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Macron's shambolic interview, cowers to Putin's warning

2024-03-15 | 🔗
Macron's shambolic interview, cowers to Putin's warning
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
All right, Alexander, let's talk about Macron's interview. I was under the impression that it was going to be a speech, but I was wrong. It was actually an interview in about a thirty... He made an interview with French media and French television and. What were your thoughts? I saw it as a trade wreck. and And I wonder who is consulting Makanon to actually come out and do these things. That kind of left me thinking, who's giving? halting him and saying, this is a good idea for you to come out and give a speech or an interview or whatever and talk about Russia and Ukraine and the possible conflict with Russia and troops in Ukraine. It was not a good look. It was a very, it was a very, very...
Sad, pathetic, but in a way also entertaining 30 minutes. I have to admit it because it was so out there. Anyway, those are my initial thoughts. I think I'm right about my assessment of the interview. I think train wreck is an understatement. I think it was an absolute complete and total shambles. Now I should say that all the indications that I've seen over the previous couple of days were that we were going to get a formal address by Macron yesterday to the…
So, you know, I was expecting, you know, to have him on television addressing the nation from the Élysée Palace, the way that, you know, de Gaulle used to do, and the way in which Macron has done himself in the past, and the way that French presidents do, and all the expectations were – at least that was my expectation – that he was going to announce some kind of deployment of French troops to Ukraine. I mean it. Everything that he'd been doing over the previous two weeks seemed to be leading up to that decision. And then instead of that, we got this shambolic press conference. Friends and I mean it really to me look absolutely shambolic and it I'm going to go on.
The end of France as we know it, apocalyptic thing. At the same time he said that, you know, he's not made a decision to send French troops, he's not prepared to rule it out, but he's not at the moment ruling it in France. We'll never take any offensive action. A force for peace? You can package it, rationalize it in all sorts of ways. But for France, for the French people, it would be an offensive action. But he says France will never do that. Of peace, he seemed to suggest that France would not do this on its own, which is unsurprising.
And last but not least, he then blurted out – I mean, that was how it looked to me – this extraordinary admission that the French industry, the French military industries, cannot keep up with the Russians. So in the end, this speech – the writing wasn't a speech. This press conference, far from conveying strength, either of purpose… Of means. To me, I mean, it ended up indicating confusion and weakness. France unable to act, deterred by the Russians obviously, and unable to compete with the Russians. It conveyed the opposite impression to the...
That I think Macron had initially intended. And I'm going to make a suggestion. So these are…you know, I don't know exactly what happened, but I think that Macron, who has apparently been thinking about sending French troops to Ukraine for a long time…apparently He first floated this subject privately with… French military officials back in June last year – June last year being, of course, the time when it was becoming increasingly clear that Ukraine's offensive was failing. So you know, he could see that it was failing, so he said we might need to send in French troops someday. Anyway, he'd finally screwed himself up and decided that he was going to announce it. And then I think a lot of things happened. found that his European dialogue...
The Germans and the British were not keen, to put it mildly. He also discovered that the Americans were not prepared to assist. He then had this really actually terrifying interview from Putin on the previous day, in which Putin said, look, if French soldiers, European soldiers, native soldiers, enter We have one word for them. They are invaders. That was an extraordinarily strong language in itself. He made it absolutely crystal clear that the Russians would treat them as combatants. Whatever the role they serve, whatever things they do in Ukraine, they are a target for the Russian military. And Putin took Macron's words…
about France and the West having no red lines with Russia, and threw them back and said if they have no red lines with us… Then we have no red lines with them, which opens up the whole way towards… Escalation, unlimited escalation. And then Putin spoke a lot about nuclear weapons. I mean, you know, this is a carefully arranged interview with Sergei Kiselyon. I mean, he said, you know, I'm not looking to use nuclear weapons, this is not my intention, but you know, if we find ourselves in an existential situation, those weapons are not just there, you know, to be kept on the shelf, they're there to be used. So he talked about that. He pointedly reminded…
The West, that the West is engaging in a geo-strategic play in Ukraine to improve his tactical... Its tactical position, whereas for Russia it is a life and death issue, so that the Russians have an entirely different level of willpower about Ukraine and motivation about Ukraine. He basically made it clear that if Western troops enter Ukraine, you know, the Russians will attack them, and given that if French troops or Baltic troops were sent to Ukraine, that is what the Russians would do. That puts an impossible position on the French. Do they go in?
