Macron’s G7 stunt


PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron seems to have tried to play a flanker at the G7 meeting in the French resort of Biarritz. To the considerable surprise of President Trump and his US colleagues, Macron invited Iran foreign minister Javad Zarif to a meeting held on the fringe of the summit. Zarif used Twitter, Trump’s medium of choice, to gloat that he had had “constructive” talks with Macron.

The French leader has been spear-heading efforts to frustrate Washington’s reimposition of tough economic sanctions of the regime in Tehran. At first sight, whether wisely or not, his invitation to Zarif to come to Biarritz for one-to-one talks might have seemed reasonable. But in reality, it was more like a stunt, because Macron had already met the Iranian minister in Paris on Friday, on the eve of the G7 gathering. They had almost certainly said to each other all that that they needed.

The feisty little French president was very obviously trying to make a point and set himself up as a mediator between Washington and the ayatollahs. It has not yet been made clear if members of the Iranian delegation had private meetings with any other attendees at Biarritz. Macron may have been hoping that Trump would allow some secret contact between his people and the Iranians. This of itself need not have been a bad thing. Tehran needs to understand that it is up against an American President who is insisting that it abandon it nuclear weapons program and quit its aggressive activities among its Arab neighbors in the Gulf and the wider Middle East. But Zarif and his masters in Tehran are perfectly well aware that they are no longer dealing with a political pussycat in the shape of Barack Obama. They simply seized the opportunity to fly into Biarritz in an Iranian government aircraft to annoy the Americans. And Macron is not such a naïve politician that he failed to be aware of the impact of this unscheduled Iranian appearance.

The visit served a double purpose. It demonstrated the contempt in which some EU states, not least France and Germany, hold the boorish and unsubtle US president. Despite the rising electoral pushback throughout Europe against the liberal elite who have dominated EU politics with their globalist agenda and disregard for voters concerns, Macron wanted to make the point that Europe has not about to follow Washington slavishly. This of course is to overlook the immense cost the United States shoulders in the defense of Europe, most of whose NATO members, including France and Germany, consistently fail to honor their two percent of GDP spend on their own armed forces.

And of course Macron’s second purpose was to butter up the Iranians, in the hope that, as and when sanctions are lifted, French companies will be able to clean in deals awarded by a grateful regime. This may however be a miscalculation. There is no guarantee that the economically illiterate and intrinsically corrupt ayatollahs and the vicious thugs of the Revolutionary Guard who protect them will be around for much longer. Ordinary Iranians are fed up to the teeth with lousy living standards while the regime squanders billions on foreign adventures which bring no benefit to the country but simply allow the leadership to posture on the world stage.