».

Khamenei sait qu’à la Maison Blanche, Trump s’est entouré volontairement de conseillers aux vues opposées qui représentent chacun une partie de la base de Trump et qui constituent un «brain-trust». Il table sur le fait que Trump est tenu par l’impératif de sa réélection. Les « deux côtés de l’équation », comme Trump les appelle, sont parfaitement honorables et défendent des arguments que l’on ne peut négliger.
Pour le moment, le côté «colombe» exulte, les isolationnistes, les libertariens, et toute la mouvance du «The American Conservative».

Les «faucons» comprennent que l’heure de l’action militaire n’est pas venue. Mais ce serait mal connaître ­Trump que de penser qu’il ne va pas trouver le moyen de faire payer aux criminels de Téhéran leurs méfaits.

Il doit, seul, parvenir à empêcher les ayatollahs d’accéder au nucléaire et faire cesser leur financement du terrorisme, sans engager de troupes et sans dépenser des milliards.

C’est une tâche de police mondiale à laquelle les Européens devraient participer.

La stratégie de Trump, c’est de voir venir, de ne pas dévoiler son jeu et de se tenir prêt à frapper.

Ceux qui lui font confiance ne sont pas inquiets et savourent un divertissement politique quotidien de qualité.

Voir encore:

Making sense of evangelicals’ support for Trump

How can evangelicals support Donald Trump?

That question continues to befuddle and exasperate liberals. How, they wonder, can a man who is twice divorced, a serial liar, a shameless boaster (including about alleged sexual assault) and an unrepentant xenophobe earn the enthusiastic backing of so many devout Christians? About 80% of evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016; according to a recent poll, almost 70% of white evangelicals approve of how he has handled the presidency – far more than any other religious group.

To most Democrats, such support seems a case of blatant hypocrisy and political cynicism. Since Trump is delivering on matters such as abortion, the supreme court and moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, conservative Christians are evidently willing to overlook the president’s moral failings. In embracing such a one-dimensional explanation, however, liberals risk falling into the same trap as they did in 2016, when their scorn for evangelicals fed evangelicals’ anger and resentment, contributing to Trump’s huge margin among this group.

Bill Maher fell into this trap during a biting six-minute polemic he delivered on his television show in early March. Evangelicals, he said, “needed to solve this little problem” – they want to support a Republican president, but this particular one “happens to be the least Christian person ever”. “How to square the circle?” he asked. “Say that Trump is like King Cyrus.” According to Isaiah 45, God used the non-believer Cyrus as a vessel for his will; many evangelicals today believe that God is similarly using the less-than-perfect Trump to achieve Christian aims.

But Trump isn’t a vessel for God’s will, Maher said, and Cyrus “wasn’t a fat, orange-haired, conscience-less scumbag”. Trump’s supporters “don’t care”, he ventured, because “that’s religion. The more it doesn’t make sense the better, because it proves your faith.” Maher portrayed evangelical Christians as a dim-witted group willing to make the most ludicrous theological leaps to advance their agenda.

As I watched, I tried to imagine how evangelicals would view this routine. I think they would see a secular elitist eager to assert what he considers his superior intelligence. They would certainly sense his contempt for the many millions of Americans who believe fervently in God, revere the Bible and see Trump as representing their interests. Maher’s diatribe reminded me of a pro-Trump acquaintance from Ohio who now lives in Manhattan and who says that New York liberals are among the most intolerant people he has ever met.

Liberals have good cause to decry the ideology of conservative Christians, given their relentless assault on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, transgender rights and climate science. But the disdain for Christians common among the credentialed class can only add to the sense of alienation and marginalization among evangelicals.

Many evangelicals feel themselves to be under siege. In a 2016 survey, 41% said it was becoming more difficult to be an evangelical. And many conservative Christians see the national news media as unrelievedly hostile to them.

Most media coverage of evangelicals falls into a few predictable categories. One is the exotic and titillating – stories of ministers who come out as transgender, or stories of evangelical sexual hypocrisies. Another favorite subject is progressive evangelicals who challenge the Christian establishment.

During the 2016 campaign, a prevailing theme in the press was “the end of white Christian America”, as the title of a much-quoted book by pollster Robert P Jones put it. In an article in the Atlantic that July, Jones noted that the declining number of white Christians can help explain their profound anxiety. But, he warned, relying on “supermajorities” of white Christians to offset broader demographic changes was a losing strategy – one that “sealed the fate of the Romney campaign in 2012 and will likely set the GOP back as it turns to the task of reclaiming the White House in 2016”. That, of course, proved flatly wrong.

In a similar vein, the New York Times ran a piece three weeks before the election describing how the traditional evangelical bloc was splintering, with young people and women voters fleeing the Republican party. “While most of the religious right’s aging old guard has chosen to stand by Mr Trump,” the Times stated, “its judgment and authority are being challenged by an increasingly assertive crop of younger leaders, minorities and women.”

Though many young, black and female evangelicals did reject Trump, the article underestimated his bedrock of evangelical support. In the end, the share of white, born-again Christians in the electorate held steady at about 25 – the same as in 2008 and 2012 – and they gave a greater proportion of their vote to Trump than that recorded for any prior candidate.

There are of course exceptions to such miscast coverage. The Washington Post, with three religion reporters, covers American evangelicalism more fully than most news organizations. And the Times’ Nicholas Kristof, who grew up among evangelicals in rural Oregon, makes periodic efforts to explain their world. In 2016, he wrote a column criticizing the pervasive discrimination toward Christians in liberal circles. He quoted Jonathan Walton, a black evangelical and professor of Christian morals at Harvard, who compared the common condescension toward evangelicals to that directed at racial minorities, with both seen as “politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor”.

Strangely, the group most overlooked by the press is the people in the pews. It would be refreshing for more reporters to travel through the Bible belt and talk to ordinary churchgoers about their faith and values, hopes and struggles. Such reporting would no doubt show that the world of American Christianity is far more varied and complex than is generally thought. It would reveal, for instance, a subtle but important distinction between the Christian right and evangelicals in general, who tend to be less political (though still largely conservative).

This kind of deep reporting would probably also highlight the enduring power of a key tenet of the founder of Protestantism. “Faith, not works,” was Martin Luther’s watchword. In his view, it is faith in Christ that truly matters. If one believes in Christ, then one will feel driven to do good works, but such works are always secondary. Trump’s own misdeeds are thus not central; what he stands for – the defense of Christian interests and values – is.

Luther also preached the doctrine of original sin, which holds that all humans are tainted by Adam’s transgression in the Garden of Eden and so remain innately prone to pride, anger, lust, vengeance and other failings. Many evangelicals have themselves struggled with divorce, broken families, addiction and abuse. We are thus all sinners – the president included.

I don’t expect the media’s dismissive attitude toward evangelicalism to abate anytime soon. A journalist at a top US news organization told me that she and other evangelicals feel the need to “fly under the radar” because of the unwelcoming attitude toward them.

I can hear the reactions of some readers to this column: Enough! Enough trying to understand a group that helped put such a noxious man in the White House. Yet such a reaction is both ungenerous and shortsighted. Liberals take pride in their empathy for “the other” and their efforts to understand the perspective of groups different from themselves. They should apply that principle to evangelicals. If liberals continue to scoff, they risk reinforcing the rage of evangelicals – and their support for Trump.

Voir par ailleurs:

Alexandre del Valle

Valeurs actuelles

1 juillet 2019

De retour de Sicile, Alexandre del Valle revient sur l’affaire du bateau de l’ONG pro-migrants Sea Watch qui avait « secouru » 53 clandestins dans les eaux internationales au large de la Libye, mi-juin et dont le capitaine fait la une des journaux depuis que son navire a risqué, dans la nuit du 28 juin, d’écraser une vedette de la Guardia della Finanza qui l’empêchait d’accoster.

Arrêtée par la police italienne, le capitaine du bateau Sea Watch, CarolaRackete, semble être devenue l’héroïne de toute une gauche européenne dont l’activisme humanitaire et victimiste pro-migrants sert en réalité une idéologie anti-nationale, anti-frontières et viscéralement hostile à la civilisation européenne-occidentale assimilée au Mal et dont les « fautes » passées et présentes ne pourraient être expiées qu’en acceptant l’auto-submersion migratoire et islamique…

La stratégie culpabilisatrice et victimaire des ONG / lobbies pro-Migrants

Rappelons que le Sea-Watch 3, navire de 600 tonnes battant pavillon hollandais et cofinancé par les fonds de George Soros et autres riches contributeurs, a non seulement « récupéré » des migrants illégaux acheminés par des passeurs nord-africains, ce qui est en soi un viol de la loi, mais a délibérément forcé le blocus des eaux territoriales italiennes, donc violé la souveraineté de ce pays. De ce fait, son capitaine, l’Allemande Carola Rackete, va être présentée à un juge en début de semaine, à Agrigente, dans le sud de la Sicile, puis répondra des faits « d’aide à l’immigration clandestine » (punie de prison par la loi italienne et le « décret-sécurité » (decreto-sicurezza) du gouvernement / Ligue (5 étoiles de Rome), puis de « résistance à un bateau de guerre ». Quant aux 42 migrants clandestins de la Sea Watch 3 débarqués après l’arrestation de la capitaine-activiste allemande (11 migrants plus « vulnérables » avaient déjà été débarqués légalement), ils ont fini par débarquer à Lampedusa après que la France, l’Allemagne, le Portugal, le Luxembourg et la Finlande ont accepté un plan de répartition visant à en accueillir chacun quelques-uns.

Pendant ce temps, des petites embarcations moins identifiables et qui ne font pas la une des médias continuent d’arriver chaque jour à Lampedusa et au sud d’Agrigente (200 ces derniers jours). Et d’autres navires affrétés par des ONG pro-migrants continuent de défier les autorités italiennes ou d’autres pays (Malte, Espagne, Grèce, etc.) dans l’indifférence générale et en violation banalisée de la loi et du principe de protection des frontières. On peut citer par exemple l’ONG espagnole Proactiva open arms, qui patrouille au large de la Libye malgré la menace d’une amende de 200 000 à 900 000 euros brandie par les autorités espagnoles. « Si je dois payer par la prison ou par une amende le fait de sauver les vies de quelques personnes, je le ferais », a d’ailleurs assuré Oscar Camps, fondateur de l’ONG. Utilisant la même rhétorique de « résistance » et de « désobéissance civile » face à une autorité étatique « répressive », Carola Rackette  expliquait elle aussi au Spiegel, quelques jours seulement avant d’accoster à Lampedusa : « Si nous ne sommes pas acquittés par un tribunal, nous le serons dans les livres d’histoire. » Niente di meno !

Mon obligation morale est d’aider les gens qui n’ont pas bénéficié des mêmes conditions que moi.

La stratégie d’intimidation psychologique des ONG et lobbies subversifs pro-migrants consiste en fait à adopter une rhétorique victimaire et hautement culpabilisatrice qui a pour but de faire passer pour des horribles racistes / fascistes les défenseurs des frontières et des lois sécuritaires pourtant démocratiquement adoptées. Carola Rackete a ainsi déclaré au journal italien La Repubblica : « J’ai la peau blanche, j’ai grandi dans un pays riche, j’ai le bon passeport, j’ai pu faire trois universités différentes et j’ai fini mes études à 23 ans. Mon obligation morale est d’aider les gens qui n’ont pas bénéficié des mêmes conditions que moi (…). Les pauvres, ils ne se sentent pas bienvenus, imaginez leur souffrance (…), j’ai voulu accoster de force car beaucoup risquaient de se suicider sur la bateau et étaient en danger depuis 17 jours d’immobilisation ».

Très fier de lui et de son « coup », Chris Grodotzki, le président de l’ONG Sea Watch, se réjouit que « dans toute l’Europe, Carole est devenue un symbole. Nous n’avons jamais reçu autant de dons »,indiquant qu’en Italie une cagnotte a recueilli dimanche 400 000 euros. Samedi, en Allemagne, deux stars de la télévision, Jan Böhmermann et Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, ont lancé quant à eux une cagnotte et 500 000 euros ont été récoltés en moins de vingt-quatre heures.En fait, l’aide aux migrants clandestins est une activité lucrative pour les ONG, et pas seulement pour les passeurs et les établissements payés pour offrir le gîte et l’accueil avec les deniers publics.

Quand la gauche italienne et européenne appelle à violer les lois des Etats souverains

D’après Matteo Salvini, Carola Rackete serait une « criminelle » qui aurait tenté de « tuer des membres des forces de l’ordre italienne ». Il est vrai que la vedette de la Guarda della Finanza, (12 mètres), très légère, n’aurait pas résisté au choc du navire de la Sea Watch (600 tonnes) si elle ne s’était pas retirée. Inculpée par le procureur d’Agrigente, la capitaine de la Sea Watch risque jusqu’à dix ans de prison pour « résistance ou violence envers un navire de guerre ». En fait, bien moins que dans de nombreux autres pays du monde, y compris démocratiques comme l’Australie, les Etats-Unis ou la Hongrie. Le procureur d’Agrigente, Luigi Patronaggio, qui est pourtant connu pour ne pas être du tout favorable à la Ligue de Matteo Salvini, a d’ailleurs qualifié le geste de Carola Rackete de « violence inadmissible » et placé la capitaine du navire humanitaire aux « arrêts domiciliaires » (contrôle judiciaire avec assignation à résidence), avant le lancement d’une procédure de flagrant délit. L’intéressée a répondu via le Corriere della Sera, en affirmant que « ce n’était pas un acte de violence, seulement de désobéissance ».

Depuis, de Rome à Berlin, et au sein de toute la gauche et l’extrême-gauche européenne, « Carola » est devenue une nouvelle « héroïne de la désobéissance civile », le concept clef de la gauche marxiste ou libertaire pour justifier moralement le fait de bafouer délibérément les règles des Etats et de violer les lois démocratiques qui font obstacle à leur idéologie anti-nationale. Et la désinformation médiatique consiste justement à faire passer l’appui que Carola Rackete a reçu – de la part de stars de TV, de politiques bien-pensants et de lobbies pro-migrants chouchoutés par les médias – pour un « soutien de l’Opinion publique ».En Allemagne, du président de l’Église évangélique, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, au PDG de Siemens, Joe Kaeser, de nombreuses voix se sont élevées pour prendre sa défense comme si elle était une nouvelle Pasionaria « antifasciste / antinazie », 90 ans plus tard…

Dans certains cas, vous ne pouvez pas respecter les lois et vous pouvez même au contraire, dans des cas de nécessité, enfreindre les lois.

En Italie, outre la figure de Leo Luca Orlando, le maire de Palerme, qui accorde régulièrement la « citoyenneté d’honneur » de sa ville aux dirigeants d’ONG pro-migrants et qui assimile les « cartes de séjours » et contrôles aux frontières à des « instruments de torture », l’ensemble de la gauche (hors le parti 5 étoiles allié de la Ligue), et surtout le parti démocrate, (PD), jouent cette carte de « l’illégalité légitime » et appuie les ONG anti-frontières. « Par nécessité, vous pouvez enfreindre la loi », ont déclaré aux membres de la Sea Watch les députés de gauche montés à bord du bateau Sea Watch 3 avant l’arrestation de Carole Rackete. Premier à être monté à bord du Sea Watch 3, l’élu du PD Graziano Delrio ose lancer : « Dans certains cas, vous ne pouvez pas respecter les lois et vous pouvez même au contraire, dans des cas de nécessité, enfreindre les lois. »

Détail stupéfiant, les représentants du PD venus manifester leur solidarité avec la capitaine (étrangère) d’un navire (étranger) faisant le travail de passeurs / trafiquants d’êtres humains, n’ont pas même condamné ou regretté le fait que la « militante humanitaire Carole » a failli tuer les policiers de la vedette de la Guardia di Finanza qui bloquait le Sea Watch 3. Estimant qu’il ne pouvait manquer ce « coup médiatique » afin de complaire aux lobbies et médias immigrationnistes dominant, l’ex-Premier ministre (PD) Matteo Renzi était lui aussi sur le pont du Sea Watch 3 lorsque Carola Rackete a décidé de forcer le blocus. Avec lui, d’autres parlementaires de gauche (Matteo Orfini, Davide Faraone, Nicola Fratoianni et Riccardo Magi) ont carrément « béni » cette action illégale et violente qui a pourtant mis en danger les membres des forces de leur propre pays.

