Saturday, June 22, 2024 | 04:02 WIB

President Macron’s surprising comment

Jakarta, IO – Many have taken by surprise, are even shocked, hearing a statement by France President Emmanuel Macron after his three-day visit to Beijing, meeting with President Xi Jinping. He returned home receiving nice words from the host that he would do as President Macron and others had asked him to, regarding the Russia-Ukraine war. This is all right as Spanish PM and EU President also said the same. Earlier, in November last year EU Council President Charles Michel as well as German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz also went to Beijing to meet President Xi for the same purpose. Certainly, there was no lack of good will from the Western Allies to persuade President Xi to act as a peace-maker in the Russia-Ukraine war. 

However, there was another thing that President Macron revealed that immediately raised concern. It was about his statement regarding the stance on Taiwan, which so far was in accord with that of the US Allies: France has been in support of the US policy to stand with Taiwan in its position facing China. But this time President Macron said that Europe should distance itself from the US-China dispute in Taiwan, and it should be the third pole in between Beijing and Washington. For some this is even shocking, especially at this time, when the bilateral relations between the two superpowers are at the low level. This was not a slip of the tongue of President Macron, so it raised concern. No wonder it caused criticism from different leaders as well. 

The White House National Security Coordination for Communication John Kirby, who was also the former Pentagon spokesman, immediately issued a statement that the relations between the US and France are solid. So, we do not actually know the truth here, as to what would be President Macron’s real intention. We could only wait and hope that this will not make the situation worse. 

Meanwhile, President Biden is ready to start his foreign trip to Northern Ireland, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Resolution that brought the conflicts in Belfast and Norther Ireland in general to a stop after many years of chaos with such a cost of human lives and material. President Biden said that the US was very interested in maintaining stability and is supportive of the efforts of doing it. He is scheduled to meet with the parties who used to be at odds, ending with the Good Friday Agreement. He is also scheduled to speak before Parliament. UK PM Rishi Sunak will be welcoming President Biden. 

President Biden will be accompanied by State Secretary Anthony Blinken in this trip to stress the importance of the visit. First Lady Jill Biden, according to news, may also be with him, and when she is, the First Lady will have a separate program. I sort of have an idea about how many US Presidents that had Irish blood, but certainly to my surprise the number is even larger than I thought before. Out of the 46 Presidents that the US has had so far, 22 had Irish blood, including former President Obama. 

It looks that President Biden is so eager to go on this trip, and from the television news it was shown that so many distant relatives of President Biden are really looking forward to welcoming him. I hope the trip will be a success. 

Previously there was one thing that could cancel President Biden’s trip, namely, if former President Jimmy Carter were passing. He has been under palliative care at home in Plains, Georgia. This means that he is in a grievous condition, either from cancer or heart condition. Now that President Biden is leaving means that the former President still alive, Praise the Lord. He is such a good human being. I happened to have a chance of meeting him at the Carter Center years ago, when as Junior Minister of Trade touring in the US, leading a delegation of around thirty businessmen and women, meeting with their business counterparts in several States selling their products or establishing business relations. We also went to visit the Carter Center. When we were received by former President Carter at the Center, I had a short meeting with him, yet that gave me a great impression about him as a good human being. And I agree with many that President Carter was playing more important role globally after finishing his Presidency, via his Carter Center, promoting democracy and good governance, like conducting fair general election by sending observers all over the world, including Indonesia’s general election of 2004. 


President Biden’s visit to Northern Ireland is intended to recognize his Irish ancestry, when his grandparents migrated from Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania where he was born and grew up till he was ten years old. To me it is refreshing that President Biden in his busy schedule feels the need to do this; I think it is very commendable, once a while recognizing who we are, where we came from, who were our ancestors, etc. This is not just to honor our ancestors, but to have a balanced perspective, knowing yourself and your capability as well as limitation to act and make decisions smartly, properly, and wisely to help achieving the goals you wish to reach as a national leader. 

It looks like that there are several things that might be constraining President Biden’s trip to Northern Ireland, both domestically, and externally with the heated global condition due to diplomacy between the US Allies and Beijing to deal with the Russia-Ukraine war, and the additional complication with President Macron seemingly wish to change the European stance regarding the competition the two superpowers. I just would like to wish him well and hope that the trip will go as planned.