2021-09-22: [Original Article]. [Open in a new tab].
Source: CCTV News Client
15th day of this month, in the United States under the auspices of the United States and Britain and Australia three countries announced the establishment of the so-called "the new trilateral security partnership, the United States and Britain will support Australian Navy nuclear submarine forces. Australia also tore up tens of billions of dollars of submarines signed with the French Naval Group. This move triggered dissatisfaction and accusations from French officials. Then, Australia, Britain and the United States jointly "stabbed" France, who will be the final winner?
Today we want to pay attention to the following issues:
1. When was France calculated?
2. After the "knife", why is the Australian side eager to ease the tension between Australia and France?
3. How to play in the future between "America first" and European "strategic autonomy?
Let's start with the latest developments in the matter. On the 20th local time, French Foreign Minister Le Drian, who attended the 76th UN General Assembly in New York, held a press conference to continue to "bombard" Australia and the United States in conspiracy to tear up submarine contracts. Le Drian stressed that this is not only a matter of military contract, but also the breakdown of trust between allies.
When was the "stabbed in the back" when was France calculated?
When was the "stabbed in the back" when did France begin to be calculated?
Based on current information, 15th day of this month, in the United States and Britain and Australia three countries announced the establishment of the so-called "the new trilateral security partnership, the United States and Britain to support Australian Navy nuclear submarine forces after, the French side only got the news-Australia has torn up tens of billions of dollars in submarine orders.
According to the British "Times" and other foreign media, the cooperation plan of the United States, Britain and Australia has been planned for a long time, while France, as their ally, has been kept in the dark, I haven't eaten a hard sap until now. In the face of interests, the face-to-face harmony between the Western camps can be described as being exposed.
British media: Australia March this year asked tripartite Jun secret finalized
Britain's The Times newspaper reported that as early as March this year meeting, australian Navy Commander Michael Noonan asked Britain's First Maritime Secretary Tony Radkin whether Britain and the United States could help Australia build a nuclear submarine force.
Soon, the British government launched a top-secret plan code-named "Operation Unhook", with only 10 people including Prime Minister Johnson, Secretary of Defense Wallace, First Secretary of the Navy Radarkin and then Foreign Secretary Rab, the Times called it the most closely guarded confidential matter of the British government for many years.
Time came to June, during the G7 summit in the UK, President Biden, British Prime Minister Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Morrison held secret discussions on cooperation and finalized some details, the French President Macron, who was also present, knew nothing about it. Morrison visited France after the summit and did not mention the matter when he met with Macron.
JANE-Pierre TEBUS, French Ambassador to Australia: The president and we have never been told in any form that this project is undergoing such a huge change and no one has given us such a hint.
AUSTRALIA REPORTER: How did you know that the submarine contract was canceled?
Jean-Pierre TEBU, French Ambassador to Australia: Like everyone, I know it through media reports.
AUSTRALIA REPORTER: Do you know when the French president found out?
JANNE-Pierre TEBUS, French Ambassador to Australia: The president was also informed after the news reached the media.
US media: Australia seeks cooperation after Biden became president at the beginning of the year
The New York Times also broke the news that shortly after Biden took office as president at the beginning of this year, Australia contacted the new U.S. government and said it would abandon its submarine contract with France, seeking cooperation with Britain and the United States, which likewise chose to hide from France.
Australian media said this may have been brewing for 18 months.
Australia's "Sydney Morning Herald" quoted the French ambassador to Australia as saying that the timeline was greatly advanced, saying that the incident may have been brewing for 18 months and that France has been deliberately blinded.
Australian Trade Minister: Seeking to ease tensions with the French meeting
In the context of France's anger at "stabbing the knife behind" and recalling the ambassador, the Australian side can't sit still. Also on the 20th, Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said he would seek a meeting with the French side to ease the tension caused by the cancellation of the French submarine order, at the same time, he expressed confidence that this matter will not cast a shadow over the EU's trade negotiations with Australia. Dan Tehan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the 20th that he was "very eager" to meet with the French Minister of Trade when he visited Paris in October. He also said that "in our free trade agreement negotiations, everything is as usual".
After "stabbing" France, why is the Australian side eager to ease the tension between Australia and France? How do they explain to the French side?
Australia shouts: self-confidence will not affect European and Australian trade negotiations
We have noticed that Australia has recently called for grievances, claiming that it had raised objections to the submarine procurement agreement between the two countries a few months ago. At the same time, Australia also expressed its belief that the trade negotiations between the EU and Australia will not be affected. How do we see this series of moves in Australia? The EU has already indicated that the FTA negotiations may be postponed. Negotiations prospects? Will it end here?
Special commentator Su Xiaohui: It is obvious that Australia is not for France, but for its own benefit. At present, Australia is mainly concerned with two aspects of the trend, one is whether it will make itself a breach of faith, and the other is related to some of its own economic interests. The EU has released further details of the EU version of the Indo-Pacific strategy, which involves the EU's view that economic and trade interests in the Indo-Pacific region are important interests pursued by the EU, and such a series of trends in Australia, the current difficulties may cause the signing of the future free trade agreement, the promotion of relevant negotiations will suffer some obstacles, or even postponement. But in the long run, Australia is convinced that the advancement of this economic and trade agreement in the future is an inevitable result, so it will show such confidence now.
