Emmanuel Macron’s Speech to the Joint Session of Congress, 25 April 2018
Apr. 30, 2018
In this essay, I offer a detailed textual analysis of the speech which French President Emmanuel Macron delivered before the Joint Session of Congress, Washington, D.C. on 25 April 2018. In line with the kind of textual analysis which I performed on major political documents signed by heroic East European freedom fighters in 2007 and 2009, which were in fact authored by US intelligence operatives, I maintain here that a substantial part of Macron’s speech was either written by or coordinated closely with these same intelligence services for the purpose of exerting maximum influence on domestic US politics by reinforcement of centrist American predispositions from respected foreign actors. However, in the given instance, it is also essential to explain how M. Macron became president of France in 2017 with the connivance of these same intelligence services. I will attempt to do that in the second part of the essay.
I freely admit that my argumentation is circumstantial and relies heavily on hunches that today are sagely phrased as “most likely” scenarios. But whereas the “most likely” reasoning of Theresa May is used to justify unprecedented verbal attacks on Russia and military attacks on the sovereign state of Syria, my reasoning, if unpersuasive, has no other consequence than to lose a reader here or there. On the other hand, if I indeed have touched gold, as I believe is the case, then the “special relationship” between the United States and France that Emmanuel Macron celebrated in his speech to Congress assumes a far more sinister nature than anyone in our mainstream and alternative media has so far identified.
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The fake political documents to which I make reference above were generated under orders by US intelligence and sold to the American public via mainstream media as the cri de coeur of freedom fighters. They were, in the first case (2007) intended to raise public consciousness against Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s shocking denunciation of US global hegemony at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007. In the second case (2009), the objective was to mobilize opposition to President Obama’s newly announced policy of “re-set” in relations with Russia. I described both frauds at length in my article entitled “The Strange Case of Yulia Tymoshenko’s 2007 Article in Foreign Affairs“
President Emmanuel Macron’s speech before the combined session of the House of Representatives and the Senate on 25 April was an event of great moment. Such invitations to foreign leaders are extended by Congress very rarely as a sign of great respect. The last time a head of state of the French Republic was so honored was 58 years ago when Charles De Gaulle was the speaker. Expectations of such speeches run high and Macron did not disappoint.
Macron’s entry into the chamber was met by rapturous applause and a standing welcome that lasted more than ten minutes. His pauses during his 40 minute speech for applause were duly rewarded with all Congressmen rising to their feet except for one instance that I will discuss below. The speech was followed by more than 10 minutes of applause. This was a memorable event on the surface. Now let us look to content.
The Speech: who wrote what?
As I noted in my introduction, Macron’s speech was very likely a composite of texts which he received from his own Elysée Palace speech writers, which he added to himself, even in the final moments before delivery, and the substantial part received from or agreed with American speechwriters who know best the vulnerabilities of their compatriots and how to play the heartstrings of the Congressional audience as well as the broader public watching on television. I make this determination on the basis of the thought processes, the choice of words and the knowledge base implicit in the given texts, where I see considerable variance from one part of the speech to another.
The French input
The introductory passages of the speech, and in particular the notion of a “special relationship” between France and the United States arising from their more than two centuries of shared history and beliefs were very likely conceived and formulated in France under close watch of Emmanuel Macron.
It is quite obvious that Macron has sought to use the many months when Germany could not form a new government to upstage Angela Merkel and take the initiative in setting out a new vision for a more integrated European Union where France’s role is second to none.
Germany may be the largest economy on the Continent but for reasons of history may make no claims to a special relationship with the USA. That honor fell in the past to the United Kingdom, but Brexit has severely reduced the possible utility of London to Washington. This created another situation potentially in France’s favor which Emmanuel Macron has sought to use for his and his country’s benefit by establishing close personal bonds with the occupant of the White House from soon after he came to power in 2017.
Turning to the specifics of the text, I point in particular to the literary allusions made by Macron to underscore the long cultural interchange between France and the United States. Here we find his mention of François-René de Chateaubriand, Simone de Beauvoir, Richard Wright and James Baldwin. This demonstration of liberal arts education goes well beyond what our American political classes in their present state of rude decay would be able to draw upon. As Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said to Oxford alumnus Boris Johnson, who had mis-interpreted Crime and Punishment to explain Russian state behavior today: if you cannot read all of Dostoevsky’s novels, at least learn the titles. The same applies well to American partners in the Anglo-Saxon axis seated on Capitol Hill.
As for the personal input of Macron, surely his remark on Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire exchanging bear hugs upon their meeting in Paris in 1778 – “reminds you of something doesn’t it?” was well-timed to make capital out of his embraces with Donald Trump the day before and point to a quick wit.