And get smashed because as Macron admitted, their military industries are not up to the Russians or do they turn to the Americans to bail them out? And I think the Americans have probably been listening also to what Putin has been saying. And they don't want to have to rush to Ukraine to rescue the Ukrainians.
The French, rather, in what would be, in effect, a prelude to World War Three. And I suspect that over the course of yesterday we probably got all kinds of phone calls from Washington, probably from the Pentagon, to France. Again, I'm guessing that these are reasonable, informed guesses, telling Macron, For heaven's sake, back off. You don't have a…we're not at your back on this one. If you go there by yourself, you're on your own. So Macron had to change course. The idea of the presidential address was abandoned. We got this chaotic news conference.
For watching. Playing down this affair, including in France, which suggests to me that this has been a very embarrassing episode altogether. Yeah, typical Macron, we said it on our livestream yesterday. Typical Macron. He says one thing today, does another tomorrow. The whole interview press conference thing was just flip flop wishy-washy making no sense about anything. Russia is an adversary, but not an enemy. Russia must not win. It cannot win. It will not win.
There are no red lines, nothing is off the table, but we're not going to go first. We're not going to go first. We'll wait for someone else to go into Russia. What an admission from Macron. If Russia continues to win, an admission that Russia is winning, then we're going to send troops into Odessa. But this is all about... Strategic ambiguity that's what political wrote Macron's main goal in this press conference was to convince the French people of his strategy of strategic. Ambiguity there's actually people that that are actually but i think it's that you go out to a really like the pro but the pro-ukraine like commentary of their like what a brilliant thirty minutes of my could all display extra teach it at the q it yet you have radislav sakorsky of pollard saying that the products play
at a strategic ambiguity is, is brilliant. It's a master stroke that he's giving. He's giving this interview saying if Russia continues to win, well, we'll go to Odessa. We'll put some troops in Odessa. This guy talking about that it was what what a what a trade recommend. Anyway, your thoughts strategic ambiguity That's that's what they're going with a G strategic ambiguity Don't admit that it was a humiliation and a display of catastrophic weakness, which is what it was. There's always some cunning plan to keep the Russians confused. All I can say about that is just go to Putin's interview with Kiselyov the previous day. He doesn't look at all confused there. I mean, he looks absolutely tough and resolute and is incredibly clear, if the French or goes into Ukraine. The Russians will attack them. The Russians will have no
Hesitation attacking them. It's clearly set out. It's straightforward. Absolutely no doubt, certainly no strategic ambiguity or anything like that from the Russian side. So, I mean, you know, just compare the two interviews – or rather, the press conference and the interview – and you will see… The difference. I mean it was an absolute complete total train wreck. And to be frank, after this, I don't myself think – I think it's much less likely now – that Western troops are going to enter Ukraine. By the way, if I can go to Putin's interview, because the interview was actually extremely Extremely interesting, covered many topics. It discussed Macron's personality and the fact that he seems to be having a hissy fit over the fact that the French had been booted out of much of West Africa.
And all of that. But there were other things that Putin said that were really very interesting indeed, and it's now clear that… The Russians are now indeed getting approaches from the United States to freeze the conflict. He all but confirmed it. He said that all kinds of people are coming along with proposals. To do that. And he was scathing about this. He said... We're not going to freeze the conflict just because you're running out of ammunition. Take us for fools! and he also said that he didn't trust anybody. I mean, he actually used straightforwardly those words. Slightly open about whom he didn't trust, but it was quite clear that he didn't trust
Didn't trust the West at all. He also said that the people who are making these proposals for a freeze, the sort of more intelligent Western leaders… who are making these kinds of proposals, and I wonder who they are, by the way. They are actually more dangerous than the straightforward, near-con types who want to just continue the war because they are on the evidence of what's happened in the past.
