"The occasionally embarrassing bromance staged between Presidents Trump and Macron during the latter’s State Visit has suited both parties.
"Trump’s camp has sought to borrow some semblance of gravitas, grandeur and cultural panache, and it has been prepared to produce this visible reward to Macron for the ways in which France led air strikes in Syria and is collaborating with American forces in Africa. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the diminishing influence of Merkel and the UK, Macron has broadcast a Gallic globalism that momentarily sidelines national and some European resistance to his own reformist zeal.
"Ignoring the usual tree-planting and dining (and unusual grooming and hand-holding), we see Macron repeat his tactic of evincing both leftist and centre-right sympathies. He has tolerated and even flattered Trump’s posturing, possibly in the hope of pacifying the latter’s bellicose instincts, and has played his part in the visit’s military and memorialist scenarios and fulsome reference to common values, visions of liberty, and the like. But he has also used the privilege of addressing both houses of the US Congress to speak against the isolationism, nativism, and trade war policies that form the very basis of Trump’s populism.
"The purpose of Macron's performance on this occasion was really to present himself as nothing less than the President of Europe, and as such a person who can both influence and contain the Trump effect. It is his usual adventurous ploy. But like Napoleon’s preferred general, in his gambles and his timing Macron has so far been lucky."
Seán Hand, Professor of French Studies and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Europe).
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