Étaient également venus applaudir la capitaine allemande et son action illégale : le curé de Lampedusa, Don Carmelo La Magra ; l’ancien maire de l’île Giusi Nicolini, le médecin et député européen Pietro Bartolo, et le secrétaire local du parti PD Peppino Palmeri, lequel a déclaré pompeusement que « l’humanité a gagné, (…). Je pense que oui, nous devons être unis dans une fraternité universelle »… Plutôt que de respecter la légalité des lois approuvées démocratiquement par le Parlement de leur propre pays dont ils sont élus, ces représentants de la gauche ont accusé le gouvernement Ligue / 5 étoiles d’avoir « laissé au milieu de la mer pendant 16 jours un bateau qui avait besoin d’un refuge » (Matteo Orfini), alors qu’en réalité, sur les 53 migrants illégaux au départ présents sur le Sea Watch 3, onze avaient été débarqués en Italie en raison de leur état vulnérable, les autres étant nourris et auscultés par des médecins envoyés par l’Etat italien.

L’alliance immigrationniste entre la gauche anti-nationale ; l’Eglise catholique et le grand Capital !

Dès qu’elle est descendue du navire accompagnée des policiers italiens venus l’arrêter, Carola Rackete a été saluée par les ovations d’un groupe d’activistes ainsi que par le curé de la paroisse de Lampedusa, Carmelo La Magra, lequel dormait dans le cimetière de sa paroisse depuis une semaine « en signe de solidarité ». Rivalisant avec les plus virulents pro-migrants d’extrême-gauche, le curé de Lampedusa a exulté : « Noël vient quand il arrive. Bienvenue aux migrants à Porto Salvo di Lampedusa. » Le prêtre de l’église de San Gerlando di Lampedusa s’est ainsi joint à l’appel de l’Action catholique italienne « à permettre le débarquement immédiat des 42 personnes à bord du Sea Watch ».

Au début du mois de mai dernier, lors de son voyage en Bulgarie, le Pape avait donné le ton et répondu ainsi à la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini : « Ne fermez pas les portes à ceux qui frappent. Le monde des migrants et des réfugiés est la croix de l’humanité. » Preuve que les curés pro-migrants et l’Église catholique de plus en plus immigrationniste sont, comme la gauche anti-nationale post-ouvrière, totalement déconnectés des peuples et de leurs ouailles : rappelons qu’à Lampedusa la Ligue de Salvini est arrivée en tête avec 45 % des voix aux dernières élections européennes ; que plus de 65 % des Italiens (catholiques) approuvent ses lois et actions visant à combattre l’immigration clandestine ; et que le Pape François, certes populaire auprès des médias quand il défend les migrants, exaspère de plus en plus et a même rendu antipapistes des millions d’Italiens qui se sentent trahis par un souverain Pontife qui semble préférer les musulmans aux chrétiens et les Africains aux Européens. A tort ou à raison d’ailleurs.

Il est vrai que la Sicile et en particulier Lampedusa sont plus que jamais en première ligne face à l’immigration clandestine : rien que pendant les deux dernières semaines durant lesquelles le Sea Watch est resté bloqué au large de l’île, Lampedusa a assisté impuissante, malgré la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini et de son nouveau « décret sécurité », plus de 200 clandestins (majoritairement tunisiens et aucunement des « réfugiés » politiques syriens) acheminés par des barques de fortunes plus difficiles à repérer que les navires des ONG. Depuis des années, la ville est littéralement défigurée, l’arrivée de migrants entraînant des faits quotidiens de violences, d’agressions, de vols et destructions de commerces.

Nous sommes tous des personnes.

Malgré cela, le médiatique curé de Lampedusa, grand adepte du pape François, martèle qu’il faut « accueillir, protéger, promouvoir et intégrer les migrants et les réfugiés ». Dans une autre ville de Sicile, Noto, où nous nous sommes rendus le 27 juin dernier, une immense croix en bois a été construite à partir de morceaux d’une embarcation de migrants et a été carrément érigée dans l’entrée de la plus grande église du centre-ville. A Catania, ville très catholique-conservatrice et de droite – où se déroule chaque année début février la troisième plus grande fête chrétienne au monde, la Santa Agata – la cathédrale a été prise d’assauts par des sit-in pro-migrants en défense de Carola Rackete et de la Sea Watch.

Quant à Palerme, l’alliance entre l’Église catholique et le maire de la Ville, Leo Luca Orlando, chef de file de la lutte contre la politique migratoire de Matteo Salvini, est totale, alors même que Orlando est un anticlérical patenté à la fois islamophile et pro-LGBT. Sa dernière trouvaille a consisté à proposer d’éliminer le terme même de « migrant », puisque « nous sommes tous des personnes ». D’après lui, le terme « migrants » devrait être supprimé, tout comme la gauche a réussi à faire supprimer celui de « clandestin », remplacé dans le jargon journalistique par celui, trompeur, mais plus valorisant, de « migrant ». Cette manipulation sémantique visant à abolir la distinction migrant régulier / illégal est également très présente dans le pacte de Marrakech des Nations-unies.

Récemment, à l’occasion de la rupture du jeûne du ramadan, le médiatique maire palermitain s’est affiché en train de prier avec une assemblée de musulmans, consacrant même une « journée consacrée à l’islam » en rappelant le « glorieux passé arabo-islamique » de la Sicile (en réalité envahie et libérée deux siècles plus tard par les Normands). Orlando utilise lui aussi à merveille l’arme de la culpabilisation lorsqu’il ne cesse de justifier l’immigration illimitée au nom du fait que les Siciliens « ont eu eux aussi des grands-parents qui ont décidé d’aller vivre dans un autre pays en demandant à être considérés comme des personnes humaines ». Bref, « on est tous des migrants ». Une musique bien connue aussi en France.

A chaque nouvelle affaire de blocage de bateaux d’ONG pro-migrants par les autorités italiennes obéissant à la politique de la Ligue, le maire de Palerme se déclare prêt à accueillir des navires dans le port de Palerme. Lors de notre visite, le 26 juin dernier, Orlando nous a d’ailleurs remis une brochure consacrée à l’accueil des migrants, « chez eux chez nous ». Comme le Pape ou l’ex-maire de Lampedusa, Leoluca Orlando est depuis quelques années tellement obsédé par « l’impératif d’accueil » des migrants, alors que la Sicile connaît encore une grande pauvreté et un chômage de masse, qu’il suscite une réaction de rejet et d’exaspération, d’autant que de nombreuses initiatives en faveur des migrants sont financées par des citoyens italiens-siciliens hyper-taxés et précarisés.

Le 28 juin, lorsque nous avons parlé de la question migratoire au maire de la seconde ville de Sicile, Catania, Salvatore Pogliese, ex-membre d’Alleanza nazionale élu député européen et maire sous les couleurs de Forza Italia, celui-ci nous confiait qu’il jugeait absurdes et extrêmes les vues du maire de Palerme ou du curé de Lampedusa. Et il rappelait que lorsque des maires pro-migrants jouent aux « héros » en réclamant l’ouverture sans limites des ports pour accueillir les « réfugiés » du monde entier, ils mentent puisque l’ouverture des ports relève, comme en France, non pas des maires, mais de l’Etat central (ministères des Transports et de l’Intérieur).

L’alliance de la gauche et des multinationales

Une autre alliance de forces « progressistes » / pro-migrants n’a pas manqué de surprendre les analystes de la vie politique italienne, notamment à l’occasion de la Gay Pride, organisée à Milan le 28 juin, par le maire de gauche, Beppe Sala, champion de la « diversité » et des minorités en tout genre : l’alliance de la gauche et des multinationales et des Gafam. C’est ainsi que certains journaux italiens de droite ont relevé le fait que les sponsors de la Gay Pride, officiellement indiqués sur le site de l’événement – Google, Microsoft, eBay, Coca-Cola, PayPal, RedBull, Durex, Benetton, etc. – ont tenu et obtenu que soient associées à la cause des gays celle des migrants afin de « prendre en compte toutes les différences, pas seulement liées à l’identité et à l’orientation sexuelle (immigration, handicap, appartenance ethnique, etc.) ».

Les « migrants » illégaux et autres faux réfugiés secourus par les ONG immigrationnistes, adeptes des « ports ouverts », ont donc eu droit à un traitement de faveur et ont pu officiellement venir « exprimer toute sa solidarité avec le capitaine du navire (Sea Watch 3) Carola Rackete, avec les membres de l’équipage et avec toutes les personnes à bord », écrit sur Facebook « Ensemble sans murs », qui « participera avec enthousiasme au défilé de mode de Milan ». L’idéologie diversitaire est si puissante, et l’accueil des migrants est tellement devenu la « cause des causes » capable de surpasser les autres, qu’elle s’invite même chez les lobbies LGBT, pourtant la « minorité » la plus directement persécutée – avec les juifs – par l’islamisme.

Or, une grande majorité d’immigrés clandestins est de confession musulmane : Subsahariens, Erythréens, Soudanais, Égyptiens, Syriens, Turcs, Maghrébins ou Pakistanais et Afghans qui émigrent en masse dans la Vieille Europe de façon tant légale (regroupement familial, migrations économiques, visas étudiants, mineurs non-accompagnés…) qu’illégale.

Deux poids deux mesures

Pour bien comprendre « d’où parlent » les défenseurs des migrants clandestins qui ne cessent d’apostropher Victor Orban, Matteo Salvini ou encore le « diable en chef » Donald Trump pour leurs politiques de contrôle de l’immigration, il suffit de constater le deux poids deux mesures et l’indignation sélective de la gauche et de l’Église catholique qui dénoncent les « populistes européens xénophobes / islamophobes / racistes » mais très peu le néo-Sultan Erdogan et encore moins les pays d’Afrique, du Maghreb, d’Amérique latine ou d’Asie qui répriment extrêmement sévèrement et violemment l’immigration clandestine et / ou l’islamisme.

Deux exemples flagrants suffiront à s’en convaincre : l’ONU a récemment condamné « l’islamophobie » européenne et occidentale, notamment de la France et de l’Italie, mais pas les massacres de masse de musulmans en Chine ou en Inde. Ensuite, le 5 septembre 2018, lorsque la marine marocaine a fait tirer sur une embarcation de migrants clandestins, faisant un mort et un blessé grave, puis fait arrêter le capitaine espagnol du bateau, l’ONU n’a pas bronché. Pas plus dans de nombreux cas de mauvais traitements, persécutions de migrants subsahariens ou de chrétiens dans l’ensemble des pays d’Afrique du Nord et arabes.

Les Etats européens et les « militants » antifascistes hostiles aux « populistes » n’ont pas manifesté la moindre indignation face à ces phénomènes récurrents. Pas plus que les antiracistes français et leurs alliés féministes et pro-LGBT ne dénoncent la misogynie et l’homophobie islamiques, de facto exonérées par primat xénophile et auto-racisme anti-occidental. Ce dernier exemple est significatif : loin de se laisser culpabiliser, les autorités marocaines ont pourtant assumé le fait qu’une « unité de combat de la Marine royale » a ouvert le feu sur l’embarcation (un « go-fast » léger) en tuant une passagère. Comme Carola Rackete, le capitaine de la vedette de clandestins n’avait pas obéi aux ordres des militaires marocains l’intimant de stopper sa course.

Morale de l’histoire : l’immigrationnisme des ONG comme la Sea Watch et autres « No Borders » est – comme l’antiracisme à sens unique – une arme subversive tournée contre les seuls peuples blancs-judéo-chrétiens-occidentaux et leurs Etats-Nations souverains. D’évidence, les forces cosmopolitiquement correctes (gauche internationaliste-marxiste ; libéraux-multiculturalistes ; multinationales / Mc Word ; Église catholique ; fédéralistes européens et autres instances onusiennes) veulent détruire en premier lieu les vieilles nations européennes culpabilisées et vieillissantes, sorte de terra nullius en devenir conçue comme le laboratoire de leurs projets néo-impériaux / mondialistes respectifs.

Ces différentes forces ne sont pas amies, mais elles convergent dans un même projet de destruction des Etats-souverains occidentaux. Voilà d’où parlent les No Borders. Et à l’aune de ce constat, le fait que le milliardaire Soros et les multinationales précitées sponsorisent des opérations pro-migrants, pourtant exécutées par des ONG et forces de gauche et d’extrême-gauche ou chrétiennes / tiersmondistes, en dit long sur la convergence des forces cosmopolitiquement correctes hostiles à l’Etat-Nation et à la défense de l’identité occidentale.

Voir encore:

Norman Podhoretz, the last remaining ‘anti-anti Trump’ neocon

The former editor of Commentary says he has ‘no admiration’ for Trump, but deems him the ‘lesser evil’ compared to Clinton

WASHINGTON — Throughout Donald Trump’s improbable rise to the Republican nomination, self-proclaimed Jewish neocons have mostly responded aghast. From William Kristol and Robert Kagan to Joshua Muravchik and Max Boot, the notion of a President Trump has been more than a little too much to bear.

Kristol has worked incessantly to recruit an alternative to run as an independent candidate; Kagan wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post saying Trump is bringing fascism to America; both Muravchik and Boot have said they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton; and Boot has insisted that Trump killed the Republican Party.

And yet, one of the intellectual godfathers of neoconservatism disagrees with all of them. When it comes to this roller coaster of a presidential election and the man who continues to confound virtually all of the political class, Norman Podhoretz is not exactly Pollyanna, but he does think the choice is easy, and that the vast majority of his ideological descendants are making a mistake by not embracing the GOP nominee.

“Many of the younger — they’re not so young anymore — neoconservatives have gone over to the Never Trump movement. And they are extremely angry with anybody who doesn’t share their view,” he recently told The Times of Israel. “But I describe myself as anti-anti Trump. While I have no great admiration for him, to put it mildly, I think she’s worse. Between the two, he’s the lesser evil.”

In a wide-ranging phone interview last week, the former longtime editor of Commentary magazine discussed what he thinks of the race and its implications for Israel. A critic of the Clintons since they gained national prominence decades ago, Podhoretz said the former secretary of state’s role in creating the conditions for the Iran nuclear deal is itself enough reason to support her rival.

“I think the Iran deal is one of the most catastrophic actions that any American president has ever taken. That’s how seriously I regard it. It paves the way for Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” he said. “If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, I think that we would be in great danger of seeing an outbreak of a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel. So that alone would be enough to turn me against the Obama administration and virtually everyone who took part in it, and certainly Hillary Clinton. It overshadows everything from my point of view.”

But what makes Podhoretz, who once urged former president George W. Bush to bomb Iran, more confident that the former reality television star would prevent Tehran from gaining nuclear weapons capability? “Well, I’m not 100 percent sure, not even 50 percent sure,” he said. “[Trump] has described it as the worst deal ever made, and he has said he would renegotiate it — and he may very well mean that.”In the past, Trump has given conflicting answers over how he would address the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. During his address at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference, he said, “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” And then, minutes later, he also said, “We must enforce the terms of the previous deal to hold Iran totally accountable. And we will enforce it like you’ve never seen a contract enforced before, folks, believe me.”

It is not lost on the 86-year-old Podhoretz that Trump has a tendency to fluctuate on issues. “I find Trump impossible to predict,” he said. “I don’t think anyone knows exactly what he would do about anything. But the fact of the matter is, you’re dealing here not just with two individuals, you know, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, you’re dealing with two political parties.”

The prominent conservative thinker has never been shy to express his loathing of the Democratic Party. Two years into Obama’s first term, he penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal saying he “would rather be ruled by the Tea Party” and “would rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.”

One of the reasons for his repeated repudiation of Democrats has to do with what he sees as their collective stance on matters relating to the Jewish state. “I think there is no question that on Israel the Democrats can no longer be trusted,” he said. “The liberal community, generally, and the Democratic Party, particularly, have grown increasingly unfriendly to Israel over 50 years, and it’s reached a point now where there are elements within the party who are positively hostile to Israel, and many who are simply cold and unfriendly.”

