AUKUS: An Anglo Alliance Against China?

In the recently announced AUKUS alliance, the US has joined the United Kingdom to arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines to check China's rise. This announcement has not only upset the Chinese but it has also enraged France. The French are angry because AUKUS has scuttled Australia's earlier agreement to purchase diesel-powered submarines from France. 

President Biden Announcing Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) Alliance

India, a member of the anti-China QUAD alliance, has welcomed AUKUS. Although AUKUS appears to be de-emphasizing QUAD that includes India and Japan, the Indians see it as a green-light from the United States for them to pursue expansion of their nuclear submarine fleet.  China could respond to this growing threat by arming its ally Pakistan with nuclear-powered submarines

“This looks like a new geopolitical order without binding alliances,” said Nicole Bacharan, a researcher at Sciences Po in Paris. France's foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called the decision a “knife in the back.” Benjamin Haddad, from the Atlantic Council, in Washington, said it had set relations between the US and France back to their lowest point since the Iraq War.  Bruno Tertrais, an analyst at France’s Foundation for Strategic Research think tank, went even further, calling it a “Trafalgar strike”,  a reference to the 1805 naval battle between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies that was won by the British. “To confront China, the United States appears to have chosen a different alliance, with the Anglo-Saxon world separate from France.” She predicted a “very hard” period in the old friendship between Paris and Washington, according to a report in the New York Times. 

Nicole Bacharan's reference to the "Anglo-Saxon world" is not just an angry outburst. A real life example of the Anglo-Saxon alliance is "Five Eyes", an intelligence alliance among Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Ex NSA contractor Edward Snowden has called "Five Eyes" as a "supra-national intelligence organization that does not answer to the known laws of its own countries".  

Part of the motivation for the Anglo-Saxon AUKUS alliance is that France and the rest of the European Union do not want a direct confrontation with China. This was underscored in a recent policy paper titled the “E.U. Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific". French President Emanuel Macron has been talking about "European strategic autonomy".  He has spoken about an autonomous Europe operating “beside America and China.”  

Although the AUKUS announcement does not explicitly mention China, it has drawn a strong response from Beijing. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian has said,"The international community, including neighboring countries, have risen to question [Australia’s] commitment to nuclear non-proliferation." “China will closely monitor the situation", he added. 

A piece titled "China--a lonely superpower" by Henry Storey in Lowy Institute's "The Interpreter" has speculated about a “new Quad” led by China and featuring Iran, Pakistan and Russia, all members of Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO). Here is an excerpt of it:
"As the United States, United Kingdom and Australia move to form a new AUKUS grouping, various reports have emerged of a “new Quad” led by China and featuring Iran, Pakistan and Russia......Despite bombastic talk of an “iron brother” bond, Islamabad is deeply reluctant to become – or be perceived to be – a Chinese vassal state. These concerns explicitly motivated Pakistan to seek a moderate rapprochement with India and explain Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to rebuild ties with the United States".

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 18, 2021 at 6:26pm

France to work with India to promote ‘truly multilateral’ order
Foreign ministers of two countries agree to deepen strategic partnership as they discuss developments in the Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/18/france-work-with-india-pro...

France’s foreign affairs minister has agreed with his Indian counterpart to work on a programme to promote “a truly multilateral international order”, the French foreign ministry said.

Jean-Yves Le Drian and Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also agreed during a call to deepen their strategic partnership, “based on a relationship of political trust between two great sovereign nations of the Indo-Pacific”, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The two ministers agreed to meet in New York next week, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, to work “on a common programme of concrete actions to defend together a truly multilateral international order”, it added.

For his part, Jaishankar said in a Twitter post they discussed “developments in the Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan”.

France has pushed for several years for a European strategy for boosting economic, political and defence ties in the region stretching from India and China to Japan and New Zealand. The European Union unveiled this week its plan for the Indo-Pacific.

The phone call came a day after the French government recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after Canberra ditched a multibillion-dollar order for French submarines in favour of a partnership with Washington and London in the Indo-Pacific region.

Calling the cancellation “unacceptable behaviour”, Le Drian said in a statement on Friday the decision to recall the envoys, on request from President Emmanuel Macron, “is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements” made by Australia and the United States.

