While the French had their eyes fixed on the vote counts of one-tenth of them, the equivalent of a regional by-election, for the nomination of one of the fifteen candidates running against one another next April for the election of the next President of the Republic, the world did not stop turning.
In the Arctic, temperatures are 20 degrees Celsius above normal for the season (twenty degrees, not two) above the seasonal normal. In North America, a new and unlikely president believed he had the authority to appoint the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) as British ambassador in Washington.
In Latin America, the civil war is unfolding in Venezuela, while a legendary tyrant is close to dying in Cuba. In Africa, there is chaos in Nigeria, the largest country on the continent, and civil war has spread to other countries, such as Uganda and Ethiopia. In East Asia, tensions are mounting between the two Koreas. In Eastern Europe, problems remain unsolved in Ukraine and Kaliningrad. In the Middle East, Turkey, which has become a dictatorship, threatened to return nearly two million migrants to Greece anytime. In Israel, mysterious fires have overtaken a government so ill-prepared that it had, against its will, to accept the beautiful help of the Palestinian firefighters. In Lebanon, 1.5 million Syrian refugees, welcomed with a generous response in a small country of 4 million inhabitants, are trying to survive without disturbing too much their hosts.
A few kilometers away, in Aleppo, a civilian population held hostage in the middle of all the struggles, is dying under the bombs of a tyrant. In Iraq, Mosul is about to fall, without the leaders of Daesh, gone for a long time in other places. In Europe, Britain asserts its desire for a brutal rupture with the European Union, with really very little reflection and thought about its impact. Italy is getting ready for a « No vote » in a necessary but ill-prepared constitutional reform, which could soon lead to the coming to power of a party, Five Star Movement, whose primary agenda is essentially an exit of Italy from the Eurozone, which would put an end to the single currency, as we know it. Finally, considerable progress has been made over the last three months in this digital economy, biotechnology, and neuroscience campaign.
From this, each of these points, that no one should doubt that they will have a major influence on the future of our country, and upon which the next President of the French Republic will have to take a stand, none were found in the four televised debates for the Republicans presidential primary.
They were too busy, no doubt, with the VAT rate and the number of civil servants, matters of substantial importance of course, but which in actual fact will depend not on the President of the Republic but on a Parliament, and the next President, whoever that may be, will have to become guarded against it.
Such is life in France, in any case, a very small part of France.
There is probably a need now to hope that in the French Socialist Party presidential primary (I hope for all parties on the left that they will be at last united), and especially in the presidential campaign that will follow, we keep sight of the broader stakes. By distinguishing more clearly the specific tasks and stakes lying within the competence of the President, which are those, because they are areas close to the sovereignty and security of the country. And those regarding legislative competence that touch on the everyday and actual lives of the French, and which has occupied much of the debate of the open primary of the right and center.
With the hope that in the meantime, none of the risks described here will materialize, thus turning the very agenda of our issues and priorities on its head.