On September 15, The United States, Australia and Britain signed an agreement that they hope will help the countries stand up to China to try to curb its military power. China’s military has become increasingly strong in the Indo-Pacific region, according to The Globe and Mail news organization.
The agreement is nicknamed AUKUS, a combination of the initials of the three countries.
Canada is one country that was not included in the agreement. Some people in Canada worry that may prevent it from having access to information the three countries share amongst themselves. However, an unnamed source in Canada told the Globe and Mail news organization (Canada left out as US UK AUS strike deal to counter China) that the deal is mostly about helping Australia build submarines and Canada will not miss out on any information.
Under the agreement, or “pact,” the US, Australia and Britain will share information about new military technology including artificial intelligence (AI).
The deal was announced in a video meeting by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called AUKUS a “stab in the back,” according to the Toronto Star news organization and The Economist. France had a deal to build diesel submarines for Australia. They were going to get nearly $100 billion for the subs. However, France’s leaders are upset that now the countries in AUKUS will build nuclear submarines for Australia instead.
A big meeting, known as a “defence ministers’ summit” had been set to take place between France and Britain this week. France has cancelled that meeting as a protest over the lost submarine deal. They have also pulled their ambassadors out of the US and Australia.
THINK & DISCUSS
There are more than just three countries involved in the events outlined in this article. When various countries are involved, it can be interesting to look at their news coverage of it to see their points of view. Take a look at articles from the following countries and describe what you feel their viewpoint is on AUKUS: US, Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, China, Russia, France, European Union.
Look up the word “alliance” and find a definition of it that fits this situation. What does “alliance” mean in this case?
The Guardian news organization reports that “relations between [Australia and Britain] are at an almost unheard of low.” Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s important that the two nations get along? Why or why not?
What is an ambassador? Why is it significant that France has pulled its ambassadors out of the US and Australia?
According to the article, France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called AUKUS a “stab in the back.” What did he mean by that?
Youtube news video from the UK’s Channel 4 News on France’s reaction to AUKUS and some of the impacts of recalling the French ambassadors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92Hw8dWay2c
The Guardian’s report on the cancelled defence ministers’ summit: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/19/uk-france-defence-summit-cancelled-in-aukus-row
The Economist reports on the “strategic reverberations of the AUKUS deal” https://www.economist.com/international/2021/09/19/the-strategic-reverberations-of-the-aukus-deal-will-be-big-and-lasting
New York Times article about France pulling its ambassadors: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/17/world/europe/france-ambassador-recall-us-australia.html