Since the Iran deal made it through Congressional review — clearing the way for its implementation — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made several overtures to demonstrate his commitment to maintaining Israel as a bipartisan cause.

Democrats who supported the landmark pact, or who have differences with the current Israeli government on certain issues, claim those positions derive from their concern about the country’s interests, which include arguments that the Iran deal makes Israel safer and that expanding settlements in the West Bank impairs the goal of a two-state outcome and places Israel’s Jewish and democratic character in long-term jeopardy.

President Obama himself once told The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman that, “There has to be the ability for me to disagree with a policy on settlements, for example, without being viewed as, in some fashion, opposing Israel. And there has to be a way for Prime Minister Netanyahu to disagree with me on policy without being viewed as anti-Democrat.”

‘If Trump were to be elected, he’s not an emperor, he’s just one person … you’re not voting for king’

Nevertheless, Podhoretz remains firm on his belief that Clinton and the Democrats cannot be relied upon when it comes to Israel. That informs his support for Trump, who, despite some of the strongman tendencies other neocons have castigated, Podhoretz contends would not pose the kind of threat that Kagan and others have warned against.

“If Trump were to be elected, he’s not an emperor, he’s just one person, and he’s got a whole party and constituency coming along with him and so does Hillary,” he said. “You know, you’re not voting for king. You’re voting for a president whose powers are limited and circumscribed by the Constitution and by the other branches of government. So to me, it’s just a no-brainer.”

“While I can’t predict for you what Trump will do about anything,” he added. “I can predict for you what Hillary will do about everything.”

Trump vs. Hillary

Despite Clinton’s signaling she would restore a closer relationship with Israel than was seen under Obama, Podhoretz asserted she would do the opposite.

“I think she would continue the policy of daylight between Israel and the United States that Obama inaugurated. And by the way, she played along with that completely,” he said. “There was the 45-minute harangue, the chewing out she gave to Bibi at one point. So I think this distancing from Israel would continue and probably grow worse.”

During her address at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference, Clinton indicated she would seek a reset from the Obama years, of which she was a part as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. “If I am fortunate enough to be elected president,” she promised, “we will never allow Israel’s adversaries to think a wedge can be driven between us. When we have differences, as any friends do, we will work to resolve them quickly and respectfully.”

Clinton has also insisted on her pro-Israel bona fides — and adroitness at conducting foreign policy — by often citing her role in brokering a 2012 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas amidst a violent eruption in the Gaza Strip.

None of which matters to the Cambridge-educated former literary critic. His distaste for Trump is superseded only by his disdain for Clinton, whom he considers to be not only unappealing politically, but unacceptable personally.

“Hillary has a worse character than Donald Trump,” he said. “She’s a thief and a liar and a brazen unprincipled opportunist. She has never done anything good in her entire political career. Even as a woman, she has gotten to where she is on the shoulders of her husband, not on her own merits. No, I have no respect for her whatsoever on any front.”

‘I would not bet my life on anything about Trump. I can imagine him going the opposite direction on everything that he says he’s for’

When asked if it was contradictory to cast Clinton as wanting to put distance between the US and Israel when the candidate he supports wants to be “neutral” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Podhoretz shrugged off the possibility that Trump would actually pursue such a policy.

“That’s a long time ago, and he’s said more reassuring things since then. He’s gone out of his way in several speeches to describe Israel as our strongest ally. And I think he would no longer say that he’s neutral,” he said. “But I would not bet my life on anything about Trump. I can imagine him going the opposite direction on everything that he says he’s for.”

While Trump has suggested recurrently he would be close with Israel — after angering many in his own base over his vow of neutrality — he has not explicitly retracted that promise, and his website contains a video in which he says, “I want to remain as neutral as possible because, if you’re not somewhat neutral, the other side is never going to do it. But just remember, Israel, I love you. We’re going to see if we can get something done. It has to be done for both sides. It cannot continue to be the way it is.”

Regardless, Podhoretz, who has also long been opposed to the peace process, doesn’t buy it. “I once said that Trump is Pat Buchanan without the anti-Semitism,” he said. “By that, I meant that he seemed to be a nativist, an isolationist, and a protectionist. Those are sort of the three pillars of the Buchanan political creed. But whereas Buchanan really believes that stuff, I don’t think Trump does. I think he’s perfectly capable of turning on a dime on each one of those issues.”

Because Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is an Orthodox Jew and his daughter, Ivanka, converted, he said Trump would likely be “predisposed” toward sympathy with Israel. “But again, I’m not saying I would confidently predict what he would do as president,” he added. “I only have a sort of hunch.”

The Jewish vote

Shortly after Obama became president in 2009, Podhoretz wrote a book about why most American Jews identify as liberals and consistently vote Democratic. Since 1928, for instance, an average of 75 percent of the Jewish vote has gone to the Democratic candidate in each presidential election.

One of the central arguments of “Why are Jews Liberals?” is that because America’s existing “social, political and moral system” has fostered Jewish prosperity in ways unprecedented in the people’s history, they should embrace an ideology that seeks to retain that system as much as possible (conservatism) over one that seeks to gradually transform it (liberalism).

While critics have countered that Jews in America did not see much success until Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency and the progressive era, Podhoretz quarrels with the political orientation and voting patterns of the majority of his fellow Jews.

He had hoped that “disappointment with President Obama” would begin to effect future elections. Indeed, President Obama did lose nine percent of the Jewish vote from 2008 to 2012, going from 78 percent to 69 percent.

Barring some unforeseen situation, however, Podhoretz feels he can confidently predict the trend of Jewish support for the Democratic candidate will remain in 2016.

“I think the Jews will vote for Hillary,” he said. “They’ll revert to their old obsession with sticking with the Democratic Party, I think.”

But has Trump — who has a mantra that “the system is rigged” — destroyed the opportunity for the Republican Party to make the case with Jews for which Podhoretz advocates? He doesn’t necessarily think so.

“Trump is running against an administration that’s been in power for eight years. And any one of those candidates who got the nomination would naturally be saying how terrible things are, blaming it all on Obama,” he said. “That’s natural. The party in opposition has to say that the party in power has done a terrible job, and the country is in desperate straights.”

“Trump certainly believes in the traditional American system, I think. He has no reason not to, and when he keeps saying that he wants to ‘Make America Great Again,’ that’s not that different from what Reagan was saying, ‘Our best days lie ahead,’ and so on.”

Reagan, who was president from 1981 to 1989, did better with Jews than any other Republican candidate since Dwight Eisenhower, taking in 39 percent of the Jewish vote in 1980. Trump, however, could do as poorly with Jews as Barry Goldwater, who, in 1964, received just 10 percent of Jewish support, Podhoretz posited.

And while he plans to be in that minority, many of his ideological bedfellows continue to publicly decry Trump, as well as privately convince Podhoretz to change his mind, including another prominent neoconservative pundit: his son, John Podhoretz, the current editor of Commentary.

Earlier this summer, the younger Podhoretz argued that any maneuvers to strip Trump of the nomination at the Republican convention “might not only be a wise thing to do,” but more so would be “the moral thing to do.” Such efforts that were put forth by delegates in Cleveland were unsuccessful — and so, too, have been his attempts to convince his father to reject Trump, according to the elder Podhoretz.

“He thinks that Trump is worse, and I think that Hillary is worse,” Podhoretz said. “He keeps trying to persuade me. He sends me things, articles, showing how bad Trump is. And I keep saying, ‘I know all this. I don’t need to be persuaded.’”

An Interview with Norman Podhoretz

The CRB interviews Norman Podhoretz

The Claremeont review of books
April 16, 2019

This interview appears in the forthcoming Spring 2019 issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Please do not repost or copy without the permission of the editor. 

CRB editor Charles R. Kesler recently sat down with Norman Podhoretz at his home in New York. In a wide-ranging conversation, the longtime editor-in-chief of Commentary and one of the founders of neoconservatism, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, revealed his thoughts on Donald Trump, Never Trumpers, Iraq, immigration, 2020 predictions, and more.

* * *

CRB: Let’s start by talking about Donald Trump and you. In the first sentence of the first chapter of your book Making It, recently republished by the New York Review of Books Press, of all people—

NP: Hell froze over!

CRB: —you write famously, “One of the longest journeys in the world is the journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan….” How does your journey compare to Trump’s journey from Queens to Manhattan?

NP: Well, of course that’s very dated now. Nobody can afford to live in Brooklyn anymore. Escaping from Brooklyn was the great thing in my young life, but I have grandchildren who would like nothing better than to have an apartment there.

Trump’s move from Queens to Manhattan was, as I understand the real estate business, a quite daring move. Maybe that was the longest journey in the world because the Manhattan real estate world is a world unto its own. The competition is very fierce, you’re dealing with many, many clever people. I think it was Tom Klingenstein who said he always thought Trump was Jewish because he fit in so well with the real-estatenicks in Manhattan, most of whom were, and are, Jewish.

CRB: What does that comparison mean?

NP: I take it as an affectionate remark. He had the qualities that all those guys had in common, and you might have thought, other things being equal, that he was one of them. And in a certain sense he was, but not entirely. I know a few of those guys and they’re actually very impressive. You have to get permits, and you have to deal with the mob, and you have to know how to handle workers who are very recalcitrant, many of whom are thuggish. You’re in a battlefield there, so you have to know how to operate politically as well as in a managerial capacity, and how to sweet talk and also how to curse. It’s not an easy field to master.

CRB: Some people say that Trump has a blue collar sensibility. Do you see that?

NP: I do see it and even before Trump—long before Trump—actually going back to when I was in the army in the 1950s, I got to know blue-collar Americans. I’m “blue collar” myself, I suppose. I’m from the working class—my father was a milk man. But in the army I got to know people from all over the country and I fell in love with Americans—they were just great! These guys were unlike anybody I had ever met in New York or in England or France. They were mostly blue-collar kids and I think Trump has, in that sense, the common touch. That’s one of the things—it may be the main thing—that explains his political success. It doesn’t explain his success in general, but his political success, yes. Also—I often explain this to people—when I was a kid, you would rather be beaten up than back away from a fight. The worst thing in the world you could be called was a sissy. And I was beaten up many times. Trump fights back. The people who say: “Oh, he shouldn’t lower himself,” “He should ignore this,” and “Why is he demeaning himself by arguing with some dopey reporter?” I think on the contrary—if you hit him, he hits back; and he is an equal opportunity counter puncher. It doesn’t matter who you are. And actually Obama, oddly enough, made the same statement: “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun.”

CRB: “The Chicago way.” Your own attitude towards Trump as a political figure has changed over time. How would you describe that evolution?

NP: Well, when he first appeared on the scene, I disliked him because he resembled one of the figures that I dislike most in American politics and with whom I had tangled, namely Pat Buchanan—I had tangled with him in print and I had accused him of anti-Semitism. And he came back at me, and I came back at him. And it was a real street fight. And I said to my wife: “This guy [Trump] is Buchanan without the anti-Semitism,” because he was a protectionist, a nativist, and an isolationist. And those were the three pillars of Pat Buchanan’s political philosophy. How did I know he wasn’t an anti-Semite? I don’t know—I just knew. And he certainly wasn’t and isn’t, and I don’t think he’s a racist or any of those things.

CRB: But you still think he’s an isolationist and a nativist?

NP: No, that’s what’s so interesting. At first, I disliked him because I thought he was a Buchananite, and then when he said that they lied us into Iraq—that put me off, because that is itself one of the big lies of the century, and no matter how often it’s been refuted and refuted decisively, it just stays alive. And when Trump committed himself to that, I thought, “well, to hell with him.”

CRB: You refuted that lie in your book World War IV.

NP: Yes, and I’m actually quite proud of that section of the book—it certainly convinced me! So for a while I was supporting Marco Rubio and I was enthusiastic about him. As time went on, and I looked around me, however, I began to be bothered by the hatred that was building up against Trump from my soon to be new set of ex-friends. It really disgusted me. I just thought it had no objective correlative. You could think that he was unfit for office—I could understand that—but my ex-friends’ revulsion was always accompanied by attacks on the people who supported him. They called them dishonorable, or opportunists, or cowards—and this was done by people like Bret Stephens, Bill Kristol, and various others. And I took offense at that. So that inclined me to what I then became: anti-anti-Trump. By the time he finally won the nomination, I was sliding into a pro-Trump position, which has grown stronger and more passionate as time has gone on.

On the question of his isolationism, he doesn’t seem to give a damn. He hires John Bolton and Mike Pompeo who, from my point of view, as a neoconservative (I call myself a “paleo-neoconservative” because I’ve been one for so long), couldn’t be better. And that’s true of many of his other cabinet appointments. He has a much better cabinet than Ronald Reagan had, and Reagan is the sacred figure in Republican hagiography. Trump is able to do that because, not only is he not dogmatic, he doesn’t operate on the basis of fixed principles. Now some people can think that’s a defect—I don’t think it’s a defect in a politician at a high level. I remember thinking to myself once on the issue of his embrace of tariffs, and some of my friends were very angry. I said to myself for the first time, “Was thou shalt not have tariffs inscribed on the tablets that Moses brought down from Sinai? Maybe Trump has something on this issue, in this particular”—and then I discovered to my total amazement that there are a hundred tariffs (I think that’s right) against America from all over the world. So the idea that we’re living in a free trade paradise was itself wrong, and in any case, there was no reason to latch onto it as a sacred dogma.

And that was true of immigration. I was always pro-immigration because I’m the child of immigrants. And I thought it was unseemly of me to oppose what not only had saved my life, but had given me the best life I think I could possibly have had. I wrote a book called My Love Affair with America, and that states it accurately. So I was very reluctant to join in Trump’s skepticism about the virtues of immigration.

CRB: And you used to debate immigration with John O’Sullivan and Peter Brimelow when they were at National Review in the 1990s, I guess. They were turning NR’s position on immigration around in a sort of anticipation of Trump.

NP: Yes, though if anyone deserves the epithet “rootless cosmopolitan,” which has been applied to the Jews, it’s John O’Sullivan, whom I’m very fond of.

CRB: Do you find yourself repudiating the arguments you were maintaining then, or do you think the circumstances have changed?

NP: Well, both. I mean it’s hard for me to repudiate those arguments because I think there was a lot of validity in them. We weren’t arguing about illegal immigration. We were arguing about immigration. And one of my favorite stories about immigration had to do with Henry James. Henry James was taken on a tour of the Lower East Side in 1905—I forget the name of the sociologist who took him; it was a WASP of course. The Lower East Side was then a heavily Jewish ghetto, and James visited a café filled with artists who were speaking animatedly in English and in Yiddish. And he said to himself, “Well, if these people stay” (or something like that), “whatever language they speak, we shall not know it for English.” And I would then point out, well, the only people who are reading Henry James and indeed writing doctoral dissertations on him are the grandchildren of those people. So that was something to be borne in mind. But that was on the issue of immigration in general.

In 1924, immigration virtually stopped and the rationale for the new policy was to give newcomers a chance to assimilate—which may or may not have been the main reason—but it probably worked. What has changed my mind about immigration now—even legal immigration—is that our culture has weakened to the point where it’s no longer attractive enough for people to want to assimilate to, and we don’t insist that they do assimilate. When I was a kid, I lived in a neighborhood that had immigrant Jews, immigrant Italians (mainly from Sicily), and immigrant blacks—that is, they had come up from the South recently. It was incidentally one of the things that made me a lifelong skeptic about integration because far from understanding each other and getting to know each other, all we did was fight. In any case, the stuff that went on in the public schools! I had an incident when I went to school at the age of five. Although I was born in Brooklyn, I was bilingual and Yiddish was in a sense my first language, so I came to school with a bit of an accent. And the story was: I was wandering around in the hall, and the teacher said: “Where are you going?” And I said: “I’m goink op de stez.” And they slapped me into a remedial speech class. Now, if anyone did that now, federal marshals would materialize out of the wall and arrest them for cultural genocide. But, of course, they did me an enormous favor. I imagine my life would have been very different if I had not been subjected to that “speech therapy,” as they called it. And parents then did not object—on the contrary, they were very humble. If the teacher thought so, and the school thought so, they must be right. That was the culture of the prewar period. You certainly wanted your children to be Americans—real Americans—even if you wanted them to hold on to their ancestral culture as well. You were free to do that on your own time and your own dime. And it worked. It worked beautifully.

