The last month has not been a good one for America’s reputation. Now Biden is being compared to the cursed predecessor in the White House.
“His methods are reminiscent of President Trump, only without the tweet.”
Jean-Yves Le Drian does not want to leave any doubt. The French chancellor is furious with the United States and with President Joe Biden.
Why? He believes that France has been “stabbed in the back”, as he puts it, by the United States and Australia. The two countries have joined forces with Britain to create a defense pact known as Aukus.
France is not a party to this pact. And not only that, Australia now wants to buy nuclear-powered submarines from the United States instead of diesel-powered submarines from France.
Therefore, France does not reach an agreement worth close to 350,000 million Norwegian crowns.
The anger and disappointment are so great that France has brought home the country’s ambassadors to the United States and Australia on Friday night.
Money is only part of the big picture. Just as important is the impression it leaves on many French people: that the United States cannot be trusted under Joe Biden.
“There have been lies, contempt and breach of trust. An hour before the announcement, we knew nothing about these negotiations. You don’t relate to an ally like France in such a brutal and unpredictable way, ”Le Drian said in a television interview with the French state channel this weekend.
Over the next few days, he will hold a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron in an attempt to repair the relationship.
The crisis is deep. Several experts on both sides of the Atlantic are shaking their heads at the way Biden has handled the case. Among them is European director Benjamin Haddad on the Atlantic Council’s think tank.
– Why France was not included in the negotiations, it is incomprehensible, he writes On twitter.
Kabul’s decision generated discontent
The confusion is extra great because it is the second time in little more than a month that the United States has disappointed its allies by excluding them from the discussions in which they want to participate.
The last time it was about the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Americans were in a hurry when the Taliban advanced much faster than anyone had imagined. When they took the capital, Kabul, on August 15, a bloody and confusing evacuation began.
Several European countries were frustrated by Biden’s unwillingness to include them in crisis management. This was especially true in the case of the decision to withdraw all soldiers before August 31.
– A decision without consulting with the allies in NATO, is clearly a failure, concluded Jaap De Hoop Scheffer. The Dutchman was secretary general of NATO from 2004 to 2009.
Fighting at home and away
Joe Biden can only dream of the happy moments in June. Then he met the other leaders of the richest country in the world, the so-called G7 group, in Cornwall, in the south of England. The tone was good. It was also when he met with NATO leaders a few days later.
“America is back!” declared the president.
Europeans were relieved and happy after four years of Trump’s unpredictability. Polls by America’s allies showed that trust in Americans had returned to the level before Trump moved into the White House.
But now Biden has weakened this confidence.
He is currently fighting on several fronts. Now there are more in the US who think it does bad work than those who delight in him.
In neighboring Canada, dissatisfaction is also growing. Canada is part of the intelligence alliance known as “Five Eyes” along with the United States, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand. New Aukus Cooperation Agreement May Make Canada Less Relevant In Asia, Canadian Experts Fear The Daily The balloon and the mail I have spoken.
Biden has also provoked his American rivals. The Russians did not like the fact that he indirectly called President Vladimir Putin a “murderer” in an interview in March.
And in Beijing, the authorities are clearly provoked that Biden has been no less critical of China than his predecessor. Aukus also annoys the Chinese.
Talking to the UN
In October 1990, Biden’s predecessor, George HW Bush, stood at the UN rostrum and announced a “New world order”. The Cold War was over and Bush envisioned a new era of international cooperation, in which the United States was the world’s only superpower.
31 years later, the world order is changing rapidly. China is today the largest trading partner of more than 100 countries. The United States is weakened by a series of wars that have cost money, human lives, and global reputation.
Obviously, Biden wants to confront China before the balance of power develops further in Beijing’s favor. There has long been talk of an “American turn to Asia.” The Aukus defensive pact shows that Biden is now taking a big step in that direction.
At the same time, it sends a signal that Europe may not be as important to the United States as Europeans themselves would like. The United States has also been frustrated that France and Germany have to face China.
On Tuesday, it is Joe Biden’s turn to take the UN podium. He will then give the United States address at the annual general meeting. It will be an important speech.
The 78-year-old will not just repeat the message that “America is back” after four years with Trump. It must also try to convince France and other allied countries that the United States can be trusted as a partner.
It will be a more difficult task than it seemed just a month ago.