François Hollande: A Modern-Day Napoleon?

François Hollande: A Modern-Day Napoleon?

(A version of this article was published in Blogcritics on May, 2012)

I

I wouldn’t look to the American political scene to provide the impetus to any meaningful social change on a global scale. Despite all the hoopla associated with the 2012 election, US foreign and domestic policies are almost certain to remain unchanged, and that’s regardless of who will be the next occupant of the White House or the ultimate composition of the 2012 Congress. However, the winds of change are in the offing, and they come from the least expected of quarters: the beleaguered nation-states of Europe.

II

The election results in Greece and France are indeed most promising. One doesn’t know about Greece, for it’s still a minor player, but France is one of the premier members of the EU, and the change of its regime is bound to have severe repercussions on the future of that union and the Eurozone.

III

One shouldn’t use the American yardstick when evaluating the significance of these events. France doesn’t have the same parliamentary system as we do, with its emphasis on checks and balances, all too often resulting in inaction and gridlock, and the power of the executive is considerably more pronounced than the one to which we’re accustomed here. The president-elect is known to set the tone for the rest of the nation, and there’s no reason to think this should change. If anything, the severity of the global economic crisis facing the EU and the rest of the world as good as ensures the French will stay the course.

IV

Aside from the relative merits, the pros and cons of either parliamentary system, there’s another thing to consider. For all its woes, the US is still the economic powerhouse and the acknowledged leader of the free world. France, though a major player, is not. Consequently, one can only expect more of the same from the former, intent as it must be to maintain its hegemony. France and the like are unhampered by such concerns.

My real enemy doesn’t have a name or face or a party. He’ll never run as president, and so, he’ll never be elected, although he does govern. My enemy is the world of finance.

V

You can bet your bottom dollar this pronouncement by the new president-elect François Hollande is not just another Obama campaign promise. He hadn’t collected millions from Goldman Sachs for his re-election effort, nor does the world of finance exercise the same stronghold on the French as it does in the land of the thief and the slave. No doubt, pressure will be applied from all the expected quarters for the French to behave “responsibly,” and some of it may take hold. Still, I don’t expect smooth sailing.

Most importantly, perhaps, a message has been sent to the Anglo-Saxon establishment, the presumptive leader of the world economy, that all bets are off. Berlin, London, and New York – all were put on notice! If the only result would be to curb US imperialistic ambitions, so much the better, and it’ll not have been in vain!

VI

In what do I base my confidence? The situation at hand reminds me of the fallout which preceded the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Poland, Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, etc. — each an insignificant satellite state when taken in isolation. But together, they succeeded in toppling the first-class empire.

If US imperialism can be dealt the same blow, and the odds are better than good that we should all be the winners — even if it takes a “socialist solution” in the interim!

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