Washington hawks are blocking Trump’s desired detente with Russia, but that has opened a path for France’s new President Macron to mediate the New Cold War
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.
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 election.
DB: Give us your analysis of this Russia-gate madness.
DJ: Well, I am not a psychiatrist, but seen from over here in Europe, it’s unbelievable. I just saw Tucker Carlson’s interview with Max Boot on Fox News. This raving maniac on foreign affairs is on the Council of Foreign Relations, when he ought to be undergoing psychiatric treatment.
Of course, the Clinton machine has taken over the Democratic Party and made it into the War Party. What in the world is wrong with people talking to members of another country? The whole idea that it is something traitorous to talk to Russians is completely insane. At every time in history, even when governments were actually at war with each other, they had some sort of contact, just for simple intelligence reasons.
To try to criminalize and ban any contact at a more or less official level with the Russians goes beyond what is diplomatic practice even in war time. I think that the real problem in Washington is that there is a real War Party who welcome a nuclear war with Russia if that is what it takes to prevent them from becoming as strong as we are.
DB: The big story at the G-20 was that Trump spoke to Putin and therefore should be tried for treason, along with his whole family.
DJ: I am sure that the Russians draw the conclusion that we are preparing for war. How else can they take this? We are doing everything to convince the Russians that we want war with them no matter what. Of course, this means they are going to start a military build-up in order to be able to strike back. Putin has consistently made friendly moves to the United States and they are simply dismissed. The only possible explanation is that we are bent on war.
Unfortunately, in 2013, Obama painted himself into a corner with his “red line” rhetoric, requiring that the US strike if it detects any use of chemical weapons in Syria. Of course, since then, it has been well established by very serious investigators, including Seymour Hersh, that this use of chemical weapons was a false flag.
The Russians, instead of insisting that this was a false flag, very tactfully suggested that the answer was to take away all of Syria’s chemical weapons, which actually worked. Now everyone in the NATO machine points to this as a sign of Obama’s weakness in not punishing the perpetrators and forget about this chemical weapons deal that was successful. Instead, the official line is that Obama was too weak and we have to be strong.
DB: Give us your thoughts on the recent G-20 meeting in Hamburg and the people’s response.
DJ: Well, I don’t think that the people’s response was very well thought out. Many don’t realize that the G-20 is, in fact, a step away from Western domination because it includes third-world countries with large populations–Russia, China, Indonesia, and so on. The reaction was just, “This is power and we are against it.” No discrimination about issues. So the demonstration turned out to be much greater than it was for the G-8 or other meetings. All this violence was directed against a meeting which was actually working toward an improved form of international communication.
DB: What do you make of the controversy around the European Union and the role of France?
DJ: The European Union has become completely unbalanced because Germany is now a low-labor-cost export nation, maintaining a large trade imbalance with its partners. The other three candidates for the French presidency were all very critical of the EU and floated the possibility of getting out of the Euro.
Macron was put in by the establishment to save the European Union. It is clear that Macron’s mission is to persuade the Germans to shift the policy to one that will allow other countries to grow economically instead of being strangled, which is what is happening now. I don’t know whether he will succeed at that, but this is one reason why he wants Trump and Putin on his side, to replace Merkel as the dominant figure in the EU.
Source: Consortium News