Macron’s Priorities for Trump Meeting, Tillerson’s Disastrous Tenure at State

Emmanuel Macron is unlikely to convince his American counterpart to stay in the Iran nuclear deal or return to the Paris climate accord.

Presidents Emmanuel Macron of France and Donald Trump of the United States speak in Paris, July 14, 2017
Presidents Emmanuel Macron of France and Donald Trump of the United States speak in Paris, July 14, 2017 (DoD/Dominique Pineiro)

Emmanuel Macron is due to meet his American counterpart, Donald Trump, in Washington DC next week. Erik Brattberg and Philippe Le Corre write in The National Interest that he will have four priorities:

  1. Staking out a common stance on Syria.
  2. Preserving European exemptions from Trump’s tariffs by pushing for a transatlantic trade agreement.
  3. Convincing Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.
  4. Changing Trump’s mind on climate change.

#1 seems doable. #2, who knows? Signs for #3 are ominous. White House officials have been leaking to reporters that, this time, Trump is serious about blowing up the nuclear agreement. #4 seems impossible.

Dumping Trump won’t save Republicans

Conor Friedersdorf is skeptical that Trump has fully taken over the Republican Party, arguing in The Atlantic that Republicans will dump him as soon as they start to lose more than gain from supporting him.

The bad news: Dumping Trump won’t get rid of the pathologies that made his rise possible.

Right-wing populism has for years been driven less by ideological consistency than anti-leftist resentment: from Newt Gingrich’s conservative revolution in the 1990s to Iraq War boosterism under George W. Bush to the Tea Party under Barack Obama to white nationalism under Donald Trump.

Republicans will remain vulnerable to takeover by charismatic hucksters without a substantively constructive policy agenda, an ability to successfully govern or a vision for a coalition that transcends ressentiment. And the populist entertainers will keep getting filthy rich in the process.

Tillerson’s disastrous tenure at State

The New Yorker has a damning account of Rex Tillerson’s tenure at the State Department.

From making almost no attempt to get to know his foreign counterparts to going home early on the day the United States bombed Syria while NATO allies were phoning in to get more information to not fighting budget cuts but spending his time feuding with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, it’s clear Tillerson was — let’s not be beastly on the man — a bad fit for the job.

Weekend reading

  • From alleged Russian interference to warnings about damage to the economy, José Antich refutes eight lies about the Catalan independence movement in El Nacional.
  • Sarah Treul and Rachel Porter write about America’s misguided infatuation with political dilettantes in Vox.
  • Amy Wax and Larry Alexander believe the breakdown of “bourgeois culture” underpins many of America’s social problems. The solution is for the upperclass, which still lives by those values, to preach what they practice.
  • The New York Times reports on the lethal consequences false rumors spread on Facebook can have in Third World countries.
  • In the same newspaper, Amy Chozick reflects on how she became a “de facto instrument of Russian intelligence” by publishing Hillary Clinton emails and speeches Russia released through WikiLeaks.
  • The Economist reports that the suburb is making a comeback as high prices drive Americans out of the cities.