SYDNEY, September 17. /TASS/. The decision to enter an wide military alliance with the US may become a catastrophe for Australia, both from economic and reputational standpoints, says Tony Kevin, an international policy expert from Australia.
"[Prime Minister of Australia] Scott Morrison has announced his most disastrous decision to date […] which will cost hard-pressed Australian taxpayers literally billions of dollars urgently needed for climate change responses, infrastructure renewal, health and education, and support of industries hit by the pandemic and by expanding Chinese trade sanctions. This announcement spends and pledges huge sums of taxpayers’ money as if there is no tomorrow," Kevin says.
Entering the partnership made Australia to void its contract with France, signed five years ago; this will cause both severe economic consequences and a massive blow to Australian reputation, the expert opined.
"The French are furious. Cancellation fees will be at least $500 million. […] An angry France will make Australia pay in other ways e.g. in sanctions on trade with EU," the expert says, adding that Australia has already invested about $2 billion in this project.
However, Kevin believes that relations with France will not be the only victim of Australia’s accession to AUKUS.
"It locks Australia in even more deeply with its senior Five Eyes strategic allies US and UK against notional adversaries China and Russia. It will encourage the existing bitter Australian-Chinese enmity, driven by the Australian pro-US national lobby. The announcement will make it harder for Australian armed forces to stay out of rash US-UK anti-Chinese naval provocations in the South China or East China Seas, even if Australia’s national interest were to stay out of such actions," he said.
The new strategic alliance will effectively limit Australia’s sovereignty, forcing Canberra to follow the US’ interests first and its own second.
"With the announcement of AUKUS and the announced decision to order either American or British nuclear-powered submarines, Australia moves further into the front line military provocations against China or Russia. Australia’s main attraction for the US lies in geography: Australia’s location is ideal for triangulating strategic surveillance satellites on China and Russia. In strategic terms, Australia looks more and more like an American forward base in the Asia-Pacific region," Kevin concluded.
On September 16, Australia, the UK and the US announced the establishment of the AUKUS trilateral partnership on security in Indian and Pacific oceans. Under the agreement, Australia plans to build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines that will be commissioned in 2036, as well as equip its armed forces with US-made cruise missiles. This forced Canberra to void its major military contract with France. China warned that the establishment of AUKUS will ramp up the arms race and urged all participants to abolish the "cold war mentality" and "narrow-minded geopolitical concepts."