Macron shows his politics on Russia are Bush league
What’s wrong with French President Emmanuel Macron? First, he unnecessarily tells Russian dictator Vladimir Putin that there are two conditions under which France can stop supplying arms to Ukraine: “We will never compromise the ability of our military to defend our territory and our citizens. will not do. We will never supply weapons that would result in their use for attacks on Russian territory making us a party to the conflict.
One need not be Metternich to appreciate that it is unwise to tell your enemies what you will or will not do before you enter into negotiations with them. It is clever to keep the opponent in the dark while guessing about your intentions. What Macron did was simply bush league, evidence of arrogance or ignorance or both. Then, a little later, when he announced: “We need to prepare what we are prepared to do, how we are going to protect our allies and member states, and the day Russia comes back to the negotiating table, how to guarantee that. … One of the essential points we must address – as President Putin has always said – is the fear that NATO will come straight to its door, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia .
This statement is absurd. For starters, let’s remind the French president that, with Finland’s entry into NATO, the alliance has come directly to Russia’s doorstep and strategic nuclear weapons that could threaten Putin’s realm are primarily based on are, and will continue to be, based in the United Nations. States, the United Kingdom and – oh yeah – France. Deploying nukes on the Finnish border may signal NATO’s toughness, but it effectively does nothing to increase Russia’s insecurity or the security of the West. And everyone knew, and knows, that the West would have to be totally audacious to base nuclear weapons in Ukraine, of all places, which is not a NATO member.
Furthermore, both Putin and Macron are well aware that the forces under NATO’s umbrella are in pitiable shape, with the exception of the United States, the United Kingdom and Poland, severely neglected since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Huh. , America may be a threat to Russia, but not NATO. The Russian people insist that it is either self-serving propaganda to justify Putin’s militarism, imperialism and fascism or the delusional paranoia inherent in Putin’s worldview that pits Russia against the world. Either way, the West needs to counter the lies or fantasies of collective Russia, not with mollycoddling but with straight interpretations of reality.
But what really takes the cake in Macron’s statement about security guarantees for Russia is his silence about security guarantees for Ukraine – an issue on which France has so far been notably silent. Certainly, a self-proclaimed great power with a vast nuclear arsenal cannot be guaranteed unless the country is guaranteed to be invaded and subjected to a genocidal war. Now, Macron has also expressed his unwavering commitment to Ukraine, so it is highly unlikely that he intends to sell Ukraine down the river while providing guarantees to Russia. No, it is the inconsistency of their thinking that is most striking – and dangerous. He is the President of a powerful and influential country. He must know that guaranteeing Russia’s security is infinitely more difficult than guaranteeing Ukraine’s, and since Europe is not very keen on the latter, how can it expect to be keen on the former?
Besides, how can the security of an imperialist, war-mongering, fascist state be guaranteed, which is being run by a leader who seems confused? Comparisons with Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia are inevitable. Imagine Adolf Hitler’s insistence on security guarantees in 1939, just before his invasion of Poland. Or Joseph Stalin’s insistence of similar guarantees, following the Communist takeover of Eastern Europe in 1948. What could be the meaning of such guarantees? And wouldn’t it be a priority to guarantee the security of countries that are at risk?
Hellas, Monsieur Le President needs to go back to his books and do some thinking. Otherwise, he risks becoming invisible, hardly a quality that can guarantee his security as president or his ability to deal with Putin’s threat.
Alexander J Motil Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University-Newark. Ukraine, Russia and the USSR, and an expert on nationalism, revolutions, empires and theory, he is the author of 10 books of nonfiction, as well as “Imperial ends: Decay, Fall, and Revival of Empires” and “why empires reemerged: Imperial Collapse and Imperial Revival in Comparative Perspective.”