France canceled a gala celebrating French-U.S. relations after the Biden administration cut France out of a defense agreement with Australia, angering French officials.
A gala celebrating the “240th Anniversary of the Battle of the Capes” was set to take place Friday evening at the French embassy in Washington, D.C., and in a French frigate in Baltimore. French officials, furious at the Biden administration for undercutting a 2016 French agreement with Australia, scrapped the events Thursday, according to The New York Times.
On Wednesday, the United States, Britain, and Australia announced a three-way military alliance to help Australia combat Chinese aggression in the region. The U.S. and Britain agreed to support Australia and aid it in building a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. The three countries will also trade information on key technological advancements in areas such as artificial intelligence and long-range strike capabilities.
French officials reacted angrily to the deal, accusing the United States of stabbing it “in the back” for cutting France out of the deal and undermining a 2016 agreement France had negotiated with Australia. In 2016, France agreed to supply Australia with a fleet of diesel-powered submarines. While that deal is now defunct with the new U.S.-U.K.-Australian agreement, French officials have promised a legal battle over the 2016 deal.
France’s heads of foreign relations and defense both ripped U.S. President Joe Biden and the United States over the new agreement. As The Daily Wire reported:
“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told franceinfo radio, according to 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,” Le Drian said.
Le Drian released a joint statement along with French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly slamming the United States.
“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 officials said, according to Politico.
The defense agreement is the latest in a string of Biden decisions that have left U.S. allies feeling angry and alienated. The Unites States’ rushed withdrawal out of Afghanistan strained U.S. relationships among NATO allies who petitioned Biden to keep troops in Afghanistan until evacuations could be completed. Biden denied the request, abiding by Taliban demands to keep to Biden’s own self-imposed deadline of August 31.
Earlier this year, Biden received furious reactions from Canadian officials after he pulled a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to cross from Canada into the United States, effectively killing the project. As The Daily Wire reported:
“While we welcome the President’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfill his election campaign promise on Keystone XL,” Trudeau said in a statement, according to the New York Post.
“Canada is the single-largest supplier of energy to the United States, contributing to U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness, and supporting thousands of jobs on both sides of the border,” he continued. “Workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and across Canada will always have our support.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he was “deeply disturbed” by Biden’s decision to stop work on the $8 billion project. Kenney had threatened legal action earlier in the week after reports of Biden’s intent to kill the pipeline surfaced.
“This is a gut punch for the Canadian and Alberta economies. Sadly it is an insult directed at the United States’ most important ally and trading partner,” Kenney told a news conference, according to Reuters.