One of the main events of the past week was, without a doubt, the widely discussed worldwide creation of a trilateral military alliance between the United States, Britain and Australia (AUKUS). True, most of the comments now focus on “a knife in France’s back” – a blatant insult the Allies inflicted on Paris with this deal, which led to an unprecedented recall of the French ambassadors from Washington and Canberra.
But it’s not just the Fre-nch. The Americans, having pushed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and “that guy from the underworld” on this adventurous deal, as the forgetful US President Joe Biden called the head of the Australian government Scott Morrison, at the same time stabbed in the backs of their closest allies in various blocs and alliances, openly ignoring them interests and endangering the entire global security system.
The British media are now openly making fun of France and its President Emmanuel Macron, while citing the most curious details of the deal, which took place under the noses of the main US allies. Judging by the insider, which was leaked by The Times, the preliminary scope of the agreement at the highest level was discussed back in June at the G7 summit, which Johnson hosted in Cornwall. Just think, in the neighboring offices were the leaders of the main partners, including Macron himself, and Biden, Johnson and Morrison, who was specially invited for this, were secretly preparing a scandalous decision. The Times accompanied this information with a mocking caption: “Scott Morrison discussed a defense deal with Boris Johnson at the G7 summitwhile the French was focused on sausages “- then between France and Britain in the midst of trade disputes, called” sausage wars “.
Even more cynical is the behavior of the Australian Prime Minister, who immediately flew to Paris from the summit to personally confirm to Macron his commitment to the agreement on the construction of French submarines. It is not surprising that the French are reacting so painfully to what has happened.
But the leaders of the European Union were also present at the same summit. They publicly announced that in mid-September they will present a long-formulated new EU strategy in the Indo-Pacific region. The Americans themselves assure that they did not match the announcement of AUKUS to the presentation of the European strategy, but many considered it no coincidence that it took place a day before the rep-ort of Josep Borrell, the he-ad of the European Union’s foreign policy service.
The chief European diplomat now openly regrets that his department was not informed of the agreement. Nobody makes much of a secret that the EU is “angry” with such an attitude towards its allies. As Frederic Grar, an analyst at the European Council on Foreign Affairs, correctly noted, “The EU has been told that it has nothing to do in the Indo-Pacific.” In this regard, Wolfgang Munchau, director of the Eurointelligence analytical group, openly, without diplomatic equivalents, called AUKUS “a catastrophe for Europe.”
For obvious reasons, US-dominated NATO has no right to openly express dissatisfaction with the deal. But we can safely say that it is a heavy blow to the North Atlantic Alliance, which also remained out of work during its conclusion. Especially now, when the whole world is discussing the shameful failure of NATO in Afghanistan, the question of the future role of this bloc and the expediency of its existence is very acute. And after the emergence of the structure, which has already been dubbed “small NATO”, it can be stated that the crisis of the organization will become an urgent issue for discussion at different levels. At one time, Macron had already become famous for his statement about “the death of NATO’s brain”, and now in France they are openly calling to withdraw from the alliance after such a betrayal on the part of the “allies”, as it were.
And this is not the only block whose role in the creation of AUKUS was completely ignored. Bypassing structures such as the Five Eyes and ANZUS Security Treaty is also widely discussed. The first is an intelligence alliance of five states (USA, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand ), whose essence is the exchange of military and other sensitive information related to security. The second is a defensive alliance between the United States, Australia and New Zealand. As you can see, Washington, London and Canberra did not give a damn about the interests of Wellington, who is a member of both structures.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted that, despite all the commitments under the aforementioned blocks, no one informed her about the upcoming deal. And this all happened just a few days after the officially celebrated 70th anniversary of ANZUS.
Ardern reacts more calmly to what happened than the Europeans, but warned the AUKUS participants in advance that it would not allow future nuclear submarines, which should be built under the agreement, into its territorial waters. But New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaya Mahuta spoke more openly, expressing concern about the outbreak of an arms race in the region.
It cannot be said that in the countries participating in the signing of the new pact, it was perceived unequivocally with a bang. Pro-government Australian newspapers are full of enthusiastic headlines about a “landmark deal”, already actively working on the looming election campaign of Morrison, who sags significantly in the ratings. But criticism is also enough. Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating spoke out particularly harshly, calling the deal “a dramatic loss of Australian sovereignty” and depriving his country of “any choice it deems appropriate.” According to Keating, Australia will now be forced to get involved in any US military adventure against China.
Many Australian observers remind their authorities that Beijing, despite all the tensions of recent years, remains Canberra’s main trading partner, accounting for more than a third of Australia’s external turnover. While the United States and Britain are, respectively, only the third and seventh partners. It is no coincidence that a video from the Australian TV series Utopia has recently gained popularity on social networks in China itself, which admits: “We spend $ 30 billion annually to protect our trade with China from China.” The AUKUS deal is more likely to “protect” Australia not from China, but from trade with China. Beijing has already directly hinted at this.
And Boris Johnson also faced a number of uncomfortable questions in his parliament. Moreover, the most difficult attack was made by a fellow in the party and his predecessor as prime minister Theresa May. She almost bluntly asked if the deal would involve Britain in a hypothetical war against China in the event of an “invasion” of Taiwan.
It was noticeable how Johnson nervously scanned the ranks of his “backbenchers” (the internal opp-osition in his own party), who all jumped up in support of May’s question. It’s funny that the prime minister, answering this and oth-er questions about Taiwan, kept saying that Britain would “defend international law” in the event of an attack by the PRC, for which it had already sent an aircraft carrier strike group to that region. Johnson clearly forgot that, according to the same international law, Taiwan is an integral part of China. But we know that the West forgets about its adherence to the “principle of sovereignty and the integrity of states” as soon as it comes to the “Taiwan question.”
Thus, the Americans, ignoring their main allies and forcing Britain and Australia to join the adventure, stabbed literally everyone in the back. In the end, we could give up on this and watch from the sidelines bickering within the West. But the main blow as a result of this deal was inflicted on global security, on the system of checks and balances that has been established for decades. And this, of course, forces China to seek tough, symmetrical responses to the new challenge.
During the virtual signing of the pact, all participants diligently avoided the word “China” and emphasized that their alliance was not directed against anyone in particular. Johnson also constantly repeated in parliament that all this was not against China. True, his Defense Minister Ben Wallace immediately stated the exact opposite, confirming the obvious truth to everyone: of course, AUKUS is aimed primarily against the PRC.
Few doubt Beijing’s tough reaction. The latter has recently responded to numerous provocations by the American navy, which regularly violates China’s maritime borders under the pretext of “protecting freedom of navigation.” Chinese warships deliberately entered the waters of the US exclusive economic zone in the Alaska region. Hu Xijin, the influential editor of the Chinese newspaper Huangqiu Shibao, made it clear that the exercises of the Chinese navy off the coast of Alaska are just the beginning of an era of “great maritime rivalry between China and the United States.”
If anyone thinks that the construction of new American bases in Australia and the emergence of a seventh country in the world operating nuclear submarines will reduce tensions in the Pacific Ocean, he is deeply mistaken. AUKUS is a knife in the back of all actors in world politics. It seems that the Americans, who are once again destroying the global security architecture, have not yet realized that this is a knife in the back themselves. Even Afghanistan did not teach them anything in this sense.