Macron, the “Anti-Trump” at the U.N. General Assembly


Striking differences between French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump were evident once again during the pair’s individual addresses to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly that convened this week. Many American media outlets compared the speeches point-by-point to highlight the two leaders’ contrasting ideologies.

“France’s president urged world leaders to work together, while America’s emphasized nations’ own sovereignty,” summarized ABC News. The website Quartz made a chart of the speeches’ different focuses, showing that Trump mentioned “sovereignty” 21 times and “climate” zero while Macron spoke of the former twice, and the latter five times. “The French president advanced positions contrary to those of Mr. Trump,” recounted conservative outlet Breitbart News, opposing the two president’s slogans: Trump’s “America first” and Macron’s “independence today lies in interdependence.” In terms of policy, Macron’s “ringing defense of global cooperation” in lieu of “survival of the fittest,” promised that France would press on with the Paris climate accord and support the Iran nuclear deal in the face of “strong criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump” on both, according to The Associated Press

The disagreements between the two leaders have global consequences, as Time points out in an article titled “Why Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron Are the World’s Most Important People This Week.” Among the prominent world leaders at the General Assembly, Macron and Trump stand out as heads of two members of the P-5, a group that holds permanent veto power on the U.N. Security Council. Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, of P-5 countries Russia and China respectively, were notably absent from the U.N. assembly and the final member, Britain, is in the process of exiting from the European Union. Thus, the article calls Trump and Macron “the only two P-5 leaders that truly count this week,” and, the ones who “can potentially sway the rest of the world’s leaders into declaring war, imposing sanctions, or block them from taking any action at all.”

Mr. Macron is relying heavily on his relationship with the U.S. and, as The Washington Post remarked in an op-ed, is working hard to be “the president who could change Trump’s mind.” The piece uses comments that Macron made to a group of American journalists on Wednesday. “We have to push very hard for him to act in the framework of the multilateral approach,” the French president said, “I think it’s feasible. At least, I consider that’s my mission. Because I do need the United States. We are great partners with the U.S. We work very closely against terrorism.”

No matter how much Macron needs the U.S., he is also working hard to be seen as Trump’s opposite. Quartz notes that “Macron took advantage of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s absence to stake out his position as the anti-Trump and his natural replacement as leader of the liberal world.”

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