Arnon Grunberg



On Macron – Roger Schmidt in NYT:

‘Second terms for French presidents are rare — Mr. Macron’s is the first in two decades — and generally unhappy. Jacques Chirac became known as the “idle king,” and François Mitterrand as the “declining monarch.” Mr. Macron is desperate to avoid a similar fate. His nightmare is that he will be succeeded by the nationalist, anti-immigrant Marine Le Pen, rather as President Barack Obama was succeeded by Donald J. Trump. Her party, the National Rally, now holds 89 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.
“If Le Pen followed him, that would spell failure,” said Philippe Labro, an author and commentator.’


‘Since the departure of Angela Merkel as chancellor of Germany, Mr. Macron has seemed best placed to do so, insisting that a united Europe must be a power in the world, charting its own middle course between the United States and China, while remaining a NATO ally.
But Mr. Macron’s conviction that a place must ultimately be found for Russia in a new European strategic architecture if stability is to be achieved is not shared in Poland or the Baltic States. It is also viewed with some skepticism in Washington. His frequent conversations with Mr. Putin have also raised eyebrows.

Mr. Macron sees the United States as too confrontational toward China, a policy that he believes pushes Beijing toward Moscow’s embrace. Aged 11 when the Berlin Wall fell, he believes festering Russian grievance goes all the way back to the maintenance of NATO after the Cold War’s end. In nations as in people, he likes to say, repressed anger surfaces.
One thing is certain: Mr. Macron will remain a disrupter. For him, “the end of abundance” now afflicts a world that is also destabilized by the power vacuum accompanying American retrenchment. It would be a dereliction, in his view, not to rethink everything from the strategic order to making Europe carbon-neutral.’


‘A major survey by the Ipsos market research group and its partners, published this month in the daily newspaper Le Monde, indicated that 36 percent of the population was “angry” and 58 percent “unhappy.” Then again, discontent is a near-perennial French national mood.
At the same time, support for the European Union surged, with only 28 percent of people believing French membership is a bad thing, compared with 40 percent in 2014. The war in Ukraine has galvanized Europe. A core belief in European integration has been one constant in Mr. Macron’s thinking.’


‘It is far too early to say, but not too soon for Mr. Macron to be considering his place in history.
“Like Obama, Macron will live for a long time with his heritage,” Ms. Morin said. “He is condemned by his youth to its contemplation. And so he needs to think about it.”’

Read the article here.

Yes, one way or another you will need Russia in a European ‘strategic architecture’ that’s worthy of its name.

Macron had a tendency of rather lofty speeches, which is of course part of the culture he comes from, and there’s nothing wrong with these speeches, as long as they are not considered literature. And now we know what will be considered failure for Macron: if he will be succeeded by Le Pen.

So, what’s success? The prevention of the destruction of everything that was built after 1945 in Europe. Many expect more, hence the discontent.

This discontent is not only a French pastime anymore; the integration of Europe has become the integration of discontent. It might be better than nothing.

At least no one has to be jealous that the neighbors are so terribly happy.

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