- French President Emmanuel Macron gave a blistering interview to The Economist about his dissatisfaction with NATO and the European Union.
- He slammed President Donald Trump for withdrawing from Syria without consulting NATO last month, saying that there was “no co-ordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making.”
- NATO countries including France, Germany, and the UK still have forces in Syria. Macron said the Syria withdrawal represented the “brain-death of NATO.”
- Trump has for years complained that about what he sees as the US’ outsized financial role in NATO, and has threatened multiple times to pull out of the alliance.
- Macron also said the European Union is “on the edge of a precipice,” and partly blamed Trump for not having its back in the face of Russian and Chinese aggressions.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has slammed US President Donald Trump for unilaterally withdrawing from Syria – a decision that has upended power structures in the Middle East – without even telling his NATO allies.
“You have no co-ordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None,” Macron told The Economist in an article published Thursday, referring to Trump’s troop withdrawal from Syria last month.
Trump abruptly decided to pull out some 1,000 US troops out of Syria in early October after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said he was planning a military incursion into northeastern Syria.
NATO countries including France, Germany, and the UK all still have forces in Syria.
Trump appears to have a habit of freezing out key players while making major decisions. White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was left out of the US military raid against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month, NBC reported last week, citing current and former senior administration officials.
Macron added that the Turkish military incursion to fight the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish-led militia, also presented NATO with a quagmire in Syria.
The YPG partnered with countries including the US, UK, France, and the Netherlands to fight ISIS in the region as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. However, Turkey sees the Kurdish forces as terrorists and has vowed to eliminate them.
“You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another NATO ally, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake,” Macron said, adding that NATO’s Syria problem represents “the brain-death of NATO.”
On Tuesday, he “stressed” to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson by phone “the need for NATO allies to robustly fund their defenses,” according to a statement by White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere.
Macron also said the European Union was on “the edge of a precipice,” noting that the bloc’s “weaning ourselves out over Brexit” and inability to make decisions quickly due to its internal divisions could make it “disappear geopolitically.”
“If we don’t wake up,” he said, “there’s a considerable risk that in the long run we will disappear geopolitically, or at least that we will no longer be in control of our destiny. I believe that very deeply.”
He also partly blamed Trump for the EU’s struggles, saying that he “doesn’t share our idea of the European project” by not helping it face off growing Russian and Chinese influence.
In a G7 meeting in France this summer, Trump aggressively lobbied for Russia to be granted re-entry into the group, which had expelled it over its annexation of Crimea.
China has appears to be picking off EU countries, courting them, and pitting them against each other to prevent the bloc from having one united policy that could hamper Beijing’s economic plans.
Macron, Trump, and other NATO members are scheduled to meet in London in from December 3 to 4.
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