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A talk given in Paris on 18 June 2003
The Road Map is not a compromise between Palestinians and Jews, but between Jews and Jews, none of whom lives in the Middle East, namely, between Jewish liberals of New York and Jewish neo-cons of Washington. Both groups are devoted to preservation and prosperity of the Jewish State, but they disagree on strategy: while neo-cons... Read More
Tarascon is as French as they come. A charming and tiny Provençal village outside the high crenellated walls of an old chateau on the high bank of Rhone lies in a pleasant country full of sunlight, thistle, rough wine and Mistral poetry. But for the river, it is very similar to my arid Palestine; and... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Itinerant pundits touching down briefly in Paris lost no time in stigmatizing the French for their resounding Non! in last week's referendum on the proposed Constitution for Europe. The French were charged with selfishness, self-absorption, nostalgia for a lost empire, unwholesome obsession with Descartes and Jacobinism and other crimes too frightful for individual citation. Actually... Read More
France's favorite pastimes are eating well, amorous adventures, and street demonstrations. Street theater has become a unique French art form. American college students go to Florida to drink and party. By contrast, French students celebrate the rites of spring by mass political protests. But this year is different. France has been rocked for two months... Read More
As the late British parliamentarian Enoch Powell famously noted, all political careers end in failure. Powell's grim maxim haunted Europe last week. In Britain, PM Tony Blair's days are numbered as calls intensify for him to set a resignation date. The Labour Party seethes with rumours about Blair being unseated by the same kind of... Read More
President George W Bush goes to New York next week for the annual United Nations General Assembly to ratchet up the demonization of Iran, confident that his new French ally is doing "a heck of a job". President Nicolas Sarkozy - widely referred to in Paris as King Sarko the First - has let loose... Read More
On the humanitarian exchange of political prisoners in Colombia and the United States
I read with great interest your letter to FARC leader Manuel Marulanda. I share with you a humanitarian impulse to end the imprisonment of political prisoners in Colombia. However let us be clear, principled and realistic about this: The freedom of the political prisoners of the FARC is dependent on a quid pro quo –... Read More
PARIS — In one of the more bizarre meetings NATO has ever held, the military alliance decided this week to approve a US plan to build an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic against a threat that does not exist. Then, in a quid pro quo, the NATO members turned down US demands... Read More
PARIS — Ah, Paris in the springtime! Winter arrived last week, dropping a cold, wet blanket on the City of Light's fabled "month of love." On Monday, Paris was thrown into chaos by anti-Chinese demonstrations against the Olympic torch ceremony which brought newspaper headlines of "Le Fiasco!" and "Chaos." Traffic was paralyzed. Three thousand short-tempered... Read More
METZ, France — This ancient stronghold in eastern France which guards the traditional invasion route down the Mosel River valley is the world's most heavily fortified city. Ringed by belts of powerful forts built by the French and Germans, and protected by the mighty Maginot Line fortifications, Metz is the Florence of military architecture and... Read More
From the Annals of Burma Relief
Remember the Mistral? That’s the French naval ship that Bernard Kouchner announced would deliver aid to Burma whether the Burmese junta liked it..or not! The Mistral was supposed to arrive in Burmese waters the middle of this week on its unilateral mission of mercy. But it’s not there. What happened? This unintentionally hilarious English-language video... Read More
A Very Limited Run
French President Sarkozy has twice appeared in the spotlight of the world’s mass media announcing his determination to free French-Colombian dual citizen, Ingrid Betancourt, held captive by the Colombian guerrilla movement, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army (FARC-EP). Following in the footsteps of Hugo Chavez’ successful negotiations in late December 2007 and early January 2008... Read More
PARIS — The French invented modern revolution. When they get riled up, watch out! Compared to these fiery veteran revolutionaries, America's tea party movement is strictly dishwater decaf. I just managed to slip into the City of Light in between monster strikes by angry workers. Next Tuesday comes another massive strike that threatens to shut... Read More
PARIS — Strikes, demonstrations, and blockages of fuel deliveries continue here in Paris, and across France. However, the protests and strikes this week are not as intense as the ones over past weeks. But are promised this month and until year end. More disruptions of ground, underground and air travel are threatened. A third of... Read More
PARIS — This week, the big buzz for "le tout Paris" (all Paris) — at least until Sunday's "le grand bombshell" — was that President Nicholas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni were boycotting the Cannes Film Festival which just opened with the film, Le Conquest (The Conquest). No wonder. This acid film is all about... Read More
PARIS — The golden dome of Les Invalides shone majestically in the summer sun. Tricolor French flags bravely waved in the breeze. Before me, in Place de La Concorde, where poor king Louis XVI lost his head to Dr. Guillotine's supposedly painless invention, was a huge reviewing stand filled with hundreds of the great and... Read More
Prison for Deniers of Armenian Genocide