So when I got into the army and I began meeting other kinds of Americans—native Americans—so to speak, I was floored. I didn’t like the army particularly, but I got on very well with the guys I met. Their humor, and their irreverence, and their camaraderie—it was great!

CRB: Well, there you go. So you began by looking at Trump as a kind of warmed over Pat Buchanan—

NP: Yeah, without the anti-Semitism.

CRB: Did he do anything as president or as a candidate that accelerated your reevaluation of him? Did a lightbulb go on at some point?

NP: Well it wasn’t a lightbulb, and it wasn’t the road to Damascus revelation. It was that as I watched the appointments he was making even at the beginning, I was astonished. And he couldn’t have been doing this by accident. So that everything he was doing by way of policy as president, belied the impression he had given to me of a Buchananite. He was the opposite of a Buchananite in practice. The fact is he was a new phenomenon. And I still to this day haven’t quite figured out how he reconciled all of this in his own head. Maybe because, as I said earlier, he was not dogmatic about things. He did what he had to do to get things done.

CRB: I think you said he didn’t have principles.

NP: Well, okay, but he had something—he had instincts. And he knew, from my point of view, who the good guys were. Now, he made some mistakes, for example, with Secretary of State Tillerson, but so did Reagan. I used to point out to people that it took Lincoln three years to find the right generals to fight the civil war, so what did you expect from George W. Bush? In Trump’s case, most of his appointments were very good and they’ve gotten better as time’s gone on. And even the thing that I held almost sacred, and still do really, which is the need for American action abroad—interventionism—which he still says he’s against. I mean, he wants to pull out all our troops from Syria and I think it was probably Bolton who talked him out of doing it all in one stroke. Even concerning interventionism, I began to rethink. I found my mind opening to possibilities that hadn’t been there before. And in this case it was a matter of acknowledging changing circumstances rather than philosophical or theoretical changes.

CRB: You were an avid supporter of the Iraq war. He’s a pronounced critic of it. Are you persuaded by his opinion?

NP: No, I am intransigent on Iraq. I think it was the right thing to do at the time. I’ve even gone so far as to say Bush would have deserved to be impeached if he had not gone in. Every intelligence agency in the world said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction—nuclear weapons, actually—every one of his own intelligence agencies said so. Saddam himself said so. Especially after 9/11, there was almost no good reason not to go in. The administration had gone through all the diplomatic kabuki, which I always knew wouldn’t work. It’s inconceivable that they could have been lying. Who would be stupid enough to lie when you’re going to be exposed in a week? It’s ridiculous! Nobody was lying, except Saddam.

I was once on a panel on a National Review cruise. Bill Buckley was still alive. They posed the question: “Knowing what you know now, would you have gone into Iraq?” And everybody, including Bill, said no. And I said yes, for the reasons I just gave. And I said, “Anyway, if I knew the outcome of every decision I’ve ever made, I probably would have made the opposite of each one. You act on the basis of what you know now and what looks probable now—not under circumstances five years later.” I thought it was a stupid question, to tell you the truth. I still feel it was the right thing to do and the story’s not over yet, by the way. I mean, it’s assumed Iraq is a disaster and Iran is taking over—that’s not quite true. Many Iraqis are trying to resist Iran. I’m told that Baghdad has become what Beirut used to be—full of cafés and nightlife and traffic jams and liveliness; and they had a decent election.

CRB: Invading Iraq—toppling Saddam—was one thing. Occupying and trying to democratize the country was another. How do you regard the latter now?

NP: I know, it’s as if the effort to democratize was somehow ignoble instead of just misplaced. I mean, let me put it this way, we obviously did a bad job of the occupation and we are not an imperial power despite what the Left says. We’re not good at it. Although, in the case of Germany, Japan, and Korea, we’ve stationed troops there for 50 years. If you’re going to do it, you need to be prepared to do what is necessary when it’s over—when you’ve won. And we were not prepared. Many mistakes were made, and the will to see it through to the end was absent. So that I agree to. But my hope was not that we could have an election and overnight everything would be fine, but that we could clear the ground a bit in which seeds of democratization could be planted. That was what I used to call “draining the swamp.” And that swamp, we knew, was the swamp in which terrorism festered. So it seemed to me to make sense as a policy.

CRB: Would you call Trump an isolationist? He didn’t use the term.

NP: No, he didn’t; he was against what he called stupid wars or unnecessary wars. But I think that, again, he’s willing to be flexible under certain circumstances. I think that if we were hit by any of those people, he would respond with a hydrogen bomb.

CRB: And you’re not speaking metaphorically.

NP: No, I’m not. But again, I was a passionate interventionist. I was a passionate believer in democratization before I was a paleo-neoconservative—when I was just a plain neoconservative. But it was a totally different world.

CRB: But many of your new set of ex-friends, as you call them, were with you on Iraq and democratization, which explains partly at least, why they are against Trump. You deviated from them, or they deviated from you.

NP: Well some of them have gone so far as to make me wonder whether they’ve lost their minds altogether. I didn’t object to their opposition to Trump. There was a case to be made, and they made it—okay. Of course, they had no reasonable alternative. A couple of them voted for Hillary, which I think would have been far worse for the country than anything Trump could have done.

But, basically, I think we’re all in a state of confusion as to what’s going on. Tom Klingenstein has made a brilliant effort to explain it, in terms that haven’t really been used before. He says that our domestic politics has erupted into a kind of war between patriotism and multiculturalism, and he draws out the implications of that war very well. I might put it in different terms—love of America versus hatred of America. But it’s the same idea. We find ourselves in a domestic, or civil, war almost.

In 1969-70, we neocons analyzed the international situation in a similar way, behind a clarifying idea that had a serious impact because it was both simple and sufficiently complex in its implications. I had by then become alienated from my long-term friend Hannah Arendt, whose book The Origins of Totalitarianism had had an enormous effect on me. Although she had become an ex-friend, her book’s argument still inspired me, and I think a lot of other people, to fight. And that argument was that the Soviet Union was an evil, moral and political, comparable to Nazi Germany. As we had fought to defend the West in World War II from the evil coming from, as it were, the Right, so we had to fight it coming from the Left in the Cold War, which I liked to call World War III. (And I’ve tried to say since 9/11, we have to fight an evil coming from the 7th century in what amounts to World War IV—but that name hasn’t caught on.) But the important point is we offered a wholehearted, full-throated defense of America. Not merely a defense, but a celebration, which is what I thought it deserved, nothing less. It was like rediscovering America—its virtues, its values, and how precious the heritage we had been born to was, and how it was, in effect, worth dying for. And that had a refreshing impact, I think, because that’s how most people felt. But all they had heard—though nothing compared to now—was that America was terrible. It was the greatest danger to peace in the world, it was born in racism, and genocide, and committed every conceivable crime. And then when new crimes were invented like sexism and Islamophobia, we were guilty of those, too.

CRB: The fight against Soviet Communism ended in victory for the West, but not, it seems, in the rehabilitation of Americanism. What happened to “the new American patriotism” as Reagan called it?

NP: Well, one of the Soviet officials, after the fall of the Soviet Union, actually put it correctly when he said: “You’ve lost your enemy.” And that’s, I think, the largest cause.

CRB: You mean the only thing that really inspired us was the external threat?

NP: No, the external threat inspired us, but it also gave rise to a new appreciation of what we were fighting for—not just against. I was a Democrat, you know, by heritage, and in 1972 I helped found a movement called, “The Coalition for a Democratic Majority,” which was an effort to save the Democratic Party from the McGovernites who had taken it over. We knew exactly what was wrong, but it metastasized. The long march through the institutions, as the Maoists called it, was more successful than I would have anticipated. The anti-Americanism became so powerful that there was virtually nothing to stop it. Even back then I once said, and it’s truer now: this country is like a warrior tribe which sends all its children to a pacifist monk to be educated. And after a while—it took 20 or 40 years—but little by little it turned out that Antonio Gramsci—the Communist theoretician who said that the culture is where the power is, not the economy—turned out to be right; and little by little the anti-Americanism made its way all the way down to kindergarten, practically. And there was no effective counterattack. I’m not sure why. I mean, some of us tried, but we didn’t get very far.

CRB: How do you assess the American Left today?

NP: The crack I make these days is that the Left thinks that the Constitution is unconstitutional. When Barack Obama said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming this country,” well it wasn’t five days, but he was for once telling the truth. He knew what he was doing. I’ve always said that Obama, from his own point of view, was a very successful president. I wrote a piece about that in the Wall Street Journal which surprised a lot of people. Far from being a failure, within the constraints of what is still the democratic political system, he had done about as much as you possibly could to transform the country into something like a social democracy. The term “social democrat,” however, used to be an honorable one. It designated people on the Left who were anti-Communist, who believed in democracy, but who thought that certain socialist measures could make the world more equitable. Now it’s become a euphemism for something that is hard to distinguish from Communism.

And I would say the same thing about anti-Zionism. I gave a talk to a meeting of the American Jewish Committee, which was then the publisher of Commentary, two years or so after the Six Day War. And I said what’s happened since that war is that anti-Semitism has migrated from the Right, which was its traditional home, to the Left, where it is getting a more and more hospitable reception. And people walked out on the talk, I mean, literally just got up. These were all Jews, you understand. Today, anti-Semitism, under the cover of anti-Zionism, has established itself much more firmly in the Democratic Party than I could ever have predicted, which is beyond appalling. The Democrats were unable to pass a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism, for example, which is confirmation of the Gramscian victory. I think they are anti-American—that’s what I would call them. They’ve become anti-American.

CRB: What are they pro-?

NP: Well, some of them say they’re pro-socialism, but most of them don’t know what they’re talking about. They ought to visit a British hospital or a Canadian hospital once in a while to see what Medicare for All comes down to. They don’t know what they’re for. I mean, the interesting thing about this whole leftist movement that started in the ’60s is how different it is from the Left of the ’30s. The Left of the ’30s had a positive alternative in mind—what they thought was positive—namely, the Soviet Union. So America was bad; Soviet Union, good. Turn America into the Soviet Union and everything is fine. The Left of the ’60s knew that the Soviet Union was flawed because its crimes that had been exposed, so they never had a well-defined alternative. One day it was Castro, the next day Mao, the next day Zimbabwe, I mean, they kept shifting—as long as it wasn’t America. Their real passion was to destroy America and the assumption was that anything that came out of those ruins would be better than the existing evil. That was the mentality—there was never an alternative and there still isn’t. So Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union—I mean, I don’t know him personally, but I have relatives who resemble him; I know him in my bones—and he’s an old Stalinist if there ever was one. Things have gone so haywire, he was able to revive the totally discredited idea of socialism, and others were so ignorant that they picked it up.

As for attitudes toward America, I believe that Howard Zinn’s relentlessly anti-American People’s History of the United States sells something like 130,000 copies a year, and it’s a main text for the study of American History in the high schools and in grade schools. So, we have miseducated a whole generation, two generations by now, about almost everything.

CRB: And President Trump offers a path up from ignorance and anti-Americanism?

NP: The only way I know out of this is to fight it intellectually, which sounds weak. But the fact that Trump was elected is a kind of miracle. I now believe he’s an unworthy vessel chosen by God to save us from the evil on the Left. And he’s not the first unworthy vessel chosen by God. There was King David who was very bad—I mean he had a guy murdered so he could sleep with his wife, among other things. And then there was King Solomon who was considered virtuous enough—more than his father—to build the temple, and then desecrated it with pagan altars; but he was nevertheless considered a great ancestor. So there are precedents for these unworthy vessels, and Trump, with all his vices, has the necessary virtues and strength to fight the fight that needs to be fought. And if he doesn’t win in 2020, I would despair of the future. I have 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, and they are hostages to fortune. So I don’t have the luxury of not caring what’s going to happen after I’m gone.

CRB: What are his virtues, if you had to enumerate them?

NP: His virtues are the virtues of the street kids of Brooklyn. You don’t back away from a fight and you fight to win. That’s one of the things that the Americans who love him, love him for—that he’s willing to fight, not willing but eager to fight. And that’s the main virtue and all the rest stem from, as Klingenstein says, his love of America. I mean, Trump loves America. He thinks it’s great or could be made great again. Eric Holder, former attorney general, said, “When was it ever great?” And Michelle Obama says that the first time she was ever proud of her country was when Obama won. By the way, I make a prediction to you that the Democratic candidate in 2020 is going to be Michelle Obama, and all these people knocking themselves out are wasting their time and money. The minute she announces that will be it.

CRB: You heard it here first!

NP: I fear she could beat him.

CRB: Well, I’ve always thought she would go into politics. She’s so good at giving a speech.

NP: And she’s written the bestselling memoir of all time. I’ve seen her in the flesh, so to speak. I mean, I’ve met them and she’s much more beautiful than she looks in photographs. She’s statuesque and extremely, extremely good looking.

CRB: The Never Trumpers agree with you that Trump is an “unworthy vessel” but see nothing whatsoever to redeem his vices.

NP: Mainly they think he’s unfit to be president for all the obvious reasons—that he disgraces the office. I mean, I would say Bill Clinton disgraced the office. I was in England at Cambridge University when Harry Truman was president, and there were Americans there who were ashamed of the fact that somebody like Harry Truman was president.

CRB: A haberdasher.

NP: Right, and no college degree. And, of course, Andrew Jackson encountered some of that animosity. There’s snobbery in it and there’s genuine, you might say, aesthetic revulsion. It’s more than disagreements about policy, because the fact of the matter is they have few grounds for disagreement about policy. I mean, I’ve known Bill Kristol all his life, and I like him. But I must say I’m shocked by his saying that if it comes to the deep state versus Trump, he’ll take the deep state. You know, I was raised to believe that the last thing in the world you defend is your own, and I am proud to have overcome that education. I think the first thing in the world you defend is your own, especially when it’s under siege both from without and within. So the conservative elite has allowed its worst features—its sense of superiority—to overcome its intellectual powers, let’s put it that way. I don’t know how else to explain this.

CRB: Like Donald Trump, you don’t mind being politically incorrect, or what some would call populist.

NP: I often quote and I have always believed in Bill Buckley’s notorious declaration that he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone book than by the faculty of Harvard University. That’s what I call intelligent populism. And Trump is Exhibit A of the truth of that proposition.

CRB: Thank you very much.


Iran: C’est la nature du régime, imbécile ! (Forty years on, will Europe finally understand the Islamic republic’s vital commitment to the revolutionary principle of permanent war on US interests and allies ?)

