Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys

I live in a part of the world where just about everything stops for two or three hours in the middle of the day. It’s called Lunch; and talking of food, do you remember the phrases cheese eating surrender monkeys and freedom fries? These phrases were bandied around by the Americans in the aftermath of 9/11, and they were directed at the French because the French refused to take part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At the time Jacques Chirac was president of France. Chirac was a Gaullist and on the right of politics (although as a young man he started out as a communist). Charles De Gaulle had always been a thorn in the side of the Americans, because he refused to allow France to become a full member of NATO, and he maintained an independent nuclear deterrent and an independent foreign policy. In fact, De Gaulle pissed off the Americans so much that in 1961 they tried to assassinate him.

President Chirac’s refusal to take part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq also mightily pissed off the Americans. They needed to get rid of him, and so they nobbled the 2007 presidential election and installed Nicolas Sarkozy as president. Sarkozy was bought and paid for by Washington. He made France a full member of NATO and committed the French military to the jollys in North Africa and the Middle East. Uncle Sam was satisfied, but then we had the 2008 economic collapse, in the aftermath of which Sarkozy started becoming very unpopular. So, the Americans nobbled the 2012 presidential election. It was a case of ‘you can have the blue pill or the red pill’, and a ‘socialist’ called François Hollande won the election by a narrow margin. President Hollande proceeded to do Washington’s bidding, one strand of which was to push through reforms to the employment laws in France. These reforms, which Hollande pushed through by Presidential Decree, made him the most unpopular president in French history and led to massive civil unrest. François Hollande did not even attempt to seek a second term in this year’s presidential election, which was won by a ‘centrist’ called Emmanuel Macron.

I’m running through all this history at a fast pace because I want to get to the point of this post. If interested in it all, the links I give above go into much greater detail.

The history outlined above, 2003 to the present, mirrors my own time living in France. When I first arrived here in 2003, Jacques Chirac was president and France remained an independent country. Now, in 2017, we have as president a creature called Emmanuel Macron. President Macron is a blatant puppet of Washington and the neo-cons, making France now a total poodle of the Americans, just like the UK is. Macron has been president for not much more than a month, and already he’s said that if he can’t get a vote in the French parliament he will push through further reforms to employment laws by presidential decree. Macron has also said that he wants to cut the members of the French parliament by a third, reducing the National Assembly from 577 members to 385, and he wants to extend the state of emergency (which was introduced by President Hollande after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, and has now been extended 6 times) and introduce further ‘anti-terror’ laws. Not since Napoleonic times has anyone ruled France in this way. It’s very worrying stuff.

In one sense it’s worrying because there’s massive opposition to Macron and the neo-cons, which means that the civil unrest in France will now probably get worse. This opposition is embodied by Jean Luc Mélenchon and his La France Insoumise (Unbowed France) movement. Mélenchon is an independent politician who came fourth in the 2017 presidential election, not much more than four percentage points behind Macron. Mélenchon has a huge support base and is described as being on the ‘far left’, whereas in old money he’s more a left of centre social democrat. Here’s Mélenchon giving a short speech after last month’s legislative elections (in which he won a seat in the National Assembly). The extraordinary thing about this speech is that Mélenchon is saying that if Macron tries to force through the neo-con agenda the people will rise up against him. There will be a revolution. I’ve never heard a popular politician in a major western nation use such language…

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