Robert Harneis –TDO- (FRANCE) - On his first day as US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, adopted the now standard US diplomatic bully mode. He tweeted “US Sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”. That this was no accidental gaffe by an inexperienced new appointee was confirmed by a reply to a journalist by a State department official who when asked about the unintended damaging consequences of sanctions on US European allies replied “they are not unintended”. President Trump also tweeted his thanks to US diplomats across the world for putting across the latest US sanctions moves.
A top German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger replied : “Ric: my advice, after a long ambassadorial career: explain your own country’s policies, and lobby the host country - but never tell the host country what to do, if you want to stay out of trouble. Germans are eager to listen, but they will resent instructions.”
BDI a German industrial group commented “German industry criticizes the extraterritorial application of sanctions, as envisaged by the United States”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel herself stated that “It’s no longer the case that the United States will simply just protect us,” in a speech honoring President Macron, who came to Aachen to receive the prestigious Charlemagne Prize. Receiving a round of applause, Merkel stated: “Rather, Europe needs to take its fate into its own hands. That’s the task for the future.
Macron himself tweeted that, while France, Germany, and the U.K. regret Trump's decision, they are ready to "work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle-East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq." This is much closer to the US party line than Merkel appears willing to go. Macron did not hesitate to call on Iran to refrain from all “military provocation” after Israel alleged Iranian forces had fired rockets from Syria at Israeli army bases in the Golan Heights.
Last year, Merkel had made a similar statement, urging Europe to become less dependent on its transatlantic ally. “The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days,” she said after attending the G7 summit in Italy.
The willingness of France to follow Trump’s lead, whilst claiming a leadership role in the EU, does not bode well for the survival of the Iran nuclear agreement that President Trump is doing his best to wreck.