Agency: Relations between France and the U.S. have sunk to their lowest level in decades, after the U.S. and Australia secretly negotiated a plan to build nuclear submarines.
The two countries went to extraordinary lengths to keep Paris in the dark on the plan, which scuttled a French defense contract worth at least $60 billion for diesel-electric submarines.
In response, President Emmanuel Macron recalled France’s ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia. It was the first time in the history of the long alliance between France and the U.S., dating back to 1778, that Paris recalled an ambassador in this way.
Engineering: Australia feared that the French-built, diesel-electric submarines would be obsolete by the time they were delivered. The country expressed interest in seeking a fleet of quieter nuclear-powered submarines based on American and British designs that could patrol areas of the South China Sea with less risk of detection.
Diplomacy: Until this week, the so-called pivot to Asia by the United States had been more of a threat than a reality for Europe, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe writes in an analysis. With this deal, European leaders may have to pick a side in the fraught U.S.-China relations.
Britain: The country, which played an early role in brokering the alliance, is the unlikely winner in the global affair.