French president Emmanuel Macron has had a mixed week, becoming ever more a polarizing figure in French—and global—politics.
The young centrist leader has not been idle during his first year as president, and his big buzzword is “reform.” Following popular international political trends, Macron has been looking to make France run more like a business than a socialist haven. His attempts to reform labor laws, the educational system, and the SNCF, the state-run railway system, have been brutally bucked by students, workers, and other concerned citizens. Student protesters have joined union protesters this week to create a “convergence des luttes,” or a strike campaign assault from all sides.
In the midst of all this, Macron was named one of Time 100’s Most Influential People on Thursday, joining company ranging from Cardi B to Kim Jong Un. Macron followed this up with a charm offensive in the US, beginning with an interview with FOX News Sunday night. Clearly, Macron is playing a larger game, cozying up to American conservatives and trying to make a name for himself as a world leader while he waits for his own people’s fires to burn out.