France accused President Joe Biden of acting like former President Donald Trump and stabbing it in the back after they got cut out of a defense deal the US struck with Australia, Reuters reports.
The US, Britain, and Australia agreed to share nuclear submarine technology and other technological data in an effort to counter China.
The US previously only shared the technology with the United Kingdom and Australia does not have the necessary material to operate a nuclear-powered submarine, meaning that the three countries will work over the next 18 months to deliver the tech down under.
“This technology is extremely sensitive,” a senior US official told Politico. “This is frankly an exception to our policy in many respects. I do not anticipate that this will be undertaken in other circumstances going forward.”
As a result, Australia will abandon a $90 billion submarine deal with France so it can use the money to acquire US-made submarines. Australia has complained about the design and the cost of the French subs, though it is likely to take years before they get a US-built nuclear-powered submarine.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian compared Biden to his predecessor after the deal.
"This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do," he said. "I am angry and bitter. This isn't done between allies."
Just two weeks earlier, Australian officials reaffirmed the deal to French officials and French President Emmanuel Macron touted the deal while hosting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in June.
"It's a stab in the back. We created a relationship of trust with Australia and that trust has been broken," Le Drian said.
Deal could hurt ties:
Foreign policy experts expressed concerns that the deal could strain US relations with France.
Despite the deal being tacitly aimed at countering China, Bruno Tertrais, the deputy director of the Paris-based think tank the Foundation of Strategic Research, warned it would "complicate the transatlantic cooperation in and about the region. Beijing will benefit."