April 25, 2018
Macron's pitch to Trump
Is Emmanuel Macron to Donald Trump what Tony Blair was to George Bush? Or is this the beginning of a beautiful Franco-American friendship? On his carefully choreographed visit Macron courted Trump with a lot of flattery. As nonted by the FT, this would be a long-term investment that would make Macron the first man Trump would call in Europe. The two men marked their special relationship with a lot of hugging, handshaking, cheek kissing, and squeezing. But this special relationship took a bold turn when Donald Trump brushed off what he said was a speck dandruff from Macron's blazer: "We have to make him perfect - he is perfect!" the message was clear: Trump is the boss, Macron the apprentice. Sometimes images say more than thousand words.
Macron pitched a new deal to convince the US not to walk away from the joint comprehensive plan of action (JPCOA) with Iran, a deal which eases sanctions on the country in return for its agreement not to develop nuclear weapons. Trump called it a bad and insane deal at their joint press conference, while Macron said it was just not good enough. He proposed to complement the JCPOA with another deal. Macron argued that while the JCPOA restricts Iran’s major nuclear activities only until 2025, a new deal would go further, by imposing a permanent check on those activities while also limiting the country’s development of ballistic missiles and restricting its military operations across the region, particularly in Syria. Both men seem to have agreed on the need of a broader agreement for the region, according to Al Jazeera. But the French have no illusions and were cautious not to talk up expectations. Will personal chemistry between the two men and this new proposal be enough to keep Trump engaged in Iran? We will see. Trump's decision on the JCPOA will be known by May 12, when he has to decide whether or not to renew sanctions relief for Iran. Under US law, the president is required to renew the waiver on sanctions every 120 days. Trump last issued a waiver in January.