'"Major International Development" 7am tomorrow. - Nuclear Subs and AUKUS

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Contra Mundum

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Got to give it to Rex Patrick he's been proven correct time and time again on our shithouse military procurement. What he has been saying is basically no no one in the Government or the military here know how to run a project - the safest bet is to buy stuff off the shelf that has been proven. F35 and the 25 year wait for Virginia class subs don't meet this test.

To top it all off we have pissed off France, have moved closer to alienating our major trading partner forever, moved away from Asia, and also embraced the white Anglo sphere - Scomo's incompetence has gone global. We are governed by morons. Our "forever partner" is moving into failed State territory and England post Brexit are an international irrelevancy

One good thing about it is France will push for an EU Carbon Tarriff because they owe us nothing
 

Sweet Jesus

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To top it all off we have pissed off France, have moved closer to alienating our major trading partner forever, moved away from Asia, and also embraced the white Anglo sphere - Scomo's incompetence has gone global.
I'm not sure we've moved away from Asia. The concerns about China that underpin this new security deal are shared by plenty of nations in the region. And China is not some benign actor that we've suddenly alienated for no good reason.
 

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Sweet Jesus

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It isn't really necessary, one would have to be very soft in the head to assume it meant nuclear-armed.
Sure, but I think some of the reactions to the announcement have been so hyperbolic that it's almost as though that's what some people have assumed.

I've seen suggestions that it somehow reconfigures the security/strategic balance of the whole region, or that it will trigger a massive arms race. Seems like an exaggeration.
 

Malifice

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To top it all off we have pissed off France, have moved closer to alienating our major trading partner forever,
China havent exactly given us much room there have they?

We tried appeasing them, and taking a middle ground during Trumps presidency which was highly antagonistic towards China. Other than backing an investigation into COVID's origins (which they should have nothing to fear) we remained as quiet as we could be.

This was followed by repeated cyber warfare attacks, economic sanctions, propaganda, hurling sh*t at us publicly via the State newspaper, diplomatic bitching, all while building up a massive blue water fleet, claiming a hegemony over the South China sea, ignoring one China/ two systems in Hong Kong, and setting up a 'leader for life' anti-democratic internal ultranationalist government.

We once had high hopes for them, but it's been down hill since Tienmen square.

The awful reality is it's only a matter of time before they annex Taiwan, and they're not going to back down in the SC sea either.

If we sit back and do nothing, what next? They've shown zero willingness to negotiate on Taiwan independence, or the claims in the South China sea, or to stop cracking down on Hong Kong democracy movements, despite the weight of International law being against them, and rulings by the CIJ.

It's not us that is refusing to step up to the plate here, and negotiate in good faith. It's China.

moved away from Asia, and also embraced the white Anglo sphere
Many of our SEA and East Asian partners have either welcomed the move, or remained silent on it (which is pretty much the same thing, seeing as it would a lot easier to kowtow to China here). Only Indonesia really expressed concerns about it, and it was muted at best.

Japan and Taiwan in particular, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc are all not happy about Chinas territorial claims in the South China sea, and increasing influence in the region.

They know Australia isnt about interfering with SEA nations, or using its military or fleet in an aggressive manner. This is all about getting ready to counter China's influence in the region, and a near inevitable military showdown between China and the US (and us and the Poms).

I've been predicting such a war for a while now, and we're one massive step closer as of this announcement.
 

Sweet Jesus

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China havent exactly given us much room there have they?

We tried appeasing them, and taking a middle ground during Trumps presidency which was highly antagonistic towards China. Other than backing an investigation into COVID's origins (which they should have nothing to fear) we remained as quiet as we could be.

This was followed by repeated cyber warfare attacks, economic sanctions, propaganda, hurling sh*t at us publicly via the State newspaper, diplomatic bitching, all while building up a massive blue water fleet, claiming a hegemony over the South China sea, ignoring one China/ two systems in Hong Kong, and setting up a 'leader for life' anti-democratic internal ultranationalist government.

