Muhammad Ali Baig
IS France under the influence of the global “Rise of the Right”? Will Marine Le Pen succeed or leave an indelible mark on the French politics just like her father? And last but not the least; Is President Putin going to “help” Marine in the French Elections as he allegedly did in the U.S. Presidential Elections last year? The international politics is undoubtedly a great yet predominantly dangerous business. In this business, national interest under the disguise of realpolitik always finds a way to dictate the policies and actions of leaders. The entire world in general and European World in particular have fixed their eyes on the upcoming French Presidential Elections.
The rapid growing Muslim population in France is becoming a catalyst of fear among the White people of France of becoming a minority in the coming decades. Despite of the relatively inaccurate observation, the growing Muslim population is not an action but is the legacy of the French Imperialism. The North African and sub-Saharan territories remained under the colonial rule of the French Empire and as a consequence these Muslim majority regions soon became fluent in the French language and ultimately became French citizens. A significant number of Muslims from Algiers and Morocco fought for France during the Second World War as well. Marion Le Pen’s open yet dangerous anti-Muslim rhetoric and criticism is ostensibly an election stunt but it could prove devastating for the French democracy in the near future.
In an interview with the BBC in November last year, Marine clearly criticized the English people for providing an opportunity in the spread of extremist Islam and Muslims. She also said that Trump’s win in America has greatly increased her chances to win elections in France and believed that his win was against the status-quo while defeating the elites. Marine’s father Jean Marie Le Pen is a radical man and possesses somehow more or less same ideas as US President Trump does.
She may publically distance herself from her father but in fact she is deeply and greatly influenced by her father and does possess radical ideas regarding the future of European Union and French Immigration Policy. It would not be a surprise that by following the footsteps of Britain, she may lead France to leave the European Union. In the meanwhile, many news outlets have already named the perceived departure as “Frexit”.
Marine’s recent visit to Russia and meeting with President Putin has raised alarms in French and international politics. She has openly confessed that she does not have the necessary funds for the elections and it just cannot be ignored that Putin may extend his pecuniary generosity towards Marine. By doing this, Putin would not only assert himself in a potent manner in Europe but would also break the cohesion of NATO – the long standing enemy of Russia. It is quite amazing that Marine Le Pen holds high respect for both – President Putin and President Trump and she is an admirer of British Prime Minister Theresa May but it is quite strange that she seems a bit sceptical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Isn’t it the historical rivalry between France and Germany or is she just being fearful of the perceived German domination in the EU and beyond? Perhaps, Marine Le Pen may demand to reinstate the cruel Treaty of Versailles. Her most controversial yet indicating her future plans statement that “the Euro is a knife in the ribs of the French people” led the DW (Deutsche Welle) a famous German news channel, to assume that Marine Le Pen has started to propagate her idea of reviving the French currency Franc for the post-EU French Economy. She has also started to gain the confidence of French businessmen, entrepreneurs, industrialists and manufacturers of a protectionist trade policy.
John Mearsheimer, an American political scientist argues that “great powers shake and shape the international system”. Under the premise of John’s assertion, the “Rise of the Right” in the great powers like Russia, America and Britain, might also induce an imitating effect in France and resultantly keeping in view the changing dimensions of international politics, it can be assessed and predicted here that while defeating her potential opponents Benoit Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and François Fillon; Marine Le Pen is going to be the next and the first woman ever elected to become the French President.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.