With Germany counting the votes on a state election that sees a predictable rise in the right-wing, Alternative for Germany, and Italy struggling to vote in a government that would replace the Five Star’s right-wing partner with a social-democratic one, notwithstanding continued Yellow Vest demonstrations, as host of the recent G7, France’s young ambitious president Emanuel Macron began to dismantle the American hold on Europe — and beyond.
The presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one of several guests at the G7 shows off Macron’s ‘Jupiterian’ diplomacy. India is the largest populist country on the planet, and Modi’s recent move to take back the limited sovereignty granted to Muslim Kashmir at independence was clearly dictated by Hindutva, an ideology that promotes Hindu hegemony. But instead of lumping Modi together with Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen, the right wing trio that believes it can prevent Europe from becoming brown and Muslim, the French President used behavioral psychology, which emphasizes approval for good behavior rather than punishments for bad, to advance his climate agenda, encouraging sun-rich India to pursue alternative forms of energy.
With Europe desperate to get around American-imposed sanctions against Iran, Macron’s major coup was to invite that country’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, to drop in at the G7. His plan would reportedly involve the US lifting its oil embargo on Iran in exchange for Iran immediately returning to compliance with the 2015 deal, then coming to the negotiating table. While the contents of Zarif’s three plus hours of talks with European officials were not divulged, a French diplomat told Reuters that they were “positive and will continue,” while Zarif echoed this by tweeting ”the road ahead is difficult, but worth trying.”
Regarding the re-admission of Russia, we can assume that during his informal meeting with Putin the day before the conference, Macron relayed his colleagues’ determination that progress be made on the Minsk Accords concerning Ukraine. (The Polish diplomat Donald Tusk, who is President of the European Council, declared that the EU would not under any circumstances welcome Vladimir Putin back into the G7, reflecting centuries of difficult relations between the two Slavic neighbors, including the recent decision not to invite Russia to its celebration of the end of World War II.)
While Macron did not take advantage of his position as host of the G7 to invite Putin to attend, Donald Trump announced that as next year’s host, he will do so. Whether he will still be the US president at that time is another matter, however American pundits were quick to accuse the president of potentially violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution — this time for real, unlike the tortuous reasonings over the 2016 election. Even more ridiculously, the Brookings Institute, which is to think tanks what the New York Times is to the media, lost all sense of proportion:
“The choice to invite Mr. Putin to Florida a mere weeks before Americans go to the polls to select a president is politically baffling. The FBI has stated that in 2016 Russia during the presidential campaign. And given the continued importance of Florida in presidential elections, you can bet that the Russians will try to hack into Florida’s election systems again next year.
“President Trump’s suggested invitation to Putin for next year’s G7 is not simply an opportunity for the Russian dictator to discuss world economic policy. That invitation will give him a front-row seat to see his attack on America and its democracy. He will enjoy a luxury resort experience just down the street from county offices that Russians are actively attacking.
While America has been attacked many times, by traditional means and via technology, American presidents have never allowed the masterminds of those attacks the benefit of viewing their dirty work from American soil.”
Out of curiosity, I searched for Brookings articles on the President’s treatment of immigrant children — or the climate crisis, finding neither. But Americans are hoping that in the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation, the American President may see the need to combat climate change.
Deena Stryker is a US-born international expert, author and journalist that lived in Eastern and Western Europe and has been writing about the big picture for 50 years. Over the years she penned a number of books, including Russia’s Americans. Her essays can also be found at Otherjones. Especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.