A White House official said on Friday that the US regrets France’s decision and will continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve differences between the two countries.

Australia said on Saturday it also regrets France’s decision, adding that it values its relationship with France and will keep engaging with Paris on many other issues.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2021 at 10:18am

Is Biden normalizing Trump’s foreign policy? 8 months into #Biden's admin, some are shocked to discover that #US foreign policy is a faithful continuation of Donald #Trump’s and a repudiation of Barack #Obama’s. #Afghanistan #Cuba #Europe #Iran #Vaccines https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/16/is-biden-normali...


Next week, on Sept. 21, President Biden will make his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly. This address comes at a crucial moment in the Biden presidency and will have a particular impact on how it is viewed abroad. After almost eight months of watching policies, rhetoric and crises, many foreign observers have been surprised — even shocked — to discover that, in area after area, Biden’s foreign policy is a faithful continuation of Donald Trump’s and a repudiation of Barack Obama’s.

Some of this dismay is a consequence of the abrupt and unilateral manner in which Biden withdrew American troops from Afghanistan. A German diplomat told me that, in his view, Berlin was consulted more by the Trump administration than by this one. Some are specific actions, such as the submarine deal, which has enraged the French.

But the growing concerns go well beyond any one episode. A senior European diplomat noted that, in dealings with Washington on everything from vaccines to travel restrictions, the Biden policies were “'America First’ in logic, whatever the rhetoric.” A Canadian politician said that if followed, Biden’s “Buy America” plans are actually more protectionist than Trump’s. Despite having criticized Trump’s tariffs repeatedly, Biden has kept nearly all of them. (In fact, many have been expanded since most exemptions to them have been allowed to expire.) Key Asian allies keep pressing Biden to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership — much praised by him when the Obama administration negotiated it. Instead, it has been shelved.

Another striking example of Biden’s surprisingly Trumpian foreign policy is the Iran deal, one of the landmark accomplishments of the Obama administration. Throughout his election campaign, Biden argued that Trump’s withdrawal from that agreement had been a cardinal error and that, as president, he would rejoin it as long as Iran would also move into compliance. His national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, described Trump’s reimposing of secondary sanctions against Tehran despite opposition from U.S. allies as “predatory unilateralism.”

But since he took office, Biden has failed to return to the deal and has even extended some sanctions. Having long argued against trying to renegotiate the deal, Biden officials now want to “lengthen and strengthen” it. So far, this Trump-Biden strategy has not worked. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium went from less than 300 kilograms in 2018 to more than 3,000 kilograms in May.

Or consider policy toward Cuba. The Obama administration was bold enough to tackle one of the most glaring failures in U.S. foreign policy. Having isolated and sanctioned Cuba since 1960 to produce regime change in that country, the United States had instead strengthened Cuba’s Communist government. Fidel Castro sparked nationalist fervor by blaming all of Cuba’s problems on the embargo and, far from being toppled, he ended up staying in power longer than any nonroyal leader on the planet.

As with Iran, the cost of these policies has been paid by ordinary people. One of the cruelest aspects of America’s sanctions policy is that it is so readily deployed because it satisfies special interest groups in Washington and is painless to Americans, but inflicts horrific damage on the poorest and most powerless — millions of ordinary Cubans and Iranians — who have no way to protest or respond

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2021 at 5:05pm

After the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, some of the harshest criticism of America’s credibility has come — surprisingly — from India.

https://warontherocks.com/2021/09/avoiding-a-collision-course-with-...

One prominent (Indian) commentator projects the end of “Pax Americana” and another argues that the Taliban’s victory constitutes the “first significant setback” of America’s “Indo-Pacific project.” These Indian strategists see the end of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan as a sign of unreliability. Without U.S. troops on the ground, New Delhi will be challenged to contend with a Taliban government that tilts toward Pakistan and China. Afghanistan historically provided safe haven to terrorist organizations that targeted India, and New Delhi considers the Taliban’s ascendance as a direct threat to its security interests. Other prominent Indian voices, however, take a different view on the meaning of the U.S. withdrawal. C. Raja Mohan, an influential Indian scholar, believes that the U.S. withdrawal can “accelerate current trends in India’s relations with the United States,” while even the Indian foreign minister insists that the United States is still “the premier power” that retains a “very unique sort of standing.

