The myth of "Sacred Union", closing of French ranks at beginning of First World War, belongs to books of history and sometimes more transcendental. The debate in National Assembly and in Senate on military intervention in Syria allowed on Monday to visualize fault that today divides policy in France. The alternative and communist left and traditional right reproached President Emmanuel Macron for acting without UN and aligning himself with Donald Trump.
The military attack on Syrian installations on Saturday has led to a photograph of French political moment.
Macron, which in ordering on Saturday joint attack with United States and United Kingdom exercised for first time as president at war, has support of majority government and or allied groups of center and Centre. Also, of Socialist Party, whose last president, François Hollande, intervened in Sahel and in Near East, and pleaded during his mandate for an attack against chemical installations of regime of Bashar al-Assad, similar to that of Macron. It is a coalition of government Parties plus Socialists, who have been until recently and, despite ir deep crisis, want to be treated as a party able to re-govern.
In front of it, President has a heterogeneous and transversal coalition that brings toger forces of alternative left and extreme right, anti-Atlanticist forces and contrary to current European Union. What is significant after attack in Syria is that se groups, which have sometimes been defined as populists and in some cases registered in anti-Americanism and French hardening-tradition, have joined traditional party of a moderate right, Republicans, party of former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.
On Sunday, new leader of right, Laurent Wauquiez, stated that he did not understand " utility or sense" of "hitting by hitting, to give feeling of doing something, without a strategy behind". "The President's international priority must be to fight Islamists," he added.
In parliamentary debate, representatives of his party clarified criticisms. "We believe that international law reinforces voice of France. In aligning ourselves with American positions, we renounced a form of French singularity, "Christian Jacob, president of Republican group, first of opposition, said in National Assembly.
Jacob thus set two of most repeated criticisms with Macron. The first point is that intervention was carried out without a mandate from UN Security Council, which would place France outside international law. The defense of French government, represented in National Assembly by Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, is that Russian veto prevented approval of UN, and that, in any case, operation had a legal framework: multiple resolutions of Council of Security and international treaties and conventions prohibiting use of chemical weapons.
The or criticism has to do with convergence of interests between Macron and Trump, an apparent resignation of France to its sovereignty to undergo swings of erratic and unpredictable leader of a foreign power.
On Sunday, in a television interview, Macron implied that, rar than following Trump's designs, it was or way around. "Ten days ago, President Trump said United States considered leaving Syria. We persuaded him. We persuaded him that it was necessary to stay, to stay in a lasting way, "he said. And, in allusion to bravado to Syria that Trump gave in social networks, he added: "We convinced him that we had to limit attacks on chemical weapons."
Macron insists that attack in Syria is not a declaration of war. If it had been, it would have had to ask Parliament for permission, according to article 35 of Constitution of 1958. The article states that " Government informs Parliament of its decision to intervene in armed forces abroad no later than three days after initiation of intervention". "This information," he adds, "can lead to a debate without a vote." He's one that held on Monday.
More predictable than those of Republicans were arguments of alternative left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The tribune of Unsubmissive France increaseded that intervention would have been decided "without proof", "without UN mandate", "without any ally of European Union" and "without precise political objectives". The National Front, contrary to military intervention, did not intervene, when parliamentary group lacked. It is paradox of French system: party that obtained more than 10 million votes in last presidential election has it difficult to be heard in National Assembly.