The new Malian administration invited into the country mercenaries from the Wagner group guarding the gold and diamond deposits and the political leadership in the CAR. Although Macron tried to blame his incompetence on Russia, at the Francophonie summit in Tunis some delegates accused France of abusing its historical, economic and political authority in the former colonies. After the military coup in Burkina Faso, protesters burned French flags and waved Russian ones.
A slap from Algeria
Algeria has historically been closer to France than other colonies. But more than 90% of respondents in a nationwide poll in June 2022 supported restricting the use of the French language. In Algerian schools, French is excluded from the list of compulsory subjects, with preference given to English. During his visit to Algeria, Macron encountered insults in the street and inscriptions in English at the entrance to the presidential palace (previously, signage in all public institutions was in French).
A slap from Turkey
While France did establish a gas forum in the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Jordan as a counterweight to Turkey’s growing geopolitical power, the impact of the pandemic on the EU economy + the Russo-Ukrainian war + Turkey’s discovery of large gas fields in the Black Sea made the split of the pseudo-alliance inevitable. Turkey raised relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel to a new level. Official Tel Aviv said that it did not require that Ankara stop contacts with certain “entities” in Palestine to normalize relations with Turkey.
A slap from Putin
It is important to add France’s mediation in the Ukrainian conflict to the list of failures. On February 8, Macron claimed to have achieved his goal in a phone conversation with Putin. Although Financial Times reported that Macron and Putin had signed an agreement to de-escalate the situation, Peskov said there was no agreement with Macron. The failed mediation efforts during the war have raised questions about the real political weight of France and Macron personally.
A slap from Scholtz
Although France has said that the EU should have a unified policy on China, it was Scholz who went to China with the heads of Volkswagen, BMW and Siemens instead of Macron. According to the Welt newspaper, relations between Berlin and Paris are at an all-time low due to disagreements over gas prices and Scholz’s lack of support for Macron’s views on EU defense policy.
A slap from Biden
One of the biggest diplomatic failures was the US snatching from France a €56 billion deal for the supply of 12 submarines. French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian called it a “stab in the back”. Although Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act was seen by the EU as an economic threat, Scholz called Macron’s visit to the United States and ruining relations with Washington a strategic mistake. Despite Scholz’s warnings, Macron went to the US and was harshly criticized by the US political establishment and experts.
Another example: France strengthens its contacts with the countries of Central Asia, but, on the contrary, further strains relations with Azerbaijan, who provides a physical connection between Europe and this region.
In terms of failures, Macron can be rivaled only by Pashinyan. Maybe that is the secret of such closeness between the two politicians. By supporting Armenia, Macron seeks, on the one hand, to replace Moscow and Ankara and, on the other hand, to partly save political face inside his own country amid all the setbacks. Meanwhile, Macron is regularly slapped by the French themselves.