Sub snub just one symptom of longtime French unease with US
Born of a revolution fought for liberty, ties between the United States and its oldest ally, France, have long been fraternal, but they've also been marked by deep French unease over their equality.
French concerns about being the junior partner in the relationship boiled over last week when the U.S., Britain and Australia announced a new security initiative for the Indo-Pacific, aimed at countering a rising China. The AUKUS agreement scuttled a multibillion-dollar submarine deal that France had with Australia, but, more alarmingly for the French, pointedly ignored them, reinforcing a sense of insecurity that has haunted Paris since the end of World War II.
France has long bristled at what it sees as Anglo-Saxon arrogance on the global stage and has not been shy about rallying resistance to perceptions of British- and German-speaking dominance in matters ranging from commerce to conflict.
Successive American presidents through the decades have ignored French warnings about military involvements from Indochina to Iraq. France’s lessons learned in Vietnam and Algeria didn’t translate. And, when France has on occasion supported military interventions, notably in Syria in 2013, the Americans have pulled back.
Thus the latest affront, AUKUS, resulted in an explosion of ire, with the French loudly protesting and recalling their ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia while shunning the British in an overt manifestation of centuries of rivalry.
Privately, some American officials see the rollout of the submarine deal as clumsy. “Here’s a new ANGLO SAXON bromance partnership with our besties, the Brits and Ozzies. No Gauls allowed,” a veteran diplomat who was not authorized to speak publicly to the matter said in an email.
That sense of resentment is palpable among French academics and leaders, especially those who barely concealed their disgust at President Donald Trump and his brash and brusque “America First” ideology and heartily welcomed the arrival of Biden and his “America Is Back” mantra.
- “France is disappointed because it didn’t expect this from the Biden administration, which it thought would be much more multilateral and trans-Atlantic, and even Francophile,” said Laurence Nardon of the French Institute for International Relations.
Copyright AP News
Read the full article on the AP News website.