Macron acknowledges EU is Washington’s “vassal”
Tehran Times – The French President’s Macron remarks sparked a backlash abroad as he faces mass protests at home. Both issues are linked.
Emmanuel Macron has faced a storm of criticism from the hawks in the United States as well as some EU members after standing by his remarks that the bloc should be independent from Washington’s militaristic foreign policy.
The statements come at a time that Macron is facing waves of strikes and protests at home over his deeply unpopular pension reforms, measures introduced after the eruption of the Ukraine war.
The United States is now seeking to provoke China into a military conflict with Taiwan by sending weapons to Taipei and holding high level talks with separatist forces in violation of the One-China principle.
The French leader initially said the European Union should not be dragged into another crisis in China being initiated by the United States over Taiwan. He warned that Europe should end its policy of being “caught up in crises that are not ours”.
He made the remarks last week after holding talks with Chinese President Xi in Beijing and warned that “the worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic (Taiwan) and adapt to the American rhythm.”
“Do we [Europeans] have an interest in speeding up on the subject of Taiwan? No. The worst of things would be to think that we Europeans must be followers on this subject and adapt ourselves to an American rhythm” for fear of a “Chinese overreaction”, Macron told Politico and French newspaper Les Echos following a trip last week to China.
Mainstream U.S. and French news media outlets have also quoted him as saying that Europe must also reduce dependence on the U.S. dollar to limit its reliance on Washington.
He added it would be “a trap for Europe” and that “we will not have the time, nor the means to finance our own strategic autonomy and we will become vassals, whereas we could become the third pole [in the world order] if we have a few years to develop this.”
Macron’s argument has drawn a wave of backlash from U.S. hawks as well as some European officials.
Yet the French President has refused to backtrack, instead going one step further by saying that being a U.S. ally does not mean being a “vassal” of the United States and getting involved in U.S. conflicts.
The calls for Europe to grow its own “strategic autonomy” is nothing new, but the fact that Macron has now tied this issue with Taiwan and other U.S. initiated crises around the world has sparked anger amid concern over a transatlantic divide.
China views self-ruled Taiwan as one of its provinces and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. However, for decades now, Beijing has advocated for a peaceful reunification. Washington appears hell-bent on triggering a conflict by arming Taiwanese separatist forces to the teeth.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio warned on social media that “If Macron speaks for all of Europe, and their position now is they’re not going to pick sides between the U.S. and China over Taiwan…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.”
Lost on Rubio’s statement is that the U.S. instigated the war in Ukraine on European soil.
But this has not been lost on some European governments who have seen massive protests and strikes that have paralyzed countries across the continent as inflation hits record levels as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, some EU officials, who were never voted into their posts by the Europeans themselves have also hit out at Macron’s remarks.
European leaders are becoming increasingly favorable toward French President Emmanuel Macron’s push for “strategic autonomy” away from the United States, European Council boss Charles Michel said Tuesday.
As controversy swells around Macron’s comments that Europe should resist pressure to become “America’s followers,” Michel suggested that the French politician’s position was not isolated among EU leaders. While Macron spoke as the French president, his views reflect a growing shift among EU leaders, Michel said.
“There has been a leap forward on strategic autonomy compared to several years ago,” Michel told French television show La Faute à l’Europe aired on Wednesday.
“On the issue of the relationship with the United States, it’s clear that there can be nuances and sensitivities around the table of the European Council. Some European leaders wouldn’t say things the same way that Emmanuel Macron did … I think quite a few really think like Emmanuel Macron.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people held mass strikes and protests nationwide on Thursday for the 12th time on Thursday since January over the government’s controversial pension measures.
Macron has been forced to override a parliamentary vote and force through his bill on changing the pension system including raising the retirement age. The bill is now awaiting approval from the constitutional council before Macron will be free to sign it into law.
He argues that these measures are necessary to balance the financial system in France.
Protest organizers say they don’t care what the constitutional council rules and will continue to stage nationwide demonstrations. The rallies have morphed, with placards calling for an end to the Ukraine war.
However the protesters, who have been met with brutal violence by French police, say they have lost faith in French democracy and Macron is carrying out the pension overhaul as he has nothing to lose.
The French President is serving his final tenure in office as he is ineligible to run for a third term.
The use of force against angry protesters is reminiscent of the violence against the Yellow Vest Movement, a protest campaign that hit the streets across France every Saturday before the Covid pandemic brought the demonstrations to a halt.
Macron is taking the controversial measures because of the Ukraine war, claiming it will ultimately prevent the collapse of the pension system in the coming years.
The protesters beg to differ, saying the measures have been very undemocratic as parliament was prevented from voting on the bill.
The French government, like other European governments, is fully aware that the Ukraine war has backfired on them as Washington reaps the benefits with tens of billions of dollars in arms sales and the exports of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) at “astronomical prices”.
Meanwhile, European households are witnessing an unprecedented hike in food products and energy prices, something they have not seen for decades.
This all comes as a direct result of the Ukraine war, which the U.S. started by expanding NATO to Russian borders. Last year, Macron also sparked anger among American and European hawks by saying that Russia would need security guarantees when the time is ripe to negotiate a peace settlement with Ukraine.
Macron’s trip to China was aimed at seeking Beijing’s help to end the fighting on Europe’s doorstep.