AUKUS

The Japanese vessel ‘Mogami’ in Yokosuka, Japan, September 2022 Kim Kyung-Hoon / Pool / Reuters

On July 13, nearly five months in to Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine, the Pentagon announced that the United States had successfully tested two hypersonic missiles. Following a string of highly publicized failures, the successful test was an important step toward catching up in an area of weapons development in which China and Russia have been pulling ahead. Just seven weeks later, amid rising tensions with China, Japan reported its largest-ever increase in defense spending, including funds explicitly earmarked for hypersonic weapons research. Tokyo’s announcement was a pointed reminder that Japan’s technological and security policies and ambitions are increasingly aligned with those of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the three long-standing allies that comprise the trilateral security pact known as AUKUS.…  Seguir leyendo »

Submarinos de la Armada china

Olvídense de Oriente Medio. Ya no le interesa a nadie. Por eso se producen huidas y abandonos tan vertiginosos como poco estéticos. Las imágenes de la entrega de Kabul no fueron un descuido, sino la constatación de que ya ha cambiado el eje sobre el que ahora pivota el mundo.

¿África? Obviamente no. ¿Europa y Occidente? Por favor, menos chistes.

Hay que irse más al este. Concretamente, a la zona del Indopacífico, vastísima región donde vive prácticamente la mitad de la población mundial y por la que transita el 30% del mercado global como parte del megaproyecto de la Nueva Ruta de la Seda.…  Seguir leyendo »

For more than a decade, Washington has struggled to prioritize what it calls great power competition with China — a contest for military and political dominance. President Biden has been working hard to make the pivot to Asia that his two predecessors never quite managed.

The landmark defense pact with Australia and Britain, AUKUS, that Mr. Biden announced this month is a major step to making that pivot a reality. Under the agreement, Australia will explore hosting U.S. bombers on its territory, gain access to advanced missiles and receive nuclear propulsion technology to power a new fleet of submarines.

On the surface, AUKUS provides a way to aid the deployment of advanced military hardware in Asia and draw a clearer line between countries standing with China and those standing against it.…  Seguir leyendo »

El acuerdo entre Estados Unidos, el Reino Unido y Australia (Aukus), ha generado multitud de reacciones, incluido el temor a una proliferación nuclear.

Desde China ha sido recibido como lo que es: un acuerdo para contener eficazmente a China en su crecientemente agresivo expansionismo, a través de la disuasión por la fuerza militar. Su reacción ha sido, pues, coherente y predecible. Y ha querido contrarrestar el movimiento presentando su candidatura al Acuerdo Transpacífico firmado por 11 países de las dos orillas del Pacífico, después de la retirada de Estados Unidos. La contraofensiva será, además de militar, económica y comercial. Conviene no olvidar que China, excepto Rusia, no tiene aliados importantes y necesita ganar complicidades.…  Seguir leyendo »

La política internacional no tiene piedad con las predicciones. Algunos de los acontecimientos más importantes del siglo XXI, como los atentados del 11S, la crisis económica de 2008 o la pandemia del coronavirus pillaron, desprevenidos al mundo y echaron por tierra años de estrategias cuidadosamente planificadas.

Pero otros cambios geopolíticos son fáciles de anticipar, a poco que sepamos leer el tablero que tenemos delante. La reciente alianza AUKUS entre Estados Unidos, el Reino Unido y Australia es uno de ellos, por más revuelo que haya causado en China y Europa.

Y es que la lógica detrás de esta alianza es cristalina: China ya es una potencia militar y política, además de económica, y su control creciente de las aguas y rutas marítimas de los océanos Pacífico e Índico preocupa cada vez más a sus vecinos.…  Seguir leyendo »

The immediate diplomatic crisis between the United States and France may have been declared over after a 30-minute phone call between Presidents Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron Wednesday. But I'm far from convinced that the brief conversation, along with an anodyne press release, has resolved a host of differences on China -- one of the most substantive and profound issues between France and the US.

