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World: France plays Biden like a fiddle

In France, Trump-like TV pundit rocks presidential campaign

  In France, Trump-like TV pundit rocks presidential campaign PARIS (AP) — A survivor of the terrible journey to Auschwitz remembered how the youngest wailed. There were 99 children squeezed among 751 adults gasping for air, crazed by thirst and hunger, aboard convoy No. 63 that departed Paris at 10 minutes past midday on Dec. 17, 1943. The 828 murdered at the death camp from that trainload alone included 3-year-old Francine Baur, her sister Myriam, 9, their brothers Antoine and Pierre, 6 and 10, and their parents Odette and André. All born in France, their French citizenship proved worthless under France's wartime Vichy regime that teamed up with the country's Nazi occupiers and their extermination of Jews.

President Joe Biden apologized to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron last Friday for the U.S. nuclear submarine contract with Australia. That contract blindsided Paris and led Canberra to cancel a $66 billion diesel submarine deal with France. "What we did was clumsy," Biden said. "It was not done with a lot of grace."

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That Biden feels he must apologize shows he is unfit to lead the free world. U.S. technology is better than French to meet Australia's needs in countering China. That U.S. businesses get the boost rather than French companies should be cause for celebration at the White House. There is nothing wrong with capitalist competition. The broader problem, however, was not Biden’s apology. It was the way in which the White House allowed Macron’s manufactured grievance to undercut broader U.S. national security.

Possible rise in baguette prices poses crunch for the French

  Possible rise in baguette prices poses crunch for the French PARIS (AP) — A hike in the cost of wheat is alarming French households who fear a possible rise in the price of the prized baguette, seen by many as a barometer of the country's economic health. Many boulangeries around France are putting up signs, warning customers that the long, crunchy staple could be going up in price by 3 to 5 centimes (4 to 6 cents), from its average of about 89 centimes (just over $1). “Although that might not seem like a lot, it’s a huge increase. The baguette is precious. It has only gone up 23 centimes in the last 20 years,” said Dominique Anract, president of the French Confederation of Bakeries and Pastry Shops.

Consider the Eastern Mediterranean, which is increasingly in play with a resurgent Russia, an aggressive Turkey, and empowered Hezbollah and Hamas. Throughout September, the United States and Greece worked to negotiate the Mutual Defense and Cooperation Agreement. The new agreement not only extends the existing one-year agreement to five years, but it could also make it permanent unless either side explicitly revokes it. The provisions also increase opportunities for joint training and ensure a broader U.S presence in Greece.

As the U.S. was negotiating its new defense agreement with Greece, France pushed ahead with a $5 billion deal to sell Greece new warships. Certainly, Greece needs the ships. Turkey challenges Greek waters and territory as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks to rewrite century-old treaties. That Biden declined an offer to co-locate U.S. forces at the Hellenic Air Force base on the Aegean island of Skyros was strategic malpractice.

Biden is getting dragged in the polls. That hasn’t stopped Dems from sticking by him.

  Biden is getting dragged in the polls. That hasn’t stopped Dems from sticking by him. The president has been welcomed on the campaign trail this fall, in part because he remains popular within his own party.Fast forward four years and Joe Biden’s poll numbers aren’t much better. Yet Democrats have welcomed Biden on the campaign trail. Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe and New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy both appeared on stage with him this week. Elsewhere, other Democrats have been happy to greet the president upon his arrival in their states and be seen with him in front of voters.

Biden’s acquiescence to the $5 billion deal as a consolation prize for Macron undermines far broader strategic objectives. Shipbuilding is not a capability that the U.S. can flip on and off upon the whims of budgetary debates. As the White House and Congress reduce military spending and delay platform purchases, they can leave workers idle. When shipyard workers have no work, they leave their jobs for other opportunities. What Biden and national security adviser Jake Sullivan turned down behind the scenes were proposals that Greece might buy American frigates and that, concurrently, the U.S. might invest in a shipyard in Greece. This would have not only provided a profit for U.S. shipbuilders, logistical companies, and engineering firms but increased Greece’s capabilities to repair American ships for decades into the future. It would not simply be a military deal but, more importantly, a commercial and civilian one.

Biden’s domestic woes could cost him on the world stage

  Biden’s domestic woes could cost him on the world stage As Democrats squabble at home, the administration's foreign policy successes are few and far between.These days, though, Biden probably wishes he could keep the two realms a bit more separate.

As Erdogan’s volatility increases, the Eastern Mediterranean today has the potential to become as hot to international shipping as the Persian Gulf was in the 1980s. When reflagged tankers and U.S. escorts hit mines then, they could sail or be towed to the United Arab Emirates, which had the facilities to accommodate them and perform needed repairs.

Biden just turned down a similar deal so he could assuage Macron’s calculated and melodramatic tantrum. Biden may feel that the crisis with France is over. Behind the scenes, however, Macron is likely joking about how easy it was to pull a fast one over on Biden and trick his ambitious but wet-behind-the-ears national security adviser.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Blog Contributors, France, Nuclear Submarine, Australia, NATO

Original Author: Michael Rubin

Original Location: France plays Biden like a fiddle

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