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Claire Berlinski
226 followers -
Paris-based journalist, essayist, novelist, historian, and biographer
Paris-based journalist, essayist, novelist, historian, and biographer

226 followers
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Claire's posts

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So it's down to Macron v. Le Pen. We avoided the nightmare: Le Pen v. Mélenchon. There's no cause for overconfidence, but certainly cause for relief. I wrote this in the hope that by today it would be irrelevant. It's not, yet -- although I hope it soon will be. For readers who've e been puzzled by my reaction to Marine Le Pen and asked me why I dread the prospect of her success, in this, you’ll find my answer.

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France, Turkey, and your faithful correspondent go insane: Reflections on deadlines and the news cycle, and a tip of the hat to the people who get their articles done on time. I’ve been working on two long pieces this week, one about last Sunday’s referendum in Turkey, the other about the upcoming election in France. It's possible I won't finish them in time for any editor to think "This is still news," but to everyone who's been supporting my book, thank you, thank you, yet again -- at least this effort won't be wasted.

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One of the points I’d stress is that the impression many Americans have of France being socialist -- in the sense that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was socialist -- is wildly off-base: The socialist party here is very close to the mainstream wing (not the far-left wing) of the US Democrat Party. There are many parties here in which a Republican or a conservative in the US would feel at home, including a number described by Politest as “centrist.” France is — this is my key point — a lot more conservative than Americans tend to think, partly because the word “socialist” throws them, and partly because the French left is disproportionately loud and disproportionately popular in the US. Far more than it is, in fact, in France.

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For fun, try this is a multiple choice questionnaire developed by former students at Sciences Po to determine where you'd be on the French political spectrum ...

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Have Americans come to see Europe as a kind of oversized Blue State?

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There's so much fast-breaking domestic news to follow (Flynn? Immunity?) and so many complex, major crises abroad, that you may be entirely forgiven for paying no attention whatsoever to the upcoming French elections. But if this were a more placid moment in history, you'd probably be hearing a lot more about France’s weird presidential campaign, actually one of the weirdest in French history.

So I've compiled this NAQ -- a list of never-asked questions -- to answer some of the questions you would have asked if this were a normal news year in which a French election could actually get anyone's attention for more than a second.

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With AI translation, it’s possible for people who don't read Russian to get to know it better than we could have before. Here are links to some of the highest-circulation newspapers in Russia. For the first time in history, Russian newspapers are, to the average, non-specialist American citizen, an open book.

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What I think I detect in Perry Anderson's tone is a reluctant admiration of the far-right: They’re the only ones, he seems to be saying, who are really willing to tear the whole system down and to use whatever levers need to be used to do it. We’ve seen a lot of this, historically; the far-left has always been vulnerable to co-option by the far-right; the segment of the population that for temperamental or socioeconomic reasons is drawn to revolution tends to be drawn by the group that promises it more convincingly, rather than the one that’s ideologically most pure. ...
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