Emmanuel Clinton vs Marine LeTrump
by Pepe Escobar for the Asia Times
Here’s the body count in the latest geopolitical earthquake afflicting the West: The Socialist Party in France is dead. The traditional Right is comatose. What used to be the Extreme Left is alive, and still kicking.
Yet what’s supposed to be the shock of the new is not exactly a shock. The more things veer towards change (we can believe in), the more they stay the same. Enter the new normal: the recycled “system” – as in Emmanuel Macron — versus “the people” — as in the National Front’s Marine Le Pen, battling for the French presidency on May 7.
Although that was the expected outcome, it’s still significant. Le Pen, re-christened “Marine”, reached the second round of voting despite a mediocre campaign.
She essentially reassembled — but did not expand — her voting base. I have argued on Asia Times that Macron is nothing but an artificial product, a meticulously packaged hologram designed to sell an illusion.
Only the terminally naïve may believe Macron incarnates change when he’s the candidate of the EU, NATO, the financial markets, the Clinton-Obama machine, the French establishment, assorted business oligarchs and the top six French media groups.
As for the stupidity of the Blairite Left, it’s now in a class by itself.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the domesticated hard-left of Insubordinate France, managed to equal the Catholic Right François Fillon in the final stretch. Yet the vapid PS candidate, Benoit Hamon, stole Mélenchon’s shot at hitting the second round.
As for Marine, she lost almost four points in the final tally. With one extra week of campaigning Fillon, despite Penelopegate, could have been equal with Marine.
Marine has only one extremely long shot on May 7. She will be frantically touring “deep France” to turn the second round into a debate on French identity and a clash of nationalists, patriots and sovereignists against pro-EU globalists and urban “liquid modernity” practitioners.
So what do they want?
Frontists are ready to rip Emmanuel Clinton’s neoliberal program to pieces, which will play very well in rural France and may even yield a few disgruntled Mélenchon votes.
Unlike Fillon and Hamon, he has not gone public calling his supporters to vote Macron. Disgruntled Fillon voters may also be inclined to switch to Marine — considering Fillon was viscerally opposed to someone he described as “Emmanuel Hollande.”
A quick look at the promises is in order. In a nutshell; Marine proffers a social model that “favors the French people;” Macron offers vague, “profound reforms.”
Macron’s plan to save 60 billion euros of public funds implies firing 120,000 functionaries; that is a certified recipe to a “see you in the barricades” scenario.
Marine only says she wants to reduce the public deficit — aiming at reducing state medical aid, the French contribution to the EU, and fiscal fraud.
Neither wants to raise the minimum wage and VAT. Both want to reduce the tax burden on companies and both want to fight the “Uberization” of work, favoring French companies (Marine) and European companies (Macron).
Marine’s absolute priority is to reduce social aid to foreigners and restitute “buying power” especially to pensioners and low-income workers. She’s vague about unemployment.
Macron’s “profound reforms” are centered on unemployment insurance and pensions. He’s keen on a universal unemployment protection managed by the state. Everyone would be covered, including in the case of being fired. Marine and Macron coincide on one point; better reimbursement of costly health benefits.
Europe is at the heart of the Marine vs Macron fight; that’s Frexit against a “new European project.”
Everyone in Brussels “voted” Macron as he proposes a budget for the eurozone, a dedicated Parliament, and a dedicated Minister of Finance. In short; Brussels on steroids.
Marine’s Frexit should be decided via a referendum — a direct consequence of the frontist obsession with immigration. Marine wants to reduce legal admission of immigrants to 10,000 people a year (it’s currently 200,000), tax employment of foreign workers, and suppress social aid. In contrast, pro-immigration Macron aims at what he calls an open France, “faithful to its values.”
On foreign policy, it’s all about Russia. Marine wants a “strategic realignment” with Moscow especially to fight Salafi-jihadi terror.
Macron — reflecting a French establishment as Russophobic as in the US — is against it, although he concedes that Europe must come to terms with Russia even as he defends the current sanctions.
About that Wall of Cash
If the coming, epic clash could be defined by just one issue that would be the unlimited power of the Wall of Cash.
Macron subscribes to the view that public debt and expenses on public service are the only factors responsible for French debt, so one must have “political courage” to promote reforms.
Sociologist Benjamin Lemoine is one of the few who’s publicly debating what’s really behind it — the interest of financiers to preserve the value of the debt they hold and their aversion to any negotiation.
Because they control the narrative, they are able to equate “political risk” — be it Marine or Mélenchon — with the risk to their own privileged positions.
The real issue at stake in France — and across most of the West — revolves around the conflicting interests of financial masters and citizens attached to public service and social justice.
The coming clash between Emmanuel Clinton and Marine LeTrump won’t even begin to scratch the surface.
Only Marine Le Pen Represents France
Paul Craig Roberts
Marine Le Pen is the only candidate for the French presidency who represents France. All the rest represent Washington and the EU. Why are the French people so slow to see the obvious facts? France died with Charles de Gaulle. He was the last French president.
Washington, of course, hated De Gaulle, because he would not let France be part of the American Empire. He kept France out of NATO. De Gaulle understood that NATO was unnecessary as a military alliance, as there was no threat of a Soviet invasion of Europe. NATO was Washington’s way of absorbing Europe into the American empire. Stalin himself had made it crystal clear that there would be no Soviet invasion when he eliminated the neoconservatives of his time who wanted to establish Soviet hegemony over the world. “Socialism in one country,” declared Stalin as he killed off the Soviet neoconservatives.
Today the entire French establishment reports to Washington and does Washington’s will, which is to keep Le Pen out of the presidency of France at all cost. French president Hollande, whose “socialist” party did not manage a sufficient showing to even be a contender for the presidency has asked the outgoing ministers of his government to do everything possible to ensure the defeat of Marine Le Pen on May 7.
The French government, like every government in Europe, long ago ceased to represent its own people. Instead the French government represents Washington’s interests. The entirety of elite society in Europe depends on Washington’s subsidies and good will, which is always the situation with vassals.
Marine Le Pen is saying that France needs to be an independent country, not a vassal of Washington. For the French elite this means a loss of status and income. For a French politician to represent France is a revolutionary act. Thus, the French establishment will protect its interests at the expense of France. Le Pen will be defeated, and if not, the CIA will assassinate her.
Marine Le Pen Update
Paul Craig Roberts
That Marine Le Pen has gained sufficient electoral support to have pushed aside the two traditional French political parties and is one of two candidates for President of France on May 7 has Washington, the EU, and the French elite determined that she be defeated at all costs.
Washington has called out into the Paris streets in protests the American supported NGOs. The EU and the French elites are alleging a misuse of EU funds by Le Pen and are trying to find some loophole through which they can strip Le Pen of her immunity and lock her up.
The outgoing French president, Hollande, a Washington puppet, tries to paint Le Pen as a fascist because she is opposed to France’s domination by Washington, which includes accepting the imposition of millions of refugees from Washington’s wars on the French people. Le Pen’s opposition to Muslim refugees is presented as a moral defect, but Hollande and Sarkozy’s support of Washington’s illegal wars that have murdered millions of Muslims and produced the refugee flow is portrayed as “standing with Washington against terrorists.”
I think that Washington and the EU elites are in a snit for no reason. The French are as insouciant as the Americans and have little awareness of what serves their interests as opposed to the interests of the French and EU elites.
Le Pen is showing that a large segment of the French population is dissatisfied with the policies of the French government. The elites are trying to discredit this expression of dissatisfaction as illegitimate. In other words, it is a moral defect for a French politician to stand for France. That is “fascist nationalism.” Standing for Europe and diversity and American domination, that is the only accepted position.