20/12/2021

Geopolitics

AUKUS and the Indo-Pacific

This paper analyses the role of the newly established security alliance of the Anglosphere, AUKUS, especially in relation to the Indo-Pacific region. The paper aims to examine the subject from three distinct perspectives: from a geopolitical one (what the current situation is in the Indo-Pacific region, the reasons why there is a need for a new alliance and the aims participants want to achieve with it); from a technical and geostrategic one (why it is important for Australia to maintain a nuclear submarine fleet, what could the direct objectives be and whether the new pact constitutes enough potential to realise the long-term strategic aims;) and from a regional, multilateral perspective (how AUKUS fits into the already existing network of military and intelligence alliances and how other countries of the region feel about its existence as well as the opportunities and risks associated with it). By taking into account all of these perspectives, I aim to give the reader a thorough understanding of the subject, and by providing ample geopolitical context I can also present certain assumptions regarding the future of AUKUS and the Indo-Pacific.

ABSTRACT:

This paper analyses the role of the newly established security alliance of the
Anglosphere, AUKUS, especially in relation to the Indo-Pacific region. The paper aims
to examine the subject from three distinct perspectives: from a geopolitical one (what
the current situation is in the Indo-Pacific region, the reasons why there is a need for a
new alliance and the aims participants want to achieve with it); from a technical and
geostrategic one (why it is important for Australia to maintain a nuclear submarine fleet,
what could the direct objectives be and whether the new pact constitutes enough
potential to realise the long-term strategic aims;) and from a regional, multilateral
perspective (how AUKUS fits into the already existing network of military and
intelligence alliances and how other countries of the region feel about its existence as
well as the opportunities and risks associated with it). By taking into account all of these
perspectives, I aim to give the reader a thorough understanding of the subject, and by
providing ample geopolitical context I can also present certain assumptions regarding
the future of AUKUS and the Indo-Pacific.

Keywords: AUKUS, Indo-Pacific, Australia, USA, UK, China, nuclear submarines,
geopolitics, regional security

In September 2021, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia
announced a new military alliance – dubbed the AUKUS – which explicitly aims
to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region with the use of innovative technology
and a network of complementing strategic pacts. Some countries of Southeast
Asia hope that AUKUS will be reinstating the region’s lost strategic balance and
will keep China’s aggressive policies at bay, while others fear it would only lead the world into a new cold war, with the Indo-Pacific in its centre. In any case,
AUKUS and the Anglosphere’s wider strategies do have their own risks, but at
this point they feel that this is the only viable option for effective containment of
China, or America would have to face the unavoidable fall of its naval hegemony.

Into a new cold war

AUKUS as the globe’s newest geopolitical player

The announcement of AUKUS has taken the whole world by surprise, even though
– geostrategically speaking – its creation has been long overdue. The fall of the
Soviet Union did not bring about the era of global peace and democratisation – as
Fukuyama famously predicted – but merely heralded a brief period of American
hegemony before a different challenger arose. China has been steadily growing
both its economic and military potential in the last couple of decades and now
poses as a direct threat to the Western led global order. As Beijing has been
displaying a more and more aggressive behaviour towards its neighbouring
countries, some sort of strategic containment became inevitable. Similarly to
NATO, which was created in 1949 to contain the advances of the Soviets primarily
in Europe, AUKUS was also established for a similar purpose towards China in the
Indo-Pacific region.

Despite not being as complex a security pact as NATO, AUKUS is still more than
just a submarine deal. Its purpose is to pool military resources, innovation and
technology capable of deterring China in its immediate and wider neighbourhood.
It does not need to be more than that at this point, as today’s rapidly changing
world does not accommodate the kind of bureaucratic and strictly rules-based
formations (such as NATO) that effectively. Instead, the new security infrastructure
of the Indo-Pacific needs to be based on a loose collection of different formations
with different goals, with AUKUS being only one piece of the puzzle, albeit quite an important one. It does not replace but strengthens the other regional international
formations, such as the Five Eyes, the Quad or the ASEAN....

Download the full analysis in PDF

Download
Share this with others: