On April 23, France’s voters avoided the most dangerous of traps: a red-brown runoff between two authoritarian demagogues — Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the far left and Marine Le Pen on the far right. Both offered similarly reckless policies: Exit the European Union and NATO. Adopt economic protectionism. Get cozy with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Ms. Le Pen — a political goddaughter, if ever there was one, to Donald Trump — remains in the running for president. But instead of Mr. Mélenchon, on Sunday she must face Emmanuel Macron, a young pro-Europe centrist who is given a good chance to defeat her.
He’s not elected yet, but his first-place showing two weeks ago clarified the choices in France’s severe crisis of identity.… Seguir leyendo »
Jihadist attacks, a migrant flood, Greek debt, surging nationalism: Across the European Union, anxiety and division are brewing in a way not seen since the 1940s.
Confronted with this, Europe is paralyzed. And the element most dangerous to the European dream is barely noted: A rift is widening between France and Germany over how to pursue prosperity and security, their deepest national interests.
If France and Germany can’t work together, the dream of a united Europe will shatter. In the 1950s, that premise drove Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Charles de Gaulle to a historic understanding: Franco-German cooperation would be the bedrock on which to build Western Europe’s revival.… Seguir leyendo »
When Brazil faces off against Croatia in São Paulo to open the World Cup on Thursday, “futebol” returns home.
Not soccer, which everyone knows was born in England. No, futebol — the distinctly Brazilian variation of soccer, played with trademark Brazilian panache, guile and joy.
It’s the same game as soccer anywhere else — except racier, more flamboyant, artfully graceful.
More than anything, what defines it is its dribbling, a spectacle of speed, evasion, rhythm and trickery passed on by generations of Brazil’s giants — Garrincha, Pelé (the acknowledged king), Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and the star of this year’s Team Brazil, Neymar.… Seguir leyendo »
So Greece didn’t collapse, and Europe began breathing easier. But not for long. Italy’s rebellious voters, who opted for a flamboyant billionaire and a clown, reminded us last week how deeply in crisis the Continent is. Meanwhile, France is going it virtually alone in Mali, and Britain talks openly of jumping the European ship altogether. This is a crisis not just of Europe’s currency, but of its soul.
If there ever was an emerging vision of a united Europe, it is falling apart for lack of support from its various peoples. Each has its own resentments or suspicions of its partners.… Seguir leyendo »
From the subject of halal meat to the matter of driver’s licenses, the French presidential campaign that culminates in voting on Sunday has been marked by peripheral squabbles and endless invective among the 10 candidates. But few things have been said about the gravity of the French economic crisis: the deficits in France’s public accounts and balance of payments; its drop in competitiveness; its decline in international commerce; its apathetic growth.
Nor have we heard much about the threat of increased unemployment and reduced purchasing power from the austerity measures that the markets expect any president to take — right after the election, of course.… Seguir leyendo »