Australia owes France nothing

Scott Morrison looks at a model of submarine after signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement with France in Canberra in February 2019: France's submarines were no longer fit for the purpose of defending Australia. © Getty Images

NIKKEI ASIA – Ian Lloyd NeubauerSeptember 25, 2021 05:00 JST

Canceled submarines were no longer fit for purpose

Treason. Duplicity. A blow to the back. A breach of trust.

These are just a few of the colorful ways that French officials have described Australia’s decision to cancel a 2016 deal to build 12 conventionally-powered submarines in favor of at least eight submarines at nuclear propulsion supplied by the United States and the United Kingdom.

At first glance, the French outrage – which saw President Emmanuel Macron recall his ambassadors from Australia and the United States – seems justified. After all, a deal is a deal.

But when you consider the issues that plagued the failed submarine project from the start – a $ 30 billion cost explosion, endless delays, questionable commitments to meet local content requirements – you could find that your sympathy for the French is starting to wane.

And when I think of all the Australians who died defending France in the two world wars of the last century, I start to feel more than a little annoyed by the arrogant ingratitude of a nation that has never lifted the little finger to help Australia in combat. Don’t get me started on the billions of dollars wrested from Australian farmers by European farm subsidies largely driven by France.



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