France economy

France rages against AUKUS Submarine Snub


Here is today’s one Foreign police brief: France rages at the new undersea pact, Russia begins the legislative elections, and JapanThe battle for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party begins.

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Here is today’s one Foreign police brief: France rages at the new undersea pact, Russia begins the legislative elections, and JapanThe battle for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party begins.

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every day of the week, please sign up here.

Starting today, FP will be releasing its UN Brief pop-up, giving you a first-hand look at the events of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Register now here to get it in your inbox.

Also today, my colleagues Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer will provide an overview of the discussions with a live conference call, starting at 11 a.m. ET.


France and China denounce AUKUS agreement

The United States’ decision to get ahead of France in supplying Australia with new submarines under the new AUKUS trilateral defense pact has sparked outrage in Paris. While the move does not lose any support for US President Joe Biden on Capitol Hill or among the American public, it could have longer-term effects that will push the United States and Europe further away when it comes to Chinese politics.

France has made a public display of outrage since the decision was announced, with French officials saying they had only received a few hours’ notice. French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian critical a “one-sided, brutal and unpredictable decision” and compared it to the behavior of former President Donald Trump.

France expressed its disgust by cancel a gala in Washington to commemorate the 240e anniversary of a French naval victory over a British fleet during the American War of Independence. Ironically, an event with a French submarine moored in a US naval port in Virginia will always be part of the celebrations.

Europe alone. It’s not hard to see why France would want to pretend to lose a deal worth $ 55 billion, but this move also plays into greater insecurity over a perceived English-speaking nation club (think of the partnership of intelligence sharing Five Eyes) which sits above other alliances. As Le Drian asserts following the snub, it reinforces “the need to pose loud and clear the question of European strategic autonomy”.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell seems to agree, saying the AUKUS deal means that the European Union must “exist for ourselves, since others exist for themselves”.

Underestimated ? Whether Australia was ever firmly committed to the French deal is disputed. In June, Greg Moriarty, Australia’s top Defense Ministry official, alludes to a Senate hearing that other options were being considered, citing “challenges” over the past year.

Speaking Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted he made it clear to French President Emmanuel Macron in June that the project could be in jeopardy, going against French claims of being caught off guard. (A joint statement released only two weeks ago expressing its attachment to the Franco-Australian project undermines its position).

China’s challenge. China has taken the obvious challenge of its naval plans seriously. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the decision sets an “extremely irresponsible” double standard and increases the risks of nuclear proliferation. State World time, a hawkish and bombastic English-language newspaper, was blunt, saying the move makes Australian troops “most likely to be the first group of Western soldiers to lose their lives in the South China Sea.”

Rather than get angry, however, China is taking steps to align itself on a different playing field. Thursday he officially asked to join Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an 11-member Pacific trade pact from which the United States withdrew in 2017.

India’s options. As C. Raja Mohan writes in Foreign police, it’s not just theatrical outrage. India stands to gain from the agreement as it contributes to “New Delhi’s own quest for a stable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific”. It could also mean that France will end up producing submarines for India.


What we are tracking today

Elections in Russia. The Russians are going to the polls today to elect a new State Duma, Russia’s legislative body, in elections that end on Sunday. As Matthew Luxmoore wrote in a dispatch from Moscow for Foreign police, the election campaign was exceptionally cautious: “signs of the upcoming election are so rare that the authorities seem to be doing all they can to make sure they go unnoticed.”

The ruling United Russia party is expected to win easily, and an impressive turnout would underscore its legitimacy. Sensing apathy, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged voters to move this weekend, saying it was “without a doubt the most important event in the life of our society and our country”.

Japan’s next leader. The race to succeed Yoshihide Suga as head of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and possibly the next prime minister, officially began ahead of the September 29 poll. Four candidates entered the competition, with Vaccines Minister Taro Kono considered the favorite. Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is likely to issue a challenge, while former ministers Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda will both seek to achieve a shaken victory. A poll conducted last week showed that Kono 27% support the Japanese public; its next closest competitor, Shigeru Ishiba, got a poll of 17% and endorsed Kono earlier this week.


The summit of CELAC. 16 heads of state will meet in Mexico City this weekend for a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a 32-member body formed by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2011. The meeting is expected to lead to a proposal to reform or replace the Organization of American States (OAS), a body that some leftist leaders consider too close interests of the United States.

The CELAC summit will serve as a meeting point for many leftist leaders newly settled in the region, with Peruvian President Pedro Castillo and Bolivian President Luis Arce expected to attend alongside more established leaders like Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez will not participate, as he faces a cabinet revolt after poor primary results.

Sanctions of Guinea. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions on the coup plotters in Guinea on Thursday as member states set a timetable for a democratic transition. ECOWAS leaders gave the Guinean junta six months to form a new government as they froze the coup plotters’ bank accounts and banned them from traveling. Talks to form a transitional government have started this week in the Guinean capital Conakry.


Berliners go to the polls this Sunday to decide if they expropriate the property of the city’s so-called mega-owners in a move that could bring 240,000 apartments into public ownership.

The initiative was presented to voters in Berlin by Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co., a campaign to combat skyrocketing city rents by publicly buying the housing stock from rental companies that own more than 3,000 units. Campaigners say all costs incurred in the expropriation would be reimbursed over time by tenants. Supporters say it will amount to 8 billion euros, opponents say it would be closer to 30 billion.

Big landowners, as well as conservative politicians, are against the initiative and say they will challenge its constitutionality in court if it passes. The German constitution allows expropriation for reasons of public interest, but it has not yet been applied on such a scale.

Kalle Kunkel, one of the campaign organizers, sees victory regardless of the meaning of Sunday’s vote. “We want the approximately 250,000 apartments currently owned by financial players to be affordable in the long term, so that people are not displaced,” Kunkel told Euronews. “And a side effect of the campaign is that speculation in Berlin is seen as dangerous. What I think is a good thing ”,