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Biden goes through media to ‘lobby’ France’s Macron to take his call after botched sub deal

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Imagine a scenario where a Republican president had to go through the media to essentially beg a foreign leader to take his phone call. While there’s no certainty that this is the case with President Joe Biden, the optics suggest that it is.

The 78-year-old Democratic president “hopes to hold a call with French President Emmanuel Macron to smooth over tensions after France reacted angrily last week to a new partnership between the U.S. and Australia on nuclear-powered submarines,” The Hill reported Monday.

“Biden has asked to be able to speak with President Macron to talk about the way forward, to talk about his deep commitment to the U.S. alliance with France,” a senior Biden administration official said, according to the online political news source.

So much for thinking that the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, can simply pick up the phone and speak to whomever he wants. Who knew that groveling was a deciding factor here?

“The president wants to communicate his desire to work closely with France in the Indo-Pacific and globally,” the official added. “We will continue to be engaged in the coming days on this and we look forward to the phone call with President Biden and President Macron.”

Pretty please, with sugar on top.

The Biden administration, busy winning friends and influencing people, upset the French last week with the announcement of the new partnership with the U.K., and Australia, known as AUKUS, in the quest to prove nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

As noted by The Hill, France was caught “flat footed” by the new deal after pursuing its own multi-billion dollar defense agreement with Australia for submarines. Turns out, France was only made aware of the agreement “a few hours” before it was announced on Wednesday.

According to The Washington Post, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to set up a phone call with his French counterpart, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, to describe the U.S.-U.K.-Australia deal before it was announced, but U.S. officials said the French told them that they were unable to schedule a call.

One of America’s oldest allies, France announced on Friday that it was immediately recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Australia, in protest of a submarine deal. On Thursday, the French Embassy in Washington canceled a gala, according to NBC News.

The recall was Macron’s doing.

“At the request of the President of the Republic, I have decided to immediately recall our two ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations,” French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement. “This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States.”

White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in response that the U.S. would be working to “resolve our differences.”

“We have been in close touch with our French partners on their decision to recall Ambassador Etienne to Paris,” Horne said in a statement. “We understand their position and will continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve our differences, as we have done at other points over the course of our long alliance. France is our oldest ally and one of our strongest partners, and we share a long history of shared democratic values and a commitment to working together to address global challenges.”

Biden is expected to travel to New York Monday night, ahead of his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, He’s slated to meet with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the sidelines, The Hill reported, but will not have an opportunity to cross paths with Macron because the French president will not be there.

Turns out, Macron will reportedly address the U.N. meeting virtually.

Tom Tillison

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