Security, terrorism, defense, international relations and identity: why we will vote for François Fillon
While this topic has been curiously absent from the campaign of a majority of the candidates, terrorism invited itself over the past few days on the French political scene: on Thursday evening, April 20, at 20:45, an individual opened fire at policemen at the Champs-Elysées, killing one of them and severely wounding 2 others, while a U.S tourist was lightly wounded. Three days earlier, on Tuesday morning, April 18, 2 terrorists preparing an imminent attack were arrested in Marseille, shortly before acting on their plans.
On Sunday, April 23, France will go to the polls for the first round of what appears to be the most difficult and certainly the most decisive of presidential elections under the Fifth Republic. And it will do so while experiencing the most serious security threat that France had known for decades.
In this context, we think that only François Fillon is able to stand up to the adversity that has had a major impact on us since January 7, 2015. We also think that he is the best placed, thanks to his experience, his determination, his comprehension of the topic and his calm demeanor, to handle other problems which also represent the focus of our concerns: the protection of the French identity, the management of the issue of immigration, or the combat against all kinds of extremism. Finally, we know that he is also the best to build a large coalition which will be able to defeat the jihadist hydra and restore a just and acceptable world order.
This is why we have decided to vote for François Fillon and this is why we call on those who still believe in France and its future to do the same.
For several years France has been immersed in an exceptionally serious economic situation, as it suffers too much from reforms promises and never (or very little) accomplished, it is tired and discouraged and it does not know what position it has on the international scene, or whether it wants to have any position at the international scene at all...
Now, despite the defeatists, those who give up and those ready to promise everything only to compromise on all of it afterwards, France had been and still is one of the biggest world power players: it had been and still is a cultural and civilizational model for many, it had been and still is one of the important voices in the community of nations, it is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and as such it can have certain influence on things, it is a nuclear power and remains one of the rare European countries to possess significant military capabilities and, above all, is willing to use them if necessary ; may it be on its own, as seen in Mali and in Sahel for several years or as a part of big coalitions which it actively builds and stimulates as we can observe today in Syria and Iraq, and previously in Afghanistan.
But France doubts itself, France suffers, France is tempted by the withdrawal or by the leap into the unknown, which manifests itself by the votes for the far-right or the far-left.
Certainly, in this extreme confusion, one candidate has emerged and has presented himself as the candidate of change, rupture and revival. But can Emmanuel Macron, who has followed an absolutely classic path – former ENA student, finance inspector who had switched to the private sector, former member of the Socialist Party –, truly be the candidate of “revival”? Can Mr. Macron, who was in 2012 assistant secretary-general of the cabinet of the President François Hollande and then, from 2014 to the end of 2016, the Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs of the same President, be the candidate of “rupture”? Wondering about it is already a first element of response. His candidature and his movement En Marche (incidentally it should be also noted that never before in the past has a French politician named the party he had created based on his name’s initials, which already says a lot about his personality and about the role of providential man that he intends to play…) do not guarantee any rupture, but rather the continuity of the politics that the French society clearly does not want anymore. If Mr. Macron is the providential man, he is the one mostly for those ministers of the socialist government and other senior leaders of the Socialist Party who have well understood that the disastrous choice of Benoît Hamon as the party’s official candidate would lead the party to a bitter defeat and deprive them of their power for a long time. This is nothing but a well thought-out “marketing product” which allows the entourage of François Hollande to keep control.
Emmanuel Macron as President would mean everything but a change. The vagueness he has been maintaining regarding his vision of the management of migration questions also demonstrates that he will be unable to (or unwilling to) deal with this issue, which is nevertheless crucial for the majority of our fellow citizens. Concerning other major topics, he will be without any doubt also “floating.”
In addition, Mr. Macron does not have any international experience in a world where the President of the Republic will have to, in the upcoming days, to renew the dialogue with Russia, negotiate with China and participate in the pacification of the Middle-East region. Considering his natural tendencies, we can therefore fear that in these questions he would be only the fade intermediary of the U.S. hegemony. Finally, a certain opacity which surrounds the financing of his campaign and his movement allows to wonder, considering his professional past in the bank Rothschild, on the influence the international financial and bank sector could have on him. Incidentally, the same opacity surrounds the private property of a man who, having become a millionaire with Rothschild, has declared that after leaving this bank he has not been “earning enough anymore in order to pay his taxes.” 
