French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed support for “strategic autonomy” away from the United States after a three-day visit to China, during which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. These statements have raised questions about where French support lies in the conflict between China and Taiwan, in which China seeks to invade the democratic island and force other countries to recognize it as part of China.
Speaking to journalists after his visit to China, Macron stressed his theory of “strategic autonomy for Europe,” insisting there would be “great risk” if Europe “gets caught up in crises that are not ours, which prevents it from building its strategic autonomy.”
This concept of strategic autonomy has unsurprisingly been largely supported by Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, who hope to weaken the transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and the West.
President Macron also said that Europe should resist becoming “America’s followers.”
“The paradox would be that, overcome with panic, we believe we are just America’s followers,” Macron said. “The question Europeans need to answer… is it in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] on Taiwan? No.”
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“The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the U.S. agenda and a Chinese overreaction,” Macron added.
The French president argued for Europe to reduce its dependency on the U.S. for weapons and energy, also advocating for Europe to reduce its dependence on the “extraterritoriality of the U.S. dollar.”
“If the tensions between the two superpowers heat up… we won’t have the time nor the resources to finance our strategic autonomy and we will become vassals,” Macron reasoned.
After Macron returned home from his visit, China launched military exercises around the island of Taiwan. This “Taiwan encirclement” exercise was initiated as a response to the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen taking a 10-day diplomatic tour of Central America, during which she met with GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Addressing Macron’s comments about strategic autonomy and future French-U.S. relations in an interview with the French television show La Faute à l’Europe, European Council boss Charles Michel said, “There has been a leap forward on strategic autonomy compared to several years ago.”
“On the issue of the relationship with the United States, it’s clear that there can be nuances and sensitivities around the table of the European Council,” continued Michel. “Some European leaders wouldn’t say things the same way that Emmanuel Macron did… I think quite a few really think like Emmanuel Macron.”
“There is indeed a great attachment that remains present – and Emmanuel Macron has said nothing else – for this alliance with the United States. But if this alliance with the United States would suppose that we blindly, systematically follow the position of the United States on all issues, no,” said Michel.
Addressing the French President’s comments on Facebook, a senior Taiwanese politician named You Si-kun wrote, “Are ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité out of fashion?”
“Is it OK just to ignore this once it’s part of the constitution? Or can advanced democratic countries ignore the lives and deaths of people in other countries? The actions of President Macron, a leading international democracy, leave me puzzled,” said You.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tore into Macron’s comments, saying that he handed the communists a “propaganda victory.”
Speaking with Laura Ingraham about Macron’s recent statements on Fox News, Pompeo said, “I don’t know how big of a problem it is. Macron has always been someone who resented the United States of America. We saw that four-year deal with the Iranians. He was always cozying up to the ayatollah, causing problems for us.”
“I don’t think he represents all of Europe, either,” Pompeo added. “I think it’s a mistake to say Macron equals Europe.”
“Macron’s statements were a true propaganda victory for Xi Jinping. And that’s bad for the people of the United States… President [Joe] Biden should go out immediately and make clear that we are not the problem.
“Macron somehow suggested that it was our actions that led to these threats against Taiwan. That’s fundamentally not the case. The whole world knows that.
“What Macron did is absolutely indecent – to reject all that America has done for France and for Europe over the last 60, 70 years.”