Hello! Just been reading comments in the French press about the quarter million euro fines being recently levied against Eric Zemour's media outlet(s) for non-deplatforming his Bad Think; and about Marine LePen at minumum being one of the two finalists in the upcoming elections, with a fair chance to actually take it this time. Oh, what happened anyway with the Gilets Jaunes? So yeah, back to the important stuff like the Biden admin's strategic prescience and about the brightest and the best —yours and ours— so delighted that Trump is out of the picture.

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I guess I should chime in my final comment of the night that I appear to have started a mini-war between France and the US or at least between myself and Claire's friend Tom Nichols on Twitter. I have invited Tom to come here and argue further about the merits of French and American foreign policy and decision making.

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Further to my up-thread remarks on Myanmar, you might look through this...


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Apr 10, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski

Will strive now to rise from underachiever trolling here, Claire.

Firstly, while assuredly not any kind of français de souche, I do hold a valid French passport, lived in Paris (and ex-Indochine française) for several decades, am long married into an extended French traditional Catho family with which I remain close; and thereby qualify —if semi-arguably— under your preferred pronoun for this thread: "we".

Firstly, for non-American non-geezers, the alleged troll shtick is actually the punchline of an old joke based on the wildly popular N&B 1950s TV serial western, the Lone Ranger; about the adventures of a face-masked, free-lance Texas lawman and his loyal BIPOC sidekick Tonto. The hypothetical episode has them out of ammunition and surrounded by hostile redskins, with the hero saying "I guess this is curtains for us", to which Tonto responds "Whaddya mean we, White Man".

While we're unpacking obscure, specifically American cultural trivia, not long after it came out, I saw Woody Allen's "Sleeper" at a fashionable rep cinema house in the Bastille. The plot line has Woody, who was immersed for a century in a tank of liquid nitrogen following a failed minor surgery, but since he didn't have any techno implants, bio IDs, nor a detailed backstory in the databases of the evil regime now in power, he was thawed out specifically to lead an incipient armed rebellion.

At the time of his semi-demise —so explains Woody to his new revolutionary comrades— the USA was descending into a nuclear holocaust as a result of "somebody named Shankar who somehow got hold of an A-bomb". That was a reference to the extremely outspoken and combative then-president of the New York Teachers Union, Albert Shankar, who famously said his interest in benefitting public school students would begin when they themselves started paying union dues.

Pretty funny, alright, but almost nobody who wasn't a politically attuned New Yorker at the time could possibly have understood that to which Woody was alluding. Yet the français de souche avant le lettre Paris audience bizzarely broke out in riotous laughter. I think because they heard "chancre" for Shankar and thought it had something to do with STDs. At that moment, lightning struck as I realized how utterly, absolutely clueless the French intellos were/still are about the "U., S. and A." as Borat calls us.

While I'm at it, I remember responding some years ago to an article intended for anglophones by not-quite français des souche Paris essayist Art Goldhammer, writing how shocked, shocked he was to hear of a seemingly-ordinary US home found to contain "three guns and a shotgun"; evidently with him assuming that such an arsenal surely indicated a nexus of white nationalist insurrectionist racist deplorable crazies. I noted that of the eighty million households sheltering perfectly legal firearms, having three or four or more was as likely as having only one. And these were people who while more probably registered Republicans than Democrats, voted in person at their polling places, paid their property taxes and parking tickets, held regular jobs and sent their kids to public schools.

More germane to Tenzer's blurb is given that the Biden administration is regarded —correctly or not— as fraudulent by almost exactly half of the US electorate (and perhaps slightly less than half of the US House and Senate) and thus is in no position to get the American people behind any kind of noble, and possibly-armed intervention in support of "liberal democracy" and globalized responsibility to our putative allies in Europe.

Or more immediately pressing, in mainland Southeast Asia; more particularly Myanmar, which after a fastidiously non-violent initial coup, has sunk into bloody lunacy (and regarding which Biden's new UN Rep just said, in effect, "let's roll").

Kindly remind me again what happened with the last such crusades in those parts, and more recently in Uzbeckybeckybeckistan?

While all the US Presidents from Kennedy through Obama may not have been loved in some quarters, nobody thought they were doddering halfwits, well along the way into Alzheimers. Nearly all of Trump's 71 miilion voters still believe that the Biden presidency is in its entirety a cats-paw of the virtue-signaling, lefty, deep state, swamp who heartily detest them and their values.

If the French think the US Cavalry is about to ride in to protect them from Putin the Poisoner, they got another think coming. While it's probably true that you/we French were "relieved" by the election, they/we are grievously wrong to think that any advantage will accrue accordingly, compared to which would have happened had Trump remained in office. Wake up and die right!

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France would be wrong to place much faith in the Biden Administration, which though it may mouth the correct slogans, will prove as unreliable in its way as the Trump Administration was. One area to watch is US defense policy. As has been noted here in in the recent podcast on China, the US armed forces are in a bad way and urgently require refurbishing. But what do we hear from the Biden Defense Department? Puerile blather about “diversity,” “critical race theory,” etc. Frederick the Great quipped that “Diplomacy without armed force is like a musical score without instruments,” and that’s the condition to which the US is declining. I judge it unlikely in the extreme that the Biden Administration will prove willing to spend the money necessary to restore the US armed forces to fighting trim.

Anyhow, public opinion in America will not support a foreign policy that appears to risk war.

In theory, the EU is large and powerful enough to counter Russia—perhaps even China. But its actual power is much less than population figures and economic data suggest. A robust foreign policy requires high national morale and self-confidence—qualities that as far as I can see Europe lacks.

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"No matter how relieved we are by the outcome of the American election..." Whaddya mean "we", White Man?

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