Below is the text of my submission to the Australian Senate to register my grave concerns about the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines deal.
Re: The Defence Legislation Amendment (Naval Nuclear Propulsion) Bill 2023 [Provisions]
I am writing as a concerned, and I would like to think, well-informed, Australian citizen. I study current affairs in great detail and have also made a deep study of the relevant history – especially the history and of the US-dominated NATO alliance and foreign-policy alignment of Australia with the US since WW2.
I have to say that I am a little horrified at the lack of democratic process and appropriate reflective consideration that has so far gone into the AUKUS nuclear powered submarines deal. There is a lot of very important geopolitical information (and practical information related to military strategy and technology) that should be providing context for this decision, that is being excluded from the discussion – apparently in an irrational and fearful concern on the part of the Australian government, to be seen by the US as showing absolutely un-questioning allegiance, and an absolute willingness to follow their lead. It is clear that there is also a great deal of deliberate misinformation informing this decision-making.
The pervasive assumption that Australian national security is best served by this unquestioning alliance with the US is just deeply untrue and is extremely dangerous. This is not just my view as an informed citizen in my mid-60s – it is also the view of older and wiser and even better-informed Australians. The older Australian statesmen like Paul Keating and John Lander, whose grasp on these issues comes from many decades of hand-on engagement, and of devoted service to the national interest, are of the same view. These men have really studied the economic, historical, geopolitical and national security issues that the AUKUS subs deal is supposed to be a response to, and these men have been so concerned that they have come out of retirement specifically in order to challenge to bogus assumptions to have been established in the Australian public mind – and in Australian governments of both Liberal and Labour persuasions.
Even without the benefit of seeing the horrific outcomes of the irresponsibility and lack of foresight in US foreign policy that are currently playing out so badly in Ukraine, well-informed Australians know that the US has not shown itself to be a true friend of Australia in the post WW2 period – or of any other nation for that matter. Indeed, looking back over the last 30 years, it is clear that the US has engaged in a series of truly terrible, unnecessary, foolish, and extremely expensive military adventures that have not even served the security interests of their own populations, let alone those of their allies. And what we see of US foreign policy is always just the tip of the iceberg. US funding of covert operations to achieve dominance through destabilisation and regime-change operations and other subversive activities in service of US economic interests, has always been vast in the post WW2 period – a long-established part of modus operandi of US foreign policy.
World geopolitics is rapidly changing, and now is not the time for Australia to be locking itself into an extremely expensive long-term alliance with the US. US politics is becoming increasingly irrational. As the debt-fuelled economic dominance that has been achieved due to the US dollar’s status as the world reserve currency is unravelling, this irrationality can be expected to increase. Informed Australian citizens have been watching in horror as the Australian government pulled out of its submarines collaboration with the French – a truly defensive military choice using smaller subs designed for the protection of Australian waters. In place of that more modest and appropriate naval defence strategy, we are now presented with the fait accompli of the AUKUS deal, in which we are investing massively in a long-term offensive capability against our most important economic partner – China. Nothing could be more provocative and reckless – and more profoundly undermining to the trust and collaboration with China that is so fundamental to Australian prosperity. There are over 700 million people living in the costal cities of China. All of them will be directly threatened by the presence of these submarines. Australia is better than this – morally better, and hopefully more intelligent than this also.
This is not a situation where our economic interests must be sacrificed because of an overriding national security concern – that it not what it happening. The fact of the matter is that the China threat is just a propaganda construct promoted by the US government for whom China is an economic threat – but not a military one. It is not China that is engaged in reckless military activities and the establishment of 800 military bases around the globe – it is the US that is acting in a threatening and provocative way. The irrational and dangerous US decision to arm Taiwan against China, and the US aspiration to establish Taiwan as a US base off the coast of China shows the same absurd lack of any common-sense respect for spheres of influence and for the legitimate security needs of other nations that we saw at the end of 2022 – which caused the Ukraine civil war to became a full proxy-war between NATO and the Russian Federation.
China is not a military threat to anyone because it just wants to trade and to recycle its profits into infrastructure projects around the world (not into war, geopolitical control, and military conquest around the world – as in the US model). It has developed a banking system and a national governance model that is designed to support manufacturing, technological development, and infrastructure development – and to raise the living standard, education, and health, of the whole population. Observers around the world are noticing that this ‘mixed’ and pragmatic economic model creates wealth much more effectively than does the more ideological ‘financial’ capitalism of Wall Street and the City of London. So, China is certainly presenting a challenge to US-style banking and neoliberal economics – but the idea that it is a military threat is just a much-repeated lie put about by the powerful and well-funded lobbyists, propagandists and public relations organisations that support US economic and military hegemony and the US military-industrial complex.