13 juin, 2019
The permanent revolution,: And Results and prospects: Trotsky, Leon: BooksNapoléon (…) accomplit la Terreur en remplaçant la révolution permanente par la guerre permanente. Karl Marx (1844)
Les étapes du développement de la révolution en URSS, en fin de compte, se déterminent par des replis dans le développement de la révolution mondiale, que l’opposition léniniste à toujours considéré comme un processus unique, « la soumission des intérêts de la lutte de classe dans un seul pays aux intérêts de cette lutte à l’échelle mondiale ». C’est le slogan de base de Lénine, lequel détermine les tâches stratégiques du prolétariat socialiste de l’URSS, et qui est en même temps l’une des règles principales de la théorie de la révolution permanente. Léon Trotsky (1919)
L‘Armée de la République islamique d’Iran et le Corps des Gardes de la Révolution islamique … seront responsables, non seulement de la garde et de la préservation des frontières du pays, mais aussi de l’exécution de la mission idéologique du jihad sur la voie de Dieu, c’est-à-dire de l’expansion de la souveraineté de la Loi de Dieu à travers le monde. Préambule de la constitution iranienne (1979-1989)
L’ennemi est ici, on nous ment que c’est l’Amérique ! Slogan du peuple iranien
Lâchez la Syrie occupez-vous de nous ! Slogan du peuple iranien
Mort aux paysans ! Vivent les oppresseurs ! Slogan (ironique) de manifestants paysans iraniens
L’Iran aurait pu être la Corée du Sud; il est devenu la Corée du Nord. (…) Mais n’oubliez pas qu’Ahmadinejad n’est que le représentant d’un régime de nature totalitaire, qui ne peut se réformer et évoluer, quelle que soit la personne qui le représente. (…) Le slogan du régime est : « L’énergie nucléaire est notre droit indéniable. » Je lui réponds: ce droit, nous l’avions, c’est vous et les vôtres qui nous en avez privés. (…) Mon père (…) a décidé, dès les années 1970, de lancer un programme de production d’énergie nucléaire à des fins exclusivement civiles. C’est pourquoi nous avons signé le traité de non-prolifération (…) Aujourd’hui, le problème ne vient pas de l’idée de se doter de l’énergie nucléaire ; il provient de la nature du régime islamique. (…) je ne crois pas que les mollahs soient assez fous pour penser un jour utiliser la bombe contre Israël: ils savent très bien qu’ils seraient aussitôt anéantis. Ce qu’ils veulent, c’est disposer de la bombe pour pouvoir s’institutionnaliser une fois pour toutes dans la région et étendre leurs zones d’influence. Ils rêvent de créer un califat chiite du XXIe siècle et entendent l’imposer par la bombe atomique (…) il est manifeste qu’un gouvernement paranoïaque crée des crises un peu partout pour tenter de regagner à l’extérieur la légitimité qu’il a perdue à l’intérieur. Les dérives du clan au pouvoir ne se limitent pas au soutien au Hamas, elles vont jusqu’à l’Amérique latine de Chavez. Il ne s’agit en rien d’une vision qui vise à défendre notre intérêt national. Si le régime veut survivre, il doit absolument mettre en échec le monde libre, combattre ses valeurs. La République islamique ne peut pas perdurer dans un monde où l’on parle des droits de l’homme ou de la démocratie. Tous ces principes sont du cyanure pour les islamistes. Comment voulez-vous que les successeurs de Khomeini, dont le but reste l’exportation de la révolution, puissent s’asseoir un jour à la même table que le président Sarkozy ou le président Obama? Dans les mois à venir, un jeu diplomatique peut s’engager, mais, au final, il ne faut pas se faire d’illusion. Même si Khatami revenait au pouvoir, le comportement du régime resterait identique, car le vrai décideur c’est Khamenei. Je ne vois aucune raison pour laquelle le régime islamiste accepterait un changement de comportement. Cela provoquerait, de manière certaine, sa chute. Il ne peut plus revenir en arrière. J’ai bien peur que la diplomatie ne tourne en rond une nouvelle fois et que la course à la bombe ne continue pendant ce temps. Reza Pahlavi
La légitimité et la crédibilité d’un régime politique ne s’apprécie pas qu’à la seule aune du vote populaire, mais également à celle de sa capacité à assurer le bien être de son peuple et d’œuvrer pour l’intérêt national dans le respect des droits de l’homme. Un pouvoir qui ne puisse satisfaire cette double exigence est aussi digne de confiance qu’un gouvernement d’occupation, c’est hélas, Monsieur Khamenei, le cas de l’Iran de ces trente dernières années. (…) Il n’existe, de par le monde, qu’une poignée de régimes ayant privé leurs peuples aussi bien des droits humains fondamentaux que conduit leurs pays à la faillite économique. Il n’est donc pas étonnant de compter parmi vos rares pays alliés la Syrie, le Soudan ou la Corée du Nord. Reza Pahlavi
The uprising, once again showed that overthrowing theocracy in Iran is a national demand. Prince Reza Pahlavi
Le monde entier comprend que le bon peuple d’Iran veut un changement, et qu’à part le vaste pouvoir militaire des Etats-Unis, le peuple iranien est ce que ses dirigeants craignent le plus. Donald Trump
Les régimes oppresseurs ne peuvent perdurer à jamais, et le jour viendra où le peuple iranien fera face à un choix. Le monde regarde ! Donald Trump
L’Iran échoue à tous les niveaux, malgré le très mauvais accord passé avec le gouvernement Obama. Le grand peuple iranien est réprimé depuis des années. Il a faim de nourriture et de liberté. La richesse de l’Iran est confisquée, comme les droits de l’homme. Il est temps que ça change. Donald Trump
Les Iraniens courageux affluent dans les rues en quête de liberté, de justice et de droits fondamentaux qui leur ont été refusés pendant des décennies. Le régime cruel de l’Iran gaspille des dizaines de milliards de dollars pour répandre la haine au lieu de les investir dans la construction d’hôpitaux et d’écoles. Tenant compte de cela, il n’est pas étonnant de voir les mères et les pères descendre dans les rues. Le régime iranien est terrifié de son propre peuple. C’est d’ailleurs pour cela qu’il emprisonne les étudiants et interdit l’accès aux médias sociaux. Cependant, je suis sûr que la peur ne triomphera pas, et cela grâce au peuple iranien qui est intelligent, sophistiqué et fier. Aujourd’hui, le peuple iranien risque tout pour la liberté, mais malheureusement, de nombreux gouvernements européens regardent en silence alors que de jeunes Iraniens héroïques sont battus dans les rues. Ce n’est pas juste. Pour ma part, je ne resterai pas silencieux. Ce régime essaie désespérément de semer la haine entre nous, mais il échouera. Lorsque le régime tombera enfin, les Iraniens et les Israéliens seront à nouveau de grands amis. Je souhaite au peuple iranien du succès dans sa noble quête de liberté. Benjamin Netanyahou
En tant que défenseur de la rue arabe, [l’Iran] ne peut pas avoir un dialogue apaisé avec les Etats-Unis, dialogue au cours duquel il accepterait les demandes de cet Etat qui est le protecteur par excellence d’Israël. Téhéran a le soutien de la rue arabe, talon d’Achille des Alliés Arabes des Etats-Unis, car justement il refuse tout compromis et laisse entendre qu’il pourra un jour lui offrir une bombe nucléaire qui neutralisera la dissuasion israélienne. Pour préserver cette promesse utile, Téhéran doit sans cesse exagérer ses capacités militaires ou nucléaires et des slogans anti-israéliens. Il faut cependant préciser que sur un plan concret, les actions médiatiques de Téhéran ne visent pas la sécurité d’Israël, mais celle des Alliés arabes des Etats-Unis, Etats dont les dirigeants ne peuvent satisfaire les attentes belliqueuses de la rue arabe. Ainsi Téhéran a un levier de pression extraordinaire sur Washington. Comme toute forme de dissuasion, ce système exige un entretien permanent. Téhéran doit sans cesse fouetter la colère et les frustrations de la rue arabe ! Il doit aussi garder ses milices actives, de chaînes de propagande en effervescence et son programme nucléaire le plus opaque possible, sinon il ne serait pas menaçant. C’est pourquoi, il ne peut pas accepter des compensations purement économiques offertes par les Six en échange d’un apaisement ou une suspension de ses activités nucléaires. Ce refus permanent de compromis est vital pour le régime. (…) Il n’y a rien qui fasse plus peur aux mollahs qu’un réchauffement avec les Etats-Unis : ils risquent d’y perdre la rue arabe, puis le pouvoir. C’est pourquoi, le 9 septembre, quand Téhéran a accepté une rencontre pour désactiver les sanctions promises en juillet, il s’est aussitôt mis en action pour faire capoter ce projet de dialogue apaisé qui est un véritable danger pour sa survie. Iran Resist
L’analyse des témoignages des jeunes des grandes villes iraniennes et l’observation de leurs comportements sur les réseaux sociaux montrent que la politique sociale répressive des ayatollahs a produit des effets inattendus. La nouvelle génération de 15 à 25 ans vit dans le rejet du système de valeurs, promulgué par l’école et les médias de la République islamique. Pendant ces dernières décennies, le décalage entre l’espace public, maîtrisé par les agents de mœurs, et l’espace privé, où presque tout est permis, n’a cessé de progresser. Pourtant, malgré le non-respect que les jeunes citadins affichent pour les mesures islamiques – vestimentaires, alimentaires, sexuelles, … –, leurs témoignages révèlent qu’en dépit de leur apparence rebelle, ils ont en partie intériorisé l’image négative que la société leur inflige à cause du rejet de ses normes et valeurs. Cette image devient doublement négative lorsqu’ils se reprochent leur inaction, comme si la capacité d’agir sur leur sort et de faire valoir leurs droits fondamentaux ne dépendait que d’eux et de la volonté individuelle. Les catastrophes naturelles qui dévastent le pays (comme le tremblement de terre, les inondations ou les sècheresses, etc.) et les situations politiques ingérables (comme la menace de guerre, les sanctions économiques, ou certaines décisions politiques jugées inacceptables, etc.) aiguisent leur conscience de l’impuissance et déclenchent chez eux une avalanche de reproches et de haine de soi. Peut-être cette auto culpabilisation relève-t-elle d’un besoin de se sentir responsable, de se procurer une semblable illusion de puissance. Peut-être est-elle un simple mécanisme d’auto-défense. Mais, elle n’en reste pas moins destructrice pour autant, car elle les empêche d’avoir une vision objective de leur situation. Dans un pays où la moindre critique et protestation sont violemment réprimées, et où l’on peut encourir de lourdes peines de prisons pour avoir contesté une décision politique, quelle est la marge de manœuvre des individus? Quatre décennies de l’atteinte physique, l’atteinte juridique, et l’atteinte à la dignité humaine ont profondément privé les jeunes de reconnaissance sociale et les ont affectés dans le sentiment de leur propre valeur. La non reconnaissance du droit et de l’estime sociale en Iran ont créé des conditions collectives dans lesquelles les jeunes ne peuvent parvenir à une attitude positive envers eux-mêmes. En l’absence de confiance en soi, de respect de soi, et d’estime de soi, nul n’est en mesure de s’identifier à ses fins et à ses désirs en tant qu’être autonome et individualisé. Or, faut-il s’étonner si, aujourd’hui, l’émigration est devenue la seule perspective de l’avenir des jeunes Iraniens? Mahnaz Shirali
On his watch, the Russians meddled in our democracy while his administration did nothing about it. The Mueller report flatly states that Russia began interfering in American democracy in 2014. Over the next couple of years, the effort blossomed into a robust attempt to interfere in our 2016 presidential election. The Obama administration knew this was going on and yet did nothing. In 2016, Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice told her staff to « stand down » and « knock it off » as they drew up plans to « strike back » against the Russians, according to an account from Michael Isikoff and David Corn in their book « Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump ». Why did Obama go soft on Russia? My opinion is that it was because he was singularly focused on the nuclear deal with Iran. Obama wanted Putin in the deal, and to stand up to him on election interference would have, in Obama’s estimation, upset that negotiation. This turned out to be a disastrous policy decision. Obama’s supporters claim he did stand up to Russia by deploying sanctions after the election to punish them for their actions. But, Obama, according to the Washington Post, « approved a modest package… with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic. » In other words, a toothless response to a serious incursion. Scott Jennings (CNN)
Radicals linked to Hizbollah, the Lebanese militant group, stashed thousands of disposable ice packs containing ammonium nitrate – a common ingredient in homemade bombs. The plot was uncovered by MI5 and the Metropolitan Police in the autumn of 2015, just months after the UK signed up to the Iran nuclear deal. Three metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate was discovered – more than was used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and damaged hundreds of buildings. Police raided four properties in north-west London – three businesses and a home – and a man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorism. The man was eventually released without charge. Well-placed sources said the plot had been disrupted by a covert intelligence operation rather than seeking a prosecution. The discovery was so serious that David Cameron and Theresa May, then the prime minister and home secretary, were personally briefed on what had been found. Yet for years the nefarious activity has been kept hidden from the public, including MPs who were debating whether to fully ban Hizbollah, until now. It raises questions about whether senior UK government figures chose not to reveal the plot in part because they were invested in keeping the Iran nuclear deal afloat. (…) It became clear, according to well-placed sources, that the UK storage was not in isolation but part of an international Hizbollah plot to lay the groundwork for future attacks. The group had previously been caught storing ice packs in Thailand. And in 2017, two years after the London bust, a New York Hizbollah member would appear to seek out a foreign ice pack manufacturer. Ice packs provide the perfect cover, according to sources – seemingly harmless and easy to transport. Proving beyond doubt they were purchased for terrorism was tricky.  But the most relevant case was in Cyprus, where a startlingly similar plot had been busted just months before the discovery in London. There, a 26-year-old man called Hussein Bassam Abdallah, a dual Lebanese and Canadian national, was caught caching more than 65,000 ice packs in a basement. During interrogation he admitted to being a member of Hizbollah’s military wing, saying he had once been trained to use an AK47 assault rifle. Abdallah said the 8.2 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored was for terrorist attacks. He pleaded guilty and was given a six-year prison sentence in June 2015. In Abdallah’s luggage police found two photocopies of a forged British passport. Cypriot police say they were not the foreign government agency that tipped Britain off to the London cell. (…) A UK intelligence source said: “MI5 worked independently and closely with international partners to disrupt the threat of malign intent from Iran and its proxies in the UK.” The decision not to inform the public of the discovery, despite a major debate with Britain’s closest ally America about the success of the Iran nuclear deal, will raise eyebrows. Keeping MPs in the dark amid a fierce debate about whether to designate the entire of Hezbollah a terrorist group – rather than just its militant wing – will also be questioned. The US labelled the entire group a terrorist organisation in the 1990s. But in Britain, only its armed wing was banned. The set-up had led senior British counter-terrorism figures to believe there was some form of understanding that Hizbollah would not target the UK directly. Hizbollah was only added to the banned terrorist group list in its entirety in February 2019 – more than three years after the plot was uncovered. The Telegraph
There is a reason America’s European and Asian allies are determined to end the US quarantine of Iranian businesses. Trump’s increasingly tough sanctions give countries and corporations an uncomfortable pair of options: Buy Iranian oil and invest there, or do business with the US — but you can’t do both. The latest punishment came last Friday, when the administration vowed to sanction anyone doing business with Iran’s petrochemical industry, a lucrative exporting sector run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is now rightly listed by Washington as a terror organization. America’s allies are eager to revive the smooth flow of goods and business with Iran; their diplomacy is meant to put pressure on Washington to start a process that would lead to new direct talks. Iran, they claim, will behave better, now that its economy is strained. America should take advantage and aim for a fresh rapprochement. The problem with the allies’ theory: No such hunger for reconciliation is in evidence in Tehran. Instead, the regime is still signaling obstinacy. The ayatollahs are as committed as ever to their revolutionary principles, the main one of which is waging war on US interests and allies. Take Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, long touted as a symbol of moderation and openness and a welcome guest in Western TV studios. Yet defending Iran’s habit of hanging gay people in the public square, Zarif told the German newspaper Bild this week: “Our society has moral principles, and according to these principles we live.” Hosting Germany’s Maas this week, Zarif also pushed back against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent offer of negotiations “without preconditions.” The Islamic Republic won’t talk to those who wage “economic war” against it, Zarif said, threatening for good measure that, as an Iranian enemy, America “cannot expect to stay safe.” The theocracy is hardening, rather than softening, its line, notwithstanding entreaties from Tokyo, Berlin and Brussels. These well-meaning outsiders inevitably point to supposed moderates that America can do business with, and, as always, they urge Washington to ignore Tehran’s malign rhetoric and muscle-flexing. It’s true that some Iranian politicians favor making cosmetic concessions to the West to ensure the Islamic Republic’s survival. But the ultimate decider, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has long soured on such concessions. Negotiation, he recently said, “has no benefit and carries harm.” In a perfect world, the global economy would be better off when everyone can do business with everyone without fear of punishment. But the existence of a militantly anti-Western regime like Iran’s is a reminder that ours isn’t a perfect world. Abe, then, would be better off warning Iran about its joint missile development with Japan’s menacing neighbor, North Korea (a reminder that the regime’s behavior is destructive far beyond its immediate neighborhood.) Talks may be worthwhile — but not before Khamenei leaves the stage. Once the old dictator is gone, the ensuing internal struggle may work to the West’s advantage. Economic pressure may then embolden Iranians hoping to throw off the regime’s yoke. Or it may not. Either way, dealing with the regime as it exists is futile, as more than four decades of experience have shown. Trump should turn a deaf ear to Abe and the rest of the world’s eager go-betweens. Benny Avni
When it comes to countering terrorism: follow the money. The world fought the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and ISIL by cutting off their money. We must do the same today and acknowledge that the epicenter of modern terrorism is IRAN. Iran bankrolls a ‘coalition of terrorists’ around the world that further Iran‘s policy of expansionism. With Iran‘s backing of over $1 billion, Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into a launching pad for terror. Hezbollah’s funding, weaponry and even its food all come from Iran. Iranian money has landed directly in the pockets of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria. With Hamas’ help and the Palestinian branch of the Iranian Quds Force, Iran is trying to turn Judea and Samaria into a fourth military front against Israel. Danny Danon
Après des décennies de complaisance et de lâcheté occidentales avec le régime enturbanné, particulièrement sous les mandats du sinistre Barack « Imam » Hussein Obama, idole de l’établissement culturo-médiatique mondialiste, l’actuel président américain Donald Trump, au grand désespoir des Zéropéens, les Britanniques en tête en leur qualité de soutien traditionnel du clergé chiite, semble déterminé à prendre le taureau par les cornes et étouffer la principale tête de la Bête islamiste. Celle dont l’irruption en 1979 a été le point de départ de l’essor considérable de l’islam politique, cette idéologie mortifère, combinaison du nazisme et du communisme. Après quarante années de turpitudes et de sévices en tous genre infligés principalement au peuple iranien, mais également, par des voies directes ou indirectes, à l’ensemble du monde civilisé, le régime des turbans noirs et des turbans blancs est confronté à la plus grave crise de son histoire, déjà beaucoup trop longue. La pétro-mollahrchie ne peut plus exporter le pétrole iranien qui constitue sa source essentielle de revenus pour financer son activisme terroriste et ses sordides réseaux clientélistes dans la région. Les chiens de garde du régime sont désormais officiellement reconnus par la première puissance mondiale comme ce qu’ils ont toujours été depuis leur naissance, à savoir des terroristes fanatiques aux ordres de leurs maîtres enturbannés. Enfin, la théocratie milicienne n’arrive plus à dériver les colères et frustrations de la population vers l’extérieur. Les Iraniens ont aujourd’hui compris, dans leur immense majorité, que ceux qui les dirigent sont leurs plus grands ennemis. En tout état de cause, les jours de la mafia ochlo-théocratique sont comptés. Quelle que soit l’issue de la présente crise, le désastre économique, la paupérisation générale de la population contrastant avec l’opulence insolente des mollahs au pouvoir, celle de leurs sbires, de leurs familles et de leurs clients, la corruption délirante de l’oligarchie khomeyniste dont l’ampleur insoupçonnée est révélée davantage chaque jour et le discrédit massif de la mollahrchie et de son idéologie condamnent ce régime cauchemardesque aux poubelles de l’Histoire à brève échéance. L’inscription des « Gardiens de la Révolution » sur la liste des organisations terroristes établie par l’administration américaine a étonné nombre de prétendus « observateurs » et « experts » des affaires iraniennes, qui se sont émus notamment qu’une « armée régulière (sic) d’un pays » puisse être assimilée à une entité terroriste. C’est en réalité une décision d’une extrême logique au regard du pédigree de cette sinistre milice dont la dénomination officielle (« Sépâh-é Pâsdârân-é Enghelâb-é Eslâmi » i.e « les Gardiens de la Révolution islamique) fait apparaître expressément que cette organisation paramilitaire n’est nullement en charge de la défense de l’Iran et du peuple iranien, mais de la seule « Révolution islamique » et, par suite, du régime qui en est le fer de lance. (…) Ce n’est, en effet, qu’à compter de 1982 que les voyous fanatisés dénommés « Pasdarans » ont vu leur rôle accru, de manière importante, durant cette guerre, lorsque celle-ci a pris un virage intégralement idéologique, avec la volonté de Khomeyni de la prolonger indéfiniment sous le prétexte d’exporter son abjecte révolution dans la région, au mépris des vies gaspillées sur les théâtres d’opération, pour continuer d’asseoir son pouvoir tyrannique, museler toute critique de sa politique irresponsable et réprimer avec une férocité implacable tous ses opposants. (…) Pour se faire une idée ce qui se passe en Iran depuis quarante ans, il faudrait se représenter une France dans laquelle la voyoucratie et la racaille islamisée de banlieue aurait réussi à s’accaparer la quasi-intégralité des ressources de l’Etat et le contrôle des grands groupes économiques nationaux, industriels et commerciaux, pour les utiliser à son profit exclusif, dans le but non seulement de mener grand train aux dépens du reste de la population, mais aussi de financer un gigantesque réseau clientéliste aux ramifications internationales, aux seules fins de bâtir un système d’influence fondé sur une idéologie mortifère, sans aucune considération de l’intérêt national du peuple français. (…) A la différence de ses prédécesseurs à la Maison Blanche et des nombreux dirigeants occidentaux qui se sont succedés depuis quarante ans, dont l’archétype fut l’Imam Hussein Obama, lequel a fait montre d’une complaisance et d’une lâcheté funeste dans la gestion du « cas iranien », Donald Trump a le mérite de ne pas se laisser intimider par la mafia enturbannée. S’il devait persister dans cette attitude ferme, il pourrait être celui qui aura aidé le peuple iranien, allié naturel du monde libre et civilisé, à terrasser la Bête islamiste avant que les métastases de ce cancer ne finissent de se propager sur la planète. Chasser cette Bête de la tanière qu’elle s’est aménagée, il y a quatre décennies, au détriment d’un pays martyr, serait pour la région un événement d’une portée équivalente à la chute du Mur de Berlin pour l’Europe. Il s’agirait d’un coup décisif à cette synthèse idéologique du nazisme et du communisme que constitue l’islam politique. Car n’en déplaisent aux fascistes tiers-mondistes, aux obsédés de l’« antisionisme » et autres anti-américains pavloviens qui fantasment sur la « résistance » de la dictature des turbans noirs et des turbans blancs, la disparition de l’ochlo-théocratie khomeyniste et l’avènement d’un Iran libre, laïque et démocratique, renouant avec le sillon tracé par la dynastie Pahlavi, serait un gage considérable de paix dans la région et le monde. En s’alliant au peuple iranien dans ce combat, le président Donald Trump pourrait entrer dans l’Histoire comme le Roosevelt du 21e siècle. Iran-Resist

