In a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, global leaders gathered in France this past weekend at the Arc de Triomphe Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron used the opportunity to blast rising nationalism around the world, calling the political philosophy "a betrayal of patriotism".
It was a stunning rebuke to president Trump, who has led a nationalist movement in the United States and created considerable uncertainty around the world.
"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism," said Macron.
"Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."
"I know there are old demons which are coming back to the surface," he continued. "They are ready to wreak chaos and death. History sometimes threatens to take its sinister course once again."
Trump's consistent abuse of democratic allies, his love of dictators, his departure from the Paris Climate Accord, his constant complaining about the cost of securing Europe, and his rampant racism and xenophobia is evidence of his strong nationalistic tendencies. His 'America First' campaign was an overt appeal to nationalism, and his rhetoric is reminiscent of all fascistic leaders throughout history. Trump philosophy is to engage with the outside world only if it benefits America, and he is willing to dismantle long standing alliances for short term political gain. His base were ecstatic when Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord for example, despite the catastrophic effects on the living world, the damage it did to America's relationship with the rest of the planet, and the long term consequences for the country's economic health.
Macron understands this extremely clearly, and is using his platform as head of the world's 6th largest economy to speak out against it. Macron's willingness to stand up boldly to the likes of Trump and Vladimir Putin makes him the true leader of the free world, and his voice will become significantly more important in the coming years. With Angela Merkel set to retire in the near future, Macron will soon stand alone as a serious global player with the stature to rebuke Trump.
The global institutions that Trump likes to belittle are the result of the the hundreds of millions of lives lost in World War I and II, and they must be defended at all costs. Trump has made clear that America will not defend the institutions it helped build, so the rest of the civilized world must move on without it. As Britain departs from the EU, America descends further into a fascism, and nationalist movements sweep the globe, an alliance of strong progressive leaders must emerge to counter the forces that turned the 20th century into the bloodiest episode in all of human history.
Emmanuel Macron is already leading this movement, but more strong voices will be needed to fight an ideology that threatens all of humankind.