Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Is France Beginning To Steer an Independent Course? – Original

Posted by M. C. on April 10, 2023

The disagreement is fundamental. The Biden administration’s signature foreign policy framework has been the battle between democracy and autocracy. France is not subscribing to that Manichean battle. Macron refuses to conclude that different forms of government entail a generational battle.

Maybe it’s just because a lot of people wear useless masks in China. Macron likes masks.

by Ted Snider

Is it time to put Freedom Fries back on the menu? Back in 2003, french fries became freedom fries in the US in disgust with “our so-called ally, France” who took an independent “self-serving” course and refused to support US policy on Iraq. Having finally become popular on American menus again, is it time, once again, to replace French fries with freedom fries?

France is not breaking with the US and charting its own course against Russia in the war in Ukraine. But it is gently veering off. And in the prelude to any future conflict with China, the gap is wider and the course more independent.

The US has insisted on the acceptance of the starting point that Russia’s war on Ukraine is unprovoked. It has refused, including refusal to negotiate Russia’s December 2021 security proposals, to take seriously Russia’s security concerns or to negotiate security guarantees for Russia. It has refused to even discuss NATO expansion to Ukraine or NATO troops and weapons in Ukraine, topics that were never even on the table.

French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has said that the West should prepare to negotiate all three. Veering widely off the course charted by the White House, Macron has said that “We need to prepare what we are ready to do, how we protect our allies and member states, and how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table. One of the essential points we must address – as President Putin has always said – is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”

Breaking from the US, France has glanced, at least, at Russia’s fear of NATO on its borders and weapons at its door. It has heard Russia’s calls for the indivisibility of security and said the West needs to reconsider how to protect its allies while guaranteeing the security concerns of Russia. Macron has gone so far as to agree with Putin that Ukraine joining NATO and NATO deployment of weapons in Ukraine are “essential points” that must be negotiated.

France is firmly in the US fleet in supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia, but it is veering away in preparing for the negotiations to end the war.

And when it comes to preparing for a future conflict with China, France is veering even further away and, seemingly, charting its own course.

President Biden cannot get Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk to him. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin cannot get his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, to take his calls. And China has refused to put Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing “back on the calendar” after the US Secretary of State canceled his scheduled February visit over the Chinese balloon incident.

Macron, however, does not need to beg for a brief phone call. He is in Beijing for three days where he will be granted more than six hours of personal meetings with XI, “treatment described by Western diplomats as exceptional.”

And it is not just China that is treating France differently. France is treating China differently. In a significant break from the US, France is far from dismissing China’s role as a broker in negotiations to end the war: it is encouraging it.

On February 24, China published its “Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis.” It pledged that China is willing to assume “a constructive role in this regard.” The US has consistently and assertively rejected that role.

See the rest here

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