We once had high hopes for them, but it's been down hill since Tienmen square.

The awful reality is it's only a matter of time before they annex Taiwan, and they're not going to back down in the SC sea either.

If we sit back and do nothing, what next? They've shown zero willingness to negotiate on Taiwan independence, or the claims in the South China sea, or to stop cracking down on Hong Kong democracy movements, despite the weight of International law being against them, and rulings by the CIJ.

It's not us that is refusing to step up to the plate here, and negotiate in good faith. It's China.
In short, China have been acting like dicks.

Remember when Turnbull was considering doing an extradition deal with the CCP?

Or when we let Xi Jinping address Australian parliament? What was that about?

Many of our SEA and East Asian partners have either welcomed the move, or remained silent on it (which is pretty much the same thing, seeing as it would a lot easier to kowtow to China here). Only Indonesia really expressed concerns about it, and it was muted at best.

Japan and Taiwan in particular, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc are all not happy about Chinas territorial claims in the South China sea, and increasing influence in the region.

They know Australia isnt about interfering with SEA nations, or using its military or fleet in an aggressive manner. This is all about getting ready to counter China's influence in the region, and a near inevitable military showdown between China and the US (and us and the Poms).

I've been predicting such a war for a while now, and we're one massive step closer as of this announcement.
India is also fine with it, although they would have liked a go at US tech as well.
 

Malifice

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Trying to accommodate them, and be friendly.

We don't want their douchebaggery and antagonism.

They seem to think we'll fold under pressure. It's a serious miscalculation by them, and it's led to us going literally nuclear, and shifting our strategic focus.

A softly softly approach by them would have resulted in us having a Navy focused on territorial disputes, and an Army focused on counter insurgency.

The absolute strategic focus now will be preparing for a war with China, alongside the USA and UK.

The message has no doubt now been communicated to China loud and clear. Cut your sh*t out, or its war with the UK, USA and us (plus also likely Japan and others).
 

Sweet Jesus

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Trying to accommodate them, and be friendly.

We don't want their douchebaggery and antagonism.

They seem to think we'll fold under pressure. It's a serious miscalculation by them, and it's led to us going literally nuclear, and shifting our strategic focus.

A softly softly approach by them would have resulted in us having a Navy focused on territorial disputes, and an Army focused on counter insurgency.

The absolute strategic focus now will be preparing for a war with China, alongside the USA and UK.

The message has no doubt now been communicated to China loud and clear. Cut your sh*t out, or its war with the UK, USA and us (plus also likely Japan and others).
Yeah, I wonder if it's as dramatic as that. Surely we've always been in bed with the US and UK on matters of security. Does upgrading these submarines really alter the calculus as significantly as everyone has been saying?

I feel like some of the implications have been overstated.
 

Malifice

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If I had to spin the wheel here, this is how the conflict will likely play out.

1) China use cyberwarfare to destabilize Taiwan (in much the same way Russia targeted the USA). In addition to cyberwarfare, they'll also use economic and political pressure to seek to install either a very PRO China regime in Taiwan, or a very ANTI China regime in Taiwan, or simply have the island tear itself apart.

2) Pro China Taiwan government 'reaches out to China for military assistance in re-unification'. Alternatively Anti China government declares independence openly, (or the country tears itself apart in social discord) prompting Chinese military intervention 'to stabilize the country and protect Chinese interests'.

3) China rapidly deploy troops and occupy Taiwan within days, quickly overwhelming the island.

4) The USA delivers an ultimatum to China to leave, while preparing to repel the Chinese from Taiwan (and seize as may South China sea islands as possible).

5) China spin this ultimatum as aggressive foreign military action, and pre-emptively take down several US satellites, and launch a string of cyberwarfare attacks on the USA.

6) The USA stop short of declaring War on China, but military action to reclaim Taiwan and 'bases in support of Chinese aggression in the South China sea' (but no action on the mainland) is approved by Congress.

