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.
Can’t quite believe I’m writing this, but:— Jon Sopel (@BBCJonSopel) September 17, 2021
France is recalling its ambassador to the US and to Australia over submarine deal and #AUKUS agreement.
For such close allies, this is an extraordinary step
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."
France, our ally since 1780, just recalled their ambassador. https://t.co/kxca9rBsJI— Congresswoman Mary Miller (@RepMaryMiller) September 17, 2021
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 is also about a lucrative French deal that was preempted. The French were already testy about Afghanistan (as were other allies), then felt blindsided by US deal forged under their noses w/ basically no advance notice. I support the Biden policy here, but they did it badly.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 17, 2021
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.
Team Biden's last several weeks:— SFK (@stephenkruiser) September 17, 2021
Taliban back in power
Al Qaeda rebooting in Afghanistan
Got a bunch of Marines killed
Held in contempt by British Parliament
France recalls ambassador
(It's Twitter so I'm running out of room)
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.
Biden admin. has been in contact with French officials about the decision to recall Amb. Etienne, according to a White House official. Official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said U.S. looking to engage with France in coming days to resolve differences.— Aamer Madhani (@AamerISmad) September 17, 2021