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AUKUS: the future of Western-led geopolitical networks | Clingendael The Hague - Oct. 19, 2021 |

The recent AUKUS pact between the US, the UK and Australia is telling for the future of Western-led geopolitical networks, according to defence analyst Julian Lindley-French. AUKUS reveals how Western alliances, coalitions and regimes are being transformed by China's growing maritime military power. Eventually, France and other European countries will have no other choice than to find their own roles in this transforming geopolitical landscape.

The trilateral security and defence pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) represents the future of a West that is more characterised by shared global values than by geographical location. Such coalitions of real military power will provide a form of deterrence and defence insurance for smaller powers and for more formal alliances whose power-base is often weak or even chimeral in nature. 

Moreover, Canberra has become increasingly concerned that the French submarines would simply not be fit for Australia's future strategic purpose. The sheer distances in the Indo-Pacific are enormous, making endurance a vital requirement for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Furthermore, they need to conduct stealthy surveillance operations close to Chinese ports.

    For the Americans, AUKUS is the beginning of a new chapter in its changing global strategic posture

On 30 August 2021, the two countries issued a statement in the wake of a Paris meeting which boasted that "[t]hese first discussions in such a format reflect the very high level of France and Australia's strategic and operational cooperation". In fact, the Australians already knew that AUKUS had been agreed in principle at the June meeting of the G7 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. Still, as the former British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a piece in The Times: "Paris would not have hesitated to do the same the other way round and gleefully attribute it to Brexit."

AUKUS and NATO will together be vital if the US is to ease the growing overstretch to which its armed forces are increasingly subject because of the rise of an aggressive, militaristic China and its `mini-me', Russia. AUKUS is thus a precedent - and not just for Australia, the UK and US. Over time, other democratic powers, such as Japan and South Korea, are bound to follow suit; not to mention in time Canada and New Zealand, and possibly even India.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Mar 21st, 2022 at 08:39:15 AM EST

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