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article imageMacron calling for a 'real European army' to counter Russia, U.S.

By Karen Graham     Nov 7, 2018 in Politics
Paris - Emmanuel Macron has used the first world war armistice centenary commemorations to call for a “real” European army, warning that rising nationalism and populism threaten the fragile peace on the continent.
“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” Macron said as he visited the sites of the western front battlefields in northern France on Tuesday, according to the Guardian.
President Macron has been taking a week-long tour of north-east France, visiting villages and towns that saw so much bloodshed during WWI and are now struggling with deindustrialization and unemployment. Macron has argued for a collective European force since his election last year.
However, the urgency of his call for a "real European army" is starting to fall on more receptive ears, especially after President Trump announced in October that the U.S. would pull out of a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russia. Trump has also shown little real interest in NATO's mutual defense commitments.
“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty, who is the main victim? Europe and its security,” Macron said on a visit to Verdun, a French city that was the site of a major battle in 1916.
Macron will end his tour Sunday when he hosts Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and dozens of other heads of state at an armistice commemoration in Paris followed by an international “peace conference." The French President is expected to use this spotlight in issuing a rallying-cry against nationalism.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Malian counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will inaugurate t...
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Malian counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will inaugurate this monument to African troops in WWI on Tuesday in Reims
FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI, AFP
“I am struck by similarities between the times we live in and those of between the two world wars,” he told a French newspaper last week, reports the Japan Times, adding that nationalism was a “leprosy” spreading worldwide.
Macron has also used the armistice tour as a way to address his falling popularity ratings, now in the upper 20 percent range. Most of the tour has been taking place in a region where Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party performed very well in the last presidential election.
Opponents have played up Macron's image as being a "president for the rich." And Macron's straight-talking campaign rhetoric is now considered to be arrogance. His opponents have accused him of being out of touch with the everyday problems of French voters, and have called for a national protest against higher fuel taxes on France's roads on November 17, according to the BBC.
More about real European army, Nationalism, Populism, macron, United States
 
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