Friday, July 20, 2018 EDITORIAL

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BCL’s inexcusable assault on DU teachers

It is a truism that since the dawn of civilisation in all climes and cultures teachers have commanded unalloyed respect from their pupils and enjoyed a unique place of honour in society. There has never been a disagreement about the notion that teaching is the noblest among all the professions because all professionals acquire education under the guidance of teachers at the beginning, despite that the most dreaded and much despised members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling Awami League (AL) government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, have rendered that time-honoured maxim null and void , because the BCL boys have assaulted three teachers of the Dhaka University (DU).
This is nothing new in the present AL regime; teachers and cultural activists at the Jahangirnagar University were manhandled on April 30, 2012 by a faction of the BCL reportedly loyal to the vice-chancellor of the university.
Respect for teachers is universal. Moghal Emperor Auranzeb set a unique example of veneration for the teacher of his son, which proverbial instance has been immortalised in Kazi Kader Nawaz’s Bengali poem “Shikshaker Moryada”. Conqueror Alexander the Great explicitly said that he was indebted to his father for living but to his “teacher for living well”.
The BCL activists pushed and verbally abused mass communication and journalism department professor Fahmidul Haq, associate professor Abdur Razzaque Khan, international relations associate professor Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, economics assistant professor Rushad Faridi when they were going to take part in a post-human chain procession at Central Shaheed Minar.
A group of the DU teachers on July 17 held the BCL responsible for assault on teachers and students on July 15. “No matter what the minister Obaidul Quader or the party’s (BCL) general secretary says, I’m asserting that they are the BCL activists; they have turned into goons,” said Abdur Razzaque Khan, an associate professor of the mass communication and journalism department of the DU. “They do not have any respect for teachers. I have not seen such behaviour in my teaching and journalism career spanning 20 years,” Razzaque said at a press conference. The conference, under the banner of “Teachers Against Repression”, was organised by a section of DU teachers, who have been vocal against the attacks on quota reformists.
Most of the TV channels broadcast the incident live; however, the BCL leaders denied the accusation while the AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader also evaded the issue of the BCL ‘s involvement in the assault.
Razzaque also claimed to have been threatened over phone from an unknown number for joining the protest. “Administration is not taking any steps. Where can we get security?” he asked. He said he had filed a general diary with Shahabgah Police Station seeking security, though the isssue of security is the Sole responsibility of the DU authority and its Proctor.
Quota reformists have also said BCL men attacked them at least 13 times in    the last three months, injuring around 68 students of four universities.
“Students of different political parties took part in the quota reform protest spontaneously, in which members of the pro-government student organisation also joined,” said Samina Luthfa, associate professor of the sociology department of the DU. Recalling July 15 incident, Samina said some BCL men obstructed the teachers from holding a human chain and used loud speakers to hurl abuses at them. “The BCL men then swooped on the teachers’ procession and beat up the students and assaulted the teachers too,” she said.
Though the Shahbagh police station is just a stone’s throw away, Samina claimed that no one from the proctorial body or law enforcers were present during the assault. “When we contacted the proctor after the attack at the Central Shaheed Minar, we were asked that why we had not taken permission for the protest,” said Fahmidul Haq, associate professor of the mass communication and journalism department. He pointed out that there was no clause in the University Act-1973 requiring the need for permission to hold rallies inside campus.  Professor Abdul Mannan of the international relations department and Professor Munasir Kamal of the English department were present during the conference. They said they would also send a letter to Dhaka University Teachers’ Association asking them to take immediate steps regarding the assault on three teachers.
Students and teachers of public universities on 16 July held protests demanding punishment of the BCL activists who unleashed attacks on quota reform protesters, including teachers, at the DU. Students of the DU also demanded resignation of the university’s proctor AKM Golam Rabbani for his ‘failure’ to take steps to punish the ruling AL-backed student organisation BCL.
Reaction was spontaneous. Students of different departments, including Islamic history and culture—which is also the department of DU Vice-Chancellor and Proctor—boycotted class demanding reformation of quota, release of arrested leaders of the movement as well as punishment of the attackers on teachers and students. Students of Law, Political Science, Applied Chemistry, Mass Communication and Journalism, MBA and others also boycotted classes.
Though the Supreme Court had ruled in 2011 that two more Parliamentary Elections could be held under the Caretaker Government system—for the establishment of which the AL-led by Sheikh Hasina left no stone unturned for months together—the  ruling AL government did not take more than a day or two get it scrapped in the Parliament.  But her government’s inordinate delay of long six months is incomprehensible.  The public job quota reformists—[all apolitical students though the DU VC and the AL leaders are frantically trying to find Al Qaida Jihadists in them and miserably failed]—never demanded abolition though the PM without rhyme or reason declared abolition of the system; then backpedalled.  We suggest that the government take a rational decision which should not require more than three working weeks.
Last but not least, PM Sheikh Hasina must effectively order the BCL elements to refrain from their criminal activities which certainly harm her reputation.

