Macron visit to U.S. stresses ties, but strains remain

STORY: "President Macron, it is my pleasure, my great pleasure, to welcome you to Washington, D.C., and to NASA headquarters."

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday met with U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris and laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, all part of his high-profile trip to U.S as the first foreign leader feted with an official state visit by President Joe Biden.

It's an event aimed at recognizing France's status as America's oldest ally, with Biden Administration officials stressing America's unwavering support for its partners around the globe, and the importance of alliances in confronting global challenges.

Here's National Security Adviser John Kirby:

"If you look at what's going on in Ukraine. Look at what's going on in the Indo-Pacific and the tensions with China. France is really at the center of all those things."

The visit also highlights the unique way that Macron has raised France's profile on the world stage, and particularly in the United States. Since he swept to power in 2017, Macron has launched a flurry of international initiatives that have made him one of the most active global leaders.

From Beirut to Bangkok, and from the Kremlin to the White House, he has sought to place himself at the center of every crisis, with a flair for seizing the moment, which he tried to do with the vice-president at NASA:

"We do share this history. We have the same commitment and attachment to science and progress. But we do share the same democratic values."

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"Right now, in 2022, the French American relation is good."

Nicole Bacharan is a French historian. She says the American and French leaders have far more tying them together than pulling them apart, especially compared with Biden's predecessor.

"Everybody remembers that Emmanuel Macron tried to soften somehow Donald Trump, and but it didn't work out. The Biden White House is a friendly White House towards Europe, I mean, Biden is an old internationalist, and Emmanuel Macron, who is such a European leader, as such, there is a good basis to understand each other."

Despite that understanding, Washington and Paris do not see everything eye-to-eye. Macron has advocated a less confrontational approach to Beijing than Biden, and the leaders may disagree about the desired endgame in Ukraine.