7) China respond by pre-emptive strikes on US Pacific bases at Guam and possibly Okinawa, declaring them defensive in nature counter US aggression.

8) Japan (under the auspices of its constitution barring military action unless in self defence) uses the attack on the US base in Okinawa as justification to enter the war, and mobilizes against China, joining the alliance between the UK, USA and Australia.

9) Protracted naval and air battles ensue in the Pacific and South China sea between the two forces. Despite massive casualties on both sides, including the loss of several aircraft carriers, the US/ UK/ AU and Japanese forces rapidly gain the upper hand, seizing several Chinese bases in the South China sea, and sinking much of the Chinese navy.

10) The EU denounce the conflict, and seek to mediate the parties and bring them to a diplomatic end. Russia stays out of the conflict, providing observers to the Chinese only, and materiel support (Oil mainly) to the Chinese.

11) The Chinese mainland starts to get routinely bombed by US bombers, nullifying missile sites and airfields in preparation for a massive marine landing at Taiwan. Chinese forces on Taiwan are cut off from resupply and reinforcement from the mainland.

12) China, now desperate, openly declare that 'as Taiwan is part of China' it does not consider itself bound to its resolution to only use Nuclear weapons against a 'foreign' aggressor. Additionally, as both the UK and USA are Nuclear weapon states, China states its resolution not to use nuclear weapons against non nuclear States is not applicable 'with respect to the primary aggressors'. The implication is clear; China are prepared to use nuclear weapons to counter any numerical advantage that America has in its liberation of Taiwan.

13) The American response is as always; 'Any attack on US soil or personnel by WMD's will be met in kind.'

14) The Bulletin of Atomic scientists meet. The Doomsday clock, currently at 100 seconds to midnight, is moved to 5 seconds to midnight, amid warnings of global nuclear annihilation.

15) American, UK and Japanese marines storm Taiwan to heavy casualties. Civilian casualties are high.

16) With American forces committed in the Pacific, and emboldened by lack of action in its annexation off Crimea, Putins Russia turns to Georgia, who have been formally offered a Membership action plan (MAP) to join NATO after years of promises. Georgia swiftly and unilaterally join the alliance to counter Russian aggression in South Ossetia. In response, the Russians invade (ostensibly peacekeeping to counter growing anti Russian sentiment in Ossetia), annexing the small country and securing a direct border with southern Turkey (and ME oil reserves).

At this stage we're basically in WW3, and fingers are over buttons with a nuclear attack likely.

Scary thing is, the above isnt actually an 'out there' scenario at all.
 

Sweet Jesus

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If I had to spin the wheel here, this is how the conflict will likely play out.

1) China use cyberwarfare to destabilize Taiwan (in much the same way Russia targeted the USA). In addition to cyberwarfare, they'll also use economic and political pressure to seek to install either a very PRO China regime in Taiwan, or a very ANTI China regime in Taiwan, or simply have the island tear itself apart.

2) Pro China Taiwan government 'reaches out to China for military assistance in re-unification'. Alternatively Anti China government declares independence openly, (or the country tears itself apart in social discord) prompting Chinese military intervention 'to stabilize the country and protect Chinese interests'.

3) China rapidly deploy troops and occupy Taiwan within days, quickly overwhelming the island.

4) The USA delivers an ultimatum to China to leave, while preparing to repel the Chinese from Taiwan (and seize as may South China sea islands as possible).

5) China spin this ultimatum as aggressive foreign military action, and pre-emptively take down several US satellites, and launch a string of cyberwarfare attacks on the USA.

6) The USA stop short of declaring War on China, but military action to reclaim Taiwan and 'bases in support of Chinese aggression in the South China sea' (but no action on the mainland) is approved by Congress.

7) China respond by pre-emptive strikes on US Pacific bases at Guam and possibly Okinawa, declaring them defensive in nature counter US aggression.

8) Japan (under the auspices of its constitution barring military action unless in self defence) uses the attack on the US base in Okinawa as justification to enter the war, and mobilizes against China, joining the alliance between the UK, USA and Australia.

