The new anti-China ‘defence’ pact shows no lessons were learned from Afghanistan

UK warships
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Australia, the UK, and the US have signed a new military pact they say will protect their countries. The allies claim an AUKUS (pronounced ‘awk-us’) alliance will support a “peaceful and rules-based international order”. But critics have called the move a new Cold War against China. And some question the Western countries’ decision so soon after defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan. It seems to ignore key lessons: that US power is in decline and that expeditionary warfare is a recipe for disaster.

Announced on 15 September in a trilateral press conference, the UK government expects the deal to “bolster the Integrated Review commitment to strengthen alliances with like-minded allies and deepen ties in the Indo-Pacific”.

The Integrated Review is the UK’s overarching international security strategy.

Lucrative contracts

The conference – in which US president Joe Biden appeared to forget Australian PM Scott Morrison’s name – saw some discussion of eight new nuclear submarines in Adelaide, South Australia. However, the move had antagonised France, which had signed a £40bn deal to build submarines for Australia. These will now be built as a joint US/UK/Australian project.

According to Reuters, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was a “brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision” and that it “reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do”. He added:

 I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.

‘Indo-Pacific’

The UK announcement didn’t mention China. Instead, the text referred to the ‘Indo-Pacific’, saying the region was:

Read on...

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at the centre of intensifying geopolitical competition with potential flashpoints including unresolved territorial disputes; to nuclear proliferation and miscalculation; to climate change and non-state threats from terrorism and Serious Organised Crime. It is on the frontline of new security challenges, including in cyberspace.

The Chinese government, however, had no doubts about why the US and its allies were escalating their activities in the region. And the Chinese embassy spokesperson in Washington condemned the “Cold War mentality”. Liu Pengyu said that countries should not “build exclusionary blocs targeting or harming the interests of third parties”.

Moreover, the UK announced an increased, permanent presence in the region in July. And one of the UK’s new carriers is already in the region.

Spending

Some Tory MPs have used the new defence pact to call for hikes in military spending. Defence committee chair Tobias Elwood tweeted that since the move was long-term, an increase was required:

And, according to the Guardian, Australian PM Scott Morrison also wants to increase military expenditure:

He said the push for more advanced submarines, together with an intention to further increase defence spending and draw closer to the US and the UK, would allow Australia to “contribute to the stability and security of our region” and “benefit all in our region – no exceptions”.

Spectre of Afghanistan

As Elwood has pointed out, the US, UK, and their allies are trying to reset after failure in Afghanistan. But the process does not seem to involve learning any key lessons. They’ve cut and run from the Central Asian country. Now they seem set to pump up defence budgets, increase their rhetoric, and refocus on China.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Royal Navy

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  • Show Comments
    1. Let’s see now.

      The US helped the UK and Soviet Russia ‘win’ WWII, but claim victory for themselves all the time, only reluctantly mentioning the millions of Russians that died to defeat Hitler and that Britain fought the Germans to a standstill before the US arrived in the war.

      The US withdrew from the Korean War, The War in Vietnam and have recently withdrawn from the War in Afghanistan. Not a great record there is there? It can be said that the Union failed to follow through in their American Civil War, to the point that it’s not certain that war has actually ended even today.

      So, would you want to depend on a country for an ally that has had a policy of America First ever since 1776. Would you want to be an ally for a country that historically enters wars late and runs away rather than admit defeat??

      Even Churchill said that you can depend on the Americans to do whats right, after they’ve tried everything else. It looks to me as if AUKUS is just another awkward treaty that has no real value as one of the signatories has a history of arriving late to the party, can’t get the job done and leaves before it’s finished.

      It just goes to show that the US is only interested in sustaining their military industrial complex to the expense of others. They are all about the money, not the moral or ethical issues.

    2. On the contrary. The “lesson” was learned that the taxpayers will barely blink at paying upwards of 4 TRILLION dollars to the Political-Military-Media-Surveillance-Industrial-Complex, for endless wars that have no meaning or purpose.

      That’s 4 trillion dollars (And god alone knows how many Pounds and Euros) that have gone directly and indirectly to the .1%, and backhanders or ‘donations for re-election’ to the corrupt politicians signing off on this carnage.

      And not ONE of them has been charged with a crime, lost their seats, faced any media criticism, or even just egged by the GP.

      They “learned the lesson” alright, and we haven’t lived in democracies for a long while…. if ever.

      China is girding the ‘World Island” (Eurasia&Africa), with highways, railways, bridges, ports, infrastructure. The US Empire (US, UK, OZ, Can, Israel), is largely off-shore that.

      These warmongering monkeys want a permanent war, for no more reason than they can’t think what else to do with their lives.

      What a dumb fucking stupid species.

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