Europe’s OTHER war: While Ukraine battles Russia, Emmanuel Macron is bidding to lead NATO as a ‘Napoleon’, condemning German ‘cowards’ as he pushes the alliance to stop Putin, military experts say

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Written By Maya Cantina

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  • Macron and Scholz will meet amid disagreements over handling of Ukraine war

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will come face to face tomorrow in a meeting that will see them hash out their differences on Ukraine.

The ‘Weimar Triangle’ meeting between the French and German leaders and Poland’s new Prime Minister Donald Tusk is designed to be a show of unity, but comes at a time when Franco-German tensions over the war are rising. 

With Ukraine in desperate need of more ammunition, and resistance from Western allies including Germany and the US to supply it, experts say that Macron is presenting himself as a key figure sounding the alarm bells.

In pointed comments last week, he urged European leaders not to be ‘cowards’ when it comes to the defence of Ukraine, saying that people ‘never want to see the tragedies that are coming.’

Macron’s earlier suggestion that sending Western ground troops to help Kyiv could not be ‘ruled out’ prompted fierce rebuke from Vladimir Putin, and crossed a ‘red line’ in the eyes of fellow NATO members, including Germany.

While he insisted the ‘coward’ remark was not aimed at Germany, relations could still prove frosty between him and Scholz, whose defence minister said that his boots on the ground comments ‘did not help’, and as both vie to be seen as dominant powers in Europe.

‘There are two wars going on right now in Europe. One between Putin and the West in Ukraine, the other between France and Germany,’ argue US Colonel Jonathan Sweet and Mark Toth.

Here, the retired military intelligence officer and foreign policy expert discuss how Macron, with his remarks, is styling himself as a war leader for the future – taking on Putin like an ‘enlightened 21st century Napoleon’.

Emmanuel Macron has said that sending Western ground troops into Ukraine should not be ‘ruled out’

French soldiers are seen on Leclerc tanks after crossing as they take part in NATO military exercises in Korzeniewo, Northern Poland

French soldiers are seen on Leclerc tanks after crossing as they take part in NATO military exercises in Korzeniewo, Northern Poland

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues to resist deployment of Taurus KEPD 350E missiles

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues to resist deployment of Taurus KEPD 350E missiles

French President Emmanuel Macron, while speaking at the Globsec Forum in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, declared that he would ‘not let Europe be kidnapped a second time.’

Now, ten months later, Macron is boldly following up on his word, even as Slovakia’s new prime minister, Robert Fico, is kowtowing to Moscow. 

During a press conference at the Elysée Palace after the Ukraine Summit, Macron expressed his willingness to send French troops to Ukraine – and he is not backing down.

Macron’s stepping up to lead NATO comes at a time when many of its key leaders including the United States and Germany are becoming enmeshed in domestic politics and election cycles. 

US President Joe Biden faces re-election in November, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz faces a Bundestag federal election no later than October 2025.

It also comes at a critical period in the war in Ukraine. Putin and his ‘Arsenals of Evil’ allies, including Iran and North Korea, beyond expectations are out supplying NATO when it comes to getting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his generals badly needed key munitions to stave off Russian counteroffensive advances in the Donbas – this despite the West’s overwhelming industrial and economic advantage.

There are two wars going on right now in Europe. One between Putin and the West in Ukraine, the other between France and Germany. 

Both are raging as Washington increasingly abandons its traditional leadership role in Europe.

There is nothing new about the friction between Paris and Berlin. The two neighboring countries have long sought since the end of World War II to be perceived as the leader of continental Europe. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The pair will meet with Germany's Chancellor on Friday

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, with Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The pair will meet with Germany’s Chancellor on Friday

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal declared: 'A victory for Russia in Ukraine constitutes a concrete, tangible and direct risk to the daily life of the French.'

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal declared: ‘A victory for Russia in Ukraine constitutes a concrete, tangible and direct risk to the daily life of the French.’

Save, now the stakes are existentially higher – and arguably, will determine whether Europe remains free of Russian economic and military intimidation, if not domination.

Macron’s words are no longer just words. He now has the backing of France’s National Assembly. 

On Tuesday, the French legislature approved Macron’s 10-year security agreement with Kyiv that ‘includes commitments by Paris to deliver more arms, train soldiers and send up to 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in military aid to Ukraine in 2024.’

His pervasive argument is winning over European leadership, with Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski stating the presence of NATO forces in Ukraine ‘is not unthinkable,’ while Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said, ‘everything is on the table to help Ukraine beat Putin.’

Speaking in support of the measure that passed 372 to 99 with 101 abstentions, 34-four-year-old French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal declared: ‘A victory for Russia in Ukraine constitutes a concrete, tangible and direct risk to the daily life of the French. If Ukraine loses, the French lose too.’ 

'Macron is reading the room – and NATO as an alliance is drawing ever closer to Zelensky and his generals and wholly invested in their victorious outcome'

‘Macron is reading the room – and NATO as an alliance is drawing ever closer to Zelensky and his generals and wholly invested in their victorious outcome’

Young Europe is also waking up to the existential threat Putin represents to their way of life and to their liberty.