Macron’s remarks on Syria in the speech are surely also his own, because he did not strictly keep to the American narrative when explaining French participation in the cruise missile attack on Syrian targets the night of 13-14 April. First he repeated that generally accepted narrative which Washington wrote and the rest of the “free world” has repeated: that the mission was to destroy chemical weapons facilities and degrade the regime’s capability in this area. But then came a second argument, which has a ring of truth about it: namely that the objective was “to restore the credibility of the international community in Syria.” Indeed, the credibility of the US-led coalition in Syria had taken a serious loss with the fall of Eastern Goutha to Assad forces in the week preceding the cruise missile attack. Macron held this up as a powerful example of the kind of liberal multilateralism the West must now adapt to modern challenges. No matter that this argument renders even more egregious the Allies’ violation of the norms of international law while practicing naked aggression.
Authorship of one curious inaccuracy and the use of peculiar language in the speech is hard to place but I will hazard the guess they are Macron’s own precisely because they are so idiosyncratic and conform to the odd readings of French history that punctuated his speeches during his election campaign. I have in mind Macron’s delineation of French-American cooperation in the 20th century. He speaks of the United States and France fighting side by side in World War I to combat “imperialism.” Surely Macron, not to mention possible US speechwriters, would be aware that French imperialism ended only after World War II following massive defeats in Indochina (Dien Bien Phu, 1954) and in the Algerian War (1962). Perhaps this is just Macron’s political correctness, his attempt to avoid identifying Kaiser Wilhelm and the Prussian threat to civilization which were in fact the Allied rallying cry in WWI but which sound a note of discord that contradicts the myths of today’s European Union. It is also curious that Macron chose to describe the Cold War as standing up to Stalinism. Stalinism disappeared ten years into the Cold War. More commonly in the US, the point of the common effort was to resist the spread of Communism. Macron comes back to the generally shared narrative only when speaking of the present joint effort to defeat global terrorism.
The US contribution to Macron’s speech: the anti-Trump crusade
The substance of Macron’s speech was a well-argued denunciation of everything that Donald Trump and his populist nationalism stands for. It is the attack which the Democratic Party, if it were truly functional and practicing democracy as opposed to demagogy, would be leveling against Trump all the time, but which it has not done once, because of the total absorption in the cheap and fake allegations of collusion with the Russians which the DNC continues to use as its battle cry today. Hence, the launch in the past week of the futile and wrong-headed lawsuit against Russia, against the Trump campaign and against Julian Assange.
The coherent and persuasive anti-Trump core of the speech could have been written by virtually any of the members of the board of the Council of Foreign Relations. That is to say it corresponds fully to the bipartisan Center Right – Center Left of the American foreign policy establishment which rejected Trump and populism from the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign when his candidacy on the Republican ticket improbably became a reality. The text of the speech robustly promotes the notion of the joint interest of France and the United States in protecting the US-dominated World Order that Washington invented after WWII and developed with the support of its allies over many decades to deliver public goods while defending freedom, equality and human rights, that is our shared values. This is the World Order that is now under threat from new rising powers [read China and Russia] and renegade states [read Iran and North Korea]. The United States must stand by the Rule of Law, which it itself wrote, not withdraw into isolationism and extreme nationalism or unilateral actions, which Trump has been doing ever since he moved into the White House by tweets and executive orders.
It must be stressed that this entire demolition of the Trump politics does not mention at all the phony issue of Russian meddling in the US elections of 2016 and collusion with the Kremlin.
The constant refrain of the speech’s core texts is appeal to our common values, democracy, liberty. Add to that the stress on the US as the author of the multilateral world order that is now under challenge and must be updated to meet 21st century circumstances,
What are the specific policy recommendations flowing from the foregoing?
Macron argues against trade (“commercial”) wars such as Donald Trump is now launching on all fronts. He stresses that trade imbalances must be resolved through mutual negotiations, making use of the good offices of the WTO to maintain trade that is free and fair. The US wrote these rules, he says, and should play by them. In his view, in trade wars everyone loses. They destroy jobs, result in higher costs, and the middle classes, the backbone of our democracies in his words, pay for it all.
Macron calls for continued adherence to the Iran nuclear agreement even as we may consider broadening the terms with Iran to keep in check that country’s political influence in Yemen, in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Syria. The French signed the nuclear agreement because the US invited them to do so. “Now that we signed we will stick with it.”
On Climate Change, Macron defended the whole logic of the Paris Agreement. While acknowledging policy differences with the current US administration, he expressed confidence that eventually the United States will return to the convention. And in the meantime he proposed a policy that its Democratic Party supporters have been urging for the past year: that US municipalities and corporations continue to fulfill US obligations so long as the US is outside the convention in the anticipation of a change of policy at the federal level.