 

Comment

It is a truism that since the dawn of civilisation in all climes and cultures teachers have commanded unalloyed respect from their pupils and enjoyed a unique place of honour in society. There has never been a disagreement about the notion that teaching is the noblest among all the professions because all professionals acquire education under the guidance of teachers at the beginning, despite that the most dreaded and much despised members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling Awami League (AL) government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, have rendered that time-honoured maxim null and void , because the BCL boys have assaulted three teachers of the Dhaka University (DU).
This is nothing new in the present AL regime; teachers and cultural activists at the Jahangirnagar University were manhandled on April 30, 2012 by a faction of the BCL reportedly loyal to the vice-chancellor of the university.
Respect for teachers is universal. Moghal Emperor Auranzeb set a unique example of veneration for the teacher of his son, which proverbial instance has been immortalised in Kazi Kader Nawaz’s Bengali poem “Shikshaker Moryada”. Conqueror Alexander the Great explicitly said that he was indebted to his father for living but to his “teacher for living well”.
The BCL activists pushed and verbally abused mass communication and journalism department professor Fahmidul Haq, associate professor Abdur Razzaque Khan, international relations associate professor Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, economics assistant professor Rushad Faridi when they were going to take part in a post-human chain procession at Central Shaheed Minar.
A group of the DU teachers on July 17 held the BCL responsible for assault on teachers and students on July 15. “No matter what the minister Obaidul Quader or the party’s (BCL) general secretary says, I’m asserting that they are the BCL activists; they have turned into goons,” said Abdur Razzaque Khan, an associate professor of the mass communication and journalism department of the DU. “They do not have any respect for teachers. I have not seen such behaviour in my teaching and journalism career spanning 20 years,” Razzaque said at a press conference. The conference, under the banner of “Teachers Against Repression”, was organised by a section of DU teachers, who have been vocal against the attacks on quota reformists.
Most of the TV channels broadcast the incident live; however, the BCL leaders denied the accusation while the AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader also evaded the issue of the BCL ‘s involvement in the assault.
Razzaque also claimed to have been threatened over phone from an unknown number for joining the protest. “Administration is not taking any steps. Where can we get security?” he asked. He said he had filed a general diary with Shahabgah Police Station seeking security, though the isssue of security is the Sole responsibility of the DU authority and its Proctor.
Quota reformists have also said BCL men attacked them at least 13 times in    the last three months, injuring around 68 students of four universities.
“Students of different political parties took part in the quota reform protest spontaneously, in which members of the pro-government student organisation also joined,” said Samina Luthfa, associate professor of the sociology department of the DU. Recalling July 15 incident, Samina said some BCL men obstructed the teachers from holding a human chain and used loud speakers to hurl abuses at them. “The BCL men then swooped on the teachers’ procession and beat up the students and assaulted the teachers too,” she said.
Though the Shahbagh police station is just a stone’s throw away, Samina claimed that no one from the proctorial body or law enforcers were present during the assault. “When we contacted the proctor after the attack at the Central Shaheed Minar, we were asked that why we had not taken permission for the protest,” said Fahmidul Haq, associate professor of the mass communication and journalism department. He pointed out that there was no clause in the University Act-1973 requiring the need for permission to hold rallies inside campus.  Professor Abdul Mannan of the international relations department and Professor Munasir Kamal of the English department were present during the conference. They said they would also send a letter to Dhaka University Teachers’ Association asking them to take immediate steps regarding the assault on three teachers.
Students and teachers of public universities on 16 July held protests demanding punishment of the BCL activists who unleashed attacks on quota reform protesters, including teachers, at the DU. Students of the DU also demanded resignation of the university’s proctor AKM Golam Rabbani for his ‘failure’ to take steps to punish the ruling AL-backed student organisation BCL.
Reaction was spontaneous. Students of different departments, including Islamic history and culture—which is also the department of DU Vice-Chancellor and Proctor—boycotted class demanding reformation of quota, release of arrested leaders of the movement as well as punishment of the attackers on teachers and students. Students of Law, Political Science, Applied Chemistry, Mass Communication and Journalism, MBA and others also boycotted classes.
Though the Supreme Court had ruled in 2011 that two more Parliamentary Elections could be held under the Caretaker Government system—for the establishment of which the AL-led by Sheikh Hasina left no stone unturned for months together—the  ruling AL government did not take more than a day or two get it scrapped in the Parliament.  But her government’s inordinate delay of long six months is incomprehensible.  The public job quota reformists—[all apolitical students though the DU VC and the AL leaders are frantically trying to find Al Qaida Jihadists in them and miserably failed]—never demanded abolition though the PM without rhyme or reason declared abolition of the system; then backpedalled.  We suggest that the government take a rational decision which should not require more than three working weeks.
Last but not least, PM Sheikh Hasina must effectively order the BCL elements to refrain from their criminal activities which certainly harm her reputation.

