: America’s Defense Pact with Australia and the U.K. Has Humiliated France’s Macron. But It Might Also Help Him #WorldNEWS For years, French President Emmanuel Macron butted heads, bit his tongue
America’s Defense Pact with Australia and the U.K. Has Humiliated France’s Macron. But It Might Also Help Him #WorldNEWS
For years, French President Emmanuel Macron butted heads, bit his tongue in frustration, and lashed out at former President Donald Trump, who refused to yield an inch to his entreaties about global cooperation. Trump pulled the U. S. out of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Agreement on climate change—cherished projects for Macron—and trashed the NATO military alliance as “obsolete. ”
Small wonder, then, that Macron hailed President Joe Biden’s victory last November with ebullient excitement, tweeting within moments, “Let’s work together!”
But any hopes for a reinvigorated Franco-American alliance were dashed on Thursday, when Australia revealed it had secretly negotiated a military pact with the U. S. and the U. K. , known as AUKUS, in the volatile Indo-Pacific region. The deal, which involves building nuclear-powered military submarines in Australia—China’s nearest Western-allied neighbor—left France completely in the cold.
The three countries hid their agreement from their French ally, which had spent years crafting its own deal to supply Australia with conventional submarines worth an estimated billion; that deal is now off.
The fury from Paris was immediate. Macron promptly summoned home Frances ambassadors to Australia and the U. S. and the detente threatens to harden into the deepest diplomatic rift with Washington in decades, including during the Trump era. “The sense of treason is very strong,” French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault said, as he headed to Paris on the weekend. “It was intentionally decided to keep France completely in the dark. ”
As of Tuesday morning, Biden and Macron have yet to talk—a phone meeting is expected this week—but French officials have not held back in their outrage. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the deal as “a stab in the back,” and on Monday, he called the subterfuge between the U. S. , the U. K. and Australia “brutal. ” “Europeans should not be left by the wayside,” he told reporters in New York. “That is the mindset we are in right now. ”
What the feud means for Macron
Macrons ministers have likely fumed with his tacit approval, but the president himself has so far remained silent. A furious outburst risks severing a bilateral relationship crucial for several urgent issues, from climate change to anti-terrorism.
Yet taking a tough line with the U. S. might also bring political benefits, according to some analysts in Paris, if Macron is able to position himself as a leader standing his ground against the world’s preeminent and arrogant superpower.
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