France and Imperial Leadership in the EU

Imperial rumblings have become louder and clearer in recent years in France under the Leadership of Emanuel Macron. In public remarks the French President called for a “true European army” to defend the EU, likening the United States with Russia and China as potential enemies who may threaten European interests or security.

Macron is a transnational imperialist who believes that nations-states are outdated and that regional or global governance is the ideal blueprint for humanity.

During a speech at the UN General Assembly in October 2018, in open criticism of the United States and its President, he stated the following:

“Nationalism always leads to defeat.

“If courage is lacking in the defence of fundamental principles, international order becomes fragile and this can lead as we have already seen twice, to global war.

“We saw that with our very own eyes.”

Macron’s comments and other remarks made by his Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire that the EU become an empire invited Napoleonic comparisons, and when pressed on the matter by reporters, Le Maire stated that he’s “talking about a peaceful empire that’s a constitutional state”. Clearly French leaders are salivating at the prospect of enhanced European state power with France firmly entrenched at the top with Germany.

Another element of France’s progressive brand of imperialism is their sponsorship of the joint G5 Sahel force, a coordinated effort under UN Security Council resolution 2359, between the African Union, the EU and the UN that augments a global military presence in Africa. The resolution came into effect on June 21, 2017. Shortly before the resolution was passed, Macron visited the area, and addressed French troops who were stationed there.

“More than ever, you are our sentinels and our bulwark against the advance of terrorism, extremism and fanaticism.”

President Emmanuel Macron, Gao, May 2017

On the surface, while this seems like a benign humanitarian mission with a commitment of only 5,000 French troops, the long-term implications of this are increased development of global military forces for the EU in tandem with the UN, which Macron clearly favours. Training missions for the EU mean that they are developing logistical and military capabilities and engaging in a deeper level of coordination with the UN. Given that there are currently 13 active peace-keeping operations around the globe (7 in Africa, one in Europe, one in Asia, and 4 in the Middle East) it’s worthwhile to pay attention to the rhetoric and long-term objectives of leaders and officials who feel contempt for national sovereignty and self-determination.

Since the days of Charlemagne and Napoleon, imperial aspirations under the guise of the dawn of a golden age of peace in Europe have exploited the worthy goals of ending war and universal liberation by translating them into practical military strategy. It’s helpful to remember that it was in France that the dialogue of peace transitioned to a new culture of war, particularly during the French Revolutionary period.