The United States, Britain and Australia formed a new defense alliance called AUKUS. Officially, the creation of the union on Wednesday, September 15, was announced by US President Joe Biden.
AUKUS was created for the cooperation of these three countries in the Indo-Pacific region. In particular, we are talking about joint opposition to the growing influence of China.
Within the framework of the alliance, the United States, Britain and Australia have gathered to simplify the exchange of information in important technological areas, including artificial intelligence, cybernetic and underwater systems, long-range strike weapons, etc.
And the first problem happened almost immediately. Australia has decided to terminate the contract with the French Naval Group. The contract is very large-scale, which concerned a project for the development and construction of submarines.
And agree on the same topic with the United States. Which, naturally, caused bewilderment and anger of the French. Well, it caused a corresponding conflict between the countries.
First, let's talk about the contract itself to understand it’s scale.
What did Australia and France agree on earlier?
In December 2016, Australia and the French company Naval Group signed a contract for the construction of 12 submarines, their cost was estimated at 90 billion Australian dollars (66 billion US dollars). It was the largest defense contract in Australian history.
The submarines must operate in the Persian Gulf and the North Pacific. Submarines were supposed to use torpedoes and cruise missiles, and also be used for special operations. It was planned that France would build 12 boats for Australia in 25 years.
But it was only planned, because after five years the situation was somewhat ... replayed.
The first consequence of the creation of AUKUS is Australia's abandonment of French submarines in exchange for the purchase of nuclear submarines from the United States.
Le Monde clarifies that in Australia, the cancellation of the agreements is also explained by the increase in value from 50 billion to 90 billion Australian dollars (56 billion euros). And the delivery time has also shifted.
The Australian press estimated that breaking the contract would cost Canberra more than € 250 million. Plus, most likely, there are long legal proceedings ahead.
The fact is that France did not appreciate Australia's similar move, to put it mildly.
Outrage. French President Emmanuel Macron has recalled the ambassadors from the United States and Australia for consultations. At the same time, as noted by the media, this is the first time that France has recalled an ambassador from Washington since the war for the independence of the States, in which the countries were allies.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the incident "a stab in the back," and a statement from the French embassy in the United States noted that the decision "to exclude" Paris from the agreements "demonstrates a lack of consistency, which France can only regret."
“The strength of the alliance with the United States should also be questioned,” Le Drian said, adding, as DW writes, that if it’s a “real alliance,” then its members “talk to each other and show mutual respect, which in this the case was not showed."
According to Le Drian, Paris learned about the deal between the United States and Australia an hour before the official announcement of it.
By the way
The AUKUS agreement between Australia and the United States will mark the first time the United States has transferred its nuclear technology to anyone other than its longtime strategic ally, the UK.
The date for the construction of American nuclear submarines for Australia has not yet been announced.
The reaction of the rest
Perhaps she can be called conciliatory. The head of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, said that the incident "is unlikely to affect military cooperation within the Alliance."
State Department spokesman Ned Price said that "France is an important partner and oldest ally" of Washington, and the latter "tremendously values" this relationship.
But the Chinese Foreign Ministry called the creation of AUKUS evidence of "the outdated mentality of the Cold War and narrow geopolitical concepts."