Both Chirac and Sarkozy had five minutes to leave power, while François Hollande could even have five months to do so. In fact, at the time, eight Frenchmen out of ten approved his decision not to run for another term. As you may recall, part of President Hollande’s establishment did not accept automatically to lend a hand to Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister who wanted to join the “two Lefts”, the one resulting from Hamon’s proposals for the primary election – a so-called gauche de la tradition – and the one which was being shaped around Macron, with whom Valls had nothing in common at political level.
Macron put together the moderate Left – the one of the old “American challenge” of Servan-Schreiber’s radicals – with the less archaic part of Socialism. At the beginning of presidential election, nobody knows how many people will vote and, in particular, nobody knows the voting criteria yet.
Nevertheless, for Emmanuel Macron – who was finally supported by centrists, former non-voters and moderate leftists – politics is fully a marketing technique. We must always realize who does things; actions must be seen immediately. Finally we must perceive that a small advantage is directly linked to the leader’s choice.
A product, not a program, is sold – and this is an eternal rule. The founder of En Marche has focused his advertisement campaign on six factors pertaining to his personality and only on three really referring to his political program.
He is totally different from the political leaders who preceded him. He wants to reduce the number of Parliamentarians by a third. He knows very well what needs to be done to redress the French economy because he is a technocrat who owes nothing to anyone. He can recognize good ideas regardless of the camp from which they come. He wants to make employment the engine of his country. He never attacks the other candidates and he always tells the truth. He has founded a brand-new movement of 240,000 members and finally France cannot afford to risk a future economic and social disaster.
This is the paradigm of Macron’s political communication.
A well-organized mix of messages such as “a technocrat to power”, “a leader setting great store by employment and the national economy”, the saviour of the country. In particular, he shows he is completely different from all his predecessors.
If we analyse the electoral promises he made during the last French Presidential election, the real question we should ask is the following: can France still afford electoral political bargaining?
Are there financial and productive margins to implement even a small part of the programs launched by all candidates in 2017?
Since 2002 France has been experiencing full economic decline. Since 1980 it has had no steel industry (and certainly France is very interested in the outcome of the judicial and political disaster affecting ILVA steel plants in Taranto) nor sectors such as mechanical precision devices, boilers and thermodynamic grids, shipbuilding, agricultural machinery, household appliances, textiles and ready-to-wear clothing.
Since 2002 France has lost 865,000 jobs in the manufacturing industry, a quarter of all employees in a sector accounting for over 12% of the total jobs available.
In 1980 the jobs in the industrial sector were 5.1 million; in late 2012 they dropped to 3 million and currently there are only 2.9 million jobs still available.
The value currently produced by companies in France is 8%, the lowest rate in the European Union.
Deindustrialization, but above all lack of productive specialization of the French value chains.
Export is another sore point because France produces and sells mainly “low-end” products, which now have to face the direct competition of Chinese or, anyway, Asian items.
34,500 robots have been installed in France since late 2011 – a quarter of those operating in Germany and two times less than those already operating in Italy and Spain.
Nevertheless, Macron’s project – which, indeed, cannot much change this economic state of affairs in France – has two other political and strategic factors: Italy’s strategic marginalization and its economic downturn and market shrinkage resulting from its political crisis.
In 2011 Sarkozy started this beggar-thy-neighbour policy against Italy – at least politically and militarily – finally designed to weaken Italian small and medium-sized enterprises and privatize most of the oil industry and of what was left of the manufacturing industry.
The operation made in Libya by the French neo-Gaullist leader was the seal on Italy’s strategic and, hence, geo-economic autonomy – and it is worth noting that Italy’s miserable “Second Republic” counts for not even one tenth of the First Republic.
Hence France will “steal” the Italian sector of high-end and luxury products, which is not as skilful as Italy in manufacturing.
Despite how this may appear, Sarkozy’s choice of eliminating Gaddafi was not an irrational choice.
Apart from the recovery in election polls for the new Franco-Hungarian Napoleon, as well as the fear of having to pay the loans due by him to the Libyan Rais and the ongoing hypothesis of a Libyan Gold Dinar that was to wipe the CFA franc out, the neo-Gaullist President knew the Colonel wanted to leave power quickly.
Six months at most – with a guaranteed role as “Father of the Nation”, as well as new democratic elections that would make his smart son, Saif al-Islam, rise to power.