The past, they're trying to lure the Russians into another Minsk II-type trick, you know, where they…there's what looks like peace and a settlement, and in reality all it is is another attempt to buy time to rearm the Ukraine and to start the war all over again. I mean, the fact that he used the word lure was in itself significant. And I have to say, you know, he didn't close the door on negotiations entirely. But the way he spoke about the whole topic of negotiations makes me absolutely clear that the…
done now. This long history of bad faith going all the way to the end. Way back to the promises not to extend NATO east, which by the way Putin brought up, has and the Russians just don't trust the West at all, and frankly, after reading what Putin said and listening to the interview. I just don't think negotiations are likely at any time now. The Putin was clear in his phrasing of whether he's open to negotiations. We're open to negotiations, but we're not going to negotiate just because the other side is running out of ammo.
I mean that's that says it all right there. Yes, we're open to negotiate but just because you guys are losing We're not going to be duped like we were duped in Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 Yeah, Macron, he said two very interesting things which showcase not only Macron, but I believe the entire country. Entirety of Europe's delusion and fear. Delusion in that Macron said that he's ready to negotiate, but not with Putin. And I'm paraphrasing what he said, but that's what he said. We're open to negotiated, we're open to peace, but just not-- this president. So he said that. And then he talked about Trump and he showcased, I think, Europe's fear where he said... I have been informed that Trump is not going to win in 2024 anyway. way. And I... I found that as an incredible statement for Macron to be making. What are your thoughts on?
Well, absolutely. Now, let's turn to the first one, because again, there's been a really interesting article today in The Economist, of all places, which is very much near-con central once more, and it's basically saying, you know, Russia isn't the enemy; Putin is the enemy. So you are back to the old, old story. You want regime change in Moscow. And what they're trying to do, what they're trying to tell those who they think are the pro-Western faction in Moscow, that, you know, all right, you know, we've all messed up a bit, but get us out of our mess, get rid of this terrible man, do a deal with us, and then, you know, we can open up our doors to you, you can go back, you know, shopping in Harrods.
You sell fridges in London and in all the nice stores in Paris, and buying your houses there. We can go back to life as usual. We're giving up on all of these plans to break up your country and do any of these things. But, first of all, you've got to negotiate and come to a peace settlement with us on Ukraine. It might be more advantageous to you than it might otherwise have been, but we're prepared to do that. But you must get rid of… Boot him first, because we can't negotiate with him. He's too irreconcilable to us now. He's too hostile. Whilst he's there, relations between the West and Russia will remain in the ice age. Now the problem with that is that they're talking to what they think is a pro-Western community faction.
Go, which I'm going to tell them straightforwardly, it doesn't exist. It did exist some years back. Western actions have completely discredited it. And events are now moving on very fast in Russia. Russia is changing very rapidly. This group, which were never as powerful as the West believed it was, this group was completely lost whatever limited power and leverage it once had.
There is that plan. You see it in The Economist, you saw it in some articles that… I remember, if you remember, we discussed it some months ago, but the same thing was said by someone from the Council of Foreign Relations who was briefing Moscow Times on negotiations. And now we have it from Macron as well. The only problem we have with you is Putin. rid of Putin and we can go back to exactly how it was before. It's not happening. It is absolutely delusional. I mean, in the past I think everyone knows who they might have been addressing, but today do you have any idea or any hints? I mean, they must have some idea. To the permanent state that there must be some people that they're thinking of. I mean, can you?
Do you put your finger on what they might be thinking of? They assume that the oligarchs are still open to this kind of thing. This has been the assumption they've been trying to make for the last ten years. Apparently Merkel, when she first agreed to the sexual sanctions on Russia back in June 2014, was told by the BND, the German intelligence agency, that… The oligarchs would tell Putin, you know, that he either had to completely back down they'd arrange for him to go because the sanctions... Was so negative for them. And of course it didn't happen. They still cling on to this. They still believe that the oligarchs actually wield some degree of political power in Russia.
