December 9, 2022

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‘Punch in the back’, ‘anger’ and ‘bitterness’: Understand why France reacted harshly to US-Australian agreement | The world

A France It is sad for two countries that are officially unhappy and historically considered partners: USA and Australia.

To clarify this, the Minister of Foreign Affairs FranceJean-Yves Le Drian, made extraordinary statements on Thursday (16), claiming that the government Joe Biden, From United States, Was As irresponsible as its predecessor, Donald TrumpAnd your country took over A punch to the back Because there was an agreement between the Australians and the Americans.

France went further and canceled a gala event It was to take place at the US Embassy in Paris, In the 18th century, to commemorate the 240th anniversary of the American War of Independence (historically, the French were the first allies of the Americans in their struggle to liberate themselves from the British Empire).

The sharp eruption of discontent came for a reason: the US concluded an agreement with Australia to develop an agreement Nuclear submarine, In the context of forming a new international alliance that includes the United Kingdom, Call Access.

The problem is France There was a deal Australia is expected to deliver, and receive, regular submarines Billions of dollars through these sales. The deal was abandoned by the Australians, who gave priority to the Americans.

“This brutal, one-sided and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump did,” French President Jean-Yves Le Trian told French Information Radio. “I’m angry and bitter. This was not done between allies.”

What was the announcement of the agreement between the US and Australia like?

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he had finalized an agreement with Australia for the development of nuclear-powered submarines.

Announcing the deal on Wednesday, Biden said the country needs to strengthen alliances and renew US strategic priorities. Australia is close to China, and having a military alliance with the Australians is in the American interest.

How was trade between France and Australia?

The French negotiated the sale of submarines with their technology (without a nuclear reactor) to Australia from the state-owned TCNS. US $ 66 billion With that deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron and then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Collins class submarine operated by the Royal Australian Navy, May 2, 2018 Photo courtesy of Garden Island, Sydney: Brendan Esposito / Pool

Both countries will be powered by 12 conventional submarines, diesel and electric. The ships will be the largest in the world.

This deal It was canceled, Australia announced.

Australia has already provided $ 1.8 billion in the project since 2016. The first submarine is expected to be delivered in 2027 using TCNS technology.

Why did Australia not conclude its agreement with the United States soon?

These submarines are much harder to find than conventional ones. Nuclear submarines, unlike traditional submarines, stay underwater for several months and remain submerged for several weeks.

Submarine propulsion includes nuclear reactors, but, by international agreement, Australia cannot have nuclear weapons.

In 2016, when the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison began research into the purchase of submarines in Australia, this type of ship was not available for sale (until the agreement was announced, the United States only shared its technology with the United Kingdom).

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Trian said the US deal with the Australians was “unilateral, brutal and unpredictable.”

It is in this context that the Le Trian US deal commemorates the endless years of Donald Trump and stabbed him in the back.

“This is something you don’t do among allies,” Le Trian said. He said France had not consulted on a partnership between Americans and Australians. According to The New York Times, the Biden government did not warn the French because it felt it would not satisfy them. According to Biden’s administration, the Australians should have warned the French.

Le Drian and French Armed Forces Minister Florence Barley said the decision by the Americans was regrettable and lacking in cooperation.

France was outraged to learn that the UK was also involved in the deal – the British were talking about a “global UK” strategy, and the French suspected that it was forming an informal alliance of Anglophone countries.

What did Australia say?

Australian Prime Minister Morrison did not mention the French during a meeting with Biden and Boris Johnson to announce a new alliance.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden surrounded the screens during the joint announcement of a new alliance between the three countries on Wednesday (15).

He spoke only later, and repeatedly stated that this was a strategic decision for the country. “Of course they (the French) are frustrated. They were good partners. This (submarine deal) is the title of our strategic interest, our strategic capability requirements and the changed strategic environment, we have to make that decision,” he said.

The French were not the only ones to react to the US deal with Australia. China also took the news badly.

Washington and its allies are looking for ways to thwart China’s growing power and influence, especially its military development, pressure on Taiwan and its efforts in the disputed South China Sea.

The three Western leaders did not mention China when formalizing Akus, and senior Biden government officials told reporters earlier that the partnership was not intended to confront Beijing.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the three countries “Severely damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying armed conflict and undermining international nuclear proliferation efforts“.

Countries should not form alliances by targeting third countries, he said.

France and the European Union do not want to enter into direct conflict with China. The strategy of the Europeans is to cooperate with the Chinese in certain matters and to criticize the policies of some Asians – for example, in relation to human rights.

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