Aukus: How transatlantic allies turn to each other over China’s threat to the Indo-Pacific

A meeting between US, UK and Australian leaders at the end of the G7 summit on June 12 appeared to be flawless – a four-point resolution, promising to “expand” the Indo-Pacific alliance, a footnote to the western celebration of Donald Trump’s departure from White House.

The highlight for the French delegation was the first meeting of Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden on the same day, before the arrival of the Cornwall Beach Carbis Bay. “The US is back,” Biden told reporters sitting next to the French president. “Leadership is a partnership,” Macron said.

Paris’ view of what happened in England would not be so bad – and his extremist views when he realized last week that Biden, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison had reaffirmed an alliance that could restore security in Asia with China’s escalating Chinese military efforts. The deal will break France’s $ 36bn agreement to build 12 diesel submarines in Australia and reduce Macron demand in the Indo-Pacific.

The ensuing outrage in France – which reminded diplomats from Washington and Canberra, and forced them to suspend an important meeting between the EU and the US – has opened up a huge gap between Western allies since the US led Iraq in 2003. On Wednesday, speaking to Macron, Biden appeared admits that France was persecuted. He agreed to meet with the President of France in Europe next month to reestablish relations. Nonetheless, the controversy fuels growing doubts in Europe over the US’s reliance on US as a partner between Washington’s outsourcing to Asia.

The Aukus alliance shows in Europe that “it does not look like a global player with whom the United States will benefit [from a deeper] The alliance, at least in the Indo-Pacific, “says Marie Jourdain, visiting a counterpart in the Atlantic Council and a former French security guard. Russia “, he added.

Canberra is skeptical but Paris keeps the faith

Australian officials say Paris has ignored signs that the deal is in jeopardy, including when Pierre-Eric Pommellet, chief naval officer of the French Naval Group, arrived in Adelaide in October with headlines that Morrison had ordered the Barracuda agreement signed in 2016.

Pommellet was hoping to move the alliance along with the “detailed design” to open up more revenue. But he returned home empty-handed.

Instead, Canberra wanted to return to the outside of the French alliance for months, Australian officials say. Morrison was concerned about its value and made little progress in the production of local works and transfer of expertise. In January 2020, the country’s Auditor-General announced in a report that the Security Advisory Committee had urged the government to consider alternative routes to French ships from 2018.

There were reports in Australian newspapers about dissatisfaction with the government. In Paris, when asked about what appeared to be a “fraudulent campaign” in anti-union newspapers was encouraged by their Australian counterparts, the French official involved in the negotiations said. The French idea was that exorbitant prices and delays had to be expected in a major security agreement.

Most of Pommellet’s intruders were not the only ones to find out about B’s secret, said an Australian security official. But France failed to understand the meaning of the growing concerns in Australia over the Chinese war in the Indo-Pacific.

Canberra realized that diesel-powered submarines – which initially inquired – were no longer the best way to get to Beijing. The French had their expertise in the use of nuclear weapons; in June, he also asked Canberra if he wanted to go to nuclear weapons, according to Paris ambassadors.

Pierre-Eric Pommellet returned home from Australia empty handed © Fred Tanneau / AFP / Getty

U.S. intelligence technology is one of the “American warships” because it allows submarines to hide under pressure and help avoid sonar detection, says Thomas Shugart, a former U.S. naval officer and now at the U.S. Center for New Defense. (The French insist that their technology for diesel fuel is less noise-free than cooling systems.)

Continuing the technical debate, the Morrison government decided to strengthen a major alliance with the US. Canberra felt that Trump’s administration would not share their expertise. Biden’s inauguration at the White House offered new opportunities, said Australian security services. In early 2021, Morrison set up a small organizational committee, headed by him, to investigate the US deal – with which the UK was involved.

BoJo and ScoMo break system B

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, later rejected Britain’s role in the Aukus’ alliance as a “fifth wheel on a cart”. But Canberra saw Britain, which has shared nuclear weapons with the US since 1958, as a mediator to help Australia find Washington’s expertise.

One morning in March, British military officers Tony Radakin and Nick Hine filled out the plan for the first time with Australian security forces and military personnel during a filming in London.

