Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

leonard46_ALEXEI DRUZHININAFPGetty Images_putinmacronpointing Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

Inside Macron’s Russia Initiative

By pursuing an ambitious new initiative to "ease and clarify" the European Union's relationship with Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to secure Europe’s control over its own future. But his plan will succeed only if he can ensure that no EU member state feels vulnerable.

BERLIN – French President Emmanuel Macron is one of those leaders who wants to bend the arc of history. Having upended French politics, he has secured positions for his preferred candidates at the head of the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and is now trying to improve Europe’s relationship with Russia.

French officials are comparing Macron’s Russia strategy to US President Richard Nixon’s opening of China in 1972. But Macron’s diplomatic overture is more like Nixon in reverse. Rather than wooing China in order to contain the Soviets, Macron wants to “ease and clarify [Europe’s] relations with Russia” in order to prevent Russia from cozying up to China. In so doing, he hopes to secure Europe’s control over its own future.

Macron launched his bid for a new security architecture in a typically grandiose fashion, mirroring the urban planner Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s project to redesign Paris in the nineteenth century. His first move was to hold talks with Putin in France’s Fort de Brégançon before the August G7 summit in Biarritz. But the French ministers charged with implementing the plan have since turned it on its head.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/JqYjb3e;
  1. guriev24_ Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images_putin broadcast Peter Kovalev/TASS via Getty Images

    Putin’s Meaningless Coup

    Sergei Guriev

    The message of Vladimir Putin’s call in his recent state-of-the-nation speech for a constitutional overhaul is not that the Russian regime is going to be transformed; it isn’t. Rather, the message is that Putin knows his regime is on the wrong side of history – and he is dead set on keeping it there.

    1