Archive for the ‘weapons and war’ Category

Push in US Congress to exempt Australia from International Traffic in Arms Regulations, so that it can import nuclear submarines

January 21, 2023

Democrat push to grant Australia a waiver to import nuclear subs earlier than expected


SMH, ByFarrah Tomazin, January 21, 2023 —

Washington: A maze of US regulations and export control laws stand between Australia and the multibillion-dollar AUKUS submarine agreement, prompting a key ally of the pact in Congress to propose a blanket exemption to accelerate delivery of the nuclear-powered fleet.

Democratic congressman Joe Courtney, who recently spearheaded a bipartisan defence of the Australia-UK-US pact amid jitters from some of his Washington colleagues, wants Australia to be given a waiver from strict US export controls that could otherwise derail the agreement.

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations is one set of rules which could delay for years the transfer of crucial technologies at a time when Australia is racing to bolster its submarine capacity before the retirement of its Collins-class fleet.

Defence Minister Richard Marles has said the government will announce by March which type of submarine it will acquire, after receiving a recommendation from Jonathan Mead, the head of the Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce.

The announcement is expected to provide the first concrete insights into the cost, timing and procurement of the AUKUS deal. The modelling so far has suggested that if the submarines are produced in Australia, as the government has suggested, the earliest possible delivery date would be 2055.

While President Joe Biden supports AUKUS, he needs the backing of a divided Congress to make good on his promise to share American submarine secrets with Australia.

Courtney, who co-chairs the bipartisan “AUKUS caucus” and is regarded as one of Congress’ top navy experts, said a potential solution to the difficulties posed by US law would be to pass an exemption, with the support of the Pentagon, allowing Australia to bypass rules such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and related nuclear submarine laws, for the strict purpose of advancing AUKUS……………………………….

Australian officials have for years been pushing their US counterparts to reform their treatment under arms regulations, and the issue was front and centre of the December Australian-US Ministerial consultations between Marles and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin…………

In response to questions from this masthead, a spokesman for the Australian Department of Defence said it was anticipating that export arrangements would need to change “to ensure technology and expertise could be transferred seamlessly and effectively among AUKUS partners, as well as their respective industrial bases, within a suitably designed protective framework”…………

At a seminar last week, Democratic congressman Adam Smith, a ranking member of the House of Representatives armed services committee, also warned that while AUKUS was “a great idea, with a lot of promise” it “could also go bloop” unless some regulatory restrictions were eased.

And Mark Watson, the director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Washington office, suggested that “an AUKUS express lane is what we need” to avoid delaying or derailing the project due to the maze of red tape and complex US laws surrounding it.

But the regulatory hurdles are not the only difficulty the alliance faces.

One of the concessions Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy made this month to secure the speakership of the House of Representatives was a vote on a framework that caps discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels. Some fear that this could result in the US defence budget being cut in real terms, which Courtney warned “could have a very negative effect on AUKUS”.

Helping Australia acquire nuclear submarines will also test America’s submarine manufacturing industry, which has already been strained by the COVID pandemic.  https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/democrat-push-to-grant-australia-a-waiver-to-import-nuclear-subs-earlier-than-expected-20230120-p5ce4e.html

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Nuclear submarines deal an exercise in futility and should be sunk

January 19, 2023

This decision – conceived in secrecy, born in controversy, and destined to become the hallmark of futility – will damage Australia for generations to come.

 https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/nuclear-subs-deal-an-exercise-in-futility-and-should-be-sunk-20230117-p5cd3y.html David Livingstone Former diplomat 18 Jan 23,

The decision for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines has taken on a life of its own, divorced from disciplined considerations such as cost, effectiveness, and alternatives. At best, the decision is ill-considered. At worst, it’s Treasury-busting lunacy.

Former head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings has claimed that Australia’s purchase of the subs – eight in total at an estimated cost of an additional $20 billion per year, out to about 2050 – is necessary to “deter” China. That’s a big call in a number of ways.

In particular, what would the submarines deter China from doing? Is it to deter China from attacking Australia? There is no evidence that China even dreams of such a misadventure.

Australia is thousands of kilometres from China, and its approaches are characterised by maritime choke points and potential killing zones. That’s thousands of kilometres where its forces would be exposed to attack; thousands of kilometres of stretched supply lines requiring enormous and sophisticated logistics.

We have seen Russia’s logistical challenges in conducting a land war just across its border, logistical failures have been a key reason for Russia’s military underachievement. The challenge for China in attacking Australia would dwarf anything Russia has experienced in Ukraine.

China would clearly fail in any attempt at a meaningful maritime assault on Australia. And that outcome is within Australia’s existing military capabilities, including the conventionally powered Collins class submarines. With the acquisition of advanced missiles and drones, Australia will be even more secure.

