fredag 17. september 2021

America's deal with UK and Australia leaves France bruised and Europe in the cold on China

The surprise announcement that the United States, United Kingdom and Australia have agreed a defense pact that will go some way toward countering China in the Indo-Pacific region sparked an array of emotions. In Europe, it left the French government furious and European Union officials somewhat confused as to what the bloc should do about China.

The deal, which was unveiled on Wednesday, will see the US and UK send strategic and technical teams to Australia to help the country procure nuclear-powered submarines. It also meant that the Australian government cancelled a multi-billion contract for non-nuclear submarines with a French manufacturer.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described this as a "real stab in the back" from Australia. He also fired a shot at US President Joe Biden, saying that the sudden announcement of this deal without consulting other allies was a "brutal and unilateral decision" that "resembles a lot of what Mr. Trump was doing."

Leaving aside France's wounded pride, the new geopolitical pact between English-speaking maritime powers (known as AUKUS and pronounced "aw-kiss") presents a strategic headscratcher for the EU.