Why the French are so furious at the Biden administration over a derailed submarine deal

PARIS — France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations Friday, underscoring simmering French anger over a secretly negotiated submarine technology deal between the United States, Australia and Britain.

In a statement, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the move came “at the request of President [Emmanuel] Macron” and reflects “the exceptional seriousness.” Le Drian had earlier compared the U.S. decision to something “Mr. Trump would do.”

The Biden administration’s move to share sensitive nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia, which was first announced Wednesday, effectively canceled an earlier agreement between Australia and France. Under that previous deal, Australia would have purchased 12 French diesel-powered submarines.

The French diplomatic response has been unusual in its public bluntness. In an interview, France’s ambassador to Australia accused his host country of having engaged in “lies and treason” for 18 months. The Friday evening gala held at Washington’s French Embassy was cancelled. It was to have commemorated France’s naval support to American forces in the Revolutionary War.

What to know

  • Why are the French so angry?
  • Will it have long-term implications?
  • What are France’s ambitions in the Pacific?

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