US urges Britain to follow suit and try to restore relations with France after submarine scandal, writes Watchman.
As is known, Australia withdrew from the 2016 agreement that France was to sell conventional submarines for $66 billion, and instead agreed with America to buy nuclear-powered submarines. The deal was part of a deal between the UK, US and Australia AUKUS Agreement.
The termination of the deal with France angered the French leadership. On behalf of the United States, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited Paris in early October to ease diplomatic tensions between the two old allies.
However, US diplomacy was disappointed that the British prime minister had not made similar efforts to improve Macron’s relationship with the French president, prompting Boris Johnson to make only one explanatory phone call.
A senior American diplomat admitted that Australia’s termination of his contract with the French was a non-forced error and that there should have been a break of at least three months between the termination and the conclusion of the AUKUS Agreement.
There was no previous agreement in the Biden administration on how to handle the situation after Australia wanted to terminate its contract with the French. Some said it was crazy to alienate France, because the transitional period following the German elections had effectively put France at the forefront of European foreign policy.
France seeks to take advantage of political turmoil in America to make concessions to stronger European defense cooperation within NATO, greater cooperation to curb the spread of terrorism in the Sahel region, and recognition of the legitimacy of the European Union’s role in the Indo-Pacific region. France will organize a conference on the latter in the first half of next year during its presidency of the European Union.
Neither Britain nor Australia has shown a similar approach to America so far. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the ball is bouncing in Johnson’s half.
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