French President Emmanuel Macron has said he is ready to assume the mantle of global leadership typically occupied by the US. He said this in a scathing rebuke he delivered in the UN General Assembly Tuesday.
Macron criticized the Trump administration for its policies on Iran, climate change, the UN, migration and Mideast peace, among others in his speech.
His speech also touched on a review of the central theme of Trump’s speech earlier in the day which had a strong isolationist theme. In his speech, the US President focused on sovereignty and emphasized his administration’s intent to distance itself from international agreements and groups.
‘I shall never stop upholding the principle of sovereignty,’ Macron told the General Assembly, which draws more than 120 world leaders each year. ‘Even in the face of certain nationalism which we’re seeing today, brandishing sovereignty as a way of attacking others.’
Macron’s speech had a different emphasis.
‘Only collective action allows for the upholding of the sovereignty and equality of the people in whose name we take action,’ Macron said. ‘This is the reason we must take action against climate, demographics and digital challenges. No one alone can tackle these.’
‘Nationalism always leads to defeat,’ said Macron, basing his remarks on the historical context of Europe’s world wars. ‘If courage is lacking in the defense of fundamental principles, the international order becomes fragile and this can lead as we have already seen twice, to global war. We saw that with our very own eyes.’
While Trump’s speech trumpeted protectionism and national independence, Macron lauded a globalist view and emphasized the importance of collaboration.
‘At a time when our collective system is falling apart, it is most in demand,’ Macron said. ‘We shall support those working for peace and humanity,’ he said and then mentioned several arms of the UN that the Trump administration has stopped funding, criticized or withdrawn from, including UNESCO, the organization devoted to cultural preservation, the UN human rights council, the International Criminal Court and the agency that supports health and education for Palestinian refugees in the near east.
He saved perhaps his toughest words for the issue of climate change, which France has made a signature cause. The Trump administration backed out of the Paris Climate Agreement, making it the only country in the world that has rejected the pact, and has loosened domestic environmental regulations.
‘Here there can be no short change,’ Macron declared, adding that even “those who deny it’ are suffering the consequences. ‘In refusing collective actions certain individuals only make themselves more vulnerable,’ the French leader said.
Macron acknowledged the challenges of collaborative efforts and ended his address with a rallying exhortation.
‘Do not accept the erosion of multilateralism,’ Macron said. ‘Don’t accept our history unraveling, I’m not getting used to it and I’m not turning my head,’ he said. ‘That is my commitment to you and I count on you.’