Trump & Macron Consult on Syria Cease Fire in Shadow of Don Jr. Scandal

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

French President Emmanuel Macron and his American counterpart Donald J. Trump consulted on a number of bilateral issues on Wednesday, including cooperation in Syria and Iraq.

Trump says he was in France to attend Bastille Day and commemorate the centenary of the entry of the US into WW I. It seems fairly obvious, though, that while his Paris trip was not planned to get out of town during the controversy of Don Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer represented as having dirt on Hillary Clinton, at the least it came as a welcome escape from the Washington feeding frenzy.

Macron said that they had agreed to work toward another cease fire in Syria.

Trump maintained that the agreement reached with the Russian Federation and the Syrian government on deconfliction zones in Syria had “saved a lot of lives.”

Likewise, Macron made it clear that he no longer insists on the resignation of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as a precondition for participating in peace talks regarding Syria. His position is that terrorism is a greater threat than is al-Assad, a stance similar to that of Trump himself.

Macron also underlined the military cooperation of France and the US in operations against ISIL in eastern Syria. Paris was hit by ISIL in November, 2015, and France is determined to destroy the last vestiges of the terrorist ‘caliphate.’ Macron, a national security hawk, wants to enshrine state of emergency measures like warrantless house searches and banning of demonstrations in law. There were things he could agree on with Trump.

Macron said he respected the wish of the American people as it manifested itself in the election of Trump, to pull out of the Paris climate

Trump for his part seemed to waver, some seven weeks after his decision to pull out, saying that some piece of news on all that could be forthcoming.

Philippe Bernard writes in Le Monde about the irony that Trump’s July trip to Europe should have been to France rather than to the UK. Prime Minister Theresa May is probably closer to Trump ideologically, and she needs him more. With Britain pulling out of the European Union it needs a free trade treaty with the US if it is going to avoid economic isolation, he says. But the threat of mass street demonstrations, the negative comments of prominent parliamentarians and Trump’s attacks on London mayor Sadiq Khan all come together to convince Trump to postpone any visit until 2018.

Macron appears to have been able to tempt Trump over to Paris in part by the prospect of Bastille Day military parades. Trump likes spectacle of that sort.

The meeting in Paris was overshadowed by the Donald J. Trump, Jr. email scandal, given the smell of collusion that was exuded by the emails he released.

The blue lobster on which they dined at the end of the day in the Jules Verne restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower probably exhibited more substance than did the consultations with a distracted and flighty Trump, who told Madame Macron she looked in great shape (for an older woman?)

If Trump and Macron did decide anything about Syria, the problem is that Trump is unlikely to remember it or stand by it even into next week.

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Related video:

ABC News: “President Donald Trump, French Pres. Emmanuel Macron full remarks in Paris”

7 Responses

  1. Although unalike in uncountable ways, Macron and Trump are closer politically, that is in relation to democracy, than many might imagine. They both belong to the club of world leaders who believe the right to vote alone defines democracy, whereas, of course, voting is useless without an assiduous press, forceful opposition, the right to demonstrate, negotiate, strike etc. Just look at Turkey with Erdogan. The Macron/Trump similarity lies in the capacity of both of them to sacrifice liberal principles in favour of the interests very small, mainly financial and commercial, minorities and that’s the killer.

    • You’re kidding. Trump believes in the right to vote? He’s just assembled an all-star cast of racist vote suppressors as a star chamber to “prove” that millions of fake voters put Clinton ahead of him in the vote totals. But he only made that claim after the election in the context of his under-reported smears of minority urban populations during the campaign, telling White suburban Republican audiences that nearby cities were full of these fake voters. This is a dog-whistle that minorities aren’t real Americans and shouldn’t be able to have their votes count so damn much. Maybe three-fifths would be comfortable to him.

      Said star chamber is now trying to obtain private voter information from every state in the union. I’m sure their intentions are trustworthy.

  2. Your last line in the above essay is 100% on the money. Trump is obviously a complete basket case who lacks a moral compass, is dangerously ignorant and who appears to be suffering from early onset of dementia.

    • Nope, Trump is just another typical over-indulged spoiled rich •••hole. A dime a dozen racist country club white trash punk who inherited and got lucky.

  3. “terrorism is a greater threat than is al-Assad”
    How is Assad a threat to France or US? Is his aircraft carriers sashay up and down French coast or is he pumping arm and training and guidance to French far right radicals? Trump Saves lives in Paris masquerade. Putin use meetings, media and leaks to control the world and congress are sanctions mad and up to their eyebrow in lobbyist feed bag .we are ignoring the elephant in the room.

  4. I think that there is some peril in forming definite conclusions about the recent meeting between T. (for “Tweetybird”) Rump of the U.S. and Macron of France. While we are suffering from heavy overdoses of knowledge about Rump, we don’t know nearly enough about Macron, especially what was in it for him when he invited Rump over for lobster in the Eiffel Tower. Was Ms Marine Le Pen, the woman whom Macron had ungallantly pushed aside by winning his post, still very much on his mind? I think we can say, without fear of contradiction, that she was very much Rump’s preference for winning that job, and that he would have greatly enjoyed being entertained in the Tower by her instead, so much so that he could have long since readied his lines to deliver about her state of preservation, and that, seeing no point in wasting them, he dropped instead on Macron’s wife.

    Ms Le Pen, her father, and the odious political party that they co-own have been entrenched on the French scene for quite a long time, and they are not likely to vanish any time soon, and so in that sense the French are doomed, just as Americans are in a similar fix when it comes to the even worse Republicon party. So was Macron’s invite to the lobster fest a highly subtle, conciliatory attempt to keep the right-hand seam in the French uniform from opening any farther? Or was he trying to parlay that excessively tight handshake in which he had earlier taken part with Rump, with the intention of latching on to a bigger playground bully for use against the likes of Merkel and the Scandinavian EU leaders, who have quickly and accurately written off Rump as being an ignoramus who is best avoided and left on the sidelines of the real business at hand?

    Because they are based on human nature as I have come to know it — more than is possible to know about Mr. Macron so far — I see both incentives as having run through his mind, simplistic though these conjectures might be.

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