Forget the 'Gay Chechens', Macron Seeks Russia Reset

But what is he willing to offer to have it?

Got it. Macron wants to aid gay Chechens, might bomb Assad and really, really dislikes RT and Sputnik. The media was sure to drill this in our heads. 

What it was less inclined to do was tell us why Macron invited Putin to Versailles. Was there actual content to the meeting, or did Macron invite the President of Russia merely to talk about gay Chechens?

Luckily the financial reporter Kenneth Rapoza asked the same question, and reached an answer: Macron had Putin over because he seeks a Russia reset. Particularly because support for Russia sanctions is waning, and because France wants to do business in Iran:

Macron needs Putin more than he needs Donald Trump. These two are more likely to get along, at least behind closed doors, and here is why.

First, many in France are souring on sanctions, now in their third year. In April, France's lower house of parliament considered a resolution against sanctions renewal. European sanctions expire this summer. Some 577 deputies supported the resolution, with around 50 in favor of renewing them. It is not binding, but it tells us where the wind is blowing.

Second, and more importantly, is this little deal here: Total signs agreement to develop giant South Pars gas field...in Iran.

French oil giant Total SA is one of the biggest European players in Iranian hydrocarbons. Russia is Iran's best friend. Sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine imbroglio ultimately killed the South Stream pipeline. The South Stream pipeline was Russian Gazprom's way to deliver natural gas into southern Europe. French energy company EDF was part of that deal. It's dead.

Iran is an important part of France's energy security. Total has a lot of money there. France and Total cannot trust the Americans on Iran, but they can trust the Russians.

The Russians would like some diplomatic assurances. Most of these may come in the way of some form of settlement in Syria regarding Assad. Ukraine is not high on Europe's to-do list. Moreover, adherence to the Minsk Accord is as dependent on the political will of Kiev as it is on Moscow.

Some in the market believe there will be a French-Russia detente. No one in the mainstream political press will write about it because Macron leaning to Russia is akin to Trump leaning to Russia and that just opens up a whole can of worms.

The Financial Times discreetly nails it: Macron and Putin Seek Reset.

President Emmanuel Macron opened up the Palace of Versailles for Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Monday in an attempt to reboot France’s troubled relations with Moscow after tensions over Ukraine, Syria and suspected Russian meddling in France’s presidential election....Mr. Macron is now keen to reset the relationship with Moscow aides say. “There have been missed opportunities with Russia in the recent past, on Syria notably. The idea is to keep Russia close to Europe,” an adviser to Mr Macron said before the meeting."

Macron seeks a Russia reset. That is nice, but what are the concessions he is willing to offer to have it?

All too often Western capitals assume Russia should consider itself lucky they even want to talk to her, and grab any deal offered.

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