Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that Western Europe must pursue “strategic autonomy” and stay out of conflict on behalf of the United States. Although the French president has made similar statements before, he nevertheless supported Washington’s position on Ukraine.
This week, Macron told a media outlet in an interview during a trip to China that “Europe runs a great risk” if it “finds itself caught in crises that are not ours”.
The contradiction, according to Macron, is that we think we are just supporters of America because we are so terrified. Is it in our interest to aggravate the crisis in Taiwan, that is the question that Europeans must answer. No. The worst case scenario would be for us Europeans to believe that we must embrace this US agenda and China’s overreaction as gospel truth.
Prior to the interview, Macron had a meeting with China’s Xi Jinping, and he came to the conclusion that “the Europeans cannot solve the crisis in Ukraine, how can we credibly say to Taiwan: ‘beware, if you do something wrong we will do it Be there'”
After Macron left Chinese airspace, Beijing began military exercises over Taiwan, a response to Tsai Ing-Wen, the leader of the island’s independence movement, meeting with US senators on Wednesday in California.
US President Joe Biden repeatedly suggested last year that Washington could use military force to prevent Beijing from uniting Taiwan with the mainland, putting relations between the two countries at rock bottom. While international leaders such as Macron seem content to stay out of the Taiwan dispute, Xi has reportedly become furious at their persistence in pressuring China to condemn Russia for its military action in Ukraine, according to media and statements by Chinese officials. .
Moreover, debates on “strategic autonomy” in Europe have been largely derailed by the situation in Ukraine. Even though Olaf Scholz’s government reversed decades of pacifist foreign policy to arm Ukraine at Washington’s behest, France and Germany both gave Kiev forces armored vehicles, ammunition and, in the case of Germany, tanks. While Macron and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel had frequently discussed reducing their dependence on the United States in recent years.
Macron backed the EU’s 10 anti-Russian sanctions measures despite inflation and rising energy prices causing internal instability. Since last February, Macron has had numerous conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin but failed to convince the Kremlin to stop intervening in Ukraine.
Last summer, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the French president “always talks about strategic independence from the EU” and added: “I’m sure they won’t be allowed to to have”.
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