In remembering WWI, world warned of resurging old demons

Pauline Gross
November 13, 2018

French president Emmanuel Macron has suggested creating a European army.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hug after unveiling a plaque in a French-German ceremony in Rethondes, France, on November 10, as part of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the November 1918 armistice, which ended World War I. The two leaders seek to preserve a West-led social democratic order that they feel is threatened both at home and overseas.

Under grey skies and gently falling rain, many heads of state joined Mr Macron in walking the last stretch of the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, where the ceremony was held. Putin is expected to attend, Trump is not.

"I would say I'm a patriot".

It was the first time the two leaders met since their summit in Helsinki in July, during which Trump claimed that he didn't "see any reason" why Russian Federation would have interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. He also flashed Trump a thumbs up, which is something of a signature move of the United States president during photo-ops.

"The American and French patriots of World War I embody the timeless virtues of our two republics: honor and courage, strength and valor, love and loyalty, grace and glory", President Trump said. "In saying "our interests first and who care about the others" we erase what a nation has that's most precious, what makes it live, what is most important: its moral values".

US President Donald Trump - who prides himself on being called a nationalist - was among around 70 leaders to attend a solemn ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in the driving rain.

An estimated 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians died in the conflict, also known as the Great War, which began on July 28, 1914.

The commemoration included children reading out letters from German, French and British soldiers during the war, a recital by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a moving performance of Maurice Ravel's Bolero.

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Sitting several seats away was Russian President Vladimir Putin , who arrived at the ceremony separately as well. Police tackled the woman and the motorcade continued uninterrupted.

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"It is our deeply rooted obligation to think of the future, and to consider what is essential".

"I always prefer having direct discussion or answering questions than making my diplomacy through tweets", Macron said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, which aired Sunday. "We renew our sacred obligation to memorialise our fallen heroes".

US President Donald Trump, whose hardline nationalism has badly shaken the Western alliance, arrived in Paris criticising host Macron for being 'insulting'.

The "America First" leader, who faced criticism for cancelling a trip to an American cemetery because of the rainy weather, will snub the Paris Peace Forum.

The ceremonies in Poland coincide with world leaders gathering in Paris to mark the armistice of what was then called the Great War.

But Trump was terse during some of his private conversations with world leaders, according to people with direct knowledge of his visit.

The president was widely criticized for not visiting the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery on Saturday, where 1,800 American soldiers were killed during World War I.

World leaders solemnly marked the end of the slaughter of the First World War 100 years ago at commemorations that drove home the message "never again" but also exposed the globe's new political fault lines.

Trump delivered the speech as other leaders were gathered for the Paris Peace Forum, which aims to revive collective governance and worldwide cooperation to tackle global challenges.

Other reports by GizPress

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