France enters the week of the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon on a flight without horizon. The recent manifesto signed by reserve generals warning of the threat of an “imminent civil war” is an upheaval unprecedented in the recent history of civil-military relations.
The government, surprised by the violence of the text, took time to react, and a poll indicated that 58% of the population supported the initiative of the military. It is impossible to minimize the importance of the fact. France has seen 12 terrorist attacks since 2015 and has more than 30,000 troops abroad. In this context, the concept of “soldier in pajamas” simply does not exist.
The military “story” also reveals the damage caused by the explosion of the foundations of the French political system during the spectacular election of 2017. First elected president under 40 and without ever having held an elective mandate, Macron tried to consolidate its legitimacy by dismissing the commander of the armed forces, Pierre de Villiers, due to an insignificant dispute over the defense budget.
A talented writer, Villiers began a new career as an apostle of traditional French values. His book, “What is a Boss” is among the bestsellers of the decade and his name is circulating as a potential presidential candidate. It is impossible not to see a relationship between the manifesto and Macron’s sacrifice of Villiers.
De Villiers is part of a whole universe of anti-political figures who advance on the ruins of traditional politics. More than 10% of French people say they are ready to vote for Eric Zémmour, a television commentator known for his extremist anti-immigration positions. Francois Ruffin, who wears a football shirt in the Assembly, is the most popular MP on the left.
The most revered Labor Day speech was that of Francis Lalane, a much worse Ney Matogrosso, who said France had “plunged into a dictatorship”. Something is wrong in the land of social revolutions and trade unionism.
Who wins with the cacophony of the environment is Marine Le Pen. For the first time in the historic series, your party has comfortably exceeded 30% of favorable opinions, the minimum set for a victory in a two-round presidential election.
Next Thursday (6), everyone will measure Macron’s comments on Napoleon. Moral judgment will be denounced as a concession to the postcolonial theses of the Americanized left. An overly conservative celebration will be seen as another desperate call to the right-wing voter.
But the memory of Napoleon serves above all to recall that the left and the right are not only common instruments of the political theater, but secular codes which have organized modern societies since the Girondins and the mountaineers chose their respective seats in the ‘Assembly on September 11, 1789. In 2017, Macron declared these codes abolished and France lost its political north. It is up to him to lead his own revolution to the end and, in 2022, to save it from a counter-revolution.
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