Regardless of longstanding political and historical ties between Paris and Moscow, French president Hollande is parroting Washington's anti-Russian rhetoric, French writer Gabriel Matzneff writes in his opinion piece for Le Point, a French weekly political and news magazine.
"The tone adopted by French pundits and journalists toward the doping scandal that has shaken Russian athletics on the eve of the Rio Olympic Games does not surprise me. It is the approach the Elysee Palace and the Quai d'Orsay — the renegades of the traditional Franco-Russian friendship — have demonstrated since the presidential election of 2012, parroting slogans dictated by Washington to judge the Russian diplomacy either in Ukraine, or Crimea, or Syria or elsewhere," Matzneff underscores.
However, there were only two leaders who adopted an anti-Russian stance, leaning toward Berlin and Washington — Marshal Philippe Petain and President Francois Hollande, the French writer continues.
Holland is repeating US President Obama's mantra that "Russia is the enemy" although it bears no relation to reality, Matzneff stresses.
The scandal over Russia allegedly running a state-wide doping program championed by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is regarded by the writer as yet another sign of the anti-Russian propaganda campaign engulfing Europe.
Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, shares a similar stance, stressing that the ongoing developments have all the earmarks of the new Cold War between the West and Russia.
In his latest interview on The John Batchelor Show Professor Cohen recalled that during the 1960s the field he was working in — Russian Studies — was still affected by the sweeping McCarthyism of the 1950s.
It is worth mentioning that "McCarthyism" later became a synonym of the practice of making unfair and groundless allegations.
However, it seems that the history is repeating itself and neo-McCarthyism has caught a second wind, Cohen noted.
"This Olympic politics does pass my smell test," Professor Cohen noted, "It all lies on an utterly fantastic story written by the New York Times back in May based on a Russian defector by the name Dr. Rodchenkov who was a head of [an anti-doping laboratory] in Russia."
Both Matzneff and Cohen called attention to the fact that the West could have benefitted from cooperation with Russia in Syria, instead of making efforts to ostracize Moscow and its leadership.
For his part, Matzneff highlights that while France has for centuries been the protector of the Catholic community in the Middle East, Russia was supporting the Orthodox community in the region. So far both countries have been preserving the security and peace of Christians in the Middle East.
The French writer insists that Francois Hollande as well as other Western leaders should have sided with the secular government in Syria, like Russian President Putin. In contrast, Paris and Washington are trying to destroy Bashar al-Assad by arming so-called "rebels" which are dreaming of transforming the secular and multi-ethnic Syrian state into an Islamist entity.
According to Professor Cohen, US Secretary of State John Kerry has recently made a series of steps in the right direction by proposing the Russians to team up in Syria to defeat Daesh and al-Qaeda's affiliate al-Nusra Front.
Such cooperation, according to the US academic, could pave the way for the US-Russian détente and bring an end to the ongoing Cold War. However, the US academic noted, the plan of the Russo-American cooperation in Syria has currently been attacked by the US "war party" led by US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.