 


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IT IS AT WAR WITH  ITSELF
NATO is rearming for war with the world

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump stand for a photograph during the NATO summit in Brussels.

Andre Damon

MEDIA coverage of the NATO summit was dominated by the deepening tensions between US President Donald Trump and Washington's military allies, in particular Germany, amid a mounting international trade war launched by the White House last month.
Despite the displays of division, capped by Trump's mafioso-like demands for greater military spending by his "delinquent" NATO allies, all members of the alliance reaffirmed their commitment to massive military rearmament, to be paid for with sweeping cuts to public infrastructure and attacks on the social position of the working class.
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, declared at the end of the summit that "after years of decline, when Allies were cutting billions, now they are adding billions." He boasted that over the past year and a half, "European Allies and Canada have added an additional 41 billion dollars to their defence spending."
The most immediate and tangible outcome of the summit was a NATO plan to expand the number of high-readiness military forces ready to attack Russia, or any other country, at a moment's notice. The summit resolution declared that "Allies will offer an additional 30 major naval combatants, 30 heavy or medium manoeuvre battalions, and 30 kinetic air squadrons, with enabling forces, at 30 days' readiness or less."
Declaring victory over freeloading partners, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed he had secured significant new concessions from NATO member nations on military spending after days of public haranguing.
The resolution reaffirmed NATO's moves to deploy "four multinational combat-ready battalion-sized battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland," including "over 4,500 troops from across the Alliance, able to operate alongside national home defence forces," all within hundreds of miles of Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg.

Two new command headquarters
The summit further agreed to create two new command headquarters: one in Norfolk, Virginia, "to focus on protecting the transatlantic lines of communication," and a new command center in Germany to "ensure freedom of operation and sustainment in the rear area in support of the rapid movement of troops and equipment into, across, and from Europe."
The summit resolution reaffirms the expansion of NATO's nuclear arsenal, declaring, "As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. The strategic forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States, are the supreme guarantee of the security of Allies."
It further vowed to continue NATO's eastward expansion, reiterating NATO's plans to invite Macedonia, Ukraine and Georgia to join the anti-Russian alliance.
The massive military build-up throughout Europe will be paid for with stepped-up attacks on the working class, through the dismantling of social safety nets and, as pioneered by the government of French President Emanuel Macron, wage and benefit cuts for state workers and the privatization of state assets.
Trump made clear that his demand for greater European military spending is inseparable from his mercantilist economic policies aimed at improving the US balance of trade with Germany, the world's third-ranking exporter after China and the United States.
His denunciations of Germany for its purchase of natural gas from Russia became a focal point of the summit. In Trump's view, Germany, which exports twice as much to the United States as it imports, must buy US natural gas at premium prices if it is to receive "protection" from the US military.