The former number three of the national gendarmerie, General Bertrand Soubelet who had, at one point, been seduced by the leader maximo of En Marche, said several weeks ago at the moment of his rupture with Mr. Macron : “Emmanuel Macron asked me to join his movement with the promise that he would do politics differently, that he would end with partisan differences, that he would participate in the renewal of the political staff […]. However, I noticed the very opposite of this. He accepts every official support, including from those issued from a government which has placed us in a deadlock for five years…” And to conclude: “the movement has become a recycling center where all those who had governed us since always now attempt to secure their place…”
As for the two other candidates of the quartet which dominates the opinion polls, suffice to say that both seem to us as gravediggers of the future. Mr. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former Trotskyist and for years a stick-in-the-mud Senator of the Socialist Party, is an old horse returning into politics who would like to be seen as a new one. He merely presents to us, in a seducing manner and by using holograms, the old ideas of leftism, since he would wish to see France approaching the “Bolivarian alliance,” the coalition of far-left populists of Latin America. As for Mrs. Le Pen, she represents an inept economic program. Both of them would only ruin what remains from our credit, while precipitating us towards bankruptcy.
“Small” candidates (this being said without any contempt) do not communicate anything to us, considering that they stand no chance, besides generating the natural sympathy, such as Mr. Jean Lasalle and his “truth-speaking.”
It is not, however, “by default” or by following the simple logic of the “useful vote” that we encourage the vote for François Fillon: it is because we believe in his program and his force of character.
In order to limit ourselves to what is at the center of our activity, i.e. international security and geopolitics, here below are the arguments, in our opinion, which weigh in his favor:
- François Fillon made a clear commitment which he repeated on Thursday evening, April 20, on France 2: “The fight against the terrorism will be the priority number 1 of the new president.”
- Beyond the revocation of nationality, any Frenchman who has left to fight abroad in the terrorist ranks will be prohibited from returning to national territory.
- Foreigners close to terrorist movements will be expelled.
- At the international level, he will work on building a big anti-jihadist coalition including, among others, Russia and Iran.
- However, at the difference of others, François Fillon has well understood the essential link between jihadism and Islamist ideology: not satisfied with merely tackling violence, he will also equip the State to fight Salafism and the “soft” Islamist ideology of Muslim Brothers. The “laicité” will be reinforced.
- In terms of Defence, he will maintain and modernize the nuclear deterrence forces, gradually increase the budget of the army in order to reach 2% of the GDP at the end of his five-year term and strengthen the link between the army and the nation.
- He will reduce legal immigration to the minimum and will manage the issuing of residence permits in order to prevent the reinforcement of communitarianism; he will reform and reinforce the conditions of acquisition of the French nationality.
- At the European level, he will push for the reinforcement of external borders, demand a reform of Schengen agreements and force Europe to equip itself with resources to acquire military weight on the international scene.
- At the international level, while claiming to be “a loyal and independent ally of the United States”, he will reinstate “the dialogue and the relations of trust with Russia which has to become again an important partner” and will engage more with China.
General Betrand Ract-Madoux, former Chief of Staff of the French Army (2011-2014), explained on April 20: “The situation requires to promote as commander-in-chief a man who is already prepared, disciplined, of recognized stature and strengthened by a parliamentary majority ready to support his decisions to go fast, a man whose hand will not shake. Among the 11 candidates it is François Fillon who seems to be the best equipped to be the next one to become commander-in-chief.”
For all these reasons that we have just presented and, more generally, because the integrality of his program seems to us the most reasonable, the most accomplished and who corresponds the best to the interest of France, to which he will enable to resume its rank, we will vote for François Fillon.
And this, of course, as of the first round on Sunday, April 23: the time is too serious to squander the votes necessary to undertake this new path of hope: France needs us! Let’s come up to the mark!
 Général Soubelet : “En marche est devenu une recyclerie”, Le Figaro, 7 avril 2017; http://premium.lefigaro.fr/elections/presidentielles/2017/03/29/35003-20170329ARTFIG00302-general-soubelet-en-marche-est-devenu-une-recyclerie.php