AUKUS is a tripartite security initiative of the United States, the UK, and Australia that seeks to reinforce its members’ interests and position in the Indo-Pacific.

The message is threefold.

  1. Firstly, the United States is deeply committed to the region despite its setbacks in the Middle East, and the pivot to the Indo-Pacific is marching on.
  2. Secondly, the UK is putting some substance into Global Britain and remains a European actor not locked to Europe, capable of pursuing its interests beyond its immediate strategic neighbourhood.
  3. Thirdly, Australia has chosen to deepen its traditionally close ties with the United States and the UK due to an increased sense of isolation and years of strained diplomatic and commercial with China.

Given the already special relationship among its members, the AUKUS initiative might be regarded as a quasi-alliance even if it does not aim to be one.


This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal. If you would like to submit your own article on this topic or any other, please see our submission guidelines


On 15 September 2021, the governments of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States jointly announced the creation of AUKUS, a new tripartite security partnership focused on the Indo-Pacific. AUKUS conception occurred as a framework for the UK and the US to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

However, beyond nuclear-powered submarines, the overreaching objective of AUKUS is to function as a dipositive for cooperation in military technology between its three members with the ultimate long-term purpose of strengthening their relative position in an increasingly competitive international system. Within this context, the partnership also covers cooperation on electronic and cyber-warfare, quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, undersea capabilities, and innovation.

Although Washington, London and Canberra reiterated that AUKUS is focused on military capabilities, its scope even advances into information-sharing on military-related issues, complementing a field that all three members already have a high-rate quality of exchange through the intelligence-sharing alliance, the Five-Eyes, alongside Canada and New Zealand.

Since its announcement in 2021, AUKUS has been divided into two tiers or pillars covering different cooperation features among the three members. Tier I focuses on providing Australia with a fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), replacing the current Australian Collin-class diesel-electric submarine with the SSN-AUKUS. The United States agreed to sell up to five of its Virginia-class to avoid capability gaps until the British-designed SSN-AUKUS enters the Royal Australian Navy service.

Hence, Tier I also includes investments in the three countries to enhance the availability of naval workforce and expand infrastructure. In Britain and Australia, those investments aim to achieve the commissioning dates of the SSN-AUKUS within the late 2030s and early 2040s timeframe. In the United States, their purpose is to provide the promised Virgina-class submarines in the early 2030s without leaving gaps within the US Navy.

Tier I also covers the agreements that will allow the Royal Navy and the US Navy to start in 2027 a rotational submarine force based in HMAS Stirling, the so-called “Submarine Rotational Force-West”. In short, Tier I includes most efforts concerning the submarines, training Australian crews in Britain, and deployment of British and American vessels to Australian naval bases.

Tier II is an emerging component that includes technology and information sharing. Tier II aims to deepen cooperation on critical capabilities, maintaining the traditional technological edge of the AUKUS members over its competitors in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, improving interoperability and joint deployment of forces are the primary rationale underlying AUKUS.

Hence, there is a need for further cooperation in the areas that will enable the future military assets of Britain, the United States and Australia to be amongst the most interchangeable and interoperable in the world. Concerning this issue, the initiative aims to improve exchange and joint research on the already mentioned hypersonic and counter-hypersonic capabilities, radars – including the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) programme –, artificial intelligence, and quantum technologies.

The underlying geopolitical message sent through the announcement of AUKUS is that most of the “Anglosphere” nations are reinforcing their alliance to improve their relative standing and counter the efforts of emerging threats to gain naval and, later, geostrategic dominance in the Indo-Pacific. Moreover, for Australia, the tripartite initiative is a call back to the idea of retaining close links to its “two great friends” – Britain and the United States – in times of resurgence of the notion of isolation derived from a geographically close power that might block the lanes between the country and its allies.

In Australia, the question of China’s rising influence over the nation has seen increased questioning. Since the late 2000s and early 2010s, the strategic environment surrounding Australia has changed significantly. Once, Canberra – like London’s golden era of UK-China relations (2010-2016) – rode on the wave of the growing Chinese market. By 2020, within the context of an already strained bilateral relationship, the Lowy Institute indicated that Australia had the most “China-dependent economy” of the Group of 20 (G20).

Economic dependence can quickly become a source of political leverage. Reports of interference from China’s interference in Australian politics are signals that Beijing is willing to exploit the dependence of those that do not fall in line. Thus, in part, the debate in Australia is one between establishing a balance of having China as an economic partner without significant economic dependence. In this case, AUKUS might be seen as a result of the effort of those worried about China’s increased assertive position in the region and the place of Australia within a Chinese sphere of influence.

