Recently, Australia annulled the contract signed with France which is worth tens of billions of US$ for the purchase of diesel submarines, as the U.S. had a finger in it. This has caused Franco-American relations to go a rapid turn for worse, making negative impacts even on the transatlantic relations.
The annulment of the above contract called “a contract of century” cannot but be a heavy blow to France.
What made France and other European countries more furious was, among others, the fact that the current U.S. administration, which used to trumpet the rapprochement between Europe and the United States saying “America is back”, played a double game with its European allies and did not inform them about this.
On September 16, the French Foreign Minister gave vent to his anger saying that the U.S. stabbed France in the back with a “cold-hearted and unilateral surprise decision” which can hardly be imagined in the relations with its allies. Next day, the French government responded to the U.S. betrayal step by taking its own immediate step to recall its ambassador to the U.S.
At the EU Foreign Ministerial Meeting held on an ad hoc basis in New York on September 20, the participants extended their support to and solidarity with France. And the President of the European Council overtly expressed his distrust of the U.S. saying that this issue is not only related to the economic interests of France, but also is a part of the U.S. way of conduct that has ignored its European allies.
After this incident, French media increases its criticism against the U.S. In the middle of this, the French newspaper “Le Monde” warned the European countries that they should not expect any favor or amity from the U.S. since it became clear that the core interests of the U.S. lie somewhere else.
The Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of France excoriated the U.S. saying that it had made a decision which brings humiliation to France and what the U.S. has done in last two years is nothing but a protracted adultery. The former French ambassador to the United States lamented that it was not until the U.S. and Britain hit the back of his head that France finally got to know the bitter truth that the world moves according to the law of the jungle. All these comments speak volumes about the fact that France which has regarded the U.S. as its closest ally was hit below the belt this time.
European experts are making comments that they, through this incident, have got a “quiet clear understanding” about how the U.S. sees its allies as it had occurred just a few weeks after Afghan crisis which made a great impact on Europe.
Voices are even heard from the French political circle that France should withdraw from NATO led by the U.S.
This incident will cast a dark shadow over the transatlantic relations which have been already complicated due to the Afghan crisis, and it will become another occasion to compel the European countries to bolster up their strategic autonomy.