While the Iranian Foreign Minister’s surprise visit had a small effect, did Emmanuel Macron take control of this international issue?
On Sunday, the G7 received a surprise guest: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. A geopolitical poker shot by Emmanuel Macron, while the Iranian file was one of the most burnings of the G7 (with the Amazon rainforest, which really burns). While the United States and the Islamic Republic refused any dialogue, Donald Trump said he had accepted this surprise arrival. Emmanuel Macron dreamed of being the master of clocks, has he become the master of world geopolitics?
Without going that far, Benjamin Morel, Doctor of Political Science at ENS, notes that Emmanuel Macron demonstrates in this G7 “a real capacity for initiative and independence of France on international issues, marking an ability that we had not seen since Jacques Chirac. In short, the return of a “Gaullo-Mitterrandian policy” as he calls it where France plays a balancing role between the powerful. An international arbitration that he had already tried inviting Vladimir Putin a few days of the G7, while Russia has been excluded since the annexation of Crimea.
- Solitary yes, but beneficial?
A solitary initiative took away from the beginning of his five-year period very focused on Europe, Germany and the partners of the continent, what Benjamin Morel notes: “At the time, he was advancing internationally still with a flag European. There is a real change in his diplomacy with clear and isolated positions, such as the decision to question the EU-Mercosur issue. ”
A solitary initiative, okay, but beneficial to get out of the crisis? “The Iran-US crisis has long been in need of international arbitration, as long as it is deadlocked. France can enjoy a good image of a country relatively independent of the United States, “argues Thierry Coville, a researcher at IRIS specialized Iran, even regretting that Emmanuel Macron did not take the case earlier. Beyond its independence, France “has good relations with Iran, conducive to a framework of negotiations. ”
- Failure anyway
Despite all this goodwill and initiative, the goal of renewing ties between Iran and the US has not really been achieved, Donald Trump gently pushing the offer. It is therefore difficult to say that Emmanuel Macron has taken control of this issue where there are no real major advances, as the two experts note. “We can not say that Emmanuel Macron is the referee of this file, or even that he has made it progress,” says Thierry Coville.
From there to see only a clever communication, there is only one step that Benjamin Morel refuses to cross: “It’s a com ‘but we can not summarize it to that . This is a blow that should be attempted and played, it may not have the expected consequences. But it could have worked. Even clemency in his colleague: “There have been real mediation efforts that have been made. Where a Shinzo Abe had totally failed, for example, Emmanuel Macron did a lot of work upstream for Iran. ”
- A failure not attributable to Emmanuel Macron
How to explain this failure then? Benjamin Morel wants to be realistic: “In an ideal world, the arbitration of France would be the missing link to the US-Iran crisis. But the arbitration Donald Trump-Iran depends only on them: It is quite unlikely that American diplomacy will bend to French diplomacy, and Donald Trump, without wanting an open war, has no interest in a settlement. short-term conflict. ”
Is there a risk then that Emmanuel Macron is blamed for this failure after taking the initiative? This will depend on the sensitivity of each: “This type of unilateral decision can indeed displease these European partners, while the exchanges are already tense. Donald Trump is rather fond of this type of action a little punch. It can also be profitable instead of France in the world. In France this can only benefit Emmanuel Macron: when you show that you are able to make decisions, to force the international calendar, you stand out in the image of a politician embodying independence and national greatness. This has benefited De Gaulle, Mitterrand, Chirac, and what has been criticized in particular Holland for example.