Global Affairs

France's Indo-Pacific vision hit by harsh political realities

There’s no doubting the commitment and effort President Macron has put into a European strategy for Asia. The scrapped submarine deal with Australia highlights the hard truths of power politics.

President Emmanuel Macron had outlined a vision of where France stood or should stand in the Indo-Pacific region. PHOTO: AFP
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A "stab in the back" is how France branded Australia's abandonment of the contract for the supply of French conventional submarines, in favour of an alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom to develop Australia's nuclear-powered submarines.

France's politicians like to talk in grand terms. But for once, they are right to use such dramatic language. For the way France was treated by the three English-speaking nations was deplorable at every level. And the injustice of this treatment goes even further, since France was the first major European country to take the shift of the world's centre of gravity to Asia seriously, and the first to urge its partners in Europe to do the same.

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