For the United States, although not explicitly, AUKUS is a standpoint of a long-term strategy to contain China while reinforcing the position of Australia within the American security umbrella. Additionally, there are clear benefits to the American military-industrial complex through selling three to five Virginia-class submarines beginning in the early 2030s as a gap-filler before the five SSN-AUKUS enter Australian service and even closer cooperation with Australia and Britain.

For example, the American Government is investing in the industrial base to increase construction and maintenance capacity within this context. With AUKUS, the United States will have a unified submarine posture in the Indo-Pacific and an unprecedented level of interoperability with British and Australian submarines. In other words, Washington is counting on London and Canberra to play a part in the Indo-Pacific, and the tripartite initiative enhances the position of its British and Australian allies in the region. Starting in 2027, up to four American and one British submarine will be on rotational deployments to HMAS Stirling naval base near Perth. In the late 2030s and early 2040s, the RAN will be capable of supporting its two allies in acute submarine operations while performing deployments made by American and British submarines.

In Washington, AUKUS might be regarded as cementing Canberra as its most reliable regional “middle power”, a vital ally within America’s grand strategy that mostly aligns with the White House and Downing Street views. In an international system with growing numbers of middle powers claiming neutrality or gravitating toward China, AUKUS is a symbol that Australia still looks for the United States and Britain to a lesser extent. Beyond that, considering the United States’ long-term strategy in the region, the rotational deployments to Stirling are often overlooked.

The “Submarine Rotational Force-West” (SRF-West) is a near-term endeavour resulting from AUKUS that will be put into action at least a decade before Australia gets its first nuclear-powered submarine. Aiming to achieve full force in 2031, the SRF-West will considerably increase the allied undersea capabilities. If Washington deploys its four submarines from homeports outside the region, it will double the number of such vessels operated by the UK, Australia, and the United States in the area (excluding American forces based in Hawaii). Thus, AUKUS represents the fulfilment of the US Indo-Pacific Command’s objective since the 2010s to double the number of submarines operating in the area. Perth, alongside Guam and Hawaii, will be one of the pillars of the American submarine force in the Indo-Pacific. Strategically, the agreement helps forward-basing allied assets in the region, easing the logistical pressure put on the United States to operate and, if necessary, to wage war.

It is a reminder for Britain that the country is already in a new post-Brexit phase, even though it remains a recurrent topic in British politics. Beyond an apparent victory for the overused label of “Global Britain”, the British participation in the AUKUS agreement has the potential to strengthen Britain’s relative position in the Indo-Pacific through formal basing of submarines and access to naval facilities and the elevation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to a force capable of complementing activities of a stretched British submarine force. Not only Global Britain would have concrete results, but also the British “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific.

It is worth mentioning that Britain’s tilt to the Indo-Pacific had been ongoing since the mid-2010s, years before it became an official government policy and that AUKUS – at least from a British perspective – builds on previous defence agreements with Australia that allowed for the transfer of military technology between the two countries, mainly the 2013 Treaty for Defence and Security Cooperation.

In addition, for the British economy, particularly its defence industry, the AUKUS is a welcomed deal, even at the expense of partners in France. Demonstrating the quality of British submarines, the chosen future submarines for Australia are the SSN-AUKUS, initially British-designed but also incorporating American technology. Replacing the Astute-class of the Royal Navy and the Collins-class of the RAN, London and Canberra will operate similar vessels in the late 2030 and early 2040s. Britain has a central role beyond the hull design of SSN-AUKUS because strategic concerns led to Australia first approaching Britain for assistance in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

As the British position is one of close cooperation with the Americans since the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement, Britain directly helped to negotiate the terms that resulted in the deal. Australia knew that its interests aligned with the British and that London had the influence to approach Washington cordially, which could result in the first share of nuclear propulsion in American history to a third party since 1958.

Although a country that has experienced a relative decline, the UK still gathers assets to avoid the role of a “second-rate European nation” with European-only interests. Much of the debate on stretching the country’s resources with the “Indo-Pacific tilt” – of which AUKUS is part – is the consequence of successive governments in London, influenced by the Treasury, presuming that the Defence of the Realm is obtainable on the cheap.

Depleting the budget of the British Armed Forces through short-sighted policies, with the 2010 Defence Review as one example, has left Britain with the necessity to spend more only to achieve the already cut capability levels seen in the early 2000s. As shown through AUKUS, the British Government can put some substance into Global Britain and the tilt to the Indo-Pacific. However, remains in London the lack of willingness to advance towards a long-term geostrategic approach that recognises the end of the post-Cold War “Peace Dividend”.

