Everyone Hates the EU: French Far Left Gains Steam In The Final Push

According to Reuters:

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon drew tens of thousands to a rally on Sunday, aiming to maintain momentum that has pushed the one-time outsider into contention in the French presidential election, with the first round of voting a week away.

It is a race to see which candidate can isolate France the most: Marine LePen, the National Front far-right candidate, or Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far left candidate.  Both promise to renegotiate France’s relationships with the EU and NATO, pillars of French economic and military security.  Both are now seen as potential frontrunners in the second round of French presidential voting.

Without an overpowering Soviet threat, French voters no longer believe radical decisions are a major threat to their well-being.  Repeated scandals have discredited both the French Socialists and the French Republicans, leaving voters with the conclusion that neither is much better than the other.  This makes a measure of sense: parties in power for too long tend to lean towards corruption and complacency.  Democracy is supposed to weed those traits out through punishing electoral contests.

But on occasion, democracy backfires.  Such was the story of Athens when it dispatched a fleet to annihilate the men of rebellious Mytilene, when the Athenian assembly first ordered the butchery of all the men of Mytilene, and then, mid-mission changed their mind.  The United Kingdom and the United States have both experienced a measure of this now: both Brexit and Trump do not enjoy commanding approval ratings.  While neither state is prepared to reverse their choices, it’s clear that democratic votes do not always produce new political consensus.

While Dutch voters rejected Trump-style populism in a vote in March, French voters, who have a larger rural component than the Netherlands, may well gamble on a new future with either LePen or Melenchon.  To crack up the French pillar of the NATO/EU geopolitical system in Europe will mean both a return to history and an uncertain future.  Time will soon tell whether French voters are prepared for that.

 

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5 thoughts on “Everyone Hates the EU: French Far Left Gains Steam In The Final Push”

  1. Or nothing’s gonna happen. Germany made sure: “Adam Opel AG (Opel , pronounced
    [ˈoːpl̩] ) is a German automobile manufacturer headquartered in
    Rüsselsheim , Hesse, Germany . It is a subsidiary of General Motors but is soon to be part of the French automotive company Groupe PSA , pursuant to a sale agreement announced in March 2017.”

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    1. I mean, “nothing” if you mean war – but I rather doubt Germany’s export-oriented economy will do well if France suddenly reimposes tariffs, or if the euro collapses. This is Brexit writ-large.

      Longer term, it does open the door to old fashioned European rivalry, something the EU was supposed to permanently end. If they don’t build an EU II, they risk turning the continent back to the geopolitics of the 19th century.

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      1. While the Front National poses a serious security risk for the EU, even Marine Le Pen will not lead France out of it, despite all the posturing.

        Brexit has amply demonstrated that going it alone is a surefire way to economic and political suicide. A European country simply does not have enough clout to survive on its own in the 21st century, if they want a modicum of wealth, power and security.

        Furthermore, after the British remarks on Gibraltar in which a Tory grandee threatened Spain with war over this rock, even stupid nationalists understand very well that the EU is a guarantor of peace in Europe.

        Nobody wants to see a rearmament of Europe. Nobody wants to return to the bad old days before 1933.

        People might bitch and moan, politicians might threaten and posture, but one of the mainland European states leaving the EU?

        Nobody is that suicidal. The Brits will have to eat quite a lot of humble pie and endure more upheavals, poverty and splendid isolation than other EU countries as soon as the Brexit talks are concluded. And everybody and their dog knows it. The Brits know it, the French know it, the Greeks know it, the Germans know it, and Northern Ireland and Scotland know it too.

        No, Le Pen might win and try to threaten to negotiate better terms. But leaving the EU now that the Brits have left? No way.

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      2. Europeans are idiots if they destroy EU. It’s the only way to survive in the global market. Not that European didn’t show in the past how idiotic they can be, but destroying EU would really marginalize the continent. Trump, of course, seeks to get US companies out of Europe, so he’s helping it’s destruction.

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      3. On the EU part, I think we’re in full agreement. But that doesn’t mean Europeans won’t throw a political hand grenade in the system to try to send some kind of message to their elites. That’s a major risk of democracy.

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