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European

European, Politics

A new role for Europe in the world?

Following in the footsteps of the Jewish people and the Catholic Church, the time has come for Western civilization to assume the role of a “creative minority” in a globalized world. In a lecture given in New York in October 2013, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Jonathan Sacks – already quoted in my last article – gave his perspective on the role of the “Jewish people” as a major contributor to “society” in general, while having taken great care to preserve its own identity throughout history. (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/01/on-creative-minorities). He refers to the letter of the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon (Jer.29:5-7): “Build houses, and dwell in them; plant gardens, and eat the fruit thereof. Take wives, and beget…

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European, Politics

Should we avoid “provoking” Vladimir Putin?

This debate between politicians, intellectuals, journalists and authorities of all kinds which agitates public opinion, opposes philosophical/moral positions as well as partisan interests, and is most often limited to the enunciation of apparently indisputable objectives, the pursuit of which justifies any means used to achieve them. Thus, as such reasoning goes, the unanimously shared objective of ‘restoring peace’ deserves to be imposed at any cost insofar as it aims at ending the loss of both civilian and military lives, the senseless destruction of property and an unacceptable level of abuses and war crimes. Achieving this objective makes it possible to advocate compromises which, for some, are simply a matter of pragmatism whatever the sacrifices they impose on the parties, while…

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European, Politics

Fear is always of bad council!

Should we wait for a new provocation from Putin to accelerate EU integration? Are the global geopolitical situation in general and the war in Ukraine in particular a source of existential dangers for the future of the planet? The answer is undoubtedly “yes”; however, it is necessary to define these risks and to analyze the means available to confront them. In terms of danger, a nuclear Armageddon is clearly the main risk (but not the most likely) because it entails the possibility of the disappearance of all human life on our planet. This leads to a twofold observation: on the one hand, that the use of nuclear weapons is highly improbable, but on the other hand, that it is practically…

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European, Politics

Ukraine: What are the ‘war aims’?

A confused debate where realities, ideologies and pseudo-psychology are intertwined. The media, both on television and in the press, are struggling to decipher Vladimir Putin’s intentions, to analyze American policy or to formulate a coherent vision of European interests. In most debates – besides pious admonitions aimed at giving oneself a good conscience – the future of Ukraine often seems to be relegated to the status of an adjustment variable! Apart from the factual reporting of the course of events (when this is verifiable) and the enlightening analyses of some professional military and political experts, most of the comments are based on speculation, on the desire to make one’s own opinions coincide with the facts or sometimes even on disinformation….

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European, Politics

How on earth did we get here?

Europe and the World in search of reference points! (Texte of a presentation to the Demi-Siècle – Cercle de Bruxelles on April 27th 2022) Dear friends of the Demi-Siècle,        When two months ago our President asked me to speak to you this evening, I agreed, noting that it was impossible for me to be specific about the subject, as the horizon seemed to be so cloudy. The military operations in Ukraine had not started, the outcome of the French elections was uncertain, the health crisis was mutating, inflation was threatening, and so on. While some of these threats are now a fact, the future remains just as unpredictable and in some ways even more frightening. Rather than commenting on current…

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European, Politics

French presidential elections.

In the current situation, abstention is a denial of democracy and a culpable abandonment of responsibility. In a tense climate where the majority of voters are torn between “rejection” and “refusal”, it is very tempting to give one’s preference to go fishing! Those who choose to abstain, however they express it – blank vote, neither-nor or abstention – are cowards. They knowingly abandon to their compatriots the privilege, dearly acquired by our elders, sometimes at the price of heavy sacrifices, of determining who will govern France for the next five years. If the result of the poll did not have such existential consequences for the Nation, involving the challenging of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, of democracy itself or…

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European, Politics

The election of Marine Le Pen would lead to the paralysis of the EU and the reinforcement of inflation.

It would also allow Vladimir Putin to reach immediately his objective of restoring Russia’s imperialist power. The results of the first round of the presidential elections reveal the deepening fracture in the French electorate. The extremist forces jointly represent a majority of the votes cast, even if their internal divisions favor, in principle, the re-election of the outgoing president. Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the legislative elections to follow, the country risks being ungovernable and unable to implement long overdue reforms.  This unprecedented state of the French political landscape needs to be addressed with pertinent arguments that take into account the current national and geopolitical context; one should abandon hopes that rely on the outdated recipes of demonization…

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European, Politics

Proposals for new sanctions.

It is imperative to respond positively to Ukraine’s request. In light of the escalation of the abuses committed by the Russian army in the theatre of operations in Ukraine, the scale of the humanitarian crisis requires the international community to considerably strengthen the sanctions taken against the aggressor. The discussions concerning the embargo on the purchase of hydrocarbons by the European Union have stalled for lack of unanimity. It is urgent to respond to Ukraine’s request by other means and to take sanctions capable, if not of hindering military operations in the short term, at least of offering a perspective that strengthens the hopes and the spirit of resistance of the martyred nation. The efforts being made on the ground,…

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European, Politics, Uncategorized

Call for an immediate embargo on Russian gas!

Waiting for Putin to take the initiative would make the cut-off no longer a sanction. The European Union is tearing itself apart over the question of stopping Russian gas and oil imports. It thus assumes, without a qualm, the opprobrium of financing the Russian war effort to the detriment of imperative humanitarian considerations, relayed by the unbearable spectacle of the exactions and suffering endured by the Ukrainians. This iniquitous stance, justified by the need to maintain the fragile, barely reestablished “unity” of the 27, is precisely what will definitively destroy it. The argument that the suspension of hydrocarbon purchases will be enacted “as soon as possible” is a peak of hypocrisy, rarely reached and reminds us of this sentence of…

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European, Politics

The unprecedented sanctions regime against Russia calls for a reform of global governance.

The European Union must urgently expand the Eurozone to the 27 to assert its interests! The IMF Deputy Director, Gita Gopinath, in a much-publicized speech, indicated that currencies, other than the dollar, would play a more important role in the foreign exchange reserves of nations. I had already drawn attention to this phenomenon in my article of 17 March entitled “Financial sanctions against Russia” to which I refer you. Ms Gopinath makes a very pertinent distinction between the use of the dollar as a reserve currency, which she sees diminishing significantly in favor of other currencies to allow for diversification of exchange rate risks (in value and freedom of access), and its role as the transaction currency of choice, which…

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