We totally agree, Zelensky is a hero. A kind of modern Churchill, minus the cigar. A Churchill who would not have found a tailor to have a suit made. And the heroes, we decorate them. It's done : Emmanuel Macron raised the Ukrainian president, passing through Paris, to the dignity of Grand Cross in the Order of the Legion of Honor. We can't do better. Above, it's the Pantheon and, to apply, must be dead and French… until now. Car, at the rate things are going, it can still move.
That Emmanuel Macron elevates a head of state to our highest honor is nothing new. It has always been so. The Legion of Honor is not a medal, It's an order, equivalent to an order of chivalry. The President of the French Republic is the grand master and tradition dictates that heads of state exchange the highest decorations of their country., under “diplomatic reciprocity”. And tsar Nicolas II, Churchill, Queen Elizabeth but also Mussolini, Ceaușescu were Grand Crosses of the Legion of Honor. Putin still is : it was Jacques Chirac who had decorated it in 2006 at the Elysee Palace. Zelensky and Putin are now tied ! In return, Sarkozy had been made a Knight of the Golden Fleece by the King of Spain and Emmanuel Macron is already the holder of a very fine collection which ranges from the Aztec Eagle from Mexico to the Lion from Senegal via the 'Danish Elephant. So, nothing new in the decoration department.
In contrast, on Form, we can still be a little surprised. You're gonna say we're old fashioned, but Zelensky was not obliged to receive the insignia of this dignity in his everyday dress. Certainly, Emmanuel Macron simply gave them to him on a plate and not in a formal way. Certainly, Zelensky goes to war, but out of respect for this high, ancient and prestigious institution as well as for those who have been and who are today members, it was not forbidden to put on a suit and tie. These are things that still happen. More, non, come as you are, my dear Volodymyr. That said, King Charles III received him just the same, Wednesday.
On Form, we can be surprised but also outraged. Besides, not by Zelensky who, basically, is in its role, but by Emmanuel Macron, Grand Master of National Orders, who decorated the Ukrainian president by addressing him in English when in principle, a very particular formula must be pronounced (in French, Of course) for the entry in the order to be valid. Napoleon, founder of the order, can turn around in his tomb at Les Invalides !
On the background, NOW. Diplomatically, was it appropriate to decorate Zelensky today ? This is the question that we can objectively ask ourselves. Everything counts, especially the symbols, in this war of blood but also of images. By decorating the President of Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron takes the risk of further exacerbating Russia's resentment towards France. We can not emphasize this enough : in this conflict, in international law, Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the attacked. But there's only two ways to get peace : either one of the two protagonists totally crushes, definitively, his opponent, either that the enemies agree to sit around a table to negotiate. France had, in this second hypothesis, a traditional role to play. She obviously does not take the path. That said, a Legion of Honor after CAESAr guns and, maybe tomorrow, Leclerc tanks, It's not a big deal. We will say a commercial gesture.