Thursday 21st of October 2021

never trust an evangelical with an aussie accent...


Australia has defended its decision to scrap a multi-billion dollar submarine purchase from France in favour of a new security pact with the US and UK. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected accusations that Australia had lied, saying France should have been aware it was prepared to break the deal. 

France says the Aukus pact has led to a "serious crisis" between the allies.

In an unprecedented move, it has recalled its ambassadors from the US and Australia as a sign of protest. 

Under the Aukus pact, Australia will be given the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines as a way of countering China's influence in the contested South China Sea. 

The partnership has ended a deal worth $37bn (£27bn) signed by Australia in 2016 for France to build 12 conventional submarines. France says it was informed of the pact only hours before the public announcement was made earlier this week. 


Mr Morrison on Sunday said he understood France's disappointment, but that he had always been clear about Australia's position. 

The French government "would have had every reason to know that we had deep and grave concerns", he said.


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a nuclear nightmare....

The AUKUS security pact is another provocative alliance that can only end in blood and tears. And for no good reason other than a nostalgic addiction to imperial power. 


How ironic that we should choose to sign up to a new security partnership at this time, scarcely two weeks after America’s ignominious exit from Afghanistan and a costly 20-year war that has left little but destruction and anguish in its trail. The irony will not be lost on China — the villain in the piece that the pact is meant to counter and intimidate.

Understandably perhaps, much commentary has so far focussed on the first step proposed under the new pact, namely the joint plan to equip Australia with a nuclear powered submarine fleet.

The plan is fraught with difficulty and uncertainty. As yet, we know little about the time it will take to bring it completion, the cost involved, and the complex technological and security problems it will create.

Boris Johnson’s words explaining the agreement are less than reassuring: “This will be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, lasting decades and requiring the most advanced technology.” What he omitted to say is even more troubling.

To build nuclear powered submarines, Australia will need to be supplied not just with the technology for the nuclear reactors, but also with the nuclear fuel. All this may in time provide an avenue for the development of a domestic nuclear industry — a possibility that has always met with widespread public opposition.

Even short of acquiring nuclear power plants, Australia will have to deal with several challenges that continue to afflict the nuclear industry worldwide.

First, the fuel for the nuclear powered submarines — probably enriched uranium — will need to be accessed from another country. Transport of such fuels over long distances raises the prospect of diversion to a third party, widely considered a major nuclear proliferation risk.

Secondly, the nuclear reactors used by the submarines will generate a significant amount of nuclear waste, which will have to be returned to the supplying country or stored in Australia. Either way, the country will face the highly contentious problem of nuclear waste disposal.

Thirdly, there is always the possibility of a nuclear reactor being breached, or at least of a leakage of nuclear materials. All these are unanswered questions. If answers are ever offered, they are likely to prove less than reassuring.

Acquiring a submarine fleet has been an obsession of the Australian security establishment for some time, and a costly one at that. The $90 billion project for French designed submarines has been scrapped. But it has been an unhappy saga of delays and budget overruns, which have already cost the Australian taxpayer at least $2.4 billion, all to no avail. Compensation for terminating the project will also bear a heavy cost

And, if one was needed, an added irony. This latest decision to swap France for Britain is a decision to align ourselves even more firmly with Brexit Britain, and distance ourselves a little more from Europe.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Australia of betraying “the letter and spirit” of cooperation between the two countries. France’s reaction to the Biden administration’s role was ferocious, describing it as “brutal, unilateral and unpredictable”. Reflecting European Union sentiment, Le Drian said: “I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.” The Atlantic alliance will be in difficulty for some time to come.

The greatest loser in all of this is Australia. It has saddled itself with a vast military project of unknown cost and duration and dubious effectiveness. It will contribute to an ever-increasing defence budget that will divert scarce resources from urgent social and economic priorities.

