President Joe Biden’s decision to form a strategic Indo-Pacific alliance with Australia and Britain to oppose China has angered France and the European Union. They are feeling sidelined and see the move as a throwback to the President Trump era.
The security initiative, announced this week, seems to have abruptly ended President Biden’s positive summer with Europe. The AUKUS initiative, a partnership between Australia, Britain and the United States that excludes France and the European Union, is among the latest steps, from Afghanistan to East Asia, that have taken Europe by surprise.
After promising European leaders that “America is back” and that the United States would follow the model of multilateral diplomacy in its foreign policy, President Biden angered many allies with his unilateral actions on a number of important issues. France’s foreign minister called President Biden’s latest move a “blow to the back”, and the EU’s foreign policy chief complained that Europe had not been consulted.
France will lose a nearly $ 100 billion submarine deal to Australia as a result of a new initiative under which the United States and Britain will supply Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines.
French anger on a purely commercial level would be understandable, especially since France, since 1997 when Britain relinquished control of Hong Kong, is the only European country with significant territorial areas and a permanent military presence in the Pacific. .
But French and European Union officials went further, saying the deal calls into question the entire co-operation effort to diminish China’s growing influence and underscores the importance of Brussels’ neglected plans to boost Europe’s defense capabilities.
Some analysts have compared President Biden’s recent actions to those of his predecessor, Donald Trump, based on the “America First” doctrine. This is surprising for an president steeped in international affairs, who during the presidential campaign vowed to improve shaky ties with allies and restore the credibility of the United States on the world stage.
While it is impossible to predict whether they will have long-term damage, the short-term impact seems to have revived Europeans’ suspicions of American intentions, which could have far-reaching consequences for President Biden’s efforts to unite world democracies against authoritarianism. focused mainly on China and Russia.
Just three months ago, on his first visit to Europe as president, Biden was hailed as a hero by European counterparts eager to overcome the transatlantic tensions created during President Trump’s term. But that apparent sense of relief has now faded for many.
Since June, President Biden has angered America’s oldest ally, France, left Poland and Ukraine with many questions about the United States’ commitment to their security, and angered the European Union with unilateral decisions for regions such as Afghanistan and Eastern Asia. As Europe cheered as President Biden vowed to return to nuclear talks with Iran and revive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, efforts on these two issues continue to stalled nine months after the start of his term.
Dissatisfaction began to intensify in July, when President Biden agreed that a gas pipeline connecting Russia with Germany would bypass Poland and Ukraine, and a month later, in August, with the chaotic withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan.
On Thursday, Biden angered France and the European Union by announcing that the United States would establish a new Indo-Pacific security partnership with Britain and Australia aimed at responding to China’s growing aggression in the region.
It is not surprising that China reacted angrily, accusing the United States and its English-speaking partners of launching a project that would destabilize the Pacific and undermine global security. But the reactions from Paris and Brussels were just as harsh. France and the EU complained not only about the withdrawal from the agreement, but also about the lack of consultation on the issue.
Mr Biden said on Wednesday that France remained a “key partner in the Indo-Pacific region”.
Meanwhile Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that the United States welcomes an important role in the Indo-Pacific from European countries and said that France in particular is a vital partner.
Mr Blinken spoke at a news conference following meetings between the US and Australian foreign and defense ministers in Washington, a day after the United States and Britain said they would provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy energy submarines. nuclear.
Mr Morrison said Australia expected to continue to work “closely and positively” with France, adding: “France is a key friend and partner for Australia and the Indo-Pacific.” / VOA /
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