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Dear France

Dear France, I get nostalgic when I hear My Way sung by Frank Sinatra, because I remember Claude François singing the same song (which he composed!) as Comme d’Habitude. I usually nudge the person next to me and whisper: “You know, that is a French song.” And when I wander down Lafayette Street I tell people that the French most likely...

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A New Political Spectrum

It is no accident that the two finalists in the French presidential election, Macron and Le Pen, do not coincide with the traditional left/right cleavage. This cleavage has become by and large, irrelevant. The French presidential election suggests a new understanding of political reality, one that might be applied, I think, to Western democracies generally: nations continue to be divided...

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The End of the Party System?

“The system against which most voters are voting is primarily the party system," writes Martin Schain, a professor of politics at New York University. The French presidential election has now become front-page news, even in America preoccupied with Trump tweets. Less than a week from the first round, the closeness of the race, combined with a possible (by no means probable) victory of...

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A Real Choice for French Voters

This weekend, the French will be called to elect their next president out of 11 candidates. This French multi-party system is a shock to Americans, who are used to choosing between a Democrat and a Republican. Despite the high number of candidates, the French presidential election offers voters a clear choice. Unlike all previous elections, the dividing line is no longer between...

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France and the Jews Are Pawns in Marine Le Pen’s Hands

The recent revisionist declarations from Marine Le Pen have utterly destroyed her efforts to straighten out her party’s image. The National Front will never be a regular party. American historian Robert Paxton established the indisputable truth on France in World War II. In Vichy France, published in 1973, Paxton revealed that since October 1940, Marshal Pétain’s government had created a file listing the names and...

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Le Pen, Trump: Same Difference?

Just like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen is nationalist, protectionist, somewhat authoritarian and staunchly anti-Islam. But unlike the American president, Marine Le Pen is anti-capitalist. When questioned by a journalist from The Financial Times, Donald Trump admitted that he had never met Marine Le Pen. Clearly France isn’t on the President Trump’s radar. And it’s not for Marine Le Pen’s lack of trying. Remember...

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Do You Speak Francophone?

It has come to my attention that the Maisons Françaises of New York University and Columbia University, two places that are symbolic of French culture in the United States, may soon be renamed “Maison françaises et francophones.” This initiative leaves me perplexed. I do not know what to think of this change, and I wonder what the French and American readers of France-Amérique...

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NATO and the Trump Enigma

The French government and its diplomats in the United States are increasingly confused. What exactly does Trump want? What does he really think about Europe and NATO? Are the answers to be found in his violently anti-European and anti-NATO campaign statements? In his equally aggressive tweets? Or perhaps in his praise of NATO upon meeting Angela Merkel in Washington? No...

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Awkward Gifts and Misunderstandings

American sculptor Jeff Koons has given the city of Paris one of his creations: a gaudy work inspired by the Statue of Liberty. But no one wants to pay for it. The French congressman Edouard de Laboulaye began raising funds in 1865 in order to give the Americans the Statue of Liberty. The gift symbolized friendship between the two countries,...

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Corruption Decreases in France Thanks to the Americans

A French aircraft manufacturer based in the United States once drew my attention to the fact that corruption is decreasing all over the world, including in France, thanks to the American justice system. Some 50 years ago, the sale of a French aircraft in India would have implied the payment of obscure commissions and various bribes, costing Indian officials up...

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A Wind of Madness Blows Over Franco-American Relations

Donald Trump has shocked France. The American president laments the disappearance of an eternal Paris, while U.S. immigration officers detain French researchers at the border. It all started when Donald Trump declared that Americans should not visit France. The Potus said his (probably non-existent) friend, “Jim,” had told him he would no longer be visiting the French capital because “Paris wasn’t Paris anymore.” The message is...

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We Need to Talk About Racial Violence

France and the United States are unfortunate contenders when it comes to urban violence. The clashes between the police and young people from minority groups — Afro-American and Hispanic in the U.S.A., and Arab and African in France — are following the same pattern in both countries, but their respective government’s attitudes differ. The environment for this violence — the banlieues in France...

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The French Source of Trumpism

Steve Bannon is Donald Trump’s closest advisor — some even refer to him as his Rasputin — and his supposed role as the administration’s ideologist terrifies his opponents. Bannon used to work as an investment banker and media mogul, and is in theory not a renowned intellectual. He seems intent on leading a Manichean battle against the non-Christian world, but...

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Money in France and the United States

In the United States, being a billionaire paves the way to the White House. In France, presidential candidates are expected to be poor (or at least appear so). The majority of Trump’s predecessors, with the exception of Clinton, were very wealthy. Their prosperity was, and is, seen as proof of success and a shield against corruption. The opposite is true...

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Trump: A User’s Guide

The whole world is pondering how Donald Trump works. His unwaveringly enthusiastic supporters feel he is staying true to his program, which in itself is quite original; faced with post-campaign reality, leaders tend to water down their previous promises and aim for a consensus. We should therefore expect Trump to stay in campaign mode, instead of trying to build bridges...

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The Immigration Outcry

Donald Trump’s inauguration took place at the White House last Friday, and the new president has already introduced stricter penalties for undocumented immigrants, refused to welcome Syrian refugees to the United States, and authorized the construction of a fortified wall along the American border with Mexico. The situation in France is not much brighter, with presidential candidate Marine Le Pen...

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Was Obama a Great President?

Barack Obama prepares to leave the White House after two consecutive term. "His eight years in office, writes Guy Sorman, can be summed up in one success: Obamacare." A great head of state defines their era and shapes events. At least, this is the general definition. Napoleon I is much admired by the French, despised by the rest of Europe, and...

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Immigrants, the Lot of Us!

The Americans do not descend from the Native Americans any more than the French descend from the Gauls. Both nations are in fact melting pots, and throughout our parallel histories, immigration has been, and remains, an essential part of who we are. What goes in the United States, making up part of the national saga, is far less accepted —...

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The End of Anti-Americanism

The spontaneous solidarity shown by the French to the Americans after the 9/11 attacks, and the support offered by the Americans to the French after the 2015 and 2016 attacks, proves that anti-Americanism in France was never more than a political or literary tool, an ideology which replaced knowledge. Much has been written on the history of French anti-Americanism, particularly...

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2016, a Decisive Year?

Was 2016 a historical turning point, or merely a year like so many others? No one knows yet. The rioters who stormed the Bastille in Paris on July 14, 1789, had no idea they were launching one of the most formidable revolutions in contemporary history. Wine and the summer heat, so they say, sparked their actions as much as their...

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Mass Trumpization?

The claim that the United States has become “populist” and that democracy and the constitution are under threat is excessive. As the American political satirist Jon Stewart put it, “We're still the same country." Commentators who often hold the same opinions and who read each other’s work across borders, are all currently condemning the overwhelming rise of “populism.” They are all too quick...[Subscriber]