Since his election last May, French President Emmanuel Macron has tried to, and maybe believed he could, bend Donald Trump’s convictions. Macron sought to turn the U.S. president away from nationalism, protectionism, and climate-change skepticism and toward his own vision of a world in which strong, sovereign nations collaborate to find multilateral solutions to transnational problems. At first he attempted to become Trump’s best friend. But now he approaches the U.S. president with a tone that sounds almost injured. And on Thursday he made perhaps his starkest statement yet regarding his concerns about where Trump’s policies could lead the United States and the rest of the world.
During an appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before the leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies gathered in Quebec, Emmanuel Macron didn’t just reflect on the policies that put Trump at odds with many of the other participants, though there are plenty of those. (See: Trump pulling out of the international Paris climate-change pact, withdrawing from the multilateral Iran nuclear agreement, and imposing steep steel and aluminum tariffs on Europe, Canada, and Mexico.) The leader of America’s oldest ally also stated that the U.S. needed to be persuaded to remain in the “community of nations”—to stay not in the narrow confines of the Paris accord or the Iran deal or some free-trade agreement with the European Union, not even in the broader transatlantic alliance, but in the broadest dimension of the civilized world.