Macron is a real piece of work, n'est-ce pas? (Is it really a French thing to marry your schoolteacher?) But apparently his charisma is such that, they say, nobody who ever met him would ever vote against him. And such self-confidence! OK: but who'd trust him a single centimetre?
In fact, just the kind of person the Chinese can play like a tin whistle, the tune being that old favourite, Divide and Rule. Flushed with his pre-invasion, errr, success across that long table with Putin, off he goes to Beijing to persuade Xi of, well, something or other that will surely bring conflict in Ukraine to an end. Well, won't it? But not content with this naïve presumption, he also drags along Ursula von der Leyen, only for her to be royally snubbed by the Chinese, fobbed off with having to carry her own bags through passport control while the Little Emperor is whisked off on a red carpet. Two years ago I'd have found this very funny but since early last year, much to my surprise, von der Leyen seems to have grown in stature considerably.
Well: such is the nature of his diplomatic prowess that Macron is immediately suspected by everyone of plotting to sell Taiwan down the river. And can anyone see the fragrant Ursula rushing to take his next call? But it turns out that he's just brainstorming a bit, seeing what's on, floating ideas, trying a few things; c'est juste sa manière, tu ne sais pas? - and of course he's misunderstood. Of course. Here's how the ultra-articulate French spin-doctoring machine tries to walk it all back.
But I rather doubt anyone is convinced.