January 11, 2018
The horse taming the dragon - really?
Emmanuel Macron's visit in China has ended, and his charm, skills, and determination, earned him recognition as a serious diplomatic leader on the world scene. Macron brought an eight-year old horse from the French cavalry as a gift to president Xi. He stayed silent on human rights issues, at least in public. He ended the visit with 50 signed commercial contracts and lots of pictures of a symbolic visit.
Macron stepped into the leadership vacuum on the world diplomatic stage and earned the trust of the Chinese as a serious intermediary. But can he deliver - can the "horse tame the dragon", which is how the name Macron translates into Chinese. As this article points out, a horse may be a terrible gift.
But the more serious issue is how Macron can deliver a European position if the EU itself is divided, not only over trade with China but also over investments from China. China has one leader and a strategy, while Europe has neither a single leader nor a strategy, notes Thomas Hanke in Handelsblatt. There is no European strategy to preserve technological advances nor to cooperate with China. Macron's visit might be symbolic, but we do not see it having a bigger impact.