Europe is riven with rivalry
In pursuit of his trade conflict with Germany, Trump has consciously sought, as with his statement in support of a "hard" Brexit, to destabilize the European Union. He has promoted far-right, Eurosceptic political movements, whose denunciations of the "Brussels bureaucracy" are little more than a cover for national antagonisms with Germany, the dominant power within the EU.
But this is a dangerous game. Stratfor, in an analysis of the NATO summit, warned that Europe is a "continent riven with rivalry."
"The U.S. strategy to deal with Russia will remain inextricably linked to how it manages a balance of power on the European continent," it continues. "The United Kingdom is too consumed with its divorce from the bloc to assume its traditional balancing role for the Continent. That knocks out the third leg of the triad of great European powers, leaving an uneasy pair in France and Germany to prevent the Continent from descending into an all-too-familiar pattern of conflict."
Stratfor adds, "But it is one thing for the U.S. president to recognize and operate within the limits of an uncomfortable reality without losing sight of its core imperative: maintaining a balance of power in Europe is still essential to the United States' ability to manage growing competition with Russia and China and any peripheral distractions that may emerge. It is another thing to actively stoke nationalist embers on the Continent and encourage the unraveling of an imperfect bloc through trade assaults and transactional security threats. The latter is playing with fire."
But "playing with fire" is exactly Trump's strategy in both domestic and international politics. Trump, expressing the instincts of a semi-criminal real estate speculator, is intent on calling everyone's bluff - allies and enemies alike.
Edward Luce, commenting in the Financial Times, noted that "Trump knows more than his critics give him credit for" because "he instinctively grasps other people's bottom lines." He adds, "The most lethal demagogue is one who grasps an underlying reality. Mr. Trump knows that Europe needs America more than America needs Europe."
While "wrecking" alliances "reduces Washington's global clout," the "bigger loser is Europe. Its survival depends on America's guarantee."
In other words, Trump's actions, "unconventional" as they are, reflect something objective in the US position in the world geopolitical and economic order. Recognizing the United States' role as the reactionary keystone of global imperialism, Trump is demanding "protection" money from its "allies," no matter the cost to the stability of the geopolitical order.
The American president, in the whirlwind of the past month, in which he scuttled the G7 summit, launched a trade war against Europe and China, held a summit with North Korea hoping to turn it against China, and is on the verge of a summit with Vladimir Putin aiming to turn Russia against Iran, has thrown all international alliances up in the air, aiming to extract maximum trade, economic and military concessions from "ally" and "enemy" alike.
This turbulent and chaotic world order recalls nothing so much as the geopolitics of the 1930s, with an endless parade of alliances created one day and overturned the next. In that period, each alliance created, no less than each alliance broken, was the prelude to the eruption of world war.
And in the 1930s, as now, every country was re-arming to the teeth amid the eruption of trade war and the rise and promotion of fascist movements throughout Europe.
The outcome of the NATO summit, with its peculiar combination of massive rearmament and explosive divisions, substantially heightens the risk of world war. Who will be the combatants in such a conflict, over what nominal cause, cannot be foretold. But all those who claimed that, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO would be converted into a "peaceful" and "democratic" alliance have been exposed as charlatans.
— WSWS

Comment

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump stand for a photograph during the NATO summit in Brussels.

Andre Damon

MEDIA coverage of the NATO summit was dominated by the deepening tensions between US President Donald Trump and Washington's military allies, in particular Germany, amid a mounting international trade war launched by the White House last month.
Despite the displays of division, capped by Trump's mafioso-like demands for greater military spending by his "delinquent" NATO allies, all members of the alliance reaffirmed their commitment to massive military rearmament, to be paid for with sweeping cuts to public infrastructure and attacks on the social position of the working class.
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, declared at the end of the summit that "after years of decline, when Allies were cutting billions, now they are adding billions." He boasted that over the past year and a half, "European Allies and Canada have added an additional 41 billion dollars to their defence spending."
The most immediate and tangible outcome of the summit was a NATO plan to expand the number of high-readiness military forces ready to attack Russia, or any other country, at a moment's notice. The summit resolution declared that "Allies will offer an additional 30 major naval combatants, 30 heavy or medium manoeuvre battalions, and 30 kinetic air squadrons, with enabling forces, at 30 days' readiness or less."
Declaring victory over freeloading partners, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed he had secured significant new concessions from NATO member nations on military spending after days of public haranguing.
The resolution reaffirmed NATO's moves to deploy "four multinational combat-ready battalion-sized battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland," including "over 4,500 troops from across the Alliance, able to operate alongside national home defence forces," all within hundreds of miles of Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg.

