June 23, 2017
Europe is rethinking its role in Syria, and Macron is able to say things that Merkel can’t directly without causing more tensions within NATOTom Luongo
French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement on June 22 changes the game in Syria.
Until that date France had been the most vocal supporter of U.S. regime change policy in Syria. Now it is its most pragmatic critic.
This signifies a multitude of changes geopolitically.
First, it dovetails with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that the EU should no longer consider the U.S. a reliable partner in foreign affairs. The EU will, indeed, pursue a more independent foreign policy.
But, more importantly, it opens the door wide for a growing rapprochement with Russia that began with Merkel right after her meeting with Donald Trump back in March. We’re seeing the dam break now in Europe to defy U.S. policy in the Middle East and with Russia.
As the narratives erected by the U.S. oligarchy crumble, EU leadership sees the opportunity to jump ship and save their reputation while leaving the U.S. holding the bag.
If reports are true that Iran is ready to provide damning proof that the U.S. is backing ISIS in Syria (which is all but confirmed anyway) then backing away from regime change there is simply good politics.
Merkel knows now the antipathy to Russia which she went along with when the U.S. looked like it was winning is a losing position for both her re-election campaign but also counter to Germany’s best long-term interests.
The Nordstream 2 pipeline will happen. The U.S. Senate’s new sanctions bill went one step too far in overtly setting EU policy. That won’t play well with German voters.
Second, and more importantly, in my read of events, this signals a fundamental shift in EU immigration policy. Her virtue signaling on human rights is ringing hollow when Putin’s Russia is not assailed daily by violence perpetrated by immigrants while Germany, France and the U.K. are.
By admitting that a failed Syrian state is no longer a desired outcome, Macron is saying, “No more,” to the planned chaos by the U.S. oligarchy. The EU will no longer support policy that increases the flow of refugees into its territory.
And the timing on this is key. The turmoil on the Arabian Peninsula now threatens to widen across the Persian Gulf into Iran. With Mohammed bin Salman in charge of Saudi policy completely and his unhinged view of Iran informing it, the likelihood of a wider, open conflict just increased drastically.
And since France’s oil and gas major, Total, is about to sign a major oil E&P deal with Iran, a wider conflict which threatens that is a non-starter.
A swift end to the Syrian war becomes publicly desirable for the EU, since the gains made by the Syrian Arab Army this week all but guarantee it in reality.
The question is whether this is all just a negotiating tactic to get Putin to give up Syria’s territorial integrity in return for sanctions relief. The EU makes nice noises about normalizing relations in exchange for a swift end to hostilities which allows the U.S. to consolidate gains east of the Euphrates River.
You’ll know that to be true if Merkel and/or Macron begin talking about Kurdish independence.
Either way, Macron’s job here is to say the things that Merkel can’t directly without causing more tensions within NATO.