Biden’s backstabbing of an American ally beats anything that Trump ever did
PARIS – Here in France, the reaction to former President Donald Trump’s exit in favor of Joe Biden was one of elation. That was before Biden wiped the naïve smiles off their faces last week.
President Biden, all smiles himself, took to the White House podium last week to stab France in the back by announcing not only the creation of a new military alliance between Anglophone allies – the U.S., Britain, and Australia – to counter China in its own backyard, but left out France (whose military presence and overseas territories in the Indo-Pacific are substantial).
Worse, Biden signaled a new deal with the Aussies for American nuclear-powered submarines, implying that Australia was reneging on a 50-year cooperation agreement with France around a defense deal better known in France as “the deal of the century”. The pact involved the sale of 56 billion euros worth of submarines to Australia.
To say that the French are in shock is an understatement. Unlike Trump, Biden talks a good game of respecting allies, but this underhanded move proves that “America First” wasn’t just a catchphrase that left with Trump, but that the underlying sentiment remains. It turns out that Trump was just less sophisticated about it. Biden talks of rallying allies to face common challenges. What he really means by allies is those whose interests align with those of the U.S. And when allied interests diverge from those of Washington, as was the case when the French had this massive defense contract that Washington wanted, allies are just collateral damage.
But it’s one thing to place one’s own interests first, and it’s quite another to underhandedly work to steal a signed contract from an ally. The Biden administration has just proven that it’s the law of the strongest that still wins above all else – and that Democrats being in charge changes nothing. Where are all the leftists who were so upset with the way Trump spoke of allies in his mean tweets? This submarine situation is 56 billion times worse than anything that Trump ever did to any of America’s allies, and yet there’s nary a peep from the left, which clearly does not stand on principle when it’s one of their own guys in charge. The left is all in, as long as Biden hits all the right notes from the leftist hymn book, lulling them into a state of brain-dead complacency.
Biden proves that you can basically do whatever you want if you do it with a big grin on your face and say nice things. And the French might actually begin to realize how naïve they’ve been to believe that Biden would do them any favors when he’s really just the happy face of the sharp-elbowed Washington establishment. Washington will do whatever it takes to win and maintain economic, military, and geopolitical dominance. France is just collateral damage.
Washington also undoubtedly calculated France’s potential margin of maneuver in response to the betrayal. So far, that response consists of depriving Americans of champagne by canceling a bilateral gala last Friday night at the French embassy. Paris’ decision to recall French ambassadors to both the U.S. and Australia for consultations in Paris has also been called a strong move. On what planet is that response even remotely proportional?
France, you’ve just been excluded from a clique and had your lunch stolen, and you’re going to sit around hoping that things will work themselves out? Go form your own posse already!
France is the largest military power in Europe and a nuclear power. It doesn’t need America’s nuclear umbrella. This is an opportunity for France to distance itself from U.S.-led missions launched from behind the worn façade of NATO multilateralism, reclaim its strategic autonomy, and focus on military operations that strictly serve its own interests.
The transatlantic alliance has arguably never been in more peril than it is now under Biden’s leadership. The ball is in France’s court, and it just may capitalize on this opportunity to reflect on a new European military alliance to serve purely European interests. One French general recently suggested to me that Poland and Denmark could be good candidates, to start, since the former is a “powerful state” and the latter is “not close with the U.S.”. Others have suggested that closer military cooperation with Russia is a possibility. French President Emmanuel Macron has previously evoked cybersecurity cooperation with Moscow, so why not military? Again, it’s a position discreetly favored by a significant number of high-ranking French military officers.
President Biden just may succeed in changing the world – and in precisely the way that Trump critics feared.
(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her website can be found at http://www.rachelmarsden.com.)
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