AUKUS

What Is AUKUS?

AUKUS is a trilateral military agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, first announced in September 2021. The pact is primarily focused on military cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, with a key component being Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, leveraging technology provided by the U.S. and the UK (rather than France or any other weapons dealer). New Zealand is considering membership.

AUKUS introduces nuclear-powered submarines to a region of the world where the U.S. government — with the aid of its allies and weapons customers — has long been engaged in provoking conflict with China. This could fuel an arms race, the further militarization of Australia, and the further incorporation of Australia into a global U.S. military. The arms race could lead to actual war.

Although the submarines will be nuclear-powered and not nuclear-armed, the transfer of nuclear propulsion technology raises concerns about nuclear proliferation. This precedent could undermine international non-proliferation norms and treaties, already in pretty weak condition, as well as Australian laws on nuclear power and nuclear proliferation.

Investment in military capabilities through initiatives like AUKUS (through which Australia will transfer upwards of $365 billion Australian dollars to the U.S. and UK) diverts critical resources away from pressing social needs, including healthcare, education, and climate change mitigation, not to mention impeding global coopertion on climate, disease, homelessness, and other non-optional crises. Beyond those sorts of cooperation, Australia is putting at risk its economic relations with its largest trading partner, China.

Then there are the health impacts and risks of nuclear technology use — and the never-to-be-solved probem of what to do with permanent nuclear waste.

Then there is the risk to Australia — including its Indigenous people who’ve not been consulted — as it steps into the role of sacrifice zone for the U.S. empire. With U.S. troops, submarines, Tomahawk missiles, spy bases, and training grounds in Australia, a war with China might prove devastating to Australia, whether or not the United States itself remains unattacked.

The U.S. is the dominant, agenda-determining member of NATO. The UK is a member of NATO. Australia is a partner of NATO, as is New Zealand. For more on NATO see nonatoyespeace.org

Check out these basic military spending numbers in 2022, and in 2022 U.S. dollars, from SIPRI (so, leaving out a huge chunk of U.S. spending):

  • Total $2,209 billion
  • U.S. $877 billion
  • All countries on Earth but U.S., Russia, China, and India $872 billion
  • NATO members $1,238 billion
  • NATO “partners across the globe” $153 billion
  • NATO Istanbul Cooperation Initiative $25 billion (no data from UAE)
  • NATO Mediterranean Dialogue $46 billion
  • NATO Partners for Peace excluding Russia and including Sweden $71 billion
  • All NATO combined excluding Russia $1,533 billion
  • Entire Non-NATO world including Russia (no data from North Korea) $676 billion (44% of NATO and friends)
  • Russia $86 billion (9.8% of U.S.)
  • China $292 billion (33.3% of U.S.)
  • Iran $7 billion (0.8% of U.S.)


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