Rebuilding lost or reduced capabilities must occur domestically while strengthening trusted and reliable allies abroad. Britain is doing the latter through AUKUS but acts reluctantly in strengthening its own material capabilities. While Britain designs a new generation of submarines for the Royal Navy and the RAN, the debate about the fleet size of the British submarine emerged. Navy chiefs campaigning for an increase argue that seven attack submarines are below the requirements of the increasingly competitive and assertive international arena. The idea was – for the time being – rejected by Downing Street. In short, successive governments in London have the ambition to seek a role for Britain as one of the major powers internationally, which can be seen as a reasonable assumption for any country that is part of the top six largest economies in the world. However, going global demands a willingness to adequately support hard power, which is most respected by the main challengers to Britain’s position and security.

Beyond the specific and shared geostrategic benefits that its members might have when AUKUS reaches maturity in the 2030s and 2040s, the tripartite security initiative has attracted concerns and criticism. Above all, the topics raised since September 2021 concern nuclear proliferation. Through AUKUS, Australia will access the highly enriched uranium used on the Anglo-American SSN propulsion designs. Although the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty does not forbid non-nuclear-weapon states to produce highly enriched uranium for naval reactor fuel, the transfer and elevation of Australia as an operator of nuclear-powered submarines have been heavily criticised. Much of the criticism on the topic is due to the lack of international safeguards on nuclear materials used for naval military purposes. Australia will be exploring a loophole that allows nuclear material to be removed from the International Atomic Energy. Until the case of Australia, critics argue, the “loophole” within the Non-Proliferation Treaty was not a severe problem due to only Nuclear-Weapon-States (NWS) operating nuclear-powered submarines and exercising the right to remove from inspection nuclear material for military purposes.

Therefore, the argument goes, AUKUS established a precedent that other NWS might explore, transferring nuclear submarine technology and material to less-than-reliable countries. Consequently, through a political discourse citing the AUKUS precedent, others could facilitate the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Thus, the question is not only about Australia seeking the status of a Nuclear-Weapon-State but others using the loophole to have access to the material and technology.

Nevertheless, Australia is not the first NWS to seek a nuclear-powered submarine capability. For decades, Brazil has expressed varying degrees of interest in that possibility. Since 2008, the South American country has been developing its “Submarine Development Programme” (also known as “PROSUB”). Considerably less ambitious than AUKUS, PROSUB has a few characteristics in common with its Indo-Pacific or Anglospheric counterpart. Firstly, it involves the development of nuclear-powered submarines by a non-nuclear weapon state. Secondly, the programme involves a nuclear-armed state, in this case, France, assisting the country in the development process. It is worth noting that Brazil is not acquiring a French propulsion design but elaborating its own based on exchanges and experience acquired from French support.

Thirdly, Brazil and Australia will be exploiting the legal loophole of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Despite that, PROSUB has slipped under the radar of most criticism. This is the case, in part, because Brazil has reassured the international community that the reactor will use low-enriched uranium at 7% concentration and the minimum to make a nuclear weapon is 20%, although the Brazilian Navy cites the possibility of the level reaching around 15%. Therefore, Australia’s position is not unique, and AUKUS might be seen as just a step further than PROSUB.

Criticism is countered by the AUKUS leaders, who point out that when Australia, the UK, and the United States announced the initiative in 2021, the three members committed to their respective non-proliferation obligations. An additional list of commitments was laid out by AUKUS that includes the Australian commitment that it does not – and will not – seek nuclear weapons.

In March 2023, the White House issued a statement reaffirming that (1) Australia will not enrich uranium or reprocess fuel spent as part of AUKUS; (2) Australia will not produce nuclear fuel for its submarine fleet; (3) the UK and the United States aim to provide Australia with nuclear material “in complete, welded power units” that will not require refuelling during their operational lifetime; (4) nuclear material that Australia receives cannot be employed in nuclear weapons without additional chemical processing, and the country does not have and will not seek to build up such processing infrastructure; and (5) the programme will occur in line with Australia’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Washington also stated that all members maintained regular consultation with the IAEA throughout 2022, aiming to uphold the safeguards regime. Lastly, according to the United States briefing, “The Director General of the IAEA has reported to the IAEA Member States that he believes the AUKUS partners ‘are committed to ensuring the highest non-proliferation and safeguards standards are met,’ and noted his ‘satisfaction with the engagement and transparency shown by the three countries thus far.’”

Another criticism of the “quasi-alliance” is its apparent exclusivist nature. The UK, the United States, and Australia are unilaterally establishing a new vision for the Indo-Pacific. In other words, AUKUS might overshadow regional initiatives and establish a clear divide between the West and China for the decades to come. Concerning this topic, the American Government declared that the “door is open” to other partners, mentioning the desire for a future New Zealand membership. In the UK, a Parliamentary Committee argued for inviting Japan and Korea. Other possible members include Canada, which would further join the vision of AUKUS and the Five-Eyes as a unified “Anglosphere” stance in the region.

