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AUKUS: Is Australia the big loser?

By Teck Lim - posted Monday, 27 September 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his colleagues are today basking in the flag waving congratulations from patriotic and red-blooded Australians for his success in pulling off the AUKUS agreement between Australia and its two western allies against what the trio have identified as their common enemy - China.

So how big and momentous a deal is it exactly?

According to former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott:


This is a historic and important decision made by the Australian government. Historic because it overturns decades of strategic caution and announces to the world that we take national security seriously. Important because it acknowledges the scale of the strategic challenge from China and declares that Australia will play our part in meeting it.

Hugh White, an academic from Canberra's Australian National University, similarly noted that "the new agreement will make Australia the only non-nuclear armed country in the world to operate nuclear-powered submarines".

That is a very big deal indeed…In the escalating rivalry between America and China, we're siding with the United States and we're betting they're going to win this one.

More critical Australians have denounced it as a big mistake with former Prime Minister, Paul Keating arguing that Australia's sycophancy to the US was only damaging its own interests.

Weeks earlier Keating had chastised the government for leading Australia into a "Cold War" with China.

Australia is a continent sharing a border with no other state. It has no territorial disputes with China. Indeed, China is 12 flying hours away from the Australian coast. Yet the government, both through its foreign policy incompetence and fawning compulsion to please America, effectively has us in a cold war with China.


Clearly this advice has been ignored by Morrison who appears committed to winning what has been described as a coming kaki election. According to one Australian wag, he can now show off to the electorate the new hair on his chest grown with US and British assistance.


Is Joe Biden the big winner? With the US tail between its legs from the Taliban inflicted ignominious Kabul retreat and numerous domestic challenges to overcome, he now can point to one achievement with the assistance of "that [big] fella from down under".

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About the Author

Lim Teck Ghee, a former graduate of the Australian National University, is a political analyst in Malaysia. He has a regular column called, ‘Another Take’ in The Sun, one of the nation’s print media.

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