MACRON AND THE MARSHAL

Speaking of World War I, take a moment too to consider the controversy  that erupted this week when French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Marshal Philippe Petain – the heroic commander of French forces during World War I who later disgraced himself by collaborating with the Nazi occupation. Macron acknowledged Petain’s “disastrous choices” in the Second World War but praised him as a “great soldier” in the First.


During the first war, Petain was justly considered a hero. Against formidable odds, he saved the French city of Verdun from a German assault and restored discipline to a crumbling French army. During the second World War, he led a French government in Vichy that collaborated with the Nazis.

Struggling from sagging approval ratings and a scandal-filled summer, Macron’s praise for Petain was an attempt to rally support among the conservative nationalists in France who still view Petain as a national hero. It backfired. The government’s decision to back away from Macron’s promise to honor Petain this weekend only furthers the sense that the young French president is out of touch and lacks direction.

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WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

Syria ISIS attack A suicide bombing in Syria claimed by ISIS killed 14 people including four Americans this week. Two questions we'll be watching: Will this attack impact the pace of President Trump's ordered withdrawal of US troops from Syria, and is the bombing part of a broader ISIS strategy to launch a wave of new attacks as US troops depart?

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