Joe Biden is asking for a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron. Biden is pressing for a call in the next few days. The relationship between the two leaders has broken at this point thanks to Biden’s new alliance with Australia and the UK to share nuclear submarine technology with Australia, prompting the Australians to cancel a $66B submarine contract with France.
Macron and the French government were only notified of the deal a few hours ahead of the announcement, caught off guard by the deal known as AUKUS, which will deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. Macron is reported to have been furious about the loss of the deal and being shut out by the three countries. France recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in protest of the deal. The order came from Macron. To say that move is highly unusual between the U.S. and France, our oldest ally is an understatement. Australia canceled the multi-billion dollar contract but Macron blames Biden for the loss. The French embassy in Washington also canceled a reception it planned to host Friday to mark the 240th anniversary of the Battle fo the Chesapeake, the French naval victory over a British fleet during the American Revolution.
“President Biden has asked to be able to speak with President Macron to talk about the way forward, to talk about his deep commitment to the U.S. alliance with France, an alliance that has fostered security, stability and prosperity around the world for decades,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters on a call Monday.
“The president wants to communicate his desire to work closely with France in the Indo-Pacific and globally and to talk about specific practical measures that we can undertake together,” the Biden administration official said. “We understand the French position. We don’t share their view in terms of how this all developed but we understand their position and we will continue to be engaged in the coming days on this and we look forward to the phone call with President Biden and President Macron once its time is fixed on the books.”
The official added that Biden and Macron have a “deep mutual respect” for one another.
Biden has an odd way of showing “deep mutual respect”. It’s the same way he treated our NATO allies during the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He acts first and notifies others later. Remember when he campaigned for president and said he’s the guy with all the experience in dealing with world leaders and has such a good working relationship with them? Macron even said that it was good to have Biden with them as a member of their club during the G7 summit in England last summer. Macron spoke too soon. The Big Guy always gets 10%. C’est la vie, Emmanuel.
The relationship isn’t permanently broken, of course, and it was reported yesterday that Macron will speak with Biden soon.
French President Emmanuel Macron will speak in the coming days with President Joe Biden in their first contact since a major diplomatic crisis erupted between France and the United States over a submarine deal with Australia, an official said Sunday.
The phone call is at the request of Biden, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, adding that there was “shock” and “anger” at first in France over news of the deal. But now it’s time to try to move forward, he said.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met Sunday with the two ambassadors to discuss “the strategic consequences of the current crisis,” the ministry said without elaborating.
“What’s at play in this affair, this crisis … are strategic issues before being commercial issues,” Attal told BFMTV. “The question is … the forces present, the balance, in the Indo-Pacific where part of our future is at play, and our relations with China.”
The State Department has been scrambling to make nice with Macron and their French counterparts. Just like with the rapid fall in Afghanistan to the Taliban, the State Department claims to have been surprised by France’s reaction. Does anyone at State understand how humans think? Why would Macron not be angry to be kicked to the curb by Biden after he had been working on the deal for a couple of years? Of course, he’s pissed off.
U.S. officials acknowledged Sunday that they have been surprised by the strength of France’s reaction, which included abruptly recalling its ambassador from Washington last week. They privately attributed the spat largely to internal French politics as Macron seeks reelection but said they were nonetheless working urgently to tamp down the flare-up and avoid further inflaming a close ally.
One U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said national security adviser Jake Sullivan met face to face with French Ambassador Phillipe Etienne on Thursday and Friday. Friday’s visit was to inform Sullivan of the ambassador’s immediate recall, and Etienne left Washington hours later.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meanwhile, attempted to set up a phone call with his French counterpart, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, to describe the U.S.-U.K.-Australia deal before it was announced, but American officials said the French told them that they were unable to schedule a call.
The French will likely let this continue for a week or so, according to one French official. They want Biden to grovel a while. The State Department is busy pretending everything is fine in the meantime, the French will come around. Biden promised that America was back and apparently, Macron fell for that. He had to learn the hard way that Biden is a career politician who is not to be trusted.
When asked by Ed O’Keefe, senior White House and political correspondent for CBS News about the timing of a phone conversation between the two men today, Jen Psaki answered, “We’re in active conversation about a call.” This indicates Macron is letting Biden twist in the wind a little longer. If a phone call had been agreed upon, she would have been eager to announce it and say everything is fine.