President Biden and the leaders of Australia and the UK announced a new military agreement on Wednesday aimed at countering China. The pact, known as AUKUS, will focus on the sharing of sensitive military technologies, and the first initiative will focus on getting Australia nuclear-powered submarines.
US officials speaking to CNN described the effort to share nuclear propulsion with another country as an “exceedingly rare step” due to the sensitivity of the technology. “This technology is extremely sensitive. This is, frankly, an exception to our policy in many respects,” one unnamed official said.
Australia is not a nuclear-armed state, and the submarines are not expected to carry nuclear arms. In a joint statement, the three countries said they were committed to “non-proliferation,” but that is not exactly true. Earlier this year, the British announced that they are increasing their nuclear stockpile and setting their cap of nuclear warheads to 260, up from the current limit of 180.
Strengthening cooperation with allies in the Pacific is a key part of the Biden administration’s anti-China strategy, and Canberra is eager to play along. Australia is also a member of the Quad, a security dialogue that also includes the US, Japan, and India, which is seen as a foundation for a possible NATO-style alliance in Asia. Biden will host the first in-person summit between Quad leaders later this month.
A Biden administration official claimed AUKUS is “not aimed at any one country,” but the rhetoric makes it clear the effort is aimed at China. The three countries said they share a commitment to the so-called “international rules-based order,” a common phrase used by Biden officials to describe the US-led world order that they see Beijing as a threat to.
Australia’s defense minister met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington on Tuesday. Discussing the meeting, Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said the US shares Australia’s concerns over the “aggressive behavior, the coercive and intimidating activities that the Chinese are making throughout the region.” Kirby reiterated that China is currently the Pentagon’s primary focus.
Wow, that escalated quickly!
I don’t think we have seen a threat as dramatic as this to the geopolitical stability of the Pacific since World War 2.
Australia has dumped a $90billion dollar deal for a dozen conventional hunter killer subs from France for nuclear subs from America and the UK.
Now there is only one reason you get a nuclear sub and that is as a platform for either first strike capability or nuclear deterrence. Australia has already ruled out nuclear weapons because they couldn’t survive the political backlash at home or in the Pacific by obtaining them but if you look at all the adjacent technical and technology sharing AUKUS represents in AI and engineering it seems clear that AUKUS intends to be a hyper sonic weapon delivery system for these nuclear subs.
Hypersonic missile delivery platforms sitting off the coast of China represents a first strike capacity that would strategically upend China’s desires in the South China Sea.
Australia is committing to this kind of alarming escalation against its largest trading partner because America has made it clear that they will turn on Australia if they don’t!
If readers are curious why Australia would simultaneously subvert its own economic interests by turning against its primary trading partner and its own security interests by feeding into dangerous and unnecessary provocations, I will refer them once again to the jarringly honest explanation by American political analyst John Mearsheimer at a debate hosted by the Australian think tank Center for Independent Studies in 2019. Mearsheimer told his audience that the US is going to do everything it can to halt China’s rise and prevent it from becoming the regional hegemon in the East, and that Australia should align with the US in that battle or else it would face the wrath of Washington.
I really like the nervous laughter 😬from Australian audience when John Mearsheimer told them if they choose to b friendly w China, US will show them how nasty it can be…pic.twitter.com/NFZSCIucAZ
— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) October 8, 2020
“The question that’s on the table is what should Australia’s foreign policy be in light of the rise of China,” Mearsheimer said. “I’ll tell you what I would suggest if I were an Australian.”
Mearsheimer claimed that China is going to continue to grow economically and will convert this economic power into military power to dominate Asia “the way the US dominates the Western Hemisphere”, and explained why he thinks the US and its allies have every ability to prevent that from happening.
“Now the question is what does this all mean for Australia?” Mearsheimer said. “Well, you’re in a quandary for sure. Everybody knows what the quandary is. And by the way you’re not the only country in East Asia that’s in this quandary. You trade a lot with China, and that trade is very important for your prosperity, no question about that. Security-wise you really want to go with us. It makes just a lot more sense, right? And you understand that security is more important than prosperity, because if you don’t survive, you’re not gonna prosper.”