Nevertheless Sarkozy’s “private” and personal oil in Benghazi (where the jihadists’ “democratic revolt” began, since Cyrenaica was the region with the largest share of Afghan Mujahedin in the total Islamic population) and the loans owed to the Rais that it was better not to repay, as well as a strange assassination, were all factors that made Sarkozy think he could make it easily.
Hence Macron knows that – as the members of the Organisation de l’Armée Sécrète (OAS) used to say – France’s geopolitical role can be built only in Africa.
If this is true, thanks to the structural destabilization of Libya, the strategic project will be to integrate the whole system between Tripoli and Benghazi into the new Françafrique, from which Italy – and maybe even Great Britain – will be excluded.
Where, in Africa or elsewhere, has Italy its key strategic point? Has no one really thought about it?
Certainly, in Egypt, we have been fooled and replaced exactly by France – after the badly managed Regeni’s affair; we are virtually irrelevant in Morocco, despite the internal political tensions (King Mohammed VI would need Italy’s help rather than a heavy French favour); we take very limited action in Algeria and we have no say in the matter in the Horn of Africa.
If, indeed, there is no European geopolitics without an African policy (except for Germany, which is obviously focused on the Slavs), Italy has none.
Apart from the latest French economic and business acquisitions in Italy, which are still being developed and finalised, currently France controls 185 Italian companies which are worth 50 billion Euro, while Italy owns or controls 97 French companies totalling 7.5 billion Euro.
7% of the Milan Stock Exchange capitalization is in the hands of French companies, while Italy controls a mere 0.9% of the Paris Stock Exchange.
Why? One of the reasons is certainly the extreme fragmentation of the Italian production system, as well as Italian politicians’ scarce perception of the phenomena that appear to be “market” ones, but are not at all so.
Nothing is more pleasing than looking at politicians – staunch supporters of public ownership, if not para-Soviet advocates of State-controlled centralism – who believe that any business transaction between companies has no political and strategic relevance.
“It is the market …”. Not at all. It is the political and strategic wisdom, which we do not see in action today.
Both in the case of SXT-Fincantieri and in the other economic negotiations between France and Italy, a serious Italian government would have reacted vigorously and with harsh countermeasures – by also perceiving the inevitable geopolitical aspects and responding credibly, in Africa as elsewhere.
Another key factor of Macron’s new foreign policy and his specific relationship with Italy – currently regarded by France as a punching ball – is migration.
Macron stated he would not accept any “economic migrant” coming from the border with Italy, while the State Police authorities are informing us that many migrants already living in France and without documents are forced to cross the Ventimiglia border and get on Italian trains.
When there is massive migration, both as a result of wars (a few, in today’s Africa) and of consumerist induced psychosis (in many cases), as well as of the youth bulge – as happened throughout Africa precisely thanks to a semblance of economic development – every country chooses the best migrants for itself.
The large German companies go to the Turkish refugee camps to hoard Syrian physicians, engineers and technicians.
Italy, mired in an old-style and old-fashioned ideology, is still working on the wrong assumption that we can welcome everybody.
This means that the cost of useless, sick, unfit-to-work and socially dangerous immigrants will be borne by the countries that have also lost this globalization game – and it will be a heavy drain on the deficit/GDP ratio.
Conversely, the cost of skilful, active, dynamic and well-trained immigrants will improve the overall productivity of countries that – unlike Italy – have won the globalization fight.
As is the case with Germany, Macron will choose the best immigrants.
Furthermore, considering that mass immigration is an indirect strategy technique, the fact of filling a competing country, albeit a EU Member State, with “half-devils and half-children” – as Kipling said – means blocking it with unproductive spending and draining its share for investment in businesses and new technologies, as well as barbarizing and Africanizing it.
Therefore Emmanuel Macron, who is already a skilful international banker, is the point of arrival for a reconstruction of France arising from a well-defined intellectual background.
It is the background of Jacques Attali, a banker of Mitterand origin, who is at the forefront of a project that has much to do with the recent American CEO capitalism: to make everything that traditionally has no real economic value productive and economically useful.
When the production of industrial or material value decreases – and for many years – it must be offset by the creation of symbolic and communicative value.
In fact, the American CEO capitalism appears to be the universe of free “content” on the Web, but – as the professionals of the sector say – “when you have nothing to buy, it means that you are the one whom has already been bought”.
Advertising, personal data, business preferences, profiling – even at political level – networking and relations – everything is sold by naïve users without them even realizing it and – keep in mind – without them having anything to gain.
This is a lot of money, as is demonstrated by the magnificent budgets of many seemingly “service” companies such as Facebook.
