transatlantic unity against Moscow put to the test by the Macron-Le Pen duel

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The US media, deeply concerned about the war in Ukraine, underlined on Sunday evening how much the result of the French presidential election, which opposed pro-EU and pro-NATO Emmanuel Macron against nationalist Marine Le Pen, could weigh on the unity of the west-facing camp in Moscow. Newspaper.

Focused on war in Ukraine and domestic politics, the US media did not cover thepresidential elections in France† On CNN in the early evening of Sunday April 10, the results of the first round were the subject of a few sentences in the banner at the bottom of the screen. On major newspaper sites, a handful of articles summarized the election results and provided keys to analysis.

From an American point of view, France is first and foremost a piece of Europe. The race for the Élysée therefore makes it possible to test the political temperature of a continent still marked by Brexit. With war raging in Ukraine and western unity threatened with testing as the fighting continues, Ms Le Pen’s strong performance demonstrated the enduring appeal of nationalist and xenophobic currents in Europe. New York Times† The daily notes that “an anti-NATO and more pro-Russian France, in the event of a victory for Le Pen, would cause deep concern in Allied capitals, and could break the transatlantic response to the Russian invasion of Russia. ‘Ukraine’ .

Marine Le Pen, a French Trump?

Several newspapers are returning to the National Rally’s candidate profile, often compared to isolationist ex-President Donald Trump. His acquaintances with the Kremlin receive special attention. CNN thus recalls that Marine Le Pen was “an ardent admirer of Vladimir Putin”. She added: “Le Pen visited the Russian president during his 2017 campaign, but this time, after Russia’s attack on her neighbor, she was forced to withdraw a leaflet with a photo of her and Putin taken during this trip. was taken.” For Dominic Thomas, European columnist for CNN, this is the far-right candidate’s Achilles heel: “She will have a hard time convincing the electorate of her foreign policy skills, given her long-standing ties to Russia.”

the Washington Post explains that, conversely, Emmanuel Macron “took a more important international role during the war in Ukraine, as an interlocutor of Vladimir Putin and as a spokesman for the European Union and NATO. The Russian invasion shook up Europe’s sense of security. In his position as war leader initially saw Macron’s popularity rise, but this wave seems to have evaporated in the past two weeks (…).”

Inflation, nerve of this war

Indeed, a candidate’s strengths may also turn out to be handicaps, as the Wall Street Journal† “[Emmanuel Macron]’s advisers at the Élysée Palace said he was too busy phoning President Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about the war in Ukraine to campaign on the ground or debate with his rivals. “Mrs Le Pen meanwhile criss-crossed the country, holding meetings in small villages. Her highly disciplined campaign focused on the economic woes of runaway inflation, while moving away from the fiery rhetoric that defined the Le Pen clan for years during the reign of his father, Jean-Marie, convicted of anti-Semitic expressions.”

Fox news notes, furthermore, that if the invasion of Ukraine can certainly weaken Marine Le Pen by discrediting her international alliances, it may also allow her to position herself more as the candidate of “buying power”, the main concern of voters, even as war draws to the doorstep of the European Union: “Macron has strongly supported European sanctions against Russia, while Le Pen has publicly expressed concern about its effects on the living standards of the French.”

This positioning of Marine Le Pen is reminiscent of that in the United States of certain elected conservatives who have made inflation one of their favorite themes for the November midterm election campaign. “Midterms” in which President Joe Biden, also weakened by this staggering price hike (dubbed “Bidenflation” by Republicans) could lose his majority in Congress.

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