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November 28, 2019

Nato brain dead? Macron’s disruptive style rattles Europe


November 28, 2019

PARIS: Nato is brain dead, it’s time for a rapprochement with Russia and there can be no more EU enlargement for now: President Emmanuel Macron’s abrasive foreign policy style has caused consternation in Europe and risks backfiring, analysts say.

Since his election in 2017, Macron has sought to find a major role on the international stage and implement his vision for a closely integrated Europe with a powerful France at its heart.

But some of his ideas have found little support from big EU powers -- notably Germany -- while the style of their delivery has left even the closest allies gnashing their teeth.

The tensions are set to be starkly underlined in the coming days as Macron hosts Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg for talks on Thursday and then attends a summit of the alliance in Britain next week.

"This is the Macron method," said Tara Varma, head policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Paris. "Instead of waiting for his partners, Macron is imposing his tempo and proposing new initiatives almost every week," she said, adding that at the very least he had "achieved his goal of stimulating and leading a debate on these issues". Macron’s style and method were exemplified by a remarkable interview with the Economist published on November 7 where he stated that:

Nato is undergoing "brain death" due to there being "no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its Nato allies." Europe must "reconsider our position with Russia" under President Vladimir Putin "if we want to build peace".

The EU will "disappear" if it cannot think of itself as a world power amid the increasing risk of a bipolar world led by a "G2" of China and the US. Macron defended blocking EU membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania and described Bosnia-Herzegovina as a "time-bomb" due to the large number of returning jihadists.

"It was profoundly discourteous. This is enough to assure immediate enmity," commented Francois Heisbourg, a special adviser at the Foundation for Strategic Research.

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