Macron’s Global Strategy in Africa and the European Union

French President Emmanuel Macron views politics as a marketing technique and already achieved several political accomplishments. Prof. Giancarlo Elia Valori analyzes Macron's foreign policy vis-à-vis key countries in Europe and Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo: AP)

Both Chirac and Sarkozy had five minutes to leave power, while François Hollande could even have five months to do so.

In fact, at the time, eight Frenchmen out of ten approved his decision not to run for another term.

As you may recall, part of President Hollande’s establishment did not accept automatically to lend a hand to Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister who wanted to join the "two Lefts", the one resulting from Hamon’s  proposals for the primary election – a so-called gauche de la tradition – and the one which was being shaped around Macron, with whom Valls had nothing in common at a political level.

Macron put together the moderate Left – the one of the old "American challenge" of Servan-Schreiber's radicals – with the less archaic part of Socialism.

At the beginning of a presidential election, nobody knows how many people will vote and, in particular, nobody knows the voting criteria yet.

Nevertheless, for Emmanuel Macron – who was finally supported by centrists, former non-voters, and moderate leftists – politics is a marketing technique.

We must always realize who does things; actions must be seen immediately. Finally, we must perceive that a small advantage is directly linked to the leader’s choice.

A product, not a program, is sold – and this is an eternal rule. The founder of En Marche has focused his advertisement campaign on six factors pertaining to his personality and only on three really referring to his political program.

Macron is completely different from the political leaders who preceded him. He wants to reduce the number of Parliamentarians by a third. He knows very well what needs to be done to redress the French economy because he is a technocrat who owes nothing to anyone. He can recognize good ideas regardless of the camp from which they come. He wants to make employment the engine of his country. He never attacks the other candidates, and he always tells the truth. He has founded a brand-new movement of 240,000 members, and finally, France cannot afford to risk a future economic and social disaster.

This is the paradigm of Macron’s political communication.

A well-organized mix of messages such as "a technocrat to power," "a leader setting great store by employment and the national economy," the savior of the country. In particular, he shows he is entirely different from all his predecessors.

If we analyze the electoral promises he made during the last French Presidential election, the real question we should ask is the following: can France still afford electoral political bargaining?

Are there financial and productive margins to implement even a small part of the programs launched by all candidates in 2017?

Since 2002, France has been experiencing a full economic decline. Since 1980, it has had no steel industry (and is certainly very interested in the outcome of the judicial and political disaster affecting ILVA steel plants in Taranto) nor sectors such as mechanical precision devices, boilers and thermodynamic grids, shipbuilding, agricultural machinery, household appliances, textiles and ready-to-wear clothing.

Since 2002, France has lost 865,000 jobs in the manufacturing industry, a quarter of all employees in a sector accounting for over 12% of the total jobs available. In 1980, the jobs in the industrial sector were 5.1 million; in late 2012, they dropped to 3 million, and currently, there are only 2.9 million jobs still available.

The value currently produced by companies in France is 8%, the lowest rate in the European Union. Deindustrialization, but above all, lack of productive specialization of the French value chains.

Export is another sore point because France produces and sells mainly "low-end" products, which now have to face the direct competition of Chinese, or anyway Asian, items.

34,500 robots have been installed in France since late 2011 – a quarter of those operating in Germany and half of those already operating in Italy and Spain.

Nevertheless, Macron’s project – which cannot change this economic state of affairs in France much – has two other political and strategic factors: Italy’s strategic marginalization and its economic downturn and market shrinkage resulting from its political crisis.

In 2011, Sarkozy started this beggar-thy-neighbor policy against Italy – at least politically and militarily –designed to weaken Italian small and medium-sized enterprises and privatize most of the oil industry and of what was left of the manufacturing industry.

The operation made in Libya by the French neo-Gaullist leader was the seal on Italy’s strategic and, hence, geoeconomic autonomy – and it is worth noting that Italy’s miserable "Second Republic" counts for not even one-tenth of the First Republic.

Hence, France will "steal" the Italian sector of high-end and luxury products, which is not as skillful as Italy in manufacturing.

Despite how this may appear, Sarkozy’s choice of eliminating Gaddafi was not an irrational one.

Apart from the recovery in election polls for the new Franco-Hungarian Napoleon, as well as the fear of having to pay the loans due by him to the Libyan Rais and the ongoing hypothesis of a Libyan Gold Dinar that was to wipe the CFA franc out, the neo-Gaullist President knew the colonel wanted to leave power quickly.

Six months at most – with a guaranteed role as "Father of the Nation," as well as new democratic elections that would make his smart son, Saif al-Islam, rise to power.

Nevertheless, Sarkozy’s "private" and personal oil in Benghazi (where the jihadist "democratic revolt" began, since Cyrenaica was the region with the largest share of Afghan Mujahedin in the total Islamic population) and the loans owed to the Rais that it was better not to repay, as well as a  strange assassination, were all factors that made Sarkozy think he could make it easily.

Hence, Macron knows that – as the members of the Organisation de l’Armée Sécrète (OAS) used to say – France’s geopolitical role can be built only in Africa.

If this is true, thanks to the structural destabilization of Libya, the strategic project will be to integrate the whole system between Tripoli and Benghazi into the new Françafrique, from which Italy – and maybe even Great Britain – will be excluded.

Where, in Africa or elsewhere, has Italy its key strategic point? Has no one really thought about it?

Certainly, in Egypt, Italy has been fooled and replaced by France – after the badly managed Regeni’s affair; Italy is virtually irrelevant in Morocco, despite the internal political tensions (King Mohammed VI would need Italy’s help rather than a heavy French favor); Italy takes very limited action in Algeria and does not have a say in the Horn of Africa.