So, what are nuclear-powered submarines supposed to deter China from doing? The answer, apparently, is to prevent China from attacking Taiwan.

But where in the universe of rational thought is Australia’s acquisition of fewer than 10 submarines over the next two or three decades meaningful in China’s equation about attacking Taiwan? By even generous estimates, the first boats are years away. The full complement of eight could be several decades away. And then what is the actual impact of the new additions to the fleet?

Operationally, you can expect that only one-third of the nuclear-powered submarines would be actively deployed at one time. That is likely to be about three submarines, somewhere closer to the turn of the mid-century than today. Is that really the defining regional capability that will keep China in check?

To think it might be is to cringe at the folly of the idea. To say it out loud is to invite ridicule.

Has Australia suddenly and mistakenly taken on the mantle of the “indispensable country”? Does Taiwan’s future hang on Australia’s purchase of a few eye-wateringly expensive submarines?

The balance of submarines that Australia’s acquisition is claimed to upend so dramatically as to “deter” China includes: China, up to 79 submarines; the US, 68 submarines; Japan, about 20 (and growing); and South Korea, about 20. And that does not include Taiwan’s submarines, or those of the self-proclaimed Indo-Pacific power, the UK. That is well over 100 for Australia’s friends, and they are generally of better quality than the Chinese subs.

Moreover, the US and Japan are taking significant and meaningful steps to increase their capacity to defend Taiwan. Foremost among them is the restructuring of US Marines to counter a Chinese maritime threat, and deploying to islands close to Taiwan.

And Japan, long constrained by its non-aggression constitution, will double its defence spending over the next five years. That is a massive increase for a country that already has one of the largest and best equipped maritime forces in the world.

If this brief review of some of the characteristics of the military balance affecting China’s calculations about attacking Taiwan indicates that Australia’s purchase of nuclear-powered submarines is insignificant, it is because that is precisely what it is. Militarily meaningless. Now and into the future.

It is Australia’s version of Don Quixote jousting with windmill sails.

But this folly would come at a ridiculous cost. Projections of $170 billion are likely well off the mark, with the potential for double that cost.

The opportunity cost foregone would include the acquisition of more meaningful defence capabilities, including smart sea mines that lie undetected in strategic approaches, only activating in times of conflict and only targeting enemy vessels; off-the-shelf conventional submarines; long-range missiles and rockets; more fighter aircraft to dominate the sea-air gap between Australia and Indonesia; aerial and maritime drones.

And with the amount saved there would be money to retire national debt, build and adequately equip and staff schools and hospitals, and rebuild Australia’s failing national transport infrastructure. Greater national security would be achieved through investing in a better Australia than in throwing vast amounts of national wealth at the chimera of security through acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

But there is one aspect on which both proponents and opponents of the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines agree. The purchase will deeply integrate Australia’s Defence Force with the US to the point where Australia’s participation in a conflict between the US and China would be automatic.

The only difference is that the proponents cite it as a benefit to be celebrated, while opponents rail against the derogation of one of the most important elements of Australia’s national sovereignty – the decision to commit Australia to war.

This decision – conceived in secrecy, born in controversy, and destined to become the hallmark of futility – will damage Australia for generations to come.

Australia a”pot of gold” for America’s military section to wage war in space

December 3, 2022

US Space Force eyes ‘prime’ Australian real estate for future warfare operations, ABC News, By defence correspondent Andrew Greene 3 Dec 22

Visiting senior US military officers believe Australia is a “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”, as they eye off this continent’s “prime” geography for future space operations.

Key points:

  • US military officials visiting Australia say conflict in space in the next few years is a very real prospect
  • They believe the war in Ukraine is demonstrating the growing importance of space as a new war-fighting domain
  • Australia’s southern location and potential launch sites near the equator make it an attractive prospect for future operations

Top-ranking members of the US Space Force are warning of China’s growing capability in the emerging military domain as they meet defence counterparts and local industry representatives.

“I’m visiting my allies and we’re talking about future partnerships that we can have,” US Space Force Lieutenant-General Nina Armagno told reporters in Canberra.

“This is prime country for space domain awareness,” the director of staff of the US Space Force added while speaking at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.  

The three-star general has travelled to Canberra along with Lieutenant-General John Shaw, the deputy commander of the US Space Command who is responsible for America’s combat capabilities above Earth……………………………..

Both of the visiting military officers believe the war in Ukraine is demonstrating the growing importance of space as a new war-fighting domain…………………………..

Australia’s own Defence Space Command was only formally stood up in March, but General Armagno says this country already has the natural advantage of its southern-hemisphere geography and potential launch sites close to the equator.

