Even the most bewildered of our fellow citizens have become aware that Putin gave the order, on February 24, 2022, to invade Ukraine to bring it back into line. Following this event, it may or may not be the occasion to put our ideas back in place.
The media is working hard to provide us with a suitable reading of the events: Putin is crazy, the Ukrainians are resisting, and we have taken sanctions that will hurt the Russian population, which will inevitably turn against the dictator.
It is a question of reassuring us by telling that what is happening in Ukraine is not normal and that we will return, after a more or less long time of crisis, to the previous situation. Thank you for trying to reassure us, but this reading of the "Ukrainian crisis" seems to me totally unrealistic.
On the contrary, it is a shift from a situation in which we were dozing quietly to a much less comfortable state of wakefulness.
We were asleep, when we thought that Putin would never dare to attack the whole Ukraine, at most a small part of the Donbass. I thought so myself, including when I heard the CIA announcing an imminent attack: those CIA morons, I sneered! Putin will never do it because it's too risky... I was wrong.
Yet I knew that Putin had greatly improved his military tool, including developing hypersonic weapons, which he is the only one to possess to date. On May 3, 2020*, in a post titled "On the Edge of Fear" I wrote, among other things, the following, already in bold: "The United States finds itself for the first time in its history in a situation of technological inferiority to Russia on the military level."
And I concluded by noting that "without even imagining that such weapons could never be used, the consequences of their mere existence are yet to come, in terms of power relations and therefore alliances, the premises of which we can see in the Middle East."
We were indeed seeing these premises in Syria.
But I had not been able to draw the consequences of what I wrote nearly two years ago, namely that Russia had the military means to act as it wished, especially since it now possessed the second largest conventional army in the world, behind the United States, but ahead of China, India and France.
On the other hand, it had not escaped me that the Russians in general, and Putin in particular, had been greatly humiliated by the events that followed the fall of the USSR, at the end of 1991, the time of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, the deep distress of the Soviet people, the pensions paid in monkey money, the famine and Russia scorned by the United States, which had never respected its commitment not to extend NATO to Russia's borders.
I also observed how this contempt for Russia was translated into the bombing of Serbia, until the latter consented, bloodless, to the detachment by force of Kosovo, which was both a part of its territory and the founding place of its identity. But it also gave Putin a license to intervene militarily wherever he wished, in Syria, Georgia and now Ukraine.
I have observed how the Russians have continually been treated with condescending contempt, first by the British. They have been successively accused of being cheats, with their exclusion for doping in international sports competitions, murderers through disturbing accusations of poisoning, usurpers because of the role of oligarchs. Russia was only a vulgar gas supplier, whose GDP, hardly higher than Italy's, did not give it a voice on the world stage.
In Ukraine, I observed how the West unashamedly organized a coup d'état in 2014**, with the active complicity of Laurent Fabius, accompanied by the German and Polish foreign ministers who persuaded President Yanukovych to give in to the opposition. The latter accused him of resisting the EU, which wanted to force him to renounce a friendship treaty with Russia. Faced with a riot strongly supported by the Europeans and Americans, he was forced to flee to Russia before being illegally deposed.
I have observed how Ukraine, led since 2014 by pro-Western governments, has waged a permanent battle on the Donbass front where it has mobilized up to one hundred thousand troops, cut off the water to Crimea since 2014, signed the Minsk agreements on September 5, 2014*** and then stubbornly refused to implement them, these agreements including a ceasefire, a demilitarized zone on the line of contact, and a dialogue for the creation of a special status related to the conflicting regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
I observed how the European stakeholders, France and Germany, made no effort to ensure that these agreements were implemented by Ukraine. The conclusion of my post was: "The country still needs to be stabilized with legitimate political power and a good neighbor agreement with Russia. So another regime."
As a result of all these events, here we are with a war and its consequences, which are yet to be understood.
* In a post entitled "On the edge of fear"
** See my post "Coup in Kiev" of February 24, 2014
*** See my post "Ukraine on the brink of the Rubicon" of February 19, 2017
TO BE FOLLOWED
It is time for everyone to finally realize that the French system is radically different from the American system and that the latter will never make the former disappear, because it remains the only coherent alternative to the American system, and this since the very beginning of the formidable American adventure.
The opposition between the two systems resurfaced recently with attacks by the American press against French society, through the New York Times and the Washington Post about the Samuel Paty affair. These attacks have just been reinforced by the instrumentation of the Traoré affair in Times Magazine.
The coverage of Samuel Paty's assassination by the New York Times and the Washington Post has aroused, and that's good, a lot of indignation in France, because the reaction of intellectuals such as Jacques Attali, a friend of the United States, sending a tweet "Shame on you, New York Times!!! "showed everyone, Americans, Germans or Chinese, the strong will of resistance of French society.
