Macron’s embarrassing attempt to use the war in Ukraine to raise his own profile

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference at a end of the conference in support of Ukraine, with European leaders and government representatives, at the Élysée Palace in Paris, France, February 26, 2024. (EPA-EFE/GONZALO FUENTES / POOL MAXPPP OUT)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

French President Emmanuel Macron’s Paris conference on Ukraine last week was all about France pursuing its interests. The issue of sending troops to Ukraine is not new to military analysts, but this was probably the first such political and open airing of the subject by an important head of state. 

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico amplified Macron’s message by issuing a strong rejection of any notion of sending troops to Ukraine. The news that this was being debated at all came as a major surprise to public opinion and much of the media. 

In the end, all that was actually on offer was the fact the French were prepared to offer their nuclear umbrella’s protection to European allies, and all the talk about putting boots on the ground did not find much support. So, why then was this mentioned at all? 

The spin coming from the French side was that Macron wanted to create an impression of “strategic ambiguity”: uncertainty on the Russian side as to the true intentions of European capitals regarding the war in Ukraine. More cynical observers, however, feel Macron’s saber-rattling was really about raising the profile of the French president. 

The Macron message did not go down well in Berlin. Apart from disagreeing with it entirely, the Germans feel that Paris lacks the military and political credibility to make such offers. The Central Europeans in turn felt that France was playing with their security interests and only succeeded in creating strategic ambiguity, not for Russia, but for its allies. 

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