@NYT & Roger Cohen, on their once Neo-Liberal Golden Boy Macron, and his Diplomatic Missteps.

Political Observer comments.

Headline: French Diplomacy Undercuts U.S. Efforts to Rein China In

Sub-headline: Allies don’t always see things the same way, as Emmanuel Macron’s cozy visit to Xi Jinping made abundantly clear.

Macron has shown something resembling political independence from the American Hegemon ? The Reader might look to the Full Scale Rebellion against Macron’s raising the Retirement Age, was it a political mistake to bypass the Senate? as part of a ‘why’ of Macron’s seeming independence, of action and words, involving China- a maladroit attempt at changing the subject ?

In a scant 1.211 words Mr. Cohen offers what will be a provisional framing, of the issue, of the subsequent and evolving Party Line, of the respectable cadre of Corporate Media Technocrats?

President Emmanuel Macron of France complimented China’s top leader on the “very fragrant tea.” President Xi Jinping recalled “taking notes in order to understand” when he visited his father, then governor of the southeastern Guangdong province, in 1978. He also observed, extolling Chinese economic development, that the province now has “four cities with more than 10 million people.”

It was an exchange of remarkable intimacy, the two leaders, tieless, sharing pleasantries in what was once the official residence of Mr. Xi’s father. The conversation came at the end of a three-day visit by Mr. Macron that was notable for the exceptional attention showered on him, and for the commitment in a concluding joint statement to a “global strategic partnership.”

What exactly that will mean — beyond the commitments to the development of civilian nuclear power stations, the transition to carbon-neutral economies, sales of Europe’s Airbus aircraft and the promotion of pork exports — is not altogether clear.

But at a time when Sino-American relations are in a deep freeze, Mr. Macron staked out an independent European position, and both leaders repeatedly lauded a “multipolar world,” thinly disguised code for one that is not American dominated.

Mr. Cohn repeats political commonplace’s in his opening paragraphs: the New York Times is the voice of the American Government: ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ was once the motto of this Newspaper. Mr. Cohn repeats ‘the conventional wisdom’ and or offers a reconstruction of that wisdom.

The visit, overall, said a loud “No” to the economic “decoupling” favored by the United States as a means to reduce security risks through sweeping export controls and reordered supply chains. It delicately balanced Western and Chinese views on the war in Ukraine without achieving any breakthrough. It was singularly quiet on China’s threat to Taiwan.

Above all, in a new phase of history, one where the United States faces in China a competitor stronger than any it has confronted since becoming the world’s dominant power, Mr. Macron’s embrace of a Chinese partnership suggested that the battle underway to preserve the liberal institutions of the postwar order against an assault from Beijing and Moscow will be complex and nuanced. Not all of America’s allies look at it in the same way.

Through multiple allusions to the need to “reinvent an international order of peace and stability,” Mr. Macron appeared to inch France closer to the Chinese view that the world is undergoing “changes that haven’t happened in 100 years,” as Mr. Xi put it at the end of a warm visit to Moscow last month, even as the French leader hews to the American view that many of those changes are malign and must be resisted.

The Reader arrives at 399 words that ends here ‘ … even as the French leader hews to the American view that many of those changes are malign and must be resisted.’ Further diagnosis of Macron’s deviationism, and his dissent on ‘Russia’s war against Ukraine’, “a manifest violation of international law, a country deciding to colonize its neighbor.”.

“In the context of a deepening Cold War with China, this shows that Macron definitely wants to go against the tide,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University. Mr. Macron, he said, was playing “the Gaullist card,” a reference to Charles de Gaulle’s bristling assertion of independence from the United States once World War II was won.

Mr. Macron, while appearing to embrace aspects of China’s worldview, was unequivocal about Russian aggression. He told students at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou that they should be worried about the state of the world. The main reason, he suggested, was Russia’s war against Ukraine, “a manifest violation of international law, a country deciding to colonize its neighbor.”

Some deft pruning of Mr. Cohen Foreign Policy chatter, reveals what that provisional framing offers to likeminded Technocrats?

At the same time, Mr. Macron accepted several terms that China included in its 12-point proposal for the “political settlement of the Ukraine crisis,” issued in February and dismissed by the United States. 

Among them were the need for “a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture” and the need to prevent “bloc confrontation,” which the Chinese regard as reflecting a “Cold War mentality.” 

Because Europe’s current security architecture is built around NATO, the assertion that a new, balanced one is needed implicitly questions the Atlantic alliance. 

In exchange, Mr. Macron and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, who traveled with him, secured a vague undertaking from Mr. Xi that he would speak to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine at some unspecified date.

A little over a year ago, a couple of weeks before the war in Ukraine started, Mr. Macron traveled to Moscow to meet Mr. Putin at either end of a very long table in the Kremlin.

Mr. Putin’s words proved worthless. 

Whether Mr. Xi is serious about talking to Mr. Zelensky, and whether China can offer any effective mediation to end the war, will become clear over the coming months.

Another priority, however, as Mr. Macron’s visit made clear, is wooing Europe and ensuring that American “decoupling” does not also become European.

The Chinese economy has been hard hit.

On the issue of the island democracy of Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory in increasingly bellicose terms, Mr. Macron was notably reticent.

The final communiqué reaffirmed the commitment of France to a “One China” policy — that mainland China and Taiwan make up a single nation.

Within hours of Mr. Macron’s departure early Saturday, China announced that it would conduct three days of military drills around Taiwan.

The drills underscore the current fraught state of Sino-American relations. Since the cancellation of a visit to China by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in February, caused by a clash over a Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States, no high-level meetings have taken place, and none are planned. 

As they sipped tea at his father’s former residence on Friday, Mr. Xi said to Mr. Macron: “If you stay longer, you are welcome to live here.” 

The sentences and paragraphs acting as singularities, can become riffs on the ideas, themes, postulations, by Mr. Cohen, that offers much to the writer of Foreign Policy Chatter, to adapt as need arises.

Political Observer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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