[Marxism] Vladimir Putin's Woman in Paris
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 27 06:16:05 MDT 2014
Wall Street Journal, May 26 2014
Vladimir Putin's Woman in Paris
Marine Le Pen wants to neuter the EU as a political force. The Kremlin
couldn't ask for a better ally.
By John Vinocur
It started out as your average tragicomic week in the France of May 2014.
The armed forces' chief of staff, backed by his generals in charge of
the army, navy and air force, threatened to quit over planned cuts in
military budgets. A government agency, debunking a presidential promise
to reverse the country's jobless trend, said unemployment would rise
this year and next. And the national railroad acknowledged that 2,000
new trains it had ordered for $20.5 billion were too wide to fit into
about 1,600 stations.
The inured and sarcastically inclined could go on whistling Phil
Collins's "Another Day in Paradise." But on Sunday France embraced
ignominy. The supposedly detoxified extreme right-wing National Front
party, led by the supposedly non-noxious Marine Le Pen, running on an
anti-European-Union, anti-immigrant platform, handily defeated both the
governing Socialists and opposition Gaullists in an election for the
On the grid of French history—from its central role in the
Enlightenment, to its Nazi collaborators in World War II (whose
apologists figured among the National Front's founders), to its
ambitions to make a united Europe a world-player and decision maker—the
election result stands as a shameful entry.
It came unopposed by outrage. Compared with the democratic legitimacy
sought, and reinforced, the same day in Ukraine's presidential election,
and the milder populist advances elsewhere in the European vote, France
produced a spectacle of nihilism that damages the West and delights
When Prime Minister Manuel Valls called at the campaign's end for a
"democratic insurrection'' against what he said was a choice for hatred
and division, his appeal was ignored. A majority of registered voters
French National Front President Marine Le Pen. Zuma Press
The Germans, who polls say consider the French their best friend, and
who fear their neighbor becoming an angry, hard-to-manage political
cripple, are taking the point. Martin Schulz, the European Parliament's
current president, had a circumscribed view: "It is a bad day for the
European Union when a party with such a racist, xenophobic and
anti-Semitic program gets 25 percent of the vote in France." The
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in its report from Paris, nailed the
broader picture: "France's governability is in play now—with the
country's reputation in Europe and the world.''
So who, really, is Marine Le Pen? And what bodes the legitimization of a
politician able to remarkably exploit a Socialist government's
aloofness, economic dysfunction and incapacity to calm the alienation
felt by working-class voters in relation to France's large
In terms of France's role as an international player, Ms. Le Pen's party
has called for the creation of a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis. She describes
Mr. Putin as "a patriot"—and generally sounds, after a pre-election trip
to Moscow, as intent as the Russian president to neuter the EU as a
Western political force.
Mr. Putin couldn't have a more comfortably avowed ally. "He's aware we
are defending common values,'' she said of the Kremlin ruler. Which
ones? Ms. Le Pen's response: "The Christian heritage of European
As for a softer, gentler National Front, Ms. Le Pen assigned the task of
attacking Muslims to her father, who worked her rallies as an
opening-act rabble-rouser. Example: In Marseille last week, warning of
immigrant hordes about to descend on Europe from Africa, Jean-Marie Le
Pen came up with the idea that the fatal Ebola virus "could take care of
that in three months.'' The next day, of course, he explained that he
couldn't wish for a surge in the disease.
Asked Sunday night about whether the party would accept an offer of an
alliance with Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party and explain its own
relations to anti-Semitism, National Front Vice President Florian
Philippot fled anything resembling an intelligible reply.
The immediate question for a France bearing the Le Pen stain is how much
trust it can garner internationally and whether it has the resilience to
continue challenging the toughness of Barack Obama on his wavering Iran
and Syria positions. The government has no reason now to tone down its
basic opposition to a trans-Atlantic free-trade pact. Mostly absent from
engagement on Ukraine, and tracking Germany's hesitations, it has
already shown little interest in substantively challenging Russia's
threat of further aggrandizement in Eastern Europe.
Rather the opposite. Look at France's continued insistence on delivering
the two helicopter-carrying Mistral attack vessels it sold to Russia for
probable deployment on the Black Sea.
In the process, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius issued a startling
assessment this month on the way of the world at the Brookings
Institution in Washington. According to Associated Press, he spoke of
the West's need not to alienate countries like Russia and China. "They
consider that the international order is biased in favor of the West,"
the AP quoted him. "We might disagree but we have to take into account
How about repelling it?
In a new world where the National Front is the biggest French
vote-getter, and where it may lead an official European Parliament
political faction grandly subsidized with taxpayers' money, Mr. Putin
can count at the least on Marine Le Pen as being appeasement's loudest
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