“It seems as [if] Australia is sitting on a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, really, for our common national security interests,” she said.   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-02/us-space-force-eyes-australian-real-estate-future-warfare/101724368

‘Target Oz’: Defence Strategic Review must address nuclear risks

November 3, 2022

Pine Gap near Alice Springs, RAAF Base Tindal for US B-52’s near Katherine, Darwin Harbour, North-West Cape near Exmouth, and the Stirling submarine base near Fremantle are all potential targets for a strike by China in a conflict with the US over Taiwan or the South China Sea

Pearls and Irritations, By David Noonan, Nov 3, 2022

The Defence Strategic Review must act in accordance with Australia’s commitment to sign the UN “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” (the ‘Ban Treaty’) and not seek to compromise that path by supporting roles in nuclear warfare alongside the US.

Anthony Albanese made a commitment in his “Changing the World” Speech (ALP National Conference, 18 Dec 2018), stating:

“We have on our side the overwhelming support of the Australian people. …

Our commitment to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty in government is Labor at our best”

The ALP National Platform (2021, p.117) commits “to sign and ratify the Ban Treaty” and Australia must do so in this term of the ALP in federal office.

The Ban Treaty Article 1 Prohibitions require nations to never under any circumstance use or threaten to use nuclear weaponsOR to assist or encourage, in any way, anyone to do so.

To come into compliance with the Ban Treaty, the Defence Review must evolve our Alliance with the US to put an end to defence reliance on US ‘nuclear deterrence’.

The US ‘nuclear weapons umbrella’ is a threat to use nuclear weapons in Australia’s defence policy – a threat that has long been contrary to International Humanitarian Law and is now illegal since the Ban Treaty came into force as a permanent part of International Law from 22 January 2021.

The roles of Pine Gap and the North-West Cape communications base must evolve to exclude military operations related to the use, or threat to use, nuclear weapons.

The ICAN Report “Choosing Humanity” (July 2019) best sets out the case for Australia to sign the Ban Treaty. Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong should now refer the Ban Treaty to an Inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties as a proposed treaty action.

 Australians have a right to know the risk exposure we face in peace time and in war:

While preparing for war, a second lead task for the Defence Review is to provide transparency on the consequences for Australia as a target in an escalating conflict between the US and China.

The Review must report on the scenarios, risks, and consequences of a nuclear or conventional attack by China on bases in Australia and on the potential resultant health calamity.

Both China and Russia’s priority and capacity to attack US bases in Australia has long been recognised. An ASPI Report (Sept 2022) states Pine Gap is a high-level nuclear target, noting:

“We need to understand what the implications would be for Alice Springs, which is a town of 32,000 people only 18 kilometres from the base.”

The lead author of the report, Paul Dibb has stated: “The risk of nuclear war is now higher than at any time since the Cold War. … Australia should not feel its geographic distance from the epicentre of conflict affords it any significant protection. … We need to plan on the basis that Pine Gap continues to be a nuclear target, If China attacks Taiwan, Pine Gap is likely to be heavily involved.”

A Lowy paper (09 August 2021) also cites Darwin as a potential target in a US-China conflict:

The arena of hostilities for any such conflict would be mostly confined to East Asia, with the possible exception of strikes against US forces using Darwin as a rear-area staging base.

No doubt Australia acquiring nuclear powered attack submarines and visits or basing US or UK nuclear subs at Stirling naval base near Fremantle escalates the risk profile we face.

Beijing’s Global Times “China needs to make a plan to deter extreme forces of Australia” (07 May 2021) threatened “retaliatory punishment” with missile strikes “on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil” if Australia coordinates with the US in a war over Taiwan:

“China has a strong production capability, including producing additional long-range missiles with conventional warheads that target military objectives in Australia when the situation becomes highly tense.”

Pine Gap near Alice Springs, RAAF Base Tindal for US B-52’s near Katherine, Darwin Harbour, North-West Cape near Exmouth, and the Stirling submarine base near Fremantle are all potential targets for a strike by China in a conflict with the US over Taiwan or the South China Sea……………………more

David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St., is an Independent Environment Campaigner and was a long-term campaigner for Australian Conservation Foundation.

See the public submission to the Defence Review by David Noonan (29 Oct 2022).

 https://johnmenadue.com/target-oz-the-defence-strategic-review-and-our-risk-exposure-with-the-us-and-china/

Australia changes policy tack – moves in the direction of supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

October 29, 2022

Australia drops opposition to treaty banning nuclear weapons at UN vote

After former Coalition government repeatedly sided with US against it, Labor has shifted position to abstain

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/29/australia-drops-opposition-to-treaty-banning-nuclear-weapons-at-un-voteDaniel Hurst, 29 Oct 22,

Australia has dropped its opposition to a landmark treaty banning nuclear weapons in a vote at the United Nations in New York on Saturday.

