Former French Spox:

Trump Administration Example of Isolationism, Unilateralism

Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 10:57

Former French Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Marc Finaud believes that Trump cannot make a new deal with Iran with unilateral policies.

While US President Donald Trump is naively following an illogical agenda of one-way pressures to win a deal with Iran, many international analysts believe that he would reap nothing but despair if Washington ignores the rule that you need to make concessions on both sides to make a deal.

Marc Finaud, who headed the Information Department of the French Foreign Ministry between 1993 and 1998 when he acted as the alternate spokesman for the diplomatic apparatus, said, in an interview with Yasser Nazifi Gilavan published by Jame Jam Daily, that Trump administration is a follow-up to several other American administrations which moved against multilateralism and globalization.

Finaud, who is now a staff member of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), believes that scrapping the nuclear deal of 2015 between Iran, 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and Germany, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will have dire security consequences for the whole region and Europe.

He joined the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1977, first at the Military Cooperation Division. In 1977-1978, he was Vice-Consul at the French Consulate-General in Leningrad (USSR). Back in Paris, he worked at the Directorate for Europe (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe -CSCE-) from 1979 to 1982. He was a member of the French Delegation to the CSCE Meeting in Madrid (1980-1982). In 1982-1983 he served as Chief of Staff of the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before being appointed First Secretary at the French Embassy in Warsaw. In 1987-1988, he was the Secretary-General of the French Delegation to the CSCE Meeting in Vienna.

In 1989-1993 he served as Second Counselor at the French Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and a member of the French Delegation to the First Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. In 1995-1996, he was a lecturer on arms control and disarmament for a post-graduate course at the Marne-la-Vallée University. He was transferred to Sydney as Consul-General for France in January, 2001, with jurisdiction over the whole of Australia.

In addition, from August 2013 to May 2015, Marc Finaud was Senior Resident Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

Following is the full text of his recent interview:

Question: You have stressed on the importance of multilateralism in the current age in a piece that you have contributed to "Multilateralism And Transnational Security" where the focus is on the globalised world of today with complex and transnational threats. The outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe further illustrated the significance of multilateral efforts for tackling global problems. But many analysts believe that US President Donald Trump is moving in an opposite direction. What do you think will be the prospect of unilateralism if Trump wins reelection in November?

Answer: The Trump administration is indeed an example of isolationism and unilateralism that has characterized several previous administrations. Think of the refusal of the United States to become a member of the League of Nations that contributed to the incapacity of that organization to prevent World War II, or George W. Bush’s response to 9/11 and its invasion of Iraq, or the lack of support by the United States of many key multilateral treaties (Geneva Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, several UN Human Rights treaties, Conventions on the Rights of the Child or the Law of the Sea, International Criminal Court, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, etc.). In a globalized world, we now have strong evidence that it is impossible for one country alone, be it the most powerful, to address global threats and challenges effectively, whether it is terrorism, climate change, epidemics and pandemics, etc. Unfortunately, Trump’s electorate and supporting lobbies only have a national or ideological agenda which makes foreign policy largely irrelevant. If Trump succeeds in being re-elected, no doubt he will continue the same policy, although experience has shown that even conservative presidents, in their second terms, can afford to be more active in foreign policy (Reagan promoted nuclear disarmament, and George W. Bush accepted to join the negotiations with Iran, both in their second terms).

Question: Since Trump's inauguration in 2017, Washington has withdrawn from 3 international agreements on arms control. Are these moves part of the US' overall bipartisan policy? Will the US change direction if Joe Biden wins the race in November?

Answer: These withdrawals did not meet much support from the Democrats but were also criticized by some Republicans because two agreements (the INF Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty) were concluded by Republican presidents (Reagan and Bush Sr.) while the others (the JCPOA and the Arms Trade Treaty) are legacies of the Obama administration. Joe Biden has already stated that he would re-join the JCPOA. For the other treaties, it will depend on potential support in the Senate and negotiations with Russia for the bilateral agreements.

Question: Efforts to salvage the nuclear deal of 2015 have not succeeded so far while the future of the agreement looks so gloomy at the current stage of events. Many believe that Trump’s reelection would expedite the death of the JCPOA. What will be the security consequences for Europe, if the JCPOA of 2015 come to an end?

Answer: Trump’s objective has always been to destroy the JCPOA because this agreement was credited to his predecessor Obama. Officially, the United States seeks a new agreement with Iran that would be more stringent and comprehensive, but the conditions for such a negotiation are unclear. It would be in everyone’s interest to salvage the JCPOA as much as possible, even without US participation. Iran is now supported by Russia and China, and to some extent by the European Union, although it has failed to convince the United States to reduce or lift the sanctions against Iran. If Tehran is pushed to the brink and fully withdraws from the JCPOA or, worse, from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this could trigger new military tensions in the region that would benefit no one, including the Europeans. In any case, no new negotiation can start or succeed if it is not based on reciprocity and mutual concessions. There could be an opportunity to address the issue of missile and armed drone proliferation but it can only be done at a regional level, with all key actors and cannot impose constraints on Iran only.

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