If indeed there is no European geopolitics without an African policy (except for Germany, which is obviously focused on the Slavs), Italy has none.

Apart from the latest French economic and business acquisitions in Italy, which are still being developed and finalized, currently France controls 185 Italian companies which are worth 50 billion Euro, while Italy owns or controls 97 French companies totaling 7.5 billion Euro.

7% of the Milan Stock Exchange capitalization is in the hands of French companies, while Italy controls a mere 0.9% of the Paris Stock Exchange.

Why? One of the reasons is certainly the extreme fragmentation of the Italian production system, as well as Italian politicians’ scarce perception of the phenomena that appear to be "market" ones, but are not at all so.

Nothing is more pleasing than looking at politicians – staunch supporters of public ownership, if not para-Soviet advocates of State-controlled centralism – who believe that any business transaction between companies has no political and strategic relevance. "It is the market...." Not at all. It is the political and strategic wisdom, which we do not see in action today.

Both in the case of SXT-Fincantieri and in the other economic negotiations between France and Italy, a serious Italian government would have reacted vigorously and with harsh countermeasures – by also perceiving the inevitable geopolitical aspects and responding credibly, in Africa as elsewhere.

Another key factor of Macron's new foreign policy and his specific relationship with Italy – currently regarded by France as a punching ball – is migration.

Macron stated he would not accept any "economic migrant" coming from the border with Italy, while the State Police authorities are informing us that many migrants that are already living in France without documents are forced to cross the Ventimiglia border and get on Italian trains.

When there is massive migration, both as a result of wars (a few, in today’s Africa) and consumerist-induced psychosis (in many cases), as well as of the youth bulge – as happened throughout Africa thanks to a semblance of economic development – every country chooses the best migrants for itself.

The large German companies go to the Turkish refugee camps to hoard Syrian physicians, engineers and technicians.

Italy, mired in an old-style and old-fashioned ideology, is still working on the wrong assumption that we can welcome everybody.

This means that the cost of useless, sick, unfit-to-work and socially dangerous immigrants will be borne by the countries that have also lost this globalization game – and it will be a heavy drain on the deficit/GDP ratio.

Conversely, the cost of skilled, active, dynamic and well-trained immigrants will improve the overall productivity of countries that – unlike Italy – have won the globalization fight.

As is the case with Germany, Macron will choose the best immigrants.

Furthermore, considering that mass immigration is an indirect strategy technique, the fact of filling a competing country, albeit an EU member state, with "half-devils and half-children" – as Kipling said – means blocking it with unproductive spending and draining its share for investment in businesses and new technologies, as well as barbarizing and Africanizing it.

Therefore, Emmanuel Macron, who is already a skillful international banker, is the point of arrival for a reconstruction of France arising from a well-defined intellectual background.

It is the background of Jacques Attali, a banker of Mitterand origin, who is at the forefront of a project that has much to do with the recent American CEO capitalism: to make everything that traditionally has no real economic value productive and economically useful.

When the production of industrial or material value decreases – and for many years – it must be offset by the creation of symbolic and communicative value.

In fact, the American CEO capitalism appears to be the universe of free "content" on the Web, but as the professionals of the sector say, "when you have nothing to buy, it means that you are the one who has already been bought."

Advertising, personal data, business preferences, profiling – even at a political level – networking and relations – everything is sold by naïve users without them even realizing it and – keep in mind – without them having anything to gain.

This is a lot of money, as is demonstrated by the magnificent budgets of many seemingly "service" companies such as Facebook.

Hence, Attali’s idea points to selling the genetic heritage, even life, so as to turn all that today is not included in the old capitalist paradigm into the economy.

Therefore, reverting to Macron's new Françafrique project, France will soon expand its traditional area of influence in Central Africa northwards and later to Fezzan, Chad, and Niger up to Libya.

The project is to reunite the new French Africa with Egypt.

The above-described actions will be supported by a new political-military union with Germany, with which it will even be possible to plan together at least part of their respective Armed Forces.

That is the reason why General De Villiers left.

Hence, France commanding from the North up to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a region which could provide France with many advanced raw materials and a huge mass of workforce to be used locally, as well as an immense power of negotiating and interfering in global affairs.

In Macron’s opinion, the agreement between Khalifa Haftar – the leader of the Libyan "Operation Dignity" and strong man of the local regime, not only of Cyrenaica – and al-Sarraj is the strategic link for doing two things: avoiding, as long as possible, Libya’s partition and fragmentation – which, indeed, France does not fear – and also getting Italy and any other Western player out of the way.

Trump wanted to take quick action in Libya and found the French President willing to support him.

Italy should have done it, but there was no way. Minister Minniti, a serious and brilliant intelligence expert, reached agreements with the sixty primary tribes out of the over one hundred tribes present there – and indirectly with the various internal armed gangs. ENI and our intelligence Services did a good job, but when there is no strategic mastermind, they remain mere disconnected sensory organs.

It is worth repeating that the agreement between the two Libyan governments, one existing and the other merely surviving thanks to the good will of a "useless entity" – as Francesco Cossiga dismissed the United Nations – is targeted against Italy which, except for Minister Minniti’s abilities, has not shown any idea or reaction in this respect.

Probably – as already appears – also the agreement brokered by Emmanuel Macron will last l’espace d’un matin since Libya cannot be led and run as a condo board meeting, and we shall soon choose a strong and credible leader – as SISMI did, in a hotel of Abano Terme, by selecting Sirte’s young colonel, Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Furthermore, an agreement needs to be reached between the Berbers and the Tuareg, who can blow up any deal and have the possibility of managing very strong alliances with the other tribes.

Hence, the game is open, and Italy could even get back in it, but no rational solutions are perceived in Italy.

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