Macron’s remarks on Climate Change were the one point in his speech where the bipartisan consensus in the chamber broke down completely, with Democrats standing and applauding enthusiastically while Republicans sat sullenly in their seats.
Finally, in remarking the elements in Macron’s speech which very likely were contributed by US advisers or speech writers, I note his use of maudlin exemplars of heroism and guest appearances, features that have become the stock in trade of US politics. See his reference to the American poet who volunteered for the Foreign Legion in 1916, before the country was engaged in the World War, to fight for liberty and France, who died on Independence Day and whose memory is revered in the town near Amiens, close to Macron’s own home town, in France. Then note Macron’s hand on heart gesture of respect for the veteran of the D-Day landing in Normandy who was in the gallery of the chamber. This is a page straight out of the playbook that Trump himself used in his State of the Nation address at the start of the year.
Bromance and the stab in the back or payback that Macron’s speech represented
The break with Trump in his speech to the US Congress was noted by many media commentators, though to my knowledge none has described it in the comprehensive, programmatic sense I give above. Some commentators chose to see the great enthusiasm of Democratic Congressmen for the speech. However, insofar as I could judge from the ABC and one other recording of the speech that I watched, all Congressmen gave standing ovations to Macron at every pause for applause except one: that relating to Global Warming and the US position on the Paris Agreement.
It is quite remarkable that all media in the USA, in France have spoken of the relationship between Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump as a “bromance,” while calling attention to their obvious physical closeness on display during their time together before cameras. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of bromance as “a close nonsexual friendship between men,” raises suspicions by the very word “nonsexual.” In fact, the body language between the tall, corpulent Trump and the slight, shorter Macron was distinctly sexual, with domination of the US alpha male very much in evidence.
There is no accident to this, which nearly all media have chosen to ignore. It must be recalled that during the French electoral campaign in 2017, French political elites and the general public speculated openly about the candidate’s sexual orientation given the scandalous disparity in age with his wife, his former school teacher, in a childless marriage.
For those who play close attention to voice pitch, I suggest listening once again to how Macron delivered his speech. This is not merely a result of French versus American habits. If Macron had been coached to sound more manly, less effete as Americans understand it, the delivery could have been quite different sounding.
For those who will criticize my ad hominem examination, I insist that an openly homosexual president of France is not an issue by itself. In Belgium not so long ago we had an openly gay prime minister, Elio De Rupo, nicknamed the “Bow Tie” for his sartorial preferences, without any ill effects for the commonweal. The point I am making, however, relates to the prospective state-to-state relationship with France because a closet homosexual confronts us with the question that the FBI has raised from the beginning of the Steele dossier against Trump and his alleged sexual escapade in Moscow: to what degree is Macron susceptible to political blackmail, in this case, by his American friends?
Quite apart from the sexual dimension, Trump’s body language towards Macron during their time together was altogether overly familiar and patronizing. No gesture said it better than his flicking a speck of what he called dandruff off of Macron’s jacket. In polite society that is simply not done. It was demeaning to Macron, who, had he an ounce of self-respect, should have walked out of the room. However, as we saw in our examination of his speech before Congress, the mission of his state visit was too important for him to respond to these personal insults.
Any exploration of the relations between Trump and Macron cannot end here, however. There is a mystery about their supposed bonhomie when you consider that the Trump-Macron press conference the day before the address to Congress made it clear that Macron left the talks with absolutely nothing in hand on the two major issues he came to discuss: imminently pending US plans to walk out of the Iran nuclear agreement and to impose crippling tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from the EU. The latter is, of course, further aggravated by the latest US sanctions on Russia, directed against Rusal, the world’s second largest aluminum producer, which supplies 40% of all European imports of the raw material. That issue alone threatens to play havoc with the European supply chain.
In this context, Macron’s speech before Congress and his renunciation of the populist, extreme nationalist foreign policy that Trump represents was a payback if not more crudely put, a stab in the back of his supposed friend.
How could this be? The answer is clear: with the active support of political forces in the capital that are in unrelenting opposition to the President. Now we will consider the likelihood that these same forces were influential if not decisive in putting Emmanuel Macron in power in Paris one year ago.
How Macron came to power: US meddling in French politics
If we were to look at the 2017 French presidential elections in isolation, my claim of US meddling might appear to be taken from thin air, because the US thumb on the scales was not visible. To be sure, there were those in France and in the USA who were saying last year that Macron was propelled into office by support from the international bankers who had recruited and employed him, who had sent him off to work in finance for Francois Hollande. And, of course, those international bankers all are on strings going back to the world’s financial capital, New York. But there was never any specific suggestion of a United States government role.
