After Australia’s refusal from the “contract of the century” for the purchase of French military submarines in favor of the United States, France began to consider the scenario of the country’s withdrawal from NATO. The discussion intensified with renewed vigor this week. “Gazeta.ru” figured out how determinedly they were in Paris.
Le Figaro newspaper published a keynote article entitled “Should France Leave NATO ‘s Joint Command ?” At the same time, French parliamentarian Eric Chiotti proposed raising the issue of the country’s withdrawal from the North Atlantic Alliance, and the Senate created an “informal working group” headed by former Defense Minister Alain Richard to “explore the possibilities of reducing military cooperation with the United States.”
Earlier, Paris for the first time in history recalled the head of its diplomatic mission from Washington.
France took such a drastic step after Australia’s refusal to order French submarines for a record $ 66 billion. Canberra announced its unilateral withdrawal from the contract in favor of cooperation with the United States and Great Britain. An additional catalyst for the problem was the formation of a trilateral defense alliance between the United States, Great Britain and Australia – AUKUS. Paris was not invited there.
“The dissatisfaction of France is caused not so much by the emergence of a new alliance as by the fact that Paris was made an extreme, having refused a big contract with it. And this despite the fact that the French are the largest international arms exporter. Accordingly, they perceive the refusal as an Anglo-Saxon blow to their shipbuilding and maritime policies. Not to mention the loss of money and jobs,” Oleg Barabanov, Program Director of the Valdai Club, MGIMO professor, told Gazeta.Ru.
According to him, the decision to break the Franco-Australian contract did not arise from scratch and was discussed by the United States, Great Britain and Australia at the G20 summit. At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron was not invited to take part in this, the expert noted.
At the same time, it is too early to speak of a crisis of confidence within NATO on this basis.
“It just came as a personal blow to Macron. After all, he is a politician, in every possible way disposed to cooperate with the Anglo-Saxons, and he did not expect this. But I would not call it a crisis of confidence in the alliance. The Anglo-Saxons have never had a trusting relationship with the French, and now France has simply been pointed to “her place,” – convinced political scientist, associate professor of the Russian State Humanitarian University Vadim Trukhachev.
Barabanov is also inclined to believe that it is more about a violation of diplomatic etiquette towards the French leader than about a deliberate policy of ignoring France.
In doing so, some European countries followed the Australian example. “Moreover, even Switzerland and Belgium preferred American military contracts to French ones. Macron, with his albeit relative, but Americanism, was simply twisted around the finger. Probably, a more experienced and less inclined French president would have calculated such risks, ”Trukhachev explained.
Barabanov believes that there are no really deep contradictions that at this stage could lead to a split in NATO. In particular, this is due to the policy and plans of the head of the White House, Joseph Biden, to involve the EU and France as its active member in their projects.
“In the Pacific Ocean, within the framework of AUKUS, the United States is not against France, but against China. Australian concerns are also linked to China. And the UK, after leaving the EU, seeks to demonstrate itself as an independent global player and therefore also participates in this new alliance, the expert said. – That is, the strengthening of the US Pacific policy is indisputable, but this in itself does not deny the activity of Washington in European politics. It is no coincidence that Biden tried to actively mitigate the cracks that have formed as a result of Trump’s policies [between the EU and the US]. “
There is another circumstance that explains the excitement of French politicians and the media, forcing them to raise the issue of leaving the organization. In the spring of 2022, presidential elections are to be held in the republic.
“A tough election campaign has already begun in the country.
All politicians, including Macron, can use anti-NATO and anti-American rhetoric in these conditions.
But the matter, most likely, will not move from rhetoric to real procedures for withdrawing from NATO structures, ”Barabanov summed up.