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Diplomacy Is Back? France Recalls U.S. Ambassador Over Biden Sub Snub

Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP

Hours after President Biden left town early to retreat to his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware home, France announced that it was immediately recalling its ambassador to the United States — Philippe Etienne — Friday afternoon, as well as its ambassador to Australia.


The maneuver is a diplomatic thumbing of the nose from France to President Biden following this week's announcement that the United States had entered into an agreement to provide nuclear submarines to Australia without talking the deal over with French officials who had been working on a similar project with Australia.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that "At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately recall our two ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations." This "exceptional decision," the Foreign Minister asserted, "is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States."

"The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that Australia and France had been working on since 2016 and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States aimed at studying the possibility of future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines constitute unacceptable behavior among allies and partners," Le Drain's statement explained. "Their consequences affect the very concept we have of our alliances, our partnerships, and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe."


President Biden campaigned on a promise to restore America's standing among the countries of the world and rebuild our relationship with European allies. But now, again, what President Biden says and how President Biden governs are proving to be two very different things. After upsetting European allies with his Afghan withdrawal, Biden's sub snub was apparently the final straw for the French.

This latest diplomatic quagmire follows the French embassy's decision to cancel an upcoming gala held to celebrate the relationship between France and the United States, and comes just before President Biden is set to address the United Nations General Assembly amid a series of blunders on the world stage.


While Biden is at the beach, the White House responded to France's decision to recall their ambassador saying the U.S. will work to resolve differences with the French.

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