Debates over the reliability of the United States are commonplace in New Delhi. Earlier this year, for instance, Indian commentators argued over the significance of unilateral U.S. freedom of navigation operations in India’s exclusive economic zone and the slow pace of U.S. pandemic relief. Suspicion of U.S. intentions has a long history in India, dating back to the Cold War and America’s longstanding ties with Islamabad. In recent decades, however, New Delhi has been able to count on Washington when in crisis. Last year, the United States rapidly provided supplies, expedited equipment, and enhanced intelligence during India’s 2020 border crisis with China.

Where India remains uncertain is whether Washington will steadfastly support India’s long-term defense and deterrence needs. These lingering doubts have intensified with the looming threat of U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which India could be subject to when it takes delivery of the Russian S-400 air defense system at the end of 2021. These doubts could abate if the Biden administration is able to work with Congress to issue India a sanctions waiver, and allow strategic and market incentives, rather than punishments, to shape India’s defense partnership choices.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2021 at 5:17pm

After the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, some of the harshest criticism of America’s credibility has come — surprisingly — from India.

https://warontherocks.com/2021/09/avoiding-a-collision-course-with-...


Over decades of close relations with the littoral nations of the Indian Ocean, India has accrued trust and influence the United States cannot match. India’s clear statements that it is a multi-aligned state, and not part of a Western bloc, also strike a chord among some swing states in Southeast Asia that seek a similar balance. By defending the maritime commons and a rules-based order, India offers these states a permission structure to align their stances on the core concerns of international order, not because they are promoted by the U.S. allies, but precisely because they are promoted by influential like-minded states outside that Western alliance structure. Former U.S. officials acknowledge many Southeast Asian states are uncomfortable expressing their concerns with China out loud but, if India affirms a set of international rules alongside the United States and its allies, these states could be emboldened to become similarly forthright. India’s early success selling jointly made Indo-Russian anti-ship cruise missiles to Southeast Asian states (something that CAATSA sanctions could also constrain) further emboldens Southeast Asian states to defend their territorial waters, contributing to a more stable Asian balance of power.

Tools like CAATSA sanctions that seek to force India into the mold of a U.S. treaty ally either compromises India’s perception of U.S. reliability as an Indo-Pacific partner or compromises the valuable currency of legitimacy India’s multi-aligned status confers. Most likely, though, it undermines both Indian trust and the perception that it is truly an independent and sovereign actor, a two-fold loss for U.S. regional interests. Such reliability questions will only be compounded as other states with defense industrial ties to Russia, like Vietnam and Indonesia, would then fear that U.S. support is conditional on their subordination to every U.S. foreign policy.

Looking Ahead

Washington may underestimate how much of a collision course it is on with India. The threat of CAATSA sanctions has already cast a cloud over U.S.-Indian relations and imposes a drag on many aspects of the defense partnership. Far more than the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, sanctions will cause India to raise fundamental questions about America’s reliability for years to come. The Biden administration can avert this by taking Congress into consultation to grant India a sanctions waiver.

Rather than diminishing Indo-Russian relations, CAATSA sanctions ultimately threaten U.S. interests by undermining India’s capabilities to defend the rules-based order and willingness to deeply coordinate with the United States in the Indo-Pacific. India’s capacity to support that strategy means the United States should prioritize allowing India to strengthen its capabilities, regardless of origin, rather than seeking to force India into the framework of an American ally that operates U.S. military equipment. While India’s multi-alignment policy can be frustrating to deal with, and trades off with some depth of U.S.-Indian defense cooperation, it remains one of Washington’s best bets for burden-sharing, balancing, and unique political currency among numerous Indo-Pacific littoral states.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2021 at 8:59am

Why would #US give #Australia its #nuclear #submarines but not to #India? #Indian #Navy chiefs have raised the prospect of Indo-US collaboration on nuclear reactor propulsion #technology only to have been politely rebuffed by their US counterparts. #AUKUS https://www.indiatoday.in/india-today-insight/story/why-the-us-won-...