9) Protracted naval and air battles ensue in the Pacific and South China sea between the two forces. Despite massive casualties on both sides, including the loss of several aircraft carriers, the US/ UK/ AU and Japanese forces rapidly gain the upper hand, seizing several Chinese bases in the South China sea, and sinking much of the Chinese navy.

10) The EU denounce the conflict, and seek to mediate the parties and bring them to a diplomatic end. Russia stays out of the conflict, providing observers to the Chinese only, and materiel support (Oil mainly) to the Chinese.

11) The Chinese mainland starts to get routinely bombed by US bombers, nullifying missile sites and airfields in preparation for a massive marine landing at Taiwan. Chinese forces on Taiwan are cut off from resupply and reinforcement from the mainland.

12) China, now desperate, openly declare that 'as Taiwan is part of China' it does not consider itself bound to its resolution to only use Nuclear weapons against a 'foreign' aggressor. Additionally, as both the UK and USA are Nuclear weapon states, China states its resolution not to use nuclear weapons against non nuclear States is not applicable 'with respect to the primary aggressors'. The implication is clear; China are prepared to use nuclear weapons to counter any numerical advantage that America has in its liberation of Taiwan.

13) The American response is as always; 'Any attack on US soil or personnel by WMD's will be met in kind.'

14) The Bulletin of Atomic scientists meet. The Doomsday clock, currently at 100 seconds to midnight, is moved to 5 seconds to midnight, amid warnings of global nuclear annihilation.

15) American, UK and Japanese marines storm Taiwan to heavy casualties. Civilian casualties are high.

16) With American forces committed in the Pacific, and emboldened by lack of action in its annexation off Crimea, Putins Russia turns to Georgia, who have been formally offered a Membership action plan (MAP) to join NATO after years of promises. Georgia swiftly and unilaterally join the alliance to counter Russian aggression in South Ossetia. In response, the Russians invade (ostensibly peacekeeping to counter growing anti Russian sentiment in Ossetia), annexing the small country and securing a direct border with southern Turkey (and ME oil reserves).

At this stage we're basically in WW3, and fingers are over buttons with a nuclear attack likely.

Scary thing is, the above isnt actually an 'out there' scenario at all.
It assumes the US would indeed take this action to protect Taiwan. I often wonder if this is indeed a given. Do you think Trump would have cared if it had happened on his watch?
 

Malifice

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Yeah, I wonder if it's as dramatic as that. Surely we've always been in bed with the US and UK on matters of security.
Blame Trump*. He did everything in his power to antagonize China, leaving us in a position of either backing him up (and alienating our major trading partner) or keeping quiet and alienating our major defence partner.

We were literally stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

China's strategy was to make an example out of us (diplomatically, economically, and via cyberwarfare) as we were the easy target. It seems to have failed massively.

*To be fair to Trump, prior administrations had tried hard to foster a more liberal Chinese government to counter Chinese nationalism. It failed spectacularly.

Does upgrading these submarines really alter the calculus as significantly as everyone has been saying?
Yes. Nuclear subs are literally the most formidable warships (after aircraft carriers) you can have.

We're getting 8 of the up-gunned Virginia class nuclear subs, each capable of carrying a payload of up to 65 tomahawk cruise missiles (any of which can be nuclear warheads, but we dont use them) plus 4 torpedo tubes, which is on par with our Hobart class destroyers, in a much more difficult to detect and harder to sink package.

Virginia-class submarine - Wikipedia

They can get in close and hammer the sh*t out of something, without fearing being sunk in return.

If you're curious, the Virginia class subs can stay underwater for 3 months at a time. Basically as long as they have food and water for the men on board (and dont need any repairs) they can stay underwater.
 

Malifice

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It assumes the US would indeed take this action to protect Taiwan. I often wonder if this is indeed a given. Do you think Trump would have cared if it had happened on his watch?
They have to.

