Last year’s announcement Security partnership Shockwaves were sent throughout the Indo-Pacific between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States to procure nuclear submarines. AUKUS is committed to transforming the US military stance in the region and laying the foundation for an integrated strategy to respond to China’s rise as a military force.
But from the beginning, AUKUS faced great criticism, not as much from China as America’s oldest ally, France.Paris blamed Washington “Stab from behind” After Australia’s “blind” France $ 60 billion contract In collaboration with the French shipbuilding company Naval Group, we have developed a fleet of diesel electric submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. France has signed this deal since it was agreed in 2016 Pillar of defense in Paris Permanent security efforts in the Indo-Pacific. Today, its solid strategic stance is tattered.
The loss of contracts and the overall exclusion of France from AUKUS have shown Europe’s increasingly marginal role in Asian security issues. this is, France When Germany To support free navigation operations against China’s actions in the South China Sea. Were these operations not enough to convince Washington that the European Union has provided a firm commitment to Asia?
A careful study of France’s strategic interests has revealed that the Republic can never be the fully integrated military ally the United States desires in the Indo-Pacific. Historically, modern France has been torn between continental and maritime security responsibilities. Despite trying to form an overseas empire comparable to Britain (failed), France’s main security interest remained in Europe. Especially after the two World Wars with Germany’s constant threat. That experience taught France that France cannot rely on Britain as well as the United States to maintain its security. The sea acted as a natural barrier to the Anglo-Saxon state, which was not available to the French in Gallia.
In the 1960s, President Charles de Gaulle defined France’s unique autonomous relationship with the NATO alliance. According to the “De Gaulle” foreign policy, France withdrew from NATO’s joint military headquarters structure and pursued its own nuclear deterrence independently of Britain and the United States. This allowed France to remain a core partner of NATO without compromising the defense of the continent if it decided not to challenge the decisive Soviet breakthrough to West Germany. And when Germany (or Britain) reappeared as a serious security threat, France maintained its independent nuclear deterrence.
A strong Anglo-Saxon alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia is now emerging as part of Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Frankly, that’s exactly what the United States needs to tackle the challenges China raises at sea. Both the United Kingdom and Australia are linked to the United States through history, military alliances, and Five Eyes’ information-sharing partnerships, including Canada and New Zealand. Therefore, AUKUS has the potential to become an integrated defense partnership in a way that is impossible for sovereign French and the larger European Union.
Indeed, France does not lack a significant interest in the region. It maintains the relatively large island of French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, and New Caledonia, where France’s largest military base is located in the region. Independence referendum disputed..It also has A set of dependencies In the Indian Ocean, especially Mayotte and Reunion.There is About 1.6 million French citizens Residents throughout the Indo-Pacific protected by 7,000 troops 12 naval vessels Permanently installed in the theater. It has a greater presence in the region than Britain, which maintains only 1,000 Gurkhas at the Brunei Darussalam theater.
So what is the appropriate level of security cooperation between France and the United States in the Indo-Pacific? Given France’s historic autonomous security policy, the United States could integrate military power to the same level as the Five-Eyes countries, which are bound by agreements to promote seamless interoperability between troops. can not. What the United States needs is an institution that includes France as a new security partner to deter China, but one that respects strategic autonomy. Of course, there is already such a mechanism in the Japan-US-Australia-India Strategic Dialogue with India, Japan and Australia.
Ideas “Quad Plus” Arrangement Is not new and has emerged specifically to include a stronger French presence in the region. But given that France itself is a major Indo-Pacific power, there are no real obstacles to the full integration of this dissatisfied ally into the quad, except for a series of independence referendums across all property. It seems. Paris has been aware of the potential of quad nations for some time.Already there France-India-Australia Trilateral on maritime safety and Trilateral on Australia-Japan and France on South Pacific issues. This relationship is underpinned by highly profitable defense contracts, including: US $ 9.4 billion contract He is currently suffering from allegations of corruption in order to sell Rafale fighters to India.
The real obstacle is the relationship between Franco and Australia. The damage to Western relations has subsided, Damage to Franco-Australia relations Unless Canberra and Paris agree to correct the difference between the two, it could last for years to come. This is the result that both countries need. Even if offered, Paris may choose not to participate in the Quad’s multilateral format, ignoring Australia’s role.This allows with Quad-plus Existing trilateral forum abolition.But without a larger institutional framework, Franco Indians Declaration to “act jointly” Revitalizing relations between this region and Japan in France only maintains a diplomatic stance in response to AUKUS.
The solution, as always, is diplomacy. The United States needs to work directly with the two Allies to restore strong relations in support of a larger shared strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific. The vision is clear. While the AUKUS countries are part of a single interoperable alliance command, Quad-plus is a coalition that agrees to work with the United States to thwart China’s common challenges, but ultimately varies. Hold the level strategy. Autonomy.
“The Quintessential Quintessential” may not be the most attractive name for such an organization, but it should be formed by the United States to coordinate and find the right level of strategic cooperation with France. The quad provides France with everything it wants — a related military role softened by its Gaulleist autonomist tradition. It may not be able to make up for the lost contract, but it will institutionalize security cooperation with France in the most useful way to defend the Indo-Pacific.