Macron, the reverse Zelensky

15 March 2022

5:12 AM

15 March 2022

5:12 AM

Which Western leader has been the most shameless when it comes to Ukraine? America’s Vice President ‘Calamity’ Kamala Harris is another in with a shout, given her bizarre, hysterical laughter when asked at a press conference about Kiev’s refugees. Nicola ‘Strangelove’ Stugeon is up there, after her no-fly zone intervention while Mario Draghi looked like Marie Antoinette without her charms after reportedly demanding opt-outs from sanctions on luxury Italian goods.

But for Mr S, there’s only one winner. Step forth Emmanuel Macron, the politician whose pronouns are moi/moi/moi. The French president has not had a great war, trying to negotiate mano a mano with Putin down an absurdly long table and ending up being played like a banjo while attempting to make himself central to a fruitless Moscow-Paris grand geo-strategic conversation. Just days before the invasion, it appeared as though he was willing to give Putin major concessions and gut Ukraine; bombastic talk of ‘de-escalation’ proved optimistic, to say the least. All this while Boris and those beastly Brexit-backing Brits preferred to add to Ukraine’s arsenal.

Since conflict has broken out, Europe has a new superstar: Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, whose approval ratings have trebled to 91 per cent since the invasion began.  Facing re-election in May after a difficult five years in power, the French president has clocked that this style is what people seem to like right now. Thus where Zelensky goes, Macron follows, accompanied as ever by one of his faithful personal photographers.

For pictures released by the Élysée today show that the French leader has now shed his preferred slim navy jacket, coiffed hair and well-cut suits. In their place is a moody, hunched figure sporting a dark hoodie, jeans and a face full of stubble, in images that bear a striking resemblance to recent images of Zelensky. Macron’s hoodie says CPA10: a branch of the French special forces. Zelensky the latter has the excuse of being under siege; Macron’s decision to ditch his previously beloved suit and tie is somewhat less plausible, particularly in light of last week’s agonised images of him replicating Edward Munch’s The Scream. 

The Élysée Palace released images of French President Macron after his call with Putin today, regarding the invasion of Ukraine. 🇫🇷🇷🇺🇺🇦

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) March 8, 2022

Macron will no doubt welcome any such comparison to Zelensky, the odds-on favourite to be Time ‘Man of the Year’. But given his increasingly laughable displays of attempted macho-posturing, perhaps Macron might better serve as a foil to his Ukrainian counterpart. One was a comedian who became a president, the other was a president who became a comedian.

C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.

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