French authorities are reaching their wit's end dealing with the yellow vest protest rallies rocking Paris and cities across France over the last four weeks. On Sunday, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security, an inter-ministerial organ of the French government, was investigating reports of Russian meddling in the protest movement following UK media reports about alleged 'Russia-linked' Twitter accounts fueling the rallies online. Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the allegations outright on Monday, saying Moscow "considers everything that happens purely an internal affair of France."
Also Sunday, Le Drian asked Donald Trump to butt out of France's internal affairs after the US president issued a pair of tweets claiming the yellow vests protests were related to the Paris climate change accords and demanding that his French counterpart drop his 'European Army' idea. "I say to Donald Trump, and the President of the Republic tells him too: We do not take part in American [political] debates, so please let our country live its own life," Le Drian said.
"It can't be ruled out that, sometime in the near future, the idea that the unrest in Paris was instigated by Russian propaganda will not only become extremely popular among European and US media, but also serve as a pretext for the next round of anti-Russian sanctions," the journalist wrote.
"On the other hand, if we abstract ourselves from the latest episode of anti-Russian media hysteria, it can be argued that an absolutely unique socio-political experiment is currently underway in Paris," Danilov added. Namely, the yellow vests movement can help answer the question of whether it's "possible for a colour revolution to succeed if it is not supported by the European political establishment."
For now, the journalist argued, "the most likely answer seems to be 'no, it can't.' But as the saying goes, the show isn't over 'till the fat lady sings, and the game in France is far from its conclusion."
A Series of Coincidences
According to Danilov, up to now, "commentators and experts who have pointed to a Trump 'footprint' in events in France…have been ridiculed for giving in to conspiracy theories. Of course, one can choose to sincerely believe in the following chain of coincidences: a) Macron declares the need to create a European army, the need to achieve complete European sovereignty from the US, indicates a readiness to resist to the end in the trade war with Washington, attempts to create a mechanism to bypass US sanctions on Iran, and supports reducing the role of the US dollar in the European and global financial system. b) literally out of nowhere, he gets a real colour revolution on his hands, complete with the recognizable colour symbols, decentralized coordination using social networks, [Ukrainian Maidan-style] skipping schoolchildren, heart-rending footage of street musicians playing for protesters against the background of the 'dreaded police', and even video of protesters being beaten and humiliated by police amid cries of 'they are children'."
And the "coincidences" don't end there, Danilov noted, with President Trump tweeting Macron, urging him to pay up for NATO, abandon the Paris agreement on climate change, and even claim that the yellow vests protesters are really chanting "we Want Trump!"
The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting “We Want Trump!” Love France.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 8 декабря 2018 г.
The idea of a European Military didn’t work out too well in W.W. I or 2. But the U.S. was there for you, and always will be. All we ask is that you pay your fair share of NATO. Germany is paying 1% while the U.S. pays 4.3% of a much larger GDP — to protect Europe. Fairness!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 8 декабря 2018 г.
"Maybe it is a coincidence that Steve Bannon, Trump's chief political consultant and coordinator of his election campaign, an expert on 'guerrilla' political organizations, who is now in Europe with the openly stated goal of creating a pro-Trump political movement, recently said in Brussels that the French protesters were 'the same voters who elected Trump.'"
"I repeat, it's possible that all of this really was just a coincidence; but nevertheless, one can be excused for treating" the current narrative, "that Macron was simply unlucky and that the unrest 'just happened' without any outside interference, with a grain of salt," the journalist noted.
Nor does this mean that the yellow vests movement is artificial, Danilov stressed. "Quite the opposite: any textbook on coups d'etat, starting with the famous fundamental work on the subject by US political scientist Edward Luttwak 'Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook', recommends that the coup's organizers and architects take advantage of problems and contradictions yjsy exist in a given country."
"But support for the protests is based on a 'negative' agenda, i.e., a large number of French would simply like to send Elysees Palace the message that Macron's politics and Macron himself have evoked colossal annoyance." At the same time, the yellow vests do not have a leader, and there is no single political force which could unify the movement into something constructive, Danilov emphasized.
"Incidentally, the skill and consistency with which any attempt by even the most marginal and radical of French politicians to integrate into this movement may be a sign that it was envisioned, from the start, simply as a battering ram to be used against France, its economy and political system. It's entirely possible that those standing behind this 'colour revolution' don't need any actual reforms, and that they are not at all interested in the wants and needs of ordinary French people. Their anger and hope for change for the better are simply being used to destroy their own state. And all this prompts the question: is this not reminiscent of anything?"
Ultimately, Danilov warned that judging by the recent appearance of yellow vest protests in neighboring Belgium and the Netherlands, it can be said that not just France, but also Europe as a whole, including its prosperous Western part, is facing a systemic social crisis making its nations vulnerable to such upheavals.
For many decades, revolutions, Maidan-style coups and civil wars passed Europe by. "But now, the era of calm is over, social contradictions have piled up, and the political system is clearly no longer capable of adequately responding to social challenges. And that means that sooner or later, many European capitals will light up like today's Paris," Danilov concluded.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.