France’s president warned Boris Johnson that Britain risks becoming a vassal state of Washington after Brexit. It was a low blow, and hardly news to anyone in London, the capital of the 51st state.
Of course, what Emmanuel Macron didn’t admit during his meeting with the PM in Paris is that the situation is little better for him. Neither Britain nor France really has the luxury of avoiding vassalisation of some description; all they can do is pick a master. Or meister.
It really does take some cheek for Macron to warn about the threats of becoming a vassal state to a leader who is in the process of begging for permission to reclaim control of his own country.
He had the Gallic gall to claim that relying on a future US trade deal to soften the impact of Brexit, means Britain will merely end up being a client state of the US saying:
“Can the cost for Britain of a hard Brexit – because Britain will be the main victim – be offset by the United States of America? No... Even if it were a strategic choice it would be at the cost of a historic vassalisation of Britain... I don’t think this is what Boris Johnson wants. I don’t think it is what the British people want.”
Well, we know what the British people want, getting it is something very different altogether.
This idea of foreign domination seems to play on the mind of Macron. Just last year he was at pains to point out that France is an “ally” of the US and not a “vassal state.” Methinks Monsieur Macron doth protest too much.
As he’s so adamant about France’s independence from the whims of Washington, it would be interesting to hear his views on the role Berlin plays in the running of France.
Being a member of the EU is in itself an exercise in handing over sovereign power to the other members of the union – more specifically, handing it to Germany. Macron’s France is proud and delusional enough to believe it’s big enough to act as a counter-balance to the Germans, but it’s not.
When the ‘merde’ or the ‘sheisse’ hits the fan, Germany makes sure it’s derriere is covered. Just ask the Greeks what happened when they needed their European brothers and sisters to show some solidarity during the financial crisis. They were forced to accept harsh austerity which turned out to be quite advantageous to Berlin.
Britain’s Brexiteers see membership in the EU as ceding sovereignty to bureaucrats in Brussels, and foreign courts, and ultimately to Berlin via Paris.
It’s a harsh reality that in its decline, there really isn’t very much London can do to avoid being a client state of someone, and at least there is some pragmatism in the UK’s targeting of a trade deal with Washington.
Brits have long had to live with the tag of being America’s 51st state, so why not take advantage of being Washington’s… erm... junior partner, which is the kind way of describing the so-called special relationship?
The British get dragged along on America’s ill advised wars and questionable foreign policy adventures all the time anyway; why not see if Washington is willing to throw a free-trade bone at its favourite lap dog in return?
Macron’s warning to Boris Johnson came from the leader of a proud and independent nation, but I bet he asked Angela Merkel if it was alright first.
I could also mention NATO (the mechanism by which the entire EU outsources its defence to the US) but that’s another story.