Istanbul Turkey warned yesterday that it would impose permanent sanctions on France if a bill being discussed by the French Senate, which would punish with prison and a fine anybody denying that the killing of over one million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 was genocide, was passed into law. “Turkey will continue to implement... Read More
Mon dieu! France’s presidential elections are only two weeks away. President Nicholas Sarkozy, who was trailing in the polls behind Socialist Challenger Francois Hollande, is now running neck-a-neck in the race. One suspects Sarkozy, has made a pact with the devil. First, in an incredible stroke of luck for the wildly unpopular Sarkozy, the man... Read More
PARIS – France and Europe were left shaken and confused after Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party won 18% of the vote in last week’s first round presidential election. President Nicholas Sarkozy did better than polls had predicted, but the widely anticipated first place win of Socialist Francois Hollande was still a humiliation to... Read More
He posed in spectacular grandeur as the neo-imperial Liberator of Libya - only a few years after Colonel Muammar Gaddafi helped finance his 2007 election campaign with a cool US$65 million. Profiting from a mysterious alliance between the Holy Ghost and an African chambermaid in New York, he got rid of the unstoppable challenger to... Read More
”Apres moi, le deluge!” – After me, the deluge. So said French king Louis XV, and was he ever right. His successor faced the French Revolution and lost his head. Much the same can be said of France’s outgoing president, Nicholas Sarkozy. The victory of his Socialist rival Francois Holland in last week’s presidential election... Read More
Marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the frightful Algerian Independence War, French President Francois Hollande did the right thing last Thursday by recognizing the “suffering” France had inflicted on its former colony. It was not the outright apology that many Algerians had demanded, but it was about as far as a French leader... Read More
This year, spring in France is unusually cold and rainy, following on the heels of a frosty and long winter. Only the last Sunday was different: the sun pushed the clouds away for the first time in months, and immediately the lucid Parisian air warmed up and trees broke out in full bloom. The French... Read More
Nice, France – I’m just down to sea level from the 2,600 meter high mountain forts on France’s wild, vertiginous Alpine border with Italy. The Cote d’Azur, or Riviera, is buzzing with summer activity: packed beaches, traffic jams, crowded restaurants, outrageously priced hotels and an armada of yachts jostling for scarce marina space. Looking at... Read More
PARIS - US Secretary of State John Kerry has famously stated the US "is not blind" or "stupid" in its push to clinch a historic deal over the Iranian nuclear program. [1] So now that the world has been informed, he must, cryptically, have been talking about France. The failed Geneva negotiations this past weekend... Read More
Here is definitive proof - if any was needed - that the Gallic fit-throwing that burned the possibility of an interim Iranian nuclear deal last week in Geneva was completely pointless. The key "concern" expressed by Israel-firster French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to derail an interim deal was about the Arak heavy-water reactor. Well, UN... Read More
US Secretary of State John Kerry has famously stated the US “is not blind” or “stupid” in its push to clinch a historic deal over the Iranian nuclear program. [1] So now that the world has been informed, he must, cryptically, have been talking about France. The failed Geneva negotiations this past weekend over a... Read More
PARIS – France’s embattled president, Francois Hollande, is “fini.” So goes the prevailing view here from cafes to boardrooms. With three more years to go in his term, France’s Socialist president looks like a dead politician walking. Three years is an eternity in politics. Yet things look so gloomy for Hollande that he recently mused... Read More
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Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin were ships passing in the night while in Paris for the G-7 meeting. The American president reportedly refused to dine with Putin, who was being hosted by France’s president Francois Hollande as part of the D-Day commemoration. So Hollande, who is on a diet after being called a “little... Read More
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Former French president Nicholas Sarkozy’s dramatic criminal interrogation last week shows once again that the politics of the French Republic remain waist-deep in sewage. It was also an affront and humiliation of a former – and would be future – French president. Sarkozy was picked up from his Paris home before eight AM and whisked... Read More
Taking the heat out of the conflict with Assad may help to turn the jihadi tide
There is a feeling of inevitability about the attack in Paris. The likelihood must be that the killers were Islamic fanatics, the murder of the journalists and police underlining the degree to which the ferocious religious war being waged in Iraq and Syria now affects all of the world. Regardless of whether or not those... Read More
The massacre in Paris of the staff of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was an act of terrorism, but also a successful act of war in the clash of civilizations between Islamism and the West. Nor were we lacking for warning signs. In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, a license to kill author Salman... Read More
A burning car during the 2005 riots.  Credit: Strologoff at Wikimedia Commons
The gruesome attack on Charlie Hebdo has earned condemnation around the world. It has been called "cowardly" and "evil" by Barack Obama, "a barbaric act" by Stephen Harper, and an "infamy" by François Hollande. Yes, violence is serious. It's a crime when done by an individual and war when done by a country. It's a... Read More
