President Biden arrived in New York on Monday for his first address to the United Nations General Assembly following a series of foreign policy crises – including a split with France that brought states’ oldest ally – United to withdraw its ambassador on the subject of a new strategic alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom. and the fallout from the disastrous withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
Biden traveled to New York City after briefly returning to the White House from a weekend getaway to his Delaware beach house without answering questions from reporters.
The President was greeted at the airport by Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray. He was to meet face-to-face with UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday evening.
The president has not spoken to the press since what some critics have dubbed the administration’s “Hell Friday”, when within hours last week France recalled its envoy to Washington and that the US military admitted to killing 10 civilians, including seven children and an aid worker – in a drone strike, the administration initially turned as a triumph of its counterterrorism capabilities “to the ‘horizon’ after the war in Afghanistan.
The feud with the Paris government began on Wednesday last week, when Biden, along with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announced plans to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
The initiative, intended to send a warning signal to China and to redress an affront to Australia over the withdrawal from Afghanistan, overturned a French defense contract worth at least $ 66 billion. dollars to sell diesel submarines to Australia and provoked outrage from the European power government.
French Minister of European and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Friday that he had recalled the ambassadors to the United States and Australia and blasted the two countries for what he described as “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, including the consequences directly affect the vision we have. of our alliances, our partnerships and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe.
A day earlier, Le Drian had told France Info radio that the ad represented a “stab in the back” and added that it “reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do” .
“I am angry and bitter,” added the minister. “It doesn’t happen between allies.
Biden is expected to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in the coming days to try to resolve the issue.
The fiasco marked yet another setback for international relations under the Biden administration following the chaos and confusion of the Afghan withdrawal, which was marked by disagreements between Allied forces over the Kabul rescue operations and the denial of the President to reach out to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the disaster that lasted for weeks.
This disaster was punctuated by the Pentagon’s admission on Friday afternoon that the August 29 drone strike, which targeted a car in Kabul believed to be carrying ISIS suicide bombers, had in fact killed innocent civilians who did not posed no threat to US forces.
The Pentagon initially said the strike was a successful mission to prevent another attack on Kabul International Airport after 13 U.S. servicemen and at least 169 Afghans were killed by an ISIS suicide bomber on August 26. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went so far as to proclaim to reporters on September 1 that “the procedures were properly followed and that it was a virtuous strike.”
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., head of the US Central Command, gave a very different assessment on Friday when he called the strike “a mistake” and offered “my sincere apologies” – but did not say if anyone would be detained. responsible for the disaster.
By the time McKenzie was confessing to media around the world, Biden had left Washington for Delaware and a weekend of a few public appearances and no public events.