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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Macron’s Vision of European Security Is Half-Baked

His ideas are based on a flawed long-term view of Russia and a short-term one of the U.S.

Thumbs up no longer.

Thumbs up no longer.

Photographer: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

In a remarkably frank interview with the Economist, French President Emmanuel Macron laid out a vision of a European security architecture that includes more cooperation with Russia and less with the U.S. than today. It’s courageous but flawed.

“To my mind, what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Macron announced, due to “no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies.” The U.S., according to him, doesn’t share its European allies’ interests. Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. treats Islamist terrorism and Russia’s actions in Ukraine as Europe’s problems because they play out in Europe’s neighborhood, far from U.S. shores. All that the U.S. does is provide a defense umbrella in exchange for an exclusive commitment to buy U.S. products. “France didn’t sign up for that,” Macron said, making it clear that he doubts Trump’s commitment to NATO’s mutual security guarantee, spelled out in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.