Following the Biden administration’s decision to leave France in the wind in its new defence agreement with Australia and the United Kingdom, France has canceled a gala celebrating the bilateral relationship between France and the United States.
A gala commemorating the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Capes was scheduled to take place on Friday at the French Embassy in Washington D.C. and in a French frigate in Baltimore. Both events were unceremoniously cancelled. According to the New York Times, French officials are furious at the Biden administration for undercutting the country’s 2016 agreement with Australia, which would have seen France helping Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia announced a three-way alliance to help Australia counter Chinese aggression in the region, through which both the United States and Britain would help Australia construct a fleet of nuclear submarines. The three countries also agreed to trade information on technological advancement in fields like artificial intelligence and strategic long-range warfare.
The New York Times reports:
France had been trying to strike its own, multibillion dollar deal with Australia, and French officials said that the new agreement, which Mr. Biden announced at the White House on Wednesday with the leaders of Australia and Britain joining virtually, was an affront.
President Biden’s national security adviser informed France on Wednesday morning that the United States had reached the deal with Australia, revealing the plan to the top French diplomat in Washington on the same day that Mr. Biden made it public, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. The person asked for anonymity to talk about diplomatic discussions.
The degree of French anger recalled the acrimony between Paris and Washington in 2003 over the Iraq war and involved language not seen since then. “This is not done between allies,” Jean-Yves Le Drian, the foreign minister, said in an interview with Franceinfo radio, calling the deal a “unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision.”
According to Reuters, the decision prompted anger and frustration from French politicians.
“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with franceinfo radio, per Reuters. “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,” he said. Le Drian’s fury was echoed by a statement with the French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly, who slammed the United States as a poor ally.
“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 statement read, per Politico.
The collapse of the America-France relationship is just Biden’s latest blunder in a host of questionable decisions that have left America’s allies feeling alienated by the United States. Biden’s hasty withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan strained the country’s relationship with its allies in NATO, and has raised doubts about America’s commitment to the organization, which urged Biden to keep troops in Afghanistan until evacuations could be completed. Biden instead denied NATO’s request, choosing to abide by Taliban demands to withdraw American forces completely by Aug. 31.
Earlier this year, Biden also angered Canadian politicians and businesses after he canceled the permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which crosses from Canada to the United States, Rebel News reported.