Aukus: threat of military conflict in the Pacific?
The heads of government of the Aukus pact countries agreed at a meeting in San Diego on Monday that the Royal Australian Navy will acquire nuclear-powered submarines. The US, the UK and Australia founded the Aukus alliance in 2021 to strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific region. China has reacted with anger, saying that the deal will undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Commentators also see risks.
Risk of an arms race
The pact will only add to the growing insecurity in the Indo-Pacific region, columnist Pierre Haski criticises on France Inter:
“Aukus has no other purpose than to organise military support in case of an open conflict with China in Taiwan or the South China Sea. This approach, while theoretically having a deterrent effect, could also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It could embroil the entire region in an arms race that is already in full swing on both sides, and ensure that the rivalry is played out primarily in the military sphere. The Indo-Pacific region is the world's main arena for innovation and economic performance, but this competition is now taking place in the shadow of a heightened strategic rivalry.”
Glimpse of a parallel globalisation dynamic
El Periódico de Catalunya is unenthusiastic:
“With this move the so-called 'Anglosphere' aims to continue with a specific policy for containing China which is detached from that of Europe. ... The displeasure of the Chinese government, which says the new pact will cause further militarisation of the Pacific, violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and increases the risks of escalation, was as predictable as the impression that globalisation is seriously threatened. Not only because trade requires a climate of trust, but also because a form of neo-protectionism is emerging that gives us a glimpse of a new, double globalisation: that of the West and that of the China-Russia axis with its great expansionist power in the global South.”
A show of strength
The Kleine Zeitung highlights Australia's role in the Aukus pact:
“Thanks to its nuclear submarine deal and the Aukus defence pact with the US and the UK, Australia has suddenly become a geopolitical force to be reckoned with. Of course the country owes this deal primarily to its geographical location, which makes it a strategically important place for the British and Americans. If they don't want to let China dominate the Indo-Pacific, they need a foothold in the region with which they share democratic and cultural values. And that is exactly what Australia is.”