Within this context lies the critics derived from the AUKUS reverberations in Europe, mainly in France. Considering that France lost its €56 billion procurement for conventional submarines when Australia cancelled the deal and opted for a British design with American technology, the French Government considered the act “a stab in the back”. Paris recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra while attempting to belittle London, stating that the ambassador in London was not recalled due to Britain’s small role in the affair, labelling the country as opportunistic and an accomplice of the other two. Despite that, cooperation with France proceeded through NATO and bilateral agreements. In June 2022, Australia agreed to pay €555 million to the French contractor as a settlement, paving the way for a normalised bilateral relationship.

In conclusion, the strategic driver of AUKUS is mainly the perceived need to reinforce a Western front against an increasingly revisionist China to secure its three members’ geopolitical interests. Although China remains Australia’s leading trading partner, it has become clear that it is willing to channel commercial dependence into political leverage. Within this context, it is possible to argue that China’s blunt outlining of its “14 Grievances” against Australia in 2020 was, from the point of view of Canberra, a glimpse of the behaviour that the Commonwealth member could expect in an Indo-Pacific under a Chinese sphere of influence. Thus, for Australia, AUKUS is the pathway to enhanced military capabilities while bringing the UK and the United States even closer to supporting Australian national security. It also tackles the recurring sense of isolation felt by successive Governments in Canberra, particularly in times of Great Power rivalry.

Concerning the United States, AUKUS is a tool to maintain an international order under American auspices. Countering China might also mean sustaining the status quo that has the United States on the top, followed by other G7 countries. Beyond that, AUKUS brings and possibly entangles two of Washington’s closest allies to the strategic landscape of the Indo-Pacific, easing the pressure on American assets deployed to the region.

For the UK, the tripartite initiative puts some substance into Global Britain and the maintenance of an open and rules-based international order. Moreover, through AUKUS, Britain continues the pursuit of the objective formulated in the 2021 Integrated Review to become “the European partner with the broadest, most integrated presence in support of mutually beneficial trade, shared security and values”. Becoming the leading European power in the Indo-Pacific means supplanting France’s position, which might be considered the main European actor in that region since the British Handover of Hong Kong in 1997. Achieving that position demands the desire of the British Government to invest in Britain’s defence capabilities and security and economic ties with regional partners.

Anglo-Australian security and defence cooperation already occurred through the Five Eyes, the Five Power Defence Arrangements, and bilateral agreements, and the AUKUS crowns Australia as a central long-term part of the British tilt to the region. Lastly, Britain’s participation means that the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific are becoming strategically integrated within the considerations of British defence policy.

In other words, the regions East of Suez might no longer be detachable from the core interests of London in the Atlantic-Europe axis. Instead, despite the shortcomings of more than two decades of capability cuts, British policy is leaning towards binding the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific as one, just like the United States.

Even though AUKUS does not aim to function as a “NATO of the Indo-Pacific”, Australia, the UK, and the United States might already have in practice a “quasi-alliance” in the region.

There is no Article V of the Indo-Pacific. Still, the level of entanglement of British, American, and Australian interests coupled with bilateral arrangements between the three actors leads to a geostrategic scenario that AUKUS does not only represent facets of the American pivot, Global Britain, and Australian search for renewed security, but a joint front of three different kinds of powers that seek similar objectives, sharing the same view of what kind of world order must prevail in the coming decades.

However, AUKUS offers Britain and Australia the notion that it is not a collective security system, alluding to the fact that – just as in the case of the British position on the Vietnam War – the Anglosphere in the Indo-Pacific is not binding but a quasi-alliance that accommodates its members for a relatively united position in a region that witness increased Great Power competition.

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terence patrick hewett
terence patrick hewett (@guest_781262)
5 months ago

Outlines some unpleasant home-truths, of the UK’s successive governments, believing they can do defence on the cheap.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_781323)
5 months ago