Two new command headquarters
The summit further agreed to create two new command headquarters: one in Norfolk, Virginia, "to focus on protecting the transatlantic lines of communication," and a new command center in Germany to "ensure freedom of operation and sustainment in the rear area in support of the rapid movement of troops and equipment into, across, and from Europe."
The summit resolution reaffirms the expansion of NATO's nuclear arsenal, declaring, "As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. The strategic forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States, are the supreme guarantee of the security of Allies."
It further vowed to continue NATO's eastward expansion, reiterating NATO's plans to invite Macedonia, Ukraine and Georgia to join the anti-Russian alliance.
The massive military build-up throughout Europe will be paid for with stepped-up attacks on the working class, through the dismantling of social safety nets and, as pioneered by the government of French President Emanuel Macron, wage and benefit cuts for state workers and the privatization of state assets.
Trump made clear that his demand for greater European military spending is inseparable from his mercantilist economic policies aimed at improving the US balance of trade with Germany, the world's third-ranking exporter after China and the United States.
His denunciations of Germany for its purchase of natural gas from Russia became a focal point of the summit. In Trump's view, Germany, which exports twice as much to the United States as it imports, must buy US natural gas at premium prices if it is to receive "protection" from the US military.

Europe is riven with rivalry
In pursuit of his trade conflict with Germany, Trump has consciously sought, as with his statement in support of a "hard" Brexit, to destabilize the European Union. He has promoted far-right, Eurosceptic political movements, whose denunciations of the "Brussels bureaucracy" are little more than a cover for national antagonisms with Germany, the dominant power within the EU.
But this is a dangerous game. Stratfor, in an analysis of the NATO summit, warned that Europe is a "continent riven with rivalry."
"The U.S. strategy to deal with Russia will remain inextricably linked to how it manages a balance of power on the European continent," it continues. "The United Kingdom is too consumed with its divorce from the bloc to assume its traditional balancing role for the Continent. That knocks out the third leg of the triad of great European powers, leaving an uneasy pair in France and Germany to prevent the Continent from descending into an all-too-familiar pattern of conflict."
Stratfor adds, "But it is one thing for the U.S. president to recognize and operate within the limits of an uncomfortable reality without losing sight of its core imperative: maintaining a balance of power in Europe is still essential to the United States' ability to manage growing competition with Russia and China and any peripheral distractions that may emerge. It is another thing to actively stoke nationalist embers on the Continent and encourage the unraveling of an imperfect bloc through trade assaults and transactional security threats. The latter is playing with fire."
But "playing with fire" is exactly Trump's strategy in both domestic and international politics. Trump, expressing the instincts of a semi-criminal real estate speculator, is intent on calling everyone's bluff - allies and enemies alike.
Edward Luce, commenting in the Financial Times, noted that "Trump knows more than his critics give him credit for" because "he instinctively grasps other people's bottom lines." He adds, "The most lethal demagogue is one who grasps an underlying reality. Mr. Trump knows that Europe needs America more than America needs Europe."
While "wrecking" alliances "reduces Washington's global clout," the "bigger loser is Europe. Its survival depends on America's guarantee."
In other words, Trump's actions, "unconventional" as they are, reflect something objective in the US position in the world geopolitical and economic order. Recognizing the United States' role as the reactionary keystone of global imperialism, Trump is demanding "protection" money from its "allies," no matter the cost to the stability of the geopolitical order.
The American president, in the whirlwind of the past month, in which he scuttled the G7 summit, launched a trade war against Europe and China, held a summit with North Korea hoping to turn it against China, and is on the verge of a summit with Vladimir Putin aiming to turn Russia against Iran, has thrown all international alliances up in the air, aiming to extract maximum trade, economic and military concessions from "ally" and "enemy" alike.
This turbulent and chaotic world order recalls nothing so much as the geopolitics of the 1930s, with an endless parade of alliances created one day and overturned the next. In that period, each alliance created, no less than each alliance broken, was the prelude to the eruption of world war.
And in the 1930s, as now, every country was re-arming to the teeth amid the eruption of trade war and the rise and promotion of fascist movements throughout Europe.
The outcome of the NATO summit, with its peculiar combination of massive rearmament and explosive divisions, substantially heightens the risk of world war. Who will be the combatants in such a conflict, over what nominal cause, cannot be foretold. But all those who claimed that, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO would be converted into a "peaceful" and "democratic" alliance have been exposed as charlatans.
— WSWS


