UKUS snob against France is a stern warning to the rest of Europe

The home of the French Ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, is seen in Washington, DC, United States, on September 17, 2021. / CFP

The home of the French Ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, is seen in Washington, DC, United States, on September 17, 2021. / CFP

Editor’s Note: Adriel Kasonta is a London-based foreign affairs analyst and commentator. He is the founder of AK Consultancy and former Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of Bow Group, the UK’s oldest conservative think tank. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

It’s hard to imagine President Emanuel Macron’s level of anger and humiliation when he received a letter Wednesday morning from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing the decision to cancel a $ 40 billion contract concluded in 2016 for the purchase of 12 conventional submarines from the French Naval Group. in favor of nuclear-powered submarines built with American technology.

You then try to contact the US administration to ask what’s going on, and you are given an explanation just three hours before you see US President Joe Biden, along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. , on the television. screen announcing a new US-led security alliance (known as AUKUS) between the three countries that would focus on their common Indo-Pacific strategy.

Indeed, you have every right to feel betrayed because, without a doubt, it sounds like “a stab in the back”, which should not take place “between allies”, let alone old friends. . It just makes you realize that although Donald Trump has left office, his “America First” code of conduct still seems to be in use.

“The American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France from a structuring partnership with Australia, at a time when we are faced with unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, whether in terms of our values ​​or in terms of respect for multilateralism. based on the rule of law, shows a lack of coherence that France can only note and regret “, one could read in a joint press release published by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-yves Le Drian and the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly.

The press release described France as “the only European nation present in the Indo-Pacific with nearly two million citizens and more than 7,000 soldiers”, and affirmed that the country is a “reliable partner who will continue to fulfill its commitments. , as he always has done. “

Despite all your good intentions, the “enough is enough” the moment starts slowly, and you decide to cancel an upcoming reception at the French Embassy in Washington DC which was scheduled to mark the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Caps, in which your compatriots stood alongside Americans in their struggle for independence from the British crown – itself highly symbolic.

US President Joe Biden (C) listens, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R, seen on a TV screen) during a video conference while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (L, seen on a TV screen) ) speaks, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, the United States, on September 15, 2021. / Getty

US President Joe Biden (C) listens, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R, seen on a TV screen) during a video conference while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (L, seen on a TV screen) ) speaks, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, the United States, on September 15, 2021. / Getty

You realize then that Australia had never mentioned to France its intention to have nuclear-powered submarines, including during the recent meeting between President Macron and Prime Minister Morrison in Paris on the 15th. June. On the other hand, you raised the issue of the Indo -Strategy for the Pacific during the June 25 visit to Paris by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, clearly articulating the importance of your submarine program with Australia. .

It’s Thursday, and you hear Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton say at a press conference that the decision to choose America’s nuclear submarine over yours “is based on what is in the best interests of our national security, “adding that those operated by the United States and Britain were” superior “to the one you are proposing.

Even if Secretary Blinken tries to save the day by calling France a “vital partner” in the Indo-Pacific, and you are reassured once again that the United States will continue to cooperate with you, you know somehow so that’s no longer the case.

Due to the “gravity of the September 15 announcements by Australia and the United States”, you decide to take the exceptional decision to save your face – or rather what remains of it – and immediately recall the ambassadors of France in these countries for consultations.

As in the case of the disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, the indifference of the United States as to the impact of the AUKUS alliance on French strategic interests shows that “America First” is still alive and well.

This, in a broader sense, poses a more general question about the relationship between Europe and the United States, which is moving away from the Old Continent and does not seem to care much about European opinion.

When it comes to the Indo-Pacific strategy, can we trust America?

(If you would like to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at [email protected])

Source link