Macron and Trump: Different head of hair, same galling hypocrisy on Venezuela
By E.F Nicholson
It takes a certain kind of brass neck to be as overtly hypocritical as French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump. I guess they are conceited enough about their unapologetic double standards because they know that, by and large, the media that is meant to hold them accountable will predictably give them a pass. It seems that Macron and Trump must work from the same instruction manual as each other in how they approach Venezuela, or I guess any government that doesn’t adhere to the neoliberal list of non-negotiable demands. It doesn’t take any kind of detailed digging to see that the rule of what applies to Venezuela doesn’t necessarily apply to other nations whose human rights issues are colossally more egregious. Take Egypt, for instance.
If you didn’t know, Egypt sometime ago passed through its brief sojourn with democracy and is now back to being a brutal dictatorship, ruled by a corrupt military junta, headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It’s the kind of despotic pro-western regime our governments love to do business with. So when it comes to dealing Egypt, French President Macron five months ago found a deep respect in the sovereignty of that country’s right to rule as they see fit. On his visit to Egypt, Macron stated:
“I would not accept that another leader gave me lessons about how to govern my country… I believe in the sovereignty of states and I am not here to give lessons without taking account of the context.”
One assumes the “context” he is speaking about is the Egyptian dictatorship’s purchase of French military equipment worth more than €5.0 billion ($5.8 billion) since 2015.
Just like Trump during his visit of Saudi Arabia, when it comes to other nations, it’s all about respecting their rights (“their” being their tyrannical ruler’s right, not the citizens of the country) and not lecturing or talking down to them, as Trump stated in his speech whilst in Saudi Arabia:
“We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership—based on shared interests and values —to pursue a better future for us all.”
Don’t give lessons, don’t lecture… Sounds eerily familiar, don’t you think? Maybe Macron just cut and pasted from Trump’s speech and translated it into French. Yet surprise, surprise, when it comes to Venezuela, the principle of butting out and letting sovereign nations govern as they see fit goes out the window. Let’s also not forget, unlike Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Venezuela is an ACTUAL democracy, with a fair and accountable election process. As we see, five months after Macron’s visit to Egypt, his stress on respecting a nation’s sovereignty seems to be nowhere to be found.
“It’s not been a democracy for a long time. We’ll have to see at the European level whether we want new sanctions. I am in favour of having them. I want us to go further given the recent decisions and the shift to authoritarianism,” said Mr Macron.
This echoes the same talking points that come from the Trump administration regarding backdoor and frontdoor regime change in Venezuela. Trump bragged in his recent state of the union address:
“My government has imposed harsh sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela,” Trump told lawmakers at Congress Tuesday night as part of the foreign policy section of his address, over what he calls “human rights violations.”
That’s right, you read correctly: “human rights violations.” Not the “beheading of women for sorcery” type, or the “suppression of all human rights whatsoever” type, or the “murdering thousands of innocent men, women and children in Yemen” type. No, it’s much worse and far more sinister; that is, the “non-compliance to US economic interest in the region” type.
Then all these maddening double standards get left out in the way it is reported, almost like this is going on in its own strange parallel universe. They can espouse respect for sovereignty for one country (that’s completely undeserving of it) and then condemnation and intervention for another, without ever being held accountable. One of the only times I saw this blatant contradiction pointed out was when a US state department spokesperson was lecturing about Iran and he was asked point blank how it was possible to make those statements while being in Saudi Arabia. It’s a must-watch video below as there are about 20 seconds of silent gold where you can almost hear the cogs of his brain trying to work out how to answer that without answering, which he manages to do. He gives the ultimate non-answer and then quickly scurries away.
What we see here is that Macron and Trump come from the same slimy, amoral vacuum as each other. They are of the same self-righteous and unscrupulous milieu as Hilary Clinton, Obama, Blair and Justin Trudeau (another crush of the neo-liberal, Guardian-loving type). Trump’s problem isn’t that he is that much worse, rather that he’s a crass buffoon about it all. Everything he is currently doing is just a further extension and expansion of what Obama did before him, G.W. Bush before him, Bill Clinton before him, etc.
Yet what do we expect from the “sold-out to corporate interest a long time ago” political class? The real rub is the complete illusion that the corporate media aren’t in on the same game. Yet it’s more than being in on the game; they make the game possible. The glaring hypocrisy and double standards are only permissible if all of this reported as the way “realistic international relations and global politics works”. The mainstream media lies by omission, deflection, and distraction, all creating a false legitimacy of an ultimately illegitimate and morally bankrupt political class. Reporting the war and destruction of Yemen without reporting the direct involvement of the UK and US or piously chastising Venezuela about its human rights issues while giving Saudi a soft pass, etc., is all an example of how our media creates a cover for western corporations to profit from the most heinous of crimes. Trump and Macron are cut of the same cloth, but let’s not forget so too are the BBC and Fox News.