Written by 17:09 World

With Macron and Biden Vulnerable, So Is Europe

This month, President Biden, flanked by President Emmanuel Macron of France, stood on the Normandy bluffs to commemorate the young men who clambered ashore 80 years ago into a hail of Nazi gunfire because “they knew beyond any doubt there are things worth fighting and dying for.”

Among those things, Mr. Biden said, were freedom, democracy, America and the world, “then, now and always.” It was a moving moment as Mr. Macron spoke of the “bond of blood” between France and America, but just a few weeks later, the ability of either leader to hold the line in defense of their values appears more fragile.

The United States and France — pillars of the NATO alliance, of the defense of Ukraine’s freedom against Russia and of the postwar construction of a united Europe — face nationalist forces that could undo those international commitments and pitch the world into uncharted territory.

A wobbly, wavering debate performance by Mr. Biden, in which he struggled to counter the dishonest bluster of former President Donald J. Trump, has spread panic among Democrats and raised doubts about whether he should even be on the ticket for the Nov. 5 election.

Uncertainty is at a new high in the United States, as well as in a shaken, startled France.

The country votes on Sunday in the first round of parliamentary elections called by Mr. Macron to the widespread astonishment of his compatriots. He had no obligation to do so at a time when the far-right National Rally, triumphant in recent European Parliament elections, seems likely to repeat that performance and so perhaps attain the once unthinkable: control of the French prime minister’s office and with it, cabinet seats.


Last modified: 1 July 2024