Nuclear submarines will turn Australia into a 'haunted house'

Global Times
Li Jiayao
2023-03-15 08:29:25

Illustration:Chen Xia/GT

The leaders of the US, Britain and Australia celebrated the unveiling of the AUKUS nuclear submarine plans with great fanfare at the Naval Base in San Diego, California, on Monday. It was a public humiliation to France, which was cheated by them, and a cover-up and deceit to the Australian people, and a kind of bravado to neighboring countries. It was also a blow to the already fragile international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, and obviously a dangerous move for the entire international community.

According to the agreement, Australia will purchase up to five US nuclear-powered submarines in the next few years, which means that Australia will become the seventh country in the world to have nuclear submarines. The peace and stability of the Indian Ocean and Pacific region will expectedly bear the impact, pressure and risks brought about by this agreement for a long time. Some American media even called it a "milestone." This obvious misnomer has produced ironic effects, but the agreement may indeed become a boundary stone for the US, Britain and Australia to drag the Asia-Pacific region into a "new cold war." It is what everyone is worried about.

In order to obtain the US' nuclear-powered submarines, Australia may have to spend nearly $250 billion. Does Australia have too many mines and is too wealthy? Australia indeed has mines, but life in Australia is not rich for most, and the current economic situation is very bad, with a huge structural budget deficit. $250 billion is roughly equivalent to about two years of public healthcare expenditure of Australia. In order to pay for this huge sum of money, Australia is bound to squeeze social welfare. In other words, the 25 million Australians will eventually have to pay the bill through a certain degree of frugality.

Another question, is Australia in danger without US' nuclear-powered submarines? Can't it survive? Obviously not. Not only does Australia not need them, but it will definitely put itself at risk by buying them. Australia, which is isolated in South Pacific and far away from other hotspots in the region, has a relatively unique geographic advantage. No country will attack or even invade Australia for no reason. Australia has had the conditions to spend its main resources and energy on improving people's livelihood.

Australia's inexplicable sense of insecurity when facing China is basically the result of being spiritually controlled for many years by the US. Australia thinks that it is the "deputy sheriff" of the Asia-Pacific region under Washington, but not to mention that it has no salary, even its police uniforms and firearms have to be bought from the US at a high price. The AUKUS agreement is actually a big trick of the US on Australia. It is equivalent to asking Australia to build a nuclear submarine base to produce its own submarines, but more importantly, to maintain and ensure the nuclear submarines of the US and Britain, and hand them over to be commanded by the US Navy, moreover, the hundreds of billions of dollars need to be paid by Australia itself. The follow-up nuclear submarine equipment, maintenance, related personnel training are an even bigger bottomless hole. Australia is at best a cat's paw which helps the US to get chestnuts from the fire, and it can be regarded as one of the most representative chump in the history of international relations.

In the English context, "white elephant" usually refers to a useless but expensive and eccentric object. It could have been better if the nuclear submarines of the US were just white elephants, but they are also a big ill omen. Canberra bought them back with a huge sum of money and will turn Australia into a haunted house, bringing risk to the whole region and making the years of efforts of South Pacific Countries in building a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, which is protected by formal treaty, face the most serious impact. Not only China firmly opposes it, but Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia are also very dissatisfied. New Zealand directly denies Australia's nuclear submarines' access to its waters. Otherwise, the Australian Defense Minister and Foreign Minister would not have been running around recently, trying to dispel people's concerns about nuclear non-proliferation issues.

On the same day as the three AUKUS countries gathered together, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released a new report on global arms import and export. The report shows that the US share of global arms exports has increased from 33 percent to 40 percent, and imports to East Asia and certain states in other areas of high geopolitical tension rose sharply. All this is in Washington's calculations. Just look at what America is exporting: weapons to kill, crises of all kinds (the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is still brewing), and the most destructive of all is geopolitical malice, which America uses to spiritually control Australia.

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