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France and England are rekindling the old conflict in dangerous times

France and England are rekindling the old conflict in dangerous times

World leaders met for the week Nova York For the UN General Assembly, the absence of one person cast a long shadow over those already defined as tense days.

French President Emmanuel Macron will not personally be at UNGA. However, his arrival — even in virtual form — could not be separated from the post-maritime melee between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS), after which the Australian government abandoned a multi-billion dollar deal with France.

The French authorities, for good reason, are angry. Three of his associates ended a deal behind him, one of whom dropped the contract he signed several years ago. It was a great shame, at home and on the world stage, for a man to pose as Europe’s most radical leader.

On the other hand, for Boris Johnson, who led the Brexit campaign and accused his country of being an insular and “global insignificance”, it was a hat-trick (one player scores three goals during a football match). Standing shoulder to shoulder with US President Joe Biden; Agree with two countries on opposite sides of the world; All of this is motivating France in the process.

This is the final point that best illustrates both the hostile rhetoric coming from France and the provocative language of the British last week.

When France withdrew its ambassadors from Washington DC and Canberra, Britain chose not to do the same, which was seen as a kind of insult. The French European minister called the UK a “junior partner” who accepted the US “swing”.

Johnson responded with hostility, saying in French, that some people should pull themselves together and give him a rest.

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“I think it’s time for our dear friends around the world to relax about this.”Give it some spaceHe told reporters during his US trip.

While all of this may seem childish, it can have consequences.

France and England are neighbors who want to hate each other.

Rob Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester, says, “Politics is generally simple: people want to be on the side of a competition, and they want it when they win it.”

Last week it was very hard for Macron to swallow. The AUKUS deal not only undermined France’s claim to be Europe’s most radical geopolitical leader, but also led Johnson to a series of victories in the United States – a meeting at the White House; Global leaders support their climate goals and end US travel ban. At all times, Macron was absent and insulted.

Ford points out that this acts as a particular strength of Johnson: the use of non-diplomatic language – “cohesiveness” – hurts when it delights his home audience.

But why is he or any world leader at risk of committing such a crime? Apparently: Engaging in bitter argument is politically appropriate for Macron and Johnson.

First, Macron.

French President, Emmanuel Macron / 20/09/2021 via Stefano Relandini / Pool REUTERS

Aurelian Monton, a senior professor at the University of Bath, explains that “this is a good opportunity for him to look like a politician.”

This helps Macron highlight one of its main goals: to unite the EU on issues such as security, which would be impossible if the UK did not vote to leave.

It is no secret that Macron wants to create a pillar of the European Union within NATO, including Emmanuel Sean Quinlivan, a professor of European policy at Cork University. “He can now use the AUKUS tax to say that the EU cannot be dependent on the United States or the United Kingdom.”

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During the Brexit negotiations, Macron continued to take a hard line with the UK, sometimes pointing out that the country was in grave danger of leaving the economic camp.

What takes us Johnson.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson / 20/09/2021 REUTERS by John Mincelo / Pool

“He’s a great leader when he fights an enemy,” Ford says. “After Brexit, the incentive to emphasize small conflicts with France is high because the UK can no longer be punished within the framework of the European Union.”

However, Ford points out that this could go wrong if “Macron wants revenge and Johnson to be fooled”.

He urged the EU to take legal action against Britain’s failure to implement the Northern Ireland Code, the clearest part of his attempt to punish Johnson.

“If France pressures the EU to take Britain to court and retaliates by inciting Article 16 of the UK code of conduct – allowing the UK to take unilateral action – this will signal a sharp escalation of tensions,” said Anand Menon, a European political professor. King’s College London.

How likely is it that things will get out of hand?

Good faith between Paris and London is currently low.

And a bad relationship affects many important issues between neighbors.

The UK government, along with France, is blocking the flow of illegal immigrants traveling across the English Channel.

Julian King, Britain’s former ambassador to France, says that while the French are not encouraged to “patrol those beaches with enthusiasm”, crossing the English Channel “makes it much easier for those who want to smuggle people to England”. That would be a problem for a government that has taken such a hard line on immigration.

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He added that in addition to security and bilateral issues between states, political conflicts can spread a toxic situation in the community and result in fights from the hands of any government – thus causing fishing boats to collide with each other. Another. For example with others at sea.

“Some people are ready to create bad feelings not only in the UK. Politicians, on both sides, need to focus on reducing the heat and not igniting the flames,” King said.

One of the most exciting consequences of world politics over the past five years has been a bizarre movement of diplomatic rivalry in Europe.

The UK wants to be the best friend of the United States, Australia, Canada and other English-speaking democracies outside the EU.

At the same time, the EU is trying to create its own power base that, while independent of the United States, will force Washington and other global actors to take it seriously. Despite their best efforts, the 27 member states could not agree on some basic principles of what these two EU milestones are.

In this context, synthetic lines are inevitable – and, in some cases, even effective. Leaders must be careful and not let themselves grow big in politics, which can harm themselves and others.

(Translated text; Read the original In English)