Are the French people supposed to just forget the fact that the US is now the ultimate beneficiary of the recent cancellation of a €56 billion, 50-year French defense contract with Australia – all because Joe Biden admitted it was “clumsy” and now Kamala Harris has arrived for this week’s ‘Paris Peace Forum’, founded by President Emmanuel Macron in 2018?
Much of the Western press is framing the photo op of Harris and Macron outside the presidential palace as all smiles, with France’s sunken submarine sale to Australia – into which the US conveniently inserted itself – being portrayed as a mere tide that has since receded. In reality, however, it more closely resembles an economic tsunami.
Macron parading around with Harris – whose popularity is currently at a historic low among all US vice presidents at 27.8% – is about as likely to impress the French as much as she impresses Americans, despite what Macron tried to convey in front of her. “French people are extremely proud to have you,” Macron said. Yeah? Well, as someone in touch with “French people” on French soil every day, I can’t say that anyone even noticed that Harris was in town, let alone beamed with “pride” over her presence.
Macron’s optics are pathetic, not just in light of the empty rhetoric that he’s blowing up Harris’ skirt (not literally, of course), but also because of what it means for the French-US relationship more generally. Every one of us personally knows divorcing couples who have shown more self-respect than Macron has on behalf of his country of 67 million citizens vis-a-vis the US in the wake of being shafted out of a not-insignificant chunk of its future GDP.
Historically, Macron has never seemed bothered by the idea of kneeling before American interests. As minister of the economy under former Socialist Party president Francois Hollande, Macron authorized the sale of the country’s nuclear know-how to General Electric, by offloading the energy branch of the French industrial giant, Alstom, to the American multinational and defense contractor – a move that many citizens see as part of an ongoing sell-off of taxpayer-funded innovation to US interests.
Macron and Harris seem to now be attempting to paper over the utter screwing of the French people with little more than the joint-promotion of their ideological common ground. And that ideology can best be described as “globalist establishment.”
If Macron and Harris have something in common, it’s ultimately their shared view of the world as US-led and dictated, with the individual interests of American allies and their respective populations always taking a backseat to whatever is best for the US elites (which, to be clear, are by no means automatically aligned with the interests of the American people).
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Both Macron and Harris believe in the imposition of a US-centered “moral authority” on the world and other countries they deem less democratic than their own, even as each of their administrations hypocritically practice sanitary apartheid and mandate “one size fits all” medical acts on their own citizens just to keep their jobs and livelihoods under the pretext of Covid-19.
While Macron has, in the past, expressed the need for greater French and European sovereignty, he has failed to show any coherence on the topic. In the latest such example, when sitting down publicly with Biden last month on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, Macron seemed to go out of his way to underscore that his vision of “European sovereignty” and “European defense” is “completely compatible with NATO.”
Oh, really? Is Macron sure that NATO, which ultimately serves to spread the eventual blame around to allies riding shotgun in failed US-led military interventions (usually due to mission creep), is compatible with his also-stated desire to cooperate more closely with Russia on matters of national security, including cybersecurity and anti-terrorism?
Why is he so sure that the US will simply tolerate that behavior from France without some kind of repercussions – either overt or underhanded? You can’t expect to date whoever you want, when you still let your mom call the shots and depend on her largesse – which is apparently the case here, since Macron himself said in front of Harris that cooperation between the two countries is “absolutely critical.” It would also explain France’s muted response in the submarine fiasco.
Paris is never going to be able to make decisions independent of Washington if it’s constantly having to rely on American cooperation in places like the Sahel region of Africa. Over-reliance on the US for foreign missions also means that eventually the two countries end up competing for influence in these same places. And as long as it’s acting like a dependent of the US, that’s a contest France will always lose.
The French people aren’t stupid. Many are acutely aware that Macron and Harris’ brand of Washington-centered globalism is about as beneficial to the average French citizen as it is to Americans. The fact that they’re trying to put on a show here in Paris that conveys otherwise is an insult to the intelligence of the critically thinking people of two entire nations.
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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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