Have the long-feared lone wolf attacks, possibly threatened by al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, begun? The twin massacres in Paris suggest that the Mideast’s mayhem and mass killings are again spilling over into Europe. Paris remains in chaos. Its Peripherique ring highway is still closed, producing traffic madness across the capitol. Some 60,000 troops... Read More
The causes of last week's carnage are political, a blowback from wars in the Middle East
Did the massacre at Charlie Hebdo succeed, in terms of furthering the interests of extreme jihadi al-Qaeda-type Islamic movements? The incident itself is over with the deaths of the murderers, but the degree of their success will only become clear when we see how far French political leaders are lured into an over-reaction. It was... Read More
After the tragic shooting at a provocative magazine in Paris last week, I pointed out that given the foreign policy positions of France we must consider blowback as a factor. Those who do not understand blowback made the ridiculous claim that I was excusing the attack or even blaming the victims. Not at all, as... Read More
Western media are declaring the million-man march in Paris, where world leaders paraded down Boulevard Voltaire in solidarity with France, a victory over terrorism. Isn't it pretty to think so. Unfortunately, the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, its military-style execution, the escape of the assassins, and their blazing end in a shootout Friday was a triumph... Read More
The Charlie Hebdo affair has many of the characteristics of a false flag operation. The attack on the cartoonists’ office was a disciplined professional attack of the kind associated with highly trained special forces; yet the suspects who were later corralled and killed seemed bumbling and unprofessional. It is like two different sets of people.... Read More
My father, Henry Margolis, was a Broadway producer, industrialist, gourmet and man about town. Instead of wasting time taking me to play ball in the park, we would go each Saturday to an interesting new restaurant. One afternoon, we went to lunch at a just-opened place on West 55th called “Lucky Pierre.” Pierre told us... Read More
PARIS – Mon dieu! France is in the gravest peril. France has always been the mother of gastronomy with a noble tradition stretching back to the Middle Ages. The names of great chefs like Escoffier, Careme and Prunier are shining stars in the firmament of grand cuisine. These luminaries must be turning in their graves... Read More
Note: for those who are not familiar with the real political situation in France, please read the following background material: ——- For many months the political situation in France has been largely overshadowed by events in Greece or the Ukraine and even on this blog I have mostly been mentioning France in relation to the... Read More
PARIS – Ah, the joys of Paris in the springtime. Riots every day and night; vandals smashing store windows and looting; traffic jams horrendous even by this city’s standards; air, train and metro disruptions. Tear gas wafts in the air. Add to this toxic mess the ongoing guerilla war between Uber cars and Paris’ notoriously... Read More
They’ve been killing their way across Europe and the USA. They’re the Mohameds, Omars, Syeds, Tashfeens, Tareks, Maliks, Ibrahims, Brahim, Yassins, Rafiks, Khalids and Najims; Messrs. Abaaoud, Abdeslam, El Bakraouis, Abrinis, Abballas (blah-blah). But about them, the Twittersphere yields more plain spoken truths than the expert Idiocracy. The latest Muslim immigrant to unleash himself on... Read More
The French have a saying, ‘un malheur n’arrive jamais seul.’ That translates into ‘when it rains, it pours.’ This week, the heavens opened and poured on the nation’s national fete, Bastille Day. The day began with highly embarrassing revelations by a French satirical newspaper that the unpopular president, Francois Hollande, had a staff hairdresser making... Read More
Royce Mann, foe of \"White Privilege\"
Royce Mann’s Awful Video Shows Real Problem–Elite Ethnomasochist Brainwashing
Another week, another Muslim atrocity, this one on the French Riviera: 84 dead as I go to tape. These incidents inspire in me what I can only describe as calm despair. There’s something in the collective character of Western humanity that is awfully resistant to learning an obvious lesson here. To adapt Chiang Kai-shek’s famous... Read More
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Donald Trump’s startling and explosive victory has not only shaken America’s oligarchy to its core, it’s also sending shock waves across Europe and scaring the top hats off plutocrats and their tame politicians. The great Mark Twain wrote early in the 20th century: ‘if you don’t read newspapers you are uninformed. But if you do... Read More
He came (from behind); he saw; he won. Francois Fillon will be the candidate of the French Right in the 2017 presidential elections, and he stands a very good chance of winning, in the second round, against Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen. Fillon is an ultra-traditionalist, family values, “Christian roots of France” kind... Read More
Misery loves company. Americans who have been suffering the agonies of advanced Trumpitis can now turn to France and share a good cry. France’s presidential politics are as crazy and sleazy as America’s, and equally depressing. French politics run the gamut from the most noble aspirations of the 1789 revolution to today’s gutter fighting and... Read More
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Above, Marine Le Pen savages Angela Merkel in the EU Parliament. [See Also: Make Europe Great Again: Nationalism On The Rise—But Fast Enough?]
The few weeks of Trump’s presidency suffice to make clear that there will be no change this time either. Normal relations with Russia are on the back burner, if not off the stove. The material needs of the military/security complex for an enemy in order to justify its budget and police state powers, and the... Read More
Category Classics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?