International Affairs

International Affairs

France in denial

What’s the difference between France and an ostrich? None: They both have their heads stuck in the sand.

The first round of France’s presidential elections yesterday was a sad demonstration of the extent to which the French are in denial. After a campaign in which the burning issues were hardly debated, one-fifth of the French electorate voted for the racist extreme-right National Front, which scored its biggest success ever.

The National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, thanked the supporters of “the French identity” for her stunning success (even though she will not go through to the runoff, which will pit President Nicolas Sarkozy against his Socialist challenger, Francois Hollande, in a tight contest).


Paris at midnight, Sarkozy on the ropes, the right in retreat

The victory of Francois Hollande over Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of voting in France, and Hollande's probable victory in the runoff in two weeks, has major implications throughout Europe and the United States. It is a reaction against the ultra-conservative right that would impose more austerity, pain and joblessness while trying to appeal to anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner and at times anti-Muslim fear. There are shades of the French battle from other nations in Europe to Mitt Romney (like Sarkozy the voice of the 1 percent) and the Tea Party (like the radical Le Pen movement, the voice of anger and fear with a phony populist accent).

From the Occupy Wall Street movement to the voting in France, from the backlash in southern Europe to the falling popularity of the Tea Party in America, there is a reaction against the right and a move back toward the populist center-left.


How France will advance in Europe

The ongoing leadership race in France is of vital importance to the EU and to individual European countries because there are basically two vital questions Europeans have to ask today. The first is, how will other European nations and France in particular get along together and with Germany in particular? And how will they and France in particular get along with the Muslim and other immigrant people they have brought in to do the work? The second question is more important, and that is what this race is about.


Israel's mounting Middle East challenges

Global pressure continues to mount on Iran.

You would think this would make it more difficult for the regime to justify the nuclear program to the Iranian people. The economy is straining and the sanctions are increasingly biting, but Russia, China and their puppet states have been complicit in helping keep the country afloat. The threat of military reprisal has kept the population at bay.


Ron Paul’s position on Jerusalem

It is easy to (falsely) accuse Ron Paul of anti-Semitism because of his daily rants on the floor of Congress about the war on Iraq being fostered by Jewish lobbyists in America. Widespread suggestions make the connection and the so-called neocon movement clearly advanced the project. Paul opposes foreign aid to everyone in general and to Israel in particular. But Israel is not a product of the initiatives or the imagination of American or Israeli Jewish lobbyists, and to assume it is, as is widespread today in American academia and globalist pop culture, is itself anti-Semitic and virulently nihilistic. And these positions have tragically been fostered and nurtured by the American State Department under Secretary Clinton and President Obama. But you won't find that in Ron Paul. Rising political forces in Israel like Moshe Feiglin's "Jewish leadership" faction have long called for a breaking-free from American aid to Israel, much as Paul does.


Eichmann in Jerusalem: Clintons disgrace the Holy Land

 “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion.” — Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem

It might be seen in hindsight that in Desert Storm, George H.W. Bush was in fact bringing a final end to World War II, as Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party was an organism directly related to the Nazi movement, mentored by the Third Reich and modeled on its terror tactics. In hindsight it seemed odd that H.W., honored veteran of that conflict, didn't end it there but left it standing, leaving the dirty deed to the next generation.


The Iranian people should take a stand

The one hope outside of Israel stopping the ayatollahs is the people of Iran themselves.

They made a half-hearted attempt with the Green Revolution in 2009, but unlike their brothers in revolution throughout the Middle East and Africa, they did not have the courage to see it through and do whatever it took to overthrow their government.


Why Annan’s Syria plan is doomed to fail

Kofi Annan’s six-point plan for Syria, providing for a military withdrawal by Syrian forces by tomorrow, never had a chance of success. The reason for that is because of the wiggle room afforded to the Syrian government, which lost its legitimacy long ago.

Annan, the envoy of the United Nations and Arab League, should have known better after his experience with Saddam Hussein in February 1998, which resulted in a deal on the inspection of so-called presidential sites. I covered his peace mission to Baghdad as a reporter and was there when Annan returned to New York describing Saddam as a man he could “do business with.” (The deal with Saddam collapsed after the first (farcical) inspection.) Mercifully, Annan has refrained from describing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the same terms. But the issue of “sovereignty” that was so important for Baghdad (not to mention Moscow and Beijing) will doom the Annan plan in Damascus as well; the Syrian authorities know that, short of an invasion, which would require U.N. authorization to be legal, the international community is obliged to deal with the Assad regime to obtain a negotiated solution.


Obama’s flashing red light to Netanyahu on Iran

Judging from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC last night, you would think that he received a green light from President Obama to attack Iran unilaterally.

My reading of their meeting at the White House yesterday was that although Obama recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself “by itself,” as he said in his own speech to AIPAC on Sunday, he is asking Netanyahu to hold fire. So in the terms of the driver’s manual, Obama has issued a flashing red signal. Not a green light. Not a flashing yellow light meaning proceed with caution. But a flashing red light that means: Come to a complete stop and proceed when the way is clear.


Middle East observations

The conversation between President Obama and Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Washington could have huge implications for both deciding on a course of action. What they say to one another and how they interpret each other’s posture will be critical.
- Global pressure continues to mount on Iran, making it more difficult for them to go to their people to justify the nuclear program. The economy is starting to come apart at the seams and the sanctions are increasingly biting.