India’s quest for modern naval nuclear reactors, meanwhile, continues. When India approached France for nuclear submarine technology in 2017, it found Paris reluctant. In 2021, furious at being cut out of the submarine deal with Australia, Paris has recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington. It is now entirely possible that India might find in France another partner willing to share nuclear submarine technology.
--------------------

On September 16, Indian Navy officials read the text of AUKUS, a US-UK-Australian military alliance, with a sense of dismay. The high point of AUKUS is that both the US and the UK will equip Australia to design and build up to eight nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) to counter the rising threat of China in the Indo-Pacific. China’s belligerence is a common concern for several countries in the region, especially the ‘Quad’ countries of US, Australia, Japan and India, who revived their grouping last year.


Indian Navy chiefs and naval veterans have raised the prospect of Indo-US collaboration on nuclear reactor propulsion technology only to have been politely rebuffed by their US counterparts. During a Track 2 dialogue held in Australia two years ago, the US side was emphatic in its refusal, recalls an Indian representative who was part of the event. The US Congress would never contemplate discussing anything to do with the transfer of nuclear propulsion, they were told.

This request might have sounded out of place considering that India already operates nuclear submarines—becoming the world’s sixth country to do so when it commissioned the INS Arihant in 2016. The Arihant, however, is an SSBN (nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine)—a slow-moving ‘bomber’ and a stealthy launch platform for nuclear weapons. The Arihant and three more SSBNs under construction are part of the Strategic Forces Command. What the navy wants are SSNs, which can perform a series of tactical missions, from escorting SSBNs to accompanying its carrier battle groups and hunting enemy warships.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2021 at 10:04am

What are the differences between SSN, SSBN, and SSGN submarines? - Quora

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-differences-between-SSN-SSBN-and...


Jason Heinisch

Surface Warfare Officer, US Navy
Answered 2 years ago · Author has 1K answers and 1.8M answer views

SSN

These are the real sharks. The fast attack, nuclear powered submarines are designed (originally) to hunt down enemy surface ships and cause havoc for surface forces. There role was later expanded to be able to hunt enemy submarines and now has expanded further to give them limited land attack capabilities. These ships have a heavy load of torpedos and a whole lot of speed.

SSBN

These are the keys to the end of the world. These submarines carry around 24 ICBM missiles capable of traveling thousands of miles and each releasing multiple, independent nuclear warheads. There are always a number of them out to sea at any given time to serve as a leg of the “nuclear triad.” This means that their primary role is to serve as a detterant against nuclear strikes on us. The idea is that if a foreign power were to send nukes at us, one of these “boomers” would end their whole country. They are quiet, sneaky, and have two crews assigned to them to maximize the amount of time that they are out partrolling.

SSGN

These are a hybrid test of the Navy. It was found in the modern era that it is nice to have a whole shit ton of Tomahawk missiles anywhere in the world so they took 4 of the SSBN’s and pulled out their ICBM’s and fitted each tube with a couple of tomohawks instead. These boats carry upwards of 132 tomahawk missiles and still possess the quiet speed of the SSBN. Additionally, they have been outfitted to deploy SEAL teams when needed anywhere in the world.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2021 at 10:15am

No end to questions as Australia chooses nuclear submarines
By Ewen Levick | Melbourne | 17 September 2021


https://www.australiandefence.com.au/news/no-end-to-questions-as-au...

On Thursday morning Australians woke to perhaps the most significant defence capability news in recent memory: the Royal Australian Navy will acquire nuclear powered submarines under a new deal between Australia, the UK and the US.
The deal, known as AUKUS, was announced by US President Joe Biden, British PM Boris Johnson and PM Scott Morrison and also includes sharing information and expertise in AI, quantum technology, underwater systems, hypersonics and long-range strike capabilities, including Tomahawk cruise missiles for the Hobart class destroyers.

The repercussions are profound. First, the existing $90 billion Future Submarine contract with Naval Group – the largest military acquisition in Australian history – has been scrapped. In a statement, the company said the news was a 'major disappointment' and that it would work through the consequences with the Commonwealth.

Second, Australia's Collins class submarines will now likely need to stay in the water longer than anticipated, raising questions over whether Australia's naval power is sufficient to bridge the gap with the nuclear-powered boats. At least the full cycle docking (FCD) debate is now put to rest - South Australian Premier Steven Marshall confirmed on Thursday that it will take place in South Australia.