If they don't take action, the long term consequences would be dire. It would mean surrendering their place as the preeminent power in the world, and embolden Russia and others.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Blame Trump*. He did everything in his power to antagonize China, leaving us in a position of either backing him up (and alienating our major trading partner) or keeping quiet and alienating our major defence partner.

We were literally stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

China's strategy was to make an example out of us (diplomatically, economically, and via cyberwarfare) as we were the easy target. It seems to have failed massively.

*To be fair to Trump, prior administrations had tried hard to foster a more liberal Chinese government to counter Chinese nationalism. It failed spectacularly.
Again, I'm not sure. I think the trajectory of the CCP under Xi Jinping was actually more decisive than anything Trump did. Let's say Trump never occurred. China's longer-term objectives would eventually have made things tricky anyway. China's bullshit claims in the South China Sea didn't come about because of Trump. Under Xi Jinping, the CCP has grand plans for China to reassert itself in what it regards, not irrationally, as its historic sphere of influence. Under the current leadership, that kind of expanionist China approach was bound to upset the apple cart eventually, with or without Trump as an accelerant.

That said, I think one aspect of the Trump presidency that was certainly unhelpful was his isolationism, exemplified by his decision to scrap the TPP, which led many countries in what we now call the "Indo-Pacific" to reassess US commitment to the region. That's a perfect environment for China to undermine multilateralism and just go around the region negotiating deals that suit its longer-term objectives: "We're always going to be here - are you sure you can count on the US?" What is the Philippines meant to say to that, particularly if China also commits to billions of dollars in investments?

Yes. Nuclear subs are literally the most formidable warships (after aircraft carriers) you can have.

We're getting 8 of the up-gunned Virginia class nuclear subs, each capable of carrying a payload of up to 65 tomahawk cruise missiles (any of which can be nuclear warheads, but we dont use them) plus 4 torpedo tubes, which is on par with our Hobart class destroyers, in a much more difficult to detect and harder to sink package.

Virginia-class submarine - Wikipedia

They can get in close and hammer the sh*t out of something, without fearing being sunk in return.

If you're curious, the Virginia class subs can stay underwater for 3 months at a time. Basically as long as they have food and water for the men on board (and dont need any repairs) they can stay underwater.
That's great but how much of a threat will it actually pose to the PLA Navy in the scheme of things?

Was does it mean in practical terms? Does it mean China is going to think twice about annexing the South China Sea?

It's a significant upgrade for Australia but that doesn't demonstrate that it dramatically reshapes the balance of power or the security calculations across the region more broadly. And I assume it's going to take forever to deliver them.

They have to.

If they don't take action, the long term consequences would be dire. It would mean surrendering their place as the preeminent power in the world, and embolden Russia and others.
I understand the logic but I'm not convinced it would be a slam dunk. Can you imagine Trump being beholden to this kind of long-term thinking?
 

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Malifice

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Again, I'm not sure. I think the trajectory of the CCP under Xi Jinping was actually more decisive than anything Trump did. Let's say Trump never occurred. China's longer-term objectives would eventually have made things tricky anyway. China's bullshit claims in the South China Sea didn't come about because of Trump.
Which is literally what I said above.

While what came before wasn't working (predominantly moves to liberalize the country in the hope of a democratic change from within), Trumps trade war with them and constant barbs have made the situation worse.

Importantly for us, it placed us smack in the middle of a fight with the big boys (and our major trading partner on one hand, and major military ally on the other).

That said, I think one aspect of the Trump presidency that was certainly unhelpful was his isolationism
It certainly didnt help us, that's for sure.

It also simultaneously antagonized and emboldened China. We found ourselves on the receiving end.

That said, look at what the f***ers have been getting up to here. Infiltrating both major political parties. Cyberwarfare. Trade sanctions. Diplomatic spats. Slagging us off in the State run propaganda rag. The picture of a Digger slitting an Afghan childs throat. And so on.

That's great but how much of a threat will it actually pose to the PLA Navy in the scheme of things?
They wont on their own.

But we wont be on our own. We'll have the USA and UK's fleet along side it.

