In September this year, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States went public with the countries forming a new security pact called Aukus. The vision of the agreement is to establish peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. At the same time, most countries have clearly expressed their disapproval and it can be questioned whether Aukus is really stabilizing the global security situation - or whether the pact will lead to the opposite.
Aukus means that Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States will develop a partnership for nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian fleet and at the same time work together in areas such as cyber security and artificial intelligence. The Aukus security pact is considered to be the most considerable security agreement since World War II for Australia.
- This is an eternal partnership for a new era between the oldest and most loyal of friends, says Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the public announcement of the Aukus agreement on 16 Septemberride years.
Britain believes that the alliance will contributes to increase security for the country and create hundreds of new jobs, while the country clearly shows the will and striving to protect the national interest.
- The Aukus countries have a common interest in upholding common values such as democracy, human rights, freedom of navigation and freedom of global trade, says British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a speech from September this year.
Furthermore, the security pact is described as timely after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- The agreement can be seen as an attempt to prove that Biden's administration is serious, competent and good at foreign policy, writes Mark Leonard in an article for the think tank European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
China critical of the agreement
- Aukus is a confrontational and provocative strategy created explicitly to minimize China's power, writes Greg Barns, Spokesman for Asylum Seekers, Criminal Law and Human Rights at the Australian Lawyers Alliance, in an opinion piece for the South China Morning Post.
China's foreign policy spokesman, Zhao Lijian, has expressed that China does not believe in the assurance that Aukus intends to establish peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Aukus has seriously undermined regional peace and stability and shows signs of a kind of "Cold War mentality", claims Zhao Lijian during a press conference.
Chinese aggression in the South China Sea has recently worried Australia. In a possible future Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which sees itself as an independent state, Boris Johnson has explained that the United Kingdom will defend international law in accordance with the Aukus Agreement.
European discontent and unrest in the Pacific
It is not just China that considers Aukus to be a national threat. Also France, which until the formation of Aukus had a submarine agreement with Australia, has criticized the safety pact. This is because the country is disappointed with the lack of loyalty on the part of the United States and the United Kingdom. French ambassadors to the United States and Australia were called home for consultation when the agreement became known. It is speculated whether France will come establish sanctions against the member states of Aukus - possibly in cooperation with NATO.
The EU has also expressed its dissatisfaction with the Aukus agreement, which has led to speculation as to whether the Union can now agree to develop greater strategic autonomy. writes Alex Therrien in an article for the BBC. The coming French Presidency in the EU, starting in January 2022, can be expected to work actively to strengthen and prioritize European defense.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian believes that Britain has once again acted after "recurring opportunism" and it seems that Britain through Aukus has damaged its already unstable relationship with France. This can result in increased distance and mistrust between neighboring countries, writes Georgina Wright in an article for the think tank Institut Montaigne.
Wilhelm Agrell, professor of intelligence analysis at Lund University explains in an interview in People and Defense about Swedish security policy that Aukus can be described as a symptom of a security policy shift that has probably only just begun.
- The more NATO's role is questioned, the clearer it becomes. Who will be responsible for Europe's security? If NATO will not be able to guarantee this, if the United States will not be able to come to the aid of European partners with certainty, says Agrell.
Agrell continues to explain that it is important that European countries, including Sweden, come together and coordinate their resources in parallel with the transatlantic link becoming weaker. France and Germany are described as continental European powers that have political, economic and military resources. For Europe, an alternative system should be built around these countries.
Furthermore, the majority have political leaders in the Pacific expressionworries that they will be drawn into a strategic struggle or forced to choose between allying with either China or the member states of Aukus. Previously have India saw the UK as a way to increase cooperation with the EU, but in connection with Brexit and now the establishment of Aukus, India has begun to show reduced interest in the country.
An uncertain future for the global security situation
After all, the will of the Security Pact to establish peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region does not seem to be very valuable and the agreement can rather be considered counterproductive.
- The Aukus agreement contains clumsy diplomacy, heightened feelings in the international security debate and spy-like secrecy, writes Alex Therrien in an article for the BBC.
The global security situation may be facing a turbulent time in which we may find ourselves in a situation similar to the Cold War. A bipolar, or even multipolar, balance of power in the world seems to be emerging where we today see Aukus as a possible hegemon and China as another. There is no evidence that one is stronger than the other and with an EU that has expressed disapproval of the Security Pact, it would long-term winner of the agreement could possibly be China - and not the Aukus countries.