The saga erupted last week after Australia announced it would withdraw from a multi-billion dollar defense deal to acquire conventional submarines from France and work instead with the US and United Kingdom to obtain nuclear-powered ones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dos días antes de los desembarcos en Normandía de junio de 1944, Charles de Gaulle exigió el derecho a gobernar Francia tras ser liberada por los aliados. Franklin D. Roosevelt, que detestaba al General, no tenía intención alguna de aceptar su demanda. Winston Churchill, que más bien admiraba las fantasías de grandeza del francés, se alineó con el Presidente estadounidense, diciéndole al líder de la Francia Libre que, si tenía que optar entre de Gaulle y Roosevelt, siempre escogería a Roosevelt.

Esa actitud era completamente comprensible. Europa estaba ocupada por la Alemania nazi. La Francia Libre era en gran medida una fuerza simbólica y Gran Bretaña era una de las tres principales potencias aliadas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una «lección brutal de geopolítica»: así describió el periódico berlinés Der Tagesspiegel el anuncio de AUKUS, la nueva alianza de seguridad entre Australia, el Reino Unido y los Estados Unidos. El acuerdo es más que un importante golpe financiero para Francia (cuyo contrato con Australia para la provisión de doce submarinos, por 50 000 millones de dólares australianos/36 000 millones de dólares estadounidenses, se anuló sin contemplaciones). Puede que el hecho más importante sea que el presidente estadounidense Joe Biden optó por anunciar la creación de AUKUS en una forma que sólo es posible interpretar como una humillación deliberada para Francia y, por asociación, para el resto de la Unión Europea.…  Seguir leyendo »

French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stand on the deck of HMAS Waller, a Collins-class submarine operated by the Royal Australian Navy, in Sydney in 2018. (Brendan Esposito/AFP)

The new AUKUS security partnership led to an immediate diplomatic fallout between France and the United States. But beyond the concerns about NATO and the Western alliance, or questions about great-power competition in the Pacific, some analysts see another worry: Will sharing nuclear submarine propulsion technology with Australia set back the nuclear nonproliferation regime?

What does this deal mean for nonproliferation? Have such transfers of nuclear submarine technology occurred in the past? Here are four things to know.

1. What does the deal involve?

The first major AUKUS initiative will help Australia acquire a conventionally armed submarine fleet that’s powered by nuclear reactors.…  Seguir leyendo »

The HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier heading to the Indo-Pacific region. Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images.

The announcement of the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the UK and the US, which put an end to the Franco-Australian submarine contract that constituted one of the pillars of the French Indo-Pacific strategy, has created a legitimate anger in France and clearly dealt a serious blow to trust and cooperation between France and the UK in a relationship already strained by years of post-Brexit disputes. Some senior figures have called for a rethink of France’s approach to the region, and even to alliances more generally.

Even though Paris has downplayed the role played by the UK in the new pact, which it sees mostly as exploiting the situation to score a post-Brexit political win, it has postponed the scheduled meeting between the French and British defence ministers – a sign that the wider relationship between France and the UK cannot be insulated from AUKUS.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Roots of French Pique

It’s hardly surprising that France would be furious over losing a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Australia, all the more so because it believes it was blindsided as Canberra, Washington and London secretly worked to get a different deal for themselves.

But recalling ambassadors, as France did from Washington and Canberra, a step just short of breaking relations, is not normal behavior among allies, no matter how miffed they may be. The lost sale of a dozen submarines is painful, but not fatal to the French arms industry, especially as the hulls and engines were to be built in Australia and the electronics and armaments were to come from Lockheed Martin, an American company.…  Seguir leyendo »

Australian Defence Force, via Getty Images

Make no mistake. This is a crisis, not a spat.

The new partnership announced last week between the United States, Britain and Australia, in which Australia would be endowed with nuclear-powered submarines, has left the French angry and in shock. And not just because of the loss of their own deal, signed in 2016, to provide Australia with submarines.

French officials say they have been stonewalled and duped by close allies, who negotiated behind their backs. The sense of betrayal is so acute that President Emmanuel Macron has uncharacteristically opted to keep silent on the issue, delegating the expression of a very public rage to his otherwise quiet foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian.…  Seguir leyendo »

La era de la gran competición estratégica ya está aquí. Realmente, ya lo estaba. Pero el AUKUS (combinado con la retirada estadounidense de Afganistán) marca un punto de inflexión evidente con Estados Unidos, Australia y el Reino Unido enviando un mensaje claro y contundente. El Indo-Pacífico es el gran espacio de referencia donde se va a dirimir la competición (y ya veremos si la confrontación) con China. Toda la política internacional de esta década gravitará en torno a esta gran competición. Y la Unión Europea, y con ella España, corren el serio riesgo de quedar fuera de juego.