Which is 13 combined Aircraft carrier battlegroups, and 80 odd additional Nuclear subs (plus our 8), plus over a hundred destroyers, cruisers and frigates (to go with our 11), and over a dozen amphibious assault ships/ mini carriers to go with our 2.

Was does it mean in practical terms? Does it mean China is going to think twice about annexing the South China Sea?
It means they now know unequivocally a few things.

1) We've chosen a side.

2) Our strategic position has pivoted directly towards them.

3) Their policy of bullying us, cyberwarfare, economic sanctions, propaganda and political infiltration has backfired.

We're clearly the smaller of the three allies in the AUKUS alliance, but we have the 11th largest military expenditure in the world (the UK is at 5, and USA is obviously at 1), they rely on us for resources, and we're clearly prepared to not only let the USA base troops and ships here in the event of a conflict with China, but also plug our forces (Virginia class subs, F35 fighters, Abrams tanks etc) directly into US battlegroups, and militarily ally with the US in the event of any conflict.

Prior to this announcement only a full blown war would have triggered ANZUS military commitment and has us commit to a war between the USA and China. Now we're much more likely to actively get involved in any conflict with China.

It's a significant upgrade for Australia but that doesn't demonstrate that it dramatically reshapes the balance of power or the security calculations across the region more broadly.
Oh it does the latter for sure.

Literally the only reason we're getting nuclear subs is to use them against China (in the event of a conflict). They're much bigger than diesel subs, cant be used in shallower littoral waters (which was one of the major advantages of the diesel ones), have a global range, and more firepower. Unlike the Collins, you can basically park one/ patrol underwater anywhere in the world and patrol there for months at a time.

Our diesel submarine fleet prior had (as its main tasks) sinking invading (Indonesian) re-supply and troop ships close to Australian territory, providing escort for surface vessels and inserting special forces via the sea. They were a defensive deterrent to a land invasion of Australia basically.

This new submarine fleet is not defensive. It's an offensive fleet.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Which is literally what I said above.

While what came before wasn't working (predominantly moves to liberalize the country in the hope of a democratic change from within), Trumps trade war with them and constant barbs have made the situation worse.

Importantly for us, it placed us smack in the middle of a fight with the big boys (and our major trading partner on one hand, and major military ally on the other).
Yeah, I still don't blame Trump for what I consider underlying forces that pre-date him. I blame the CCP for getting out over their skis and shaking down their neighbours.

They wont on their own.

But we wont be on our own. We'll have the USA and UK's fleet along side it.

Which is 13 combined Aircraft carrier battlegroups, and 80 odd additional Nuclear subs (plus our 8), plus over a hundred destroyers, cruisers and frigates (to go with our 11), and over a dozen amphibious assault ships/ mini carriers to go with our 2.
In any confrontation with China, how much heavy lifting will Australia really be doing?

It means they now know unequivocally a few things.

1) We've chosen a side.

2) Our strategic position has pivoted directly towards them.

3) Their policy of bullying us, cyberwarfare, economic sanctions, propaganda and political infiltration has backfired.

We're clearly the smaller of the three allies in the AUKUS alliance, but we have the 11th largest military expenditure in the world (the UK is at 5, and USA is obviously at 1), they rely on us for resources, and we're clearly prepared to not only let the USA base troops and ships here in the event of a conflict with China, but also plug our forces (Virginia class subs, F35 fighters, Abrams tanks etc) directly into US battlegroups, and militarily ally with the US in the event of any conflict.

Prior to this announcement only a full blown war would have triggered ANZUS military commitment and has us commit to a war between the USA and China. Now we're much more likely to actively get involved in any conflict with China.
Yeah, I accept those points but I'm still not totally convinced that this is a game-changer in the way some folks have suggested. It has reiterated and strengthened our security ties to the US and sends a message to China about the shape of the alliances that will be rallied to oppose it. That's fine, but not particularly surprising. Is the CCP likely to change course as a result? I expect they'll carry on, business as usual, throwing their weight around exactly as they've been doing, and being even more antagonistic towards us because we've explicitly signalled that we're with the US.

