Macron criticized at home for saying France wouldn’t respond in kind if Russia attacked Ukraine with nukes

14 October 2022, 01:28 PM
Emmanuel Macron (Photo:REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger)

Emmanuel Macron (Photo:REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger)

President Emmanuel Macron is facing criticism in France for breaking with strategic ambiguity on nuclear weapons, Politico reported on Oct. 13.

The French president was criticized for comments he made in an interview with French broadcaster France 2 on the topic of France’s response to a possible nuclear attack by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on Ukraine.

“Our doctrine rests on the fundamental interests of the nation,” Macron said during a live interview with public broadcaster France 2 on Oct. 12

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“These are defined clearly and wouldn’t be directly affected at all if, for example, there was a ballistic nuclear attack in Ukraine, (or) in the region,” the French president said, apparently referring to the possibility of a demonstrative nuclear strike by Russia in the Black Sea area, as well as mainland Ukraine.

Former French President François Hollande was one of those who criticized his successors comments.

“(Nuclear) deterrence’s credibility relies on not saying anything about what we would have to do,” former Hollande said on France Info radio.

One needs to “say as little as possible and be prepared to do as much as possible,” he added.

Conservative MP Jean-Louis Thiériot, the vice president of the National Assembly’s armed forces committee, said he believes Macron’s statement to have been a political mistake.

“When I heard him speak, I almost fell of my chair,” Thiériot said.

“One of the principles of nuclear deterrence is that there’s an uncertainty as to what is considered a vital interest,” he said.

Thiériot said he believed Macron’s message may have been meant for voters at home, who are worried about France’s military support for Ukraine and the possibility of a nuclear war.

Bruno Tertrais, deputy director for the think tank Foundation for Strategic Research, said that a wiser decision would be for Macron to say that “he won’t play this game.”

“And anyway Mr. Putin must be aware that he would lose,” Tertrais tweeted.

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