A very interesting interview – link below – with French President Emmanuel Macron and I only wish there was more of it to cover a more penetrating insight into his views on a variety of important topics six months into his Presidency. Now a couple of points right off the bat;
- This is not intended as a long post with exhaustive/well researched analysis – but rather these represent a personal opinion based on this short interview referenced.
- However critical I may be of President Macron in some of the points below I am being critical from the point of view of an outsider who is by no means constantly/closely following his Presidency or knows the internals of his view/policy but as someone who continues to follow his Presidency with great interest/hope ever since he began his presidential campaign representing a promising new generation of leaders that I’ve been hoping to see for a long time.
So what I will do here is sort of break up key points made during the interview and briefly comment on each one in what I hope to be relevant observations, so here goes;
1. The need for Vision, Imagination (education & culture); I could not agree more with this point. But what I would like to do is suggest that part of this new vision is allowing our democratic governance to evolve and come up with better ways to develop more ethical/pragmatic and representative policies that are grass root driven and stop relying on the traditional model of top-down form of governance we seem to have adopted in one form or other. We also need to encourage the new generation to be more involved as activists and move away from parties defined by ideology or religion to ones defined by a clear/pragmatic vision of the future.
2. Defend values of Openness, Tolerance & Freedom (inclusive solution). For me what is even more important/consequential is the importance of articulating these values as well as foundational values of Democracy & Liberalism. We need to define what these values mean and ensure they are embedded into our DNA from an early age along with the understanding of the historical context that got us here. Another critical value that we now need to emphasise/cherish more than ever is the value of Truth and critical thinking/analysis, again something we need to embed into the new generation at an early age and seek “innovative” ways to convince the “other generations” to move (slowly) in that same direction-though I am sure some may ask for an incentive 🙂 Failure to articulate/protect these values can only translate into 1 thing and 1 thing only; a nation built around a vulnerable society.
3. Fighting Terrorist & Brutal Regimes: Totally agree but what concerns me are the signals I’ve seen from President Macron in seeming to support rogue ME regimes in recent visits to region or ME dictators visiting France – at the very least the optics were NOT great though for these regimes they could not have been better because they use these events as a form of validation. This is an approach consistent across western Democracies where national financial incentives take precedence over a more ethical approach to foreign policy. I have written a few posts about this but the main point is that the financial gains eventually turn out to be values on the debit side of the balance sheet (both in human/financial costs) – so we really need to reassess/recalibrate our strategy in this area.
4. Defend our values without alienating leaders that do not share them because of some psychological issues they may have; What I would say is that I totally/utterly disagree on this point and here are related comments;
- In this day & age we need strong leaders who are able to defend our Liberal & Democratic values now more than ever and who do not shy away from taking action in responding to any threats as a matter of policy. This does not mean we cannot negotiate but it does mean we do NOT do so while lying down. It is simplistic/unrealistic to suggest that leaders like Putin or Trump can be won over if we apply the right psychology.
- The people we need to reach out to in every form and at every level are NOT these rogue leaders but their base who have been indoctrinated mainly through economic/social alienation and also the power of propaganda. This not to mention our inability or unwillingness to admit our failures/weaknesses.
5. Finally what I did sense from this interview with President Macron is not only his passion but also his confidence – but then over confidence can be a problem and I can only hope that he surrounds himself with an experienced team of advisers to help navigate complex issues that do need career experts to help untangle.
Hope this helps.