One year after the election of Donald Trump to the White House, relations between France and the United States remain “extremely good”, and are underpinned by military cooperation between the two countries, a senior French diplomat told the AAPA on Nov. 17.

“The relationship between France and the U.S. has never been so intense in military terms,” the official told the group of nearly 40 AAPA members at a meeting once again generously hosted in the auditorium of Bloomberg News.

France and the U.S. are fighting together on many fronts, notably in Africa and the Middle East, and France is by far the “best and most reliable ally” of the U.S. among European countries, the diplomat said, speaking on background.

This is especially true because of Britain’s lack of involvement on the military front, and Germany is still reluctant to engage itself militarily, he went on.

The personal chemistry between French President Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump is “actually quite good” according to the official, boosted by Macron’s invitation for Trump to attend the Bastille Day celebrations in mid-July. The two leaders, who were elected on “populist” platforms, have had several phone conversations, but there’s no indication that these calls will have political consequences, he said.

The diplomat discussed the Trump Administration’s efforts to modify the Iran nuclear deal,  its “antipathy” towards Iran and its unorthodox diplomacy with Saudi Arabia. He also commented on the looming threat of U.S. trade protectionism and its unintended consequences that could backfire on America’s own interests.

On North Korea, he said he’s convinced that President Trump, being the “ultimate pragmatist” wouldn’t balk at negotiating with the Koreans on reducing their nuclear ambitions.

And he said he’s not overly worried by the unilateral decision by the U.S. not to uphold the Paris climate accord, as most Americans in big urban centers feel favor it and there’s a huge market for renewable energy in the U.S.

-David Pearson