Expert predicts a 'very hard' period between U.S. and France following Australian submarine deal

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Payne, Blinken, and Austin.
Payne, Blinken, and Austin. ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

An expert on French-American relations predicts a "very hard" period in the friendship between the U.S. and France in the wake of the former's nuclear submarine partnership with Australia, The New York Times reports.

"This looks like a new geopolitical order without binding alliances," said the expert, Nicole Bacharan. "To confront China, the United States appears to have chosen a different alliance, with the Anglo-Saxon world confronting France."

The U.S., U.K.,and Australia deal is at odds with one made between France and Australia in 2016, intended to provide the latter with "conventional, less technologically sophisticated submarines," writes the Times. That contract has now collapsed, in favor of the U.S. and U.K. arrangement. Paris has since claimed the new deal to be a "stab in the back," and one that reminds French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of former President Donald Trump.

"This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do," Le Drian told Franceinfo radio. "I am angry and bitter. This isn't done between allies."

On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken attemped to soothe some of that ire, calling France a "vital partner" in the Indo-Pacific region, and one that Washington will continue to work with.

"We cooperate incredibly closely with France on many shared priorities in the Indo-Pacific but also beyond around the world. We're going to continue to do so. We place fundamental value on that relationship, on that partnership," said Blinken. Read more at The New York Times.

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