French President Emmanuel Macron (R) looks on as Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at an event at the Victoria and Albert museum in central London, on January 18, 2018. / AFP / Adrian DENNIS
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Shortly after coming to power last year, Emmanuel Macron mused to a friend about the role of president.Overnight, French and British aircraft took part in a wave of strikes against Bashar Assad's Syrian regime in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks.In the same month, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at his side, Macron said that further use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a "red line" that would trigger a response.Having said Thursday that he had "proof" that Assad was responsible -- which is denied by the regime -- analysts saw Macron as having no choice but to go ahead with strikes.Many French officials still bristle as they recall how former U.S. president Barack Obama had set a red line too over the use of chemical weapons, only to pull back at the last minute in 2013 .But in carrying through with his threat, Macron will be testing how far he can go against an intransigent Russia, which has denounced the strikes against Syria as a violation of the U.N. charter.
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