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Elections. They have consequences.- POLITICO | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack | #hacking | #aihp


With help from Alex Ward, Oriana Pawlyk, Connor O’Brien and Daniel Lippman

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Say what you will about democracy, but it loves to surprise.

This past weekend saw two elections, in France and Colombia, whose eye-opening outcomes could have notable effects on President JOE BIDEN’s foreign policy. White House aides are still trying to figure out exactly what those results mean for the president’s international agenda, but it’s fair to say that domestic politics will change significantly in the two critical partner countries.

In France: Far-left and far-right candidates picked up enough seats in parliament to deny President EMMANUEL MACRON and his centrist coalition an absolute majority. This means that Macron will have to negotiate for every single vote to push through much of his preferred legislation. Essentially, Macron’s case represents “a trans-Atlantic carbon copy of Biden’s situation,” writes CNN contributor DAVID A. ANDELMAN.

Macron has not always been perfectly aligned with the White House or fellow European leaders; at times, he’s seemed too willing to hold Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN’s hand in the wake of the war in Ukraine. But overall, he’s been a solid and reliable ally, and the White House was relieved when he won his own election in April over far-right candidate MARINE LE PEN. Biden may sympathize with the political reality facing Macron (is there a JOE MANCHIN in the Sénat français?), but he also must reckon with now having a weaker partner at the Élysée.

Our friend CHARLES KUPCHAN, a former senior U.S. official dealing with European issues, sees pros and cons for Washington in Paris: “Even though the French president enjoys considerable sway over matters of foreign policy, his weakened position will likely produce a more cautious stance — not good news for the United States when Washington has been looking to Europe to shoulder more geopolitical responsibility. On the other [hand], Macron may need to be more of a team player on the European stage than he has been, a change that could ultimately work to the advantage of European integration and produce an EU that remains strongly oriented toward partnership with the United States.”

In Colombia: Leftist GUSTAVO PETRO’s election as the country’s next president could portend major changes to the Bogotá-Washington relationship.

Among other planks of his platform, Petro wants to renegotiate elements of Colombia’s free trade agreement with the U.S.; limit oil and gas exploration in Colombia; change the way Colombia fights rebel groups; and re-establish relations with Venezuelan President NICOLAS MADURO, a dictator whom the U.S. does not formally recognize — and whose policies have produced a refugee crisis that has affected Colombia.

Petro is an ex-guerilla taking charge in a country that has been led for decades by figures from the right-wing and center-right. His election is “a phenomenon that we see across the Americas and the world: voters are disillusioned with the political establishment,” notes JASON MARCZAK of the Atlantic Council.

Petro’s ascension, however, doesn’t mean that he’ll be able to easily enact all of his plans. He’ll need to build alliances in Colombia’s legislature, and he could face serious resistance from the country’s business community. Then, of course, there’s the potential for pressure from the U.S., especially given recent world events. (Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN has already been in touch with Petro, assuring him of America’s commitment to the bilateral relationship.)

“In the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine and one of the tightest oil markets in several decades, a potential Colombian decrease in production will impact the United States’ ability to offset Russian oil and gas,” warns RYAN BERG of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Berg also pointed out that “oil and gas is one of Colombia’s top export revenues,” something Petro may want to keep in mind.

And in Israel: We would be remiss if we did not mention the latest news from the Knesset, where Prime Minister NAFTALI BENNETT and Foreign Minister YAIR LAPID’s jittery coalition government is collapsing. The country now expects to hold its fifth election in just three years.

The planned October vote could provide a political lifeline to former longtime Prime Minister BENJAMIN NETANYAHU. But whether it’s him or someone else who seizes the moment, the trends in Israeli politics suggest the outcome will favor hard-liners more than moderates.

We are told the turbulence won’t affect Biden’s planned visit to Israel in July, when he’ll meet with whoever is in charge of the caretaker government there (likely Lapid). “We have a strategic relationship with Israel that goes beyond any one government,” a National Security Council spokesperson said. “The president looks forward to the visit next month.”


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