While Australia was yet to actually join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the shift in its voting position to “abstain” after five years of “no” is seen by campaigners as a sign of progress given the former Coalition government repeatedly sided with the United States against it.

The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, said through a spokesperson that Australia had “a long and proud commitment to the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime” and that the government supported the new treaty’s “ambition of a world without nuclear weapons”.

The previous Coalition government was firmly against the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a relatively new international agreement that imposes a blanket ban on developing, testing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons – or helping other countries to carry out such activities.

Australia voted against opening negotiations on the proposed new treaty in late 2016 and did not participate in those talks in 2017. Since 2018 it has voted against annual resolutions at the UN general assembly and first committee that called on all countries to join the agreement “at the earliest possible date”.

That changed early on Saturday morning when Australia shifted its voting position to abstain. Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Ireland were among countries to co-sponsor this year’s supportive UN resolution.

Australia traditionally argued the treaty would not work because none of the nuclear weapons states had joined and because it “ignores the realities of the global security environment”.

It also argued joining would breach the US alliance obligations, with Australia relying on American nuclear forces to deter any nuclear attack on Australia.

 But the treaty has gained momentum because of increasing dissatisfaction among activists and non-nuclear states about the outlook for disarmament, given that nuclear weapons states such as the US, Russia and China are in the process of modernising their arsenals.

The treaty currently has 91 signatories, 68 of which have formally ratified it, and it entered into force last year.

The Nobel peace prize-winning International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (Ican) had been urging Australia to vote in favour of the UN resolution on Saturday – or at least abstain in order to “end five years of opposition to the TPNW under the previous government”.

Three in four members of the Labor caucus – including Anthony Albanese – have signed an Ican pledge that commits parliamentarians “to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries”.

Labor’s 2021 national platform committed the party to signing and ratifying the treaty “after taking account” of several factors, including the need for an effective verification and enforcement architecture and work to achieve universal support.

These conditions suggest the barriers to actually signing may still be high. But Gem Romuld, the Australia director of Ican, said the government was “heading in the right direction” and engaging positively with the treaty.

Romuld said it “would be completely self-defeating to wait for all nuclear-armed states to get on board” before Australia joined.

“Indeed, no disarmament treaty has achieved universal support and Australia has joined all the other disarmament treaties, even where our ally – the US – has not yet signed on, such as the landmine ban treaty,” Romuld said.

In 2017 the US, the UK and France declared that they “do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party” to the new treaty, and the Trump administration actively lobbied countries to withdraw.

Wong told the UN general assembly last month that Australia would “redouble our efforts” towards disarmament because Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “weak and desperate nuclear threats underline the danger that nuclear weapons pose to us all”.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/29/australia-drops-opposition-to-treaty-banning-nuclear-weapons-at-un-vote

Nuclear zealot Jonathon Mead – in charge of the nuclear submarine deliberations? Wants to “cultivate a nuclear mindset”

October 27, 2022

Mead’s Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce will deliver recommendations on options to the government….. it can only be done with the unfettered support of all three nations.…… the support of the Australian people will be essential for the plan to work.

DEFENCE SPECIAL REPORT

Cultivating a nuclear mindset, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/special-reports/cultivating-a-nuclear-mindset/news-story/15e1b23576f3301cdf2e9b7566811bd0 By Brendan Nicholson, October 27, 2022

After a year of intense research, the head of a 350-strong Defence taskforce is confident the Royal Australian Navy will be equipped with nuclear-powered submarines.

Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead tells The Australian’s Defence Special Report he believes “absolutely” that the massive and highly complex industrial-scale endeavour is viable.

Set up after the AUKUS technology sharing agreement was signed by Australia, the US and UK a year ago, Mead’s Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce will deliver recommendations on options to the government by March next year and he says the work is on track.

The government will choose the design. Mead says a range of options has emerged. He won’t be drawn on specifics but says it can only be done with the unfettered support of all three nations. “We are providing options to our government on what we think is the optimum pathway, and we are working on that with our partners. I am very confident that we will be in a position for government to make an announcement next year on an optimal pathway, in conjunction with the other nations’ leaders.”

Mead cautions that a whole-of-government approach with very strong backing from industry and the support of the Australian people will be essential for the plan to work. “Defence cannot do this by itself. This social licence is a very important aspect for us. We need Australians to have confidence in our ability to build and operate these submarines.”

Submarines operate at the highest end of war fighting capability, says Mead, and they deliver significant deterrence. “When you put a nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) in the mix, you’ve got almost an exponential increase in speed, manoeuvrability, survivability, endurance, lethality in their ability to launch long range missiles, to operate around the region and to protect Australia.”