C’est la nature du régime, imbécile !

Alors que du Golfe d’Oman au Yemen et à la frontière syro-israélienne et à l’instar de son très probablement feu commandant des opérations extérieures, un régime iranien aux abois multiplie les provocations…

Et qu’entre deux manoeuvres d’apaisement ou de détournement des sanctions américaines, leurs idiots utiles européens ou asiatiques accusent le président Trump …

Pendant que se confirment pour préserver un accord nucléaire iranien plus que douteux

Tant l’insigne lâcheté d’une Administration Obama prête, entre deux actes de haute trahison avec les Iraniens ou les Russes, à tolérer une ingérence étrangère dans ses propres élections …

Que celle de dirigeants britanniques n’hésitant pas à taire la découverte de trois tonnes d’explosifs stockés sur leur propre sol par le mouvement terroriste Hezbollah  …

Comment ne pas voir avec nos amis du site de résistance iranien Iran-Resist …

Ou les quelques spécialistes encore un peu lucides comme Mahnaz Shirali ou Benny Avni

L’incroyable cécité d’un Occident …

Qui depuis 40 ans n’a toujours pas compris que la nature même d’un régime révolutionnaire comme la République islamique …

Pour faire oublier la corruption et l’incompétence à l’intérieur …

C’est à l’instar du requin qui se noie s’il arrête de nager …

La provocation et l’agression permanente à l’extérieur …

Du moins, après l’accident industriel Obama, jusqu’à l’arrivée au pouvoir à Washington …

De celui qui avec l’élimination de « l’ochlo-théocratie khomeyniste » et l’avènement enfin d’un « Iran libre, laïc et démocratique » …

Pourrait « entrer dans l’Histoire comme le Roosevelt du 21e siècle » ?

Mollahs : Endgame
Sam Safi
Iran-Resist
06.06.2019

Après des décennies de complaisance et de lâcheté occidentales avec le régime enturbanné, particulièrement sous les mandats du sinistre Barack « Imam » Hussein Obama, idole de l’établissement culturo-médiatique mondialiste, l’actuel président américain Donald Trump, au grand désespoir des Zéropéens, les Britanniques en tête en leur qualité de soutien traditionnel du clergé chiite, semble déterminé à prendre le taureau par les cornes et étouffer la principale tête de la Bête islamiste. Celle dont l’irruption en 1979 a été le point de départ de l’essor considérable de l’islam politique, cette idéologie mortifère, combinaison du nazisme et du communisme.

La récréation est terminée. Après quarante années de turpitudes et de sévices en tous genre infligés principalement au peuple iranien, mais également, par des voies directes ou indirectes, à l’ensemble du monde civilisé, le régime des turbans noirs et des turbans blancs est confronté à la plus grave crise de son histoire, déjà beaucoup trop longue. La pétro-mollahrchie ne peut plus exporter le pétrole iranien qui constitue sa source essentielle de revenus pour financer son activisme terroriste et ses sordides réseaux clientélistes dans la région. Les chiens de garde du régime sont désormais officiellement reconnus par la première puissance mondiale comme ce qu’ils ont toujours été depuis leur naissance, à savoir des terroristes fanatiques aux ordres de leurs maîtres enturbannés. Enfin, la théocratie milicienne n’arrive plus à dériver les colères et frustrations de la population vers l’extérieur. Les Iraniens ont aujourd’hui compris, dans leur immense majorité, que ceux qui les dirigent sont leurs plus grands ennemis.

En tout état de cause, les jours de la mafia ochlo-théocratique sont comptés. Quelle que soit l’issue de la présente crise, le désastre économique, la paupérisation générale de la population contrastant avec l’opulence insolente des mollahs au pouvoir, celle de leurs sbires, de leurs familles et de leurs clients, la corruption délirante de l’oligarchie khomeyniste dont l’ampleur insoupçonnée est révélée davantage chaque jour et le discrédit massif de la mollahrchie et de son idéologie condamnent ce régime cauchemardesque aux poubelles de l’Histoire à brève échéance.

Les molosses de Khamenei aux abois

L’inscription des « Gardiens de la Révolution » sur la liste des organisations terroristes établie par l’administration américaine a étonné nombre de prétendus « observateurs » et « experts » des affaires iraniennes, qui se sont émus notamment qu’une « armée régulière (sic) d’un pays » puisse être assimilée à une entité terroriste. C’est en réalité une décision d’une extrême logique au regard du pédigrée de cette sinistre milice dont la dénomination officielle (« Sépâh-é Pâsdârân-é Enghelâb-é Eslâmi » i.e « les Gardiens de la Révolution islamique) fait apparaître expressément que cette organisation paramilitaire n’est nullement en charge de la défense de l’Iran et du peuple iranien, mais de la seule « Révolution islamique » et, par suite, du régime qui en est le fer de lance.

L’Iran dispose en effet toujours de son armée nationale (« Artesh ») créée par la dynastie Pahlavi. Cependant, celle-ci a été volontairement appauvrie et affaiblie par les mollahs, depuis quatre décennies, en raison de son patriotisme persistant et de son lien historique avec le pouvoir impérial.

Contrairement à ce que tentent de faire croire aujourd’hui les cerbères des tyrans au turban et leurs lobbystes déguisés en « spécialistes » ou « experts », c’est bien l’armée régulière iranienne qui, durant la guerre Iran/Irak, a joué un rôle essentiel dans la libération du territoire national durant la première phase du conflit entre 1980 et 1982.

Ce n’est, en effet, qu’à compter de 1982 que les voyous fanatisés dénommés « Pasdarans » ont vu leur rôle accru, de manière importante, durant cette guerre, lorsque celle-ci a pris un virage intégralement idéologique, avec la volonté de Khomeyni de la prolonger indéfiniment sous le prétexte d’exporter son abjecte révolution dans la région, au mépris des vies gaspillées sur les théâtres d’opération, pour continuer d’asseoir son pouvoir tyrannique, museler toute critique de sa politique irresponsable et réprimer avec une férocité implacable tous ses opposants.

Soutenir le contraire serait méconnaître la réalité historique et surtout oublier que, loin de pouvoir rivaliser initialement avec l’armée nationale iranienne en termes de qualités et de compétences, les membres de cette milice, au début de la contre-révolution khomeyniste, étaient essentiellement issus des fanges les plus sordides de la population criminogène où se recrutaient traditionnellement les membres de la pègre, les loubards à couteau, les proxénètes et autres trafiquants de drogue, activités qu’ils continuent, au demeurant, de pratiquer sous leurs nouveaux habits, mais à une échelle bien plus importante avec des conséquences catastrophiques sur la société iranienne.

C’est, au demeurant, sur cette canaille en uniforme, avec laquelle il a noué une relation privilégiée durant ses années à la présidence du régime (1981-1989), que Khamenei s’est appuyé pour accéder au pouvoir suprême et éliminer ses principaux rivaux, à commencer par Montazeri, pourtant dauphin désigné de Khomeyni jusqu’aux dernières semaines ayant précédé la mort de l’ancien touriste de Neauphle-le-Château.

En contrepartie, le mollah collectionneur de pipes et de bagues, une fois au sommet du pouvoir clerico-mafieux, récompensera ses bouledogues en les autorisant à faire main basse sur la quasi-totalité des secteurs stratégiques de l’économie iranienne, leur permettant ainsi de constituer progressivement un véritable Etat dans l’Etat formant aujourd’hui un complexe militaro-industriel dans lequel réside le pouvoir profond de l’ochlo- théocratie.

Pour se faire une idée ce qui se passe en Iran depuis quarante ans, il faudrait se représenter une France dans laquelle la voyoucratie et la racaille islamisée de banlieue aurait réussi à s’accaparer la quasi-intégralité des ressources de l’Etat et le contrôle des grands groupes économiques nationaux, industriels et commerciaux, pour les utiliser à son profit exclusif, dans le but non seulement de mener grand train aux dépens du reste de la population, mais aussi de financer un gigantesque réseau clientéliste aux ramifications internationales, aux seules fins de bâtir un système d’influence fondé sur une idéologie mortifère, sans aucune considération de l’intérêt national du peuple français.

Quel avenir pour le Grand Timonier enturbanné ?

Outre l’effondrement économique, le mécontentement populaire et la pression militaire américaine, le régime peut également être sérieusement ébranlé par la disparition prochaine de son « Guide Suprême ». Il faut néanmoins rester prudent sur ce point. Ces dernières années, à chaque fois que la cléricature khomeyniste s’est senti sévèrement menacée, elle a fait courir le bruit de l’imminence de la mort de Khamenei pour tromper ses adversaires en leur laissant entrevoir, à court terme, un tournant majeur qui résulterait de cette disparition, conduisant ces derniers à apaiser leur colère ou modérer leurs revendications.

