PARIS – U.S. President Donald Trump joined dozens of world leaders in Paris on Sunday to mark 100 years since the moment World War I drew to an end. Trump was among more than 66 leaders gathered on a rainy day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe a century after guns fell silent in a global war that killed millions. Trump and first lady Melania Trump traveled separately from most of the other presidents and dignitaries attending the event, who had gathered earlier at the Elysee Palace and traveled to the ceremony by bus. And Trump was not present as the other leaders arrived, walking side-by-side in a somber, rain-soaked line holding black umbrellas as bells finished tolling. They had arrived a few minutes late, missing the exact moment -- 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 -- that four years of fighting ended.
PARIS – World leaders with the power to make war but a duty to preserve peace solemnly marked the end of World War I's slaughter 100 years ago at commemorations Sunday that drove home the message "never again" but also exposed the globe's new political fault lines. As Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and dozens of other heads of state and government listened in silence, French President Emmanuel Macron used the occasion, as its host, to sound a powerful and sobering warning about the fragility of peace and the dangers of nationalism and of nations that put themselves first, above the collective good. "The old demons are rising again, ready to complete their task of chaos and of death," Macron said. "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism," he said.
PARIS – For President Donald Trump in Paris, America First meant largely America alone. At a weekend commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the president who proudly declares himself a "nationalist" stood apart, even on a continent where his brand of populism is on the rise. He began his visit with a tweet slamming the French president's call for a European defense force, arrived at events alone and spent much of his trip out of sight in the American ambassador's residence in central Paris. On Sunday, he listened as he was lectured on the dangers of nationalist isolation, and then he headed home just as the inaugural Paris Peace Summit was getting underway. The visit made clear that, nearly two years after taking office, Trump has dramatically upended decades of American foreign policy posture, shaking allies.
The UN chief has said the world today has several of the ingredients that led to the failure of the peace that followed World War I, in comments marking the 100th anniversary of the end of that conflict, as the leaders of France and Germany warned about the dangers of nationalism. Without referring to Donald Trump by name, all three of them on Sunday railed against the US president's world view and the dangers of disregarding international norms as they spoke at the start of the Paris Peace Forum in the French capital. "As I see it, several elements today have many parallels with both the start of the 20th century and the 1930s, giving us grounds to fear that an unpredictable chain of events could ensue," Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, said. As we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, may we draw from its lessons and strengthen international cooperation to face the tests and threats of today and tomorrow. For her part, Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, expressed her "concern" that "blinkered nationalist views may gain ground once again".
Having, in the past, dispraised President Emmanuel Macron, of France, for being unduly sunny in his belief that he could manage or manipulate Donald Trump, I will now, in this rainier moment, acquit him of that charge. For whatever reason--a dawning awareness of the American President's unchangeable oafish cruelty may be the best guess--Macron has finally accepted that the only way to treat Trump is with curt and clear opposition. On Sunday--a day after Trump, in France with other heads of state to commemorate the centennial of the end of the First World War, had declined to visit a cemetery where the American dead lie buried, on account of the rain--Macron made a speech. It was a gesture as clearly directed at and against Trump as any he could have made, short of having Madame Macron wave a flag with "D.T." and a diagonal bar across it, "Ghostbusters"-style. Macron distinguished between nationalism (bad) and patriotism (good), but he did it in eloquent terms. "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism," he said.