United States climate envoy John Kerry was recently asked on French television about the Biden Administration’s recent deal with Australia, which did not include France. France already has a $40 billion deal with Australia for 12 submarines and, according to Kerry, President Joe Biden had “no idea” that the US-UK-Australia submarine deal would upset the French government. According to Kerry, President Biden had “not been aware” that the diplomatic tensions had transpired. It seems that President Biden is not aware of a lot of things.
Kerry is currently in Paris with Secretary of State Antony Blinken to help “smooth the ruffled feathers” of French officials regarding the Australian submarine deal. French officials had called Biden’s move a “stab in the back” and went so far as to recall its ambassadors to the US and cancel a gala over it.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, went on to say that French President Emmanual Macron was furious about the way the United States, Britain, and Australia negotiated the deal without informing them. Australia had canceled a $66 billion agreement to purchase French-built submarines just hours before the deal with Washington and London.
This also happened during the same time as Biden’s botched Afghanistan exit, in which he failed to inform his allies ahead of time. An interviewer asked Kerry about the deal in Australia that upset the French so much, in which he shared his exchange with Joe Biden over it.
“He asked me. He said, ‘What’s the situation?’ and I explained exactly. … He was, he had not been aware of that, he literally, literally had not been aware of what had transpired. And I don’t want to go into the details of it, but suffice it to say that the president … my president is very committed to strengthening the relationship and making sure that this is a small event of the past and moving on to the much more important future,” Kerry said.
Blinken and Kerry met with President Macron to help ease some of the tensions and agreed that the deal would’ve benefited from “open consultation” among allies. According to State Department meeting reports, the two discussed steps to cooperate closer and move forward in U.S-French relations.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, however, has rebuked Kerry’s claims that Biden was unaware of the French anger.
“Of course he knew about the French being displeased. I would encourage you to ask John Kerry specifically about the context of his comments. The president and the former secretary are also good friends. He relies on his council as he does with many members of his national security team,” Psaki said.
It can’t be very reassuring to the French that President Biden had “no idea what was going on” or reassuring to Americans to hear Psaki rebuke the claims from members of her own administration. There’s never a straight answer other than the one given by former Obama Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. “Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”