French President Emmanuel Macron is condemning nationalism during his speech remembering Armistice Day. Macron made several comments regarding his feelings for nationalism – including the declaration, “By saying ‘our interests first and never mind the others’ you stamp out the most precious thing a nation has – its moral values.” Other highlights are below:

It’s been heavily assumed Macron was taking a shot at President Donald Trump for declaring he was a nationalist in Texas last month. Trump also criticized Macron for his “common defense” statement to Europe 1.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham certainly believes Macron was targeting Trump in comments to CBS’ Face the Nation:

No, I think he’s got a political problem at home Macron does and probably picking a fight with Trump is good politics. I like the idea of President Trump pushing NATO to pay more, getting out of the intermediate ballistic missile treaty with Russia made sense to me because Russia’s cheating and the treaty doesn’t cover China and North Korea. I think the main friction is getting out of the Iran deal which I thought was bad for America and really bad for the world. So Republican presidents always have a hard time in Europe. I’m not really worried about this at all.

Graham (and everyone else) may be right in the idea Macron was playing politics with his comments. He and Trump tend to tolerate each other like unfamiliar cats sharing the same space. They’ll get along occasionally then spend other times hissing at each other over one perceived infringement or another.

Yet, it might not be wise to suggest Macron was only targeting Trump. Europe has seen a rise in nationalism over the past decade with the election of Milorad Dodik in Bosnia, the gains by AfD in Germany, and Austria’s current coalition governmernt featuring nationalists in control of several ministries. There’s also Brexit (which I support, for those wondering), France’s National Rally (formerly National Front), and the small gains by Sweden Democrats this year.

There is certainly a danger with nationalism when it comes to increased tensions between bordering nations. One only needs to look at European history to see the heavy toll nationalism has taken on the continent. Napoleon, Hitler, the Soviets, Pax Brittanica, the Spanish Empire, the wars between France and England, and World War I was all due to tensions between one nation and another (and sometimes several nations). The danger of nationalism is it can lead to expansionism via conquest, and then imperialism. Europe has enjoyed a couple decades of peace and Macron is looking to keep said peace – and, unfortunately, the EU’s bureaucratic state – by suggesting Europeans see themselves as equals, instead of defining one country better than the other. His goals may be noble, but it’s doubtful bureaucracy is the way to go to solve the continent’s problems.

The key factor in all of this is checks on governmental power. The United States historically has been able to keep itself from devolving into a cheap imitation of Europe due to its ability to keep the government from becoming too powerful. The last 118 years of American history are a bit more mixed due to our progressive shift (pun intended) into a more centralized state of governmental oversight on all levels.

It’s likely Macron’s comments were a mix of criticism of Trump and the realization Europe could end up repeating its history by devolving into a state of nationalistic conflict after nationalistic conflict. It’s unfortunate his solution is seeing the European Union – with all of its foibles and governmental barriers – stay in existence, instead of a society built on the notion of freedom for all and free markets. European nations see their government as the provider and arbiter of disputes between one party or another. Their desire to keep artificial barriers in place – and the welfare state – is why the EU is currently dealing with the burgeoning push of nationalism in its countries.