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23 Aug, 2023 15:58

BRICS should set up a kiddie table for Western leaders like Macron

The French president could use some of the same condescending treatment Brussels gives to EU aspirants
BRICS should set up a kiddie table for Western leaders like Macron

There’s no ‘F’ (for France) in ‘BRICS’ but that didn’t stop French President Emmanuel Macron from trying to “F” it up. 

It wasn’t that long ago that Western leaders wouldn’t give BRICS the time of day, treating the economic bloc like the girl next door who didn’t warrant even a second glance. But now that she’s all grown up and has a massive purchasing-power-adjusted GDP that’s set to beat that of the G7, according to the International Monetary Fund, it seems to have triggered Macron’s seduction instincts. And probably his gold-digging ones, too, particularly given the richness of natural resources of the BRICS member states and their partners, notably in Africa, and at a time when France and Europe face a greater lack of resources, due to misguided policies on everything from cutting off cheap Russian energy over the conflict in Ukraine to having the welcome mat yanked out from under them in Africa, with stability operations that resulted in a proliferation of coups.

If any Western leader was going to have the audacity to try getting into a summit led by countries that they’re constantly bullying – notably China and Russia – it makes sense that it would be Macron. The French president has a unique talent for speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. On one hand, he caters to Washington’s agenda by toeing its party line on Russia and China, while at the same time he occasionally brings up the need to maintain strategic autonomy from Washington. But whenever there’s a choice to be made, Macron ultimately follows the Washington agenda, even when it’s to France’s and the EU’s economic detriment.

But the mere fact that he’d asked for an invite to the 15th BRICS summit this week allows Macron to lay claim to open-mindedness. He can say that, hey, he tried to reach out, but that his hand was pushed away – which is like badmouthing a girl and then telling everyone that she won’t go out with you when she turns you down. Anyone with half a brain would think that the best thing to do now would be to go away and start proving yourself through your actions before asking for another date. The good news for Macron is that there’s no better time for non-alignment, particularly since going all-in with the Western camp’s US-led agenda hasn’t worked out too well for the average French citizen suffering from a seemingly endless cost-of-living crisis.

Macron wants a date with BRICS so badly that the bloc should really do with him and other Western leaders what Macron himself decided last year that the European Union should do with prospective members: set up a ‘kiddie table.’ The new ‘Baby BRICS’ summit could be the equivalent of Macron’s ‘European Political Community’ of countries seen as still having to prove themselves for EU membership, but who can still score an invite to a smaller summit alongside the ‘adult’ one, in the hope of being chosen for cherry-picked special trade relationships and customs arrangements of primary benefit to the EU.

The next BRICS meeting should set up such a kiddie table, like the EU does, not too far from the venue but yet not close enough to contaminate the bloc’s multipolar agenda and camaraderie – or to be traumatized by it like the single-minded babies that Western leaders are. Have a clown show up to make some animal balloons for them so they can be distracted from the kind of diversity of views and analysis that has recently sent them into censorship frenzies against platforms like RT.

Just imagine the kind of horror show Macron would have had to endure had he actually been allowed to attend this week’s annual BRICS summit. He would have had to listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin speak via video about how the “international economy is seriously affected by illegitimate sanctions,” knowing that Macron cheer-led those same sanctions, shoved top-down on EU citizens by Brussels, while Macron stood idly by and failed to defend the French people against the economic devastation that they’ve caused in the form of skyrocketing costs of living.

He would have also had to put up with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticizing “new wave protectionism.” It would have been a reminder for Macron of his failure to convince the Biden administration to backtrack on its protectionist Inflation Reduction Act, which effectively favors “Made in America” green vehicles and components to the detriment of the EU’s – and primarily French and German – car industries. He could be reminded of how utterly useless he’s been as a leader, relegated to merely hoping that either Washington has a change of heart, or that BRICS manages to give France a helping hand by applying some pressure.

He could have sat there listening to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk about India’s desire to diversify its interests and partners even more – risking leaving France with a smaller piece of the pie at a time when EU sanctions have cut it off from other opportunities.

Macron would have been subjected to a game of Russian roulette on handshakes with African leaders, not knowing whether he’d get a frosty reception from one or more of them in the wake of several West African nations booting out French troops – most recently Niger. Who’s next? Macron has no idea. Which is why he reportedly dressed down his own foreign intelligence service (the DGSE) in the wake of the latest coup.

Being an avowed admirer of former French President Charles De Gaulle, who yanked France out of the NATO command and kicked the Americans out of the country in order to guarantee independence post-WWII, Macron missed the opportunity to do the same in France’s own best economic interests when NATO picked a fight with Russia over Ukraine by loading the country up with weapons and trainers of Azov neo-Nazis. And now, BRICS, despite having started off as an economic alliance, can rally around Russia in support of a whole new multipolar worldview, thanks in large part to being spooked by the isolationist and punitive treatment of Russia by Washington and its vassals over Ukraine. If Macron is serious about impressing BRICS, then maybe he should first start acting more in line with the independence to which he pays lip-service in the desperate hope of scoring a kiss.

Until then, BRICS should only give him official invitations that feature cartoon characters and promises of “pin the tail on the donkey” fun. He can decide with the rest of his EU pals which one of them gets to be the donkey.

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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