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President Joe Biden’s decision to form a strategic Indo-Pacific alliance with Australia and Britain to counter China has offended France and the European Union. They feel left behind and see it as a return to the Trump era.
The security initiative announced this week seems to have suddenly ended Biden’s summer of love for Europe. AUKUS, with the exception of France and the European Union in particular, is the latest in a series of steps that have surprised Europe, from Afghanistan to East Asia.
After promising to European leaders that multilateral diplomacy would guide US foreign policy, “America is back,” Biden alienated many allies with a self-reliant approach to important issues. The French Foreign Minister has expressed a “complete understanding” in a recent move, calling it “piercing from behind,” and EU foreign policymakers complained that Europe had not been consulted.
France will lose nearly $ 100 billion in trading to build a diesel submarine for Australia under the terms of the initiative. With this, the United States and the United Kingdom will help Canberra build nuclear submarines.
Thus, the anger of France at a purely commercial level can be understood. In particular, France is the only European country to have significant territorial ownership or permanent military presence in the Pacific since Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.
But French and European Union officials went a step further, and the deal questioned China’s overall collaborative efforts to slow its growing influence, stagnating plans to enhance Europe’s own defense and security capabilities. He said he emphasized the importance of.
Some have compared Biden’s recent actions with those of his predecessor, Donald Trump, under Trump’s “America First” doctrine. It’s amazing that the president, who is devoted to international affairs, ran for the White House with a vow to repair his swaying relations with his allies and restore US credibility on the world stage.
It is impossible to predict whether the damage will continue, but the short-term consequences are potential for Biden’s broader purpose of unifying democracy against authoritarianism, which focuses primarily on China and Russia. It seems to have rekindled Europe’s suspicions about America’s intentions.
Exactly three months ago, when he first visited the continent as president, Biden was welcomed as a hero by his European counterparts, who were eager to overcome the transatlantic tensions of the Trump era. But that apparent relief has now faded for many, and its clear winner, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is on her way home.
Since June, Biden has infuriated France, America’s oldest ally, left Poland and Ukraine, questioned US security efforts, and made a one-sided decision from Afghanistan to East Asia. It has confused the European Union more widely. And Europe cheered when Biden returned to nuclear negotiations with Iran and promised to revive peace talks between Israel and Palestine, but both efforts remained stagnant for nine months in his administration. be.
The seeds of dissatisfaction may have been sown in the spring, but began to bloom in July over Biden’s acquiescence to the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, which bypasses Poland and Ukraine, and a month later in August it became chaotic. U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan It left scramble to catch up after Europe announced a reservation for withdrawal.
Just this week, Biden infuriated France and the European Union, joining the United States in post-Brexit Britain and Australia, and joining a new Indo-Pacific security initiative aimed at countering the growing Chinese attack in the region. Announced to do.
Not surprisingly, China responded angry, accusing the United States and its English-speaking partners of embarking on a project to destabilize the Pacific Ocean and undermine world security. But the reaction from Paris and Brussels was just as serious. Both complained that they were not only excluded from the transaction, but were not consulted.
The White House and Secretary of State Antony Blinken say France was informed of the decision before it was announced Wednesday, but it wasn’t clear at some point. Blinken said Thursday that he had had a conversation with France within the last 24 to 48 hours, suggesting that no detailed discussions had taken place.
In June, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who praised “great news for all of us that the United States is back,” expressed “complete understanding” in the announcement of the initiative. “It was really stabbed from behind,” he said. “It’s very similar to what Trump did.”
White House spokesman Jen Psaki rejected the comparison. “I don’t think the president thinks much about it,” she told reporters. “The president’s focus is on maintaining and maintaining close ties with leaders in France, the United Kingdom and Australia and achieving global goals, including security in the Indo-Pacific.”
In Brussels, EU foreign policy director Josep Borrell has repeatedly complained to the French minister. I don’t think this kind of agreement was reached the day before yesterday. It will take some time, but I still didn’t get any consultation. ” “It requires us to once again … think about the need to put Europe’s strategic autonomy on the agenda.”
In fact, the 27 member states of the European Union announced on Thursday a new strategy to strengthen economic, political and defensive relations in the Indo-Pacific, just hours after the announcement by the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The EU said its purpose was to strengthen and expand economic relations while strengthening respect for international trade rules and improving maritime security. It said the strategy hopes to bring more European Navy deployments to the region.
US officials wiped out complaints from France and the EU on Thursday.
“There are various partnerships, including France, and those that don’t, and they have partnerships with other countries that don’t include us,” Pusaki said. “It’s part of how global diplomacy works.”
Blinken spoke with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Australia’s Defense Minister and Foreign Minister, and said there was “no regional gap” with Europe over the Indo-Pacific strategy. “We welcome European countries that play an important role in the Indo-Pacific,” he said, calling France an “important partner.”
However, it is not yet known how closely they work together.
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville, Sylvie Corbet in Paris, and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this report.