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The 7 times Macron sounded a lot like Obama during his speech to Congress

French President Emmanuel Macron addressed U.S. lawmakers April 25. Here is his full speech. (Video: Reuters)
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During French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington, his interactions with President Trump may have appeared like the true beginning of an unlikely friendship, or bromance.

But as my colleague Ishaan Tharoor summarized, after repeatedly hugging Trump, Macron tore down his worldview — delivering a clear rebuke of his core policy stances during a speech in Congress.

In fact, throughout that speech, Macron sounded a lot like a president Trump certainly wouldn’t have invited back to the White House: Barack Obama. Here are seven examples:

1. On free trade

Obama, Sept. 20, 2016:

“If we start resorting to trade wars, market distorting subsidies, beggar thy neighbor policies, an overreliance on natural resources instead of innovation — these approaches will make us poorer, collectively, and they are more likely to lead to conflict.”


“We need free and fair trade, for sure. A commercial war opposing allies is not consistent with our mission, with our history, with our current commitments to global security. At the end of the day, it would destroy jobs, increase prices, and the middle class will have to pay for it.”

2. On climate change

Obama, Sept. 20, 2016:

“If we don’t act boldly, the bill that could come due will be mass migrations, and cities submerged and nations displaced, and food supplies decimated, and conflicts born of despair. The Paris agreement gives us a framework to act, but only if we scale up our ambition. And there must be a sense of urgency about bringing the agreement into force, and helping poorer countries leapfrog destructive forms of energy.”


“Some people think that securing current industries — and their jobs — is more urgent than transforming our economies to meet the global challenge of climate change. I hear these concerns, but we must find a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy. ... By polluting the oceans, not mitigating CO2 emissions and destroying our biodiversity, we are killing our planet. Let us face it: There is no Planet B.”

3. On the Iran deal

Obama, Sept. 20, 2016:

“When Iran agrees to accept constraints on its nuclear program that enhances global security and enhances Iran’s ability to work with other nations. On the other hand, when North Korea tests a bomb, that endangers all of us. And any country that breaks this basic bargain must face consequences.”


“There is an existing framework — called the JCPOA — to control the nuclear activity of Iran. We signed it at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France. That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it like that.”

4. On nationalism and isolationism

Obama, Jan. 10, 2017:

“No matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem, that’s part of defending America. For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism and chauvinism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.”


“We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism. This is an option. It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears. But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse, but inflame, the fears of our citizens. We have to keep our eyes wide open to the new risks, right in front of us.”

5. On defending the liberal world order

Obama, Sept. 20, 2016:

“I recognize not every country in this hall is going to follow the same model of governance. I do not think that America can — or should — impose our system of government on other countries. But there appears to be growing contest between authoritarianism and liberalism right now. And I want everybody to understand, I am not neutral in that contest. I believe in a liberal political order — an order built not just through elections and representative government, but also through respect for human rights and civil society, and independent judiciaries and the rule of law.”


“Our strongest beliefs are challenged by the rise of a yet unknown new world order. Our societies are concerned about the future of their children. ... But we bear another responsibility inherited from our collective history. Today, the international community needs to step up our game and build the 21st-century world order, based on the perennial principles we established together after World War II.”

6. On inequality

Obama, Sept. 20, 2016:

“In order to move forward, though, we do have to acknowledge that the existing path to global integration requires a course correction. As too often, those trumpeting the benefits of globalization have ignored inequality within and among nations; have ignored the enduring appeal of ethnic and sectarian identities; have left international institutions ill-equipped, underfunded, under-resourced, in order to handle transnational challenges.”


“Together with our international allies and partners, we are facing inequalities created by globalization. ... I believe facing inequalities should push us to improve policy coordination within the G-20 to reduce financial speculation, and create mechanisms to protect the middle class’s interest, because our middle classes are the backbone of our democracies.”

7. On the course of history 

Obama, Sept. 20, 2016:

“[We] have shown that we can choose a better history.”


“Therefore, distinguished members of Congress, let us push them aside, write our own history and birth the future we want.”

More on WorldViews: 

After hugging Trump, Macron tears down Trumpism