Russian President Vladimir Putin and the recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron held their first joint press conference today in Versailles. Macron set the tone by acting in one of the most snide and arrogant manners imaginable. It is fair to say that Macron’s rotten attitude had the effect of making Turkey’s strong-man President Erdogan appear like a master of tact and diplomacy.
The whole thing looked like an attempt by the young and inexperienced Macron to somehow rattle off Russophobic talking points from the heart of the EU in front of the Russian President. Macron’s views on Syria and Russia’s internal matters were straight from CNN talking points. As Donald Trump who famously did not have a good meeting with Macron might say, it was ‘very fake news’.
Putin reacted by simply not reacting. He answered every question calmly and made it clear that he believes that the French attitude isn’t always helpful although he is willing to see if this attitude might somehow improve. It was like watching a noble bear next to a barking rabid poodle.
Things ran the risk of getting heated when an RT reporter asked Macron why he prohibited the access of Russian journalists to his recent campaign and how he plans to address the issue of openness as President of France.
He replied by saying that he has no problem with journalists ‘when they are journalists’. He then said that RT and Sputnik had “behaved like deceitful propaganda” while he failed to produce a single example of this, yet again.
Putin elected to instead answer the RT journalist’s question about French actions in Syria. At that point Putin rhetorically asked whether France has any real independence in military and foreign policy as it is a member of the US led coalition.
The implication here is that while Macron insulted Russian media which he subtly implied is controlled by Putin, Putin correctly pointed out that as a member of both NATO the EU and the US led anti-Syrian coalition, Macron cannot control his own army nor his own foreign policy.
Put simply: Check Mate!