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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Onu. Les fausses critiques d’Emmanuel Macron

by Pierre Barbancey

At the UN: The False Criticisms by Emmanuel Macron

Translated Sunday 30 September 2018, by Henry Crapo

The French President advocated multilateralism at the United Nations General Assembly. While he seemed to criticize the United States, he was more concerned by its methods than its analyses.

Emmanuel Macron knows how to put up a front. He showed this once again in his speech on Tuesday at the United Nations, between a Donald Trump accusing everything that is not "made in USA" and a Hassan Rohani avoiding, at all costs, isolation on the international scene. The French President, on the other hand, wanted to rise to the occasion, making himself the herald of multilateralism, aligning attitudes and considerations that no one could dispute.

"We are all here heirs to a formidable hope: to save future generations from the scourge of war, to build an international order based on law and respect for the word given, to advance humanity towards economic, social and moral progress, in ever more secure freedom," he said immediately, while congratulating himself for results achieved in these areas. But, he acknowledged, "today we are experiencing a deep crisis of the Westphalian liberal international order that we have known".

The French president during his presentation before the General Assembly of the United Nations, on 26 September. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP.

Why? "Because that international order has partly failed to regulate itself. Its economic, financial, environmental and climatic excesses have not yet been addressed to date." This is the first snag in this discourse, which reveals a certain contradiction: self-regulation, an intrinsic parameter of this system, has not worked. He will not dwell on it, preferring to focus on another flaw: the dysfunction of the "collective capacity to respond to crises". Most of his intervention was devoted to this "disintegration" which could lead to a "powerlessness" of the UN.

Not a word about the occupation of Palestine

And the French president then examined the "three ways" that would then present themselves. First, to think that there’s just a rough patch to get through before everything goes back to normal. Or, as second hypothesis, consider "the law of the strongest". He does not believe in that, he says. Everyone obviously understood that he was addressing the American President. But, on closer inspection, it is not so much Trump’s analysis that he denounces, as his methods. So it is with Iran. He shares the White House’s view of Tehran’s adverse and ill-meaning regional character. "We must now (...) not exacerbate regional tensions, but propose a broader agenda to address all nuclear, ballistic and regional concerns caused by Iranian policies, but in dialogue and multilateralism," says Emmanuel Macron.

The same goes for the question he calls the "crisis between Israel and Palestine". Not a word about the occupation. He prefers to speak of "a policy of faits accomplis that threatens the very possibility of reaching a peace agreement". Recalling France’s "unwavering friendship" with Israel, he rejects "unilateral initiatives" - a way of still not recognizing the State of Palestine - and affirms that "we must be ready to move beyond dogmas, historical positions, to take new initiatives, but on condition that this triggers positive changes on the ground". What is it about? Mystery!

In reality, the French President, whatever the issue, presents himself as new, innovative and modern. But nothing holds up to reality. So when he talks about the inequalities that mark the world and attacks the solution of "always aligning downwards, to meet a standard we know", that is what we have been doing for decades. There is a trade war, so let us reduce workers’ rights, lower taxes more and more, feed inequalities to try to respond to our trade difficulties. What does this lead to? To the reinforcement of inequalities in our societies and to this disruption we are now experiencing.

Which is exactly the policy he is pursuing in France. For him, as in all areas, it is only a matter of putting in place rather vague "new mechanisms". And if he talks about the development of Africa, which must be "given its rightful place", he does not have a proposal to stop the plundering of the continent’s wealth by multinationals. In the end, a lot of emphasis, but a real impotence because, finally, he shares the analyses of the American big brother and would only like another way of realizing their aims [1]

[1Translated with aid from the free on-line version of DeepL Translator.

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