Andrew Rawnsley

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French President Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference at the end of the G7 leaders meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on 24 March 2022. Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/EPA

When Vladmir Putin rolled the dice of war just over a month ago, he was not alone in thinking that his imperial enterprise was a dead cert. More than a few senior figures in the British and other western governments shared his assumption that Russian forces possessed the numerical and technological superiority to prevail, and swiftly. It was widely thought that by now we would be looking at a subjugated Ukraine while a triumphant Putin taunted the west to do anything about it. Belligerent autocrats the world over would have been encouraged to believe that tomorrow belongs to dictatorships and the liberal democracies would never have looked so feeble.…  Seguir leyendo »

Front National presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in Paris on Friday: ‘Given the track record polling, the forecast that Le Pen will not become France’s president is more alarming than comforting.’ Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

In an era in which yesterday’s inconceivable is making a habit of becoming today’s reality, it is perilous to offer firm predictions about the future, but folk carry on doing it all the same. I was recently at a conference about the causes and consequences of Brexit and the Trumpquake where I heard the French participants try to keep everyone calm by expressing confidence that those shattering setbacks to conventional wisdom would not be followed by the election of President Marine Le Pen. France was not America. Two rounds of voting would see the leader of the Front National beaten when it came to the final choice because moderate voters would coalesce behind whoever emerges as her prime competitor.…  Seguir leyendo »