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What are these submarines, ordered and then cancelled by Australia from France, about? Much more than a contract lost on the other side of the world, or a temporary humiliation by a very rude ally. They are the name of a real geopolitical earthquake, which too few people want to see; and which can only be understood by linking it to the major trends of the last few decades and to what was played out very recently in Afghanistan.
In short: France is being relegated to the rank of a forgotten ally of a declining empire. A situation of double weakening, the worst in politics.
And here is why:
- The United States no longer has the means to protect all its allies, as it has done until now; so it is choosing to refocus and to worry mainly about protecting itself from China, in the Pacific, neglecting Europe and the Middle East, and then withdrawing from them in fits and starts.
- To achieve this, the United States is seeking to build a military alliance with a few countries in the Pacific region as soon as possible, regardless of the collateral damage. In the process, it is forgetting a few of them, including India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
- France has not succeeded in making the United States understand that it too is a Pacific nation, in terms of its population, its army and its maritime zone. More generally, it has never succeeded in making the United States understand, or even believe itself, that it is a maritime power. More generally, it has failed to make anyone in the United States believe that it is a power whose support is needed and whose hostility is unacceptable.
- Although in decline, the American superpower dictates to all its vassals whenever and wherever it wants, without limit. Just as it imposed on the British the conditions for their own departure from Afghanistan, it imposed on the Australians the propulsion system for their submarines (nuclear, not conventional), and trampled on the French who found themselves robbed, without notice, of the implementation of a major contract signed more than five years ago.
- The American superpower is master of the substance, through its legal system, and is also master of the form and does not bother with any excuse or counterpart when it causes major damage to one of its allies, which has no way of being informed in advance of these decisions, of discussing them, of obtaining amendments or counterparts, neither industrial, nor financial, nor military, nor political.
- The American superpower thus imposes its conception of law everywhere, including in the procedures for settling disputes: if France had requested arbitration, it would have been set up according to American procedures and judged according to the jurisprudence of American law. More than ever, the American hyperempire, although in relative decline, governs not only through its economic and political power and its cultural domination, its “soft power”, but also through the power of its law (its “legal power”), which is now imposed in a very large part of the world, including Europe.
- Moreover, the American conception of law is not only imposing itself in business; it is also insinuating itself into morals since it sets the conditions for managing issues of race, gender, culture, and digital data management, calling into question the foundations of French national identity, as essential as secularism and the primacy of the universal.
All in all, France, like the rest of Europe, is now facing a terrible threat: soon to be no more than the forgotten province of a declining empire. Can we really imagine what this means? It happened to Greece during the Roman Empire, to Spain during the Dutch Empire, to Ireland during the British Empire. Nothing is worse. In managing its interests, the US would increasingly abandon allies it no longer needs. Allies who would still naively believe they have its support.
This is certain death.
To avoid it, everyone knows what to do: build an autonomous European power, with its own conception of law, and its own strategy of economic and military sovereignty.
Sometimes, when you get a slap in the face, you bow your head and make yourself small. Sometimes, on the contrary, you stand up and fight.