Editorial | France, a country with the flu

After World War II, France it was one of the five great economic powers, it became a member of the UN Security Council, Paris was still the second colonial metropolis after London and the hexagon was established as the fourth nuclear power. If we add to this the exceptional cultural influence of France and the power of a language spoken by more than 500 million people and backed by la Francophonie, we were looking at the only country that was capable of facing the Anglo-Saxon world led by the United States. What has happened, since then, for France to appear today as a country with the flu, scene of internal, social and identity conflicts increasingly violent and subject to a international questioning accused, even on the African continent that was his backyard for decades?

The summer of 2023 has been rather ‘horribilis’ for the Government of Emmanuel Macron. Of the many ways to take stock of a country, even the sporting one hurts the French particularly. A Danish rider won the Tour, remembering that the last Frenchman to climb to the top of the podium was Bernard Hinault, 38 years ago. In the ranking of medals of the world championships of athletics, where Spain was third, France ranked 27th, with a silver medal won on the final day. In the women’s soccer world cup played in Australia, the French players did not go beyond the quarterfinals, and in the men’s basketball the selection has fallen in the first round.

Coups in Africa

France is not the only one former colonial power that has seen its hegemony reduced by the rise of China and emerging countries. Britain It also accumulates not a few problems, especially since Brexit. However, the problems that Macron accumulates in this ‘rentrée’ constitute an inextricable agenda. At the foreign level, the summer has been the scene of military coups in Niger and Gabon, plotted without the complicity of France and, sometimes, with the support of Russian mercenaries. Added to those that occurred recently in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad and Mali, these blows reveal an end of time. It is very likely that they do not provide solutions to the problems of these countries, but they indicate the obsolete nature of the neocolonial system that France had established in Central and West Africa.

In addition to the problems derived from this loss of influence, the Macron government has to deal with another probable hot social ‘rentrée’ announced by the unions and the left. The entry into force, this Friday, of the decree that will extend the retirement age from 62 to 64 years of age in a progressive manner will not help to calm the spirits, however justified it may be from the point of view of the survival of the pension system. Macron’s main asset to deal with this situation is the division that threatens the left, where dissensions increase as the European elections approach. Macron will have to look rather to the right of him since the latest polls show a tie between him and the extreme right of Marine Le Pen. A circumstance that will not facilitate the adoption of State policies with a broad consensus that the country would need to face what some observers have already described as the decline of France in the world.