|French President Emmanuel Macron heads to Washington next week for the first state visit of the Trump administration. But France’s rise as an alternative to Britain and Germany is about more than Macron’s personal rapport with Donald Trump, writes Celia Belin in Foreign Affairs.
“The two presidents have developed a real personal connection, sharing similarities in their accession to power—two outsiders vanquishing the political establishment, two disruptive personalities who relish transgression—and in their direct, blunt talk,” Belin writes.
Meanwhile, in a “complete reversal of fortune from 15 years ago, France is now celebrated in Washington as a reliable military ally, able and willing to intervene to defend its security interests and those of its allies. This image overhaul is the result of a long effort on the part of three French presidents to repair relations with their American ally. After the hyperbolic debates over Iraq, President Jacques Chirac toned down the rhetoric and cooperated with the Bush administration, refraining from engaging in ‘told-you-so’ arguments,” Belin writes.
“At a time when US military experts lament Western Europe’s continued disarmament, they see France as upholding its share of responsibilities. In the Trump administration, which holds generals in great respect as well as in key civilian positions, generals’ positive views of France matter.”