PARIS – After French President Emmanuel Macron said that Europe must defend itself from the United States, Adjunkte said he had been misunderstood.
But the idea is not that farfetched.
Macron is leading a rearguard action to rescue the international cooperation system that the US has helped to build, but President Donald Trump has failed since he took office.
While Trump came all the way to Paris to commemorate 100 years after the ceasefire at the end of World War I, he skips an international peace forum that opens Macron on Sunday.
The Forum is part of Macron's effort to defend the idea that nations must work together rather than at the expense of each other. But without the leader of the world's only superpower, the forum will lose meaning.
Meanwhile, Europe feels deeply threatened by Trump's declaration that it is pulling the US out of a nuclear deal with Russia that Europeans see as a cornerstone of peace and security after the Cold War. The US says that Russia violates them anyway.
The tension overshadowed the last meeting of the two presidents on Saturday in the French presidential palace. A French official present at the meeting said Macron pointed out that if the US decides on contracts such as Trump said he would give up, "nothing should be forgotten under your nose which is European allies act ".
Most Americans have never heard of the contract being scrapped, but it has clear implications for European policymakers. The Intermediary Range (1987) Nuclear Armed Forces contract developed from years of friction over a Soviet nuclear build-up and the threat of retaliatory US missiles in Europe.
Macron has warned that weapons could easily reach European targets if the treaty is rejected and Russia resumes building its missiles.
Another painful point for Macron and Trump: the question of a common European army for which Macron has entered, but which could overlap with the US-led NATO alliance.
Macron said in an interview with Europe-1 radio this week, "We should protect ourselves when it comes to the cyber-sphere and the threat of withdrawing from nuclear contracts," said China. Russia and even the United States.
Later in the interview, the French leader talked about a European army. Trump summed up the two topics and tweeted that it was "offensive" when Air Force One landed in Paris on Friday night. Macron wanted an army to defend Europe from the US.
Trump's tweet hurt especially Macron, one of the strongest US allies in Europe.
The idea that Macron would see the United States as an opponent "is absolutely against our alliance and our 250-year history, with France and the United States side by side," said another French official who called in battlegrounds from the First World War. on which US and French soldiers fought on the same side, as well as the joint operation of the nations against Syria earlier this year.
When Macron took power for the first time, he expressed the hope that he might be able to exert a limiting influence on Trump, who then was re-elected as he was.
But by hauling the United States out of a climate change agreement signed in Paris and other international agreements embracing France – and now with its undiplomatic tweet before meeting with Macron – Trump has made it clear that the French head of state is not keeping the reins.
Macron and his helpers tried on Saturday to clarify what the president sees as a threat to Europe. Among them: Russia's political interference and military build-up, as well as the feeling that Trump is giving up American commitments to its European allies.
Macron pointed out that he had pledged to increase France's military spending even before Trump cursed NATO members last year for not paying enough for their own defense.
The tense exchange with Trump is only the latest challenge for Macron, who in his election a year ago was considered a bulwark against rising European nationalism.
The pro-EU president is weakening increasingly for domestic unpopular economic policies and isolated in Europe, where nationalist groups have gained ground.
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