Importantly, it will fan the flames of resentment in China not just amongst the Chinese Communist leadership, as Australian ministers and unthinking commentators would have us believe, but amongst a wide cross-section of Chinese society. China is simply mystified by the vitriol that has become the mantra of Australian officialdom and ill-informed media reporting.

What will this latest foray into the politics of confrontation achieve? Precious little. Will China feel intimidated by AUKUS? Not likely.

Will Xi Jinping or any future Chinese leader abandon the commitment to reunification with Taiwan? Will China refrain from using force should Taiwan declare its independence? Will it be any less assertive in strengthening its presence in the South China Sea? Will it retreat from developing its Belt and Road Initiative into a vast economic and geopolitical Eurasian sphere of influence? Not likely.

AUKUS will not achieve its purpose, and will in the process give rise to new risks. In all likelihood China will feel emboldened by an emerging Cold War to redouble the growth of its conventional and nuclear forces and widen the reach of its navy.

In the meantime, Australia’s diplomatic relations with China will remain frozen, people to people relationships will be severely restricted, and our large Chinese community will feel increasingly marginalised and the subject of suspicion.

Our trade with China, which presently accounts for some 39 per cent of our exports, will continue to experience the threat of disruption, which could easily materialise and gravely affect several of our industries, not least the tourist industry and our educational institutions.

This is not all. Our frantic attempts to develop closer military links with the United States and acquire greater military projection capabilities are bound to unsettle many of our Asian neighbours. They may be encouraged to follow Australia’s example, not so much to contain China as to contain Australia’s military and diplomatic assertiveness.

While they recognise that dealing with a rising China is a challenging task, they are not convinced of the wisdom of Australia’s approach. Indonesia, Malaysia and even South Korea and Vietnam have a strong preference for a much more nuanced set of policies. Attempts by Australian ministers to get their Asian counterparts to engage in China bashing have fallen on deaf ears.

Australia’s security policy is in a mess of its own making. Who or what is to blame? Many critics rightly point the finger at the Morrison government. But what do they mean by this? Do they mean the prime minister, other senior ministers, and their immediate advisers? .

They no doubt play a part. But there is so much more to it than this. When it comes to security issues, current government policies are supported — some would say strongly advocated — by powerful elements in the civil bureaucracy, the armed forces, the intelligence and security agencies, influential media players, thinktanks and an array of other pressure groups, not least the defence industry.

The reach of this assorted coalition of interests cannot be underestimated. It is partly an appreciation of this political reality which helps explain the timidity of the major opposition party. The Labor leadership is simply not prepared to take on the security establishment.

There is no surprise therefore that Labor should have given its fulsome support for the AUKUS partnership. The only significant qualification is that it wants to be at the table of the planning for the nuclear submarine program. In other words, it is intent in opposition and in future government to implement current plans with token changes at the edges.

Those interested in a change of direction need to look elsewhere. Little headway is likely in the absence of an alternative national narrative. To have traction such a narrative must be intellectually coherent and emotionally compelling.

We need a narrative that brings together the domestic and external strands of human security. Above all we need a narrative that resonates with the anxieties and uncertainties of a diverse society that has yet to reconcile its history and geography.

For this we must engage in a wide-ranging, sustained and respectful national conversation, which has already begun. But we have a long way to go.


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bojo polishes his own turd...

The announcement of the new defence partnership between the US, the UK, and Australia - AUKUS - on Wednesday, had been slammed by France as a “stab in the back”, as it led to the scrapping of a multi-billion-dollar order to build conventionally-powered submarines for Canberra, which was now set to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered subs instead.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to mend fences with France on Sunday amid the furious diplomatic backlash his country’s new security alliance with the US and Australia - AUKUS - had generated. 


"We are very, very proud of our relationship with France and it is of huge importance to this country. It is a very friendly relationship - and entente cordial - that goes back a century or more and it absolutely vital for us,” Johnson told reporters as he flew to New York. 


The Prime Minister, accompanied by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are set to attend the United Nations General Assembly, with Johnson expected to visit to the White House to confer with US President Joe Biden. 


