While speaking in front of 70 world leaders, French President Macron did not just recall past tragedies and remember the victims of World War I but he criticized nationalism and viewed it as betrayal of patriotism. His reprimanding address was directed to one man present in front of him, Trump who days before said: “Really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, ok? I’m a nationalist.” Macron’s speech however stirred wide uproar in terms of the concept and reality.
What’s the difference between nationalism and patriotism? Did he mean globalization or universality? What is Macron’s concept of liberal globalization? There is this confusion in definitions and terms and part of it is due to Macron’s passion for linguistic gibberish and speeches that are delivered the academic way.
It’s clear that ties between the US and French presidents are at their worst since the honeymoon period ended, when Trump announced the US's withdrawal from the nuclear deal. It’s difficult to imagine Macron saying these words a year ago when he aspired to influence the US president with logic and embraces to stay in the deal. However he decided to anger his guest by talking about the European army to protect Europe, not just from China or Russia but also from America, the country that saved Europe from itself twice. No one took Macron’s talk about the European army seriously, including Trump who mocked the idea and said first pay your share to the NATO then build whatever army you want.
However what does Macron mean by nationalism and patriotism?
If we take direct definitions, we cannot find a clash between nationalism and patriotism. A nationalist character is based on a patriotic sentiment. We live in the era of the nationalist state or what’s called the nation state. It’s difficult to exit this concept, i.e. imagine a president who does not put his country first otherwise why was he elected? To serve the interests of other countries? Macron himself puts France’s interests before other states on several levels. He embellishes its language, promotes its companies and defends its sovereignty. Would that make him a traitor of patriotism? Of course not.
It’s clear that ties between the US and French presidents are at their worst since the honeymoon period ended, when Trump announced the US's withdrawal from the nuclear deal. It’s difficult to imagine Macron saying these words a year ago when he aspired to influence the US president.Mamdouh AlMuhaini