It was always fashionable to make fun of international Geneva. To return the builders to their utopias, while mocking, with the same gesture, any hint of collective global organization. It happened again yesterday: after serial populist victories, reactionaries had their revenge. It was noisy and deep.

An “uninhibited” new media, slayers of “single thought,” denigrators of “bums” — feeling the rush, conservatives gave themselves over joyfully on all media platforms. The United Nations? A delirium of liberal technocrats. International law? A waste of time, even an outrage to popular sovereignty. Global governance? A humbug, or worse: an enormous social cocktail.

’Raze the Palace of Nations!’

In the end, the conservative revolution chanted the religion of the new old order. Raze the Palace of Nations, just like in Austria! Shoo, sweet dreamers. End the Obama nightmare and his elegant secretary of state’s jaunts around the lake. To replace them at the controls, get men, real ones. Like those whom we won’t find with their hand in a box of Auer chocolates between two rounds of discussions.

And then came May 8, 2018, and the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, announced by Donald Trump on world television. Incendiary and nihilist, in the manner of “better the end of the world than the return of Iran to the group of nations.” A few absurd minutes were all it took for President Orange to destroy an edifice patiently constructed by all, for the good of all.

On the Pedestal of Their Discredit

That day was Tuesday evening, when the old apostles of realism made a mistake. The march of the world had just proved them wrong. Indisputably wrong. They had despised diplomacy, sullied concord and all the summits: Geneva, Lausanne, Vienna. And now diplomacy, concord, Geneva, Lausanne, and Vienna, even lying on the ground and trampled under foot, remain what stands between them and chaos.

They will not apologize. Nor will they make amends. In the 21st century, we no longer apologize, we persist. Not shrinking from any contradiction, they will continue to crow of the nation’s unsurpassable horizon while calling … for Europe to bounce back from American wanderings. But it does not matter: May 8, 2018, will remain inscribed on the pedestal of their discredit.