France has formally denied being ready to give the EU its seat on the UN Security Council. "The seat is ours and will remain so," said the Elysee, in response to an article in a British newspaper.
The fake news caused a stir in France: The Telegraph, apparently eager to sow dissent, claimed that Emmanuel Macron “could offer the seat at the UN” to the EU if it supported his plans for a European army. On September 22, France “formally” denied information from the British daily according to which its seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council woud be made available to the European Union.
“We formally deny it. The seat is ours and will remain so,” affirmed the Elysee. “We coordinate with the EU as much as necessary and in full sovereignty,” the Elysee added. The Telegraph published its article in the midst of the diplomatic crisis between Paris on the one hand and Washington and Canberra on the other, following the decision of these two capitals to enter into a strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region while sidelining the French.
‘Act of treason’
France thus lost a lucrative contract for submarines with the Australians. The newspaper article was described as a potential “act of treason” by political leaders of the opposition and they demanded explanations.
“Macron must deny it urgently. France will never give up its seat on the UN Security Council. Whoever would risk it would be charged with high treason,” tweeted Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidate of La France Insoumise for the presidential election. He congratulated the president after the Elysee denied the news.
“The French seat at the UN is not for sale,” the leftwing member for Bouches-du-Rhône later said. “The Anglo-Saxon tabloid lied. Who handled it?”
The deputy of the National Rally Marine Le Pen commented on the news: “If this information is correct it is an act of treason towards the Nation. If it is not, Emmanuel Macron must say so quickly.” The President of the Patriots Florian Philippot also demanded a denial from Macron “very very quickly” because if the Telegraph article had been correct, it would have been “a massive betrayal of our most vital national interests”. Since the creation of the UN in 1945, France has been one of the five permanent members of the Security Council along with China, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom.
France may get a consolation prize
The US, which had intervened secretly with Finland to win the tender for its fighter jets, could let France win in compensation for the breach of its contract with Australia for conventional submarines.
According to Politico, about fifteen US parliamentarians, led by Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Michael Turner (R-Ohio), had obtained the support of the White House to win this market. Five companies are competing: Boeing (F/A-18EF Super Hornet), Lockheed Martin (F-35 Lightning II), Dassault (Rafale), Eurofighter (Typhoon), and Saab (Gripen E/F).
However, given the scandal caused by the unilateral termination of the contract of the submarines bought by Australia, canceled by the AUKUS pact, and given the incident between France and Switzerland over the purchase of US aircraft and not French Rafale, the Biden administration plans to let France win in Finland, as a consolation prize.
According to the Swiss newspapers SonntagsZeitung and the Matin Dimanche, President Emmanuel Macron canceled the summit scheduled for November with the President of the Swiss Federal Council, Guy Parmelin this week. The French ambassador in Bern, Frédéric Journès, specified that there would be no contact at this level during the first half of 2022, that is to say during the French presidency of the European Council.
France is the ultimate loser
The ultimate loser of this new geopolitical architecture is France. It loses its status as a global power although it still retains its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
The decline of Paris was foreseeable since the placement of its armies under US command within the Integrated Command of NATO, in 2009. Today they are no longer able to defend the whole of French territory, but send expeditions to defend US interests in Africa. Indeed, the United States have still not succeeded in deploying AfriCom on the black continent, so they are using the French ground troops that they supervise with their aerial surveillance system.
The Quai d’Orsay urgently requested explanations from the US State Department, in the hours preceding the AUKUS announcement. In the end, it concluded that Australia had knowingly concealed this project, of which the United States was the instigator.
Paris is all the more stunned since it had believed that it had established a privileged relationship with the Anglosphere. Secret negotiations were underway to move the base of the British nuclear-powered submarines (Trident) to France in the event of Scotland’s secession from the United Kingdom, the Financial Times reported on September 2, 2021.
At most, AUKUS is about a very broad cooperation in the field of armaments. It is not only a question of equipping Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, but also of equipping it with Tomahawks and Hornet missiles, and involving it in research into hypersonic missiles capable of competing with Russian advances. The three countries involved in AUKUS will work together on strategic technologies, such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
EU is sitting on the fence
For the moment, the European Union has not reacted meaningfully. The President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who was speaking at the State of the Union on the very day of the announcement of the AUKUS pact, seems paralyzed. She spoke of her new strategy in the Indo-Pacific zone, while the British pulled the rug from under France’s feet with a fake news frontpage. Not only is the European Union not a military power, but those of its members who are, will no longer have a say in how the world is being shaped.
NATO now probably understands that it will not be part of the Indo-Pacific region.
ASEAN has not reacted either, but the Indonesians have already expressed their disappointment. Admittedly, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was conceived during the Cold War like ANZUS or the EU in order to contain the communist bloc, but it has evolved since. Unlike the EU which has become a supra-national bureaucracy, ASEAN aspires to form a vast free trade area including China.
Many Indonesian intellectuals denounced the torpedoing of this dream of peace by AUKUS.
Biden forgets Australian leader’s name
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Soloviev Live YouTube channel on Wednesday that the creation of AUKUS came as a total surprise and a “shock” for NATO. “It came as an absolute surprise not for those whom the US, Australia and the UK call their opponents and whom they are collaborating against, but for their allies and the military and political blocs that the US and the UK are part of,” Zakharova said.
According to James Curran, historian at the University of Sydney, the decision to double the bet on the United States is “the biggest strategic bet in Australian history”, and Australia “bet all its money”. To add insult to injury, US President Joe Biden, who is infamous for forgetting and confusing things, thanked the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison by calling him “that fella down under”.
Perplexed by this embarrassing lapse, Morrison gave a thumbs up to the American President.
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