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Macron’s “brain death” remarks on NATO reveal dissatisfaction regarding US policies

(People's Daily Online)    16:03, November 09, 2019

A screenshot from the official website of  The Economist

President Emmanuel Macron of France recently remarked that NATO is currently experiencing a brain death during an interview with The Economist.

Experts told People’s Daily Online that Macron was actually publicly expressing his dissatisfactions regarding US policies, calling on the European Union (EU) to think independently over the current situation so as to get rid of its dependence on the US regarding security issues.

NATO is the most important tool of the US to work with its European allies and serve its global hegemony strategies after the World War II. The value of its existence has been frequently doubted since the end of the Cold War

On Feb. 16, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the “go-it-alone” approach of the US at the Munich Security Conference, warning that the US shall not exclude Europe in its plans for nuclear disarmament as well as withdrawal of troops from Syria and trade.

Half a year later, Macron pointed out at an ambassadors’ conference that the US is a long-term ally of France, but also one that has long abducted France. His remarks have made him another leader of a major European country that has bluntly presented disputes between Europe and the US.

“You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its Nato allies. None. You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another Nato ally, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake.” What Macron said was considered as his fiercest criticism against the US, as well as the strongest doubt over the NATO, triggering huge attention from the international community.

“At present, obvious changes are happening within Europe-US relations, with rising disputes,” said Liu Mingli, deputy director of the Institute of European Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations during an interview with People’s Daily Online.

He pointed out that in both the aspects of trade and economy, Europe has become an important object of taxation for the US, and the two also share different values as the US is not supportive of the European integration and the calling on of some countries to follow the UK’s exit of the EU. Besides, US President Donald Trump is also asking European countries to raise military spending and shoulder more security responsibilities.

Liu believes that from Macron’s recent remarks, it can be inferred that the disputes over NATO between the US and the EU have not been alleviated, but indeed have deteriorated. He said the “brain death” remarks reveal dissatisfaction regarding US policies, and will spur the EU to rethink over its policy orientation in its own security issues.

Macron told The Economist that Washington’s policies are very uncertain, and there is no coordination between the US and its NATO allies in decision making. He said European countries shall no longer be protected by the US, or they will not be in control of their own destiny.

Macron noted that it would be a mistake for the Europe to try to isolate Russia, and a dialogue with the latter should be re-opened. This has been appraised by Russia – a major “threat” of the NATO. The spokesperson of Russian Foreign Ministry said the French President’s statement reflected the truth, and was a clear definition of NATO’s current situation.

Xing Hua, researcher from China Institute of International Studies, noted that France has always been “courageous” when it comes to the US and NATO. The country advocates for freedom of the European countries to decide their own security, he said, adding that France is against the complete opposition between itself and Russia especially after the Ukrainian crisis. This reflects the two major diplomatic points of emphasis of France – to advocate for its independence and safeguard its status as a major country.

Xing believes that NATO has been aware of the doubts over the value of its existence since the end of the Cold War, and has been taking reforms in this regard. However, it considers Russia as the biggest threat and has reinforced military pressure against the country. Currently, the US and its NATO allies are having a “Cold War”-like relationship with Russia, and NATO has become an initiator of the issues that threaten the security of Europe.

Macron said at this year’s ambassadors’ conference that “We are probably in the process of experiencing the end of Western hegemony around the world.” The West has enjoyed an absolute economic and political domination during the past 300 years, and he holds that things change, and this will no longer exist in the future.

“NATO will have to shift its functions in the future,” Liu said.

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(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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