Boris Tells France, ‘Donnez-Moi un Break’ over Bitter Exclusion from Defence Pact

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stands next to a bust of Winston Churchill as he departs the U.S. Capitol following a visit with Congressional leadership on September 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mr Johnson made a 24-hour visit to Washington to meet with the president, …
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke into Franglais to tell France to “prenez un grip” following the country’s bitter reaction to allegedly being excluded from the UK, U.S., and Australian defence and security union.

French diplomats last week condemned what they perceived as being frozen out from the Anglosphere alliance AUKUS. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian went as far as calling Austalia’s cancellation of a contract to build submarines “a stab in the back”.

Paris has since recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia and cancelled a defence summit with the United Kingdom. Continuing to act in a petty manner, several French diplomats have accused Australia of “treason” and accused the UK of accepting “vassal status” to the U.S. and of “permanent opportunism”.

Likely tiring of the jibes, Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke into hybrid French and English — known as Franglais — speaking to journalists while on a trip to Washington, saying in comments reported by The Times: “I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip [get a grip] about this and donnez-moi un break [give me a break].

“Because this is fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It’s three very like-minded allies standing shoulder to shoulder creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology. It’s not exclusive. It’s not trying to shoulder anybody out.”

He also claimed that the Indo-Pacific alliance is “not adversarial towards China”.

“It is there to intensify links and friendship between three countries in a way that will be beneficial for things that we believe in. Good for the protection of democracy, freedom, human rights, equalities, the rule of law which underpins the free trade that we have just been talking about so I find it very hard to see in this agreement anything not to like,” he added.

Last Wednesday the leader of the U.S., UK, and Australia announced the new trilateral defence and security partnership which it said would “protect and defend our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific”.

AUKUS will enhance the sharing of technology as well as interoperability, including on cyber capabilities, quantum technologies, and artificial intelligence, with its first initiative being the development of nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian navy.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed no regrets on Sunday over cancelling the contract with France, with his Defence Minister Peter Dutton saying: “We can understand of course, the French are upset at the cancellation of a contract but in the end, our job is to act in our national interest.”

Further, Morrison said that Paris was well aware of Canberra’s “deep and grave concerns” that the submarine fleet they were building was not up to specification.

Mr Morrison said: “The capability that the Attack class submarines were going to provide was not what Australia needed to protect our sovereign interests.”

Adding: “They would have had every reason to know that we have deep and grave concerns that the capability being delivered by the Attack class submarine was not going to meet our strategic interests and we have made very clear that we would be making a decision based on our strategic national interest.”


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