Name? Emmanuel Macron
Westphalian identity? French
Why is he in the news? Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron presented his second military strategy until 2030. He felt the need to update the 2017 version because of the Zeitenwende caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This new strategy would have European strategic autonomy at its heart and strive for a stronger transatlantic partnership.
Why do we care? Funny how much times have changed. Three years ago, Macron called NATO braindead and now it is essential to French security. Furthermore, France aims to contribute to the stability of the Indo-Pacific zone (to counter China) and to ensure freedom of action in “global common spaces” including the deep seabed, high seas, outer space and cyberspace.
Why should you care? Part of Macron’s new strategy is an end to the French military operation Barkhane in Mali. Since the military government disinvited French troops from the country, this comes at no surprise. However, Malian security forces were barely able to maintain order with French support. So you should care 6/10 about the months to come. But don’t worry, Uranium mines in Niger, at the border to Mali, will still be watched over by the French military.
Who else cares? German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The relationship between Macron and Scholz has been a little cold the past few months. When Macron presented the strategy on Wednesday, he again delivered a verbal jab at Scholz over his proposal for a European air defence “European Sky Shield”. That proposal would undermine European efforts for more autonomy given that this sky shield would rely on Israeli technology. It is needless to say that the French military industry would be way better equipped for this task.
Any further comments? One interesting aspect of Macron’s new military strategy is that it also includes countering outside influence with France’s own exertion of influence as well as improving French society’s toughness vis-a-vis outside influence.