“Now some people say there’s an alternative: you can go with China,” said Mearsheimer. “Right you have a choice here: you can go with China rather the United States. There’s two things I’ll say about that. Number one, if you go with China you want to understand you are our enemy. You are then deciding to become an enemy of the United States. Because again, we’re talking about an intense security competition.”
“You’re either with us or against us,” he continued. “And if you’re trading extensively with China, and you’re friendly with China, you’re undermining the United States in this security competition. You’re feeding the beast, from our perspective. And that is not going to make us happy. And when we are not happy you do not want to underestimate how nasty we can be. Just ask Fidel Castro.”
Nervous laughter from the Australian think tank audience punctuated Mearsheimer’s more incendiary observations. The CIA is known to have made numerous attempts to assassinate Castro.
So there you have it. Australia is not aligned with the US to protect itself from China. Australia is aligned with the US to protect itself from the US.
…National have bitched about NZ not getting crumbs off the table in side contracts but we don’t have the capacity to aid in hypersonic weaponry and we wouldn’t want to be that beholden to US aggression.
We are already a military target thanks to Rocket Labs!
Rocket Lab fires rockets into space for the secretive National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) this is their charming patch…
…nothing erodes faith in the check and balance of extreme power quite like a giant orange space octopus proclaiming that nothing is out of its reach. Unbeknownst to most NZers, Rocket Lab is a Military Industrial Complex franchise, not some plucky Number 8 Wire Dad Shed schlock that Rocket Lab like to project to the sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind…
Rocket Lab’s link with the CIA’s venture capital firm was revealed in 2016 by US investigative journalism site The Intercept, but has not been reported by the New Zealand media.
Although it operates independently, In-Q-Tel invests on behalf of the CIA and the broader US intelligence community in companies whose products may have national security applications.
A document obtained by The Intercept shows that Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck spoke at a summit of In-Q-Tel portfolio companies in February 2016. Other speakers included then-FBI director James Comey. Beck earlier wrote about Rocket Lab for In-Q-Tel’s quarterly publication in 2015.
In contrast, Lockheed Martin’s investment in Rocket Lab is mentioned routinely in press coverage and was the subject of a jibe by departing Vector chairman Michael Stiassny to the Vector AGM last week.
However, the extent of Rocket Lab’s defence industry work has gone essentially unremarked. Details of this work had been removed from Rocket Lab’s website by the time the regulatory regime enabling the company’s activities in New Zealand came into law last year.
Put aside the zero public debate of whether or not we should get this close to the American Military Industrial Complex in the first place and note that no one ever explained to the NZ public how allowing Rocket Labs to launch US military satellites immediately upgrades NZ to being a legitimate military target!
Because of this, Chinese Subs and Russian Subs will legitimately sit off the East Coast of NZ targeting the launch site.
THIS is why we needed to buy 4 P-8s! Because America is able to launch military satellites from NZ, which makes us a target and we need to defend that target with sub hunting planes!
Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced the Government will buy four Boeing P-8A Poseidons to replace the defence force’s ageing fleet of P-3K Orions. The purchase has been a longtime coming.
The P-8s, known as submarine killers, mark a new era in defence procurement, with one expert calling this the most significant defence purchase in a generation.
…so under National, we signed up to a military space programme through our 5 Eyes network that has now made us a legitimate military target which we need to buy sub hunting planes and torpedoes for???
When will it be made clear to the rest of the electorate that we have done this and put everyones lives at risk by Rocket Lab making us a legitimate military target?
So when National bitch about NZ not being included in AUKUS tell them to shut up because they’ve already put us in harms way enough as it is!
We need an independent foreign policy now more than ever!
When historians look back and attempt to define the moment the Cold War in the Pacific went hot, it will be AUKUS they point to.
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