From “Russia should not be humiliated”, to his stupid speech on French history filled with factual errors on basic and well-known facts, Macron is still far-off from a radical change in his foreign policy over Russia and Ukraine. The only material change mentioned in this overly optimistic article is that Macron supported the export to Ukraine of a limited number of cruise missiles.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has changed her position over Russia and Ukraine and this change in position was also measured in an increase of supply in German armaments to Ukraine, yet also limited in volume. However, fundamentally the position of France and Germany on Russia still remains the same. Both France and Germany oppose more trading and economic restrictions with Russia that are proposed by Eastern European states, and this refusal to add economic pressure on Russia is part of France’s and Germany’s existing policy of keeping several doors open for Russia. Both France and Germany retain their fundamental position that Europe needs Russia – an idea proven wrong in history time and time again.
Annalena Baerbock’s statement that Xi Jinping is a dictator is a welcome divergence from Scholz’s ingratiation, but such statements are at best a rude awakening after a series of catastrophic mistakes that left Europe reeling and dependent on murderous dictators when instead, we could have done much better and focused on building economic ties elsewhere where democracy and economic potential are even higher. Annalena Baerbock also changed her position on Ukraine, but her own party’s policy over energy, especially its policy against nuclear energy made Germany and Europe weaker and more vulnerable to dictators. Her position on Ukraine still falls materially short.
I don’t expect great things from Macron in his much-awaited speech at the start of next year and there is nothing stopping Macron from doing great things until then. France and Germany still hold fundamentally the same position over Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine is being provided a small number of weapons and hardware that enable it to sustain its slow offensive and current defence lines, but this aid is still very short a level that could help Ukraine earn a decisive victory. Ukraine is still greatly hampered and disadvantaged against Russia because it has no control of the sky and the sea and victory in modern warfare requires control of all geographic sectors: land, sea, and air. Meanwhile, France and Germany are keeping economic sanctions halfway, or at least focused only on strategic sectors.
A radical change in the foreign policy of France and Germany would result in a cohesive, united, and strategic plan to provide what Ukraine needs for a total victory. The aid to Ukraine for its strategic military victory would have to be paired with a strategic trade and economic policy that would further cripple Russia and force it to change its foreign policy.
By now, it should have been obvious to everyone that positive engagement with murderous dictators doesn’t cause them to become more moderate – it only empowers them.