“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength. The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel.” (Gen 49:3-4 NKJV)
President Emmanuel Macron of France has just visited the United States. He and President Trump certainly have a good rapport with a great deal of mutual back-slapping, hugs and kisses (French-style). The first state visit of the Trump presidency included a lavish dinner at the White House. Everything went extremely well.
Well, almost everything . . .
The day after the dinner, M. Macron addressed Congress. In perfect English, he went on to criticize the Trump Administration for various policies, including climate change, Iran and trade. The Democrats and many Republicans were greatly pleased and gave him a standing ovation.
His charm offensive has raised the question – is Macron now the leader of the free world? This is an epithet that has often been used to describe American presidents. But, clearly, now that the US is out of step with most western democracies, with Macron clearly preferred by many leaders, is it not time to all get behind the French president?
France is, as Mr. Macron pointed out, “America’s oldest ally.” Well, sort of. It is true that France and the new United States formed an alliance in 1778, an alliance that eventually gave victory to the Patriots. But that was under the Bourbon monarchy. France is now a republic – the Fifth Republic, to be exact. This fact illustrates that France historically has been quite unstable.
After the fall of the monarchy in 1789 and the establishment of the First Republic, there followed a period of great upheaval and terror. Eventually, Napoleon came to power and set about conquering the whole of Europe. After his fall, the monarchy was restored but didn’t last long. There followed another monarchy, then another republic, then a revival of the Napoleonic Empire. Another attempt at a republic (the Third Republic) was made from 1870 to 1940. This fell when Germany invaded and imposed the collaborationist Vichy France on parts of the country.
After World War II, the Fourth Republic came into being and lasted just twelve years. It had some serious economic problems and faced uprisings in Indo-China and Algeria. In 1958, wartime leader General Charles de Gaulle was instrumental in establishing the Fifth Republic, which is now sixty years old.
DeGaulle himself was not overly-confident that the Fifth Republic would last. He was brought down by internal chaos and street rioting after ten years in power. At one point, he was discussing the restoration of the Orleanist monarchy with the Comte de Paris.
The above summary should remind American presidents that France is not always the most reliable ally. More recently, France was not supportive of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. A few weeks ago, the country took the initiative on attacking Syria with the UK and the US.
So, could Macron lead the free world? Not only is the US president impressed with him; Germany’s Angela Merkel has also developed a good friendship with the French president.
But note the following, from the UK’s Financial Times:
“There is no Franco-German friendship (according to ) Ashoka Mody, a former IMF bailout chief in Ireland:
“However daring and appealing Macron’s European vision may be, France has fallen so far behind Germany that any partnership between the two countries is unrealistic.” (Brussels Briefing, 4/26)
The United States is still the dominant power in the West. Economically, Japan and Germany are the second and third greatest economic powers in the West. Japan is not western in the same sense that Europeans are. So, if the US withdraws from its leadership role for whatever reason, the mantle of leadership would fall on Germany, which has the next biggest economy, made much bigger by its domineering role in the European Union.
Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, arrived in Washington today for talks with President Trump. She was not invited for a state visit and will not have a lavish dinner with the Trumps.
THE KOREAN TALKS
North Korea’s leader crossed into South Korea today, for talks between the two leaders.
The world looks upon all of this favorably. President Trump has achieved something no other US president has been able to do.
But North Korea’s track record is not good when it comes to keeping promises.
It should also be remembered that the belligerents already have different interpretations of current developments. Whereas the US and South Korea think sanctions have put pressure on the North to come to the conference table, North Korea believes its nuclear weapons program is forcing the two allies to talk.
The British Royal Family is having a very good year!
The 53 Heads of Government of the Commonwealth have all agreed that Prince Charles will succeed his mother as head of the organization.
Prince Charles opened the Commonwealth Games in Australia and drew crowds that politicians can only envy.
Earlier, Prince Harry was appointed by his grandmother to be a Commonwealth Ambassador to Youth.
Next month Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle.
And a new baby arrived earlier this week, fifth in line to the throne. His name is Prince Louis Arthur George.
His mother presented the baby on the steps of the hospital only seven hours after delivery.
Prince William was seen dozing off the day after the birth. All parents can identify! The prince will soon have a break from the bay — he and his wife are heading to Israel on the first official visit by a member of the royal family since the country became independent (from Britain) seventy years ago. This reflects changing attitudes in the British Foreign Office, which has always been pro-Arab.
GRISLY FIND IN PERU
Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest
More than 140 children were ritually killed in a single event in Peru more than 500 years ago. What could possibly have been the reason? National Geographic * 4/ 26, 2018
Evidence for the largest single incident of mass child sacrifice in the Americas — and likely in world history – has been discovered on Peru’s northern coast, archaeologists tell National Geographic.
More than 140 children and 200 young llamas appear to have been ritually sacrificed in an event that took place some 550 years ago on a wind-swept bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in the shadow of what was then the sprawling capital of the Chimú Empire.
While incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec, Maya, and Inca have been recorded in colonial-era Spanish chronicles and documented in modern scientific excavations, the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú civilization is unprecedented in the Americas—if not in the entire world.
COMMENT: It’s interesting to note that those reporting this are shocked at the news. Over 140 children sacrificed at one time? More than 140 children a day are sacrificed in the US – but we call it abortion. It’s perfectly legal.