The US and France go head-to-head over the future of ‘the West’: Mike Pompeo insists America is NOT withdrawing from Europe – sparking an angry rebuttal from Emmanuel Macron
- The French President was speaking at the annual Munich Security Conference
- He accused US of a ‘kind of withdrawal’ from its relationship with European allies
- Pompeo said reports of the death of alliance were ‘grossly over-exaggerated’
Emmanuel Macron warned today that the West is ‘weakening’ as he blasted the United States for turning its back on Europe.
The French President dismissed claims by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the transatlantic alliance was still strong.
He told the Munich Security Conference: ‘There is a weakening of the West.
‘There’s an American policy that started several years ago and not just under this administration that includes a certain kind of withdrawal, of a rethink of its relationship with Europe.’
Emmanuel Macron (left) warned that the West was ‘weakening’ after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) insisted: ‘The West is winning and we’re winning together’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the Munich Security Conference today
Pompeo earlier rejected European pessimism about Washington’s retreat from the global stage, saying the death of the transatlantic bond had been ‘grossly over-exaggerated’.
He said: ‘The West is winning and we’re winning together.’
The annual gathering of world leaders, generals and diplomats to discuss security challenges has been dominated by fears of diminishing Western influence in the face of a more assertive China and Russia.
French President Emmanuel Macron says the West is ‘weakening’
In his opening speech yesterday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggested that the United States rejected ‘even the idea of an international community’ and was acting ‘at the expense of neighbours and partners’.
‘Those statements don’t reflect reality,’ Pompeo retorted.
‘I’m happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly over-exaggerated,’ he said, paraphrasing a famous Mark Twain quote.
He said Washington was playing a key role in keeping Europe safe by reinforcing NATO’s eastern flank on the border with Russia, as well as leading a multinational effort to defeat the Islamic State jihadist group.
Pompeo added: ‘Is this an America that ‘rejects the international community’?
‘The free West has a brighter future than illiberal alternatives.’
Pompeo urged allies to have ‘confidence’ in the transatlantic bond.
He stressed the need to work together against threats posed by Russia’s territorial ambitions, China’s military buildup in the South China Sea and Iran’s ‘campaigns of terror’ through proxy conflicts in the Middle East.
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger
Macron said on Saturday that Europe’s policy of defiance towards Russia in recent years had failed and, as nobody wanted to confront Moscow directly, the only option was to have a closer dialogue to resolve differences.
‘I hear the defiance of all our partners, I’m not mad, but I know that being defiant and weak … it is not a policy, it’s a completely inefficient system,’ he said, adding that he saw none of his allies willing to confront Russia.
‘There is a second choice which is to be demanding and restart a strategic dialogue because today we talk less and less, conflicts multiply and we aren’t able to resolve them.’
France’s President Emmanuel Macron adresses the audience on the podium during the 56th Munich Security Conference