In his yearly speech to his country’s ambassadors, French President Emanuel Macron echoed recent remarks by Germany’s Angela Merkel that Europe can no longer count on the US to guarantee its safety and sovereignty, but must fend for itself. Most significantly, he added: “We must understand the consequences of the end of the Cold War and reconsider our alliances.”
As one French commentator on France 24 pointed out, Macron doesn’t want to cut ties with the US, but he does want to modify them. Pointing out that France will chair next year’s G7, to be followed by the US the year after, meaning that the two countries must work closely, the French president’s casual remark masked a bombshell: France will emphasize dialogue with China India Russia – maybe even invite them to attend on the second day.
It will be remembered that last year, President Trump was roundly chastised for suggesting that Russia be reinstated into the G7, making it once again the G8. If Macron has his way, Europe’ will do what the American president was not permitted to do — never mind that at the time, they obediently followed America’s hawks rather than its president.
It would appear that contrary to what I wrote in 2016, Europe is finally getting its act together, at least with respect to Russia, thanks to the effect America’s anti-Russian sanctions are having on its economy. That decision, which President Trump has been unable to undo, is achieving what seventy years of soft subservience to US diktats failed to do: begin to fray the leash that has tethered Europe to the US for seventy years. As long as US-imposed neo-liberal policies only hurt the European welfare state, they were supinely accepted. But sanctions against Russia affect agriculture and industry’s bottom lines, and since Trump is powerless to rescind them, Europe has finally got up the courage to ignore them.
The problem is that while it has made giant strides toward liberating itself from American hegemony, Europe has made less progress in defeating its older enemy: intolerance. Centuries of mutual enmity between competing rulers sandwiched together on the relatively small Eurasian peninsula appeared to have faded under multi-national rule from Brussels. However, this had barely been achieved when old demons slipped through the cracks: anti-Semitism has largely been replaced by US-inspired loyalty to Israel,