French President Emmanuel Macron warns of a ‘crisis of democracies’, including in the US, after years of ‘pressure’ and ‘destabilize’ efforts in an exclusive US interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Asked by Tapper if he’s worried about American democracy, Macron replied, “I’m worried about all of us.”
“I hate lecturing people and saying, ‘I’m worried about you.’ … But I believe what is at stake is what we built in the 18th century,” Macron said in an interview.
The French leader warned of a global crisis in Western “liberal democracies” when asked by Tapper about the trend of nationalism, populism and racism spreading across Europe and the United States.
“I think we have [a] great crisis of democracies, of what I would call liberal democracies. Let’s be clear on this. Why? First, because being open societies and being open and very cooperative democracies puts pressure on your people. It could destabilize them,” Macron said.
“And that’s why we must always articulate respect for the will of the people, for the references of the middle class, and all the progress made by our democracies welcoming different, open and cooperative cultures. It’s a question of balance I continued.
“It is clear that for some years we have had increasing pressure on our societies and we have reached the point where, in our various countries, there is what I would call a crisis of the middle classes.
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Macron also said social media plays a “very important role in what is at stake in our democracy” – “for better and for worse”. He said social platforms have been a driver of “fake news” and “new relativism”, which he called “a killer for all democracies because it completely severs the relationship to truth, science and the basis of our own democracy”. ”
Macron’s comments echo those of President Joe Biden broad effort to frame 21st century global competition as defined by democracies versus autocracies. Those warnings have taken on new weight in recent months as fears of a global recession loom and threats to democracy deepen alongside Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the immediate “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens, a move that threatens to step up his hesitant invasion of Ukraine after a series of defeats that have drawn recriminations in Moscow.
Putin said in a speech that he would use “all means at our disposal”, and even raised the specter of nuclear weapons, if he felt Russia’s “territorial integrity” was threatened.
The mobilization means that citizens who are in the reserve could be called up, and those with military experience would be subject to conscription, Putin said, adding that the necessary decree had already been signed and entered into force on Wednesday.
Macron called the decision a “mistake” and a missed opportunity “to move towards peace”.
“A few months ago, Vladimir Putin sent a message: ‘I was attacked by NATO, they triggered the situation and I just reacted.’ Now it is clear to everyone that the leader who decided to go to war, the leader who decided to escalate is President Putin,” Macron said.
“And I have no rational explanation,” he added, calling the invasion “Germany’s intervention strategy” and a “post-Covid-19 consequence” due to Germany’s isolation. Putin during the pandemic.
Macron was re-elected in April with a pitch to the voters of a globalized and economically liberal France at the head of a muscular European Union.
But the performance of her far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, was the latest indication that the French public is turning to hardline politicians to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo.