As it turns out, while President Biden was celebrating yesterday's "historic" security pact between the US, UK and Australia to establish a "partnership" that will help furnish Canberra with US nuclear submarine technology, one American ally was sulking in defeat.
Back in 2016, Australia had signed $40 billion contract with France's Naval Group to build a new submarine fleet to replace the Aussie's aging fleet of Collins subs. But apparently, the new deal with the US and UK makes this deal unnecessary (since Australia will now be getting its subs from the US, not France), essentially stealing a major $40 billion deal out of the mouth of the French defense industry.
Understandably, France wasn't pleased. And in his first comments on the deal, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told franceinfo radio that President Biden had just pulled a "Trump-like" double-cross against a major American ally - all while claiming to be "rebuilding" America's ties with its European allies, which (according to Biden and the Democrats) had been hopelessly damaged by President Trump's demand that Europe simply pay its fair share for its defense.
"This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do," 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.
Just two weeks ago, the Australian defense and foreign ministers had reconfirmed the sub deal with France, and French President Emmanuel Macron even went so far as to publicly celebrate decades of future cooperation when hosting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in June. Now, especially in the eyes of his own defense industry, he is being left with egg on his face.
President Trump had a famously hot-cold relationship with French President Emmanuel Maron. But after this, diplomats who opted to remain anonymous are telling Reuters that the latest deal could further damage the US relationship with France, potentially leaving it at its most frosty point since the "freedom fries" backlash during the beginning of the war in Iraq.
Already, the French are playing damage control with French Defense Minister Florence Parly holding a news conference thursday to say that "we will make sure ti limit the consequences" of Australia's contract breach. "We will defend our interests," he added.
Unfortunately for France, the embarrassment doesn't stop at the submarines. France is preparing to take the EU's rotating presidency, and as such has been playing a major role in negotiating a security pact with the Aussies. Now, it's not even clear if that will be neccessary.
Meanwhile, confronted with France's displeasure, President Biden has awkwardly pledged to continue working "closely" with France as a "key partner" in the Indo-Pacific.
We can almost hear the transatlantic ties straining.
You can read this article as it originally appears at Zero Hedge here.
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