EURACTIV, October 2021
The AUKUS trilateral submarine deal, which undercut France’s existing agreement with Australia, is just one more example that the US, regardless of who is president, is content to take the EU and European leaders for granted. This has implications for European security, the path towards the EU’s own Defense Union, and by extension, NATO.
The deal’s announcement was a surprising diplomatic misstep on the part of the Biden administration. There was no reason to rush the announcement, and regular diplomatic processes could have paved the way for a better outcome. At the same time, the depth of this diplomatic misstep, which led to the temporary recall of French ambassadors from Washington and Canberra, was also avoidable. France could have been included in the negotiations, for example, or at the very least prepared for the announcement.
Indeed, France is a natural partner as it has a presence and interest in the Indo-Pacific and is also a leader in nuclear energy. So, why would President Biden overlook France? The most generous interpretation is that Biden is following in Barack Obama’s footsteps in terms of treating the EU and its member states as something of an afterthought.