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14 Apr, 2023 13:47

Macron has angered US lawmakers, but what lurks behind his China epiphany?

The French president has made bold statements about Western Europe asserting its independence from Washington’s belligerent foreign policy
Macron has angered US lawmakers, but what lurks behind his China epiphany?

En route back from his recent China visit, the French president suddenly started singing the praises of the independence of NATO's European members vis-à-vis Washington. But words are cheap.  

Aboard the presidential plane, Emmanuel Macron revealed the apparent and sudden epiphany he had; that Western Europe really doesn’t have to ride shotgun alongside Washington every time that it decides to load up the warmobile and speed down the regime-change highway.  

“The paradox would be that, overcome with panic, we believe we are just America’s followers,” Macron said, according to Politico. “The question Europeans need to answer … is it in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] on Taiwan? No. The worse thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction.” So Macron just figured out that France can have a foreign policy that’s independent of both East and West? Not sure how he managed to miss that lesson earlier, since he claims to be a big admirer of former French President Charles De Gaulle who kept France out of NATO, built a relationship with Moscow, and kicked the Americans out of France when they wanted to stick around indefinitely after the Second World War as they did in Germany. 

“Europeans cannot resolve the crisis in Ukraine; how can we credibly say on Taiwan, ‘watch out, if you do something wrong we will be there’? If you really want to increase tensions that’s the way to do it,” Macron told the journalists. If he realizes that the EU is useless in the Ukraine conflict, then why doesn’t the bloc cut its losses? Why continue to commit personnel, weapons, and funding to something Washington's European partners see as unresolvable in their favor in light of all the current efforts?

Had Macron come to this realization earlier, he may have been able to convince his EU counterparts not to jump off an economic cliff over Ukraine. In doing so, they have harmed their own energy supply and industries because the US wanted them to, thinking that it would bring the Russian economy to its knees, as French economy minister Bruno Le Maire has said.  

Macron now also says that Western European nations should reduce their dependence on the “extraterritoriality of the US dollar” and avoid becoming vassals. Incidentally, the French multinational TotalEnergies just transacted with China in yuan for the first time. 

Some US lawmakers are now furious with Macron. “If, in fact, Macron speaks for all of Europe, and their position now is they're not going to pick sides between the US and China over Taiwan, maybe we shouldn't be taking sides either. Maybe we should basically say we're going to focus on Taiwan and the threats that China poses, and you, guys, handle Ukraine and Europe,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio.  

Rubio is playing the “how could you, after everything we’ve done for you” card, now that Macron is flirting with China. Because Washington has just done so much for Europe in Ukraine? This is why Macron has pleaded with Washington for lower prices on gas exports to the EU, now that the bloc is dependent on US LNG having been encouraged by Washington to cut off their cheap Russian supply. And the Ukraine conflict is so good for Europe that Macron was begging US lawmakers on a visit to Washington last December to reconsider the impact of Biden’s protectionist Inflation Reduction Act on European industry, which has become vulnerable to energy shortages and skyrocketing prices as a result of Washington’s agenda on Ukraine. 

So if the US wants to let the EU handle Ukraine alone, as Rubio says, there’s a pretty good chance of peace breaking out. Perhaps he didn’t think that through very well. It’s worth recalling that Rubio was a strong advocate for killing off Europe’s Nord stream pipeline with sanctions and hit the roof when Biden considered lifting them. Then, when the pipelines were mysteriously blown up, he claimed that it’s just “common sense” that Russia did it. This is weird because there weren’t any Russian officials running around like Rubio and his fellow American neocons demanding its demise. 

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton also attacked Macron on Monday on Fox News, over the French president’s newfound disinterest in blindly following Washington into a conflict with China at the risk of it kicking off militarily. Cotton was most recently seen advocating sending American troops into US ally and next door neighbor, Mexico, ostensibly to fix America’s own fentanyl drug problem. 

But Macron went even further in his statements about China than simply expressing disinterest in being dragged into a new US-led conflict over Taiwan – and this has really been underreported. He also expressed an understanding of China’s position vis a vis Taiwan. “As Europeans, our concern is unity. The Chinese are also concerned with their unity, and Taiwan is a component of this unity from their point of view,” Macron said, according to Deutsche Welle.  

Macron sure has managed to get Washington’s attention fast. He goes over to China, leaves with a massive new economic deal for Airbus to sell 160 new commercial jets to China, leading to a foreign policy change of heart. This deal doubles the French-headquartered multinational’s production in the country, which ultimately amounts to a major victory over big global rival and Pentagon contractor, Boeing. 

It’s worth wondering, though, if there’s more to Macron’s recent proclamations than meets the eye. Could he simply be using his new position on China as a ploy to pressure the US to give Europe more to keep it on the team? After all, Macron is president of a country synonymous with seduction games. This all sounds like someone who was just given a pricey gift by a suitor and then flashes it to everyone in town. All while hoping that it gets back to their partner who hasn’t given them anything recently except headaches and a lower net worth. Now that frustrated partner, Washington, is behaving exactly as you’d expect a possessive lover to act.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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