МОСКВА, 12 декабря 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.
Washington has dealt another blow to Paris. The administration of US President Joe Biden has approved the sale of four MMSC (Multi-Mission Surface Combatant) multipurpose ships to Greece. According to the EADaily website, the transaction amount is estimated at $6.9 billion. The Americans also intend to conclude a contract for the modernisation of frigates of the MEKO type, which are already in service in the Greek navy. The second deal is estimated at $2.5 billion. Thus, Athens actually announced the termination of the contract with the French “Naval Group” shipbuilding company for the supply of three frigates of the FDI-HN type, the publication emphasises.
This news had the effect of an exploding bomb in France. Paris claims that it’s already impossible to terminate the «Greek deal». The French Defence Ministry said that «the competing proposal made by the United States is invalid» because «since we started negotiations with the Greeks, the American initiative is no longer on the table» and «we signed an agreement with the Greeks, it was initialed a few days ago”. Also, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, a source in the Greek Defence Ministry confirmed that «the Greek-French agreement remains in force and will be implemented and that it was done at the highest level – the Greek Prime Minister himself announced it”.
However, the situation is not so unequivocal. Three months ago, France was already faced with the termination of the same «guaranteed» contract for the supply of 12 submarines to Australia in the amount of €55 billion. Paris immediately linked this demarche with the creation of a new defence alliance AUKUS (Australia — Great Britain — USA), highlighting the position of the Americans. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned Biden’s “approach», after which Paris recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia.
At the end of October in Rome, the US president «tried to turn the page» during a conciliatory meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. The two heads of state announced their intention to start a «strategic dialogue on military trade». Some Russian observers considered that the White House managed to overcome the crisis in relations with France and agree on further close contacts within NATO.
However, as we noted at that time, the French only pretended that they were satisfied with Biden’s explanations, and Paris, during the presidency of the European Union, which begins on January 1, 2022, will try to promote its own projects of «strategic autonomy», including in the military sphere. And only then will France find a way to respond painfully to Washington. After all, the French are vindictive people, and Biden never apologised to Macron and France in his person.
It is obvious that Macron’s smiles did not convince Washington either, which went to finish off the French president, who is seeking re-election next spring. Already in the situation with submarines, as we wrote, Macron was exposed as a weak politician, unable to fulfil promises and protect his citizens and the national interests of France. He was humiliated in front of the whole world, and in a rather harsh form.
Similar assessments are heard also now. French commentators believe that «the new intervention of the Americans in the almost signed contract with the Greeks is proof that they want to destroy France and Europe, which would be independent of the United States» and «with Macron, we will undoubtedly move from one humiliation to another humiliation”.
The question is why the Biden administration is so negative about the current occupant of the Elysee Palace. It is unlikely that this can be explained solely by some kind of «anti-Americanism». After all, not only French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, located on the right flank, declare their rejection of Washington’s policy.
The right-of-centre candidate, Republican Pécresse similarly declares that she refuses to see the country as a «vassal of the United States”.
However, the White House sees danger precisely in Macron’s re-election, which is why it deals crushing blows to him, although it understands that thereby provokes harsh anti-American sentiments among French politicians and society. Washington in this case may be guided by the following considerations.
Firstly, after the resignation of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron becomes the most authoritative and influential politician in Europe, which will allow him to effectively lobby French initiatives that pose threats to the United States. Any other candidate who replaces him will have to spend several years trying to strengthen their position in the EU and gain the necessary «political weight». And time matters today.
Secondly, Macron represents «class-related forces» to the American Democrats, acting as the deputy of the European Socialists in the world’s Socialist International. The French President thus has the opportunity in the «socialist politburo» to block the initiatives of the US Democratic Party and impose solutions beneficial to European socialists.
Thirdly, Macron is suspected that his vision of a new configuration of European security implies an agreement with Russia, dialogue with China and the expulsion of the United States from Europe. This is unacceptable for Washington, which has now itself gone to the game with Moscow in order to control the process of building a new configuration of European security, and also does not intend to let the EU become close with Beijing.
Therefore, the French president faces a very difficult fight for re-election. In the near future, the United States will probably deal new blows to Macron.