A huge fan of France’s newly elected and instated president Emmanuel Macron I remain a staunch supporter of his policy and – up until now – suggested measures, saluting his landslide win in the two stages of the recent presidential election.
A victory in today’s legislative election wouldn’t go amiss either, but there’s every reason to sound the alarm should that victory, too, turn out to be overwhelming.
While I lean more in the direction of Macron’s beliefs than in that of any other candidate, I have always been wary of excessive concentration of power.
Before long my French favourite could emerge an absolute and despotic leader (remember, we do seem particularly susceptible to “strong men” these days).
Certainly I salute the French for taking a firm stand against the nationalists, but feel an urge to remind them that dictators come in many shapes and colours – even in the gentlest of appearances.
There’s something very, very scary about democracies with no real opposition.
Photo: France’s president and En Marche! party leader Emmanuel Macron. Photograph from Business France/Flickr
Please forgive my failure to comment on Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s continued rise to power, as it’s all been according to plan, and I honestly wouldn’t dream of expecting a different outcome.
Since the current U.S. president took office, we have witnessed a very special White House conduct towards the press, not least when he declared the press an enemy of all Americans the other day – and, of course, yesterday, prompting me to pose the following question, which I hope you find the time to answer:
Like most Europeans we Norwegians care deeply for America, in fact so much so that our reluctance to join the European Union is in part justified — and explained — by our close US relations, more or less obviating other alliances. And that, dear reader, is no exaggeration.
While it is no secret that this blogger finds closer ties to the EU, materialised in a full membership, preferable, I, too, care for America, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, brought up with American products, heroes, artists and culture as we are, as well as a loyal US and NATO ally, since the alliance’s formation.
Also, since long before Russia’s President Putin started rattling his sabers, one has been an avid advocate for the reinforcement of the North Atlantic alliance and, therefore, our ties to the United States.
Nowadays, however, we’re simply afraid, and this blogger is no exception, with a deep care for America converted to the deepest fear for America — or, rather, for its president. Of course our ridicule is motivated by his ridiculous statements and, some times, appearance, but underneath lies layer upon layer of deep fear, knowing full well that we have indeed seen political madmen in our near past, of whom some even advocating politics very similar to the ones presented by the current US President.
Germany’s dictator Adolf “Der Führer” Hitler.
Italy’s dictator Benito “Il Duce” Mussolini.
In other words our fear, in spite of our obvious care, should come as no surprise.
I am aware that many would argue that there’s a huge difference between the two above depicted dictators and this here man:
But you really shouldn’t be surprised if some of us beg to differ. Especially considering the emerging and, in part already existing, political climate he inspires:
Frauke Petry, chairwoman of Alternative für Deutschland. Photo from Metropolico.org’s Flickr account.
Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom. Photo from Metropolico.org’s Flickr account.
French Front National’s presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Photographer: Rémi Noyon/Global Panorama Flickr account.
Consider then, dear American readers (of whom I actually have quite a few), that we fancied ourselves your ally in the battle against authoritarian leaders, such as this gentleman:
And I’m sure you will agree that following Russia’s example may not be the best way to go about just that challenge.
Be that as it may, we still care deeply for America, but I hope you understand why it is that some of that care may easily be replaced by fear, if you would be so kind as to excuse the rhyme (in the headline, too).
My approach is very simple, really: We should aspire to a civilised world, not one led by hooligans. Is that too much to ask?
On a lighter note, though, seeing as we do so love American culture:
Having spent around a decade fervently warning against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s master plan, it is something of a relief to see that even the mainstream media have gradually come to realise what’s been going on, even if they perceive it as an outcome of recent events, establishing some sort of consensus that the objective is to destabilise and, ultimately, disintegrate Europe, leaving the northern hemisphere with only two really influential powers; Russia and America – among whom the latter currently under the influence of the former.
Concluding that a strong Europe is the best preventive action isn’t rocket science, and yet we’re left with no option but to witness the UK’s departure, possibly followed by other countries, depending on whether or not nationalist parties emerge victorious in this year’s European elections.
Of course you may object that it’s easy for a citizen of a non-member country, such as my own, to call for a European consolidation, even if I’ve championed a Norwegian EU membership since the age of ten (which amounts to approximately 45 years), but remain cautiously optimistic that the non-nationalist parties will prevail in this year’s general election, luckily to be held in September, at which point I would hope Norwegian voters will have had ample time to witness Putin, Trump, Le Pen, Petry and Wilder’s frenzied attempts at destroying European unity.
There is, of course, a distinct possibility that they like what they see, considering that nationalist tendencies are palpable, also in Norway – especially among the Progress Party, the Centre Party and the Socialist Left Party supporters, eagerly resisting a Norwegian EU membership, among whom the rural, energetically anti EU Centre Party just made a formidable leap forward in recent polls.
Voters able to see beyond narrow-minded self-interests, on the other hand, may conclude that the ongoing Russo-American race to tear Europe apart, with the aid of European nationalists, needs to be met with a firm support of the European Union.
The obvious approach would be for Norwegian voters to not only support EU friendly parties, but to demand resumed membership negotiations – if Europe will have us, that is (it wouldn’t surprise me if they decline, seeing as two former applications already failed, due to discouraging referendum outcomes).
At any rate it is time to reinforce European unity as a countermeasure against the emerging nationalism – and a world lead by a through and through non-democratic Sino-Russian-American trio, accompanied by the Erdoğan regime in the Middle East.
If not I’m afraid we may as well abandon all hope.
Top illustration: EU flag. Blogger’s own painting.