French election campaigns are usually desperately navel-gazing. Foreign policy issues are all but absent from the debate. And even in ‘ordinary’ times, all mainstream evening news programmes consider international news a toxic audience killer. But the war in Ukraine has swept everything else in the background and changed the campaign dynamic. It has also put […]
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There is no doubt that French politics have been ever strongly tilting to the right for months now. It’s not even exaggerated to claim that the political discourse is dominated, if not polluted, by far-right vocabulary and semantics. Want to study first-hand the mechanisms of the Overton window? This is the place. Paradoxically, at the […]
In France, the presidential election monopolises all the attention. Of candidates and non-candidates, activists and voters, media and pollsters, domestic and foreign observers. That’s understandable. The playbook is irresistible: rhetorically overblown visions of society collide in a dramaturgy replete with plot twists and cliffhangers, the absence of any post-election compromise allows for a merciless showdown, […]
“What unites us better than Les Bleus?” (“Qui nous unit mieux que les Bleus ?”). Good question. TF1, Europe’s largest television channel and long-standing partner of the French national team, used it as teaser during the European football championship last summer. An excellent promotional slogan, underpinned by an emotional video of suffering and celebrating the […]
How fitting: this spring, ARTE, the brainy French-German TV channel, will broadcast a second season of ‘En thérapie’, the French version of ‘In Treatment’ (itself based on the Israeli TV hit “Be Tipul”). 35 new episodes of people on the psychiatrist’s couch, composing what Le Monde called ‘an immobile travel across French society in the […]
‘I want no misunderstanding. We will not shirk our duty. We are not withdrawing. We are staying here.’ Unfortunately for many Afghans, this quote by an American secretary of state is 75 years old. It stems from a speech given in Stuttgart, on 6 September 1946, which is hardly remembered, but definitely worth remembering as […]
The most emblematic example of how sport is used as an icebreaker in international relations is no doubt the visit, between 10 and 17 April 1971, of nine American table tennis players to the People’s Republic of China, an event known worldwide as ‘ping pong diplomacy’. A lot has been said and written about this […]
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