Congratulations this is a superb concise and informative article. What worries me is just that at some point the US and Australia tell HMG to either step up and “put your money where your mouth is” or go and swivel ? The devil is in the detail and if the US manages to build up its capacity to provide 5 Virginias for RAN without creating a Gap then they de facto have capacity to take over the builds of AUKUS. This year we will have a General Election and US will pick either Biden or Trump and next year Australia… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_781338)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Your final sentence sums it up. Keeping Ukraine capable of tying up Russia is absolutely vital, to get us through any the Scary Trump victory and beyond but if the worst does happen the whole of Europe the 5 to 8 years it needs to prepare to defend itself against future Russian Imperialism. It’s going to be a very rough period and at the moment Ukraine is playing the role of the 300 Spartans for Greek survival. Listening to Newsnight last night the experts present from differing establishments only confirmed those fears. Britain above any Country beyond the front line… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_781360)
5 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I take a very keen interest in Geopolitics and I just wish someone would stick this article under Sunaks nose. I live in Derby and am now retired after 40 years, started as an Apprentice and went up the pile but I am still interested in how AUKUS is influencing things.. It would make me weep if it gets buggered up by a penny pinching Bean Counter and Spreadsheet Phil. The investment in infrastructure, machinery, recruitment, training and upskilling is just mind blowing. If they don’t do something PDQ they risk it all. Next 5 years there are 1500 New… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_781748)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I had thought you were Royal Navy, Rodders! Barrow has similar worries and yet, it is distorting the housing market and affordability is a big issue especially with Sellafield up the road. There is just not the housing and social connection and then the logistics. Billions of £ being spent on Sellafield and Barrow building submarines weighing between 9k and 16k and not a jot is brought in on rail and reliant on the dismal A590 and the atrocious A595. No candidate mentions these anomalies and the BAE and Sellafield workers just bank their wages and order from @internet shopping… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_781881)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Me RN no sorry, I like boats b4 they are filled with bods and things that go bang. I used to visit Barrow and hated those damn roads and during the summer you just couldn’t shift for touroids. So after a particularly horrid trip in May 2014 I changed tactics. Stayed in a lovely B&B near Carnforth and get the bloody train to Barrow. Lovely trip via Arnside and Carnforth is nice little town, decent food / pubs and pretty stress free, I always tried to visit either on a Wednesday or Friday so I could also do a spot… Read more »

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_782149)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

There is it seems a terrible ignorance within Westminster of the facts of geopolitical life beyond Woking. I use that place advisedly! But reality is we now more than ever need to get out of a navel gazing parochialism induced by membership of the EU and start investing and thinking about the world beyond. This agreement is but an engagement which others have started to progress with this tripartite agreement and closer defence ties to Japan and to a lesser with S. Korea. Does Labour really understand this? Can it not see the economic advantages. It was if I remember… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_782448)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

I suppose you need to see the World as it was in the 1960’s and I actually understand the logic of withdrawing from East of Suez. We were pulling out of Empire as fast as we could and all the attempts for us to hold the line resulted in short term losses followed by the inevitable withdrawal. Malaysia, Rhodesia, Cyprus and Aden yep we won the Battles but lost the Wars for zero benefit. I’m not convinced about us re pivoting to the East, yes we deploy an SSN to Australia and keep a few OPV out there but nothing… Read more »

DJ
DJ (@guest_783217)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Withdrawing from East of Suez never really happened. It’s been quoted many a time & it may well have been policy, but last I looked, the Persian gulf is East of Suez. So as a policy it’s been a considerable failure.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_783120)
5 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

There is another side to this balance and that’s the future of a U.S. that dumps Europe is not a rosy one either. China is measuring the US up for its coffin..it’s almost sure it can beat the US in a long war even with its European allies..without European allies, china is going to very much convince itself it will win in a long war with the U.S….the moment it thinks it will win..it will assault Taiwan and strike at US western pacific bases. If Trump isolated itself from Europe I would put money on it being in the fight… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Jonathan
DJ
DJ (@guest_783228)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You do have a point, but you are forgetting that China is not the only major power & player in Asia. Japan, S Korea & most importantly, India are also in play. Also, Taiwan is the worlds largest supplier of computer chips & their main competitors are S.Korea & Japan. More than a few politicians & their bureaucrats are only now starting to realise how stupid & naive they have been. China is CCP & CCP is China. If Taiwan falls & takes S.Korea & Japan with it, Europe is even more stuffed than US.

Math
Math (@guest_783361)
5 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

France is to supply Caesar canon (78 pieces) this year, 3000 rounds per months and 50 AASM bombs per month along with a squadron of Mirage 2000D bombers. We also ramp up Aster missile production. It can only work if tanks, IFV’s and SAM a re given on a monthly bases to Ukraine. In this case, it can be sustained.

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_781357)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

It is Not true that the UK is giving Ukraine an increase of £2.5 Bn, on top of what?
The increase is only £200m for a year, from £2.3bn last year, to £2.5bn.
Where is the source that the UK is giving Ukraine £4.8 billion a year?

