With regard to a recent defense agreement signed by the United States with Britain and Australia, France accused the Biden administration of stabbing the country in the back, so to speak.
On Wednesday, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia announced a three-way agreement to join a military alliance to aid Australia in its efforts to counter Chinese expansion in the region. Under the terms of the agreement, the United States and the United Kingdom will assist Australia in the development of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to oppose China’s own submarine fleet.
The agreement with France, which was signed in 2016, provided for the supply of a fleet of diesel-powered submarines to Australia. The arrangement with Australia was a slap in the face to that accord. Due to the fact that France was left out of the new pact, French officials were outraged by the news of the new arrangement.
“This brutal, unilateral, and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Franceinfo radio. “I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”
“It’s a stab in the back. We created a relationship of trust with Australia and that trust has been broken,” Le Drian said.
Together with French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, Le Drian issued a joint statement in which they slammed the Biden administration.
“The American decision, which leads to the exclusion of a European ally and partner like France from a crucial partnership with Australia at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, be it over our values or respect for a multilateralism based on the rule of law, signals a lack of consistency which France can only notice and regret,” the officials said, according to Politico.
“A stunning stab in the back of a key European ally involved in the Indo-Pacific. Everyone in Paris is shell-shocked. The lowest point in US-France relations since 2003 (with probably deeper consequences), and a major setback to a transatlantic strategy on China,” Haddad said.