The Elysée seeks to regain control in the face of criticism from “declinists”

This will probably not be enough to erase the affront. But, at the Elysee Palace, we want to believe that the telephone exchange between Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden, organized Wednesday, September 22, will at least allow the French president to regain control, internally, on the burning issue of Australian submarines . Mr. Macron, who had made his American counterpart wait several days before receiving his call, claiming “Not to be in command” of the United States, hopes to put aside the criticisms of the “declinists”, quick to be moved by a France relegated to “Second division” world powers. A formula used Sunday by the president of the Hauts-de-France region, Xavier Bertrand, one of the right-wing candidates in the 2022 presidential election.

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Beyond the request of a parliamentary commission of inquiry to bring to light any flaws in French diplomacy, as claimed by some parliamentarians, several figures on the national political scene have called for France’s exit from command. integrated NATO. This is the case, on the right, of Marine Le Pen, candidate of the National Assembly for the presidential election, and of Eric Ciotti, deputy (Les Républicains, LR) of the Alpes-Maritimes and candidate for the primary of his party, for whom “France must find (…) a Gaullian policy ”. On the left, this position is shared by the national secretary of the French Communist Party (PCF), Fabien Roussel, and the leader of La France insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who calls for “Refuse corporalization” of France vis-à-vis the United States.

Paris refuses to consider leaving NATO

After leaving the integrated command of NATO under the aegis of General de Gaulle in 1966, France joined it again under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009. In the name of European cohesion, French diplomacy refuses to consider such an option, which would be very badly perceived by the most Atlanticist States of the Old Continent, starting with Germany.

“There is something embarrassing about this matter which has to do with the deception. It is likely to scratch the national susceptibility ”, observes the political scientist Jean-Yves Camus, specialist of the extreme right. But, according to the expert, if the submarine crisis may feed the Declinist theses of some presidential contenders, it is unlikely that the subject will have a major effect on public opinion. In particular because the economic and social consequences of the loss of this contract for the French manufacturer Naval Group, at the heart of the matter, seem for the time being measured.

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