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Monday, June 12, 2017

Emmanuel Macron: The Young Hope of ‘Globalism’

Amidst growing nationalism across the developed world, particularly the kind of nationalism exhibited by the US and the UK in the recent past, as the French went to pools, everyone from the developing world waited for the results with bated breath. And to the relief of all those who are battling for liberalism and globalism, on 7th May the 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron—the clean-cut, pro-business, former minister who, quitting the government, formed a centrist party and launched his presidential bid as a rank outsider—became the youngest President of France.
Macron, a polymath who has the ability to quickly absorb everything from operas to philosophy, is considered by the French as a ‘grand séducteur’, and he appears to be well aware of the fact that his charm could get him whatever he wanted. As a school going boy, Macron could seduce his French and drama teacher, Brigitte, even after she initially turned him down and finally in 2007—braving the disapproval of his parents even—married her, who is some 24 years his senior.
And this intriguing radicalism can be seen at every stage of his meteoric rise: right from a Rothschild banker to joining Socialist President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace as deputy secretary-general advising him on economic reform to becoming the youngest economy minister to finally quitting the government last summer to launch his own party for presidential bid, we could see his intriguing personality reflecting its charm, seducing the people to join him in his political movement, ‘En Marche!’—On the Move.
Despite the voters’ gripes about the EU, Macron, who claims himself to be both “Left-wing and liberal”, has passionately pleaded for the European integration, asserting that EU market is essential for France to revitalize its sluggish economy. He is an actor at heart and he believes in his charm to win even people who are angry with him and his campaign performance at Whirlpool factory where he was booed and heckled is a classic example of this confidence.
His walking solemnly into the courtyard of the Louvre museum on the night he became President to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to joy’—the anthem of the EU—clearly tells that he might be a loner, but he is not only the President of France but has indeed emerged as the new champion of the Europe advocating “major reforms”—deeper fiscal integration with a eurozone budget, completion of the banking union—for its long-lasting survival. And this concern and his support for the Euro bloc is quite evident from the fact that the first foreign leader he spoke to after getting elected as President is Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor—which was described as a ‘warm’ phone call.
At the same time, this centrist politician, who has a Masters in Philosophy, took care of the concerns of his fellow French citizens by asserting that he respected the opposition of Pen’s followers though he disagreed with their views, and assured them that he would do all he could to ensure that they would “never have a reason to vote for extreme candidates again.”
That said, the challenge to reform from the center that he promised remains immense: to ensure lasting and legitimate reforms—reduced public spending, reduction in corporation taxes from 33.3% to 25% to entice British business and banks to relocate to Paris, reforming unemployment benefits and retirement age, etc.—and to secure their smooth ride, he needs the backing of the legislature. It means his just renamed party, “La Republique en Marche!”—The Republic on the Move!—must win a large block of seats. Now the question is: Can this charming Prince seduce the voters once again? This is, of course, a tall order.
But looking at the way this neophyte to global diplomacy conducted himself at the NATO mini-summit in Brussels where his shaking hands with President Trump for an “extended period of time” which he himself declared, “isn’t innocent” but “a moment of truth” intended to “show that we [France] won’t make small concessions not even symbolic ones” —and at the joint Press conference with Russian President Putin in Versailles where Macron responding to a journalist’s question denounced the lack of journalistic ethics of the Russian Sputnik and Russia Today—“On several occasions, they have acted as mechanisms of influence and shared false information against me and my campaign”—while Putin stood by his side with an expressionless face, one wonders if there is anything that he cannot act out charmingly.
And your most obedient wishes that Macron, the young leader who silently revolutionized French politics must succeed in his mission, for, in it lies the success of the war between globalism’ and ‘nationalism’.


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