France accused the Biden administration of stabbing it “in the back” over a defense agreement the U.S. recently made with Britain and Australia.
The United States, Britain, and Australia announced a three-way agreement on Wednesday to form a military alliance to help Australia resist Chinese aggression in the region. Under the deal, the U.S. and Britain will aid Australia in building a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to counter the Chinese own submarine fleet.
The deal undercut an agreement Australia made with France in 2016 for France to supply Australia with a fleet of diesel-powered submarines. The new deal sparked furious reactions from French officials as France was left out of the new agreement.
“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 Atlantic Council’s Europe Center director, Benjamin Haddad said that the move had set U.S.-French relations back to their lowest point since 2003.
“A stunning stab in the back of a key European ally involved in the Indo-Pacific. Everyone in Paris is shell-shocked. The lowest point in US-France relations since 2003 (with probably deeper consequences), and a major setback to a transatlantic strategy on China,” Haddad said.
The feud over the defense agreement is the latest in a string of instances of President Joe Biden alienating allies. Biden’s rushed withdrawal and evacuation of Afghanistan strained U.S. relationships with multiple western nations that pushed the U.S. to postpone its withdrawal date until evacuation operations could be completed. Biden denied the request.
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.