There are moments when one almost dares to hope. Who actually wants this war? Many conflicts start with strutting and self-assertion on all sides, so that belligerence seems popular and there are few people to echo Walpole at the beginning of the War of Jenkins’ Ear: “They may ring their bells now. Before long, they will be wringing their hands.” But we are now in the hand-wringing phase, everywhere. To adapt Wilfred Owen, there are no passing bells, “only the monstrous anger of the guns.” Would Putin himself have agreed with the invasion if he had known the consequences?
The French economy has bounced back more quickly post-Covid than all of Europe’s other large economies.