Last edited 5 months ago by Meirion X
Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_781450)
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Sunak is quoted having just returned from Ukraine.
“we are supplying Ukraine with £2.5 billion in military aid this year”.
That’s a direct quote. Not sure where we can find £2.5 billion in military aid to give but that’s another stinking mess altogether.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_781848)
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Yes we gave them 2.3 billion last year and will be giving them 2,5 billion this year.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_781432)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

See Taiwan opted to send China a clear message regarding the latter’s intimidation tactics; summed as, ‘be careful how you vote, we’re watching’, by choosing the most independence -orientated Presidential candidate. Be intriguing to see the follow on results from the party voting.

Michal
Michal (@guest_782796)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Ukraine doesn’t need help, Ukraine needs to end this war. By supplying them with arms you only extend the agony of this country and decimation of their best people. Same prowar propaganda in Poland where I’m from. Ukraine can’t win this war as there is 4 to 1 difference in potential, they already have lost like (easly) 500 thousand KIA, WIA, MIA. Many young men escaped the country, many are in Poland for example with Zelensky trying to get them almost by force by breaking deals with Warsaw gov. What should we do? Pack them in trains and send them… Read more »

Blessed
Blessed (@guest_782828)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michal

Is that you JohninMK. Joking aside, what alternative do you suggest for Ukraine, should they just be left to their fate. You do realise that will mean Russia right on the Polish border. Careful what you wish for comrade.

Michal
Michal (@guest_782853)
5 months ago
Reply to  Blessed

Oh yes I’m “comarade” because I have different opinion abot this war than mainstream. Peace or truce, Ukraine cannot win this war for many reasons: first they don’t have manpower, second the west cannot send them weapons as we have been, Poland for example gave up at least 1/3 what we have before war, we can’t afford to donate more.The US got more but they seem to be rather hesitant recently, also they found out that 1 billion $ worth of aid just “disappeared” in Ukraine…and that’s another huge problem for Kiev: corruption on scale unimaginable for westerner. Not long… Read more »

Blessed
Blessed (@guest_782924)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michal

What is your solution then Michal. Should the UKR just be abandoned to its fate then? Should Russia be rewarded for its aggression and if so what’s the next move that the West will have to counter once it regroups and pushes onto its next victim?

Michal
Michal (@guest_782932)
5 months ago
Reply to  Blessed

No NATO country wants to be directly involved into this conflict, that’s for sure. All solutions are in hands of America, if Biden wins election this war would last possibly another year or so, if Trump then he’ll make the deal with Putin by the end if this year. Other states in Alliance can’t do much more to help Ukraine as since 90ties we all disarmed our militaries so we don’t possess much equipment to sens on front. Sad but true.

Blessed
Blessed (@guest_782975)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michal

I agree it’s ultimately up to what the US decides. Trump is such a loose cannon that nobody knows what he’ll do if he takes power.

Michal
Michal (@guest_782979)
5 months ago
Reply to  Blessed

That’s why Putin fear him as nobody knows what Trump will do but in the case of war in Ukraine he said clearly on several occasions that he’ll end that conflict very quickly. His supporters also expect him to do that. If Biden wins then war would continue into 2025 maybe 2026 but no longer than that, America is more than focused on Pacific than Europe, even Israel- Hamas war is more important than Ukraine.

Blessed
Blessed (@guest_783082)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michal

Agreed.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_783262)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michal

Unfortunately I suspect that you are correct, simply put Ukraine is going to suffer from strategic exhaustion way before Russia will. The only way for Ukraine to out last Russia is if the west was to effectively go all in..focus on wartime production and pump many more hundred of billions into Ukraine each year..at the same time enforce a total commercial blockade on Russia….they will not do this as it would inevitably spiral the conflict into a massive level of contagion and the west is hanging on hoping for peace, while ignoring the reality. While Russia is being supported by… Read more »

Michal
Michal (@guest_783483)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thank you for your answer. I don’t want to be a bad prophet but Russia ain’t going to give up what they already conquered, this one and only successful ukrainian counter-offensive in 2022 was the last chance for Kiev to make a good peace deal with Moscow. Now Russians fortified entire front with proper skill (also they do not care about their causalities) and Ukraine despite bravery of her troops can’t breakthrough, just not enough man they can send to mak it happen. We in NATO must start to think about our defense and rebuild our strength as upcoming times… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_783501)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michal

Agree, unless something dramatic happens I’m not sure Ukraine has the resources to shift Russia out of the east..and I don’t think anything dramatic will happen…the Russians are not going to get war fatigue over this..they have been sold the idea that Ukraine is Russia and it needs saving from the fascists..which is the hight of irony because in the same breath Putin was stating this he was also quoting Ivan Ilyin as to why they needed to do this and why Russian statehood was so important…..and Ivan Ilyin was..yes you guessed it a leader of the Russian fascist movement… Read more »

Michal
Michal (@guest_783509)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I’m afraid nobody can change russian mindset by telling their are wrong. We, The Poles, thought over 20 wars against them so we know them well. They believe for what they fight, no matter what. I wouldn’t call that fascism though, it’s just different view of the world than we have and unless western countries do not take it under consideration then we can’t defeat them. They do not believe in our values, period.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_783513)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michal

No I would not say Russians per se are fascists..but Putin himself emulates and apparently likes the writings of a number of Russian fascists.it appeals to his dialogue of russian superiority and motherland.