El AUKUS es un acuerdo trilateral de defensa por el que Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido se comprometen, entre otras cuestiones, a asistir a Australia en la construcción de al menos ocho submarinos de propulsión nuclear.…  Seguir leyendo »

A ferry passes by the Royal Australian Navy's Collins-class submarine HMAS Waller as it leaves Sydney Harbour on May 4, 2020. (Reuters Photographer/Reuters)

Culture and tradition matter. The Anglosphere is a real grouping that comprises elements of trust going back decades and centuries. The agreement between the United States, Britain and Australia to build the latter nation eight nuclear-powered submarines effectively erects a core Anglo-Saxon military alliance fitted to a multicultural and globalized world. This is nothing less than the Atlantic Charter finally extended to the Pacific, eight decades later. Just as Britain has served since before World War II as a geopolitical platform for the United States close to mainland Europe, Australia, situated at the confluence of the Pacific and Indian oceans, will now do the same for the Indo-Pacific region close to mainland China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Think China is angered at the new AUKUS defense partnership between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia? Meet the French, to whom the announcement on Sept. 15 came as a complete shock. France apparently learned of the new trilateral security partnership on the day it was publicly announced.

It’s not just that this partnership doesn’t include France. At issue is the U.S. decision to share technology for building nuclear-powered submarines with its Australian allies — this first AUKUS initiative ruptures a lucrative contract France made in 2016 to supply submarines to Australia.

Of course, as former French ambassador to the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

A submarine in Darwin, Australia. (Getty Images)

No pain, no gain. That’s as true in diplomacy as in the gym. The United States has gained much with its agreement to share nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia as part of a new Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) accord. But this achievement comes at a cost: France, complaining of a “knife in the back,” recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington (but not London) in its fury over losing a $66 billion agreement to sell diesel submarines to Australia.

Was it worth it? Yes. Could it have been better handled? Also yes. This is a bit like a football team scoring a touchdown and then getting penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, center, with, by video link, President Biden, right, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, in Canberra, Australia, last week. Credit Mick Tsikas/EPA, via Shutterstock

The United States did not directly mention China in announcing its historic new security partnership with Australia and Britain last week, but it didn’t have to. The defense deal is a clear escalation and indication that Washington views Beijing as an adversary.

It also has thrust Australia into a central role in America’s rivalry with China. After hinting at a more self-reliant defense posture for the past several years, Australia’s government is now instead betting big on the future of its alliance with the United States with the new pact. Australia seems to be assuming that America will remain engaged in Asia for the long haul and will be prepared to face down China if necessary — but it shouldn’t.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Joe Biden announces the US will share nuclear submarine technology with Australia, joined virtually by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo by Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The growing diplomatic drama surrounding the announcement of the new Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) risks concealing rather than highlighting what the deal reveals about profound changes in the global strategic context. Several elements stand out.

First, Australia’s decision to break off the $66 billion contract it signed with France in 2016 to purchase a new fleet of diesel electric submarines underscores the heightened level of concern in Canberra about China’s growing naval capabilities.

Despite all the industrial, legal, and diplomatic disruption, the Australian government has decided only the stealthy nuclear-powered submarines developed by Britain with US support can provide the genuine naval capability it needs long-term.…  Seguir leyendo »

HMS Astute nuclear submarine, equipped with cruise missiles and torpedoes, has more firepower than any previous British attack submarine. Photo by BAE Systems via Getty Images.

Technology and cyber threats

Dr Beyza Unal

The announcement mentions developing joint capabilities and information and technology sharing across the UK, US, and Australia and picks up on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and quantum communications.

As part of this defence agreement, the UK, US, and Australia are aiming to protect the undersea fibre optic cables that provide part of the military and civilian communication for the West. Both Russia and China possess cyber and submarine technology. They could tap into these cables, allowing for eavesdropping and collecting data through cyber means. It is a matter of national and of NATO Alliance’s security to protect undersea cables.…  Seguir leyendo »