+++ 1. Dezember 2016 +++
François Fillon: A "Thatcherite" Who Calls for Dialogue with Russia
Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon smashed his opponent in the Nov. 27 second round of the presidential primary organized by Les Républicains (right wing and center parties) taking 65.5% of the vote to Alain Juppé’s 32.5%. Some 4 million people took part in the vote, many of them wealthy and elderly. If Fillon wants to win the presidential election next Spring, he will have to enlarge his voter base, something difficult to do given his domestic program. To put it in a nutshell, he is called the “French Thatcher”.
Nonetheless, on foreign policy, Francois Fillon intends to reestablish a certain national independence, freeing France from “too strong a dependency on the United States”, and has called Sarkozy’s decision to bring France back to NATO a “stupidity”. At the same time, he is open to collaborating with Russia to solve the Middle East crises and is in favor of lifting the EU sanctions. He developed a close contact to Vladimir Putin at the time when both were Prime Ministers, and has attended the Valdai Club meetings since then.
That position is a welcome relief from President Hollande's obsequiousness to the Anglo-American elites and their war and “regime change” policy.
But the “shock therapy” that he proposes is explicitly modeled on Thatcherism. Thus, he proposes to eliminate 500,000 jobs in the public sector (10%) and to raise the civil servants' work week from 35 hours to 39 hours, but with less pay. He also intends to extend retirement age from 62 to 65 years. His “fiscal shock” which he thinks will boost employment and consumption, includes €40 bn cuts in employers' contributions and €10bn in income taxes.
Moreover, he has not once addressed the issue of a needed financial reform, nor said a word about bank separation, or a Rooseveltien-modeled economic recovery.
On European issues, Sarkozy's former PM, is not for a full reform, although he does call for creating a Euro-zone government. He would maintain the Maastricht criteria, but calls for the ECB to expand its mission to promote economic development. On immigration, he proposes that the EU set up border guards to prevent migrants from entering.
While Fillon's victory was a big surprise for the media and the polling institutions, it does not really fit into the pattern of international change, reflected in the Brexit or the Donald Trump surge, against the paradigm of globalization and for industrial and infrastructural reconstruction.
His candidacy could lead to a reshuffle of all the cards of the presidential campaign. Fillon’s rabid “shock therapy” approach will likely strengthen the Socialist Party, which is almost dead today. And his calls for more independence, his alliance with the conservative Catholic traditionalist right, and his relatively pro-Putin stance, will likely drain a good part of the support that had contributed to the rise of Marine Le Pen and the Front National.
The only positive future-oriented policy being proposed is that of Jacques Cheminade, with his defense of a strong Glass-Steagall reform, and peace through mutual development with Russia and with China’s New Silk Road.
~ deutsch + english ~
+++ 21. Dezember 2016 +++
Terror: Obama Issues Threats to Kill
On receiving the first reports, on Dec. 19, of the assassination of Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov in Turkey, American economist Lyndon LaRouche declared: “Put Obama on the list of suspects.”