Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
Almost everything French president Emmanuel Macron has said recently on the topic of foreign affairs, the United States, and nationalism and patriotism is silly. He implicitly rebukes Donald Trump for praising the idea of nationalism as a creed in which citizens of sovereign nations expect their leaders to put the interests of their fellow citizens first and those of other nations second. And while critiquing nationalism, Macron nonetheless talks and acts as though he is an insecure French chauvinist of the first order.
The French president suffers from the usual dreams of some sort of European “empire” — Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler . . . Brussels? He probably envisions a new Rome steered by French cultural elites whose wisdom, style, and sophistication would substitute for polluting tanks and bombers, and who would play Greece’s robed philosophers to Europe’s Roman legions: “It’s about Europe having to become a kind of empire, as China is. And how the U.S. is.”
But aside from the fact that the immigration-wary eastern and financially strapped southern Europeans are increasingly skeptical of northern European imperial ecumenicalism, can Macron cite any “empire” in the past — Persian, Roman, Ottoman, British — that was not first and foremost “nationalist”?
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