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Edition 85, September 2021
Editorial: AUKUS - what's below the surface?

By AWPR Acting President, Dr Alison Broinowski

No sooner was the chaotic retreat from Afghanistan over than the world was shocked again by the announcement in mid-September that Australia had agreed with the US and the UK to form an ‘Enhanced Trilateral Security Partnership.’

Few details were given about its purpose, what each of the three parties will contribute to it or get out of it, or the range of its application over time or territory. As ANZUS turned 70, we might have expected a review of the Treaty to include those same questions. Instead, the Prime Minister has given us AUKUS, a ‘forever partnership’, vaguely promising closer alignment of the three parties’ regional policies and actions, and greater integration of our military and defence industries.

The AUKUS mystery is wrapped around an enigma of nuclear-powered submarines and other weaponry. Again, no definite number, no delivery date, no price, no details about what in the project is American and what is British, nor what part Australia will have in it. These matters will take another 18 months to sort out, we are told. While we wait to be defended by these boats and missiles, Australia has narrowed the circle of its friends and added to its critics and enemies.

France was predictably outraged at losing its conventional submarine contract – the payout cost of which has yet to be announced. China’s Global Times was scathing, as were Chinese officials. Now neither French nor Chinese leaders will speak to their Australian counterparts. Germany loses its sub-contract, and along with other EU members sees this old Anglo-sphere clique as a step back in history. Similar reservations were expressed by New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and some in Singapore, all countries which have been pragmatically seeking to accommodate a rising China in their own interests.
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AUKUS Media Bites 

 

Morrison is making an enemy of China and Labor is helping him

Scott Morrison’s nuclear-powered submarine deal continues the tradition of trading Australia’s sovereignty in exchange for greater protection by the United States. Former Prime Minister, Paul Keating critiques this policy and examines how the Labor Party has been complicit in allowing it to develop.   More 

The French have much to be furious about

The Australian submarine contract was integral to France sustaining its defence sovereignty beyond Europe. Now the French feel betrayed by the contract’s cancellation and how badly it was mishandled by the Australians writes Andrew Farran. More

Crying wolf: How to stop talk of war with China

In recent years Australians have repeatedly been told by top officials of the threat of war posed by China. However, is this threat a reality or merely crying wolf? In this article Jocelyn Chey breaks down the common reasons cited for the belief that China represents a military threat to Australia and argues diplomacy should take centre stage rather than the growing talk of war. More 

Upsetting the neighbours - the high cost of Australia's nuclear submarine deal

Buying ludicrously expensive nuclear submarines upsets our neighbours, inflates the defence budget, unbalances our military forces and does nothing to address the bigger security threat of global warming and species extinction, writes Brian Toohey.  More

Provoking China to please the US

The Morrison Government’s strategy of provoking China to simply please the United States “effectively has us in a cold war” which threatens to turn hot, according to former Prime Minister, Paul Keating. More
 
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