I don’t know if people still say “don’t make a spectacle of yourself.” But the idea of trying to tell someone they are acting stupid and making a fool of themselves is how America’s allies may see the US, going from the frying pan to the fire of ridiculous behavior in the transition from Trump to Biden. I thought of this old phrase because the new issue of the French quarterly Le Spectacle du Monde (literally, the The Spectacle of the World) has the cover story Le Suicide Américain. I don’t think a translation is required. The subtitle is the “forced retreat in face of the Taliban, shrinking from ‘woke dictatorship, is the empire crumbling?” Due to coverage in the English speaking world (Newsweek, The Postmillenial.com website (Canadian), Nigel Farage interview on Fox) Lew Rockwell has brought it to my attention.
When I asked my French wife about Le Spectacle du Monde, she said her grandfather used to read it and it was right wing (maybe less so today as reincarnated in 2017). But the critiques are not limited to the right. The beautiful news presenter Anne-Sophie Lapix is politically rather vanilla and not known for her hard hitting interviews. But even she noted while speaking (October 5th at 27:20 of the broadcast) with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that the American disengagement from Afghanistan was made in “chaos.” Blinken’s visit to Paris was in context of the shambles in US-French relations after the US-UK submarine deal with Australia that cost the French a big contract. Extreme globalist President Macron also uttered that France will “reject American ‘Woke’ culture that’s ‘racializing’ their country.”
The French in general, especially the left, tends to denounce American cultural influences in France, exemplified by the agricultural activist José Bové when he attacked an early McDonalds in the 70s. Now it is reported here that “McDo is the number one provider of “French” fries and hamburgers in France. It is the second most profitable market in the world for McDonald’s, second only to the US.” So I am not optimistic that France is immunized from the woke culture. In the French corporate culture I am familiar with, wokeness has not quite arrived but I have the sense it is on the doorstep. I wrote about sustainability as corporate policy; I have witnessed elements of diversity, inclusivity and equity as well.
While the cover of Le Spectacle du Monde is eye-catching, I found the articles rather superficial for a regular reader of LRC. The first piece is a translated article by Rod Dreher on the woke culture of the universities. The president of the Republicans Overseas France wrote about leftist antisemitisme being on the rise in the US. This piece reads to me like the usual neoconservative antisemitism “wolf crying”. Two articles discussed the American military; that is the devastation of fighting capability due to the woke culture, and another considering if America can win a war at all. The final article puts the American decline in context to the postmodern and woke militants who have made questions of truth, that in their ideology do not really exist, into a binary that I would explain as you are either with them or against them.
The Le Spectacle du Monde has excellent production values, glossy paper with vibrant photos. Two of the photos were quite compelling. For the Dreher article there is an LGBT… gang, shot during the Evergreen State College insurrection of 2017. In their tough person poses, several with baseball bats and vibrant colored hair, one does not know whether to be fearful or to be amused. Another shows a soldier sitting on the edge of the open hatch of his helicopter over Kabul (placed next to a photo from Saigon 1975). I shuddered looking at it, perhaps from my apprehension of heights, but also that sense of loss with my compatriots even if the whole adventure was always an idiocy both strategically and morally.