Introducing – drum roll, please – the leader of the West, the leader of the free world, the one, the only, French president Emmanuel Macron. I kid you not.
This past April, Monsieur Macron gave a speech before the European Parliament at Strasbourg, which was a full-throated defense of what he called "liberal democracy." He raved against "narrow nationalism" and the surge of "illiberal authoritarianism," terms to be addressed later. This prompted Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute, to anoint the French president the leader of the free world.
Then there was President Macron's speech before the U.S. Congress last week. In an example of poor manners coupled with Gallic arrogance, Mr. Macron sternly lectured on why President Trump's take on multilateralism, free trade, nationalism, Iran, and global warming was all wrong. The unspoken message of the words that came out from behind the boyish face was that if President Trump did not fall in line with the globalist agenda, he was obviously a dangerous authoritarian if not a closet fascist. You could just sense that Macron's speech left the Democrats in the audience wishing the youthful Frenchman were a U.S. citizen so they could run him against The Donald in 2020. This congressional speech got Richard Haass, head of the Council of Foreign Relations, to tweet afterward: "French Pres@EmmanuelMacron solidified his standing as leader of the West."
Emmanuel Macron has been president of France for less than a year. He has no real accomplishments in France as of yet, he's got popularity problems at home, and already he's risen to be the poster boy of the global elite. This is reminiscent of Barack Hussein Obama being given the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. And like Obama, Macron is not embarrassed at such a premature accolade. In fact, he relishes it. As the New York Times editorial board put it:
Mr. Macron's goal from the outset of his presidency has been to assert France as the leader on global issues like climate change [notice they didn't say "global warming"], European unity and resistance to right-wing nationalism and authoritarianism[.]
To move the needle to the internationalist side of the dial, Macron practices the propaganda of speech. Language is a powerful tool in the moving of public opinion. And it's not just the ideas expressed in speeches, articles, and opinion pieces that matter. Mere words and phrases are themselves meaningful in a subtle way, as they affect how people think. With this in mind, let's look at how the likes of President Macron have latched on to seemingly straightforward words and phrases like "democracy," "illiberal democracy," and "authoritarian populism" to distort reality.
Mr. Macron has a special loathing for Poland and Hungary. They want to preserve their culture by refusing to bow to the dictates of Brussels by accepting their "fair share" of Muslim immigrants. Hence, these countries are illiberal, and they don't respect the rights of minorities. To make matters worse in Macron's eyes, Hungary is struggling to reform its judiciary. This, too, is illiberal. The globalists want the courts to be divorced from the will of the people and instead do the bidding of the liberal consensus. With an "independent" judiciary, Hungary's courts can easily decree that it accept as many Muslim immigrants as deemed appropriate by Brussels.
According to Macron's words, Hungary and Poland are examples of populism run amok, and these nations have installed authoritative and illiberal governments. It doesn't trouble Macron that these countries' governments are not the result of riots in the street or a military coup. They come about by way of the ballot box. Some of us "deplorables" might mistake this for democracy.
If the United States ever elected a solid conservative Congress and president, and then initiated a serious effort to bring the courts back to constitutional limits (i.e., merely interpreting the law), this so-dubbed "leader of the free world" would undoubtedly label America illiberal and authoritarian, too. But would his words make it so?
The monsieur has a problem. The political ground is shifting from under his feet as he blathers on. In a direct repudiation of the European Union elite, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently won a huge re-election victory. Italy's March 4 election was another severe rebuke to the E.U. The biggest winners there were the non-establishment parties – the Five Star Movement and the League, a party that made immigration and economic anxiety its main concerns. Last fall, conservative Sebastian Kurz handily won the Austrian election, and Kurz formed a coalition government with the so-called "right-wing" Freedom Party this past December. And then there's Germany itself, where heretofore minor parties have forced Chancellor Angela Merkel to form a fragile coalition government.
None of this bodes well for President Macron's vision of how Europe should work. Of course, the biggest setback for the globalist world order has been the election of Donald Trump. The Frenchman's groupies can spin all the fairy tales they want, but the unvarnished fact is that the U.S. is the leader of the free world, with President Trump on top.
One has to marvel at the audacity of the likes of Mr. Macron to wrap themselves in the mantle of democracy when in fact the European Union and the ideas he promotes are themselves anti-democratic. His term "liberal democracy" is code for rule of the elite. Bureaucrats in Brussels demand that countries from Greece in the south to Poland and Hungary dance to their tune. Soon they'll be putting Italy and Austria on their mandated dance card. Brussels has no direct power over America, so instead, it relies on Macron to scold Trump through a speech to Congress.
France's nationalist party of Marine Le Pen has it right. She warned Trump that Macron is not a new political cycle. He's the end of the old one.