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Macron’s strategy and its huge weak points



Over the past two days, through an article in Le Monde and an interview last night with TF1 and France 2, French President Macron has made his views on the conflict in Ukraine, Russia, and French intervention on the ground very clear. At the same time, however, this clarification also highlights the extreme weaknesses of this strategy and why it risks ending in French isolation and a resounding checkmate.

What Macron said and what is his position?

Macron’s position was expressed in this article in Le Monde and in this interview by the president, practically in unified nets. To simplify, I will go by point, hoping to be clear and complete anyway.

  • First of all, it is the duty of the president of the French Republic to ensure the security of France and the French people, and what I decide is to be seen in this light as “my institutional obligation.”
  • Putin, with the attack on Ukraine, has exceeded the limits of international law.
  • There is no certainty that Russia will come to a halt with this attack.
  • Ukraine’s defeat would endanger the security of the French because there is no certainty that Putin would stop this mission
  • There can only be lasting peace with the restoration of internationally recognized borders, such as those of Ukraine in 2014, unless the Ukrainians decide otherwise.
  • So we cannot allow Putin’s Russia to win, because that would mark a serious blow to the security of the French that would fall on the lives of the French themselves, and the president has a duty to prevent that.
  • To prevent it, deterrence must be effective and credible. That is why France has already increased its defense budget for two years to prepare for the situation.
  • There are civilian (i.e., police) missions to secure the borders with Belarus and Moldova, and we will participate in civilian demining missions in Ukraine.
  • To be credible, it is necessary to restore “strategic uncertainty,” that is, not to take for certain what France’s response to Russia’s actions will be. This means that France must be ready, as mentioned above, to act in any way, including by military means;
  • Putin’s Russia for now, however, is not an enemy but an adversary. There is no ongoing war with Russia.
    The talk of soldiers in Ukraine and so many other reports are the result of pro-Russian disinformation. Here, Macron leveled a precise and grave charge: the discussion surrounding the potential deployment of French troops in Ukraine started when Fico, the president of Slovakia, brought up the subject;
    France is in a war economy to avoid letting Putin win.
  • Macron would ask since 2022 for industry to prepare for this war economy, to produce more of what is needed for a war economy. That is why new production structures will be created, including with allies. But at present, as a journalist points out, the results of this effort have not been seen.
    The approval of the French parliament obtained for the agreement with Ukraine is “choose defeat,” thus attacking the PCF, France Insoumise, who voted against, and the RN, who abstained.

Why Macron’s strategy will not have an easy life and will lead to serious problems for France and beyond

Macron’s approach is flawed in many ways; in fact, it seems to be grounded in a detachment from reality that could cause France to become isolated and fail.

  • Internationally, the French interventionist stance in this way is supported by a few countries, and secondary ones at that. At most, Great Britain may have a similar position, but in strategic uncertainty, it has held itself in a position that may be cautious. The Netherlands and the Baltic Republics have a compatible position, but together we are not even 20 million. There are too few to weigh in. The U.S. is bound by Biden’s confusion and Trump’s frank opposition.
  • On the European side, there is only confusion. Germany, the main ally, is not reliable. One only has to see the parliamentary discussion on sending Taurus missiles to see that Berlin has few ideas, confusing and contradicting the very strategic uncertainty that it would like to be central to Macron’s strategy. Italy has no desire to get involved in distant fronts. Moreover, the French arrogance seen precisely in the unnecessary and inappropriate quotation of Slovak President Fico and also seen in relations with Italy is not conducive to creating a cohesive coalition. Macron is precisely the politician least suited by personal characteristics to this end.
  • Domestically, the polemical use of the ‘Ukrainian political weapon against Rassemblement National, which represents one-third of the French people, and France Insoumise, which represents another 15 percent, shows how in reality the domestic front is not united and, as exactly happens in European politics, Macron is the least suitable person for the creation of a united front. In a situation of “near war” announced by Macron, one would expect, if not a broad-based government, at least one that would continuously consult the opposition, especially when they are almost a majority in the country However, this requires a politician of a different caliber than the French and some humility, a word that is not in the Macronian dictionary.
  • Turning to the economy, the mobilization of the “war economy” is not seen. On the contrary, France itself is lulled into the environmentalist demagogies that are the enemies of industry and thus the main weapon in any high-intensity confrontation of modern warfare. One passes anti-economic and anti-industrial regulations, chasing “Net Zero,” and then thinks one can build cannons and tanks. The European Parliament passes “Green Housing” and “Nature Law,” which are the opposite of a war economy. We will have to choose sooner or later whether to deindustrialize or reindustrialize, and Macron has been contradictory and confused about this for years now.
  • The journalist pointed out in the interview that France produces 100 artillery shells a day, as many as they use at the front in perhaps 10 minutes. Macron talked about investments, doubling budgets, etc., but, in the end, where are the French tanks?

The problem with creating, as Macron wants, a situation of “strategic uncertainty” is that the other side might be disinterested enough to want to call the bluff and see how far this uncertainty can go. If someday Putin really wanted to see how much division Paris could bring to the table, for example by escalating the intervention in Ukraine or opening a new front there or elsewhere, Macron would have to respond and make the “uncertainty” “certain” and discover that, perhaps, the French industrial system is no longer that of the De Gaulle era but is that of 1939, or perhaps even worse.

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