US-Australian submarine deal angers France
President Biden’s announcement that the US and Britain would help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines in the South China Sea infuriated France, foreshadowing how US and European responses contradictory confrontations with China could redraw the world strategic map.
The agreement aimed to strengthen and update alliances as strategic priorities change. But by bringing a Pacific ally closer to the Chinese challenge, Biden appears to have alienated himself from an important European ally and worsened already strained relations with Beijing.
France has reacted indignantly to the deal, about which the United States gave the country only a few hours’ notice. It is also a commercial matter, rendering null and void an agreement of 66 billion dollars for Australia to buy French-built submarines. French officials described France’s exclusion from the partnership as a moment that would drive an already growing rift between longtime allies.
In response, France canceled a gala in Washington celebrating US-French cooperation in the War of Independence.
Quote: Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Foreign Minister, said the submarine deal was a “unilateral, brutal and unpredictable decision” by the United States.
Analysis: The deal reveals Australia’s strategic bet that America will prevail in its great power competition with China and continue to be a dominant and stabilizing force in the Pacific.
Afghan refugees in limbo
Weeks after fleeing Kabul, tens of thousands of Afghans hoping to be resettled in the United States remain on military bases across the country and abroad as medical and security checks slow the process. A small but worrisome measles outbreak contributed to the delays.
While Afghan evacuees have escaped the Taliban, their lives remain in limbo, with children restless and little to do on military bases. About 100 Americans who want to leave and an unknown number of vulnerable Afghans are still in Afghanistan.
The projections follow a condensed and exhausting evacuation effort. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, defended the operation during testimony in Congress this week. Republican critics have called for his resignation amid accusations the Biden administration failed to adequately plan the fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban.
In numbers : As of Tuesday, about 64,000 evacuees from Afghanistan had arrived in the United States, of which nearly 49,000 live in eight national military bases. Around 18,000 are on bases abroad, mainly in Germany. Some will be leaving in a few weeks, but most will be staying longer.
Mail: Our reporter visited rural Afghanistan, where the remnants of war are everywhere. But for the first time in years, filming stopped.
So far, only 3.6% of people in Africa have been fully vaccinated against Covid after rich countries provided a small fraction of the doses they had promised to Covax, the global vaccine-sharing initiative. Covax last week lowered its forecast for how many doses it would have this year.
African countries now only have half the doses they need to reach the global goal of fully immunizing 40 percent of their population by the end of 2021. Globally, 80 percent of injections were given in middle-income countries, while only 0.4 percent of doses were given in low-income countries.
Details: Inequalities in vaccine distribution remain glaring: Africa is home to around 17% of the world’s population, but only 2% of the nearly six billion vaccines administered so far have been administered on the continent, according to WHO
Quote: “Ask the rich countries: where are the African vaccines? Where are the vaccines for low and middle income countries of the world? Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, of the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance, said at an online press conference.
Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.
In other developments:
Italy will require residents to present a Covid health pass to go to work, becoming the first European country to impose vaccine certificates so widely.
China said yesterday it had fully immunized one billion people, bringing it closer to its goal of vaccinating 80 percent of its population by the end of the year.
A nationwide labor shortage in the United States is affecting schools, leaving them in dire need of cafeteria workers, bus drivers and substitute teachers.
THE LAST NEWS
Ahead of Russia’s national parliamentary elections this weekend, Anton Troianovsky, the Times Moscow bureau chief, spent two weeks crossing the country. This 3,000 mile trip, he writes, provided a view of a “unique Russian country trail.”
“A leading emotion we encountered was fear of people,” he writes. “We have met a lot of people who are fed up with official corruption, stagnant wages, low pensions and rising prices, but far fewer who were prepared to face a post-Putin stranger. “
ARTS AND IDEAS
The battle for digital privacy
As Apple and Google embrace privacy changes, businesses grapple with the fallout, Madison Avenue is fighting back and Facebook has screamed scandal, writes Brian X. Chen, technical writer for The Times.
The battle for the future of the Internet is intensifying. At the center of the fight is what has long been its cornerstone: advertising. “This heralds a profound change in the way people’s personal information can be used online, with sweeping implications for how businesses make money digitally,” says Brian.
The technology behind “cookies”, which track people from site to site, is being dismantled. The fallout can hurt brands that rely on targeted ads to entice people to buy their products and, instead, drive money to Big Tech.
Here’s what the battle for privacy means to you.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
Toss this seared tofu for an easy dinner that just happens to be vegan.
What to read
Fall is the busiest book publishing season. Our Books team has put together a comprehensive list of recommendations for new novels, must-see novels, and more.