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Why is Macron talking about military intervention in Ukraine? Jacques Sapir’s interesting point of view



Jacques Sapir, a well-known French economist and non-controversial Russia connoisseur, gave his own analysis of President Macron’s words on the non-exclusion of military intervention.

It probably does not say much to English speakers, but his name is known and followed in France and other European countries as well. He knows Russia very well, where he has taught, which cannot be said of many journalists.

He did so with great realism, albeit in an extremely concise way, according to which Macron’s move has an internal and external function. Or rather, the French president, in one of the opportunistic moves to which he has accustomed us, seeks to exploit for domestic, French, and European purposes a dramatic and complex international situation, taking enormous risks for himself and his allies.

Jacques Sapir’s original posts can be read at this link. We have translated them and will comment on them (the original text of the posts is in italics).

small thread or #Fil on @EmmanuelMacron’s statement made yesterday at conference on Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement at the 27-member conference in Paris on aid to Ukraine about the possibility of sending European troops to Ukraine stirred legitimate emotion, both in France and abroad.

Several countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, and Greece, ruled out this possibility, demonstrating the French president’s isolation on this issue. In France itself, various opposition leaders have come out against it. (For now, we have no official comment from Italy.).

Why did President Emmanuel Macron make this statement? One assumption is that he wanted to create a “strategic ambiguity” that could restrain Russia. But in reality, this vocabulary only makes sense in a nuclear context. That is, he wanted to create doubt in Russia about a possible French intervention that would prompt Moscow to curb its action. A doubt that, among nuclear powers, is dangerous because it leads to war escalation to the nuclear level. Recall that France is a nuclear power.

As for conventional forces, the French army has only 80,000 “combat” soldiers (out of a total of 205,000), of which 30,000 at most would be deployable. Half of the equipment (tanks, helicopters) is not currently operational.

It is clear that this will not impress the Russian leadership in any way. The French army, which has been seen as an army for external intervention since the 2000s, carries the same weight as the Ukrainian forces engaged in Avdïivka. Using the French army as a deterrent force is ridiculous from a conventional force perspective, as would any European army; even that of the Franco-German alliance would be ridiculous. Only the U.S., or possibly a comprehensive alliance, at this point offensive, of all European countries would be an effective conventional deterrent. Too bad the former does not answer to Macron, and the latter does not and cannot exist, precisely because of the different positions of the single states.

Under these conditions, making gestures—because it is a political gesture—when you have no weapons makes no diplomatic sense. On the contrary, it sends a signal of weakness to the opponent you are trying to impress. Paraphrasing Stalin, Putin must be asking his “Aide de champ, “”How many armored divisions does Macron have?”

What, then, is the significance of this statement? If it was meant to assert a form of French supremacy in the EU on the Ukrainian issue, it was counterproductive, isolating France even more on this issue. Germany disengaged; there was no applause. In truth, Macron’s initiative seemed, more than anything else, a response to Meloni’s initiative in Kiev. It curiously appears that the Frenchman has a sort of sense of political inferiority to the Italian.

If it was to send a signal to the United States, which is beginning to think about drastically limiting aid to Ukraine, we can assume that, knowing the true size of the French military, it left Washington cold… Indeed, let us recall that conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives have experienced very badly, as undue influence, British Foreign Secretary Cameron’s attempts to persuade them to vote in favor of the aid package to Kiev, with one member urging the Englishman to “Kiss her A…” If they responded that way to an Englishman, let alone how they would respond to a Frenchman…

If this was a domestic political diversionary maneuver, at a time when Emmanuel Macron is strongly contested, it is irresponsible, as is any instrumentalization of foreign policy issues for domestic purposes. However, the use of foreign policy for the purpose of distraction from domestic policy is a tool historically used by a little bit of everyone, including France.

This raises questions about the ability of the president and his advisers to listen not only to the world but also to the minimal diplomatic rules that govern relations between states. It is very true that diplomatic language now seems buried, with world leaders expressing themselves in public as if writing a stupid post on social media. A few days ago at a public event, Biden called “SOB,” a less than honorable English acronym, Putin. I long for the times when the Czar, calling Napoleon III “Sire, my friend,” instead of “My dear brother,” caused a world crisis. Someday, maybe Biden will have to deal with what he called SOB.

So this is the third time we are faced with an irregular initiative by Emmanuel Macron, after the revelation of part of his phone conversations with Vladimir Putin and his desire to invite himself, outside of all rules, to the BRICS summit in 2023. Macron wanting to inbid himself at a party is a most amusing image.

That a nuclear power with veto power in the UN Security Council can be represented by a president like
@EmmanuelMacron, with his erratic and/or adventurous initiatives, is a source of disquiet and anger for all self-respecting Frenchmen. Well, now that the French also have Attal, what are they complaining about?

The problem is that Macron is the son of a dysfunctional Europe that fails to do what it is supposed to do—a collective defense guarantee in a framework of independent and friendly countries—but wants to do what it does not know how to do—the fake unitary state that would like to be a great power. European bureaucracy has half-killed industry, and without industry, you cannot even think of modern warfare. So the main opponent of European defense is not in Moscow but in Brussels.

However, Trump, or whoever he chooses (his son?), will see to it that Macron is put in his place.

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