The government had made it clear that submarines were a fundamental part of Australia’s defence capability. Defence Minister Richard Marles has said the need for haste is dictated by deteriorating strategic circumstances, sharpening competition and rapid military modernisation.

The task force recommendations will go to the government at the same time as the Defence Strategic Review by former defence and foreign minister Stephen Smith and former Defence force chief Sir Angus Houston.

“We are briefing them so that they can take on board our body of work as well,” Mead says.

Members of Mead’s team often work through the night in talks with the US and UK partners. They include personnel from all three services, the Lucas Heights reactor, from the nuclear regulator and a range of departments.

He won’t comment on the argument that an interim conventionally powered submarine will be needed to avoid a capability gap, but he says the government has given him very clear direction to develop options that will deliver the nuclear-powered capability “in an expeditious manner”.

“I’m only looking at nuclear,” he says. “We are working with the US and UK on a range of options that we think can deliver the capability in an expeditious timeframe.”

Any decision to opt for an interim conventional submarine would be up to the government and Defence.

No one doubts that the submarine force will be eye-wateringly expensive.

The taskforce proposal will be presented to the government at the same time as the results of the Smith/Houston strategic review – and at a time of economic pressures and invidious trade-offs when the world is emerging from the Covid pandemic while facing a dangerous strategic environment. Marles has undertaken to strengthen the lethality and deterrent effect, but that assurance comes as demands for support for services such as the NDIS and veteran’s welfare increase.

With a strong social agenda, the government faces painful choices as it deals with a complex set of interlocking problems, and clear choices on ADF capabilities will be vital.

The review will focus on strengthening the ADF’s deterrent effect by getting sophisticated weapons and platforms into the hands of its men and women faster. Areas for rapid development include hypersonics and cyber. Some programs will be accelerated. The reviewers will be looking at options, possibly other than submarines, for long range strike capability. Missiles and long-range bombers such as the B-21 will be in that mix.

Australia needs to be able to defend itself against sophisticated threats – and to give an adversary pause to consider whether an attack is a good idea. While much is discussed about potential flashpoints such as Taiwan, Australia must be able to defend itself against unexpected threats.

Threats may come in the traditional “domains” of sea, land and air – or in the shape of cyber-attacks, or threats to democracy. Greater interdependencies mean threats coming from different domains at once, more lethal and with greater range. Great power adversaries can operate in all these domains making defending against them much more complex and expensive.

While there’s a need for hard power to deter, that can’t be the only focus. Defending the nation means putting more resources into diplomacy to develop deeper relationships with neighbours, and improving intelligence gathering to ensure threats are identified and understood as they develop. While Australia must be strong enough to deal with actors who see conflict as a means of getting their way, it needs to reassure friends that it has a defensive mindset…………………………

As these debates evolve, Mead has identified the optimal pathway to SSNs, with nine components underpinning the daily work of the task force. “If we can’t put a green tick to each of those nine components, then the boat becomes almost a meaningless concept,” he says.

First is Australia’s strategic situation and the policies set by the government to deal with it.

………. Mead won’t say where the design choice will land – on the US Virginia or the SSNX to follow it, Britain’s Astute which is about to go out of production, or the SSNR which will follow it. Or something else.

“Clearly these are decisions for government, and not just our government, but also the partners. They need to put it through their political systems.”

He says nuclear submarines will be built in Australia. “That’s very important to ensure Australia has a sovereign capability. They are likely to be built on land earmarked for the previous Attack-class submarine project on land adjacent to South Australia’s Osborne Naval Shipyard.”

Number five is the need to set up an industrial base that can support nuclear-powered submarines and a supply chain to build and maintain them – and to provide components for partner submarines, optimising the industrial bases of all three countries.

“If we are building a component for an Australian build and that’s what our partners need, then it would be wise for us to identify things we can assist them with. All countries have constrictions and bottlenecks.”

Teams from the US and UK have visited Australia to see what might be available here………….

An option is for Australia to do a deeper level of maintenance on US and UK submarines during their visits to bases such as HMAS Stirling, in WA. That could gradually increase to major maintenance.

“We need to start sending people from our industrial base to the US and UK to be embedded in their construction and maintenance yards so that when submarines visit Australia our people will have the necessary experience. ……….

For six months, Australian submariners have been working in US submarines “at the back end where the reactor is”. The UK has also committed to embarking Australians on its boats.

…………….There are signs all over the task force precinct stressing the importance of building a “nuclear mindset”, and each member’s ID card comes with that message.

Mead notes a report by the US director of Naval Reactors that in 65 years of operation, US Navy nuclear-powered warships and their support facilities have had no discernible effect on public health or the environment.

“It’s safe for the people, and it’s safe for the environment. We intend to learn from the US and UK so that we can demonstrate identical standards,” he says. “This nuclear mindset is a way of thinking within our people, within navy, and within other areas of the department…………..

