The Trump-Macron “bromance”

William Drozdiak of the Washington Post writes about the strong relationship between Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron. According to Drozdiak, the two speak to each other once or twice a week about policy, more than President Trump talks with any other world leader. Macron reportedly has influenced Trump on such key issues as expelling Russian diplomats and bombing Syria.

Drozdiak finds this “bromance” surprising, and on a superficial level it is. But Macron has what Trump appears to value most in a foreign leader — lust for power, the ability to obtain it, and the willingness to exercise it in ways that are outside the box, at least in a democracy.

Trump, for his part, possesses vast power by virtue of being U.S. president. Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that Macron cultivates him.

Macron’s outside the box approach to exercising power is exemplified by his attempt to “reform” Islam. James McAuley of the Washington Post reports that Macron plans to announce what the French president calls “a blueprint for the whole organization” of Islam in France. Assisting Macron in this project will be Hakim El Karoui, a former investment banker with Rothschild, no less (Macron also worked in that capacity for Rothschild).

It’s great that El Karoui wants to reform Islam, but highly doubtful that he has the credibility with French Muslims even to begin to accomplish this. The French government, though, shouldn’t be participating in the effort.

I agree with Olivier Roy, an expert on French Islam. “A secular state has no legal right to intervene in religion; that would be unconstitutional,” he declares.

There is precedent for Macron’s effort. Napoleon established a body to serve as a central organizing authority for Jewish religious practice in France. And Louis XIV pushed “Gallicanism,” the view that French kings, not the Pope, should have ultimate control of the Catholic Church in France.

These policies weren’t outside the box in their day. They are now.

Today, the European Union is the refuge of those who want to exercise undemocratic power. Sure enough, Macron is at the forefront of that endeavor. Andrew Stuttaford has the details at NRO’s corner.

There is, [Macron] claims, a European civil war. . . .

“[N]ational selfishness and negativity seems to take precedence over what brings us together.”

The “national selfishness” he talking about is, in fact, national democracy, the right of voters in individual nation-states to decide for themselves how much they want to be “brought together” with other countries. To Macron, the notion that such voters might have a vision for the future that differs from a blueprint drawn up by a handful of technocrats in the middle of the last century is negativism, selfishness, or something akin to a form of war. . . .

That is not, it seems, something that Macron is willing to accept. His notion of democracy seems to have little room for the idea that people can, you know, disagree.

For all the talk about President Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, his display of any consists so far almost entirely of expressions of admiration for Putin and Xi Jinping, and, arguably, his bromance with Macron.

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