Tags: french | ambassador | trump | bolton

French Ambassador: Trump Right on Trade, Praises Bolton

French Ambassador: Trump Right on Trade, Praises Bolton
Gerard Araud (AFP/Getty  Images)

Saturday, 20 April 2019 05:17 PM

Though just-retired French Ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud has been a critic of President Donald Trump, he praised him on trade in an interview in The Atlantic, where he also had complimentary words for national security adviser John Bolton.

Araud, one of Washington's most respected diplomats, retired Friday after nearly five years as France's ambassador in D.C. He was roundly criticized for a tweet he left online for only two minutes the night of Trump's election: "After Brexit, after Trump, a world is collapsing."

Looking back however, Araud, sees Trump moving the right direction in areas such as free trade.

"Trump is doing it in his own way," Araud told The Atlantic's Yara Bayoumy. "Brutal, a bit primitive, but in a sense he’s right."

Trump's moves against trade imbalances with China should have been done before, though "maybe in a different way," he said.

And, he added, "Trump has felt Americans' fatigue, but [Barack] Obama also did. The role of the United States as a policeman of the world, it's over. Obama started, Trump really pursued it. You saw it in Ukraine. You are seeing it every day in Syria."

Washingtonians "faint" when Trump asks what the United States is still doing in NATO, but his question "Why should we defend Montenegro?" is genuine, Araud said, and is a good one.

As for Bolton, "It's possible to work with him," Araud said. "You define your agreement, which usually is a very narrow agreement, and you can work together."

Bolton is a "real professional," but also an "ideologue," he said, which makes negotiating more difficult. "Admittedly, you have to know what the narrow limits are of working together — his nationalism, the fact that he hates international organizations."

But on some issues, such as Syria, Bolton is a realist, Araud said, "so we can work with him."

Araud believes Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a chief adviser on the Middle East peace process, is "extremely smart, but he has no guts."

"He doesn’t know the history," Araud said. "And in a sense, it’s good—we are not here to say who is right, who is wrong; we are trying to find a way. So in a sense, I like it, but at the same time he is so rational, and he is so pro-Israeli also, that he may neglect the point that if you offer the Palestinians the choice between surrendering and committing suicide, they may decide the latter. Somebody like Kushner doesn’t understand that."

Both the French and American political class share the same misconception about the post-Trump America, Araud said: "saying Trump is an accident, and when Trump leaves power, everything will go back to business as usual. That's the dream of Washington, D.C."

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"Trump is doing it in his own way," Gerard Araud told The Atlantic's Yara Bayoumy. "Brutal, a bit primitive, but in a sense he’s right."...
french, ambassador, trump, bolton
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2019-17-20
Saturday, 20 April 2019 05:17 PM
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