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Sub Snub Has Paris in a Tizzy Over AUKUS

2 0 9
17.09.2021

The Sept. 15 announcement of a new partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, awkwardly called AUKUS, is a significant move by the three countries to improve their strategic alignment and military cooperation as the Indo-Pacific increasingly becomes a focal point of foreign and defense policy.

Though the partnership initially includes several workstreams on a range of defense and technology cooperation areas, most of the attention has focused on the new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines Australia plans to build, which will involve the United States sharing its nuclear submarine propulsion technology for only the second time in history. (Washington had previously shared the highly classified technology only with Britain.) That, in turn, has led to much consternation and anger in France—because as AUKUS was announced, Australia terminated an earlier deal with Naval Group, a state-controlled French company, to build a dozen diesel-powered submarines.

As a result, Franco-U.S. and Franco-Australian relations are … underwater. French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who laid out his own vision for the Indo-Pacific in a July visit to Washington, called the announcement a “stab in the back.” Other public and private French reactions have been equally colorful. At the last minute, the French canceled a gala at their Washington embassy meant to commemorate the Franco-U.S. partnership since the American Revolutionary War.

The Sept. 15 announcement of a new partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, awkwardly called AUKUS, is a significant move by the three countries to improve their strategic alignment and military cooperation as the Indo-Pacific increasingly becomes a focal point of foreign and defense policy.

Though the partnership initially includes several workstreams on a range of defense and technology cooperation areas, most of the attention has focused on the new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines Australia plans to build, which will involve the United States sharing its nuclear submarine propulsion technology for only the second time in history. (Washington had previously shared the highly classified technology only with Britain.) That, in turn, has led to much consternation and anger in France—because as AUKUS was announced, Australia terminated an earlier deal with Naval Group, a state-controlled........

© Foreign Policy


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