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

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

“I hate to read people and say: ‘I worry about you’. … But I do believe that what is at stake is what we built in the 18th century,” Macron said in an interview.

The French leader warned of a global crisis of Western “liberal democracies” when Tapper was asked about the trend in nationalism, populism and racism that is spreading in Europe and the US.

ā€œI think we have [a] great crisis of democracies, of what I would call liberal democracies. Let’s be clear about that. Why? First, because being open communities and open and highly cooperative democracies put pressure on your people. It could destabilize them,” Macron said.

“And this is why we must always articulate the respect of the willingness of the people, references of the middle class, and all the progress made by our democracies that welcome different cultures, are open and cooperative. This is a matter of balance,ā€ he continued.

“It is clear that in recent years we have had an increasing pressure on our societies and we are at the point where in our various countries there is what I would call a crisis of middle classes.”

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

Macron’s comments echoed President Joe Biden’s broad effort to frame the 21st century global competition as one defined by democracies versus autocracies. Such warnings have gained new weight in recent months as fears of a global recession and threats to democracy weigh 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 string of defeats in Moscow.

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

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

Macron called the decision a “mistake” and a missed opportunity to “go towards a road to peace.”

“A few months ago, Vladimir Putin conveyed a message: ‘I was aggressive 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 Germany’s “strategy of 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 of a globalized, economically liberal France at the head of a muscular European Union.

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