France's President Macron has just delivered a very moving speech before a joint session of The United States Congress.
Inspiring, uplifting, historical, exhortatory, it appealed to our higher nature and the higher values often forgotten in this new age of populism, tribalism, and mean partisanship. He illustrated his words with examples of our joint proud history and shared beliefs. He warned against cynicism, anti-science bias, and nationalism, which he emphasized he does not embrace.
He encouraged building cooperative solutions to trade practices, rather than waging trade wars. He encouraged working together to build the middle class, "the backbone of our democracies," and offering our children a planet that is still habitable in the future. He reminded all that a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy must be found, to avoid destroying the planet in the race to provide jobs at the cost of destroying biodiversity and polluting our land and oceans ("There is no planet B"). He added his conviction that the US will someday return to the Paris Climate Accord, and reminded all that we have the responsibility to guard against fake news (FauxNews!) and terrorist propaganda, to regulate the internet's allowing nefarious activities, and to protect Truth as the foundation of democracy.
He expressed France's support for nuclear disarmament diplomacy in North Korea, and declared that Iran will never possess nuclear weapons ("NEVER."), but that we should respect nations' sovereignty, including that of Iran, and that we must not bring war into the picture. He emphasized that we cannot abandon the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran -- which, he reminded us, France signed at the behest of the United States -- until it is replaced with something better and more comprehensive. He declared that, no matter the decision of the US, France will not turn its back on the JCPOA. He went on to address building a future peace, in Yemen, in Syria, in all the Middle East.
The lengthiest parts of his speech dealt with protection of the planet and improving upon, not abandoning, the JCPOA. In other words, the Accord that the US has recently reneged on, and the Accord that the US is threatening to reneg on.
His speech might not have been well received in the White House, but the Republican majority of both houses of Congress seemed to be almost as enthusiastic as their Democratic colleagues in their support of all he said. He ended by repeating the importance of our countries' working together, quoting President DeGaulle and adding his own fervent feelings about what we can accomplish when we are driven by high ideals and answering the call of history. Adding that together, we shall prevail.
His lengthy standing ovation is something that an American leader might also receive for a lofty, idealistic, positive speech that sought to unite rather than divide. The contrast to what has become normal in the US was deafening.