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France’s Macron can thank his lucky stars again after World Cup triumph

President Emmanuel Macron was pictured cheering from the stadium and got drenched in the rain after France’s victory in the World Cup.

News Wires

FRANCE took on Croatia in a much-anticipated World Cup final that saw a goal for each side in the first 30 minutes of play and an eventual 4-2 win for Les Bleus.
France and Croatia went head-to-head in the World Cup final in Moscow, with Les Bleus seeking their second title in 20 years. Croatia was seeking their first-ever World Cup victory.
Both teams went into final with the same starting line-ups as for their semi-final wins, over Belgium for France and England for Croatia.
With a population of only 4 million, Croatia is the smallest country to reach a World Cup final since Uruguay back in 1950. Zlatko Dalic’s team were seeking revenge against France after losing 2-1 to Les Bleus in the 1998 semi-finals in Paris, where Dalic travelled to watch that World Cup as a fan. Croatia have never beaten France in six matches.
France coach Didier Deschamps is only the third person to win the trophy as both a player and manager. Striker Kylian Mbappé, whose two goals helped to send the Argentines home earlier in the tournament, is only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final – after Brazil legend Pele in 1958.
With France having just won the World Cup final in Russia, will its President, Emmanuel Macron, gain a much-needed rise in popularity as a result of the football team’s victory?
France’s thrilling 4-2 triumph over Croatia in the World Cup final, their second World Cup after home success in 1998 that ushered in a wave of national optimism, is the sort of good-news fillip most presidents can only dream of.
After 14 months in power, Macron’s poll ratings have been falling steadily, down to barely 40 percent. Despite overseeing a raft of economic and social reforms, the 40-year-old former investment banker has been labelled “president of the rich” by many left-wing critics, and the tag has stuck.
Recent controversies over spending on official crockery, a swimming pool built at a presidential retreat, and cutting remarks about the costs of welfare have reinforced the image of a leader out of touch with the people, at least in some minds.
But just as he took advantage of an extraordinary series of lucky breaks during the 2017 presidential campaign, including the implosion of the conservative front-runner’s bid over a corruption scandal, Macron’s fortune seems to have turned again.
In Moscow to watch the final with his wife Brigitte, Macron was overcome by the victory, standing on the field in the pouring rain to hug each of the players in turn at length and then kissing the World Cup trophy in delight.
In 1998, then President Jacques Chirac’s popularity soared on the ‘World Cup effect’ - an 18-point jump in his ratings according to Ifop pollsters - helping the ageing Gaullist recover from a humiliating defeat in a 1997 snap election.
Chirac’s bonhomie and enthusiastic embrace of 1990s-playmaker Zinedine Zidane’s multiracial Black-Blanc-Beur (Black-White-North African) team helped him shake off a string of corruption scandals and he went on to win a second term.
That Macron who is still very much in charge and not reduced to a largely ceremonial role as Chirac was under the ‘cohabitation’ regime with the Socialists could gain much more than a few points from his current low is unlikely.
