France's President Emmanuel Macron arrives to address a joint meeting of Congress MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Macron’s Internationalism and the New Politics

French President Emmanuel Macron initially described his new political movement as being “neither on the right nor on the left,” and now says that it is “on both the right and the left.” But he won't be able to fudge it indefinitely: sooner or later, he will have to pick a side with which to ally.

WASHINGTON, DC – French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the United States last month was a study in contrasts. Despite the friendly dynamic, Macron’s agenda and rhetoric were almost diametrically opposed to US President Donald Trump’s. But Macron’s leadership is subject to an even more fundamental challenge; how he manages it could point the way forward for liberal-democratic politics.

Addressing the US Congress in English, Macron articulated a staunchly internationalist worldview, calling for stronger international institutions, a recommitment to the rules-based system of international trade, and a general embrace of globalization. With regard to Iran, he reiterated the need to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal, from which Trump has just withdrawn, though he did call for complementary agreements on topics that the existing agreement does not address.

Macron has also signaled that he will pursue a pan-European campaign for the 2019 European Parliament election. As a democrat, he believes that the deepening of the European Union must go hand in hand with the development of a truly European political space.

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