C’est ainsi que lors du soulèvement débuté à l’été 2009, consécutivement à la réélection grossièrement frauduleuse du pantin Ahmadinejad, le parrain de la mollahrchie, Rafsandjani, avait habilement manipulé Wikileaks en laissant fuiter une de ses déclarations prétendant que son ancien compagnon de lutte révolutionnaire, dont la légitimité était alors violemment et ouvertement contestée par les masses de manifestants, souffrait d’un cancer en phase terminale ne lui laissant plus que quelques mois à vivre…

Plusieurs années après la répression féroce de ce mouvement massif de contestation du régime, lors des négociations concernant le prétendu « Iran deal » (cet accord honteux au sujet duquel les mollahs se vantaient régulièrement dans leurs médias d’avoir enfumé les Occidentaux, avant qu’il ne soit dénoncé l’année dernière par le président des USA), les agents de la cléricature sont de nouveau parvenus, en février 2015, à intoxiquer les services et médias étrangers, dont le Figaro, en leur faisant croire que la mort du Guide de l’ochlo-théocratie, atteint d’un cancer de la prostate au stade métastatique, était imminente…

Une fois encore, les années ont passé et Khamenei est toujours vivant. Ce qui n’est plus le cas de son ancien comparse Rafsandjani, le co-fondateur du régime, décédé en janvier 2017 et de celui qui était, un temps, présenté comme son successeur au poste suprême, l’Irakien milliardaire fraîchement naturalisé Shahroudi, disparu en décembre 2018…

Cela dit, jusqu’à preuve du contraire, le Lider Maximo khomeyniste, qui sera octogénaire dans quelques semaines, n’est pas éternel et, si le régime parvient à survivre encore quelques temps, sa succession sera nécessairement ouverte. Elle devrait échoir à son fils Mojtaba ou au fidèle Ebrahim Raissi qui, par son profil de criminel de masse, de mollah borné et son titre de « seyyed », toujours de nature à faire tourner les têtes de sectateurs fidèles prêts à s’extasier à la vue d’un turban noir, semble tout désigné pour cette fonction.

Le scénario d’un coup d’état des Pasdarans paraît, en revanche, peu crédible. Ces miliciens n’ont vocation qu’à être les bras et les couteaux des mollahs. Il est consternant de lire les prédictions de prétendus « experts » annonçant l’avènement prochain parmi eux d’un « Reza Shah islamique » (sic !) en la personne de Ghassem Soleymani, chef de la section Al Qods des Gardiens de la Révolution, dont l’idéologie n’est autre que la variante chiite de celle de l’organisation terroriste Al Qaïda avec laquelle elle entretient du reste des relations très étroites.

Soleymani est un quasi-illettré sans aucune vision politique et stratégique pour l’Iran autre que celle d’être une base arrière de mouvements terroristes djihadistes anti-occidentaux dirigée par des mollahs fanatiques. A ces « experts », il convient de souligner que parler à son sujet d’un futur « Reza Shah islamique » est aussi pertinent que d’évoquer un « Emmanuel Macron communiste », un « Philippe de Villiers europhile », un « Adolf Hitler philosémite », ou un « Robespierre royaliste ».

A court terme, il est néanmoins préférable que Khamenei et les autres vieillards qui l’entourent restent en vie, ne serait-ce que pour répondre, très prochainement, de leurs innombrables crimes et forfaitures devant le peuple iranien.

Une prochaine Chute du Mur islamique ?

A la différence de ses prédécesseurs à la Maison Blanche et des nombreux dirigeants occidentaux qui se sont succédés depuis quarante ans, dont l’archétype fut l’Imam Hussein Obama, lequel a fait montre d’une complaisance et d’une lâcheté funeste dans la gestion du « cas iranien », Donald Trump a le mérite de ne pas se laisser intimider par la mafia enturbannée.

S’il devait persister dans cette attitude ferme, il pourrait être celui qui aura aidé le peuple iranien, allié naturel du monde libre et civilisé, à terrasser la Bête islamiste avant que les métastases de ce cancer ne finissent de se propager sur la planète.

Chasser cette Bête de la tanière qu’elle s’est aménagée, il y a quatre décennies, au détriment d’un pays martyr, serait pour la région un événement d’une portée équivalente à la chute du Mur de Berlin pour l’Europe.

Il s’agirait d’un coup décisif à cette synthèse idéologique du nazisme et du communisme que constitue l’islam politique.

Car n’en déplaisent aux fascistes tiers-mondistes, aux obsédés de l’« antisionisme » et autres anti-américains pavloviens qui fantasment sur la « résistance » de la dictature des turbans noirs et des turbans blancs, la disparition de l’ochlo-théocratie khomeyniste et l’avènement d’un Iran libre, laïque et démocratique, renouant avec le sillon tracé par la dynastie Pahlavi, serait un gage considérable de paix dans la région et le monde.

En s’alliant au peuple iranien dans ce combat, le président Donald Trump pourrait entrer dans l’Histoire comme le Roosevelt du 21e siècle.

Libérés de ce régime sordide qui vampirise leur pays, tous les Iraniens pourront alors entonner avec fierté le chant que nombre d’entre eux ont déjà le courage de scander devant le tombeau du fondateur de leur nation à l’occasion du jour de Cyrus le Grand, le 7 Aban (29 octobre), au grand dam des mollahs et de leurs mercenaires : « Iran vatan-é mâst, Kourosh pédar-é mâst ! » (« L’Iran est notre patrie, Cyrus est notre père ! »).

Voir aussi:

US allies’ sad Tehran wild-goose chase
Benny Avni
New York Post
June 11, 2019

America’s allies are lining up to mediate between Washington and the Tehran regime. But they’re jumping the gun.

Witness Japan’s President Shinzo Abe, who arrives in Tehran Wednesday for a two-day visit, marking the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between his country and Iran. Tokyo officials defend their soft-on-Tehran approach as a “balanced” way to deal with the Mideast. Whatever the merits of that claim, the Abe visit is mostly about oil.

The trip comes shortly after the Japanese leader hosted his golfing buddy President Trump in Tokyo. The symbolism is deliberate: Abe seeks to revive a US-Iranian channel of communication, per Japanese media. And he isn’t alone in his efforts. Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, was in Tehran this week, trying to buck up confidence in the nuclear deal that Trump ditched.

There is a reason America’s European and Asian allies are determined to end the US quarantine of Iranian businesses. Trump’s increasingly tough sanctions give countries and corporations an uncomfortable pair of options: Buy Iranian oil and invest there, or do business with the US — but you can’t do both.

The latest punishment came last Friday, when the administration vowed to sanction anyone doing business with Iran’s petrochemical industry, a lucrative exporting sector run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is now rightly listed by Washington as a terror organization.

America’s allies are eager to revive the smooth flow of goods and business with Iran; their diplomacy is meant to put pressure on Washington to start a process that would lead to new direct talks. Iran, they claim, will behave better, now that its economy is strained. America should take advantage and aim for a fresh rapprochement.

The problem with the allies’ theory: No such hunger for reconciliation is in evidence in Tehran. Instead, the regime is still signaling obstinacy. The ayatollahs are as committed as ever to their revolutionary principles, the main one of which is waging war on US interests and allies.

Take Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, long touted as a symbol of moderation and openness and a welcome guest in Western TV studios. Yet defending Iran’s habit of hanging gay people in the public square, Zarif told the German newspaper Bild this week: “Our society has moral principles, and according to these principles we live.”

Hosting Germany’s Maas this week, Zarif also pushed back against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent offer of negotiations “without preconditions.” The Islamic Republic won’t talk to those who wage “economic war” against it, Zarif said, threatening for good measure that, as an Iranian enemy, America “cannot expect to stay safe.”

The theocracy is hardening, rather than softening, its line, notwithstanding entreaties from Tokyo, Berlin and Brussels. These well-meaning outsiders inevitably point to supposed moderates that America can do business with, and, as always, they urge Washington to ignore Tehran’s malign rhetoric and muscle-flexing.

It’s true that some Iranian politicians favor making cosmetic concessions to the West to ensure the Islamic Republic’s survival. But the ultimate decider, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has long soured on such concessions. Negotiation, he recently said, “has no benefit and carries harm.”

In a perfect world, the global economy would be better off when everyone can do business with everyone without fear of punishment. But the existence of a militantly anti-Western regime like Iran’s is a reminder that ours isn’t a perfect world.

Abe, then, would be better off warning Iran about its joint missile development with Japan’s menacing neighbor, North Korea (a reminder that the regime’s behavior is destructive far beyond its immediate neighborhood.)

Talks may be worthwhile — but not before Khamenei leaves the stage. Once the old dictator is gone, the ensuing internal struggle may work to the West’s advantage.

Economic pressure may then embolden Iranians hoping to throw off the regime’s yoke. Or it may not. Either way, dealing with the regime as it exists is futile, as more than four decades of experience have shown.

Trump should turn a deaf ear to Abe and the rest of the world’s eager go-betweens.

Voir également:

Iran-linked terrorists caught stockpiling explosives in north-west London
Ben Riley-Smith
The Telegraph
9 June 2019

Terrorists linked to Iran were caught stockpiling tonnes of explosive materials on the outskirts of London in a secret British bomb factory, The Telegraph can reveal

Radicals linked to Hizbollah, the Lebanese militant group, stashed thousands of disposable ice packs containing ammonium nitrate – a common ingredient in homemade bombs.

The plot was uncovered by MI5 and the Metropolitan Police in the autumn of 2015, just months after the UK signed up to the Iran nuclear deal. Three metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate was discovered – more than was used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and damaged hundreds of buildings.

Police raided four properties in north-west London – three businesses and a home – and a man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorism.

The man was eventually released without charge. Well-placed sources said the plot had been disrupted by a covert intelligence operation rather than seeking a prosecution.

The discovery was so serious that David Cameron and Theresa May, then the prime minister and home secretary, were personally briefed on what had been found.

Yet for years the nefarious activity has been kept hidden from the public, including MPs who were debating whether to fully ban Hizbollah, until now.

It raises questions about whether senior UK government figures chose not to reveal the plot in part because they were invested in keeping the Iran nuclear deal afloat.

The disclosure follows a three-month investigation by The Telegraph in which more than 30 current and former officials in Britain, America and Cyprus were approached and court documents were obtained.

One well-placed source described the plot as “proper organised terrorism”, while another said enough explosive materials were stored to do “a lot of damage”.

Ben Wallace, the security minister, said: “The Security Service and police work tirelessly to keep the public safe from a host of national security threats. Necessarily, their efforts and success will often go unseen.”

The Telegraph understands the discovery followed a tip-off from a foreign government. To understand what they were facing, agents from MI5 and officers from Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command launched a covert operation.

It became clear, according to well-placed sources, that the UK storage was not in isolation but part of an international Hizbollah plot to lay the groundwork for future attacks.

The group had previously been caught storing ice packs in Thailand. And in 2017, two years after the London bust, a New York Hizbollah member would appear to seek out a foreign ice pack manufacturer.

Why ice packs?

Ice packs provide the perfect cover, according to sources – seemingly harmless and easy to transport. Proving beyond doubt they were purchased for terrorism was tricky.

But the most relevant case was in Cyprus, where a startlingly similar plot had been busted just months before the discovery in London. There, a 26-year-old man called Hussein Bassam Abdallah, a dual Lebanese and Canadian national, was caught caching more than 65,000 ice packs in a basement. During interrogation he admitted to being a member of Hizbollah’s military wing, saying he had once been trained to use an AK47 assault rifle.

Abdallah said the 8.2 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored was for terrorist attacks. He pleaded guilty and was given a six-year prison sentence in June 2015.

In Abdallah’s luggage police found two photocopies of a forged British passport. Cypriot police say they were not the foreign government agency that tipped Britain off to the London cell.

But they did offer assistance when made aware of the UK case, meeting their British counterparts and sharing reports on what they had uncovered.

MI5’s intelligence investigation is understood to have lasted months. The aim was both to disrupt the plot but also get a clearer picture what Hizbollah was up to.

Such investigations can involve everything from eavesdropping on calls to deploying covert sources and trying to turn suspects.

The exact methods used in this case are unknown. Soon conclusions begun to emerge. The plot was at an early stage. It amounted to pre-planning. No target had been selected and no attack was imminent.

Well-placed sources said there was no evidence Britain itself would have been the target. And the ammonium nitrate remained concealed in its ice packs, rather than removed and mixed – a much more advanced and dangerous state. On September 30, the Met made their move.

Officers used search warrants to raid four properties in north-west London – three businesses and one residential address. That same day a man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. Neither his name nor his nationality have been disclosed.

His was the only arrest, although sources told The Telegraph at least two people were involved.  The man was released on bail. Eventually a decision was taken not to bring charges.

The exact reasons why remain unclear, but it is understood investigators were confident they had disrupted the plot and gained useful information about Hizbollah’s activities in Britain and overseas.

A UK intelligence source said: “MI5 worked independently and closely with international partners to disrupt the threat of malign intent from Iran and its proxies in the UK.”

The decision not to inform the public of the discovery, despite a major debate with Britain’s closest ally America about the success of the Iran nuclear deal, will raise eyebrows.

Keeping MPs in the dark amid a fierce debate about whether to designate the entire of Hezbollah a terrorist group – rather than just its militant wing – will also be questioned.

The US labelled the entire group a terrorist organisation in the 1990s. But in Britain, only its armed wing was banned. The set-up had led senior British counter-terrorism figures to believe there was some form of understanding that Hizbollah would not target the UK directly.

Hizbollah was only added to the banned terrorist group list in its entirety in February 2019 – more than three years after the plot was uncovered.

A spokesman for the press department of the Iranian Embassy in London said: « Iran has categorically rejected time and again any type of terrorism and extremism, has been victim of terrorism against its innocent people, and is in the forefront fighting this inhuman phenomenon.

« Any attempt to link Iran to terrorism, by claims from unknown sources, is totally rejected. »

Voir encore:

Comment la République islamique réprime les jeunes Iraniens

Malgré le non-respect que les jeunes citadins affichent pour les mesures islamiques, leurs témoignages révèlent qu’ils ont en partie intériorisé l’image négative que la société leur inflige à cause du rejet de ses normes et valeurs.

Mahnaz Shirali Sociologue politique, directrice d’études à l’ICP et enseignante à Sciences-Po
Huffington Post
03/06/2019

Quarante ans de la République islamique ont profondément désislamisé la population. Plus la politique étrangère de Téhéran isole le pays, plus les Iraniens s’éloignent du régime et de sa religion, et plus ils adoptent la culture occidentale.

Les jeunes Iraniens, qu’ils vivent à Téhéran ou dans les villes de provinces, ressemblent davantage à leurs pairs en Europe ou aux Etats-Unis qu’à leurs parents. Ils écoutent la même musique, s’habillent de la même manière et regardent les mêmes séries que les jeunes Parisiens ou New-Yorkais. Sauf que ces derniers ne connaissent pas le même décalage entre la vie privée et l’espace public et n’ont jamais subi les humiliations que les “agents de mœurs” de la République islamique infligent aux jeunes de leur pays.

L’analyse des témoignages des jeunes des grandes villes iraniennes et l’observation de leurs comportements sur les réseaux sociaux montrent que la politique sociale répressive des ayatollahs a produit des effets inattendus. La nouvelle génération de 15 à 25 ans vit dans le rejet du système de valeurs, promulgué par l’école et les médias de la République islamique. Pendant ces dernières décennies, le décalage entre l’espace public, maîtrisé par les agents de mœurs, et l’espace privé, où presque tout est permis, n’a cessé de progresser.

Pourtant, malgré le non-respect que les jeunes citadins affichent pour les mesures islamiques – vestimentaires, alimentaires, sexuelles, … –, leurs témoignages révèlent qu’en dépit de leur apparence rebelle, ils ont en partie intériorisé l’image négative que la société leur inflige à cause du rejet de ses normes et valeurs.

Cette image devient doublement négative lorsqu’ils se reprochent leur inaction, comme si la capacité d’agir sur leur sort et de faire valoir leurs droits fondamentaux ne dépendait que d’eux et de la volonté individuelle. Les catastrophes naturelles qui dévastent le pays (comme le tremblement de terre, les inondations ou les sècheresses, etc.) et les situations politiques ingérables (comme la menace de guerre, les sanctions économiques, ou certaines décisions politiques jugées inacceptables, etc.) aiguisent leur conscience de l’impuissance et déclenchent chez eux une avalanche de reproches et de haine de soi. Peut-être cette auto culpabilisation relève-t-elle d’un besoin de se sentir responsable, de se procurer une semblable illusion de puissance. Peut-être est-elle un simple mécanisme d’auto-défense. Mais, elle n’en reste pas moins destructrice pour autant, car elle les empêche d’avoir une vision objective de leur situation. Dans un pays où la moindre critique et protestation sont violemment réprimées, et où l’on peut encourir de lourdes peines de prisons pour avoir contesté une décision politique, quelle est la marge de manœuvre des individus?

