In "Upheavals", François Hollande draws up a worrying diagnosis of the withering of democracies

Book. War in Ukraine, global warming, rise of sovereignism, weakening of democracies… In Upheavals, François Hollande looks back over the past ten years, which have reshuffled the cards of the major world balances. The former head of state mainly feeds this 100-page book with anecdotes from his mandate. We meet there, through his personal eyes, Vladimir Poutine, Xi Jinping, Joe Biden, Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Mohammed Ben Salman.

His reflections on the Russian president shed light on the news on a cruel day. 1er June 2012, in his office at the Elysée, the former national secretary of the Socialist Party discovers a man obsessed with NATO and the United States, "hungry to go back in time, eager (…) to figure it out ». "Convinced enemy of democracy", Vladimir Putin practices "a very elaborate art of lying". It is therefore illusory to hope for anything, slice the former French president, who thus criticizes the posture of Emmanuel Macron. We should not try to seduce Vladimir Putin by boasting to him of a Europe going “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”, as the current tenant of the Elysée did, in 2019, by inviting him to Brégançon (Var). And it is just as illusory to hope to resolve the Ukrainian crisis through dialogue.

Added to the imperialist madness of the Russian president are the desires of the Chinese president to “taking revenge on past humiliation” and of "counteract the American influence". In ten years, global geopolitics has thus been reorganized around two great powers, China and the United States, “each with its auxiliary, Russia for one, Europe for the other”. Desires for expansion have spread to other places on the planet, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or Turkey. François Hollande recounts, for example, the different faces of Erdogan, who was once favorable to Turkey's entry into the European Union, before falling into anti-Western hatred. Ostensibly “warm and welcoming”the Turkish head of state can become "brittle and angry"like his “false enemy Vladimir Putin”.

“Defensive Patriotism”

Another trend, the emergence of “sovereignty wave”, hitherto confined to the margins of democracies, and to which Brexit has given a driving force. In 2015, the president tried, with Angela Merkel, to dissuade David Cameron from conducting a risky referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. In vain. The election of Donald Trump then completed the arrival of"a chilly nationalism" and D'“defensive patriotism”, which feed the European extremist parties.

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