The announcement of the AUKUS agreement between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom has not caused a stir yet. Despite attempts by the Biden administration to appease, France is not fading away. After recalling his ambassador to Washington, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Jean-Yves Le Drian, renewed his “disappointment” today, Monday, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, which will start tomorrow, Tuesday. According to experts, this cold diplomacy between France and the United States could continue for quite some time now …
On Wednesday, Australia announced the cancellation of the order to purchase 12 French attack submarines for US nuclear submarines.
This contractual loss, worth €56 billion, may not be entirely surprising: rumors of behind-the-scenes friction have been circulating for some time.
But what France did not expect was the announcement of this tripartite military agreement between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom to counter Chinese advances in the Indo-Pacific region.
This new alliance, formed in the strictest secrecy, is seen as a real humiliation by France, which remained “in the dark” until the last moment.
For about a week, the French foreign minister spared no words, denouncing a “kick in the back” of his allies and comparing Joe Biden’s methods to those of Donald Trump “without them. Tweets”.
On Saturday, France recalled its ambassador in Canberra, but also in Washington, which is unheard of. A scheduled meeting between the French Armed Forces Minister, Florence Parly, and his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, was also canceled at Paris’ request.
It is a real diplomatic crisis. More dangerous than what happened in Iraq in 2003, sums up Annick Sizel, a professor and researcher at the New Sorbonne.
According to the American foreign policy specialist, the announcement of the AUKUS agreement constitutes real “contempt” for France, which feels doubly betrayed by its allies, with an unpleasant sense of fait accompli – and tact – with the belief that it is to be at the heart of strategic issues.
Extra slap: She styled her hair in the UK after Brexit, which shows here her ability to do well outside the EU.
In a soothing gesture, Joe Biden stressed that Hex remained a “key partner and ally in promoting security and prosperity in the region” and that he was keen to “work closely with France.”
But in Paris we no longer have any illusions about the new tenant of the White House. Because this diplomatic insult confirms that relations will not necessarily be good with Biden, even if we expect much from this Democratic administration, theoretically more “benevolent” than the previous one.
That Joe Biden withdrew his troops from Afghanistan without warning his NATO allies is another recent piece of evidence: The return of “American leadership” will not be without collateral damage, with the risk of upsetting some old friendships.
“It’s an insensitivity we expect from Donald Trump, certainly not Joe Biden,” the expert said, accusing the latter of practicing “unilateralism in pluralism.”
Long lasting cold?
According to political researcher Nicole Bacharan, who specializes in French-American relations, France’s anger is not apparent.
This diplomatic cold is expected to continue for some time, despite comments by Biden, who said on Monday that he was “impatient” to speak with his counterpart in the French Republic.
“I think the effects [de cette crise] It always will be and I’m not sure Biden and Biden will recover well [Emmanuel] Macron. I am sure they will continue to work together. But trusting each other after this kind of comedy played behind the French will not be easy, ”emphasizes M.I Basheran.
Annick Sizel adds that France will become more stable, because the stakes are high for President Emmanuel Macron. Presidential elections are scheduled for May and France will take over the EU presidency in early 2022.
This is a double reason not to give up. [Macron] He must be a strong national and international leader. ”
Tension between France and the United States is being felt at the United Nations General Assembly, which opened Tuesday in New York. There, US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, is expected to meet his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who on Monday again expressed his “disappointment” and denounced “the backlash of an era we thought was”. over”, in a veiled reference to the Donald Trump era.
Coincidence? At the same time, the United States announced the relaxation of border rules, which the European Union has been demanding for some time.
“A gesture to de-escalate, but it is a very small gesture that does not rise to the level of what just happened,” concluded Annick Sizel.
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