Commenting on the defence pact between the three nations, which will enable Australia to acquire a nuclear-powered fleet, while leaving France bemoaning the loss of a 2016 contract worth around $65 billion (€50 billion) to build 12 diesel-electric subs for Canberra, Johnson said:“Our love of France is ineradicable and what I would say is this AUKUS is not in any way meant to be zero sum. It is not meant to be exclusionary, it is not something I don’t think anyone needs to worry about and particularly not our French friends.” The UK PM added:


“British troops and French troops are side by side. There are no two sets of armed forces that are more capable of integration together and working side by side.” 


The Prime Minister's remarks followed a decision by France to reportedly cancel a planned London meeting between Florence Parly, the country’s armed forces minister, with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. 

‘Stab in the Back’ 

The AUKUS deal, which will presuppose the sharing of military technologies, including artificial intelligence and cyber defence between the three countries, has left France outraged. The country claimed to have been blindsided by the newly-forged alliance, which it slammed as a “stab in the back”.


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Note to the French: if you believe Bojo, you have rocks in your head... He is a weasel tordu... La perfide Albion is still perfidic...


FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

general de gaulle knew...

Australia’s decision to tear up its French submarine contract caused a shock when it was announced last week, and the fallout has, if anything, intensified since. In both trade and defence terms, it is causing deep damage, and not just to Australian bilateral relations.

It has led to a serious rift in the NATO alliance, between the United States and the United Kingdom on one side and Europe on the other. As The New York Times put it, France “appears to view the American decision [to pursue a deal with Australia on submarines] as not only offensive in its secretive preparation but also indicative of a fundamental strategic shift that calls into question the very nature of the Atlantic alliance”.

French president Emmanuel Macron has recalled his ambassadors from Washington and Canberra (though not before the latter could launch some scathing broadsides at the Australian handling of the whole business). A UK­–France defence summit was also cancelled by the French. And negotiations on Australia’s trade deal with the EU are likely to be delayed too, with The Australian reporting that “France is seeking to scuttle the proposed EU–Australia free-trade agreement, asking fellow European nations to ‘reconsider’ the deal in retaliation for the government’s cancellation of the $90bn submarine contract”.

France’s European affairs secretary told POLITICO that it would be “unthinkable” to continue talks for a free-trade agreement with Australia after such a breach of trust. (Australia was hoping that these talks could be concluded by the end of the year.) The EU is Australia’s third-biggest trading partner.

The initial response of Australia’s largest trading partner, China, was also one of anger, and while the material effects are as yet unknown, they are unlikely to be positive.

Until recent days, Macron had made France’s defence ties with Australia “a cornerstone of a strategy to expand Europe’s role in meeting the challenge of China’s rise”, according to the NYT. And because an American company, Lockheed Martin, was a partner in the French submarine deal with Australia, the contract was viewed in Paris as an example of how France and the US (and Australia) could work together in Asia. “That belief has now been shredded, replaced by bitterness, suspicion and a measure of incredulity that the Biden Administration would treat France this way.”

In another embarrassment for Australia, American officials have been briefing the NYT that they regret leaving the communications with France about the submarine contract up to Australia.

We will be living with the consequences of this conflagration – not to mention the submarines’ increased costs and the delays – for a long time. “The old plan was to build a conventionally powered version of a nuclear-powered French submarine. It was crazy,” Hugh White wrote in The Saturday Paper. “The new plan – to buy a nuclear-powered submarine instead – is worse.”

In the meantime, good luck to the Australian climate negotiators heading to Glasgow next month. Their bargaining position has never been worse: even the US and UK are unlikely to support Australian climate intransigence, and the EU and most of the rest of the world will be looking for someone to kick, to set an example for other laggards and freeloaders.

In fallouts closer to home, Christian Porter resigned from the ministry yesterday.

Morrison was at pains to repeat that Porter had resigned in order to uphold ministerial standards, rather than being pushed, but in the end Porter had little choice. The stink around the anonymous donation had become too great.