In fact, the article in the New York Time, which appeared on the evening of October 16, a few hours after the assassination of Samuel Paty, was titled "French Police Shoot and Kill Man After a Fatal Knife Attack on the Street," which presented the case as if the central issue was that of a supposed police blunder, when the major fact was, blindingly for French opinion, that a college professor had been beheaded for blasphemy, according to the "religious" conception of the assassin.
Thanks to this title, the New York Times confirmed its hostility to the values of French society. Some, however, want to deny the newspaper's hostile intention because it reveals the hostility of "enlightened" American opinion towards French society; others are surprised or pretend to be surprised in order to preserve the "friendly" ties between France and the United States.
However, when Emmanuel Macron protested to the New York Times for the content and orientation of his articles on the murder of Samuel Paty, the newspaper went on to insinuate that Macron "seized" the "symbolic nature" of Samuel Paty's murder, "taking up anti-Islamist themes.
This American reaction to the French counter-attack means that France is summoned to align itself with the positions of the American left, which never uses the term "jihadism", because for them, in Washington, therefore in the United States, and therefore in the rest of the world, the priority is to protect minorities, following the Black Lives Matter movement.
For the American left, anxious to preserve the fragile equilibrium of American society, Muslims are part of the Bipoc (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color) that must be protected or even privileged, because they are by definition victims of the majority. According to this approach, if some commit criminal acts, even assassinations, it is only a question of defensive reactions that one "can understand". The American left does not question the origin of the fragility of American society, which is the result of its intentional fragmentation, from the very beginning of its construction.
This is what led the New York Times to point out, in an October 21 article about France, that "the country was swept away by nationalism after the assassination of Mr. Paty", confusing nationalism with emotion, while the Washington Post published an analysis of the French situation under the headlines "Instead of fighting systemic racism, France wants to 'reform Islam'" or "France mourns teacher Samuel Paty as government mobilizes against Muslim groups".
Then, on November 1, the Associated Press news agency launched "AP explains: why France incites such anger in Muslim world", justifying this supposed anger against France, which it encourages in an underhanded way, by "its brutal colonial past, its firm laws on secularism, and the outspokenness of its president, seen as lacking respect for the Muslim faith".
Finally, on December 11th, Time Magazine's feature story of Assama Traore as "Guardian of the year" confirms this declaration of war by the American media against French society, the goal being to contribute to national disorder by making Assa Traore a heroine fighting against racism within a xenophobic nation, France.
All these media bites confirm the willingness of the American elites to oppose the inclusive French model. It is in fact the opposite of the model of society they know, support and promote in the United States, a society where each person is entirely responsible for his or her own economic and social success, knowingly obscuring the collective determinants of individual success.
Moreover, American messianism, which is consubstantial with the very creation of the United States, makes the promoters of this model incapable of accepting that there can be a competing model that also works. They must at all costs discredit it before destroying it and scattering its ashes.
But the French model also works. Its principle is based on inclusion, which therefore claims, contrary to the American model, to exclude no one, school and social security being two major pillars of this principle.
It escapes many that the French system was fought by the Americans even before the official constitution of the United States, because of the messianism of the Pilgrim Fathers who wanted and still want to transform the world for their benefit. They did not want to include the French but to drive them out, they did not want to include the Indians but to exterminate them. Since that time, any competitor is considered not as an adversary but as an absolute enemy ("the empire of evil") that must be eliminated and its ideology destroyed.
Following the collapse of the European powers during the twentieth century, the United States was able to extend to the entire planet its project to carry out the work that God commanded it to do, which is a global society where the losers are excluded, whether they are Americans, Chinese or French. As one can imagine, this is not a very popular goal except with the "winners" and they have had to advance in disguise, yesterday under the guise of economic efficiency, today in the name of protecting minorities.
On the other hand, the French inclusive society has a clearly popular logic, which has allowed it to resist the American model everywhere, even in Quebec, so visibly different from English Canada. Also, while recent American media positions clearly highlight the destructive aims of the American ideology vis-à-vis French society, one should not be overly concerned.
For the war between the American system and French society has been going on since the mid-eighteenth century, and since then no one has ever succeeded, from the outside, in modifying the fundamental principle that animates French society.
If you want to know who Filip Palda is, you first need to make Palda’s acquaintance. Filip was born on May 12, 1962 in Montreal, from Isabelle and Kristian Palda.
Isabelle came from Bedford, Quebec and was raised by the Ursulines. From the moment that she met Kristian until her death in arms of Kristian on July 6, 2016, she surrounded him with all her love. I liked Isabelle very much. She was rightly proud of her children, Filip and Valerie, and of her husband Kristian, famous for his excellent research.
