CNN:In the week that world leaders gathered in New York City for the UN General Assembly, one person’s absence cast a long shadow over what was already set to be a tense few days.
French President Emmanuel Macron was never going to be at UNGA in person. It was, however, impossible to detach his non-attendance — even in virtual form — from the spat that broke out following the submarine deal between Australia, the UK and US (AUKUS), which subsequently saw the Australian government ditch a multi-billion-dollar agreement with France.
French officials have been, justifiably, furious. Three of its supposed allies struck a deal behind its back with one reneging on a contract agreed years ago. For a man who has spent his presidency presenting himself as Europe’s most serious leader both internally and on the world stage, it was a major embarrassment.
Conversely, for Boris Johnson, the man who led the Brexit campaign and has been accused of making his country insular and a global insignificance, this was a hat-trick. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with US President Joe Biden; agreeing a deal with two nations on opposite sides of the world; poking France in the eye in the process.
It’s the final point that best explains both the hostile rhetoric that has come out of France and goading language from British over the past week.