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Forget America. We French must go our own way

Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

America has “brutally” insulted France, says the latter’s former ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud in Le Point. The pact between the US, Britain and Australia torpedoed all bonhomie between us. Obama was indifferent to our continent. Trump was hostile to us. And now Biden has tried to show us our place. By putting paid to France’s $55bn deal to build 12 Australian submarines, the US has “trampled on a major ally’s interest without even trying to soften the blow”. In keeping with its “good versus evil” world view, Uncle Sam has picked a new villain: China. The message is clear – America first.

France “should expect nothing from the US, regardless of who’s president”. And we expect nothing better of Britain, which is no more than a “bit-part player” after Brexit. But we expected better of Australia after we backed them in their tiff with China. France must return to its roots: Gaullism. That means a return to our pragmatic foreign policy of doing what’s best for France. De Gaulle knew it was wise to be an ally without being servile. With China, the only other remaining superpower, we must return to playing the go-between. “It’s not about being anti-American, it’s about being independent.” China is not as direct a threat to European security as the USSR was. The era of American supremacy is ending. France’s voice must be heard.