They are absolutely delusional about this. I mean, there are still oligarchs in Russia, but even people like Pyotr Avon and Friedmann, people like that, who were historically. Who were historically more sympathetic to good relations with the West. Firstly, they're much less powerful today than they were. And secondly, they've been antagonized also. They are much more likely to support Putin than they would have been ten years ago. But that's all they have. That's all that the West has. They still hope against hope that despite the overwhelming support Putin is going to get in the elections over the next, The presidential elections in Russia are underway now. They still think that there are people...
In Moscow who still wants some kind of pro-western orientation And they're now gambling that these people will come to their rescue and get them out So that's, I think, increasingly what they're saying to each other. Keep going with the sanctions. Go on harassing the oligarchs and the Russian middle class. They'll tire of Putin. They'll eventually get rid of Putin. How they're going to get rid of Putin, never explain. They'll get rid of Putin for us and then we can do a deal. And of course, the oligarchs, the assumption is that whatever deal it will be, it will be one that it'll be…that will end up being in the West's favor. It is, as you rightly said, entirely delusional. Now about Donald Trump, I'm afraid it is not…
Delusional at all. It is sinister because France is not obviously part of the Five Eyes, but it's absolutely a NATO state. It's closely integrated into the NATO structures. That Macron is saying these things does make you wonder what information he's getting United States that needs him to think that, and who's providing it. So I find that a most sinister development and comment coming from him. And it tells you an awful lot, actually, about the situation in the U.S. because I… I don't believe that Macron would have said this, even Macron would have said something like this, unless he'd been given private assurances from someone that Donald Trump was not going to be voted…would not become president.
November. Well he said I was informed. I was informed that Trump's not going to win in 2025. That's what he said. That's pretty much a direct quote. I know, I know, I know, I know. Someone told them. Someone told them. The point is that Macron can sometimes say things which… Yeah, unless he's making it up. Okay. We're making it up. But I don't think he is on, I don't think he is on this occasion. That I find sinister, and it ought to be given more attention than it really is. Yeah, the Trump camp. The Trump campaign should pay attention to that type of comment. Absolutely. It does showcase the fear that they have of Trump winning. Yeah, that's, that's obvious. Alright, I guess we'll leave it there. I'm trying to think if there's anything else that maybe you want to touch on. The existential...
That he made or... I mean, do you think anyone's gonna buy it in France? That this is an existential threat to France? Actually, let's in fact talk a bit about the mood in France. The French people have not liked all these maneuvers at all. I saw an opinion poll in Le Monde, which came out after Macron started making all of these statements. We have European Parliament elections coming. Le Pen's party has increased further, it's already substantially lower. Need over Macron's party in those elections, which suggests that all this talk about sending French troops to Ukraine has… gone down very badly amongst the French public, which is what all the opinion polls suggest, by the way.
And the French military, based on these reports we've seen from, which have been published... By Marianne, the French newspaper. We now know that there were three studies of the Ukrainian war done by the French military. The French military looked like they're solidly opposed to this idea as well, and, you know, I'm not a person with a deep knowledge of the French military, but everything that I've seen suggests that it would not be up to a deployment with large numbers of troops in Ukraine. It might be able to send a brigade of troops to Ukraine, but that would…
At the price of stripping the rest of the French army of much of its best equipment, and it could only be done with logistical support from the United States. So this thing that Macron has come up with, it's exposed French weakness, Western weakness, and the fact that he's deeply out of touch with French opinion. I actually think this could turn out to be quite a big event over the course of this conflict, because what you could say is that Macron and some people in the West bluffed Putin. They said, You've got to stop. You can't advance if you do. We'll send our troops in. We might even supply tourist missiles to Ukraine. the Germans have now the German Parliament has again voted against doing that.
And Scholz is strongly opposed. And what's happened is that Putin has called their bluff. Putin called specifically Macron's bluff, which he did brutally in that interview he gave to Kislyak, which came out yesterday. And the… The Russians, in general, have told the West, 'Shove off, stay out of Ukraine,' and the West has signaled that that's what it's going to do. They're not going to send large numbers of troops, you know, under their flags and uniforms and things like that to intervene in Ukraine. Today that looks much less likely.
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Transcript generated on 2024-03-17.