Emmanuel Macron’s interview with the British The #Economist this week deserves close scrutiny.
The French president wants to name the “unthinkable” and make its consequences clear. He opens three chapters on the still unthinkable.
Let us think the unthinkable
First: “Europe is gradually losing track of its history”. Macron’s criticism of this oblivion of history: “Europe has forgotten that it is a community, which is not merely a market, it’s a political project.”
Macron speaks here like Helmut Schmidt’s and Helmut Kohl’s foster son – something their German descendants at most dare to do behind closed doors.
Secondly, it was unthinkable five years ago “to have an American ally turning his back on us so quickly”. That is what President Donald Trump is aiming for. Macron’s generalization does indeed overlook, as the FAZ commented, that the US Congress is just sending 20,000 American soldiers to the eastern flank of #NATO.
The ally turning his back on us
In the same breath, France’s president repeats the NATO mantra of Europeans: “The United States remains our major ally, we need them”.
Macron then hits the point that is essential for him, because his sharpest messages are not for Trump, but for the Europeans: “We find ourselves for the first time with an American president who doesn’t share our idea of the European project”.
The consequences can be seen in Syria. “You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another NATO ally, Turkey… No NATO planning, nor any coordination.”
Is NATO really brain-dead?
At this point the much quoted diagnosis of the “brain death of NATO” in the media falls. Hard words – but a wrong diagnosis? “NATO, which phone number?”, one would like to mock like Henry Kissinger once did – but at the time he meant the disunited and incapable EU. Another ancestral line that goes back far into the 20th century.
Third chapter of the still unthinkable: “”The rebalancing of the world goes hand in hand with the rise.. of China as a power, which creates the risk of bipolarization and clearly marginalizes Europe.”
Macron is not over-dramatising the world
His famous predecessor Charles de Gaulle suspected and feared this half a century ago.
No, Macron is “not over-dramatising things”. And contrary to what Chancellor Angela Merkel claims in her response to Macron, “such an all-round attack” (Merkel) is indeed necessary today.
Because the French citizen, currently very concerned about a pension reform, or the Berlin coalition, abysmally involved in the basic pension, Macron alone currently dares the brushstroke on the horror picture with the title “Look, Europe, this is your world”.
Europe, just look out of the window!”
As a European, you don’t have to choose between Macron’s escalation and Merkel’s appeasement, yes, you can’t even do so. Whether shocked or reassured, Europe just has to look.
First out the window.
And then look in the mirror.