But nonetheless, political pollsters say a boost of some kind is not out of the question, at home and abroad.
“It’s far from a given that what happened in 1998 will be reproduced in the same way now,” Gael Sliman, a pollster with Odoxa, told Reuters. “(But) one could very well see 5, 6, 10 points of popularity gains for the executive.
“It could also have a meaningful impact on French economic morale, people’s confidence in the future, their optimism in general, including when it comes to consumer behaviour.”
Macron’s lieutenants have sought to play down any suggestion that politics and soccer are linked. They don’t want the president to be accused of leveraging the World Cup, even if Macron and his wife were in Moscow to watch the final.
“We have nothing to do with it, but let’s rejoice,” Macron told his ministers last week, after France beat Belgium in the semi-final, according to spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.
That said, Macron can expect Sunday’s euphoria to unleash a wave of renewed self-confidence and national pride, while perhaps enhancing France’s reputation internationally.
For the young president, it’s somewhat akin to what Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said of his military commanders: never mind their skill, “give me lucky generals”.
“You have to be very cautious about a political effect, but maybe there will be a moral effect that will last through the summer,” Frederic Dabi of Ifop told Reuters. “I see more of an effect on the image of France abroad, it gives a cumulative effect, it reinforces the Macron chorus of ‘France is back’.”Domestically, the nation could do with a ‘feel-good’ lift.
After years of high unemployment, economic stagnation and a string of deadly Islamist attacks since 2015, the World Cup win may help the nation feel the worst is behind it. That may also help sweeten the pill that the government is shortly to unveil, with unpopular spending cuts due after the summer.
“The second half of the year will be a bit complicated,” Ludovic Subran, head of research at Allianz, told Reuters.
“Spending power is down and those French who are not entrepreneurs are complaining. Macron needed this victory.”
According to Subran’s research, the World Cup will boost French consumption by 0.2 percentage points this year, which in turn will give wider economic growth a 0.1 point lift.
That might be just enough to help Macron sing along to the tune of the French team’s 1998 anthem: “I Will Survive”.
“Croatia is a country with a deep economic crisis.  Every day, life is really hard.  It’s full of bad stories and tough times.  There is lot of poverty.  A lot of people are emigrating.”
Members of Croatia’s football team have become national talismans of endurance, the shock troops of resilience and hopeLuka Modri? remains unflinching in the midfield as the team’s general.  Domagoj Vida has been granite in defensive solidity.
Football teams can be held up as mirrors of the nations they represent. This sociological gazing can always be taken too far, a scholar’s fruitless pondering, but Croatia’s national side is instructive.  It was Dinamo Zagreb’s Zvonimir Boban who stirred matters with his heralded assault on a police officer engaged in a violent scuffle with fans in a match against Red Star Belgrade. Croatian football was fashioned as a vehicle of protest and dissent against what was seen as a Serb-dominated federation.

