France’s president has said he stands by his 2019 characterization of NATO as ‘brain dead’
French leader Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference ahead of the first round of the presidential election – to be held on 10 April – in Paris, France, March 17, 2022 © AFP / Ludovic Marin/AFP
Russia’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine has delivered an “electroshock” to NATO, France’s President Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference on Thursday. The remark came in response to a journalist’s question regarding the president’s 2019 characterization of the military alliance as “brain dead,” and whether the French head of state was still of that opinion.
Macron said that he stood by his initial ‘diagnosis,’ taking “full responsibility” for his words; however, according to the French president, Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine has been a wake-up call for NATO.
Macron pointed out that the “war launched by President Putin” at the alliance’s doorstep created an “unusual threat which gives a strategic clarification to NATO.”
He also said that the military alliance in its current form would not cut it, standing by his earlier calls for reform.
In November 2019, Macron told The Economist that the world was witnessing the “brain death of NATO.” The French president also urged Europe to “wake up” after the Trump administration had “turned its back” on European allies, as Macron had put it. He went on to call into question the effectiveness of NATO’s Article Five, under which an attack on one member state would be seen as an attack on the entire military bloc. He concluded that European member states should “reassess the reality of what NATO is,” given America’s shaky commitment to its allies.