Macron assumes his global leadership role


In his second term, Macron is emerging as an increasingly important global leader, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly failed to avoid a provocative invasion of Ukraine. Macron’s new prominence owes a lot not only to the weight of the European Union, especially in economic matters, but also to the special role that France sees for itself: allied to the United States – but philosophically independent – as a major power.

This position has caused headaches for US presidents in the past, most famously in recent times when former French President Jacques Chirac opposed the Iraq war. But Macron has been an important ally for Joe Biden; He is a firm supporter of the West and democracy; He is dedicated to keeping the European NATO powers behind Ukraine; but it also has an open channel with Moscow.

In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper this week, Macron tried to explain the psychological forces shaping Putin’s actions and defended his decision to continue talking to the Russian leader. He expressed great concern about global democracy and – although he said he would not give a speech to a friend – he is worried about the attack on the US elections. He took to the road when asked about his refusal to say if new British Prime Minister Liz Truss was friend or foe. And the FBI dismissed intrigue about intelligence on the French president taken from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Macron’s responses were specific and nuanced. His ability to communicate in excellent English in the United States sets him apart from his predecessors and is an important factor in his aspirations for a global leadership role. In many ways, he resembles former US President Barack Obama, on whose 2008 bid for the White House he modeled his first campaign. Like the 44th president, Macron has the facility to diagnose a political problem or global trend.

Macron has been accused of aloofness, as has Obama, and both men have struggled to tame domestic political forces against calls for change. But to paraphrase one of those urban legends of dubious origin generally attributed to Henry Kissinger, there is no doubt that when the President of the United States wants to call Europe, the international dialing code he now uses is +33.