“You know, I didn’t want to say that it was only Ivan Ilyin,” Putin told a 2021 political forum in response to a question about the thinkers who influenced him.
“But I read Ilyin, I still do, from time to time. His book is on my shelf,” he said.”

Michal
Michal (@guest_783521)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Putin is just another “car” or “emperor” of Russia. Nothing has changed since Ivan The Horrible. You can call that fascism or whatever but it’s still the same. Russia is an empire.

Matt W
Matt W (@guest_781331)
5 months ago

A very good article, provoking some thought.

Defence thoughts
Defence thoughts (@guest_781396)
5 months ago

All it takes is one nurse, aged 55 or so, wearing her hospital uniform, standing up and reading haltingly from a piece of paper. “I do not believe that you value the patients of West Gottleton. The NHS is underfunded, and while our patients suffer from cancer and other terminal diseases, you fund bombs and other weapons of mass destruction.” Politicians will tremble in fear and argue strenuously that there can be no additions to the SSN fleet beyond a like-for-like replacement. The nurses will only hate them even more. I hate politics. I hate how nothing can be solved.… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_781415)
5 months ago

You only have to look at London today and I’m afraid the enemy is already here🙁

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_781451)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Indeed it makes me weep with frustration to see white British men and women carrying banners and wearing scarfs and flags of Hamas or Isis or even Palestine around their shoulders.
Daft buggers.
Of course Hamas, it’s Iranian sponsors and Hezbollah/ Isis all fully support the notion of women protesting, whilst not wearing a Habib or covering up dressed all in black.
Daft. Want to protest?
Get the first flight out to the west bank, Syria or Iran and see how happy the people there are to see white British men and women behaving so nievely.

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_781501)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

👍

Sjb1968
Sjb1968 (@guest_781944)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I agree with you but don’t forget all those University educated white men who thought Uncle Joe and the Soviets were nice and friendly people during the Cold War.
Of course the Soviet Union was just misunderstood.
Unfortunately, whilst there is now more of an ethnic mix at these marches there is still a very large number of students and lecturers at these marches.
The students will grow up and will understand the world is a little more complicated than they thought but the lectures have just not grown up.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_782179)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

These are the stupid idiots who were waving those flags while watching the Celtic game 100 or so days ago? I agree, unbelievable; talk about Turkeys voting for Christmas. I’d like to go on one of their marches waving a placard saying ‘I’m a Turkey’!

Pleiades
Pleiades (@guest_789009)
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Yes, all you sad old white men who support the Israeli genocide should go over there and fight Hamas (and the Houthis and all the other pesky foreigners); show us how it’s done, brave armchair warriors! Remember to keep count of all the babies you kill, maybe you’ll murder a hostage or two as well. Shoot first, let god sort it out later, right?

BTW the Zionists will laugh at you useful idiots; they don’t think any more of you than they do of the Palestinians. You’re not the Chosen people either after all LOL

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_782174)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

The thing to look at is the law the French have passed about preference in housing etc. and how that might be applied.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_781455)
5 months ago

Over to you, Labour, and your “retrenchment” to Europe that basically flies in the face of much of this.
I say this as we know this useless Tory government will do no more, so, Starmer and Healey, the stage is yours.
I’m not confident by the way.
Great article though.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_781750)
5 months ago

Daniele, this has been done to death. You drank the Bluffer Boris cool aid? The reality is coming to bite. We don’t have the money, people or platforms for the bullshitting bluffer’s ‘Global Britain.’ It was recognised back when we retreated from East of Suez – that was 70ish years ago… how old are you? Retrenchment to ‘tasks’ a term mentioned by the 1st Sea Lord at Defence Select Cmtte in November – to paraphrase ‘there were no tasks so 6 ssn’s were tied up’ (what’s the problem?). Labour are hopeless but they go round spouting they are the Party… Read more »

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_782187)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

See my comments above. The EU run by the French is no place to be investing your life savings. Believe me. So sad to say this. Next up the French will join the BRICS! Amazing what jealousy does if you dont take care.
The interesting thing will be to see how the French afford their major defence projects. Nuclear Force de Frappe. Nuclear carrier. Series 6 fighter ac. without stealing our tech. We have a coherent plan. I just hope Labour stick to it not just stick it.