Oh it does the latter for sure.

Literally the only reason we're getting nuclear subs is to use them against China (in the event of a conflict). They're much bigger than diesel subs, cant be used in shallower littoral waters (which was one of the major advantages of the diesel ones), have a global range, and more firepower. Unlike the Collins, you can basically park one/ patrol underwater anywhere in the world and patrol there for months at a time.

Our diesel submarine fleet prior had (as its main tasks) sinking invading (Indonesian) re-supply and troop ships close to Australian territory, providing escort for surface vessels and inserting special forces via the sea. They were a defensive deterrent to a land invasion of Australia basically.

This new submarine fleet is not defensive. It's an offensive fleet.
Again, that's fine. But it doesn't really address my question.

How does it reshape the balance of power or the security calculations across the region more broadly?

You are explaining the enhanced technical capabiltiies of these subs and that's well and good, but what are the geostrategic implications of that upgrade?
 
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Malifice

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Yeah, I still don't blame Trump for what I consider underlying forces that predate him.
If Clinton won the election, we wouldn't have found ourselves in the position we were in re China, and this announcement would not have been made.

I'm not saying Trump is purely to blame though, but he poured petrol on a fire here. In a way it worked in the US's interests in that it forced us to pick a side, buy billions in US subs, base a ton of US forces here in Australia, and strengthened the US/ UK/ AU alliance.

It also worsened our relationship with China though, there is no doubting that.

In any confrontation with China, how much heavy lifting will Australia really be doing?
The heavy lifting will be done by the Yanks obviously. They have 60 nuclear subs, we'll have 8 (and the Brits 10). They'll also have 11 carrier battle groups and the Poms will have 2 (and us none).

To be honest, dont be surprised to see us move to establishing a dedicated maritime fighting force (Marines light) or even form our own Marine corps equivalent, based around the Canberra class amphibious assault vessels/ LHD's.

Those vessels are (at present) giant floating targets, with only the 3 Hobart class Air warfare destroyers, 9 Hunter class frigates (replacing the ANZAC class) and the 6 Collins class submarines at present to protect them (plus air assets).

I can see us building basically two battlegroups that are the equivalent to a USMC/ Royal Marine 'Marine expeditionary unit' (or MEU), that we can just plug straight into a US naval group.

We've been moving towards doing this for a while. 2RAR (2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment) have been basically turned into our Marines light for the past few years.

Is the CCP likely to change course as a result? I expect they'll carry on, business as usual, throwing their weight around exactly as they've been doing, and being even more antagonistic towards us because we've explicitly signalled that we're with the US.
I'm also awaiting the response.

My money is on a massive cyberwarfare attack in the coming weeks, plus some kind of further trade sanctions.

The fact remains though, that if China had have changed course, we likely would have stayed with the French subs, and not gone down this path.

That should at least make them pause.

If you give in to bullies, then they keep bullying you.

You are explaining the enhanced technical capabiltiies of these subs and that's well and good, but what are the geostrategic implications of that upgrade?
Firstly, we've just signaled that our Navy is not simply for the defence of Australia (which up until now it has been). Nuclear subs (like aircraft carriers) are NOT defensive weapons; they're offensive weapons, specifically designed to operate a long way away from home, on offensive operations, indefinitely.

As indicated above, this goes hand in hand with our construction of Amphibious assault transports (the Canberra class ships) and (almost certainly) a dedicated 'Marine' force to go with them.

That's a massive pivot from our former position of simply defending Australia from attack, and contributing to peace-keeping globally.

We're now shifting to plugging Special forces task groups, 8 x Nuclear subs, 100 odd F35's and 2 x Amphibious Assault groups (with 'Marines lite') into US offensive Naval battle groups.

That's a big deal.
 