The argument for an American influence becomes far stronger if one looks back 6 years to the jockeying for position of French presidential hopefuls ahead of the 2012 election. There you have to be blind not to see the hand of the US in influencing if not determining the outcome, which was the selection of a dim-witted nonentity François Hollande instead of the favored front-runner in the Socialist Party, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
In the spring of 2011, DSK, as he is known, was still the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, which he had been serving since 2007. He had previously served very successfully in various high governmental posts in France including Minister of Economics, Finance and Industry. He was known as highly intelligent and a leading policy thinker in his party. At the same time, as IMF boss DSK expounded what many construed as anti-American views, in particular his advocacy of dethroning the US dollar as the global reserve currency in favor of an abstraction not tied to one country, the Special Drawing Rights. Be that as it may, on 18 May 2011 Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York on charges of sexual assault filed by a hotel maid. He was taken off a plane at Kennedy airport just before departure for France, was put on display in manacles before the press for his accuser to identify him in a line-up and was threatened with a long term of incarceration for what some friends claimed was a politically-motivated entrapment. The criminal case against him was eventually dropped. An out-of-court settlement was reached with the maid. And DSK’s political career ended promptly in utter disgrace. His Socialist Party in disarray, the eventual nomination fell to Hollande, the common law husband of the Party’s previous presidential candidate from the 2007 race whose only selling point was his insider status.
With the incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy accused of financial machinations relating to his first electoral campaign, compounded by allegations that he had received financing from Muamar Ghaddafi, the insipid Hollande was able to win a close race and take charge of the French government on a program that eventually consisted of little more than buying votes and inflating employment results though a vast increase in political appointments.
Hollande’s five years in office were a time of economic stagnation and a weak France in Europe, following timidly in the footsteps of the more dynamic Angela Merkel in the traditional French-German alliance at the head of the EU.
As the 2017 elections approached, Hollande’s popularity ratings had fallen to 5% and he withdrew from pursuit of a second term. The fight for power would then focus within the conservative Republican party that Sarkozy had wrought but could no longer lead because he was tainted with scandal and the xenophobic populist National Front led by Marine Le Pen.
Among the Republicans, François Fillon, Sarkozy’s prime minister from 2007 to 2012, quickly emerged as the front-runner, winning the party primary on 20 November 2016 and remaining out in front in the early spring. In his favor, Fillon was experienced, competent and a self-declared economic reformer.
Across the Atlantic, the prospect of either leading candidate winning the French presidency raised hackles. Opposition to Le Pen was assured within the American Establishment because her victory would add still greater momentum to the populist wave that had already won the White House in November 2016 and had begun its work of deconstructing the World Order.
To be sure, Fillon won the grudging backing of the Bloomberg media empire, which held him up as the only candidate who could stop Le Pen. But otherwise, he was no more liked by those actually running US foreign policy than Le Pen, because he was a known “friend” of Vladimir Putin,
François Fillon had met Putin on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2015, had appeared on domestic state television advocating accommodation with Russia and had publicly opposed the U.S. sanctions. His election, like Le Pen’s, would create a transatlantic duo working against the existing strategic direction of US policy, which was and is to bait the Russian bear and present an aggressive enemy to the East of Europe in order to keep the Allies in line and consolidate U.S. dominance on the Continent, in the world.
Thus, we may not be surprised that Fillon’s candidacy was derailed just weeks before the first round of presidential elections when he was charged with embezzlement amidst allegations “that he had paid his wife and children hundreds of thousands of euros from the public payroll for little or no work.” Was Fillon guilty of the offense? Clearly, he was. However, that is misleading in the context of French political culture, where such actions have been very widespread for decades amidst what we may describe as institutionalized corruption that arises from the peculiarities of funding electoral campaigns and of paying the living costs of the political class.
With Fillon publicly discredited, the anti-Le Pen torch passed to the dark horse candidate Emmanuel Macron who was running on an anti-corruption platform that was in its own way “populist,” though safely friendly to the existing World Order. Macron was perfectly suited to the needs of possible interveners in the presidential campaign from across the Atlantic. He had no experience of electoral politics, had no party machine behind him to go against the established parties and, as noted above, had certain personality quirks that could render him subject to blackmail.
In the foregoing, I have established the motive and the means for the American Deep State to have influenced the French presidential election and installed Emmanuel Macron in power in 2017. There is no proof that the opportunity was actually seized by US operatives, but the unquestionable meddling by the United States in the preceding electoral cycle in France suggests that such intervention was “highly likely,” n’est-ce pas?
© Gilbert Doctorow, 2018
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Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, Does the United States Have a Future? was published on 12 October 2017. For a video of the book presentation made at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on 7 December 2017 see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciW4yod8upg