Name? Emmanuel Macron
Westphalian identity? French
Why is he in the news? As we mentioned last Friday, French President Macron was furious at Australia, the US and the UK for snubbing France over a 56 billion dollar submarine deal. He responded by recalling French ambassadors from the US and Australia. A meeting between the foreign ministers of the UK and France was cancelled with short notice.
Why do we care? This is the harshest card allied democracies can play when mad at each other, the only step above this would be to close embassies. Macron is signalling here that he does not appreciate being cut out of the business and, even worse for him, being kept in the dark about AUKUS until its public announcement.
Why should you care? As always with these diplomatic disputes it is not so much about the real life implications but the international gossip. In case you wondered why France did not pull its ambassador out of the UK, Macron’s foreign minister described the British role as “a bystander” and therefore was not worth Paris’ wrath saying “we know their constant opportunism”. The entertainment of this international drama should have you care 8/10.
Who else cares? Chinese President Xi. First, the new focus on containing China’s influence is a compliment and further legitimacy of China’s global power status. Second, instead of presenting a united front with NATO and the Pacific allies, the US has snubbed Macron, a close ally.
Any further comments? Macron’s problem now is a way out of this keeping face. He has made himself fully reliant on the goodwill of the US, Macron cannot afford to not have an ambassador in the US. There are two possible scenarios for Macron now. Either he sends his ambassador back looking like an overreacting teenager, or the US actually shows goodwill and publicly acknowledges they wronged him while somehow coming up with a similar deal worth 56 billion…