A presidential election is not played on international news, but it has enough to parasitize a pre-campaign, even informal. From Afghanistan to the Aukus pact, via Mali, it is the bitter observation that Emmanuel Macron, unofficial candidate for re-election in eight months, can make: the head of state has been facing a succession since the start of the school year. international events likely to undermine its diplomatic positions and record.
Strangely, Mr. Macron is rather discreet, to the point of avoiding the microphones, when disappointments follow one another. The head of state had decided long ago, this summer, not to participate in the UN General Assembly, which was held last week in New York. He intended to count his trips abroad, while preparing for the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the first half of 2022. He did not change his mind at the height of the submarine affair, while the UN meeting would have enabled it to defend multilateralism “à la française” and to make its difference heard on current issues, such as Sino-American tensions, Iran, the climate or the fight against terrorism .
After the Taliban’s return to power on August 15, the Kabul debacle had already shaken up the French president’s return to school, like that of all of his Western counterparts. France was, of course, a little less exposed to the precipitous withdrawal of American troops – it had left the country in 2014 -, but the executive had despite everything had to improvise, without much means on the spot, an operation to evacuate French nationals. and Afghan civilians threatened by the new regime. The victory of the Islamist movement, which feeds the threat of a resurgence of a terrorist sanctuary in Afghanistan, weighed on Mr. Macron’s trip to Iraq at the end of August. It is therefore difficult to escape the questions about the reliability of the American ally or those about the migratory impact – still tenuous – of the Afghan fiasco. These issues will be discussed again at a G20 summit in Rome at the end of October.
The submarine crisis caused by the United States, Australia and United Kingdom alliance, under the Aukus label, constitutes an even more scathing setback, especially seen from Paris, with the cancellation of the sale to Canberra of twelve cents. -ships of French technology for the benefit of American nuclear propulsion devices. The disavowal is not only industrial, but also geopolitical. The episode will leave deep traces, while reminding France, despite the diplomatic voluntarism often displayed by the Head of State, that it is a second-rate power, hard pressed to be respected by its American ally, especially in the Indo-Pacific zone.
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