It seems unlikely that this call will trigger a treaty uniting the US, Britain and Australia as an ally against China in the Pacific. The news that Australians hope to switch from submarine to nuclear weapons was a “big jump”, said a UK official.

“The UK has been well-established, based on experience, to define technological sharing approaches that would be acceptable to American nuclear weapons,” said Malcolm Chalmers, executive director at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “It’s a big part of the perceived security crisis.”

After Canberra and London submitted the request to Washington, delegates from all three countries stepped up their efforts, a senior US official said. Relations between Morrison and Johnson – two radical politicians – have begun, according to British and Australian people involved in the talks. Johnson planned to put “ScoMo” on the guest list at his G7 summit in Cornwall.

The US ruled that informing Paris was a Canberra operation. But Australian officials say it was not their intention to warn Paris; Maintaining the French treaty also encourages Biden to negotiate a treaty that could bring significant rewards to the US.

Emmanuel Macron, second from left, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, center, at the HMAS Waller, a Collins cruise ship operated by the Royal Australia Navy, at Garden Island in Sydney in May 2018
Emmanuel Macron, second left, and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in the center, at the HMAS Waller, a Collins naval fleet operated by the Royal Australia Navy, Sydney in May 2018 © Brendan Esposito / AFP / Getty

France knows something but has been left in the dark

Meanwhile, Paris began to complain. It turned out in Washington to explain – the US company Lockheed Martin was supposed to be in the deal. In June and July, Macron’s legal adviser Emmanuel Bonne, Security Minister Florence Parly and Le Drian privately expressed their concerns over US relations, according to officials who spoke at the talks.

The entrants were speechless or said they did not know. On September 10, Le Drian and Parly each asked to speak with their U.S. counterparts, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin. No calls were made until the Aukus agreement was announced on September 15 (initiating an 18-month consultation process). The agreement was confirmed this morning by Biden security adviser Jake Sullivan to French ambassador Philippe Etienne, who requested an emergency meeting at the White House. “Back stabbing”, Le Drian responded on a French radio the next day.

“It is a big problem between France and the US.

Joe Biden and Scott Morrison, left, and Boris Johnson announce the deal on September 15 © Oliver Contreras / Pool / EPA / Shutterstock

Johnson’s supporters said they also considered the consequences of Macron’s relationship following the Aukus’ idea – called “Operation Hookless” in London. “There was a huge reward that was at stake,” he said.

But some British ambassadors say Johnson did not care about the meaning of the long-standing relationship with London and its European counterpart and security. “Several people have risen up to ruin their relations with France,” said Sir Peter Ricketts, a former UK ambassador to France. “You can’t fix this for a while. This is one of the most memorable moments in France. ”

After meeting Biden at the Oval Office Tuesday, Johnson broke the line with Macron, saying “Donnez-moi un break”. That same evening at the Australian embassy in Washington, Washington, the crisis with France “discussed a lot”, according to attendees. But the excitement was palpable. At the end of the meal – courgette flowers filled with cheese and Wagyu meat with a pent – Johnson and Morrison signed a menu.

Additional reports by Sebastian Payne in London and Anna Gross in Paris

Australian water saga

April 2016

France’s DCNS has been selected as the potential bidder for the Royal Australian naval fleet, in view of the rivalry between its Japanese and German rivals. Under a deal of A $ 50bn (US $ 36bn), the company, which later changed its name to Naval Group, agreed to build 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines and help maintain them for 50 years.

February 2019

After a long delay, Naval Group signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia for the supply of ships. Negotiations on technology and the nature of the corporate agreement were concluded after talks between French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

October 2019

Australia is also reviewing its defense and military capabilities, saying it has slowed the pace of change in the region. The Australian Defense Ministry has stated that the Indo-Pacific region is at the forefront of the political turmoil since World War II and that national security needs to change.

January 2021

Chinese military planes have compared the attack on a U.S. airliner during the entry into Taiwan’s airstrip, according to intelligence from the US and its allies.

September 2021

Australia is blocking the deal with the Naval Group and says it will instead get at least eight submarines powered by nuclear weapons as part of an alliance with the UK and US.

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