Emanuel Macron’s visit to the US illustrates a major transformation of the Atlantic Alliance. Since the end of World War II in 1945, Europe has been beholden to the US, due to the major role it played in defeating Nazi Germany. (Until recently, neither the European nor the American public was aware of just how crucial the role of the Soviet Union had been, but writers critical of the current anti-Putin campaign have made a point of setting that record straight.)
What is still rarely talked about by the western media is the hold the Atlantic Alliance, set up by the United States just four years after the end of the war, still has on Europe. The reason for that hold is suggested by its full name, The North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO), under which Europe’s national armies are under American control, in pursuit of American goals. In the name of ‘grandeur’, when France’s war-time hero Charles de Gaulle was President of France from 1958 to 1969, he took France out of NATO’s integrated command and pursued an independent nuclear policy, known as the ‘force de frappe’, (the strike force) which he saw as a guarantor of French independence.
France did not return to NATO’s integrated command until 2009, and no French President, no matter how enamored of the United States he is, could ever afford to display anything but haughty independence on the diplomatic front, including Macron’s predecessor, Francois Hollande. The fact that less than a year after being elected, Emanuel Macron has been dubbed ‘the Trump whisperer’ is not as surprising as the Western media claims: the French President is riding on the coattails of Europe’s increasing desire to free itself from the Atlantic ties that bind, a sentiment that has only grown since the neo-liberal financial crisis of 2007, and the wave of immigration set in motion by US wars against Middle East and African populations.
President Trump’s early decision to leave the Paris Climate Accords signed by Obama, topped with his announced intention of renegotiating the P5+1 Nuclear Treaty with Iran, had already put two nails in the Atlantic coffin when Macron was elected in May of 2017. France and Germany have been the movers and shakers of Europe since the nineteen fifties Franco-German Coal and Steel Alliance that eventually led to the European Union, thus Macron’s obligatory partner is Angela Merkel, the four term German Chancellor, known affectionately as ‘Mutti’ who is seen as nearing the end of her rule. Although Macron’s habit of referring to himself as Jupiter earns him mockery at home, as part of a wider agenda to remake the European Union, he has seized the reins of transatlantic diplomacy.
The moment when the baton of European leadership passes from Germany to France is also a defining moment in US-Europe relations. Since the end of World War II, the US has been waving Russia at Europe like a matador waving a red flag in front of a bull; however, since his election in 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been increasingly winning friends and influencing Europe’s people. When, on top of the migration crisis, the US imposed sanctions on Russia for allegedly meddling in the 2016 election, with Europe bound by treaty to do likewise, things really began to sour. It’s difficult to know which event is the straw that is breaking the European camel’s back, but the arrival on the international scene of a young, no-nonsense leader with large ambitions has come in the nick of time to prevent the US from committing irreparable damage on the world scene. And that’s why Macron is being called ‘The Trump Whisperer’.
ER recommends other articles by New Eastern Outlook
Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years, exlusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.
Featured image courtesy of Reuters