At a time when Western alliances are shifting and the sudden Afghanistan withdrawal has encouraged doubts in America’s allies, will AUKUS offer hope—or bring more trouble? Learn what the Bible says.
With mounting Chinese military presence in the Asia-Pacific and the South China Sea, Australia’s sense of national security has become increasingly threatened. Lacking the economy or manpower to effectively defend itself unaided while China seeks to dominate the region as a rising superpower, Australia has sought to create and expand alliances beyond the region. One key result of this endeavour was announced on September 16, when United States President Joe Biden announced that a new security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. would be formed. It has been dubbed AUKUS (“AUKUS: UK, US and Australia pact signals Asia-Pacific power shift,” BBC, September 16, 2021). This new alliance will significantly boost Australia’s national security as the U.S. and UK contribute key technological infrastructure and intelligence to a nation faced with a rising Chinese threat.
Australia will acquire cruise missiles and insight into quantum technology, and nuclear-powered submarines will be manufactured in Adelaide, South Australia. The Osborne Naval Shipyard will be the primary location for production. This is a significant step for Adelaide, a city that has not played a major role on the world scene historically. The U.S. and UK will provide consultation and quality control guidance to manufacturers in Adelaide as technological knowledge is transferred.
Why is this so important? One key reason is that “nuclear submarines are much more stealthy than conventional ones—they operate quietly, are able to move easily and are harder to detect. At least eight submarines will be supported, although it’s not clear when they will be deployed. The process will take longer due to a lack of nuclear infrastructure in Australia. They will only be powered with nuclear reactors rather than operate as nuclear armed.”
Backlash from allies and enemies quickly followed the AUKUS deal. France, with whom Australia cancelled a $90 billion submarine contract of 2016 to make possible the AUKUS accord, is seething at the news. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has labelled AUKUS a “stab in the back” and a betrayal of trust by Australia (“‘Stab in the back’: French fury as Australia scraps submarine deal,” The Guardian, September 16, 2021).
Some see the deal as a U.S. attempt to regain allies’ confidence after its controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan. UK leaders insist that it was not meant to challenge France, which remains a valued and close military ally. Yet France interpreted the deal as an attack and initially responded with diplomatic aggression, recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Australia back to Paris before quickly reinstating them (“Furious Over Sub Deal, France Recalls Ambassadors to U.S. and Australia,” The New York Times, September 17, 2021).
Australia has hit back at French accusations, saying it would always put its national interest first and expressing grave concerns that older diesel-powered submarine technology would not be sufficient to defend national borders (“Australia had ‘deep and grave’ concerns about French submarines’ capabilities, PM says,” CNN, September 19, 2021).
China has called the deal a military threat equal to the Cold War and has warned AUKUS that it would harm its own interests. Although the U.S. and UK have repeatedly stated that this alliance is not a threat to China, some are not so convinced.
The Chinese Communist Party sees this move as an indirect counterattack against its ambition to take a stronger military approach against Taiwan—a small island standing against mainland China, backed by strong American military support. Theresa May, former UK Prime Minister, expressed concern that this deal would drag Britain into an aggressive war defending Taiwan against China. Current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is prepared to defend Taiwan if international law is threatened, giving a direct warning to the Chinese government (“Aukus pact: UK and US battle to contain international backlash,” The Guardian, September 16, 2021).
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian hinted that the Chinese government may accuse Australia of violating its commitment under the Treaty of Rarotonga, which prohibits the production, possession, or acquisition of nuclear weapons (“China howls at perceived threat of new ‘AUKUS’ agreement,” Politico, September 16, 2021).
Responding to such threats, Australia’s Defence Minister told journalists, “This is not the first time that we’ve seen different outbursts from China in terms of Australia’s position. We are a proud democracy in our region. We stand with our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific to ensure enduring peace, and this collaboration makes it a safer region. That’s the reality and no amount of propaganda can dismiss the facts” (The Guardian).
AUKUS will make Australia only the seventh nation in the world to possess nuclear-powered submarines, matching a capability already held by China (BBC). The submarines can remain submerged for up to five months and are harder to detect than conventional diesel equivalents—also allowing the U.S. and UK to gain a greater presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
To put any perceived threat into perspective, the first nuclear subs would not be constructed in Adelaide until 2040 at the earliest. In the meantime, U.S. and British submarines may be launched from Darwin in northern Australia to monitor Southeast Asian activity (“The nuclear technology behind Australia’s Aukus submarine deal,” Financial Times, September 19, 2021).
Britain is looking to make new alliances after leaving the European Union, and experts insist that the UK and France will be key pillars of a European security order. The U.S. is seeking to maintain a foothold in the European national security system through this alliance. But will these three nations—the UK, the U.S., and Australia—be able to sustain a strong alliance as a group of globe-leading nations?
Tomorrow’s World recognizes the United States and British-descended peoples as having roots in the Israelite tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. A time is coming when these nations will be unable to retain their strength; they will lose God’s divine protection and be taken captive by a future European superpower that will bring many nations into submission. The prophet Ezekiel was inspired to write, “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself. They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry” (Ezekiel 23:28–29).
AUKUS may look like an alliance to last a lifetime, much like the 1949 formation of NATO (North American Treaty Organisation) and the 1951 establishment of ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty). However, because our modern-day Israelite nations have not repented of their sins, a time is coming that the Bible refers to as “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Heated pushback from France and China may create further geographical tension in the Asia-Pacific and Europe. Though modern Israelite nations have yet to face the most devastating period in their history, God will ultimately save them from complete annihilation.
We need to take careful consideration of Jesus Christ’s admonition to prepare ourselves for the soon-coming Kingdom of God, which will replace all world governments and alliances, no matter how small or great. Christ told His disciples, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).