Most significant among these lobby organisations in the Australian foreign policy arena is ASPI, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Although ASPI claims to be an “independent, non-partisan think tank”, in reality it is a dangerous and deeply dishonest organisation in the view of most of the Australian citizens who have looked closely into the organisation’s actions, motivations and sources of funding. An organisation like this, far from acting in the best interests of the Australian people, allows a tiny handful of people with very base and even delusional motivations to subvert and control the Australian foreign policy narrative within the Australian parliament, the Department of Defence, and within the wider Australian population.
The creation of the Uighur ‘genocide’ narrative is just one of a series of un-evidenced propaganda attacks that have been used to establish dehumanising ‘enemy images’ of the Chinese people and their government in the Australian public mind. The ‘detention centres’ identified in ASPI’s report turned out to be educational centres, and the segregated trains were also a fictionalised distortion of Chinese government support to its Uighur communities. Those who have looked objectively into the Chinese government’s response to the many hundreds (800+) of horrific Islamic jihadist bomb attacks, and the militant Islamist sentiment that has been introduced into Chinese Moslem culture from outside – from the Arab world with the covert support of malevolent US actors, as was achieved in Afghanistan (in the 80s) and Syria (since 2011) – are actually impressed by the care and restraint with which the Chinese government has approached the problem. The word ‘genocide’ in this context is just so far from the truth as to be completely ridiculous – and betrays the irresponsible and propagandistic intentions of ASPI as an organisation. It needs to be pointed out, to provide some context, that the indiscriminate slaughter that our US and UK allies have brought to the Moslem populations of Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria could indeed however, be characterised as a form of genocide.
There is a great deal more that could be said. The members of the Senate are charged with a very important decision that will affect Australia for many decades and possibly for ever. I hope an appropriate degree of care is taken in the decision-making process. The purchase of these nuclear submarines throws the Australian people into a dangerous future that is full of unknowns, but there are several very obvious negative indicators – the most important being the almost complete loss of sovereignty for the Australian nation through this deal and the extremely dangerous nature of any strategic alliance with the US and the UK.
In conclusion, I would recommend a delay regarding this decision, at the very least. If, in the process of the economic unravelling that both the US and the UK are entering, those nations end up in a reckless military conflict with a second nuclear armed nation (i.e. China as well as Russia) in the next few of years, our long-term commitment to alignment with the US will only increase our chances of our becoming a target of Chinese retaliation or defensive military action – but our economy will be the first to suffer. There is neither a short-term benefit, nor a long-term benefit for us in this deal, but there is enormous danger in giving unqualified support to the US at this time. This is a time in history where nation-states should be collaborating to rein in US imperial ambitions and working to facilitate the creation of a peaceful, just, and prosperous multipolar world – not giving up their sovereignty in unquestioning support of an empire that is in decline.
I have not dwelt, in this submission, on the technical and environmental problems that are inherent in this shift to nuclear propulsion technology, but I regard the dangers and vast ongoing expense associated with nuclear waste processing and its long-term management as reason enough to reject this proposal. To adopt this technology is, by definition, short-sighted – since the current government would, out of narrow short-term self-interest be committing hundreds if not thousands of future generations to the dangerous and expensive task of containing the radioactive poisons that would result from the operation of these submarines. If there was a benefit in operating these submarines, I would still say the environmental costs and future financial costs were too much to pay. I fear that future generations will view this choice of technology as reckless and absurd.
The geopolitical landscape of planet Earth is changing rapidly, and Australia needs to keep its options open and steer its own ship. Geographically, it is well located to benefit from the economic shift of the world’s economic centre of gravity to Southeast Asia. Rather than being a lapdog, minion, lacky and passive instrument of the cynically self-serving and value-free foreign-policy of the US, Australia should be standing up tall and punching above its weight as a moral agent on the world stage – and standing against the US. We have seen a procession of fools and monsters in the halls of power in Washington – reckless men and women who would turn over the geopolitical chessboard like petulant children rather than accept the economic and geopolitical rearrangement that is currently happening. The violent three-decade period of unipolar US hegemony since the fall of the Soviet Union is coming to an end, and the world needs clear-headed diplomatic thinkers if we are to survive the transition to a just multipolar world.
While I see it as a tragic loss of sovereignty for Australia, our membership of AUKUS, has a certain un-thinking logic to it. Australia was originally part of the British empire and is still linked to the UK through its constitution; and as that empire faded after WW2, we attached ourselves to the US empire instead, and contributed with the lives of our servicemen to its horrible wars. This moment in history is calling for deeper reflection, however. It is time for Australia to be stepping up and playing its part in the creation of the new multipolar world – not enabling the addictive and psychopathic impulses of its idiot older brothers in the UK and the US.