Quatre décennies de l’atteinte physique, l’atteinte juridique, et l’atteinte à la dignité humaine ont profondément privé les jeunes de reconnaissance sociale et les ont affectés dans le sentiment de leur propre valeur. La non reconnaissance du droit et de l’estime sociale en Iran ont créé des conditions collectives dans lesquelles les jeunes ne peuvent parvenir à une attitude positive envers eux-mêmes. En l’absence de confiance en soi, de respect de soi, et d’estime de soi, nul n’est en mesure de s’identifier à ses fins et à ses désirs en tant qu’être autonome et individualisé. Or, faut-il s’étonner si, aujourd’hui, l’émigration est devenue la seule perspective de l’avenir des jeunes Iraniens?

Voir par ailleurs:

Did Team Obama Warn Iranian Terror Commander about Israeli Assassination Attempt?

Debra Heine
PJ media
January 11, 2018

A Kuwaiti newspaper reported last week that Washington gave Israel the green light to assassinate terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force (which has been designated a terrorist organization).

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens pointed out a disturbing detail in the story that has long been rumored but has gone largely unreported in the American press:

Bret Stephens @BretStephensNYT

The story here, Kuwaiti-sourced, is that Obama team tipped Tehran to an Israeli attempt to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general who has the blood of hundreds of American troops in his hand. What says @brhodes? https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.832387 

According to the report, Israel was « on the verge » of assassinating Soleimani three years ago near Damascus, but the Obama administration warned Iranian leadership of the plan, effectively quashing the operation. The incident reportedly « sparked a sharp disagreement between the Israeli and American security and intelligence apparatuses regarding the issue. »

Stephens tagged former Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes in his tweet, but it was ignored until Obama’s former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor saw it on Wednesday:

Tommy Vietor @TVietor08

Yeah WTF Ben? Immediately confirm or deny this totally unsubstantiated claim and then tell us why you don’t support assassinations.

199

Stephens responded by noting dryly that the Iran Contra scandal started in a similar way, and that the Obama administration certainly had no objection to assassinations when it came to other terrorists:

Vieter, who drove Obama’s press van before he became president, responded thus:

Tommy Vietor  @TVietor08

Yeah @BretStephensNYT taking out Osama bin Laden is the same as assassinating an Iranian political leader. https://twitter.com/bretstephensnyt/status/951216401301299202 …Stephens seemed taken aback:

Stephens seemed taken aback:
Bret Stephens @BretStephensNYT

Seriously, @TVietor08? Suleimani is an “Iranian political leader”? Actually he’s head of the Quds Force, which is a US designated sponsor of terrorism. Suleimani is sanctioned by name. Here, read about it: https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp644.aspx  https://twitter.com/tvietor08/status/951219021332074496 

Indeed, as the Washington Times reported in 2015, Shiite militants under Qassem Soleimani’s command are responsible for more than 500 U.S. service member deaths in Iraq between 2005-2011.

The Quds forces, led by Gen. Qassem Soleimani, set up factories to produce the weapon, which unleashes rocket-type projectiles that penetrate American armored vehicles. As head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, Gen. Soleimani is Iran’s top terrorist commander, committed to the downfall of Israel and the United States and the destabilization of governments in the region.

But Vieter wasn’t through digging. His next tweet all but confirmed the story.

Tommy Vietor @TVietor08

We were well aware of the dangers posed by QS and the IRGC. Obama sanctioned them repeatedly, among other deterrents. But an assassination of QS by Israel would be destabilizing to put it mildly.

Ben Rhodes finally weighed in, but it was too late.

Voir de même:

Report: U.S. Gives Israel Green Light to Assassinate Iranian General Soleimani
Al Jarida, a Kuwaiti newspaper which in recent years had broken exclusive stories from Israel, says Israel was ‘on the verge’ of assassinating Soleimani, but the U.S. warned Tehran and thwarted the operation
Haaretz
Jan 01, 2018

Washington gave Israel a green light to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran‘s Revolutionary Guard, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Monday.

Al-Jarida, which in recent years had broken exclusive stories from Israel, quoted a source in Jerusalem as saying that « there is an American-Israeli agreement » that Soleimani is a « threat to the two countries’ interests in the region. » It is generally assumed in the Arab world that the paper is used as an Israeli platform for conveying messages to other countries in the Middle East.

The agreement between Israel and the United States, according to the report, comes three years after Washington thwarted an Israeli attempt to kill the general.

The report says Israel was « on the verge » of assassinating Soleimani three years ago, near Damascus, but the United States warned the Iranian leadership of the plan, revealing that Israel was closely tracking the Iranian general.

The incident, the report said, « sparked a sharp disagreement between the Israeli and American security and intelligence apparatuses regarding the issue. »

The Kuwaiti report also identified Iran’s second in command in Syria, known as « Abu Baker, » as Mohammad Reda Falah Zadeh. It said he also « might be a target » for Israel, as well as other actors in the region.

Voir enfin:

Iran appoints fiery general who vows to destroy Israel as new IRGC head
Hossein Salami takes command of hardline military force weeks after US blacklisted it as a terror group; Mohammed Ali Jafari pushed out after over a decade at the helm
The Times of Israel
21 April 2019

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, arrives at a graduation ceremony of the Revolutionary Guard’s officers, while deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, second right, former commanders of the Revolutionary Guard Mohsen Rezaei, second left, and Yahya Rahim Safavi salute him, on May 20, 2015, in Tehran, Iran. (Official website of the Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shuffled the top ranks of the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Sunday, appointing the deputy chief of the hardline force as its top leader.

Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was made commander of the IRGC, replacing Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ali Jafari, who has headed the military force since 2007, according to Iranian media reports.

Salami has frequently vowed to destroy Israel and “break America.” Iran was “planning to break America, Israel, and their partners and allies. Our ground forces should cleanse the planet from the filth of their existence,” Salami said in February. The previous month, he vowed to wipe Israel off the “global political map,” and to unleash an “inferno” on the Jewish state.

Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, the new head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (YouTube screen capture)

He also said “Iran has warned the Zionist regime not to play with fire, because they will be destroyed before the US helps them.” Any new war, he said, “will result in Israel’s defeat within three days, in a way that they will not find enough graves to bury their dead.”

The IRGC shakeup comes weeks after the US designated the group a terror organization, the first time it has ever blacklisted an entire military branch under the rule.

Tehran has raged against the move, and responded by labeling the US military a terror group under its own designation. It also rallied around the IRGC, with some lawmakers dressing in the division’s uniforms in parliament in reaction to the designation.

Jafari had called the American move “laughable,” even while warning of a possible retaliation.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was formed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with a mission to defend the clerical regime, and the force has amassed strong power both at home and abroad.

The Guards’ prized unit is the Quds Force, headed by powerful general Qassem Soleimani, which supports Iran-backed forces around the region, including Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

It also oversees the country’s ballistic missile program and runs its own intelligence operations.

Jafari was demoted to the post of commander of a cultural and educational division, according to reports.

Agencies contributed to this report.


Mur de Trump: Les bonnes clôtures font les bons voisins (Why can’t the misguided left see that building a wall makes Donald Trump the rule, not the exception, among world leaders ?)

2 janvier, 2019
pope
 image

Divided : Why We're Living in an Age of Walls, Hardback Book
Toi qui as fixé les frontières, dressé les bornes de la terre, tu as créé l’été, l’hiver !  Psaumes 74: 17
Un peuple connait, aime et défend toujours plus ses moeurs que ses lois. Montesquieu
Les bonnes clôtures font les bons voisins. Proverbe anglais
Chacun chez soi et les moutons seront bien gardés. proverbe français
Aimez votre voisin mais n’abattez pas la haie. Autre proverbe français
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)
Il n’y a plus ni Juif ni Grec, il n’y a plus ni esclave ni libre, il n’y a plus ni homme ni femme; car tous vous êtes un en Jésus Christ. Paul (Galates 3: 28)
Où est Dieu? cria-t-il, je vais vous le dire! Nous l’avons tué – vous et moi! Nous tous sommes ses meurtriers! Mais comment avons-nous fait cela? Comment avons-nous pu vider la mer? Qui nous a donné l’éponge pour effacer l’horizon tout entier? Dieu est mort! (…) Et c’est nous qui l’avons tué ! (…) Ce que le monde avait possédé jusqu’alors de plus sacré et de plus puissant a perdu son sang sous nos couteaux (…) Quelles solennités expiatoires, quels jeux sacrés nous faudra-t-il inventer? Nietzsche
« Dionysos contre le « crucifié » : la voici bien l’opposition. Ce n’est pas une différence quant au martyr – mais celui-ci a un sens différent. La vie même, son éternelle fécondité, son éternel retour, détermine le tourment, la destruction, la volonté d’anéantir pour Dionysos. Dans l’autre cas, la souffrance, le « crucifié » en tant qu’il est « innocent », sert d’argument contre cette vie, de formulation de sa condamnation. (…) L’individu a été si bien pris au sérieux, si bien posé comme un absolu par le christianisme, qu’on ne pouvait plus le sacrifier : mais l’espèce ne survit que grâce aux sacrifices humains… La véritable philanthropie exige le sacrifice pour le bien de l’espèce – elle est dure, elle oblige à se dominer soi-même, parce qu’elle a besoin du sacrifice humain. Et cette pseudo-humanité qui s’institue christianisme, veut précisément imposer que personne ne soit sacrifié. Nietzsche
Je condamne le christia­nisme, j’élève contre l’Église chrétienne la plus terrible de toutes les accusa­tions, que jamais accusateur ait prononcée. Elle est la plus grande corruption que l’on puisse imaginer, elle a eu la volonté de la dernière corruption possible. L’Église chrétienne n’épargna sur rien sa corruption, elle a fait de toute valeur une non-valeur, de chaque vérité un mensonge, de chaque intégrité une bassesse d’âme (…) L’ « égalité des âmes devant Dieu », cette fausseté, ce prétexte aux rancunes les plus basses, cet explosif de l’idée, qui finit par devenir Révo­lution, idée moderne, principe de dégénérescence de tout l’ordre social — c’est la dynamite chrétienne… (…) Le christianisme a pris parti pour tout ce qui est faible, bas, manqué (…) La pitié entrave en somme la loi de l’évolution qui est celle de la sélection. Elle comprend ce qui est mûr pour la disparition, elle se défend en faveur des déshérités et des condamnés de la vie. Par le nombre et la variété des choses manquées qu’elle retient dans la vie, elle donne à la vie elle-même un aspect sombre et douteux. On a eu le courage d’appeler la pitié une vertu (— dans toute morale noble elle passe pour une faiblesse —) ; on est allé plus loin, on a fait d’elle la vertu, le terrain et l’origine de toutes les vertus. Nietzsche
A l’origine, la guerre n’était qu’une lutte pour les pâturages. Aujourd’hui la guerre n’est qu’une lutte pour les richesses de la nature. En vertu d’une loi inhérente, ces richesses appartiennent à celui qui les conquiert. Les grandes migrations sont parties de l’Est. Avec nous commence le reflux, d’Ouest en Est. C’est en conformité avec les lois de la nature. Par le biais de la lutte, les élites sont constamment renouvelées. La loi de la sélection naturelle justifie cette lutte incessante en permettant la survie des plus aptes. Le christianisme est une rébellion contre la loi naturelle, une protestation contre la nature. Poussé à sa logique extrême, le christianisme signifierait la culture systématique de l’échec humain. Hitler
Jésus a tout fichu par terre. Le Désaxé (Les braves gens ne courent pas les rues, Flannery O’Connor)
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
Condamner le nationalisme parce qu’il peut mener à la guerre, c’est comme condamner l’amour parce qu’il peut conduire au meurtre. C.K. Chesterton
C’est le combat de notre époque. Les forces de la liberté, de l’ouverture d’esprit et de la collaboration internationale contre les forces de l’autoritarisme, de l’isolationnisme et du nationalisme. Les forces du flux d’information, de l’échange et de l’immigration contre ceux qui leur font obstacle. Mark Zuckerberg
La Silicon Valley avait beaucoup d’intérêts en jeu dans cette présidentielle, notamment du fait de sa très forte dépendance vis-à-vis des travailleurs immigrants et par rapport au travail déporté dans des pays à faibles salaires. Cette seule situation est intolérable pour la « middle class » américaine, très touchée par le chômage, surtout les seniors, qui sont marginalisés et débarqués dans cette économie numérique basée sur un jeunisme brutal, qui exclut les plus âgés et qui se répand rapidement. Avec près de cinquante ans de stagnation de leurs revenus et de difficultés économiques, les prolétaires ruminaient en silence leur colère en espérant qu’Obama allait faire des miracles. Au final, ils se sentent les victimes du progrès numérique. Ils voulaient leur revanche de façon vraiment tranchée et à n’importe quel prix… Leur raisonnement : ces entreprises de la high-tech éliminent des emplois, en créent en dehors, génèrent d’énormes richesses, dont une très grosse partie hors des Etats-Unis, ne paient pas d’impôts sur ces richesses, qui ne profitent donc pas à la « middle class ». On estime à 58 % la part du chiffre d’affaires de la Silicon Valley en dehors des Etats-Unis, l’an dernier. La « Valley » ne se gêne pas pour faire un lobbying substantiel auprès des politiciens de Washington afin de servir ses intérêts. Et elle est donneuse de leçons. « Changer le monde » pour en faire un monde meilleur, mais pour qui ? Pour les centres de la high-tech et du showbiz de Californie, et c’est une bonne partie du 1 % de la population américaine le plus riche qui profite des progrès. Les thèmes qui ont occupé la Silicon Valley n’ont pas résonné avec le prolétariat. (…) la précarisation des emplois par les nouvelles plates-formes numériques, comme Uber, a provoqué des débats amers. L’avènement de l’intelligence artificielle a davantage crispé les esprits du fait de sa capacité à supprimer beaucoup d’emplois sans perspective d’en créer au moins autant de nouveaux. La high-tech de l’ère Obama n’a fait qu’inquiéter ou marginaliser le prolétariat américain. On voit qu’elle ne peut et ne pourra pas être « la » voie unique de salut pour les économies et les sociétés en difficulté. Georges Nahon
La frontière a mauvaise presse : elle défend les contre-pouvoirs. N’attendons pas des pouvoirs établis, en position de force, qu’il fassent sa promo. Ni que que ces passe-muraille que sont évadés fiscaux, membres de la jet-set, stars du ballon rond, trafiquants de main-d’oeuvre, conférenciers à 50 000 dollars, multinationales adeptes des prix de transfert déclarent leur amour à ce qui leur fait barrage. […] Là est d’ailleurs le bouclier des humbles, contre l’ultra-rapide, l’insaisissable et l’omniprésent. Ce sont les dépossédés qui ont intérêt à la démarcation franche et nette. Leur seul actif est leur territoire, et la frontière, leur principale source de revenus (plus pauvre un pays, plus dépendant est-il de ses taxes douanières). La frontière rend égales (tant soit peu) des puissances inégales. Les riches vont où ils veulent, à tire-d’aile ; les pauvres vont où ils peuvent, en ramant. Ceux qui ont la maîtrise des stocks (de têtes nucléaires, d’or et de devises, de savoirs et de brevets) peuvent jouer avec les flux, en devenant encore plus riches. Ceux qui n’ont rien en stock sont les jouets des flux. Le fort est fluide. Le faible n’a pour lui que son bercail, une religion imprenable, un dédale inoccupable, rizières, montagnes, delta. Guerre asymétrique. Le prédateur déteste le rempart ; la proie aime bien. Régis Debray (Eloge des frontières, 2010)
La même force culturelle et spirituelle qui a joué un rôle si décisif dans la disparition du sacrifice humain est aujourd’hui en train de provoquer la disparition des rituels de sacrifice humain qui l’ont jadis remplacé. Tout cela semble être une bonne nouvelle, mais à condition que ceux qui comptaient sur ces ressources rituelles soient en mesure de les remplacer par des ressources religieuses durables d’un autre genre. Priver une société des ressources sacrificielles rudimentaires dont elle dépend sans lui proposer d’alternatives, c’est la plonger dans une crise qui la conduira presque certainement à la violence. 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
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 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 i