The President of France Emmanuel macron tries on the role of chief criticism of NATO in Europe. For the second time in a short time he declares “brain death” of the Alliance — and again because of the policies of Turkey, this time in Libya. By and large, the position of the Macron is dictated by the uncertainty of the EU in the United States. Meanwhile, the French leader hopes to earn extra political points by criticizing NATO.
The President of France Emmanuel macron leaves the subject of NATO’s crisis. On 22 June during a joint press conference with Tunisian counterpart Kais said, he said that the incident between the ships of France and Turkey in the Mediterranean sea, became a vivid illustration of “brain death” of NATO.
The incident, which says the macron, took place in early June, when the French frigate Courbet, off the coast of Libya attempted to check Turkish civilian vessel for the presence of contraband weapons.
At this point, as stated by Paris, three other Turkish warships that had accompanied the ship took the frigate in sight and refused to comply with the requirements of the inspection vessel. The French frigate was involved in the NATO operation Sea Guardian, reports TASS.
In the French Ministry of defence is regarded as “extremely hostile and aggressive actions”.
Ankara, however, denies these accusations, saying that the French military was performing dangerous maneuvers, and the Turkish ships used the radar not for guidance, and for monitoring frigate.
Turkey has supported the national consensus Government (NTC) in Libya, headed by Fitom Barragem. At the end of last year, Turkey PNS approved and signed in November a Memorandum on military cooperation and on mutual understanding on Maritime zones.
According to the document, Turkey can at any moment to put their troops, if requested by Sarraj. Before that, however, is not reached, however, Ankara has sent additional weapons and military advisers, despite the fact that the result of the Berlin conference on Libya, was the confirmation of embargo on arms supplies to Libya, and the refusal to provide military assistance to any of the parties to the conflict.
The French President in his speech pointed to the fact that Ankara violates the Berlin agreement.
“I have already had the opportunity to very clearly tell the President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. Today, I believe that Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya and violated all the commitments it had made during the Berlin conference,” he said.
Macron also stressed that Ankara’s actions incompatible with its status of member country of NATO. Of course, the indignation of the Macron is partly dictated by the fact that Turkey’s actions in Libya run counter to the interests of two members of the Alliance — France and Greece. Cooperation of Erdogan and Zarraga affects the specific interest of the Mediterranean countries gas reserves.
“I return you to my allegations late last year about the “death of the brain NATO.” I believe that the recent incident demonstrates this clearly, — said macron. — France considers stability in the Mediterranean a key challenge”.
Indeed, the words of the French leader of “brain death” NATO said in November last year in an interview with The Economist, have become one of the most striking statements of policy.
“What we are now experiencing is the brain dead NATO, Europe needs to start thinking about itself as an independent geopolitical force, otherwise it will not control its own destiny,” urged the French leader.
By the way, the reason for those statements was also Turkey. In October, Ankara launched a military operation in the North of Syria, without obtaining the approval of its allies in NATO. Words of Macron Turkey already perceived negatively, which led to a public conflict with President Recep Erdogan.
“The President of France, Mr. macron, I say to you in Turkey, and I will say to NATO: first, check your own head on the subject of brain death,” — said Erdogan.
The foreign Ministry of France, the words of the Turkish leader was viewed as an insult, the Ministry has also summoned the Ambassador of Turkey.
As trump brings allies
However, it should be noted that Ankara’s foreign policy was still not the only reason for the contradictions within the Alliance and the discontent of France. Certainly, NATO members are faced with the need to pass the test of strength, when the US President was Donald trump.
The White house has long insisted that Germany needs the Alliance billions of dollars. Trump unhappy with the fact that Berlin does not comply with this by all NATO members pledge to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP. At the same time Germany has already gone this route, having increased funding to 1.38%. At the same time the US gets 3.4 percent of the state budget for the needs of the Alliance.
Trump criticizes Berlin on the issue with surprising regularity. He, in particular, referred to the insufficient, in his opinion, the contributions of Germany, when indignantly responded to the words of the Macron about “brain death” of NATO. Criticism of the White house, of course, were not. He threatened to consider whether the United States to defend those members of NATO that do not make the required amount.
Finally, in June, trump has moved from words to deeds. And at first about the decision of the President of the United States to withdraw from the German soldiers reported by the American media. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on numerous requests to comment on the decision of trump refused, citing the fact that the information about it — it’s just “speculation in the media.”
June 15, trump announced that the number of American military in Germany will be reduced to 25 thousand. — thus he confirmed plans for the withdrawal of 9,500 soldiers from Germany.
