Macron snubs USA arms in defence spat with Trump

Leroy Wright
November 13, 2018

The message was both a call to learn the lessons of 1918, when an armistice was signed that led to another world war with two decades, and a rebuke to present-day leaders who shun the global order in favour of protectionist, nativist policies.

On Sunday, hundreds of Parisians massed in the city's Place de la Republique to demonstrate against Trump, who braved the rain elsewhere that morning to recognize the 100th anniversary of the armistice at the Arc de Triomphe.

"France was shown as the bearer of universal values during these dark hours, as the very opposite of a selfish nation that only looks after its own interest", Macron said, using language that seemed to target Trump's "America First" policies.

Trump was heavily criticised for cancelling a trip to Belleau Wood battlefield in northern France on Saturday due to rain, with some critics accusing him of disrespecting America's war dead. The Femen group claimed responsibility.

Other world leaders in attendance included the Russian president Vladmir Putin, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Trump, who has made clear that he has limited patience for broad, multilateral agreements, sat mostly stone-faced as he listened to Macron, who sees himself as Europe's foil to the rising nationalist sentiment, which has taken hold in Hungary and Poland among other countries.

Expectations have been growing for a new Trump-Putin meeting as tensions pile up over the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and USA sanctions against Moscow.

Mr Putin meanwhile, said he and Mr Trump - at odds over Washington's sanctions and the abandonment of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty - had a brief but positive conversation during the centenary commemoration events.

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Putin said he hopes to meet Trump one-on-one on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in late November instead, RT and Interfax reported.

The Paris Peace Forum aims at promoting concrete actions toward peace and should be repeated every year, he said. "You know what the word is?"

"The concern I have is that blinkered nationalist views may gain ground once again", Merkel said, warning that people were calling the "European peace project" into question. You have globalists. I also love the world and I don't mind helping the world, but we have to straighten out our country first.

Upon shaking hands, Putin flashed Trump a quick thumbs up in a moment caught on video. "We have a lot of problems".

Sitting several seats away was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrived at the ceremony separately as well.

"President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russian Federation".

The November 11 Paris Peace Forum coincided with the centenary of the end of World War One and is meant to explore and discuss strategies toward ending existing conflicts that continue to threaten global peace.

In Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to capture in 1914 but which the Allies fought successfully to defend, the armistice commemorations were being followed by the afternoon opening of a peace forum pushed by the host, Mr Macron. Its role as host of the main worldwide commemoration highlighted the point that the world mustn't stumble into war again, as it did so quickly and catastrophically with World War II.

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