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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to begin three-day France visit


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to begin three-day France visit

Andrew Harnik POOL AFP
Photo: Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Paris today for a three-day visit to discuss US-French cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

This visit follows the recently announced AUKUS submarine deal between Australia, the UK and the US which scuttled a pre-existing Australian-French agreement, causing the US-France relationship to rapidly deteriorate. The public fallout included unanswered calls by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian from Blinken and the brief withdrawal of France’s ambassador in Washington.

Some have accused France of overreacting, while others view it as another example of US President Joe Biden’s tendency to make rash decisions without consulting allies—like the withdrawal from Afghanistan. For French President Emmanuel Macron, the lost submarine deal comes as he maneuvers to lead an EU without the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Expect Blinken attempt to regain French trust by extending peace offerings, including an invitation to Macron for a state visit to Washington. Still, the US will have to work harder to repair the alliance, likely by offering support for unpopular French policies, like the development of EU defense capabilities. Though unpopular in Washington, this policy plays into the submarine deal’s essential theme: strengthening allied strength to confront increasingly aggressive adversaries.

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