AUKUS deal risks jeopardizing regional stability

By Tom Fowdy
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 27, 2021
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A file photo of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. [Photo/Xinhua]

Huge controversy erupted recently after Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a new technological and military pact known as "AUKUS." Under the terms of the deal, the three countries will work together to supply nuclear powered submarines to Australia, while America will share its sensitive technology with the country. 

Although not mentioned by name, the move is widely understood to be aimed at confronting China as part of the U.S.'s "Indo-Pacific strategy" with the goal of attaining military supremacy in the broader region. Beijing condemned the move as reckless and irresponsible.

The deal involved Australia scrapping a AU$90 billion contract for submarines with France, who responded with fury and downgraded their diplomatic ties with Canberra and Washington. 

This is a definitive sign of how American foreign policy focus is consolidating its goals amid the U.S.'s dramatic withdrawal from Afghanistan over the summer, and how it is placing less emphasis on its European allies in favor of those in the Pacific.

The United States is jumping into a "new Cold War," using Australia as its military ally of choice, coupled with the United Kingdom at a distance. The move risks an enormous arms race which may have a destabilizing impact, undermining peace, stability and prosperity in the Pacific. 

The biggest danger of arms races is that they proliferate tension, suspicion and risk, which can lead to miscalculations and in turn lead to devastating conflicts. 

Even though President Joe Biden pledged in a recent address to the United Nations that he does not want a Cold War scenario, his actions have nonetheless created the risk of one. 

In addition, the saga has demonstrated the unreliability of the United States as a partner for Europe, revealing a longstanding trend in American diplomacy whereby it places its own interests ahead of those it claims to be "allies." 

The AUKUS deal involved overturning an existing contract between Australia and France, which prompted Paris to temporarily recall its ambassador to the United States. This serves as a reminder to European countries that they should not be so quick to align their interests with Washington, and should instead do what best suits them — a principle which France has often described as "strategic autonomy." The EU has frequently been hesitant about joining a U.S. Cold War effort against China, and must be wary that this military pursuit may damage their interests. 

The AUKUS pact is an issue which will define the region's future over the next few decades, irrespective of the outcome. It is one which comes with enormous risks and poses huge challenges, seeking to forcefully upend the status quo in the pursuit of affirming American hegemony. 

Despite growing challenges, action and dialogue must be taken to regulate regional stability, and ensure that the strategic interests and bottom lines of all parties are respected. 

Tom Fowdy is a British political and international relations analyst and a graduate of Durham and Oxford universities. He writes on topics pertaining to China, the DPRK, Britain and the U.S. For more information please visit:

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