SOURCE / GT VOICE
GT Voice: Asian nations beware of AUKUS’ trap of arms race
Published: Sep 21, 2021 09:00 PM
The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, US.  Photo: Xinhua

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, US. Photo: Xinhua


The new submarine deal in which the US and the UK pledge to help Australia build a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines, has sparked an intense backlash in France and across the EU.

The way France was treated by the US, the UK and Australia in secretly signing a security partnership and ditching Paris' existing contract to supply submarines to Canberra has been labeled "unacceptable," by EU chief Ursula von der Leyen during an interview with CNN on Monday. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian slammed the new deal as a "stab in the back." Furious French officials are also reportedly seeking support from the EU to scupper a planned EU-Australia free trade deal.

In response, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that US President Joe Biden will speak with French President Emmanuel Macron over "the coming days."

While it is unclear how Biden will try to ease the worst diplomatic spat between the two countries in recent memory, one thing is certain that it is impossible for the US to forego any of its own benefit from the new arms contract. 

No matter how much the US said it values its French ally or any of its Western coalition partners, these allies' national interests are well below the importance of the US military-industrial complex.

To a certain extent, America's disregard for its allies and its eagerness to push Australia to become a nuclear capable regional partner may underscore its priority of destabilizing the Indo-Pacific region, and explore a new market for US defense contractors that has just seen revenues shrink following the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The so-called AUKUS alliance is widely viewed as an America-led attempt to counter China's growing influence in Asia-Pacific, but, except a few provocative statements by some Australian politicians, few see the real possibility of a military conflict between China and Australia.

There are many uncertainties at current stage. It seems to be an open question as to when Australia's first nuclear submarine will hit the water. Observers called into question whether the US' and the UK's naval shipbuilding sectors that are operating at maximum capacity will be able to build more submarines for Australia.

Therefore, at a time when Australia is unlikely to receive a nuclear-powered submarine in the years to come, the perception about the US and the UK sharing highly sensitive nuclear propulsion technology with Australia may only stir up regional tensions and push Australia's neighboring countries to engage in a fierce arms race, sabotaging stability in Asia-Pacific. 

For instance, Indonesia has reacted with alarm toward Australia's nuclear submarine aspirations, with its foreign ministry stressing on Friday that "Indonesia is deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region." As a result, a previously planned summit meeting between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was abruptly canceled.

If countries in the region get caught up in an arms race to get their hands on their own nuclear-powered submarines, the US will be the only party that stands to gain after destabilizing the region by selling military hardware. 

The Biden administration considers itself the "best friend" the defense lobbyists have ever had in Washington DC, and the AUKUS submarine deal is a good manifestation. We call on regional countries to resolutely oppose those external forces that are bent on muddying the waters and torpedoing peace in Asia. 
blog comments powered by Disqus