Not so long ago, following French President Emmanuel Macron’s Beijing visit, many in the U.S. reacted to his expressed desire to avoid confrontation with China with indignation, labeling the leader a fool and a puppet.

Evidently, the backlash didn’t phase Macron. He doubled-down, saying that “being an ally does not mean being a vassal… [or] mean that we don’t have the right to think for ourselves.” When it comes to responding to fluctuating China-U.S. tensions, Macron believes that for Europe no response is the best response.

And as much as some Americans might wish he was wrong, he is not. 

Macron is not witless. He is making a case that prioritizes his country’s tangible interests, not the U.S.’s. These include focusing on his region, avoiding conflict with a major global power, and remaining a relevant actor in world affairs.

Critics like The Spectator World’s John Pietro may label Macron’s call for European strategic autonomy “fantastical” and “unpopular,” but reality is not on their side.