Comment

President Emmanuel Macron was pictured cheering from the stadium and got drenched in the rain after France’s victory in the World Cup.

News Wires

FRANCE took on Croatia in a much-anticipated World Cup final that saw a goal for each side in the first 30 minutes of play and an eventual 4-2 win for Les Bleus.
France and Croatia went head-to-head in the World Cup final in Moscow, with Les Bleus seeking their second title in 20 years. Croatia was seeking their first-ever World Cup victory.
Both teams went into final with the same starting line-ups as for their semi-final wins, over Belgium for France and England for Croatia.
With a population of only 4 million, Croatia is the smallest country to reach a World Cup final since Uruguay back in 1950. Zlatko Dalic’s team were seeking revenge against France after losing 2-1 to Les Bleus in the 1998 semi-finals in Paris, where Dalic travelled to watch that World Cup as a fan. Croatia have never beaten France in six matches.
France coach Didier Deschamps is only the third person to win the trophy as both a player and manager. Striker Kylian Mbappé, whose two goals helped to send the Argentines home earlier in the tournament, is only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final – after Brazil legend Pele in 1958.
With France having just won the World Cup final in Russia, will its President, Emmanuel Macron, gain a much-needed rise in popularity as a result of the football team’s victory?
France’s thrilling 4-2 triumph over Croatia in the World Cup final, their second World Cup after home success in 1998 that ushered in a wave of national optimism, is the sort of good-news fillip most presidents can only dream of.
After 14 months in power, Macron’s poll ratings have been falling steadily, down to barely 40 percent. Despite overseeing a raft of economic and social reforms, the 40-year-old former investment banker has been labelled “president of the rich” by many left-wing critics, and the tag has stuck.
Recent controversies over spending on official crockery, a swimming pool built at a presidential retreat, and cutting remarks about the costs of welfare have reinforced the image of a leader out of touch with the people, at least in some minds.
But just as he took advantage of an extraordinary series of lucky breaks during the 2017 presidential campaign, including the implosion of the conservative front-runner’s bid over a corruption scandal, Macron’s fortune seems to have turned again.
In Moscow to watch the final with his wife Brigitte, Macron was overcome by the victory, standing on the field in the pouring rain to hug each of the players in turn at length and then kissing the World Cup trophy in delight.
In 1998, then President Jacques Chirac’s popularity soared on the ‘World Cup effect’ - an 18-point jump in his ratings according to Ifop pollsters - helping the ageing Gaullist recover from a humiliating defeat in a 1997 snap election.
Chirac’s bonhomie and enthusiastic embrace of 1990s-playmaker Zinedine Zidane’s multiracial Black-Blanc-Beur (Black-White-North African) team helped him shake off a string of corruption scandals and he went on to win a second term.
That Macron who is still very much in charge and not reduced to a largely ceremonial role as Chirac was under the ‘cohabitation’ regime with the Socialists could gain much more than a few points from his current low is unlikely.
But nonetheless, political pollsters say a boost of some kind is not out of the question, at home and abroad.
“It’s far from a given that what happened in 1998 will be reproduced in the same way now,” Gael Sliman, a pollster with Odoxa, told Reuters. “(But) one could very well see 5, 6, 10 points of popularity gains for the executive.
“It could also have a meaningful impact on French economic morale, people’s confidence in the future, their optimism in general, including when it comes to consumer behaviour.”
Macron’s lieutenants have sought to play down any suggestion that politics and soccer are linked. They don’t want the president to be accused of leveraging the World Cup, even if Macron and his wife were in Moscow to watch the final.
“We have nothing to do with it, but let’s rejoice,” Macron told his ministers last week, after France beat Belgium in the semi-final, according to spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.
That said, Macron can expect Sunday’s euphoria to unleash a wave of renewed self-confidence and national pride, while perhaps enhancing France’s reputation internationally.
For the young president, it’s somewhat akin to what Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said of his military commanders: never mind their skill, “give me lucky generals”.
“You have to be very cautious about a political effect, but maybe there will be a moral effect that will last through the summer,” Frederic Dabi of Ifop told Reuters. “I see more of an effect on the image of France abroad, it gives a cumulative effect, it reinforces the Macron chorus of ‘France is back’.”Domestically, the nation could do with a ‘feel-good’ lift.
After years of high unemployment, economic stagnation and a string of deadly Islamist attacks since 2015, the World Cup win may help the nation feel the worst is behind it. That may also help sweeten the pill that the government is shortly to unveil, with unpopular spending cuts due after the summer.
“The second half of the year will be a bit complicated,” Ludovic Subran, head of research at Allianz, told Reuters.
“Spending power is down and those French who are not entrepreneurs are complaining. Macron needed this victory.”
According to Subran’s research, the World Cup will boost French consumption by 0.2 percentage points this year, which in turn will give wider economic growth a 0.1 point lift.
That might be just enough to help Macron sing along to the tune of the French team’s 1998 anthem: “I Will Survive”.
“Croatia is a country with a deep economic crisis.  Every day, life is really hard.  It’s full of bad stories and tough times.  There is lot of poverty.  A lot of people are emigrating.”
Members of Croatia’s football team have become national talismans of endurance, the shock troops of resilience and hopeLuka Modri? remains unflinching in the midfield as the team’s general.  Domagoj Vida has been granite in defensive solidity.
Football teams can be held up as mirrors of the nations they represent. This sociological gazing can always be taken too far, a scholar’s fruitless pondering, but Croatia’s national side is instructive.  It was Dinamo Zagreb’s Zvonimir Boban who stirred matters with his heralded assault on a police officer engaged in a violent scuffle with fans in a match against Red Star Belgrade. Croatian football was fashioned as a vehicle of protest and dissent against what was seen as a Serb-dominated federation.


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