Macron's History Lesson Tests Europe's Ideals

(Bloomberg) --

The echoes of history resound too loudly for some world leaders who marked the centenary of the World War I armistice.

“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” French President Emmanuel Macron told yesterday’s commemorations in Paris, watched by President Donald Trump, whose isolationist America First policies are straining ties with European allies.

As the Paris ceremonies went ahead, far-right groups carrying fascist emblems were among 200,000 people who marched in Warsaw to mark 100 years of Poland's independence. While Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserted European unity as the response to the slaughter of two world wars, the stridently nationalist messages of the governments in Poland and Hungary are increasingly at odds with this ideal.

Brexit and populism in Italy add to centrifugal forces tearing at the European Union, while an emboldened Russia strives to sow division and undermine sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

The armistice brought peace but little comfort to Europe. It was swiftly followed by revolutionary upheavals, economic collapse and the rise of fascism that tipped the continent into devastating new war.

1918 “seems very far away and yet it was only yesterday,’’ Macron said. “Old demons are resurfacing.”

Macron's History Lesson Tests Europe's Ideals

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Macron's History Lesson Tests Europe's Ideals

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