#Official Commentary of Ekaterina Martyanova on lack of independence in France’s foreign policy
France seems to have finally lost the heritage of the great Charles de Gaulle. Now it is hard to imagine France, which would be able to stand alone against the American diktat. President de Gaulle was able to withdraw from the military organization of NATO and asked to leave the unit’s headquarter in Paris. The current French President Francois Hollande cannot afford anything like that. France, according to the French themselves, confidently goes in the wake of the American policy.
The latest example is the failure of the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the French Republic, which was scheduled for the second half of October 2016. The President Francois Hollande expressed doubts about the necessity of talks with his Russian counterpart, due to differences on the Syrian issue. However, the press service of the French President said that the working schedule for their boss has not been approved, and it is difficult to speak clearly whether there will be a meeting or not.
The official reason for the cancellation of the visit from the Russian side was the removal of a number of planned activities. A spokesman for the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, said: “The President has decided to cancel the visit. The thing is that there were some of the planned activities associated with the opening of the Russian cultural and spiritual centre and one of the exhibitions. Unfortunately, these activities have fallen out of the programme, so the President decided to cancel the visit to the French Republic for now.”
Be that as it may, the Russian President Vladimir Putin will not go to Paris. This is the main result of the Russian-French relations over the past week. What does this mean? It means that France has taken offense at Russian veto in the UN Security Council imposed on the French resolution on the introduction of the ceasefire in Syrian Aleppo. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the French resolution, which envisioned its unilateral implementation on the part of Russia as politicised, unbalanced and one-sided. And the vice-speaker of the Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov has estimated actions of the French side the following was: “If it is childishness – “I took offense at you” – this is certainly not a sign of great political wisdom.”
This ‘childishness’ has become a byword in the last week’s French social and political life. Political journalist Nicolas Bonnal has published an article entitled “Putin is unbearable” in the Libération newspaper. The article is interesting because it shows how the French intelligentsia keen on national mood sees Vladimir Putin and how West’s hatred towards him and Russia is explained. West hates Putin because he is “an athlete, a champion in the martial arts, shooting and hunting.” Because he has “intolerable courage for post-historic society.” Because he is like “the head of state – a patriot who thinks historically, strategically, as a successor to the tsars and the Soviet Union.” Because he remains too long in power. And Russia is accused of it – of being the peacemaker. “Russia wants peace, while the West continually wants war… Really, can we not to live in peace with Russia at least a little? And create Europe instead of having to re-equip the West? At the moment, Putin is the only head of state who thinks like de Gaulle, – and this is what he is blamed for.”
French politicians express confusion with foreign policy of their president, who “is turning into a lackey of American politics.” French National Assembly deputy Thierry Mariani lamented: “I ask myself if it exists – the foreign policy of France? I have strong impression that we are an appendage of the US Department of State, and the French foreign policy is nothing but a replica of bellicose US foreign policy.”
Against this background, the French President goes beyond the Americans themselves, he threatens Putin with Hague. Journalist Pierre Beylau wrote in the Le Point publication about the threat to the Russian president with the International Criminal Court and calls it pathetic bragging, bordering with ridiculous. “Vladimir Putin can begin shivering with fear,” Beylau mocks, “Formidable Francois Hollande traps him with his big bludgeon. Even if an extremely powerful socialist President of France agrees to accept the trembling king of all Russia, it is only to give him a dressing down on the Syrian issue, and not to make him bows.”
Such behaviour denotes only one thing – the lack of independence in France’s foreign policy. De Gaulle’s times have passed and will never return, at least in the foreseeable future. France can only pretend that they are one of the world’s centres of gravity, that they are considered as a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power.
The President Francois Hollande with his statement about the feasibility of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to France decided to earn extra political points for himself. But he failed. Vladimir Putin cancelled his visit himself, and with that he put Hollande in a bad light, when the hunter became the game and got into his own net…
Ekaterina Martyanova, the DPR People’s Council deputy