France’s anger caused by exclusion from the Indo-Pacific Agreement


When Antony Blinken arrived in Paris on June 25, French leaders told the US Secretary of State that France “puts the highest priority” on strategic submarine transactions with Australia.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also agrees with AustraliaPartnership between France and the United StatesA French diplomat said it was because the American defense firm Lockheed Martin played an important role in the French contract. According to the French side, President Emmanuel Macron repeated the message.

This is because France was the US and Australian authorities in the months before the Aukus deal was secretly closed between the US, Australia and the UK and the A $ 50 billion submarine contract between France and Australia was cancelled. It’s just one of several overtures I’ve done to Australia.

Macron was highly insulted by being excluded from the Aukus Indo-Pacific Agreement designed to combat growth Chinese power In the region, and due to the lack of warning from his allies, he I remembered his ambassador From Washington and Canberra on Friday night.

“Why is France so upset?” I have written Benjamin Hadad, Senior Director of Europe for the Atlantic Council. “People pointing to commerce miss that point. The view in Paris is that the United States has secretly formed an alliance with two partners, undermining France’s overall Indo-Pacific strategy over the last decade. I can’t explain why France wasn’t brought in. “

Peter Ricketts, Former British Ambassador to France, Said The French said, “I felt not only anger, but a real sense of betrayal in Britain, the United States and Australia.[tralia] We negotiated behind them for six months. ”

He said France under Jacques Chirac survived the 2003 burst of France and the United States in Iraq against the invasion of George W. Bush, saying “I feel this is bad or bad.” rice field.

With the recent outburst of French anger, senior U.S. officials sought to limit damage to their relationship with Paris.

State Department spokesperson Edward Price said the United States hopes to hold high-level talks with France at the UN General Assembly next week. , Indo-Pacific included. ”

However, the wound may be raw and not healed immediately, and French frustration remains that it was thwarted. “I haven’t heard what’s going on … These discussions have clearly been going on for months,” said a French official.

French officials repeatedly asked Australian responders whether to change the contract from a regular submarine to a nuclear submarine, as they suspected that Canberra was revisiting it, dating back to June. I did. According to French officials, these questions remained silent.

One official rejected the idea that France did not properly carry out submarine transactions with Australia as “wrong, wrong, wrong.”

“There is a French saying,’If you want to kill a dog, say you have rabies,’” they said.

Relations between France and the United States are currently at their lowest level since Barack Obama made a U-turn on a planned strike against the Syrian regime in 2013 and abandoned French troops ready to begin operations. ..

Macron has spent years trying to promote France, with its EU partners, as a powerhouse in the Indo-Pacific. The jewel of these efforts was a contract with a French arms supplier negotiated as part of a strategic partnership between France and Australia.

Finally signed in 2019, a contract at the time described as a “50-year wedding” between the two countries is already underway, and a French engineer has been sent to Australia to do a lot of work locally. I am.

A French diplomat pointed out a groundbreaking strategic proposal for the region announced Thursday, saying “we have moved many Europeans far down the Indo-Pacific road.”

“Three years ago, for anti-Chinese reasons, it was absolutely impossible to get an agreement from 27 that included the term” Indo-Pacific Strategy. ” “

Some French savvy people, like other great powers, usually use their strategic powers and promises of wartime assistance to steal arms contracts from rivals such as France. Negotiated that said.

“That’s the rule of the game. No one is shocked by it,” he said. However, forcing the cancellation of contracts already in place to win the business was another matter. “It’s not common.”

The French were particularly angry as Biden was talking about the importance of strengthening his alliance with Europe to counter China and repairing the damage done by Donald Trump.

However, some US officials say Canberra is responsible for notifying the French of changes to the contract.

The State Department’s explanation of Macron’s June meeting with Blinken did not mention discussions about the Indo-Pacific Alliance. At a joint press conference that day, Le Drian called for “becoming stronger” in the Indo-Pacific, but Blinken did not mention the issue. The main topics during Blinken’s visit were Russia, China, Sahel and Lebanon.

“Security Initiative [Ausuk] Thomas Wright, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said:

“The declaration of support for the alliance is no longer sufficient. The United States and Europe need to be more strategically open to each other as to where their interests match and diverge, even if it is awkward. I have.”

Nicholas Dungan, Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council and CEO of Cogito Praxis, a leadership consultant, called the case an “error tragedy” in every respect.

“The French had a wealth of cues that the Australians were unhappy. The Australians blinded the French rather than leveling them. The Americans were the prey of their Chinese obsession. I couldn’t think completely from a global perspective, “he said.

However, Paris is relatively isolated from the anger at Aux, and the rest of the EU’s response will be fairly modest, limiting pressure on Washington and Canberra.

Mr Hadad said the crack would still have long-term implications for France’s relations with NATO and its allies, and arms procurement, but other analysts said France would undermine its own interests. Warned that it could overreact.

“France has global influence, but it cannot project global power,” Dungan said. “France does not have to hesitate to the United States. United Kingdom But that should give rise to Washington’s belief that France will bring essential and irreplaceable concrete benefits to the United States, the Indo-Pacific, and the entire relationship. France’s predominantly iconic anger gesture, in my opinion, has not achieved this. “

At least, the shock of Aukus will support Macron’s claim that Europe needs to do more for its own security since his election in 2017. As French Defense Ministers Le Drian and Florence Parly said, the new agreement only “strengthens the need to loudly clarify the issue of strategic autonomy in Europe.”

Additional Report by Demetri Sevastopulo, Washington

France’s anger caused by exclusion from the Indo-Pacific Agreement

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