Macron’s Maneuvers on the New Cold War

Official Washington’s hawks are blocking President Trump’s desired detente with Russia, but that has opened a path for France’s new President Macron to mediate the New Cold War, Diana Johnstone tells Dennis J Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein

French President Emmanuel Macron has positioned himself as a possible go-between in facilitating a reduction of tensions between the U.S. and Russia, a move that makes sense for France but may anger Official Washington’s hawks who want to escalate the New Cold War.

I interviewed Paris-based journalist and historian Diana Johnstone about Trump’s recent visit to Paris. Johnstone is the author of From Mad to Madness: Inside the Pentagon’s Nuclear War Planning Machine, recounting the experiences of her father, Paul Johnstone, as a senior analyst in the Pentagon’s Strategic Weapons Evaluation Group and a co-author of the Pentagon Papers. I spoke to her by telephone in France on July 19.

Dennis Bernstein: Diana, please give us your response to the recent Trump visit to Paris to meet with Emmanuel Macron.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron

Diana Johnstone: Well, first of all, it is clear that Emmanuel Macron has seen an advantage in being the only friend of the friendless Trump. It is clear that this can strengthen Macron’s hand in dealing with Germany, the main part of his mandate being to influence Germany in changing EU policy.

Also, Macron is in a position to be an intermediary in this rapprochement between Trump and Putin, which of course the War Party in Washington is doing everything to obstruct. So Macron has situated himself in an interesting position.

I think that any of the contenders in the recent French election would have followed the same path. It was absolutely in the cards for France to change its foreign policy. The intellectuals in the government — the diplomats and so on — realize that this Syria policy isn’t working and, at the same time, that sanctions against Russia are very harmful to the French and European economies, while they benefit the US. So what Macron is doing is just what the intellectual community was going to do, regardless of which candidate won the…

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