President Emmanuel Macron of France is on an official state visit to the United States; during this trip he will address Congress and have a meeting with President Trump. How such a meeting should be interpreted greatly depends on your perspective.
On the surface, Macron has some things in common with Trump. Only a year before the election, Macron’s party did not exist, and he was officially an outsider. In the French election he was able to derail both the major establishment candidates – just like Trump.
However, apart from their similar path to power, all other similarities stop there. Macron is a typical globalist, staunch European Union supporter and firmly part of the political establishment. When he won the presidential election, he played the E.U. anthem, not the French. Thus, it is more appropriate to call him the insider-outsider candidate.
A Track Record
As a former minister of the socialist government he held credibility on the left, but his promises of economic reforms also persuaded many on the right to vote for him. It is also highly likely that once the establishment realized that he would win the election, they created ties with him to secure his allegiance to the E.U.
As such he should politically in many ways be considered the antithesis to Donald Trump.
That’s why his state visit to America is so interesting. Given the recent protectionist acts by Trump, one would expect there to be an icy relationship.
However, it may be wise to separate their personas from their roles as state leaders. France and the United States are still NATO partners, and they have multiple points of coinciding self-interests on security and trade.
First, there is the situation in Syria. To many Trump supporters’ surprise and dismay, he aligned with the political establishment both at home and in the E.U. in the response to the chemical weapon attacks in Syria. The Iran nuclear deal will also be an important topic of discussion, because Trump has once again expressed a different view from the establishment in the past. Will he align himself here too? If so, why?
The E.U. is worried about the prospects of a trade war with America. Macron will surely want to try to persuade Trump to change his tune. That’s not going to happen unless Macron offers some sweet concessions. What that will be, if any, remains to be seen.
Finally, Macron – along with the entire European establishment – is deeply concerned but also intrigued by the recent development in North Korea. Although not officially a topic to be discussed, it would be strange if they did not exchange any words on the issue.
From an official point of view, the state visit is a signal that the European globalists have recovered from the initial shock of Donald Trump and are willing to normalize the relationship, rekindling ordinary diplomatic relations.
A visit to affirm the longstanding US-French friendship is French for saying that the globalist establishment has accepted Trump. What that means in practice remains to be seen.