DONALD TRUMP and Emmanuel Macron’s love-in at the White House has exposed the looking-glass world of liberal politics.
Macron’s groupies, who abound in the Western press, portray the French president as a saviour of the liberal democratic order and depict his visit as a mission to persuade his US counterpart not to tear it up.
Suggestions that Paris and Washington may cook up a “new” deal on Iran’s sanctions programme were today slammed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the reasonable grounds that two countries should not arrogate themselves the right to renegotiate a deal agreed by seven parties.
The two presidents’ determination to “contain” Iran in the Middle East stands reality on its head.
The Morning Star is no cheerleader for the Iranian theocracy, which remains among the worst human rights abusers globally and regularly harasses, persecutes and jails trade unionists, feminists and justice campaigners.
But it is not Iran which threatens stability in the Middle East.
It is not Iran which takes foreign prime ministers hostage while waging a brutal war on its southern neighbour and funnelling arms and cash to radical jihadists trying to drag Syria back to the Middle Ages — that’s Saudi Arabia.
It’s not Iran that’s busily colonising illegally occupied territory, has gunned down peaceful protesters every Friday for several weeks and violates its neighbours’ airspace with impunity when it feels like dropping a few bombs into the Syrian quagmire — that’s Israel.
Above all, it’s not Iran which has transformed the entire region into a war zone patrolled by terrorist gangs, in which civilians are regularly slaughtered as they go about their daily business, children are taken out in drone killings far from any battlefield, black people are sold as bonded labour in slave markets and millions are forced to abandon their homes and flee abroad for their lives — that’s the United States through a succession of disastrous invasions and interventions since 2001, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Macron, like his predecessor Francois Hollande, has ditched the restraint that saw France refuse to participate in the destruction of Iraq and dispatched his bombers over Syria earlier this month with the same sublime disregard for evidence that Trump and Theresa May displayed.
The man media pundits hope will be a good influence on Trump is far from the progressive democrat liberals like to present. The tide of right-wing authoritarianism in Europe is not confined to the east.
The French president is a man who rules by decree, imposing sweeping attacks on job security and workers’ rights with a stroke of the pen in order to avoid parliamentary debate.
Coverage of his Washington trip talked of his need to flatter Trump’s enormous ego — as if a man who channels the Sun King at Versailles and compares himself to the Roman god Jupiter is a humble, sober type.
He is waging a war on France’s public sector, most dramatically with his EU-inspired bid to force British-style competitive tendering on the railways which has provoked national strikes with no end in sight.
And he has legislated for what the Financial Times has called “a permanent state of emergency,” granting police enormous powers to harass and detain citizens which evidence suggests is routinely abused on racist grounds. France registers more of its people as “security risks” than all the rest of Europe put together.
Liberal enthusiasm for Macron stems from one thing — a panicked attempt to shore up the broken neoliberal system that hit the rocks in 2008.
The economic content of this so-called centrism is pure Thatcherism; its political form shows the same contempt for due process and the rule of law we are seeing in Hungary and Poland.
We will not beat the likes of Trump and the far right with this toxic brew. It is the left, not the Establishment, which offers a breath of fresh air.
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