France responds with disbelief and anger at President Joe Biden’s announcement that the United States will partner with Britain and Australia to keep up with the threat from China. As part of the agreement, the United States will share highly advanced technology with Australia, which will, among other things, build more nuclear submarines in the coming years.
The French describe the partnership as “brutal and unpredictable,” saying the sudden decision “reminds us of something Donald Trump would do.”
angry and bitter
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was the first to criticize the cooperation that took place in a radio interview with France Info.
– I’m angry and very bitter. The Secretary of State stated that this is not the way allies act.
Shortly thereafter, Le Drian and Secretary of Defense Florence Parly issued a joint statement in which they explained what the agreement thought:
The US decision to exclude a European ally and partner such as France is unfortunate and meaningless. News agency.
The fact that the Secretary of State is comparing President Biden to his predecessor in the White House will not go unnoticed by the Democrat, but Le Drian had no plans to give in to it.
600 billion smokes
In 2016, France concluded a similar agreement with Australia, according to which they had to help the Australians with submarines, which are much less advanced than those that Australia now receives from the United States. The agreement cost about 600 billion NOK, but it suddenly became worthless overnight. France is now announcing legal action against Australia.
– They stabbed us in the back. We have built mutual trust with Australia, and that trust has been shattered, says Le Drian.
And when the latest agreement was presented at a Thursday evening news conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not mention France once. Franks was also not involved in the negotiations for the new agreement, and would only receive five hours’ notice from Australia.
– We found out on Wednesday, says Defense Secretary Barley.
The European Union responds
How serious this is for the US-France relationship remains to be seen. But the fact that the French are deeply upset is beyond doubt. On Thursday, they canceled a state dinner at the embassy in Washington, D.C., which was meant to celebrate the relationship between the two countries, he writes. The New York Times.
In addition to the economic fallout, the latest agreement represents a diplomatic defeat for President Emmanuel Macron, who has been working for several years to increase France’s presence in the Pacific. In seven months, Macron will run for re-election in France, and his political opponents are now taking advantage of the defeat with all they deserve.
– This is a political disaster and a public insult, says opposition leader Marine Le Pen, who believes that the agreement damages France’s reputation.
The sting is broken
When Biden took office as president in January, the message was clear: “The United States is back.” Donald Trump has long shown his distrust of both old allies and international agreements, but that is now over. Through the chaotic withdrawal in Afghanistan and the agreement with Australia, the president was able in a short time to offend several key allies.
The sting set not only the toes of France, but the entire European Union. The foreign policy leader of the Union, Josep Borrell, responds forcefully to the fact that they were never asked to participate in the negotiations.
– I doubt that an agreement like this was entered into in one day. However, we were not informed, Borrell says. On the same day, the European Union presented a new and updated strategy for how the union could become more independent in the future, signaling that the 27 member states do not consider Biden’s electoral promises enough.
Struggling at home and abroad
China is also reacting to the agreement as expected, and believes that the United States threatens the stability of the region. After the backlash, the Biden administration was busy repairing the damage on Thursday.
The President is focused on maintaining and continuing our close relationship with leaders in France, the United Kingdom and Australia to achieve our international goals, says Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
However, the White House is clear that the European Union and France do not have an automatic right to participate in the foreign policy of the United States.
– We have many cooperation agreements that include France and some cooperation agreements that do not include it. Psaki points out that they have cooperation agreements with other countries that do not include us.
– This is how diplomacy works, she adds.
The French uproar comes at the same time that Biden is facing more and more opposition at home as well. A recent poll showed that 44 percent of Americans think the president is doing a good job, while 50 percent answered the opposite. Writes Reuters.
The sting’s popularity has boomed since mid-August, when the Afghan government collapsed and coronavirus deaths rose in several places in the United States. The poll shows that Biden is at his most unpopular since becoming president, although comparing France to Trump may seem a bit harsh. Meanwhile during his presidency, 38% of Americans said Trump did a good job, while 57% disagreed.
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