France recalls ambassador to the United States and Australia: Very rare among allies
On the 20th local time, the ambassador to the United States, Etienne, who had returned to France, said that the recall showed that France was seriously worried about the bilateral relations between France and the United States. This wave of operations in the United States, Britain and Australia has caught France off guard. In the diplomatic field, France recalls ambassadors. In the diplomatic field, the recall of ambassadors is usually a last resort after the disharmony between countries and even a crisis. This situation is very rare among allies. The depth of the damage to France by the United States and Australia is evident.
French lawmaker: Need to stop indulging in fantasy and quit NATO
Jean-Luc Melanchon, a member of the French National Assembly who has twice run for president, believes that France needs to stop indulging in fantasy and withdrawing from NATO, to block the U.S. plan to open a NATO space security center in Toulouse.
French expert: We feel betrayed
Jean Pierre Morni, deputy director of the French Institute for International Relations and Strategy, said it was a betrayal. He said that the United States has not fully negotiated and communicated with its allies, which will not only deepen the rift between allies, but also further strengthen Europe's willingness to "strategic autonomy.
Jean Pierre Morney, Deputy Director of the French Institute of International Relations and Strategy: As long as the strategic interests of the United States and Europe are not completely consistent, the United States will adopt unilateralism. Unilateralism can be both Biden and Trump, and we can even go back to when Obama was elected. On this issue, we lack relevant strategies, which also teaches us that at the European level, we need more autonomy.
French media: Europe must seek strategic autonomy
The French newspaper Le Figaro pointed out that Europe must seek strategic autonomy, and this diplomatic crisis may be as lasting as the French-US diplomatic crisis that occurred due to the Iraq war.
This cartoon shows what kind of impact the United States, Britain and Australia already know will have on France. In the cartoon, US President Biden vaccinated Australian Prime Minister Morrison. Johnson said later: You need to observe here for 15 minutes. France will immediately react strongly.
How does "America First" and Europe's "strategic autonomy" play?
As can be seen from the film just now, as the "tearing up submarine contract" incident continues to ferment, the relevant "United States first" game, the call for further strengthening European "strategic autonomy" has also begun to rise recently. Next, we will pay attention to today's third question: "America first" and Europe's "strategic autonomy" game in the future? At present, not only in France, on the 20th, European Commission President von der Lane and European Council President Michel expressed their support for France's position and asked the United States and Australia to clarify the submarine incident.
European Commission President Von der Lane said on the same day that the actions of the United States, Britain and Australia against France are unacceptable. The EU needs to know exactly what happened and why this happened. The President of the European Council, Michelle, said that the United States did not believe in this move and it was difficult to understand. The European Union asked the United States to clarify.
EU and Australia trade talks may be affected
In addition, French State Secretary for European Affairs Clement Boehner said in an interview with the media that trustworthiness is a condition of mutual trust between democratic countries and allies. It is unthinkable to advance trade negotiations as if nothing had happened in front of a country we no longer trust.
CNN reported that in June 2018, the EU and Australia launched free trade agreement negotiations. So far, 11 rounds of negotiations have been held, involving the removal of export barriers and intellectual property rights. Although the European Commission has the authority to conduct trade talks on behalf of the 27 member states, it is unlikely to move forward with the agreement if France opposes it.
A spokesperson for the European Commission said that the next round of EU-Australia free trade agreement negotiations will be held in October, while the European Commission is evaluating the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced on the 15th the impact of the new trilateral security partnership on this agenda. The EU is Australia's third largest trading partner in 2020, according to the European Commission.
The reason why this incident has fermented to this point is that the United States has made every effort to build its own "small circle", which has triggered shocks within the alliance system. So, in the context of more and more frequent conflicts between Europe and the United States for their respective interests, how will the future "America First" and European "strategic autonomy" play?
The United States has robbed France's big order. Why does Europe mention "strategic autonomy"? Is this the result of repeated disappointments? What impact will "America First" have on the alliance system?
Special commentator Su Xiaohui: The EU itself thinks that it is an important ally and partner of the United States as an equal, but now the EU is worried that it will become a pawn for the United States to promote competition among major powers. In the context of the decline of hegemony, the US side's grasp of the "America First" principle is an important principle that the United States cannot let go. In the next stage, the United States' attitude towards allies will certainly not be more investment, and it is impossible to participate in multilateralism. In the future, in the process of global strategic deployment, allies will be expected to charge and share responsibility for the United States. This is a dangerous prospect that Europe now sees as much as possible from the United States, an important consideration for making strategic autonomy choices.
Note: This is auto-translated version of an article meant for Chinese audience. A mature and nuanced reading is suggested.