Hence Attali’s idea points to selling the genetic heritage, even life, so as to turn all that today is not included in the old capitalist paradigm into economy.
Therefore, reverting to Macron’s new Françafrique project, France will soon expand its traditional area of influence in Central Africa northwards and later to Fezzan, Chad and Niger up to Libya.
The project is to reunite the new French Africa with Egypt.
The above-described actions will be supported by a new political-military union with Germany, with which it will even be possible to plan together at least part of their respective Armed Forces.
That is the reason why General De Villiers left.
Hence France commanding from the North up to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a region which could provide France with many advanced raw materials and a huge mass of workforce to be used locally, as well as an immense power of negotiating and interfering in global affairs.
In Macron’s opinion, the agreement between Khalifa Haftar – the leader of the Libyan “Operation Dignity” and strong man of the local regime, not only of Cyrenaica – and al-Sarraj is the strategic link for doing two things: avoiding, as long as possible, Libya’s partition and fragmentation – which, indeed, France does not fear – and also getting Italy and any other Western player out of the way.
Trump wanted to take quick action in Libya and found the French President willing to support him.
Italy should have done it, but there was no way.
Minister Minniti, a serious and brilliant intelligence expert, reached agreements with the sixty primary tribes out of the over one hundred tribes present there – and indirectly with the various internal armed gangs. ENI and our intelligence Services did a good job, but when there is no strategic mastermind, they remain mere disconnected sensory organs.
It is worth repeating that the agreement between the two Libyan governments, one existing and the other merely surviving thanks to the good will of a “useless entity” – as Francesco Cossiga dismissed the United Nations – is targeted against Italy which, except for Minister Minniti’s abilities, has not shown any idea or reaction in this respect.
Probably – as already appears – also the agreement brokered by Emmanuel Macron will last l’espace d’un matin since Libya cannot be led and run as a condo board meeting and we shall soon choose a strong and credible leader – as SISMI did, in a hotel of Abano Terme, by selecting Sirte’s young Colonel, Muammar al-Gaddafi.
Furthermore an agreement needs to be reached between the Berbers and the Tuareg, who can blow up any deal and have the possibility of managing very strong alliances with the other tribes.
Hence the game is open and we could even get back in it, but no rational solutions are perceived in Italy.
Europe tells Biden “no way” to Cold War with China
Amidst the first big transatlantic tensions for the Biden Administration, a new poll shows that the majority of Europeans see a new Cold War happening between the United States and China, but they don’t see themselves as a part of it.
Overwhelmingly, 62% of Europeans believe that the US is engaged in a new Cold War against China, a new poll just released by the European Council on Foreign Relations found. Just yesterday US President Joe Biden claimed before the UN General Assembly that there is no such thing and the US is not engaging in a new Cold War. So, Europeans see Biden’s bluff and call him on it.
The study was released on Wednesday by Mark Leonard and Ivan Krastev at the European Council on Foreign Relations and found that Europeans don’t see themselves as direct participants in the US-China Cold War. This viewpoint is most pronounced in Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Portugal and Italy, according to the study. The prevailing view, in each of the 12 surveyed EU member states, is one of irrelevance – with respondents in Hungary (91%), Bulgaria (80%), Portugal (79%), and Austria (78%) saying that their country is not in a conflict with Beijing.
Only 15% of Europeans believe that the EU is engaged in a Cold War against China. The percentage is so low that one wonders if there should even be such a question. It is not only not a priority, it is not even a question on the agenda for Europeans. Even at the highest point of EU “hawkishness”, only 33% of Swedes hold the view that their country is currently in a Cold War with China. Leonard and Krastev warn that if Washington and Brussels are preparing for an all-in generational struggle against China, this runs against the grain of opinion in Europe, and leaders in Washington and Brussels will quickly discover that they “do not have a societal consensus behind them”.
“The European public thinks there is a new cold war – but they don’t want to have anything to do with it. Our polling reveals that a “cold war” framing risks alienating European voters”, Mark Leonard said.
The EU doesn’t have the backing of its citizens to follow the US in its new Cold War pursuit. But unlike the views of the authors of the study, my view is that this is not a transatlantic rift that we actually have to be trying to fix. Biden’s China policy won’t be Europe’s China policy, and that’s that, despite US efforts to persuade Europe to follow, as I’ve argued months ago for the Brussels Report and in Modern Diplomacy.
