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Intelligence expert warns Aukus will fix Australia’s dependence on US Aukus

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The Aucus The deal will entrench Australia’s dependence on the US and make it impossible to pursue an independent defense policy, a former Australian army intelligence officer has warned.

In a provocative new book to be published this week, Clinton Fernandez argues that the true nature of Australia’s relationship with the US is “transactional, deeply unequal”. He argues that the rhetoric about the partnership is just “window dressing”.

A former intelligence officer and now a lecturer at the University of New South Wales is pushing for a bipartisan consensus on Australia’s foreign policy and rejects the idea that Australia is a “middle nation”.

He argues that Australia regularly acts in defense of US power and grand strategy and is best described as a “sub-imperial state”.

Fernandez warns of a “dramatic acceleration” of this trend as a result of Aukus’ partnership with the US and UK, in which the two countries plan to help Australia acquire at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.

The professor of international and political studies said Australia was “creating a structural dependency on the United States, leaving itself unable to defend itself except in the context of the US alliance”.

“This is not a mistake. This is not an oversight. It’s not a mistake,” Fernandez told Guardian Australia in an interview ahead of the international release of Sub-Imperial Power: Australia.

“The people in charge of policy … are doing this to make it impossible for future Australian governments to defend themselves outside of the alliance relationship.”

A report in the Wall Street Journal It was suggested over the weekend that the Biden administration was considering a plan to accelerate the development of nuclear submarines for Australia by the mid-2030s by manufacturing the first few submarines in the US.

However, given existing production constraints at US shipyards, the deal will be dependent on Australia’s financial commitment to expand US submarine production capacity to ensure they can also meet their domestic needs.

“It’s a mistake to think we’re buying submarines,” Fernandez said. “We’re effectively subsidizing the U.S. Navy’s submarine budget.”

Peter Dutton “just telling the truth”

Fernandez also said then-Defence Minister Peter Dutton was “simply honest” when he said he thought it was “inconceivable” that Australia would not join if the US defended Taiwan in a war against China.

Dutton later reflected on the issue in terms of relations with the US, saying that Australia had been a “great and reliable friend and ally” and he did not think “we would shirk our responsibility to be a good ally with the United States”. .

In the book, which will be released on October 5, Fernandez quotes telegram from the US Embassywhich was leaked to WikiLeaks, describing a conversation between the US ambassador and then Labor leader Kim Beasley before the 2007 election.

Beasley, according to the cable, assured the ambassador that Australia would have “absolutely no alternative but to side with the United States” in the event of a war between the United States and China, adding: “Otherwise the alliance would be effectively dead and buried, something Australia could never afford to see.”

Fernandes said politicians in Australia “were not naive” and were determined to show Australia’s importance to American strategic planners. Successive Australian governments have publicly and privately urged the US to continue its engagement in the Indo-Pacific amid concerns about China’s growing power and intentions.

The 2020 Defense Strategy Update says security arrangements with the US are “critical to Australia’s national security” and Washington “continues to ensure security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”.

Selection rules

Fernandez writes that the world now consists of independent nation-states rather than empires and colonies, but he argues that the imperial system remains in place with the US at the “top” and Australia “subservient to the imperial centre”.

He argues that physical occupation is not the only way to effectively control the sovereignty of another country. Australia, for its part, “projects considerable power and influence in its region,” particularly in Timor-Leste and the southwest Pacific.

While Australia and the US publicly state that they support a rules-based international order, Fernandes argues that these rules are applied selectively and that Australia has been drawn into military conflicts to preserve the US alliance as a core strategic objective.

“The rules-based order allows the United States and its allies to illegally invade Iraq and attack a hospital in the city of Fallujah,” Fernandez writes.

Middle powers such as Norway and the Netherlands insist on parliamentary authorization for military action, but Australia does not. In Australia, the executive government has the power to deploy troops without parliamentary approval, and its leaders tend to be “so reflexive about requests from the United States,” Fernandez says.

Discussion about Aukus is growing

Fernandez is not the first analyst to express concern about Aukus’ impact on Australian sovereignty. Such fears were heightened last year when Joe Biden’s top Indo-Pacific adviser, Kurt Campbell, predicted a “near unification” of the Australian, US and British armed forces.

Campbell later tried to dispel these fearssaying he understood “how important sovereignty and independence are to Australia” and did not want to “leave any sense that in any way that would be lost”.

However, in June, prominent Australian strategic analyst Hugh White warned that building and operating nuclear submarines could “increase our dependence on which of our Aukus partners supply the submarines”.

White’s quarterly essay was titled Sleepwalking Before War: Australia’s Thoughtless Alliance with America. The head of the Australian Defense Force, General Angus Campbell, responded to the essay by saying, “I take my instructions from the Australian government.”

The chief executive of the Lowy Institute, Michael Fullilove, said he believed “the greater threat to Australia’s sovereignty and independence comes not from like-minded democracy” but from China.

Fullilov said Aukus “will strengthen our independence and sovereignty because it will give us access to technologies that increase the deterrent power that we have.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/02/aukus-will-lock-in-australias-dependence-on-us-intelligence-expert-warns

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