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Friday, April 27, 2018

Trump-Macron: from ‘bromance’ to ‘frenemies’

Por MRod

On his last day of state visit, the French President Macron abandoned his bromance with Donald Trump and showed him the opposite: he not only attacked trade war and nationalism but defended the fight against climate change, multilateralism and the pact with Iran. Everything Trump hates. Many considered that, before the Congress of the United States, the French leader gave a superb speech.

Despite the personal closeness with Donald Trump that he has shown in his state visit to Washington, Emmanuel Macron harshly charged against nationalism and isolationism, and his words before the US Congress were widely interpreted as distancing from the political agenda of his counterpart. As stated by the French leader, isolationism and nationalism "can be tempting as a temporary remedy for fears". However, Macron had a “but”: “closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world, it will only exacerbate the fears of citizenship".

In his speech, Macron also referred to the differences in international trade, Iran or the environment. In the opinion of the French president, the United States has invented multilateralism and now needs to reinvent it to create a new world order of the 21st century. The UN and the NATO military alliance may not be able to fulfill its mandate and guarantee stability if the West ignores the new dangers in the world, the French leader said.

International media highlight the speech. Jon Sopel, editor of the BBC in North America thinks that Macron has just given the rest of world leaders a masterclass on how to treat Donald Trump: “you embrace him, you flatter him when you need to ... and you use all these resources to make a big blow”. For many, this was a well-thought and elaborated speech, in which the French president began talking about the agreement between himself and President Trump, something of a friendly gesture. However, the blows began shortly after, and they were hard, aimed directly at the political agenda of Donald Trump.

He dealt with free trade, the importance of science, equality and the policies of the "United States first". Then, in what analysts considered a very bold way, Macron borrowed Trump's slogan to talk about the environment and the importance of the agreement against climate change of which the United States is not a participant. He said it's time to make the Earth big again. And the speech was interrupted by applause and cheers. It was an important moment for the US Congress.

Emmanuel Macron has become a world leader that offers a vision of the world opposed to that of the US president, while maintaining affability with him. This has been highly praised. In commerce, Macron considered that "a commercial war is not the appropriate response", since "it would destroy employment and cause an increase in prices", at a time of commercial tensions between the United States and the European block. "We must negotiate through the World Trade Organization (WTO), we write those rules, we should follow them," he urged.

As for the nuclear agreement with Iran, which Trump considers a "terrible" pact, Macron said that his country will not abandon that agreement, signed by several powers when President Barack Obama was in power. "This pact may not address all the concerns, and some important ones, it's true, but we should not abandon it without having something more substantial to replace it." However, the French president added: "Iran should never possess nuclear weapons, not now, not in five years, not in ten years, never." The US Congress loved him. How about Trump?