Kristian comes from a large industrial family who, deeply took part in the Czechoslovak Republic. He escaped from Czechoslovakia while he was studying, due to the threat of the communist regime's police.
Kristian is brilliant. In the United States and then in Canada, he rebuilds completely his life, resumed his studies and became a professor at Queen's, a great professor of economics and management.
In Kingston, Palda family formed a perfect family, Isabelle, Kristian, Filip and Valerie. At least, in my eyes.
Filip was devoted to his family: to his parents, his wife Maria and his stepmother Raisa. Kristian and Filip, beyond the fact that they were father and son, had one thing in common: intellectual freedom. Kristian knows everything, understands everything with a rare intellectual freedom. He does not limit himself to ‘politically correct’ discussions or thinking. On the contrary, Kristian detects them immediately. Filip was quite the same. Father and son had exchanges of information quite on everything as both were interested in everything!
Filip was very attentive to Isabelle who had conducted her home with affection, prudence and authority. During the last years of Isabelle’s life, Filip was unquiet about his mother’s difficulties. Filip was constantly present to help Isabelle. He constantly toke a nursing trip between Ottawa-where he was living-and Kingston. Despite his exhausted trips, he never forgot his wife nor his intellectual work. Like Kristian, Filip also was a professor at university.
I will describe Filip outside his academic position. Surely, he was brilliant, though he has not yet been fully recognised. You and I, both know that recognition needs time.
I have known Filip, Isabelle and Valerie by Kristian. I had spent several summers in Kingston where I taught at Queen's. Kristian invited me. I have known Filip, when he was doing his studies in Chicago. Then he became a professor at different Canadian universities, and finally he had been settling at Enap. I first, had started to discuss with Kristian, then with Isabelle, Filip, Valerie, finally with the whole family. My family came to Kingston during theses summers.
Understanding Filip needs first of all an understanding of Palda’s family: a Catholic, intelligent, free, solid, friendly family. I do not know in which order I have to write these adjectives.
Filip left after Isabelle had left. This is already the second part of the Palda family that have left me. We knew this is life, but it's too hard!
It's simple to understand that they were, that they are part of my big family, that they have left me and, of course, I have tears in my eyes. It's silly, I know, but I liked Filip very much. I discovered with him Tim's Hortons, Costco as well as the subtlest politico-economic reflections. I invited him to teach at the IECS in Strasbourg where I was Dean, I read his books, I made the project to translate one of them, I visited with him the aviation museum in Ottawa, I slept at his home and I enjoyed the warmth of his home. I was walking with him for several hours, while we were exchanging endlessly. Thanks to him, his friendly and his determined perseverance, I had become an invited Professor at ENAP and started to dream about a possible settlement in Canada.
Life can be short and a problem never comes alone. It has first started by Flip sickness, then Isabelle's departure. All the links were, step by step, suspended when these catastrophes buried them under the blue pale sky of Kingston. Filip had sent me several films of Kingston taken by his drone, his neighbourhood, his street and his family. A drone which at the end was flying over his life, more and more fragile. I have never liked these films: they were so melancholic, so nostalgic.
I do not anymore dare to see them any more; I did not dare anymore to call them. What I was waiting for? Waiting for the worst that I did not want to confess?
And here it is.
With Filip gone, a part of my Canada is gone.
What do you want me to write more? To pay tribute to his work? I do not think this is the right time. Moreover, I published a blog written by Filip on Gary Becker, on November 12, 2014, at a time when the disease secretly covered. You want me to write that he was a great guy? Yes, he was a great guy, but it is too late to write it now, it's indeed too late.
I'll just write down what I feel. Filip was someone too good, too generous, too sensitive and too intelligent to live in the world of brutes where he was living. So he was sacrificing himself deeply to the people he loved, until he understood he had nothing more to give. At this moment, when he became sure that he had done all he could, he left.
What I have just written, you can be sure that I won’t wrote it for many people. This Sunday, at the church of Puget-Théniers, we had a Mass for Filip and Isabelle at the request of Kristian. Thus, the bond is still maintained, in spite of everything.
But let's see. If this note can be used for something, it is to understand this: I liked very much Filip and now he has gone, it's too late, I can not give him anymore anything, he can not give me anything anymore. Except I'll read him again.
Also this note can be used to understand that friendship, affection that you share with someone is the most precious thing that you have in this life. Do not waste it, do not neglect your friends and above all for God sake, do not get angry with your friend.
Live your friendship to the end, for sure the end will come and then there will be nothing left for you, as if friendship was only a scrap of paper burning, flying into the great Canadian wind on August 24, 2017, through the window of a hospital in Toronto...
The French suffer a crisis of collective identity, as it is difficult to face the world alone, abandoned by a community without vision. What is the objective of the national community called "France "? Maintain the gains? But how? Melt in Europe? But which Europe? Adapt to globalization? But at what cost? Our leaders cover up not only their true goals for France, but worse, their impotence.
