Tags: France | Iran | Israel | North Korea | macron | kim jong un | rouhani

Any Diplomatic Warming Between US, Iran Bad News for Israel

us president donald trump and french president emmanuel macron

U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron talk each other during the G7 summit Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 in Biarritz, France. Macron said he hopes for meeting between U.S. President Trump and Iranian President Rouhani in the coming weeks. (Francois Mori/AP)

By Thursday, 29 August 2019 06:01 PM Current | Bio | Archive

French President Emanuel Macron chose to spice up an otherwise news-weary, insignificant, downright boring, G-7 meeting by inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif to attend.

Macron' move was not only a significant show of strength and grit, it was also a clear shot across the bow of U.S. President Donald J. Trump. With one gesture, France successfully deflated U.S. global foreign policy bluster about keeping Iran further than at arm's length, — keeping the Persian nation in isolation.

However, don't for a minute believe that Trump was caught totally off-guard by the Iranian visit.

Mr. Trump may not have been consulted, but he was given at least a little lead time, enough to compose himself and compose an appropriate diplomatic response.

Macron wanted center stage, he wasn't about to let Trump steal his moment.

Whether it was his brilliant implicit intention or an unintended quixotic sidebar, we might be witnessing the first step in a U.S. / Iranian rapprochement. Or maybe not.

Macron's move presented Iran and the U.S. with a low-key, as if by-the-way, opportunity to start to contemplate what might perhaps become a face-to-face sit-down in the possible near future.

No one is committing to anything, but the first move has been made.

Iran has not publicly changed their stance.

Iranian leadership still maintains that any dialogue with the U.S. is out of the question until our sanctions are lifted. This has been the Iranian trope since 2015. But we know from recent experience that just because a country sings a single song, they might not one day be convinced to change their tune.

Look no further than North Korea.

North Korea had the same official response about face-to-face diplomatic dialogue with the U.S. as does Iran. And then, in what seemed an out of the blue move, face-to-face meetings — not between underlings or emissaries but between the country's top leaders, emerged.

And while the prospect of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Iran might be heartening news for large swaths of the globe, there is one tiny corner of the world that is not, diplomatically or militarily speaking, smiling on this union.

The move by Emanuel Macron and the follow through by Donald Trump has Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel worried. Seriously worried.

President Trump announced that he would gladly meet with his Iranian counterpart President Rouhani. If that happens, if America advances toward Iran in a path similar to the path it has taken with North Korea, it will mean that dialoguing with Iran will become a priority.

And that will weaken Israel's ability to influence the United States vis-a-vis their demands on Iran.

Israel has a series of priorities for their country's security.

Keeping the Jewish nation safe from Iran hostilities is atop that list.

There are certain red lines in the sand that Israel wants to make certain the U.S. does not allow Iran to cross. Since the G-7 meeting Israeli analysts and security strategists have been huddling to predict the all potential outcomes from this move by Macron.

Israel would be most pleased if nothing happens, but that is not the most likely of scenarios. However, one big difference between North Korea and Iran is that Iran is ruled by a supreme leader and an extremely conservative religious hierarchy, and North Korea is ruled by one dictatorial man. Kim Jung Un has the ability to unilaterally choose to sit with Trump as often as he wishes.

Yet in Iran it is unlikely that after a first move by Macron, extremist voices within Iran would allow for further dialogue. Iranians are split between conservatives and liberals.

The conservatives rule with an iron fist and accepting even a second meeting would show support for liberal ideas — like engaging the outside world.

Iran's conservatives reject that model.

But Israel realizes that despite all the obstacles, the United States wants to entice Iran to talks. They know that as president, and in business, Donald Trump places a huge premium on face-to-face meetings as a way to break-down disputes, clear the proverbial air, and resolve tensions.

Any dialogue with Iran would throw Israel's security paradigm into a freefall.

A mono-dimensional Iran, sworn to Israel's destruction and in head-to-head confrontation with Israel's ally the United States, is simpler to defend against. That Iran is easier to understand. Talks will not change Iran's point of view, but talks will make it much harder to keep up United States pressure on Iran. With talks, the U.S. has the additional agenda of advancing more talks, looking the other way and maybe even surreptitiously delivering support to Iran.

Israel's real fear is that the U.S. will fall into its default classic position of managing the Iranian situation — instead of solving it. Such was the policy of previous U.S. administrations. It stems from the arrogance of U.S. foreign policy, the belief that all problems can be managed.

In contrast to their nemesis Israel, that's exactly the approach Iran is hoping for.

For Iran, it would return back to the "new-old.". The United States would feel empowered, but the Iranians would be in charge; the Iranians would be driving the relationship.

A diplomatic warming between the United States and Iran is not good news for Israel, not good news for the United States, not good news for the world. It plays into U.S. weakness, its Achilles heel.

Believe me — Iran knows this.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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A diplomatic warming between the United States and Iran is not good news for Israel, not good news for the United States, not good news for the world. It plays into U.S. weakness, its Achilles heel. Believe me — Iran knows this.
macron, kim jong un, rouhani
Thursday, 29 August 2019 06:01 PM
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