The Australia-US-UK AUKUS – It’s All About Arms Sales, And China Will Spend Even More On Military To Target Aussie
Unless you really wanted to start the world’s first nuclear war, it does not make sense to splash billions of dollars in the WMD (weapon of mass destruction). Let’s forget China for a moment. Does the U.S., the world’s military superpower, even dare to attack North Korea with conventional, let alone nuclear weapons? Kim Jong-Un has only 30-40 nuclear weapons, mind you.
Despite Donald Trump’s erratic behaviour, which saw the U.S. president threatened to rain “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea, while Mr Kim threatened to turn the U.S. mainland into a “theatre of nuclear war”, both mad men eventually knew when to stop their rhetoric. And China has conservatively an arsenal of between 250 to 350 nukes.
So, what are the chances that President Joe Biden (or even a joint force of all the Western countries) would attack China in a hypothetical event the Chinese invade Taiwan? Do you really think China is still the “Sick Man of Asia” during the weak and corrupted Qing Dynasty, or the possibility of a repeat of the Eight-Nation Alliance multinational military coalition invasion of China in 1900?
Even then, the Eight-Nation allied forces, consisted of Russia, Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Italy, Austria-Hungary and the U.S. had failed to completely conquer China at a time when the invaders possessed superior weapons. Assuming everyone agrees not to use nuclear weapons this round, do you think the modern day allied forces – Group of Seven (G7) – could win a war against China?
The fact that General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had called – twice – his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, assuring Beijing that the U.S. would not launch a military strike suggests that America was absolutely terrified that China could misread the situations not only in the South China Sea, but also domestically in the U.S., leading to military conflicts.
But if even the U.S. top general would second-guess their own Commander-in-Chief in an eventuality of nuclear missile strikes against China, what’s the purpose of AUKUS, the latest trilateral military alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States? It’s all about warmongering to increase the lucrative and mouth-watering sales of arms exports.
Sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments rose 2.8% to US$175 billion in the fiscal year 2020. Russia ranks second in the world’s arms export, follows by France, Spain and Germany. Now do you understand why France was so angry over the loss of the deal worth US$66 billion signed in 2016 with Australia to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines?
As the world’s third biggest arms exporter, France market share was about 8.2%, behind Russia’s 20%. Naturally, the Aussie submarine contract was a big deal, so much so that when the French won the deal in 2016, the government celebrated it as a strategic partnership – the “contract of the century” – between the two nations that will be working for the “next 50 years”.
Of course, it was not only about losing the deal, but the way it lost the deal. It was already bad that France was humiliated when its friend, Australia, was said to have had engaged in “lies and treason” for 18 months, negotiating with the U.S. and the U.K. behind its back. It becomes worse as humiliated President Emmanuel Macron is expected to seek a second term in an election due next year.
But do you think Biden cares about how Macron feel in the first place, despite the fact that France was one of the founding members of NATO and the oldest ally of the U.S.? Heck, France was not only one of the UN’s founding members in 1945, it is also one of five permanent members of the Security Council, along with the United States, United Kingdom, China and Russia.
France is also one of three NATO members who are nuclear weapon states, the other two being the U.S. and the U.K. If Australia had indeed made a mistake in procuring diesel-electric submarines in 2016, why didn’t Canberra ask Paris to change it to nuclear-powered subs? It’s much easier to convert diesel-electric subs into nuclear-powered subs than the other way round.
Actually, when the French won the project to replace the Aussie’s six Collins-class diesel subs with 12 Baraccuda-class diesel subs, it was because of the ability to switch the Baraccuda subs from diesel to nuclear power. Therefore, it’s not hard to understand why the French felt being betrayed and backstabbed by the English-speaking supposedly allies Australia-US-UK.
It was also part of Biden’s childish retaliation. On Dec 30, 2020, just weeks before his inauguration, Joe Biden asked Europe to wait for him before signing the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between the European Union and China. But Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron joined EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel in a video conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping to conclude the investment deal.
Besides France, China has condemned the agreement as “extremely irresponsible”. Australia will become only the second country – after Britain in 1958 – to be given access to the American submarine technology. The fleet of subs, which will be built in Adelaide, will make Australia the seventh nation in the world to have submarines powered by nuclear reactors.
However, many analysts say it was because of the Chinese trade war with the Aussie that had forced Canberra to go nuclear. Seriously? So, Australia wanted to teach China a lesson with intimidating nuclear-powered subs just because its lobster, barley, sugar, red wine, timber, coal, copper ore have been barred, essentially burning the bridge with its major trade partner?