Pleiades
Pleiades (@guest_789010)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

The Tory toerags’ plan is just to steal as much money as possible before they get politically annihilated.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_781736)
5 months ago

The biggest single flaw in this is Paragraph 2. How are we going to provide anything when we are hard pressed to man a couple of ships for the Gulf, never mind the Pacific?

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_781752)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Ships are manned.

2 elderly t23s for the knackers yard, money saved.

And yet, I want that money identifying and put into EXTRA Naval shipbuilding.

Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_781792)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Yeah but that won’t happen …Will it.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_782195)
5 months ago
Reply to  Grizzler

100%

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_782342)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Have you not be reading the press about manning issues in all services including the RFA?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_781884)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Realistically a decision to increase the numbers of Warships doesn’t need to be made right now as there is no capacity to build any more than we have on order at present. The crunch decision time comes in 2026/27 when the 1st T26 and T31 commission and complete their trials. The first decision has to be for extra T31b2 or T32 Frigates as Rosyth only have 5 T31 on order. If it doesn’t happen then that’s Rosyth done for as the only other ships in the programme of record are the MRSS and they will probably be H&W built to… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_782198)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I’m with you on the recruitment but, if this Govt want any legacy as the Party of Defence, signing contracts on 3*26, 5*31 B2, should be done b4 the next election; go on, do a Gordon Brown.

Recruitment can be addressed, a lack of platforms under Labour can not.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_782344)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

We have two major problems but they are connected. One is that we cannot recruit people and considering the mess being made I’m not surprised young people don’t want to join. The other is that there is no real sense of direction and it involves all three services. If you asked a top bod where we aim to be in 2030 I suspect the universal answer would be “Umh, eh, ah” In other words they don’t have a clue.

Ian
Ian (@guest_782032)
5 months ago

It’s good (and unfortunately rare) to see an article highlighting the fact that the British government is showing a pathological refusal to accept the reality that the ‘peace dividend’ era is long gone. One slightly overlooked aspect of the Aukus plan is that it will likely result in submarines deploying with all 3 nation’s people on board, with the implication that an attack on say an AUS sub would amount to an attack on the forces of all 3 nations. i.e. AUKUS effectively creates the same ‘an attack on one is an attack on all’ mantra of NATO, without an… Read more »

DJ
DJ (@guest_782824)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian

All three nations have along with the other two five eyes members, a long history of military personnel serving stints in each other’s military. It helps understanding of how each other works. Helps also that they all speak English. In peacetime it’s not a problem. There are currently RAF crews flying in RAAF E7 planes (training). If war breaks out, it’s the flag that matters. Serving members from non participating countries would be removed as soon as possible (although these 5 nations have agreements that allow personnel to transfer on a permanent basis – so if you agree, a stoke… Read more »

Knight7572
Knight7572 (@guest_783107)
5 months ago

Well there already is anti-AUKUS propaganda by the pro-Russian Indian Propaganda outlet, The Frustrated Indian Global (TFI Global) saying the whole thing is dead and that was 8 days ago

Last edited 5 months ago by Knight7572
Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall (@guest_783187)
5 months ago

To be fair, the UK government has committed an awful lot of money to urgently developing and building SSN-A – as SSN-AUKUS now seems be called. However, given that Australia might well decide that 3-5 American supplied Virginia class SSN’s are sufficient to met its needs, there is a considerable risk that several £billion have effectively been diverted from other immediate priorities such as maintaining current force levels.

DJ
DJ (@guest_783251)
5 months ago

Only 3 Virginias are guaranteed. The extra 2 are only if unforeseen events delay SSN-AUKUS, such as delays in finishing the design or even the reactors. You can’t start building till the design is far enough along to ensure you don’t have to scrap anything you have built. Not all of these Virginia’s are new, at least 1 & possibly 2 will be 2nd hand. Virginia’s as operated by USN, have a comparatively high crewing compared to RN & RAN submarine norms. Nothing last forever, so at some point RAN has to acquire new submarines & in the world of… Read more »

Steve D
Steve D (@guest_798586)
3 months ago

I wonder how this revelation that a senior Australian politician was corrupted into spying for a foreign spy network will affect the pact? The Brits and Yanks are quite justifiably prickly about their nuclear sub programs.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2024-02-28/australia-intelligence-chief-reveals-details-of-foreign-spy-operation

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-68420795