Last week, Emmanuel Macron promoted the idea that Ukraine would have to eventually settle for peace with Vladimir Putin after it wins the war. Supposedly, his proposal is because of the very intelligent logic that you can not end the war if Ukraine’s aim is to oust Putin from power because Put won’t lose power even if he loses the war. Macron’s comments on Putin’s fate were related to questions on who and how Russia would face war crime trials after the war ends.
The idea that some Russians would face war crimes trials while Putin stays on in power is grotesque and also flies against the international order. It is also a blank cheque for dictators and war criminals like Bashar Al-Assad who is now being rehabilitated. This is also the definition of impunity and a clear implication that dictators can get away with war crimes.
On Ukraine, Macron has been consistently wrong, but he has also huge flaws in his foreign policy. His ideas have caused practical problems for Europe’s support of Ukraine. For example, lately, Macron delayed ammunition purchases to Ukraine because he insisted that they are to be produced and purchased exclusively from Europe. Not a bad idea, but these kinds of strict policies should be applied during peacetime in preparation for war and not during the actual war effort. This is like choosing to uphold your principles out of vanity instead of choosing to prioritise saving people’s lives.
Macron with his narcissism turned French foreign politics all about him. What counts for him is that his ideas are accepted and welcomed irrespective of how outrageous and ridiculous they are. He thinks of himself as a global strategist and influential statesman with a global reach, but for us Europeans, he is more like a big pain.