The BBC gave us news today, the news is open to interpretation. This is not their fault, but it calls for a larger setting. This is seen in “In solidarity with France, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has questioned whether the EU would be able to strike a trade deal with Australia”, now I never regarded Ursula to be a useful tool, in this my setting for that was seen in 2019 when we were given by Politico (and a few others) “Ursula von der Leyen is planning a new career as European Commission chief in Brussels, but the German defence minister still has questions to answer back home”, so she is like that physician running from location to location, to avoid a malpractice suit. The quote “Last November, she told the German parliament there had been “mistakes” in how external consultants were hired and said “this never should have happened.” But she defended the use of such consultants, saying they had been required to undertake a huge overhaul of the ministry.” Yes, there are always mistakes, there are always miscommunications, that happens, and in this we can have all kinds of directions on those consultants, even when they are tools or stakeholders for others. Yet when we return to the reason why France is angry “Australia cancelled a $37bn (£27bn) deal with a French company building diesel-powered submarines, and, what’s more, France – a traditional Western ally – found out about the new pact only a few hours before the public announcement” we need to consider another source. Business Insider and a few other sources gave us “France’s deal to build Australia’s new submarines was dogged by years of problems”, as well as “The project to replace Australia’s aging Collins-class submarines was supposed to cost $US36.5 ($AU50) billion, Politico reported, but the cost had nearly doubled by this year to an estimated $US66 ($AU91) billion”, so we see a cost overrun of nearly 100%, and so far the BBC and a few other sources are extremely willing not to mention that. If I go to my boss and tell him that something was 10% more expensive, I will get fired and I will not be able to get a job for years to come, the French double the cost and they are heralded as victims? By the way, the more advanced Los Angeles class a nuclear powered submarine is less than $2,000,000,000, as such the cost overrun will pay for 15 submarines, as such, did anyone in France (or Strasbourg for that matter) do the math? So cancelling the 12 French submarines at $66,000,000,000 will get us 15 at 50% of the price and in this is anyone surprised that the deal was cancelled? The fact that the BBC is also willing to overlook a few matters in this calls for a little vetting in the BBC. Now, should the BBC find debatable evidence of the ‘evidence’ that Business Insider and ABC gave us, that is fine, we can take that into consideration. Yet it is odd that such a large setting is overlooked by France and the BBC, not to mention some former excuse for a German defence minister.
And in this, is anyone paying attention? Even as France has its idea’s and shakes on ‘Gaullist’ temperament and dreams of greatness, it does help if they can keep their builders in a stage of competitiveness, which does mean that cost overruns that approach 100% is totally out of bounds. In this the US is not absent of such settings either, but to get a diesel submarine at twice the price of a nuclear powered submarine, all whilst the diesel version lasts 18,000 miles and the nuclear one can travel non-stop for three decades is a bit of a stretch. Yet the cost overruns are left outside of plenty of newspapers. The ideology of non-nuclear is fine, but when it comes with a cost overrun of 100% we need to ask questions and the news seemingly is not.
This is a different stage, even as the USS Zumwalt failed all its objectives and reached the unique objective of being the ugliest dinghy in US naval history, the US nuclear submarines like the Los Angeles class has proven itself and is also a nice looking vessel. People go out to the shoreline to watch submerged submarine races hoping to see the shadow of an LA class vessel, it is a spectator sport.
As such the Naval builders got the job done and then some. Especially in an age where we look for cheaper solutions, the idea that any submarine needs to refuel thrice a century is a bit overlooked as well.
So whilst we might show some level of understanding on the sentiments of French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who called this “a stab in the back” it needs to be state that le petit Jean-Yves needs to take a look at cost overruns and set the proper tone to that side of the sliding scale. In addition to this, the ideas of 12 submarines needing refuelling every 18,000 miles is also a setting for debate, which is not on France mind you.
So as the clock passed midnight and I complete my 2,000th article I will do a small victory dance after which I will try to break my record of being the loudest snorer in the nation (we all have goals). We all have records to break and France might do the same by trying to limit their cost overrun.