Conversely, Scholz continues to resist deployment of Taurus KEPD 350E missiles. 

Speaking at the Bundestag on Wednesday, the German chancellor doubled down on his determination to avoid Germany becoming kinetically engaged in defending Putin’s war against Ukraine. 

Referring to equipping Kyiv with the Taurus missile and deploying Bundeswehr soldiers he contends would be necessary to effect their use, Scholz asserted that is ‘a line that as chancellor I do not want to cross.’

Marcon is not having it. Last week he, in effect, accused the Germans of being ‘cowards’ during a gathering he tartly asserted, ‘Europe clearly faces a moment when it will be necessary not to be cowards.’

Macron's suggestion that sending Western ground troops to help Kyiv could not be 'ruled out' prompted fierce rebuke from Vladimir Putin

Macron’s suggestion that sending Western ground troops to help Kyiv could not be ‘ruled out’ prompted fierce rebuke from Vladimir Putin

Germany’s Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, was not pleased. Already reeling from a leaked audio recording wherein high-level Bundeswehr officers were heard strongly supporting equipping Ukraine with Taurus missiles, Pistorius retorted, ‘We don’t need really, from my perspective at least, discussions about boots on the ground or having more courage or less courage.’

Either way, the contentious issue is coming to a head on Friday at a meeting of the Weimar Triangle. 

The alliance was created in 1991 to foster ‘German-Polish reconciliation, inspired by the [post-World War II] Franco-German experience.’ Macron will be meeting in Berlin with Scholz and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Ukraine will be the overarching topic – and it is likely to be a battle royale. Tusk, accompanying Polish President Andrzej Duda during a White House visit with President Biden on Tuesday, made his own position clear, saying in a statement aimed at House Republicans that, ‘the fate of millions of people’ are at stake.’

The meeting marked the 25th anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO – and underscored how in many ways Poland has become the US’ most reliable ally in central and eastern Europe. 

Notably, last February, as if to underscore this point, NATO announced it is supporting the building of a new ‘joint training center in Poland.’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg noted that the ‘joint analysis, training and education center in Bydgoszcz, Poland … will benefit them and us, and also create a framework to train alongside NATO allied troops.’ 

Whether Scholz likes it or not, Macron is reading the room – and NATO as an alliance is drawing ever closer to Zelensky and his generals and wholly invested in their victorious outcome.

Macron is intent on being a new kind of enlightened Napoleon. Not intent on trying to conquer Europe and Russia as Napoleon did during the Napoleonic Wars between 1803 and 1815, but determined to prevent Putin from doing the same to Western Europe and NATO here in the 21st century.

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, somewhat ironically, given the Duke of Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at Waterloo, might ultimately prove to be the kingmaker of who wins this deepening dispute over the course of the war in Ukraine between Macron and Scholz.

King Charles III, in large part due to his extraordinarily successful state visits to Berlin and Paris early in his reign in 2023, could prove to be Sunak’s wildcard. 

Britain's King Charles III (C) meets with Ukrainian recruits being trained by British and international partner forces at a site in Wiltshire on February 20, 2023

Britain’s King Charles III (C) meets with Ukrainian recruits being trained by British and international partner forces at a site in Wiltshire on February 20, 2023

Charles, as brilliantly documented by Daily Mail columnist Robert Hardman in his book ‘The Making of a King,’ strongly supports Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s aggression.

Recounting Charles’ visit in February 2023 to a Wiltshire field where the Royal Army is training Ukraine troops, Hardman quotes the British monarch as saying, ‘I am full of admiration and can only wish you well.’ 

The King ended his visit by telling Ukrainian Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Shutenko in reference to the World War I-like trench warfare in Ukraine, ‘You are amazing, I don’t know how you do it.’

A map demonstrating different scenarios that could follow Western nations sending troops into Ukraine. Experts have suggested that such a move could help Ukraine to victory (Scenario 1), but also increases the risk of Russian retaliation. NATO officials have previously raised concern about Scenario 2 - a Russian offensive into Europe - but experts told MailOnline that Putin could take an even more drastic measure - Scenario 3: use of nuclear weapons.

A map demonstrating different scenarios that could follow Western nations sending troops into Ukraine. Experts have suggested that such a move could help Ukraine to victory (Scenario 1), but also increases the risk of Russian retaliation. NATO officials have previously raised concern about Scenario 2 – a Russian offensive into Europe – but experts told MailOnline that Putin could take an even more drastic measure – Scenario 3: use of nuclear weapons.

Sunak should play his most Royal of wildcards. Both he, Macron and King Charles are already on the right side of history – and Scholz is badly out of step.

The war in Ukraine will not be won or lost on Friday regardless of its outcome. But the war between France and Germany must end, and it must end in Berlin’s defeat. Macron – France’s would-be enlightened 21st century Napoleon – is leading the way and Sunak can seal the deal – as he should.

Anything less and Putin’s war against the West will only in time draw closer to London, Paris and Berlin, leaving Scholz to wonder ‘what if.’

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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