July 6, 2022

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Europe is no longer America's priority

Europe is no longer America’s priority

President Macron (second from left) who visited Australia in 2018 with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (fourth from left) was to buy 12 French submarines from Australia, but has now opted for nuclear-powered submarines with US technology.Field cartridge pictures

France uses big words (“deception, deception and insult”) to express how frustrated it is with the new security agreement between the United States, Britain and Australia. The country has angrily withdrawn its ambassadors from the United States and Australia – something France has not done before – and has angrily canceled a meeting between defense ministers scheduled for this weekend.

With the so-called Aukus Security Agreement, the three member states will share information and technology with each other. But the key word: submarines. The United States is ready to share nuclear technology with Australia to operate submarines. This will provide eight sophisticated submarines to Australia.

Billions

Australia’s previous agreement with the French to buy less sophisticated submarines has been broken, meaning France is losing billions of euros. In addition, Paris was outraged because Australia was notified just an hour before the deal was announced.

This undeniably hurts France, but there are some understandings from the Australian perspective: they have chosen the option of best serving their national defense. Nuclear-powered submarines are fast, can stay underwater for a long time and are very difficult to find. Moreover, while the relationship between Beijing and Canberra has deteriorated significantly, it is a clear signal from Australia to China that it is flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific region.

Priority

But this agreement is above all a sign of a changing world. The United States has made China an absolute priority in its foreign and defense policy, and is strengthening its alliances in the Pacific. But it is at the expense of another ally: Europe, and especially France in this case.

Moreover, this is not the first and second time that the United States has shown that its Atlantic allies are not their priority after Afghanistan. Europe, with its diverse strategic interests, may find it difficult to come up with an answer in the short term, but it is something to be very careful about.

The position of the newspaper is expressed in the Volkskrant Commentaar. It was created after a discussion between the commentators and the editor-in-chief.

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