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Ishaan Tharoor Reporter covering foreign affairs, geopolitics and history November 12 at 12:59 Want smart analysis of the most important…
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It was another embarrassing European visit for President Trump, who traveled to Paris on Friday for ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It could have been an easy opportunity to repair the fence and honor the victims of Washington’s traditional allies. Instead, Trump only underscores the vast Gulf between the United States and its European partners.
Before he even landed, Trump forced controversy by attacking French President Emmanuel Macron over comments Macron made about international security.
Then, on Saturday, Trump skipped a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, honoring American soldiers killed in the battle of Belleau Wood – due to rain in Paris. The decision got a furious reaction from US commentators and observers elsewhere, saying that the bad weather should not have stopped Trump from performing its duty. A host of other leaders and dignitaries, including the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, braved the elements to pay their respect.
“Rain was a common feature on the west front,” Tobias Ellwood, a conservative British parliamentarian and the country’s minister of veterans quipped in a tweet . “Thankfully, it did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job.”
On Sunday, Trump – like Russian President Vladimir Putin – jumped over a procession of dozens of world leaders who went down together in the Champs Elysees against the Arc of Triumph. Symbolism was not lost on the pressress . Then, through the famous monument, Macron gave a keen opposition to Trump’s “America First” agenda.
“Nationalism is a treason of patriotism “By putting our own interests first, without regard to others, we erase the thing that a nation loves and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values.”
Whatever “bromance” once existed between Trump and his French counterpart has long faded, in spite of some artful tweets were shared this weekend . Trump resigned from both the Paris Climate Agreement and Iran’s nuclear agreement, ignoring Macron’s efforts to convince him otherwise. He has cheered the rise of right-wing populists throughout Europe, including native rivals of Macron. Meanwhile, the French President has deliberately contradicted Trump.
“I think [Macron] has become an illusion of Trump who flatters him will be a way of getting concessions,” told Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution. “But he is hesitant to push hard because he is not sure what it will get him. It’s careful realism.”
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Macron insisted that his conviction is not that of the jet-setting “globalist” caricature developed by Trump and his very right counterparts in Europe, but instead of a pragmatic internationalist aware of the common challenges facing world leaders.
“I would say I’m a patriot. I believe our people are very important and that French people are different from German people…… But I’m not a nationalist,” said Macron. “I’m a strong believer in Cooperation between the different peoples and I strongly believe in the fact that this cooperation is good for all, where nationalists are sometimes much more based on a one-sided strategy and the strongest law, which is not my case. It’s probably our difference. “
In that conviction, Macron joined the German Chancellor Angela Merkel – probably the most important establishment figure in Europe, but a reduced leader now clearly in the twilight of his career.” It’s easy to destroy institutions, but it’s extremely difficult to build them, “Merkel said on Sunday, once again to defend the international order after World War II that has guaranteed a lot of Europe’s decades of peace and prosperity.
On Saturday Macron and Merkel went to Compiegne, where the World War II Armistice was signed and where Hitler forced France’s enactment in 1940. In a place of national victory and defeat for both countries, they stood for unity.
But such an emotional scene may not really reflect the spirit of today. . Like Macron, Merkel has been warned for Europe’s need to strengthen collectively for an unreliable United States. Still, both leaders meet st conduct political tests at home.
Macron’s approval requirements fell to record low in recent months. A vote last week put Macron’s centristary party behind French far before next year’s elections to the European Parliament. And Merkel’s announcement that she will not seek re-election as German Chancellor was seen as a hallmark of the diminishing gap of liberal centrism on the continent.
When both right and left gather strength, European leaders fight to find common ground on issues ranging from monetary policy to immigration and how to confront the Kremlin.
“The Europeans are Deeply Distinguished – and on the Groundwork”, Dominique Moïsi, a foreign policy analyst at the Institute Montaigne in Paris and former Macron campaign advisor told my colleague James McAuley. “He is weakened by the fact that he is orphaned by Merkel and he is weakened within the spectacular fall of his popularity.”
These parts – and his own domestic traveler – hold Macron’s attempts at global leadership, analysts suggest. “There is a clear North-South division across the euro crisis and an East-West division of migration and Russia,” announced Mark Leonard of the European Council on Foreign Relations Posten. “You also have highly polarized societies in most Member States, and this means that a single leader in Europe is kind of utopian at the moment.”
As part of the visit’s well-being, Macron declared its “great solidarity” with trump. But the true bond they share can simply be for presidents who fight up fighting.
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