The case of Euro illustrates this ascertainment, even if it is only the monetary part of our dispossession.
We conceded our monetary sovereignty to the European Central Bank. What ECB done with? Euro is approaching $ 1.35 or more and ECB still wonder if it would ultimately reduce its value! The stability of Euro promised a gradual harmonization of the European economy, but we observe the crushing of industries in southern Europe by industries of North. In addition, it is clear from an economic point of view, that it is better to be outside the Euro zone than inside. We would like the Euro to drop, but who is listening to us? We would like our industry to benefit the same conditions as German industry, but how?
Meanwhile, our trade deficit reach record levels, our businesses are closing, our employees become unemployed, our graduates are fleeing the country and our taxes increase, which does not prevent the fiscal deficit to remain stubbornly high and Public debt to raise.
When all these negative trends will be reversed? When our industry will be gone, when our wages, our unemployment benefits and our pensions will have collapsed? One day, for sure, we will find balance, or the bottom...
Hoping that one day tumble stops, what solutions are offered by our leaders? Take the money here to put it there, and sometimes, with a stunning boldness, microscopic reforms spread over a decade.
To cover the noise of the fall, they try to convince us that nothing more can be attempted, with the help of the choir of profiteers of the status quo at all costs. But even these propaganda efforts are failing, if you believe the polls, the elections and more deeply the general mood of the country.
Therefore, when France will be expected to act? Confusingly, the French know that the status quo is not possible, since they daily see financial, industrial and social divergences require them to renounce gradually to the benefits of a rich, prosperous, powerful nation to reach the status of these dependent peoples that they despised so easily, short time ago.
And yet, the motion only asks to be reversed, as repeat on all the tones more and more economists and as I write it on multiple occasions in previous blogs. Just regain our autonomy so that our production costs will be reduced according to the value that we give to our currency, no doubt less than the Euro, in the way that production in France became more attractive and buying abroad less, to hire and build again.
Blockages that prevent us from doing so are more psychoanalytic than economic: our debt would certainly mechanically increase in local currency but would be stopped, our German neighbors would be dissatisfied, but they would, Marine Le Pen would be happy, but isn't she who would benefit from this policy.
Those who will receive the policy benefit will be courageous statesmen who will get out of the political eunuchs status in which they were locked. It should be added that the recovery of monetary control can only be the beginning of the awareness of Europeans need to leave the EU as an American colony, a condition less tenable while new powers are emerging, China, Russia and Africa.
To survive in their midst, Europe must be able to conduct an autonomous policy, therefore not subservient to power in Washington. Otherwise the U.S. will sacrifice Europe without hesitation to defend their own interests. The case of Ukraine is illustrative, which shows the necessity of negotiate with Russia and not confront it, as the United States want us to.
So, leaving Euro should paradoxically announces the resumption of the power of European peoples over their destiny, a time abandoned to declining U.S.
This is probably why it raises so many contrary passions.
Eurostat has just published the foreign trade statistics of the European Union. After reading this blog, I suggest answer two simple questions and, finally, a little more complicated question.
Overall, the Euro area had a surplus to the rest of the world, a surplus of EUR 153.8 billion. This surplus consists of very different results based on the countries that have adopted the euro.
Remember first of all that, until 31 December 2013, the euro area included Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland. From 1 January 2014 the euro area also includes Latvia.
For reasons of data collection, these results relate only to the first 11 months of 2013, but this does not alter the lessons that one can learn.
In billions of Euros:
Slovenia 0.5 `
France – 69.9
First of all, we cannot avoid noting the huge German trade surplus.
Then, notice there are six countries within the euro zone that have a surplus, mostly grouped geographically around Germany, except Italy which maintains, at the cost of growth, the competitiveness of its industry and Ireland which has brilliantly maintained its exceed commercial for the price of fiscal and social dumping. Notice some of the difficulties in Estonia, while Finland gradually restores its trade balance.
Look at the two islands, Malta and especially Cyprus, which have struggled to keep their balance.
Forget Luxembourg whose financial revenue outweighs the trade deficit.
See that Austria is not doing so well.
Encourage Portugal and Spain that are tightening their belts to keep their heads out of water.
Pity Greece that has no chance of escape.
And now my question, when you notice that France is the country of the euro area which has the highest trade deficit, by far:
1 Do you believe that France has the opportunity or the means to restore its trade within the euro zone? If you answer “no” to this question, here is a second one:
2 Do you believe the surplus countries and banks will finance our deficit indefinitely??
If you answer “no” to the second question, here is an open question:
3 What is going to happen in your opinion???
If you do not want to answer this last question, I hope you are reasonably comfortable, your head buried in the sand.