France announced on Friday that the country will pull its ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia after Australia ditched its existing submarine deal with France in favor of a U.S. partnership.
President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the U.S. struck a deal with Australia and the United Kingdom that administration officials said would provide the Land Down Under with the “technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.” It’s a move that, even though it hurt an ally, the administration claimed was necessary to push back on China’s desire to control the South China Sea.
“We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region, and how it may evolve,” Biden said. “Because the future of each of our nations and indeed the world depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead.”
“It is believed to be the first time France withdraws ambassadors from the two countries,” BBC reported, referring to the United States and Australia. “French diplomats in Washington had already cancelled a gala to celebrate ties between the US and France in retaliation.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the retaliatory decision to remove ambassadors, which was ordered by President Emmanuel Macron, comes in the wake of “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.” He also said it feels like a “stab in the back” after Australia canceled its roughly $40 billion deal with France for diesel-electric submarines in favor of another deal with the United States.
“We built a relationship of trust with Australia, and this trust was betrayed,” Le Drian said. “This is not done between allies.”
Le Drian also said he is “angry and bitter” and that “this brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do.”