In March this year, Gallup released a poll that showed that 45% of Americans see China as the greatest US enemy. The poll did not frame the question as Cold War but it can be argued that Joe Biden has some mandate derived from the opinion of American people. That is not the case for Europe at all, to the extent that most of us don’t see “China as an enemy” even as a relevant question.
The US’s China pursuit is already giving horrible for the US results in Europe, as French President Macron withdrew the French Ambassador to the US. The US made a deal already in June, as a part of the trilateral partnership with the UK and Australia, and stabbed France in the back months ago to Macron’s last-minute surprise last week. Max Boot at the Council on Foreign Relations argues that it is Macron that is actually arrogant to expect that commitments and deals should mean something: “Back in February, Macron rejected the idea of a U.S.-E.U. common front against China. Now he complains when America pursues its own strategy against China. What’s French for chutzpah?” What Boot does get right is that indeed, there won’t be a joint US-EU front on China, and European citizens also don’t want this, as the recent poll has made clear.
The US saying Europe should follow the US into a Cold War with China over human rights is the same thing as China saying that Europe should start a Cold War with the US over the bad US human rights record. It’s not going to happen. You have to understand that this is how ridiculous the proposition sounds to us, Europeans. Leonard and Krastev urge the EU leadership to “make the case for more assertive policies” towards China around European and national interests rather than a Cold War logic, so that they can sell a strong, united, and compelling case for the future of the Atlantic alliance to European citizens.
I am not sure that I agree, as “more assertive policies” and “cold war” is probably the same thing in the mind of most Europeans and I don’t think that the nuance helps here or matters at all. Leaders like Biden argue anyway that the US is not really pursuing a Cold War. The authors caution EU leaders against adopting a “cold war” framing. You say “framing”, I say “spin”. Should we be in engaging in spins at all to sell unnecessary conflict to EU citizens only to please the US?
“Unlike during the first cold war, [Europeans] do not see an immediate, existential threat”, Leonard clarified. European politicians can no longer rely on tensions with China to convince the electorate of the value of transatlantic relations. “Instead, they need to make the case from European interests, showing how a rebalanced alliance can empower and restore sovereignty to European citizens in a dangerous world”, Mark Leonard added. The study shows that there is a growing “disconnect” between the policy ambitions of those in Brussels and how Europeans think. EU citizens should stick to their sentiments and not be convinced to look for conflict where it doesn’t exist, or change what they see and hear with their own eyes and ears in favor of elusive things like the transatlantic partnership, which the US itself doesn’t believe in anyways. And the last thing that should be done is to scare Europeans by convincing them they live in a “dangerous world” and China is the biggest threat or concern.
What the study makes clear is that a Cold War framing against China is likely to repel more EU voters than it attracts, and if there is one thing that politicians know it is that you have to listen to the polls in what your people are telling you instead of engaging in spins. Those that don’t listen in advance get the signs eventually. At the end of the day it’s not important what Biden wants.
Germany and its Neo-imperial quest
In January 2021, eight months ago, when rumours about the possibility of appointment of Christian Schmidt as the High Representative in Bosnia occurred for the first time, I published the text under the title ‘Has Germany Lost Its NATO Compass?’. In this text I announced that Schmidt was appointed to help Dragan Čović, the leader of the Croatian HDZ party, to disrupt the constitutional structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina and create precoditions for secession of the Serb- and Croatian-held territories in Bosnia and the country’s final dissolution. I can hardly add anything new to it, except for the fact that Schmidt’s recent statements at the conference of Deutsche Atlantische Gesellschaft have fully confirmed my claims that his role in Bosnia is to act as Čović’s ally in the latter’s attempts to carve up the Bosnian Constitution.
Schmidt is a person with a heavy burden, the burden of a man who has continuously been promoting Croatian interests, for which the Croatian state decorated him with the medal of “Ante Starčević”, which, in his own words, he “proudly wears” and shares with several Croatian convicted war criminals who participated in the 1992-1995 aggression on Bosnia, whom Schmidt obviously perceives as his ideological brethren. The question is, then, why Germany appointed him as the High Representative in Bosnia?