Third, the Australian public will now cast judgement on whether the security reasons for acquiring nuclear powered submarines outweigh this country's historical rejection of nuclear power.

Fourth, the acquisition signals that diesel powered submarines are now deemed insufficient for the military contingencies Australia expects to face, meaning those contingencies are changing much faster than anticipated even a year ago when the Force Structure Plan and Defence Strategic Update were released.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 20, 2021 at 1:43pm

#AUKUS won’t impact #Quad. #US Def Sec Austin’s call came just ahead of #Modi’s visit to #Washington for first in-person #QuadSummit. #India's Singh expressed concern over lots of Humvees and helicopters to drones, night-vision devices left in #Afghanistan http://toi.in/xyZFNb/a24gk

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 21, 2021 at 11:01am

A #US #CIA agent reported #Havana syndrome symptoms (Hearing strange grating noises, headache, hearing loss, memory loss, and nausea) in #India on a recent visit to #NewDelhi. How did the perpetrator know the CIA director's secret visit schedule? https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/20/politics/cia-director-havana-syndrom...

When CIA Director Bill Burns traveled to India earlier this month a member of his team reported symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome and had to receive medical attention, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

The incident set off alarm bells within the US government and left Burns "fuming" with anger, one source explained. Some officials at the CIA viewed the chilling episode as a direct message to Burns that no one is safe, including those working directly for the nation's top spy, two sources said.
The event marks the second time in less than a month that reported cases of the mysterious illness have impacted the international travel of top Biden administration officials. Last month Vice President Kamala Harris's visit to Vietnam was slightly delayed when multiple US personnel reported symptoms consistent with the syndrome just ahead of her visit, and at least two of them had to be medevaced.
Under Burns and the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, the intelligence community has undertaken a wide-ranging investigation into the mysterious attacks, including a 100-day probe into the potential causes that began earlier this summer. While that investigation is expected to be concluded before the end of the year the timeframe could be somewhat adjusted and there is no public report planned, two sources said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 21, 2021 at 12:00pm

#USAF Sec Kendall: If #China can’t beat the #US in the air it will try in #space . Kendall suggested China could pursue a global strike capability using space to deliver weapons anywhere on earth or in space. #spacewarfare - SpaceNews

https://spacenews.com/kendall-if-china-cant-beat-the-u-s-in-the-air...

"We are in a national, strategic, long-term competition with a strategic adversary," Kendall said.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in a keynote speech Sept. 20 warned that China’s rapid advances in nuclear and conventional weapons will challenge the United States both in the air and space domains.

“While America is still the dominant military power on the planet today, we are being more effectively challenged militarily than at any other time in our history,” he said at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

“We are in a national, strategic, long-term competition with a strategic adversary,” Kendall said.

China’s advances in military and space technologies and the implications for U.S. national security was the dominant theme in Kendall’s address to a large audience of active-duty service members, government civilians and defense contractors.

He said China’s military modernization is focused on long-range precision-guided munitions, hypersonic missiles, space and cyber weapons.

“I have had the opportunity to catch up on the intelligence about China’s modernization programs. If anything, China has accelerated its pace of modernization,” Kendall said.

There is “strong evidence” that China is pursuing silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-guided munitions to strike targets on Earth and in space, he said. Some of that intelligence was revealed through open sources but Kendall also has received classified briefings.

During a briefing with reporters on Monday, Kendall described these revelations as “the most disturbing developments in nuclear proliferation I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

With regard to space weapons, he suggested China could pursue a global strike capability using space to deliver weapons, a concept modeled after the Soviet-era “fractional orbital bombardment system” conceived for the Cold War. The Soviets envisioned launching nuclear warheads into low Earth orbit and then directing them back down to targets on the ground.

Kendall said he had no specific knowledge that the Chinese are pursuing this but said “it could be possible” and suggested this idea would be attractive to the Chinese because the fractional orbital system is hard to detect by early-warning satellites.

He noted that he came of age in the Cold War and that history can repeat itself.

To stay ahead of China, the United States is going to have to “respond with a sense of urgency, but we also have to take the time necessary to make smart choices about our future and our investments,” he said.

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