Macron warns of ‘crisis of democracies’, including in the US, in exclusive US interview

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Asked by Tapper if he is worried about American democracy, Macron replied: “I worry about all of us.”

“I hate lecturing people and saying, ‘I’m worried about you’. … But I think what’s at stake is what we built in the 18th century,” Macron said in a interview.

The French leader warned of a global crisis for Western “liberal democracies” when asked by Tapper about the trend of nationalism, populism and racism spreading in Europe and the United States.

“I think we have [a] the great crisis of democracies, what I would call liberal democracies. Let’s be clear about it. Why? First, because being open societies and being open and very cooperative democracies puts pressure on your people. It could destabilize them,” Macron said.

“And that’s why we always have to express respect for people’s willingness, middle-class credentials and all the progress made by our democracies that welcome different cultures, are open and cooperative. This is a matter of balance,” He continued.

“Obviously over the last few years we’ve had increasing pressure on our society and we’re at the point where in our various countries there’s what I would call a middle-class crisis.”

Macron also said that social media plays a “very important role in what is at stake in our democracy” – “for the best and for the worst.” He said that social platforms have been a driving force behind “fake news” and “new relativism,” which he called “a killer of all democracies because it completely breaks the relationship with the truth and with science and the foundation of our own democracy.”

Macron’s comments echo those of President Joe Biden broad effort to frame global competition in the 21st century as one defined by democracies versus autocracies. Such warnings have gained new weight in recent months as fears of a global recession loom and threats to democracy grow alongside Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the immediate “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens, a move that threatens to escalate his faltering invasion of Ukraine after a series of defeats that prompted recriminations in Moscow.

Putin said in a speech that he would use “all the means at our disposal” and even raised the specter of nuclear weapons if he deemed Russia’s “territorial integrity” to be threatened.

The mobilization means that citizens who are in the reserve can be called up and those with military experience will be subject to conscription, Putin said, adding that the necessary decree had already been signed and came into force on Wednesday.

Macron called the decision a “mistake” and a missed opportunity to “walk a path toward peace.”

“A few months ago, Vladimir Putin conveyed a message: ‘I was attacked by NATO, they triggered the situation, and I just reacted’. Now it is clear to everyone that the leader who decided to go to war, the leader, who decided to escalate is President Putin,” Macron said.

“And I have no rational explanation,” he added, calling the invasion “the strategy of Germany’s intervention” and a “post-Covid-19 consequence” due to Putin’s isolation during the pandemic.

Macron won re-election in April with a pitch to voters in a globalized, economically liberal France at the head of a muscular EU.

But the appearance of his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, served as the latest indication that the French public is turning to extremist politicians to voice their dissatisfaction with the status quo.

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