Emmanuel Macron: The Perfect Storm of Arrogance and Inexperience

While Chinese President Xi Jinping was personally greeted at the airport tarmac in Buenos Aries by a full military band and a parade of dignitaries from Argentina, French President Emmanuel Macron received a resoundingly different welcome.

When Macron disembarked from his jet, rather than being met with a sea of diplomats and a fully uniformed military band, he instead shook hands with what appeared to be an airport security guard wearing a distinct yellow hi-visibility yellow vest.

This comes as the Yellow Vest Protests in Paris hit their third week while police in the French capital continue to greet the demonstrators with a show of violence that has included savage beatings, the firing of tear gas and the copious use of water cannon.

As Paris continues to burn as demonstrators from multiple echelons of society rally against Macron’s increase of the fuel tax while simultaneously calling for the President’s resignation, Macron has made something of a fool of himself at the G20 summit where an open microphone recorded a peculiar conversation he held with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and de-facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman (aka MBS).

Macron was heard telling MBS “You never listen to me”, to which the Saudi Crown Prince replied that he will listen before telling Macron not to worry, after which MBS belted out a clear laugh. Macron then replied that he is worried nevertheless.

The entire episode made Macron appear all the more amateurish before MBS whose warm reception by the Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that forecasts of MBS’s political demise were wholly premature. This is not the first time that Macron has conducted supremely awkward exchanges with foreign heads of state. He once famously groped Donald Trump’s leg during a photo-op, while he and his government have also made some major faux pas regarding their relations with Turkey.

In April of this year, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that France had helped to cause a divide between the tripartite Astana partnership for peace in Syria comprised of Russia, Turkey and Iran. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded to this insult by stating,

“We have to have strong relations with all countries…I’d like to invite him (Macron) to become more serious”.

This incident transpired a month after Macron invited a member of the PKK affiliate YPG’s political arm PYD to the Élysée Palace. This was not only a dangerous move but a diplomatically unwise move. In the 21st century, mature states should not be dealing with non-state entities that are hostile to the legitimate authorities of their country, while mature states should also avoid courting non-state entities that pose a direct terrorist threat to their neighbours. In inviting  PYD “politician” Khaled Eissa to the presidential palace of France, President Macron did both of these things. Taken in totality, Macron did nothing more than shake hands with a terrorist.

Beyond this, Macron later suggested that a European Army should be formed to defend against threats from Russia, China and most awkwardly against France’s long time ally the United States. This was of course just prior to Macron’s deeply awkward campaign style speech against Donald Trump during what was supposed to be a memorial ceremony for the veterans of the First World War.

Macron’s awkward geopolitical moments also include insulting Russian journalists in front of the Russian President who later defended his country’s official media outlets while Macron was recently caught posing for pictures with a half naked drug dealer in Saint Martin.

While it remains to be seen whether Turkey’s President Erdogan will hold a much discussed meeting with MBS to get further clarity on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Macron-MBS tête-à-tête clearly made MBS look like the more relaxed diplomat in spite of the serious accusations levelled against him, while Macron frankly looked pathetic.

As Macron came from the world of banking and had no previous foreign policy or diplomatic experience prior to being elected President, it would seem that the youthful Macron is becoming less experienced with age and in so doing is becoming a diplomatic liability for both France and the European Union.

Until Macron faces up to the fact that his arrogance is betrayed by his lack of experience and knowledge regarding diplomatic protocol, the cringe-worthy moments for the French President will likely continue throughout his term.

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