………………………..Mead says the ninth crucial element is the need to clearly explain to Australians, and to the US and UK, what the program is all about and how the safety and reliability of the submarines can be assured.

-Brendan Nicholson is editor of ASPI’s commentary and analysis site, The Strategist.

Aukus plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear sub construction an act of nuclear proliferation under ‘naval nuclear propulsion’ cover: Chinese mission to UN

September 26, 2022
Image from Global Times

 https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202209/1276076.shtml By Leng Shumei and Hu Yuwei , Sep 26, 2022 , The Chinese mission to the UN in Vienna warned in an exclusive statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday that the latest move by AUKUS to plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear submarine construction is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, and is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion.” 

A spokesperson of the Chinese mission to the UN and other international organizations in Vienna made the comment after leaders of the US, UK and Australia said on Friday marking the one-year anniversary of the AUKUS security pact that they have made “significant progress” toward Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine. 

In disregard of the serious concerns of the international community on the trilateral nuclear submarine deal, the US is insisting on and even making reckless remarks about accelerating the deal, which is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, the spokesperson told the Global Times in the statement. 

China has repeatedly pointed out that the nuclear submarine deal among the three countries violates the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and Additional Protocols (AP). It is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion,” the statement noted.

The US regards China as an “imaginary enemy.” The act of inciting Indo-Pacific competition seriously undermines regional peace and stability, which shows that the US has a wrong understanding of China, of the world and of itself, it said.  

We hope that the US side will abandon the Cold War mentality, abandon the use of nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries to contain China, abandon the trampling of international rules for geopolitical purposes, and work with China to implement the important consensus of the two heads of state, and practice mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation, and shoulder the responsibility of a major country, read the statement.

Leaders of the US, UK and Australia said in a statement on Friday “We are steadfast in our commitment to Australia acquiring this capability at the earliest possible date,” according to Reuters.

The Biden administration is exploring an arrangement to expedite Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines to respond to China’s growing military might by producing the first few submarines in the US, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing some Western officials.

The idea is to provide Australia with an initial nuclear-powered fleet by the mid-2030s, while a longer-term effort is under way to give Australia the capability to produce nuclear-power submarines at home, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chinese experts warned that Australia should also be alert that it is sleepwalking into a US trap to serve as the latter’s pawn in the US’ strategy against China. But they also believed that it would not be easy to implement the plan given the lack of spare shipbuilding capacity in the US and in Britain. 

In August, the US admiral in charge of building new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines said producing nuclear-power subs for Australia would interfere with the US’ efforts to build its own submarines unless a major effort was made to expand the American industrial base, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It is questionable how feasible the plan actually is, Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday.   

The nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS is a blatant, irresponsible act of nuclear proliferation, and once again proves that AUKUS countries are practicing a “double standard” on nuclear non-proliferation and using the deal as a tool for geopolitical gamesmanship, Ambassador Wang Qun, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview.

Song Zongping, a Chinese TV commentator, warned it is already a fact that the US is dedicated to nuclear weapons proliferation. 

But more importantly, the US is pushing its frontier against China to Australia by weaponizing Australia with nuclear submarines. The Australia’s nuclear-submarine fleet would be a squadron of and be controlled by the US, Song noted.    

In the Friday statement, the AUKUS leaders – US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – also said they had made “significant strides” in other areas, including hypersonic weapons, cyber, electronic warfare capabilities and additional undersea capabilities, according to Reuters.

Chen warned that by enhancing cooperation under AUKUS in these aspects, Australia does not understand that it is actually sleepwalking into a trap to serve as a pawn for the US’ strategy against China.    

Currently, the nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS attracts the most attention, but cooperation under AUKUS is far more complex as the organization’s long-term strategic aim is to contain China’s development, Chen noted.       

Australia is being pushed into the teeth of the storm in the US’ strategy against China. It should be on high alert that it probably is sacrificing its own national security for other countries’ national interests, Chen warned.

Aw gee shucks – Australia can be IMPORTANT if we lead USA’s attacks with our AUKUS submarines !

September 17, 2022

Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously,

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023, Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success

Guardian, Josh Butler, Thu 15 Sep 2022 The defence minister, Richard Marles, says Australia’s pathway to acquiring nuclear submarines is “taking shape”, flagging key decisions within months about which ship to use, how to build it and boosting the country’s defence-industrial capability.

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023

Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success…………………………….

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

“The optimal pathway is taking shape. We can now begin to see it,” he said. “With Aukus there’s a really huge opportunity beyond submarines of pursuing a greater and more ambitious agenda.”……..