But this is not the end of the saga. It certainly shouldn’t be. Setting aside that Porter is an MP accused of a rape (he denies it) that has never been investigated (it was revealed today that NSW Police shut down its investigation the same day it received the dossier of allegations against Porter), he is also an MP collecting a parliamentary pay cheque, upholding the government’s majority in parliament with his vote, and has yet to declare who gave him (approximately) one million dollars for his personal use.

Former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell resigned over receiving a bottle of wine, but Porter thinks his donor’s privacy is more important than the public’s right to know that its MPs aren’t at risk of being corrupted.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan told ABC radio this morning that Porter has said that “he will provide the information required under the member in this register of interest”. But he hadn’t yet.

MPs are obliged to declare pecuniary interests, but the disclosure provisions are so weak that it’s not at all clear whether Porter is obliged to declare who provided the money. The commonsense/principle case is open-and-shut: it’s not okay for politicians to accept massive “anonymous” donations while sitting in parliament, because it is an invitation to corruption. Porter might as well be arguing, “but it was wrapped in brown paper and dropped off by a mystery bagman! How could I know?”

And in fact Porter himself promised in May to reveal who his donors were, though this seems to have been forgotten by everyone. As usual, Porter’s declaration was couched in conditional sophistries (“If at any point in time anything arises that requires me to make disclosures that members of parliament regularly do …) but it’s indicative that even he understood that anonymous donations didn’t pass the public-interest test.

Labor thinks that the MPs’ register of interests requires a fuller declaration and has referred Porter’s case to the parliamentary privileges committee, which determines whether MPs’ disclosures are within the rules. It will meet in October. If Australia had a national integrity commission (which Porter helped Morrison announce back in 2018! Whatever happened to that?), it would already be investigating.

Porter’s ministerial responsibilities (industry, science and technology) were immediately handed to Angus Taylor, who would be a strange choice if perceptions of propriety were valued by Morrison. Taylor has himself still never revealed or even sought to investigate who were the ultimate beneficiaries of a certain $80 million water purchase a few years ago, despite it being linked to a Cayman Islands–based company he helped to set up.

Meanwhile acting prime minister (!) Barnaby Joyce, speaking on the Seven Network this morning about Porter and his future, said, “I’ll put money that we’ll see him back again.” And given Joyce’s own chequered history, and the record of the government more broadly, who would bet against that?


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Australian officials had written to their French counterparts to say they were "satisfied" with how a $90 billion submarine deal was progressing on the same day it was announced the deal was being cancelled, France's defence ministry has claimed.

Key points:
  • Australia has terminated a $90bn deal to buy 12 conventionally-powered submarines from France in a deal brokered in 2016
  • Instead it has teamed up in a new alliance with the UK and US, which will deliver nuclear-powered submarines
  • France's defence ministry says it feels "cheated" and "blindsided" by Australia's decision

Herve Grandjean, a spokesman for the defence ministry, also told the ABC the French feel cheated and blindsided by the announcement.

It is the latest in a barrage of criticism from France following Australia's decision last Thursday to pull out of the deal for 12, French-built submarines in order to forge a new defence relationship — AUKUS — with the United Kingdom and the United States, which will see Australia gain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

The fallout has also included France recalling its ambassadors to Australia and the US at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had tried to call Mr Macron on the evening before the announcement, but France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Canberra only informed Paris one hour before Mr Morrison joined a video link-up with British counterpart Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden to announce the new deal. 

Mr Grandjean told the ABC on the same day AUKUS was announced, the French had been reassured by Australian officials the submarine program was continuing as planned.

"We received an official letter from the Australian ministry of defence, saying that they were satisfied with the advancement of the project and with the submarine's performance, which meant that we could launch the next phase of development of these submarines," he said.

"We were very surprised by the announcement, which was not at all in line with the official letter we had received.

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Biden at the UN sounds like a ringing crackpot...