France aims to shake off US control
The resolution adopted by the French National Assembly which calls on the French government to give up and refuse to prolong the anti-Russian sanctions is first and foremost a very important symbolic measure. Seeing as how the declaration is not binding for the French government, its provisions to not have to be implemented. However, the fact of the resolution’s adoption shows the orientation of the majority of the French elite and French society. It should be recalled that no other European parliament has taken such an initiative or adopted such a resolution despite the fact that 30-40% of the population in various European countries directly oppose the extension of anti-Russian sanctions and want to improve relations with Russia. Before this latest event in the French parliament, the opinion of this considerable amount of people was not taken into account by the political elite. France is the first sign that the situation is changing and that the will of the people will be taken into consideration, starting with France.
Domestic factors played their role in spurring the resolution. First of all, the Russian counter-sanctions that followed European sanctions drastically hurt the French economy. Frenchmen themselves negatively perceive the confrontation with Russia into which they have been dragged by the United States, and now want to get out of this situation. There are non-system forces, most notably the National Front, which have always been pro-Russian and anti-American in standing for the sovereignty of France. Therefore, the votes of the French people dissatisfied with sanctions were naturally given to the National Front.
The existing French establishment is anxious over this development, as we have seen how the Republican part of Nicolas Sarkozy tried to manipulate these sentiments despite him being an absolutely pro-American figure. The French liberals understand that if they continue to advocate for the extension of sanctions, then they will be isolated by their own people and their political careers will come to an end. This is precisely the reason why Sarkozy’s party has taken the course towards restoring relations with Russia - it is not that they are particularly fond of Russia, but that they realize that France and its population are for such steps. Hence why Thierry Mariani, an MP from the Republican Party of Nicolas Sarkozy, proposed the initiative to begin with.
It is also significant that deputies from both the right-wing National Front and the Left Party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon voted for the lifting of sanctions. Thus, left and right counter-system forces united against the American subordination of French interests.
Now we await further events to see whether the French government is to follow the interests of the largest opposition party and parliamentary opinion. If they do, this will demonstrate that even Hollande, a relatively controversial ultra-liberal figure, can no longer afford to trail behind US policy. However, if Hollande’s government refuses to consider the resolution, we can conclude that the French elite is so dependent on the United States that they are going so far as to sacrifice their future. Other European countries should naturally follow the French example. We can foresee this situation unfolding at the EU summit in the early summer. Several countries will oppose the extension of anti-Russian sanctions as was earlier proposed, for example, by the Hungarian leadership. Traditional allies and supporters of rapprochement with Russia will bring new votes and people to the table, some of whom might be surprising.
We hope that this sanction war between Europe and Russia which is disadvantageous for both sides and benefits only the United States (who gains an advantage by disassociating the two geopolitical poles) will come to an end. The fact that both counter-system forces and parts of the system itself have come out for lifting sanctions shows that the geopolitical rules are unchangeable and that Europe cannot act without Russia. Europe can not hope to be an independent pole of power if it does not improve relations and strengthen its alliance with the key countries of Eurasia, first and foremost Russia.