Washington, April 26 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron in a thinly veiled attack on his US counterpart Donald Trump’s “America First agenda” denounced “extreme nationalism” and “isolationism” and said that he believes that Washington will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal “for domestic reasons”.
A day after showcasing his “bromance” with the US leader, Macron, while addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, raised differences with Washington’s policies on global trade, Iran and the environment. He urged the US to engage more with the world, step up the fight against climate change and stay in the Iran nuclear pact for now.
Macron said isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism “can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears. But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse but inflame the fears of our citizens”, the Washington Post reported.
He added: “We will not let the rampaging work of extreme nationalism shake a world full of hopes for greater prosperity. The US had invented multilateralism and now needed to reinvent it.”
Talking about the Iran deal, Macron said: “My view is… that he will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons.” Trump has until May 12 to decide on the deal, which aimed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
The US leader has long criticised the agreement as being too soft on Iran. He earlier said he will refuse to sign the next round of waivers unless the agreement was amended to take a tougher stance, CNN reported.
Macron’s remarks appeared to be a concession that he may have failed to convince Trump to stay party to the agreement during his three-day visit to Washington. The French leader said he believed there was “a big risk” Trump would leave.
He reaffirmed France’s commitment to the Iran accord, saying that both his country and the US had signed it along with China, Russia, Britain and Germany, plus the EU. “That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it like that”.
In reference to Trump having pulled out the US from the Paris climate change agreement, Macron said changes in the US stance on several world issues might work in the short term but were “very insane in the medium to long term”.
He said the Trump administration was ignoring scientific consensus on global warming but he remained optimistic that “one day the US will come back and join the Paris agreement”, which requires countries to limit the global rise in temperature attributed to emissions.
He cast a sceptical eye at Trump’s efforts to slap tariffs on imports from allies and undermine existing free-trade deals. To Macron, this bid to boost American manufacturing jobs at home was “counterproductive and shortsighted”.
The French President was given a three-minute standing ovation in the chamber. He hailed the “unbreakable bonds” of the US and France, forged in “liberty, tolerance and equal rights”.