In recent weeks, I have written about the “Marine Corps,” by which I mean Marine Le Pen and her body of supporters and peers. For instance, GOP congressmen Steve King and Dana Rohrabacher met with her. King tweeted that they had discussed “shared values.”
She has now gone to Moscow, to visit with Vladimir Putin. She has received millions in Russian loans. She must think that an appearance with Putin is good for her politically. (She would know better than most.) Le Pen has an election — a presidential election — on April 23.
Shortly before President Trump’s inauguration, she was in Trump Tower, but by all accounts did not meet with the president-elect.
After her meeting with Putin, she said, “A new world has emerged in these past years. It’s the world of Vladimir Putin, it’s the world of Donald Trump in the United States, it’s the world of Mr. Modi in India.”
Does Modi belong in Le Pen’s pantheon? Anyway, this is an interesting triumvirate.
About the meeting with Putin, an aide to Le Pen said, “We felt they understood each other, they were on the same wavelength.” I believe this is so. The Russian president wished the French leader good luck in the upcoming elections.
(To read a news story, go here.)
In a recent podcast, Daniel Hannan and I discussed Madame Le Pen. She has pledged to pull France out of NATO, of course. She is an unblushing admirer of Putin — a total fangirl. She believes that Western sanctions against his regime are unjust. And, as Hannan said, she is to the left of the French Socialist party on economics.
What’s more, said Hannan, “she mingles this socialism with an element of nationalism, and we’ve seen that before, and it’s a fairly ugly cocktail.”
Putin’s critics and political opponents tend to drop like flies, you may have noticed. In the past couple of weeks, there have been at least three incidents.
Yevgeny Khamaganov, a journalist, 35 years old, died in an emergency room. This death has so far been unexplained. Two years ago, thugs jumped him and broke his neck. Yet, when he recovered, he continued his work. Amazing, that people do this.
In Kiev, Denis Voronenkov has been shot dead in the street. He was once a member of the Russian parliament. He fled to Ukraine and sought asylum there. He was a key witness in the treason case against Viktor Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president, who is now protected by Putin in Russia. Voronenkov will testify no more.
Nikolai Gorokhov had an important court date. He is the lawyer for the family of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer and whistleblower who was tortured to death in 2009. The day before his court appearance, Gorokhov was tossed from the fourth floor of his apartment building. He is still alive. But he ain’t going to court.
“A new world has emerged,” says Marine Le Pen. A good world? There are people, in Russia and elsewhere, who are working for a better world. A much better world.
One of them is Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian democracy leader. I first met him at the Oslo Freedom Forum last year. He had been poisoned and almost died. He was walking with a cane. In early February — February 2017 — he was poisoned again. Again, he almost died. He is now in the United States, and I met with him a few days ago. Will have much to say about him in coming weeks.
Madame Le Pen may be right that the tide of history is with her and her ilk. (A favorite Bob Novak word, “ilk.”) But tides can be changed — for good or ill — by determined people.