West imploding over submarines deal: What is going on with US, UK, Australia, France?
The US, Britain, and Australia announced they formed a new security deal that will equip Australia with nuclear submarines. The announcement enraged France that accused the US of “duplicity” and declared that a crisis struck at the heart of Western alliances.
Here’s a breakdown of the situation:
President Joe Biden announced that the US was forming a new security alliance with Britain and Australia that will equip Australia with nuclear-powered Submarines.
Australia also announced that it was backing out of a 2016 contract with France to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines worth nearly $100 billion.
France said it was not informed of the US deal in advance and found the new alliance to be a stab in the back between supposed allies.
“It was really a stab in the back. We built a relationship of trust with Australia, and this trust was betrayed. This is not done between allies,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia. It was the first time in history that France recalled its ambassador to the US.
Paris also said that Biden acted like former US President Donald Trump who was seen by the majority of Europe as having had disregarded the importance of US-Europe alliances.
Significance of the Indo-Pacific region:
The Indo-Pacific region stretches from India and China through Japan to Southeast Asia and eastward past New Zealand to the Pacific, is growing in importance given its rising population and political weight, its role in global trade and security and its impact on climate change.
The US new security alliance is aimed at the Indo-Pacific region where China is seen to be bolstering its influence there.
US-China ties have been rocky at best under Biden’s presidency, and a call between the countries’ two leaders ended with President Xi Jinping refusing to commit to an in-person meeting with Biden, according to official Xinhua News Agency.
However, the US is not the only one with concerns about Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region. France also believes it has a role to play since there has long been a French presence in the region too.
France, since Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, is the only European nation to have significant territorial possessions or a permanent military presence in the Pacific.
“What’s at play in this affair, this crisis… are strategic issues before being commercial issues. The question is... the forces present, the balance, in the Indo-Pacific where part of our future is at play, and our relations with China,” said French government spokesman Gabriel Attal.
With The Associated Press