In the aftermath of the huge slap inflicted on France by the United States and their new strategic partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom – baptized Aukus – resulting in the cancellation of the sale of twelve conventional submarines of tricolor technology in Canberra, the harshness of the comments in private as in public came to illustrate, Thursday, September 16 in Paris, the potentially deleterious impact of this rebound on the sustainability of the French defense policy. A policy based on a complete army model, partly financed by a strategy of exporting proactive weapons materials, itself supported by ardent military diplomacy. This is now being brutally undermined by this setback that some observers already consider as a “Game changer”.
The way Paris says it learned the news is revealing and feeds the anger of French officials. According to our information, it was during a meeting on Wednesday morning, just hours before the official White House press conference, that Emmanuel Macron was formally warned, by his Australian counterpart, who wanted to speak to him as soon as possible. . Around the table are notably the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly. Both are also informed by their entourage that their Australian counterparts wish to reach them urgently. Eyes meet and everyone quickly understands that the Naval Group submarine contract is in peril. The Council of Ministers is held in stride, in a hectic atmosphere.
“This unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision is very similar to what Mr. [Donald] Trump “, the predecessor of Joe Biden, will release Thursday morning Jean-Yves Le Drian: “This is not done between allies”, insists then the one who had supervised the sale of the submarines as minister of defense, in 2016. The anger is all the more keen as the French authorities suspect the Australian and American officials of having practiced a form of concealment these days and weeks, although some recognize the existence of conflicting rumors about Australia’s needs and strategic thinking. But never to the point of imagining a “plan B”, that of the purchase negotiated in secret with the United States of nuclear-powered submarines.
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