French President Emmanuel Macron is continuing his personal psychological duel against the dictator in the Kremlin, with vigor and resolve. If we recall, two and a half months ago, at an extremely difficult moment for Ukraine, he stated that defeating Russia in its war of aggression was an issue of his country’s honor and security. He also did not rule out putting French troops on the ground in Ukraine.

When the Kremlin responded with the usual threats, including the expected saber-rattling about nuclear strikes, Macron issued two clarifications meant for the ears of one specific individual.

First of all, he felt it necessary to point out that “the French military is already taking part in combat activities on Ukrainian territory with their British counterparts. Their personnel are there to maintain the SCALP and Storm Shadow cruise missile systems that we delivered to the Ukrainians.” 


Then he added dryly: “France has nuclear weapons, too.”

“It would be interpreted as weakness to establish a priori limits on ourselves when faced with such an adversary. What weakness!” – Emmanuel Macron 

With these two statements, Macron not only dismantled the entire Kremlin propaganda machine designed for both domestic and international consumption, he also called into question the entire “strategic premise” of the war that Putin declared on the Free World.

Take a look at the type of discussions taking place on all the “patriotic” Russian TV channels at the moment. The Russian Z-lowlifes are yelling indignantly: “Macron has basically declared war on Russia. He’s admitted that French soldiers are already taking part in combat activities. So why the hell haven’t we conducted strikes on France? Okay, maybe we hold off on nuclear weapons, but we have amazing conventional arms that no one else in the world possesses.”

The answer is simple: If Putin were to strike French territory, NATO’s entire arsenal would come to bear on the Russian Federation. He would no longer be worried about the exact number, 40 or 60, of F-16 fighter jets the Dutch are going to ship to the Ukrainians. He would potentially be confronted with thousands of NATO aircraft.


Putin understands this perfectly. He has never had any intention of waging a conventional war with NATO. Or a nuclear one, for that matter. He took stock of all the Chamberlains in the West and figured he could get by with just the threat of nuclear strikes.

This all started when he annexed Crimea and stated: “Russian nuclear capabilities now stand at combat readiness in the event that Western nations engage us in a military standoff.”

This also includes the “ultimatum” demanding that the West capitulate and move out of the Golden Horde’s sphere of vital interests – from those of the Batu Khan in 1245 to Joseph Jughashvili’s (aka Stalin) in1945.

After Putin’s Munich Security Conference speech in 2007, the world began to wonder just what methods Russia could use to engage in a successful confrontation with NATO, other than its famous “spirituality.” After all, it lags far behind NATO nations in terms of economic development, science and technology, and conventional weapons.

Putin provided a clear answer in a joint press-conference with Macron on Feb. 9, 2022 – nuclear blackmail. The actual quote was:


“Of course, we can’t compare Russia’s conventional weapon arsenal to NATO’s. We understand that. But we also understand that Russia is one of the world’s leading nuclear powers. And when it comes to certain state-of-the-art components, we are ahead of many.”

Here it seems Putin was taking the opportunity to remind his counterpart that as of February 2022, according to SIPRI statistics, Russia had 1588 deployed strategic nuclear warheads while France had 280. But if Putin ever used this “we are ahead” stance to engage in a nuclear war with France, he would not be around long enough to enjoy the advantage. That 1,588th nuclear warhead would not be necessary. Russia and France would simply both cease to exist as modern states after the first 10 or so exchanges of nuclear strikes.

At times it felt as if the Biden administration was more apprehensive at the thought of Russia losing than of Ukraine being defeated.

On Feb. 26, 2024, Emmanuel Macron became the de-facto leader of the Free World. The traditional leader of record – the United States – is clearly no longer up to the task. The Trumpers in Congress held up the military aid package to Ukraine for more than four months, while the Biden administration itself struggled to articulate its goals in this war. At times it felt as if they were more apprehensive at the thought of Russia losing than of Ukraine being defeated.


In any case, the administration repeatedly imposed restrictions on itself with red line after red line. First it was: we don’t dare provoke Putin; then it was: we have to prevent an escalation of the conflict, keep it from turning into a regional war.  

In Macron’s first speech in his new role, he sharply criticized the West’s suicidal policy of red lines in a war with a fascist regime that establishes no red lines of any kind for itself.

In three and a half short months, Macron saw a great deal of success.

He has powerful friends now who basically agreed with him in the West, namely the Reagan wing of the Republican party (Michael McCaul, Mike Rogers, and Mike Turner). This cohort, inspired (and in a way, left vulnerable) by Macron’s new stance and role, managed to defeat the Trumpers in Congress and push through the Ukraine military aid bill.

Even more importantly, they became a vital component of an overwhelming, pro-Ukraine bipartisan majority (80 in the Senate and 322 in the House) that criticized Biden for insufficient military aid to Ukraine. The fact that Ukraine has now been granted long-range ATACMS (finally!) is a direct result of this pressure.

On April 7 (the 120th anniversary of the signing of the original Entente Cordiale), Great Britain and France announced the establishment of a Renewed Entente Cordiale. The parties decided to further cement the historic nature of this event by making a solemn promise to crush the aggressor:


“We must do even more to ensure we defeat Russia. The world is watching – and will judge us if we fail.”

And unlike their overly cautious American counterparts, Brits actually encourage and support strikes of their cruise missiles (550 km range) on any military target on Russian territory.

Now for the most important point. There are about 2,000 of the Russian President’s top associates assembled in the Kremlin today for the coronation of Putin V. Total scoundrels every one of them, but still a rather well-informed lot. They are aware of everything I have outlined above. The dictator for life can see it in their eyes. They want to ask a question but can’t: “We have lost the war, boss. How do we get ourselves out of this?”

They’ll start talking eventually. In two months or so when the Mirages from France and the Typhoons from the UK, fitted with Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles, blow the symbol of Putin’s misguided escapade to smithereens. I am referring to the Crimea bridge.

Translated by Jason Galieo

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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