Thirty-nine-year-old French President Emmanuel Macron has lectured Putin and faced down Trump’s aggressive handshake.
He has been in office for less than three weeks, and has already asserted himself as a top-down operator and shown the world what “Presidential” means.
Like the United States, French politics are sharply divided along ideological lines between the left and right.
Macron has been described as a nimble politician who is able to juggle two opposing viewpoints at once.
“And at the same time,” is a catch phrase Macron uses in most of his speeches to reflect his ability to strategically balance.
His willingness to find a middle ground appealed to many French voters who didn’t see themselves as adequately represented by any of the other presidential candidates.
And that strategically balanced middle ground is the reason why Macron became the President of France.
As I fervently read as much about him as possible, and then watched him tackle Putin and Trump head on, I quickly deduced that the U.S. could use a politician like Macron.
If there any U.S. Macron’s out there who can save us from this political dogfight, please show yourself! Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever.
Throughout Macron’s campaign, he emphasized his concern that France and its partner Germany were being threatened by two unpredictable behemoths: Trump’s America and Russia.
On the eve of Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate deal, Macron was blunt about the consequences of that decision.
In a phone call to Trump, Macron reportedly sternly told him that France would continue to work with the U.S., but not on climate change.
He also issued a joint written statement with Germany and Italy directly affirming that the Paris accords would not be renegotiated.
And then he did what no other French President has ever done:
Last night, while he started off in French, he strayed away from the cherished national tongue by speaking to his country, and the world, in English and broadsided Trump.
He chided Trump’s decision to abandon the global climate pact calling it an “error for the interests of his country, his people and a mistake for the future of our planet.
“Don’t be mistaken on climate; there is no plan B because there is no planet B,” Macron said solemnly.
And then Macron spoke directly to Americans, asking scientists, entrepreneurs, and committed citizens to “Come here with us to work together on concrete solutions for our climate.” He also reassured Americans that “The world believes in you. I know that you are a great nation.”
As he spoke those words, I felt his sincerity, and they struck me as ironic, and got me thinking about his view of America vs. Trump’s America.
That Macron believes in all Americans, not just some Americans.
And that this isn’t about Trump. This is bigger than Trump. This is about who we are as a nation. All of us, not just some of us.
And when Macron purposefully ended his speech by asking the world to “Make our planet great again,” I couldn’t help but feel slightly vindicated, but mostly hopeful.
Today, EU officials have decided to cut out Trump’s White House and deal directly with the U.S. states and major corporations, many of whom have already pledged to live by the terms forged in Paris. A truly brilliant move.
Albus Dumbledore, the wizard who tutored Harry Potter in the ways of the world, said it best: There will be a time when we must choose between what’s easy and what’s right.
While Trump is playing checkers, the EU is playing chess.
Looks like Trump got trumped. Checkmate.