Marles, also the deputy prime minister, said the first steps toward acquisition of nuclear submarines were on track. In a briefing call with journalists this week, he said the current timeline had Australia slated to make initial announcements in the first part of 2023.

The government plans to give answers to five questions by that time: the final design; when it can be acquired; what capability gap that timeline will create and solutions to plug it; the cost; and how Australia’s plans comply with nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

The government is said to be choosing between building American or British ships, or some hybrid. Marles said the government was not ready to announce which type of submarines would be built but hinted Australia’s design could be “trilateral” in nature………..


In a press conference with Marles in the UK earlier this month, the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said future submarine designs may see a combination of British, American and Australian components.

“We are on to our next design and our new one and that might well be fully shared with all three nations as a collaborative design,” he said.

The cost of the submarine program is not yet known but is expected to be in the tens of billions. Marles linked the Aukus arrangement not only to military but economic security, saying a boosted submarine fleet would protect freedom of navigation through vital shipping routes.

“We need a highly capable defence force which has the rest of the world take us seriously and enables us to do all the normal peaceful activities that are so important for our economy,” he said………

V Adm Jonathan Mead, the chair of the nuclear submarine taskforce, also spoke of protecting “sea lanes” on the call.

Mead said the navy was investigating workforce challenges, such as how to build and crew the ships – which may involve placing Australian staff in British and American nuclear schools or agencies, laboratories and shipyards

“The exchange of these personnel will be both ways and won’t just involve our submariners,” he said.

Facilities to build and maintain the submarines in Australia are part of the equation. Defence this year pinpointed Brisbane, Newcastle and Port Kembla as possible sites for an east coast nuclear base and consultation with those communities is said to be in its early stages.

Marles also spoke of building Australia’s defence-industrial capability on the back of the nuclear process…………………..“We hope Aukus can help develop a genuinely seamless defence industrial base across the US, the UK and Australia.”…………………….

A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Aspi), released on Thursday, recommended further investment in other Aukus streams like hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence technology, to help plug a capability gap while the submarines are built………..

Such short-term investment may force government to make “difficult choices and trade-offs” in its defence strategic review, also slated for March, Aspi said. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/sep/15/final-design-and-cost-of-australias-nuclear-submarines-to-be-known-in-early-2023

China, AUKUS clash over nuclear subs

September 17, 2022

By Francois Murphy, South Coast Register, September 17 2022  China has clashed with the countries in the AUKUS alliance at a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog over their plan to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, capping a week in which Beijing has repeatedly railed against the project.

Under the alliance between Washington, London and Canberra announced last year, Australia plans to acquire at least eight nuclear submarines that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has said will be fuelled by “very highly enriched uranium”, suggesting it could be weapons-grade or close to it.

To date no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) other than the five countries the treaty recognises as weapons states – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – has nuclear submarines.

The vessels can stay underwater for longer than conventional subs and are harder to detect.

“The AUKUS partnership involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials, making it essentially an act of nuclear proliferation,” China said in a position paper sent to IAEA member states during this week’s quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors……………………

The AUKUS countries and the IAEA say the NPT allows so-called marine nuclear propulsion provided necessary arrangements are made with the IAEA.

China disagrees in this case because nuclear material will be transferred to Australia rather than being produced by it.

It argues the IAEA is overstepping its mandate and wants an unspecified “inter-governmental” process to examine the issue at the IAEA instead of leaving it to the agency.

In its seven-page position paper, China said AUKUS countries were seeking to take the IAEA “hostage” so it could “whitewash” nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear submarines are a particular challenge because when they are at sea their fuel is beyond the reach of the agency’s inspectors who are supposed to keep track of all nuclear material.

IAEA chief Grossi has said he is satisfied with the AUKUS countries’ transparency so far……………………

https://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/7906718/china-aukus-clash-over-nuclear-subs/?cs=202

The Defence Strategic Review – Australia is becoming a proxy or is it a patsy for the US in a possible conflict with China

September 16, 2022

Pearls and Irritations By John Menadue, Sep 16, 2022

The Defence Strategic Review must warn Minister Marles about the dangerous path he is committing Australia to. We are becoming a spear carrier for the US.

  • Fearing its world hegemony is under challenge the US is goading China at every opportunity. Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was but the most recent example of this goading.
  • The threat we face from China is if we continue to act in our region as a proxy for the US. Other regional countries are not doing so.
  • The ‘China’ threat is a rerun of the shameful and earlier ‘yellow peril’. China is not a military threat to Australia.
  • The US is the most violent and aggressive country in the world, almost always at war. Its  military empire includes 800 foreign military bases.

  • We need a strong US presence in our region but not the provocative and dangerous behaviour we see time and time again.
  • We are attaching ourselves uncritically to a declining  but dangerous hegemon.
  • Our ‘Washington Club’ has been on an American drip feed for a long time.It has a ‘colonial’ mind set.It accepts without serious thought the US view of the world.
  • Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony.These points are developed further below.

Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony

In some political difficulty in 2011 Julia Gillard was anxious for President Obama to visit Australia and address the Parliament. Kim Beazley, our Ambassador in Washington was very keen to help. As part of the deal to lock in the Obama visit Gillard agreed to the rotation of Marines through Darwin with US hopes for more future basing in Perth and Cocos-Keeling.

This was the real door opening for the Americans.

The colonisation has continued apace since then with more and more Marines rotating through Darwin and USAF operations in Northern Australia.

But putting the foot on the accelerator of US military colonisation really came in September 2021.

On 16 September 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton in Washington D.C. for the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2021). The Secretaries and Ministers endorsed the following areas of force posture cooperation:

Enhanced air cooperation through the rotational deployment of U.S. aircraft of all types in Australia and appropriate aircraft training and exercises.

Enhanced maritime cooperation by increasing logistics and sustainment capabilities of U.S. surface and subsurface vessels in Australia.

Enhanced land cooperation by conducting more complex and more integrated exercises and greater combined engagement with Allies and Partners in the region.

Establish a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high end warfighting and combined military operations in the region.

See the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) joint statement.

We have committed ourselves to ‘high end warfighting and combined military operations and unfettered access for US forces and platforms’ in northern and western Australia.

Only yesterday the AFR highlighted the US focus on western and northern Australia. ‘Former foreign policy adviser to president George W. Bush and new United States Studies Centre chief executive Michael Green predicts the US will become more dependent on Australia for its military operations and intelligence. A shift in foreign policy focus from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific meant that areas of western and northern Australia would be ‘‘critical’’ for the US and its allies. ‘‘We need access: we need purchase on the Indian Ocean and, so geographically, in technology, in terms of military operations and intelligence, the US is going to be more dependent on Australia,’’ Mr Green said. ‘‘There’s no two ways around it.’’

We have not seriously debated or considered the enormous and very risky consequences of all of this. Our sovereignty and integrity as a nation is on the line and at the whim of the US, a country that does not really know which path it is on, crypto-fascism, civil war or anarchy.

In AUKUS, at enormous cost and with great delay we are planning to fuse our future nuclear powered submarines with the US Navy to operate in the South China Sea against China.

Minister Marles has told us that we are not only working ‘inter-operatively’ with the US military in numerous ways but we are now committed to ‘inter-changeabilty’ with US forces. We are locking ourselves even more to a ‘dangerous ally’. Minister Marles seems unconcerned about the dangerous path we are on.Even worse he seems careless about surrendering our national sovereignty. He should be watched very carefully.

The US is the most violent country in the world and almost always at war

There is an enormous and powerful US constituency committed to continual war. We joined those wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. All were disastrous. Now the US is continually goading and provoking China and wants us to join it. And we are obliging…………….

In this blog, Is war in the American DNA?, I have drawn attention repeatedly to the risks we run in being “joined at the hip” to a country that is almost always at war. The facts are clear…………………..

Despite all the evidence of wars and meddling, the American Imperium continues without serious check or query in America or Australia………………………………………………………………

Australia is trapped within the American Imperium

This complex co-opts institutions and individuals around the globe. It has enormous influence. No US president, nor for that matter any Australian prime minister, would likely challenge it. Morrison and Albanese have the same view on the US imperium.

Australia has locked itself into this complex. Our military and defence leaders are heavily dependent on the US Departments of Defence and State, the CIA and the FBI for advice. We act as their branch offices.

…………………………………… AUKUS has locked us in even more. In AUKUS we are effectively fusing our Navy with that of the US so that we can operate together in the South China Sea and threaten China. We are surrendering more and more of our strategic autonomy by encouraging the US to use Northern Australia as a forward base against China as if the US does not have enough giant military bases ringing China in Japan, ROK and Guam.

A ’rules-based international order’; but not for America

The third reason for the continuing dominance of the American Imperium is the way the US expects others to abide by a “rules-based international order”………………………….

Derivative media compounds Australia’s lack of autonomy

A major voice in articulating American extremism and the American Imperium is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch who exert their influence not just in America but also in the UK and Australia. ………………………. But it is not just the destructive role of News Corp in the US, UK and Australia. Our media, including the ABC are so derivative. It is so pervasive and extensive, we don’t recognise it for its very nature. We really do have a ‘white man’s media’. We see it most obviously today in the way legacy media spew out an endless daily conveyor belt of anti-China stories…………………………………..

Read more in our Defence Strategic Review series of articles.  https://johnmenadue.com/the-defence-strategic-review-we-are-ceding-our-sovereignty-to-the-us/