US President Donald Trump is set to snub an anti-nationalist peace conference organized by French President Emmanuel Macron, Agence France-Presse reports.
To be held the upcoming weekend, Macron’s “Peace Forum” is part of a ceremony marking the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I.
Along with around 70 other world leaders, Trump will attend the Sunday morning ceremony, but not Macron’s anti-nationalist conference, although leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan will.
This was confirmed by chief organizer Justin Vaisse.
“This world needs to meet up and defend itself. It doesn’t matter if those who don’t believe in multilateralism aren’t there,” Vaisse said.
“The aim of the forum is to show that there are lots of forces in the international system — states, NGOs, foundations, intellectuals, companies — who believe we need a world of rules, an open world and a multilateral world,” he explained.
Given Donald Trump’s recent comments, his refusal to attend an anti-nationalist peace conference hardly comes as a surprise.
As Politico reported late October, President Trump proudly asserted that he is a nationalist, denouncing “globalists” as he put it, and vowing to put “America first.”
Further confirming the embrace of the controversial term, according to USA Today, Trump told CNN’s Robert Costa that he is unaware of the negative connotations that the term carries, and reaffirmed that nationalism to him means putting the United States first.
French President Emmanuel Macron, a center-left politician, recently warned that a “nationalist leprosy” could drag Europe back to the 1930s.
According to NBC News, Macron expressed concern over the spread of populism in Europe, calling for European unity.
“In a Europe divided by fears, the return of nationalism, the consequences of economic crisis, one sees almost systematically everything that marked Europe between the end of World War I and the 1929 crisis,” Macron remarked, adding that Europe must “fight back.”
The French president has been a vocal critic of Trump’s nationalist policies, Agence France-Presse notes, notably calling out the US president for pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord.
The news agency’s sources claim that the two presidents are continuing to drift further apart, after seemingly striking up a friendly relationship during Trump’s 2017 visit to France.
The two will, however, hold talks the upcoming Saturday at the Elysee Palace, Macron’s official residence.
Speaking about Macron’s peace forum, former French Ambassador Michel Duclos said that the meeting will send a powerful message, as it is “about learning the lessons of the past and preparing for the future.”
Research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations Jeremy Shapiro observed that Trump’s refusal to attend the conference does not come as a surprise considering the fact that the U.S. president has consistently bashed international institutions.