Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pray for La Belle France

When Paris was liberated, who would have dreamed that the day would come when, America and Britain having fallen,  France would be teetering on the brink of following them over the cliff- and Germany would be the last great hope of Western liberal democracy?

Yet that's where matters stand. The wave of populist nationalism that is sweeping through what has hitherto been the liberal democracies of the West is now threatening France. Marine Le Pen,  daughter of French ultra-Rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen, is the candidate of the Trump-like National Front in next spring's presidential election. It seems that neither President François Hollande nor any other candidate of the Left will be able to make it into the second round of the two-stage election. Le Pen's opponent is, therefore, likely to be François Fillon, a rather colorless conservative who defeated former president Nicholas Sarkozy and former prime minister Alain Juppé last month to win the nomination of the other leading party,  Les Républicains.

Le Pen leads in the polls, and the prospect looms of Germany and Angela Merkel ending up as the last island of the liberal democratic tradition that once was the heart and soul of the Western political tradition. British Prime Minister Theresa May also represents that tradition, but after the Brexit vote, it's not clear how strong a grasp the tradition still has on her nation. The United States, of course, elected Donald Trump, the American Le Pen, last month.

The tradition of liberté, égalité, fraternité has fallen on hard times, it seems, throughout the Western world.

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