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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Saturday, September 23, 2017

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Despite contradictory opinions and political styles, Macron invites Trump to Paris for Bastille Day

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - Despite having contradictory opinions and political styles - French President Emmanuel Macron has invited U.S. President Donald Trump to be the guest of honour at this year’s Bastille Day events.

The two leaders do not share the same opinion on climate change and immigration and Macron will be hoping to find common ground with the American leader on terrorism and defense policy when they make in Paris. 

Macron has said that the Bastille Day events, a celebration of French national pride comes at a time when, “our world has never been so divided.”

Meanwhile, for Trump, the overseas trip comes at a time when he is dogged by fresh controversy over his campaign’s potential connections to Russia. 

On Tuesday, the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. disclosed emails exchanged in 2016, related to a meeting with a Russian lawyer described to him as someone who was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” in the campaign against Hillary Clinton. 

The U.S. President, who has called the Russia probe a “witch hunt” several times, has maintained that neither he nor members of his campaign colluded with the Russian government ahead of the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, Macron, whose campaign has suffered hacks similar to the ones seen during the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections, has come out strongly against Russia’s purported efforts to interfere in elections in the U.S. and across Europe. 

He has accused Moscow of working against his own campaign in support of his opponent, far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

According to experts, Trump’s visit to Paris will be a test of whether he and France’s new leader can find consensus on any of the critical issues on which they find themselves deeply at odds. 

Last month, after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord agreement, Macron, who has been a staunch advocate of research to combat global warming, in a bold speech beckoned “all responsible citizens,” including American scientists and researchers, to bring their fight against climate change to France.

His speech went viral in the U.S. and was lauded globally.

Meanwhile, the president will mark the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I by visiting U.S. troops. 

White House officials have cast it as a celebration of the U.S.-French military alliance — both then and now.

Both the leaders are also expected to address a joint news conference, during which Trump may face tough questions on the latest revelations about his son’s contacts with a Russian lawyer. 

The two leaders and their wives will end the meetings on Thursday with a lavish dinner at Jules Verne, at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

This will be Trump’s first official visit to France and the White House, in its statement focussed on areas where the two leaders can collaborate.

It said Trump would discuss Syria and countering terrorism and that their differences could foster more constructive dialogue.

Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn said last week, “Macron and the president have somewhat different views on how to achieve the end goal, but I think the end goal is the same.”

Benjamin Haddad, a Washington-based French political analyst with the Hudson Institute meanwhile explained, “Both of these men were elected as outsiders and neither of them is really tied to their own national political establishments. That may actually work to their advantage.”

Meanwhile, as Trump’s approval ratings at home and abroad continue to sink ever since he took office, experts believe leveraging Macron’s popularity could be the president’s best bet to thaw his administration’s image among European allies.

According to Jeffrey Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Macron doesn’t have the same constraints as (Germany’s) Angela Merkel, who is entering an election campaign in which her opponents would love to make it a campaign about Donald Trump.”

Further, Philippe Le Corre, a France expert at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution who previously served with the French Ministry of Defense has said, “Macron is still fairly popular; he’s just been elected. ... But at the same time, I’m pretty sure a majority of people don’t understand why he’s actually hosting Donald Trump. It’s also interesting that Trump, who has had two fairly difficult trips to Europe, is actually willing to come to Europe. He may like a good parade”

BNN

 

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