May 20, 2018

5 Things You Need To Know About New President Of France Emmanuel Macron.

On Sunday, Emmanuel Macron was elected as the youngest president of France. At just 39 years old, Macron will replace unpopular socialist president Francois Hollande. Some have called the fresh-faced Macron France’s JFK. Others have called him France’s Obama due to his oratorical gifts. To his critics, particularly those who supported his challenger Marine Le Pen, Macron is a “globalist” sellout who will give France on a silver platter to Islamist forces.

So what’s the truth?

Here are five things you need to know about the new president of France:

1. U.S. media outlets have characterized Macron as a “centrist.” The truth is more complicated than that. Before running for president, Macron served as the economy minister (August 2014 – August 2016) for the socialist government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls and President Hollande. But given widespread discontent with the country’s current government, Macron, who had never before held public office, decided to rebrand himself as a “centrist,” a healthy medium between the leftist disappointment of Holland and the (European-style) rightist immigration policies of Le Pen. (It’s worth noting that on economic policy, Macron is to the right of Le Pen. Le Pen favors a large welfare state as part of a larger project of economic nationalism).

To top off the rebranding, Macron founded his own political party called “En Marche,” or “Forward.” Tapping into his experience as an investment banker, Macron campaigned for looser regulations on businesses, lower taxes, and stronger free-trade agreements. It’s unclear how Macron will govern, however. Previous French presidents, including Jacques Chirac and Nicholas Sarkozy, promised fiscal reform but quickly discovered that labor unions, entrenched bureaucracy, and the French social model of “equality” served as formidable obstructions against expanding the free market.

2. Macron is staunchly pro-Europe. The new president is an invariable Europhile, but has expressed a willingness to push for reforms. With the United Kingdom on its way out of Europe, Macron has had to concede some ground to Euroskeptics (like Le Pen) who have begun to beat the drums of Frexit.

As The Guardian notes, the election of “liberal centrist” Macron “committed to a less austerity-driven eurozone and refusing to reimpose internal borders with EU partners, [is] an event of continent-wide significance. Macron’s desire to reform the EU to make it work better may seem ‘Anglo-Saxon’ in some ways.”

And still, Macron is quite comfortable with the European bureaucrats in Brussels. Indeed, he was supported by world leaders (including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former U.S. President Barack Obama, and former Republican French presidential candidate Francois Fillon), who were committed to the preservation of the liberal international order and the institutions it fostered.

3. Macron is a foreign policy novice. The young rising star has spent most of his life in finance. In fact, Macron’s work as a civil servant, namely his job as an economy minister, entailed dealing with matters related to domestic politics. With little experience on the world stage, Macron may experience a sharp learning curve ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25.

During the presidential campaign, Macron’s inexperience was evident to voters as he stumbled on questions of great importance to European geopolitics.

“But the list of Macron’s advisers on security and foreign affairs read less like a guerrilla army and more like a who’s who of the French policy establishment,” explains Politico, before noting that Macron’s foreign policy team largely failed to impress enough knowledge on the young politician before sending him to the lion’s den to face off in a series of debates against a more polished Marine Le Pen.

Politico reports:

Despite the marquee names, the foreign policy group was widely seen by those who participated in meetings as something of a failure, with many saying it contributed to Macron’s poor performance during the foreign policy segments of the debates. Alarm bells rang after that,” said a senior campaign adviser. “But little was done to change things.” Twice, a major foreign policy interview was scheduled with a newspaper, only to be canceled, with sources suggesting the team wasn’t confident enough to carry it through…

“Ask him what the new pensions regime will be and he would explain it in five minutes — beautifully and luminously,” said [François Heisbourg, chairman of the council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who has been advising Macron on defense and security]. “But ask him what his policy is on Syria and he will line up sentence after sentence and speak for fifteen minutes in a way that people will have difficulty understanding. It shows on television. But this doesn’t worry me — it’s called the learning curve.”

Given the new president’s relative unfamiliarity with the issues, Macron’s foreign policy is expected to be heavily shaped by his foreign minister. He has as yet to make a decision on who will be his man in the Quai d’Orsay. Who is eventually selected will depend on the coming June legislative elections, sources said.

Nonetheless, Macron is expected to take a stronger stance than Le Pen against Russia. Le Pen, who argued for rapprochement with an increasingly aggressive and imperialist-minded Vladimir Putin, was quietly supported by Kremlin insiders. In fact, Russian hackers are believed to have targeted Macron’s largely innocuous emails just days before Sunday’s election. In contrast to Macron, Le Pen has called for a reconsideration of NATO commitments, expressing skepticism about U.S.-French security cooperation.

4. Macron has sent mixed signals about France’s Muslim immigration question. Over the last two years, France has fallen victim to a large number of Islamic terrorist attacks. Some attacks were initiated by French-born, second generation, young Muslim men who have failed to assimilate properly and adopt Western values. Others, particularly sexually-based attacks, were initiated by asylum-seekers and refugees from majority-Muslim countries. These incidents have only compounded France’s cultural fears and anxieties about the country’s changing demographics, prompting a voter demand for alternative choices to the political establishment.

With a weak national security infrastructure, lax immigration policies, and a judicial system obsessively committed to “liberty” at the expense of common sense, France has left itself vulnerable to terrorist attacks. The fact is, many of the men who have carried out terrorist attacks were already being monitored by the French police. That means that many lethal attacks were preventable.

While Macron has sought to address these glaring security failures, he has also paid lip service to failed European multiculturalism, often emphasizing tolerance toward Muslim migrants over well-planned policy solutions to France’s dire security issues.

In an April interview with RTL, France’s most popular radio station, Macron said “The zero-risk option doesn’t exist,” insisting that any potential solution to the terror threat involves costs and benefits.

5. Macron married his high school drama teacher, a woman who is 24 years his senior. Brigitte Trogneux, the soon-to-be first lady of France, is 64 years old. Macron is just 39, making him the youngest person to every occupy the office of the French presidency. “In a book called Emmanuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man, French journalist Anne Fulda says that Macron was 15 when he met Trogneux. Macron vowed to marry her at 16,” reports USA Today. “After Trogneux’s relationship with her first husband ended, the pair married in 2007.”

Source: The Daily Wire