France must pursue cooperation with the United States without compromising on the values it defends
In her op-ed, Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer analyses the state of the French-U.S. relationship in the context of President Trump’s visit to Paris. In an increasingly fragmented transatlantic environment, it is necessary that Paris continues to clarify its divergences with Washington, while cooperating on issues of common interests and continuing to put pressure on the US administration, on issues key to French national interests. Macron’s initiative to host a climate conference in Paris in December, allows him to keep the pressure on Trump. On counterterrorism, Macron will press Trump to contribute financially to the G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force. Syria will be the first test of the bilateral relation, in a context of strategic rapprochement on the fight against terrorism in the region. They will have to clarify what they meant by “common approach” in case Assad uses chemical weapons against the Syrian population. But basing a relationship on one issue (counterterrorism) is not enough to make it sustainable, and Macron is determined to insist on the interdependence between global challenges like climate, terrorism, migration, nuclear proliferation, and that getting out of the climate agreement puts at risk cooperation in all the other fields. France needs to pursue cooperation with the US, but without compromising the values and principles it stands for. The G20 meeting has already made too many concessions to Trump on climate and trade. But “keeping Trump in the circle” should not come at a too high cost.