America and The United Kingdom (and its convicts) have been military and social allies since before World War I. Although we are separated by oceans and a common language, the relationship has been a powerful one.
While our relationship with France has been benign for far longer…since the Revolutionary War!, France has occasionally acted at cross-purposes to America and its other allies. For instance, during the American War of The Rebellion, France sent an army into Mexico which required a response from America. More recently France’s longstanding relationship with the Arab world placed them at odds with American efforts against Iraq. De Gaulle’s influence over French foreign policy forced an aggressive independence from its 20th century allies, that seemed more like childish petulance than thoughtful geopolitics. They were quite conveniently protected by NATO during the Cold War even though they withdrew from the treaty in the 1960s.
Australia cancelled a very large and lucrative contract for several French submarines that was part of a larger effort by both countries to counter Chinese expansion into the South Pacific. France got upset…very upset, and at first glance they do have a point.
The issue that sparked this entire ordeal was Australia’s decision to cancel a multi-billion-dollar contract with the French to acquire conventional submarines built by France. However, the Biden administration, seeking to counter China’s growing influence and military prowess in the region, formed a new technology-sharing alliance with Australia and the U.K.
A more measured and astute approach would have been an expansion of all four country’s capabilities in the South Pacific while still recognizing the advantages of American nuclear powered submarines over their French diesel competitors. Including France (and its industry) in a larger strategic alliance would seem to be a reasonable accommodation that strenghtens all involved.
But then France’s foreign minister just had to say something stupid and nasty and oh-so-deep stateish…
Immediately following the announcement of the new pact, Le Drian complained, “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do.”
Amazing. President Trump would have seen the inherent advantages to a larger alliance to counter the Chinese threat, and I am confident that he could have made a deal…a huge and luxurious and mutually beneficial deal that would have included all parties. There is a huge difference between placing tariffs on imported goods as part of a larger effort to improve American manufacturing (something that all countries do on occasion) and what the Biden junta has done…rejecting one ally for another. It is a testament to the degree to which President Trump changed the dynamic of America’s relationship with the world that an action that is remotely upsetting to France is immediately linked to Trump.
What’s next…a phylloxera outbreak in France’s vineyards will be blamed on President Trump? Or maybe some surveillance tape will be discovered that shows President Trump setting fire to Notre Dame!