• In 2018, Macron’s Biggest Challenge Lies at Home

    France is off to a beautiful start to 2018—a year that could be a rosy one.

    At the end of 2017, the Economist designated France its “country of the year” following Emmanuel Macron’s election as president in May and the sweeping victory of his new political movement, La République en Marche! in parliamentary elections in June: 350 out of 577 seats for the presidential majority, more than enough with which to implement Macron’s ambitious reform package over the next five years.

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  • A New French Renaissance

    Just as Queen Elizabeth II offers her yuletide greetings to the British people in her Christmas Day broadcast each December 25, so, tradition goes, the president of France presents his New Year’s wishes to the French people on December 31. Emmanuel Macron’s speech on the last day of 2017 was his first New Year’s address. He sought to be exceptionally inclusive and unpolitical; then, toward the end of his remarks, he began to give a glimpse of his larger, long-term vision for France.

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  • 'One Planet,' Many Voices: Climate Progress Continues in the Absence of US Involvement

    French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision not to invite the United States to a recent climate action summit in Paris sends a clear message that other countries will happily step into the void the United States has created.

    Two years after the signing of the Paris Agreement, Macron once again convened climate leaders in France’s capital to call for global climate action at the One Planet Summit on December 12. In a nod to 2015, heads of state and ministers from countries around the world, along with representatives from multilateral development banks, international organizations, and the private sector gathered in Paris to focus on challenges related to climate adaption, mitigation, and mobilization.  

    However, unlike 2015, one country was noticeably absent—the United States. As a result of US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the climate agreement, the administration did not receive an invitation. Further, it has expressed little interest in participating in the growing global conversation—and action—on climate change.

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  • Kawakibi Quoted in Courier International on Al-Sissi France Visit

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  • European Ambassadors Defend Iran Nuclear Deal

    European ambassadors to the United States on September 25 defended the nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is working, while warning that reopening negotiations would be a nonstarter and walking away from the deal would have serious consequences.

    This joint defense comes as US President Donald J. Trump, who has to certify to the US Congress by October 15 that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement, has reiterated his displeasure with the deal.

    Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, said the onus is on those who seek to renegotiate the deal to prove that first, renegotiation is possible, and second, it will deliver better results. “We don’t think it will be possible to renegotiate it and we believe there is no practical, peaceful alternative to this deal,” Wittig said.

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  • Towards a Prosperous Europe? A public discussion in collaboration with the Institut Montaigne

    On September 7, 2017, the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative participated in a debate on how to stimulate economic growth in Europe, in collaboration with the Institut Montaigne. The event took place in Paris, France.

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  • An EU Navy Is Impossible; Fortunately, It’s Not Necessary.

    To rebuild robust naval forces, Europeans should think less like Americans, and more like Russians.

    As I noted yesterday, Brexit has opened all sorts of talk about the future of British and European military activities. To continue the argument today, let’s tack towards naval matters. In “All the Queen's Ships” (Proceedings of the US Naval Institute, January 2017), James C. Bennett of the Economic Policy Centre in London recommended formation of a Union Navy, loosely composed of the Royal, Royal Canadian, Royal Australian, and Royal New Zealand Navies, under their single sovereign. As one might expect in his argument, “the four main Westminster democracies” could afford greater military capabilities together than separately. To an American, this might seem another brilliant idea that our allies will never get on with. But if practically speaking, discussing this is a waste of oxygen, then just how silly is talking about forming a single European Navy from the polyglot members of the European Union? To the contrary, Europeans can get on with rebuilding robust naval forces as a continent of equals—just by thinking less like Americans, and more like Russians.

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  • Twelve Myths about Change in Ukraine

    Most Ukrainians will tell you that “nothing has changed” since the Euromaidan Revolution. Meanwhile, most Ukrainian analysts bemoan that Ukraine’s elites are resisting change and that, unless Ukraine changes more quickly, the country will backtrack and be lost. And everyone seems to agree that no change is possible unless corruption is fully eliminated.

    These views rest on simplifications, distortions, and misunderstandings.

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  • An American in Paris

    A friendship blossoms between Trump and Macron

    Press coverage of the first meeting between US President Donald J. Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, at the NATO summit in Brussels in May focused on the spirited handshake Macron gave Trump.  But too much emphasis on the symbolism of Macron’s machismo overlooked the fact that while Trump did not enjoy being upstaged, he also respects Macron as a strong leader. This has played an important role in the developing bonds between the two leaders.

    The foundation for this new friendship, that has also been overlooked by many analysts, has been carefully laid by both leaders since their first meeting in phone calls and discussions between them and their advisors, and especially by Macron’s courting of Trump and comments from US officials that emphasized France’s importance militarily within Europe and NATO.

    Macron’s invitation to Trump to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris, which one would normally expect a French leader to extend to their German counterpart, helped further cement their budding ties and has created the potential for what is likely to be one of the key relationships in international affairs.

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  • Emmanuel Macron and the Sense of Reality

    After the French presidential election completed its two rounds in late April and early May, France, Europe and many around the world breathed a sigh of relief that Emmanuel Macron’s victory had put a stop to the know-nothing populism evident in the Brexit referendum and the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump to the US presidency. In that sense, Macron’s arrival at the Élysée Palace indeed represented the “Revenge of the Enlightenment” against the forces of obscurantism.

    Yet embodying a welcome symbol of reason is not enough to govern. Since the moment he achieved power, Macron has demonstrated an equally important imperative: the recognition of the facts for what they are, not what he would wish them to be. In this regard, he is more than a pragmatist, he possesses what Sir Isaiah Berlin called “the sense of reality.”

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