France's Macron makes a big play for Russia's affection
Following the Group of Seven meeting in Europe, which saw German chancellor Angela Merkel sighing that the U.S. is no longer a reliable partner, France's new president is opting for another tack: openly courting Russia's Vladmir Putin.
What we are seeing is classic European power politics, where France aligns with Russia to check Germany and possibly the U.K. and U.S. It's high school, but this is how Europe has always done it. With no European Union of any credibility around, it's easy to see the new outlines of the power structure. And as the Napoleonic Wars demonstrate, the power alliances can be shifted around at the drop of a hat.
It shows the unexpected strength Macron has in playing power games, perhaps something he learned from his days as an investment banker with one of the storied Rothschild banks. Macron in general has shown himself to be a fairly strong entity, not at all the idiot his youth and inexperience would suggest. A Justin Trudeau he is not.
But here's the intriguing thing that shows how badly he wants to court Putin. From RT News:
The new French president, who in the past has been critical of Moscow's policies, is due to host President Vladimir Putin for the first time at the Chateau de Versailles. The meeting comes less than a month after Emmanuel Macron assumed office.
Macron invited Putin to participate in the inauguration of a major exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of Peter the Great's diplomatic visit to France in 1717.
"I have respect for Russia, and I invite Vladimir Putin in the framework of a three hundred year diplomatic relationship," Macron said this weekend.
Clearly, Macron is making an extensive effort to go all out to please Putin. He obviously knows that Putin is obsessed with Peter the Great and would do anything to match the great Russian hero's achievements. It's a sign he knows how to flatter Putin – in a way that Putin likes, to put a La Rochefoucauldian touch on it. Though there have been several impressive 19th-century tsars, Peter the Great really is Russia's best hero. Putin knows that. Macron knows that. Macron knows that Putin knows that. And now we see the rather unprecedented red-carpet treatment honoring the anniversary of a tiny event at Versailles a couple centuries ago as a sign of a continuing logical alliance.
Macron clearly is seeing his opportunities in the wake of the G-7 and taking them. It will take astute strategizing on the part of the U.S. to counter it, and that probably means ending the continuous sanctions on Russia. In any case, the great power politics of the 19th century do seem to be taking hold as President Trump rattles the world order.