“As you know, Germany has delayed their payments to NATO. They pay 1% [of GDP], and have to pay 2%… We protect Germany, and they do not pay — outraged trump. — Wherever there is database, Germany is booming”.
The next day, Stoltenberg confirmed that the White house had not informed the Alliance about its decision. The NATO Secretary General also said that he had learned from trump on the withdrawal of troops from Germany a few days after a message appeared in the business newspaper The Wall Street Journal.
NATO Secretary General are in a ridiculous position, when he could neither confirm nor deny the information in mass media about the actions of the United States.
“Last week it was only the media reports because they were not confirmed by the United States. Now these reports are confirmed, and I, of course, easier to comment, because now it was officially announced by the United States,” said Stoltenberg during a press conference on June 16.
He stressed that the US military presence in Europe is now greater than it was prior to 2017, but also made it clear that he does not consider the withdrawal of the military from Germany useful either for NATO or for Washington.
“The US presence in Europe is due not only to protect Europe, but to spread the power of the United States outside Europe. We have seen that such a database, as a base Ramstein medical center “Landstuhl” and many other us bases in Germany are important for what the US did for decades in the middle East, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa — said Stoltenberg. — This just proves that the US presence in Europe — Yes, it is very important for the European allies — but it is also important for the security of the United States.”
And if the NATO Secretary General responded to the decision of trump with cautious concern, in Germany responded with indignation.
“It’s completely unacceptable, especially considering that in Washington no one bothered to inform its NATO ally, Germany, in advance,”
— told the newspaper Rheinische Post Peter Bayer, coordinator of the transatlantic policy in the office of Angela Merkel.
And the foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas confirmed that the Cabinet had not received specific details of the US plan.
But the confusion of the members of the Alliance is not confined to such attacks trump and his actions in Europe. The US allies in NATO, especially Germany and France, repeatedly expressed confusion and irritation concerning unilateral actions trump foreign policy.
For example, the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the beginning of this year, have forced NATO to suspend training mission in Iraq. It is the trump decision on the withdrawal of troops from North-Eastern Syria have opened for the possibility of attack on the territory controlled by Kurds, which later caused negative reaction of the Macron.
Macron chasing two hares
However, the statements of the French leader about the crisis in NATO is not only aimed to point out the problems in the Alliance.
Ambitious French President has long said — to protect the Europeans should create a European army.
In 2018, the macron was proposed to establish a combined European forces for emergency intervention in crisis situations. Moreover, expressing their ideas, the President cited the uncertainty of the commitment of the North Atlantic Alliance with the United States. As Donald trump announced one after the other withdrawal from treaties in the field of security (a Joint comprehensive plan of action on Iran’s nuclear program, the Agreement on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles, the Treaty on open skies), uncertainty in Europe increased.
It is not surprising that Emmanuel macron has become the main critic of the NATO to the EU, said in a conversation with “Газетой.Ru” researcher of the Department of European political studies, IMEMO RAS Pavel Timofeev.
“Makron of their ideological views is primarily europeista, that is a supporter of strengthening the powers of the EU, and secondly, Atlanta.
This does not mean that it is in principle opposed to NATO as such. This means that he believes that NATO, in many respects, no longer meets the objectives for which it was created in the mid XX century”, — said the expert.
Is Paris historically uneasy with the Alliance relationship. In 1966, French President Charles de Gaulle (which, as observers note, is equal to the macron), confirming the independent nature of French foreign policy that brought the country out of NATO. In 2009 under President Nicolas Sarkozy, France returned to the Alliance, but with the presidency of Donald trump and Emmanuel Macron, the parties relationship again became strained.
“Makron in recent years, more argues or tries to establish itself as an independent player in Europe, he realizes that the US does not have to count. It is on this basis only the macron in this case gives primary attention to the development of defence capabilities of the EU, and secondly — NATO”, — said Timofeev.
Making such loud statements about “brain death” NATO, the French leader, on the one hand, alludes to the need for reform of the Alliance. On the other hand, it promotes the old idea of strengthening the military autonomy of the European Union. In both cases, the Makron will get a chance to strengthen its international positions, thereby implementing a large-scale political ambitions.
However, speaking about the need for military autonomy of the European Union, the French leader does not plan to resort to extreme measures in the form of a European army,
the Director of the Center for comprehensive European and international studies Timofey Bordachev.
“Macron is well aware that without the United States Europe cannot ensure its security in the modern world. If it requires a European army, then he needs it as a tool, as a bargaining chip with the Americans, if the Europeans are anything will be able to present. Here a combination of ideas — he wants to keep NATO, of course, but he wants to make it more convenient for Europeans to get rid of the fact that it is at the disposal of the goodwill of Americans,” — said the expert.