Monday, 17 December, 2018

Trump largely alone as leaders take aim at nationalism

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Kenny Thornton | 13 November, 2018, 18:47

President Donald Trump has called French President Emmanuel Macron's idea for a European army, which could be needed to protect against the United States, "very insulting".

Yesterday also marked one hundred years since the end of World War I - and to mark the occasion, global leaders came together to walk in solidarity and remembrance.

Remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of chemical weapons, WWI pitted the armies of France, the British empire, Russian Federation and the US against a German-led coalition that included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.

Over Britanny lobster and Bresse chicken, Trump, Putin, Macron and Gutteres, sitting next to each other, were able to have a "rich, free-flowing discussion" about hot issues such as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and North Korea, the Elysee said.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism", he said. Trump has proudly claimed his pride in being a "nationalist" versus being a "globalist", which charitably suggests that Trump's understanding of the term is not in line with the rest of the world's.

The pair are in Paris, France, to mark 100 years since the armistice that ended World War I. They observed a commemoration ceremony alongside other world leaders at the Arc de Triomphe. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the USA subsidizes greatly!"

Trump did engage with his fellow leaders, attending a group welcome dinner hosted by Macron at the Musée d'Orsay on Saturday night and a lunch on Sunday.

He spoke bluntly of the threat from nationalism, calling it a betrayal of moral values.

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"This was a war in which India was not directly involved, yet our soldiers fought world over, just for the cause of peace", Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

Whereas "after the Second World War we needed the U.S. to be present for our security, I think now the momentum for Europe is to build its own security and its own sovereignty", he said.

He wrote: "The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of nearly 10%". While Trump's own approval rating has swung between 37 and 51 percent in his nearly two years in office, Macron's has plummeted since he was elected in May 2017, and now sits around 26 percent.

Trump, who attended a WWI memorial service in Paris earlier in the day but snubbed the peace conference, is a proud nationalist who has made "America First" his political slogan.

Three topless protesters from radical feminist movement Femen were arrested trying to reach Trump's motorcade, although French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said his security had "in no way been threatened".

Trump's continued complaints about France and Macron struck a nerve with some in the European nation, especially since the president's latest broadsides came on the third anniversary of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people in 2015.

"If we speak too much about a phrase like, for instance strategic autonomy... it sounds like you're going to do these big strategic things alone and I don't think that's wise".

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