Germany’s policy towards Bosnia, exercised mostly through the institutions of the European Union, has continuously been based on the concept of Bosnia’s ethnic partition. The phrases that we can occassionaly hear from the EU, on inviolability of state boundaries in the Balkans, is just a rhetoric adapted to the demands by the United States to keep these boundaries intact. So far, these boundaries have remained intact mainly due to the US efforts to preserve them. However, from the notorious Lisbon Conference in February 1992 to the present day, the European Union has always officially stood behind the idea that Bosnia-Herzegovina should be partitioned along ethnic lines. At the Lisbon Conference, Lord Carrington and Jose Cutileiro, the official representatives of the then European Community, which has in the meantime been rebranded as the European Union, drew the maps with lines of ethnic partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, along which the ethnic cleansing was committed, with 100.000 killed and 1,000.000 expelled, so as to make its territory compatible with their maps. Neither Germany nor the European Union have ever distanced themselves from the idea they promoted and imposed at the Lisbon Conference as ‘the only possible solution’ for Bosnia, despite the grave consequences that followed. Nor has this idea ever stopped being a must within their foreign policy circles, as it has recently been demonstrated by the so-called Janša Non-Paper, launched a couple of months ago, which also advocates the final partition and dissolution of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Such a plan is probably a product of the powerful right-wing circles in the European institutions, such as Schmidt’s CSU, rather than a homework of Janez Janša, the current Prime Minister of Slovenia, whose party is a part of these circles, albeit a minor one. To be sure, Germany is not the original author of the idea of Bosnia’s partition, this author is Great Britain, which launched it directly through Lord Carrington at the Lisbon Conference. Yet, Germany has never shown a will to distance itself from this idea, nor has it done the European Union. Moreover, the appointment of Schmidt, as a member of those political circles which promote ethnic partition as the only solution for multiethnic countries, testifies to the fact that Germany has decided to fully apply this idea and act as its chief promoter.
In this process, the neighbouring countries, Serbia and Croatia, with their extreme nationalist policies, can only act as the EU’s proxies, in charge for the physical implemenation of Bosnia’s pre-meditated disappearance. All the crimes that Serbia and Croatia committed on the Bosnian soil – from the military aggression, over war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide, up to the 30 year-long efforts to undermine Bosnia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – have always had a direct approval and absolute support of the leading EU countries. During the war and in its aftermath, Great Britain and France were the leaders of the initiatives to impose ethnic partition on the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and now Germany has taken up their role. In such a context, the increasing aggressiveness of Serbia and Croatia can only be interpreted as a consequence of the EU’s intention to finish with Bosnia for good, and Schmidt has arrived to Bosnia to facilitate that process. Therefore, it is high time for the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina to abandon any ilussions about the true intentions of the European Union and reject its Trojan Horse in the form of the current High Representative.
Should there be an age limit to be President?
The presidential elections in Bulgaria are nearing in November 2021 and I would like to run for President of Bulgaria, but the issue is the age limit.
To run for President in Bulgaria a candidate needs to be at least 40 years old and I am 37. I am not the first to raise the question: should there be an age limit to run for President, and generally for office, and isn’t an age limit actually age discrimination?
Under the international human rights law standard, putting an age limit is allowed in the context of political participation under the right to vote and the right to run to be elected. Human Rights Committee General Comment No.25 interpreting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that an age limit has to be based on objective and reasonable criteria, adding that it is reasonable to have a higher age requirement for certain offices. As it stands, the law says that having an age limit for president is not age discrimination, but is 40 actually a reasonable cut-off? National legislations can change. We need to lower the age limit and rethink what’s a reasonable age for President, and not do away with all age limits.
We have seen strong leaders emerge as heads of state and government who are below 40 years of age. Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland, became Prime Minister at 34. Sebastrian Kurz, the Prime Minister of Austria, was elected at 31. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, assumed her position at 37. So perhaps it is time to rethink age limits for the highest offices.
The US has plenty of examples where elected Senators and Congressmen actually beat the age limit and made it despite the convention. The age limit for Senator in the US is 30 years old. Rush Holt was elected to the US Senate at 29. In South Carolina, two State Senators were elected at 24 years old and they were seated anyways. The age limit for US president is 35 years old.
In Argentina, the age cut-off is 30. In India, it is 35. In Pakistan, it is 45 years old. In Turkey, it is 40 years old. Iceland says 35 years old. In France, it is 18.
Generally, democracies set lower age limits. More conservative countries set the age limit higher in line with stereotypes rather than any real world evidence that a 45 year-old or 55 year-old person would be more effective and better suited to the job. Liberal countries tend to set lower age limits.
40 years old to be a President of Bulgaria seems to be an arbitrary line drawn. And while it is legal to have some age limits, 40 years old seems to be last century. Changing the age limit for president of Bulgaria could be a task for the next Bulgarian Parliament for which Bulgarians will also vote on the same date as they vote for President.
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