Still, will Australia dare to fire a single Tomahawk cruise missile, let alone nuclear missile, into mainland China? The hilarious part was that none of the AUKUS leaders – US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison – dare to even mention China as the justification in forming the new partnership and submarine deal.
Mr Morrison even took the trouble to clarify that the nuclear-powered submarine would not armed with nuclear weapons. Interestingly, New Zealand, one of five members of Five Eyes and a nation that has prohibited nuclear-powered vessels from its sovereign waters for more than three decades, has confirmed that Australian nuclear-powered subs would be banned from entry.
If the objective was to warn and brag – even threaten – the so-called “bully China” with at least eight American-made nuclear-powered subs, why is AUKUS so afraid of making clear its intention? Do you think China is dumb enough to believe the Australian will not be equipped with nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles when they have the subs?
It’s not rocket science Beijing will use AUKUS to increase the military budget to include Australia as one of its “target of interest”. Australia’s new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines will probably only be delivered during the 2030s. Between now and then, you can bet China will build more hardware, especially nuclear-powered subs with nuclear weapons, to be sent to Australia.
Already, China has the “largest navy in the world” – a battle force of approximately 360 ships, dwarfing the U.S. fleet of 297 ships. Four years from now (2025), the Chinese will have 400 battle force ships. The Pentagon plans to build a 500-ship navy by 2045. But the Chinese built more ships in one year of peace time (2019) than the US did in four of war (1941-1945).
The Chinese fleet includes two aircraft carriers, one cruiser, 32 destroyers, 49 frigates, 37 corvettes, and 86 missile-armed coastal patrol ships. In addition, its submarine fleet consists of 66 subs, including 46 diesel-powered attack subs, seven nuclear-powered attack subs, and four ballistic missile subs. By 2030, it could expand to 60 diesel-electric and at least 16 nuclear attack submarines.
In comparison, the United States boasts a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers, 92 cruisers and destroyers, and 59 small surface combatants and combat logistics ships. Its submarine fleet of 68 subs comprised 50 attack submarines, 14 ballistic missile submarines, and four cruise missile submarines. The American subs are all nuclear-powered though.
Sure, China’s huge number of ships cannot be compared to the U.S.’ experience. However, despite America’s navy power and experience, China could devote far more resources to a fight in the Pacific. Worse, only slightly more than half of American subs belong to the Pacific Fleet. Strategically, China has massive stockpiles of ballistic missiles, including hypersonic anti-ship missiles.
In truth, America’s Navy strength is stretched thin around the world. The United States Navy also serves as a stabilizing presence in shipping lanes globally, ensuring the free trade of goods over heavily trafficked waterways. Hence, it can’t actually focus the entirety of its sea-power in any one region without jeopardizing security and stability operations elsewhere in the world.
That explains why Washington has roped in Canberra, the United States’ “deputy sheriff” in the Asia-Pacific region, to join the U.S.’ “Cold War” with China. You can’t say you want to set up a McDonald’s restaurant, but insisted it won’t sell hamburgers. Beijing, and Moscow for that matter, will not treat Canberra as an innocent non-nuclear power because the subs can be armed with nuclear weapons anytime.
If the Afghanistan War is any indicator, of which the U.S. finally had withdrawn after 20 years of a losing battle, America is not a very reliable partner in its warmongering business in the Asia-Pacific and South China Sea region. Obviously, it’s Australia that would suffer casualties in an unfortunate war with China due to misreading, miscalculation or human errors.
Washington realizes that a continuous competition with China is an extremely expensive affair. The only way to do it is to spread the risk and share the cost. And the only desperate fool willing to step forward was Australia. With the “forever partnership”, the Americans and British will forever benefit financially from the cost of maintenance and other indirect military cost.
Australia cannot expect China to wait and do nothing, knowing very well that Aussie nuclear subs will be sent to South China Sea to create troubles. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will definitely enhance its military capabilities to rebalance the power, building and deploying more nuclear-powered attack submarines to not only South China Sea, but also the coast of Australia.
Former Australia Prime Minister Paul Keating has condemned Morrison’s move, saying it tied Australia to any U.S. engagement against China. He said – “This arrangement would witness a further dramatic loss of Australian sovereignty, as material dependency on the US would rob Australia of any freedom or choice in any engagement it may deem appropriate.”