France is maneuvering towards a “Third Pole”

Strategic Maneuver Macron’s firm adherence to the notion of European sovereignty clashes with a statement from a French diplomatic source confirming Paris as a reliable ally of Washington. French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent trip to China has sparked considerable controversy. The focal point of the fuss was over his remarks about Europe’s ties with China and the United States. During a speech in Beijing alongside various business leaders and executives of major companies, he stressed the importance of strengthening collaboration with Beijing. He also took the time to redefine the relationship with Washington, clarifying that an alliance with the United States does not imply being a “vassal” or “that we no longer have the right to think for ourselves “. He went on to say that “France is in favor of the status quo in Taiwan” and “supports the one-China policy and the search for a peaceful settlement of the situation”. Macron’s firm adherence to the notion of European sovereignty clashes with a statement from a French diplomatic source that confirms Paris as a reliable ally of Washington. However, the American interpretation of the concept of an “ally”, especially with regard to Taiwan, does not correspond to this idea. Even Washington treats its closest allies obediently, relying on its own interests rather than adhering to the bond that binds allies together. The Gulf Cooperation Council and US Middle Eastern allies are the closest examples that illustrate the US approach to the strategic ally formula. Macron seems to have understood this concept and now manages the American ally using the same perspective, content to repeat speeches without putting them into practice in concrete actions or positions on the ground. The French president’s position on Taiwan is moving away from the alliance that the United States desires. Washington wants its allies to adopt the same positions, especially in specific cases like Taiwan. The United States faces a complicated crisis over how to handle China’s growing influence on the island. President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks mark a significant shift in his stance and a victory for China’s economic and investment diplomacy. Macron, who previously advocated for a resolute attitude towards China, now calls for closer collaboration with China. He stresses that Europe should not intervene in crises that do not concern it, in particular with regard to the Taiwan crisis between China and the United States. He urges European unity and the pursuit of European interests in the face of the Sino-American conflict. He even took the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, with him during his visit to China. Macron’s remarks have sparked outrage and concern not only in the United States, but also in Europe, where some European capitals fear that the United States will abandon them in the Ukraine crisis, while everyone recognizes that Europe is unable to defend itself against any Russian military threat that goes beyond Ukraine. This explains why some European politicians call Macron’s statements a “catastrophe” for European foreign policy. Some argue that Europe does not attach the same importance to Taiwan as the United States, while others argue that Ukraine is not as crucial for Washington as it is for Europeans. Therefore, Macron had to be careful and avoid falling into the trap of implicit comparisons, especially with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the lack of a political resolution in sight. Macron’s remarks were interpreted by some as France’s aspiration to lead the EU under the banner of “strategic autonomy” and to advocate for Europe to be a “third pole” independent of Washington and Beijing. This corresponds to the German position that emerged during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s trip to Beijing, where he also accompanied the leaders of major German companies and advocated “Germany first”. Macron is also trying to hit back at the US stance on the AUKUS alliance with Britain and Australia, as well as the danger of damage to France due to the cancellation of the French submarine deal. with Australia, which Paris called a $40 billion “stab in the back,” as well as costly sales of US gas to its European allies. Macron’s position does not mean that France is cutting ties with the United States, but rather a strategic maneuver. France sees itself in a strong position in the Indian Ocean and Pacific region, where it is the only European country with a military presence, allowing it to support the United States in its power struggle with China. . However, France cannot neglect China as a trading partner, occupying the fifth place on the list of France’s trading partners with a total annual trade volume of about 88 billion dollars. Thus, France seeks to balance these factors in pursuit of a “third pole” future, despite strong opposition within Europe. Many see this as a mistake that would damage transatlantic relations and undermine the progress made since Joe Biden took over the White House, following a period of strained Europe-America relations under his predecessor Donald Trump. By Salem AlKetbi Emirati political scientist and former candidate for the Federal National Council