Wake Up, America: Biden and Macron Fumble Through China and Ukraine Crisis

ESB Professional / shutterstock.com
ESB Professional / shutterstock.com

The stage is set for a geopolitical showdown as President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron met at the Elysee Palace on Saturday. Their agenda? Confronting China’s unfair trade practices and aggressive maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific region. This is no small task, folks. We’re discussing two of the world’s most powerful nations joining forces to address a common threat. This could be the beginning of a significant shift in global power dynamics.

The meeting also covered the pressing issues of Ukraine and the Middle East wars. Macron emphasized that France and the United States are united in their support for Ukraine. He also backed Biden’s recent Gaza peace plan. But let’s be honest, the spotlight was clearly on China.

Instead of the usual press conference, the leaders opted for a “press statement,” avoiding any media questions. Macron stressed the need for a “joint roadmap” for the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. However, the actual headline here is their shared stance on China.

Biden kicked off his remarks by commending the Israeli military for rescuing four Hamas hostages. He demanded the release of the remaining captives, setting a resolute tone for the discussions.

Both leaders are keen on using Russian assets, currently frozen in European accounts, to aid Ukraine, especially for reconstruction. This is a complex process, though. The G-7 finance ministers are mulling over the legalities of using around 270 billion Euros of frozen Russian state assets as collateral for a loan to Ukraine. It’s a complex dance that requires careful coordination with international allies.

When asked about these frozen assets, both leaders stayed mum. The White House had previously acknowledged that the U.S. can’t make decisions regarding Russian assets unilaterally since they are globally distributed. National Security Advisor John Kirby emphasized the need for allied cooperation to make any strategy work.

Macron zeroed in on China’s industrial overcapacity and unfair trade practices during the press statement. He called for a unified response from the U.S. and France to counter this issue. Chinese businesses, buoyed by government subsidies, are rapidly overtaking critical industries like solar panels, wind turbines, steel, and cement. This overcapacity doesn’t just stifle competition; it undermines innovation and growth in other countries.

Biden echoed these concerns in their bilateral talks, stressing the importance of domestic investment and coordination. He recounted a recent conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, where Xi questioned the potential imposition of tariffs on certain vehicles. Biden’s response was blunt: Beijing isn’t playing by the rules.

The two leaders are also exploring ways to boost maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Kirby mentioned plans to enhance maritime law enforcement and increase U.S.–French technical cooperation on port security in the region. This move is aimed squarely at curbing China’s influence and ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Before intense discussions, the Macrons hosted a welcome ceremony for the Bidens at the Arc de Triomphe, symbolizing the deep and longstanding ties between France and the United States. It was a gesture of unity that underscores the severe nature of their collaboration.

This isn’t the first time these two have teamed up. In December 2022, Biden hosted Macron at the White House for the first state visit of his administration. The ongoing partnership between these leaders sends a clear message to the world: the U.S. and France are ready to take on global challenges together.

As the world watches, the Biden-Macron alliance could be the counterweight needed to address China’s aggressive tactics and uphold international order. The road ahead is fraught with challenges, but with coordinated efforts, there’s hope for a balanced and fair global trade system.