The roots of French pique

French President Emmanuel Macron at the opening of “The Morozov Collection, Icons of Modern Art” exhibition in Paris on Sept 21, 2021. PHOTO: AFP
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NYTIMES - It's hardly surprising that France would be furious over losing a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Australia, all the more so because it believes it was blindsided as Canberra, Washington and London secretly worked to get a different deal for themselves.

But recalling ambassadors, as France did from Washington and Canberra, a step just short of breaking relations, is not normal behaviour among allies, no matter how miffed they may be. The lost sale of a dozen submarines is painful, but not fatal to the French arms industry, especially as the hulls and engines were to be built in Australia and the electronics and armaments were to come from Lockheed Martin, an American company. And, as the Australians argue, France should have seen it coming: The diesel-powered submarines France offered were no longer what confronting a rising China required.

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