Australia submarine row shows that Europe can't trust the U.S.
First Voice

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The leaders of the UK, U.S. and Australia announced a "technology-sharing deal" on Wednesday that would see the three countries come together on research and development to counter China. The most publicized part of the deal was that the United States would now share its nuclear submarine technology with Australia, leading Canberra to jettison a $90 billion order it had placed with France.

This provoked outrage from Paris, which said the betrayal "only reinforces the need to make the issue of European strategic autonomy loud and clear" – in other words, to be less dependent upon the United States as a partner.

France, and by extension Europe, cannot trust the United States as an ally or partner. "America First" was not a phase under Trump but a permanent orientation of American foreign policy whereby it has been happy to undermine, cheat and betray its partners in the pursuit of its zero-sum rendering of self-interest.

Despite Biden having frequently marketed "America is Back!" and pushed a charm offensive against Europe, the U.S. hastily threw France under the bus as soon as it saw the opportunity to deepen profits for its own military-industrial complex.

It was falsely assumed that with the demise of Donald Trump, the United States' self-interested approach toward Europe would come to an end and that ties would be "renewed." As the narrative focused so much on Trump for who he is, as opposed to American foreign policy as a general rule, European leaders placed far too much hope on Biden being different. They bought into his shoddy claims that he would support allies under the name of "America is Back!" and  restored transatlantic solidarity.

The U.S. readily bullies Europe and has little tolerance when the bloc's interests differ from Washington's.

The White House. /Getty

The White House. /Getty

Earlier, the EU and China reached a deal in principle for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment wherein China would offer increased market access to European companies. As made evident by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the U.S. openly opposed the deal and demanded preliminary discussions on China's economic practices in the name of transatlantic solidarity. The White House moved to actively sabotage the deal between Brussels and Beijing.

What happened? The EU had effectively allowed the U.S. to drive a wedge between China and itself and sacrificed its own interests and strategic autonomy readily.  Europe had mistakenly calculated that they could extract concessions from Washington and move past the impasse caused by Trump in taking this risky position.

They were wrong. Washington took advantage of the bloc.

And as the submarine fiasco shows, the U.S. time and time again bullies, manipulates and traps Europe into submitting to its foreign policy preferences. 

The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have appointed themselves "Indo-Pacific" powers bent on escalating war, confrontation and instability against China. The move is reckless. It is naive to think the U.S. would care about what Europe, a geographically distant region, wants.

As France says, it is important now that Europe exerts its own strategic independence and formulates independent relationships that serve European interests, irrespective of what the United States wants. When profits are at stake for the U.S. military-industrial complex, it is illogical to think the U.S. would give Europe a share of that pie.

The Biden administration illustrates that just like Trump, America is aggressive and irresponsible and belittles its allies. Scott Morrison has subordinated himself to becoming America's lapdog. His decisions will undermine the stability, security and prosperity of Australia, demonstrating that it is a hostile, untrustworthy and erratic partner.

Europe is better off not being involved with this fiasco. It should forge its own independent view and relationship with China and shake off the vice that the United States holds over it.

This is a lesson of what role America is truly playing. Its actions threaten not only European interests but also the peace and prosperity in Asia at large. Beijing will not stand idly by while countries attempt to militarize its entire periphery. China has the will, capacity, resources and determination to match everything that is thrown at it.

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