Politics

Macron Unlikely to Get Much from Trump on Iran, Expert Says

Author of new book on globalism says president probably will push deadline for deciding future of nuke deal, but the bar is high

Despite a budding relationship with President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron likely will not get very far in his push to keep the United States committed to the Iran nuclear deal, according to the author of a new book on globalism.

Ian Bremmer, founder of a political risk research and consulting firm called Eurasia Group, said Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that it is no secret that Macron favors the status quo on Iran. He said Trump might be willing to give — but only a little.

Bremmer, author of “Us vs. Them — The Failure of Globalism,” said there is a “reasonable chance” that Trump will agree to delay a May 12 deadline on deciding whether to reimpose sanctions against the Iranian regime.

“The place where there’s the biggest tension is on the Iran deal, and I think that Macron actually moved the ball a little bit,” he said. “He definitely wants to find a way to get some more time. He’s not gonna be able to convince Trump to stick with the deal in May.”

Bremmer said the price for going beyond a short-term delay will be a better deal on Iran’s ballistic missiles or terrorism sponsorship — two issues left unaddressed by the deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama to freeze Iran’s nuclear program.

“It’s not gonna be a long time, and the bar’s gonna be high,” he said, adding that in his view the departure of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster removes a pair of strong supporters of the pact.

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Trump long has railed against the deal, which returned billions of dollars in frozen assets to the Iranian regime in exchange for a promise to halt development of a nuclear weapon. Critics contend that it is impossible to verify that Iran is living up to the bargain and that the country has the option of restarting the program when the agreement expires.

While Iran might be the greatest flash point between Trump and Macron, Bremmer said, there are many other areas of disagreement.

“Talk about us vs them, and you brought up the odd couple,” he said. “Macron is like the one globalist remaining. He won on the back of open borders, free trade, stronger Europe, multilateralism.”

Trump’s unconventional foreign policy approach is working, Bremmer said. He pointed to North Korea, which has halted missile tests and agreed to talks after years of failures by previous administrations to achieve meaningful progress.

“He was willing to take a roll of the dice,” he said. “He was much more risk-accepting … Trump gets credit for that — 100 percent, he does.”

Related: Trump Rebukes Reporter Over ‘Stupid Question,’ Macron Chuckles

Bremmer said Trump has a feel for the growing discontent — on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean — toward the current system. Europeans across the continent to recoiling from ever-increasing powers by the European Union and yearning for their own nations, he said.

It’s the same sentiment that leads Americans to question why the United States has more than 2,000 soldiers deployed to Syria, Bremmer added.

“Trump is saying, ‘Well, what about these 2,000 people, like, you know, members of the working class?'” he said. “Those enlisted men and women, and their families. They voted for Trump, and they did not vote for Hillary [Clinton] and Jeb [Bush]. There’s a reason for that. Decades of failed wars … and they’re sick of it.”

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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