Sweet Jesus

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If Clinton won the election, we wouldn't have found ourselves in the position we were in re China, and this announcement would not have been made.
Well, I'm not inclined to argue the counterfactual but I think China's objectives would have been just as expansive and just as implacable.

I'm not saying Trump is purely to blame though, but he poured petrol on a fire here. In a way it worked in the US's interests in that it forced us to pick a side, buy billions in US subs, base a ton of US forces here in Australia, and strengthened the US/ UK/ AU alliance.

It also worsened our relationship with China though, there is no doubting that.
Trump's provocations towards China were mostly trade-related. His foreign policy was so erratic that I think it's hard to discern precisely how his presidency shaped the security landscape in Asia.

You say he "poured petrol on the fire" but what did he actually do in terms of military posturing towards China? What aggressive moves did he make in the region? Pompeo was hawkish towards China but, for all his sabre-rattling, I'm not sure what he really achieved. If anything, Trump's isolationism made China think there was an opportunity to accelerate its objectives while multilateralism was at a low ebb under an inward-looking US president. I think that's still fundamentally a reflection of the CCP's aggression and its overarching strategic ambitions, rather than anything Trump ultimately didn't do.

I'm also awaiting the response.

My money is on a massive cyberwarfare attack in the coming weeks, plus some kind of further trade sanctions.

The fact remains though, that if China had have changed course, we likely would have stayed with the French subs, and not gone down this path.

That should at least make them pause.

If you give in to bullies, then they keep bullying you.
Yeah, hence my reluctance to label it a game-changer.

Firstly, we've just signaled that our Navy is not simply for the defence of Australia (which up until now it has been). Nuclear subs (like aircraft carriers) are NOT defensive weapons; they're offensive weapons, specifically designed to operate a long way away from home, on offensive operations, indefinitely.

As indicated above, this goes hand in hand with our construction of Amphibious assault transports (the Canberra class ships) and (almost certainly) a dedicated 'Marine' force to go with them.

That's a massive pivot from our former position of simply defending Australia from attack, and contributing to peace-keeping globally.

We're now shifting to plugging Special forces task groups, 8 x Nuclear subs, 100 odd F35's and 2 x Amphibious Assault groups (with 'Marines lite') into US offensive Naval battle groups.

That's a big deal.
My question was about the geostrategic implications. Posting a laundry list of hardware doesn't address that. If you haven't got your head around the geostrategic implications, that's fine. I'm processing them as well. But that's what I'm talking about when I consider whether it's a game-changer or not. Does it actually force anyone to reconsider their approach in ways that weren't already apparent?
 
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Contra Mundum

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China havent exactly given us much room there have they?

We tried appeasing them, and taking a middle ground during Trumps presidency which was highly antagonistic towards China. Other than backing an investigation into COVID's origins (which they should have nothing to fear) we remained as quiet as we could be.

This was followed by repeated cyber warfare attacks, economic sanctions, propaganda, hurling sh*t at us publicly via the State newspaper, diplomatic bitching, all while building up a massive blue water fleet, claiming a hegemony over the South China sea, ignoring one China/ two systems in Hong Kong, and setting up a 'leader for life' anti-democratic internal ultranationalist government.

We once had high hopes for them, but it's been down hill since Tienmen square.

The awful reality is it's only a matter of time before they annex Taiwan, and they're not going to back down in the SC sea either.

If we sit back and do nothing, what next? They've shown zero willingness to negotiate on Taiwan independence, or the claims in the South China sea, or to stop cracking down on Hong Kong democracy movements, despite the weight of International law being against them, and rulings by the CIJ.

It's not us that is refusing to step up to the plate here, and negotiate in good faith. It's China.



Many of our SEA and East Asian partners have either welcomed the move, or remained silent on it (which is pretty much the same thing, seeing as it would a lot easier to kowtow to China here). Only Indonesia really expressed concerns about it, and it was muted at best.

Japan and Taiwan in particular, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc are all not happy about Chinas territorial claims in the South China sea, and increasing influence in the region.

They know Australia isnt about interfering with SEA nations, or using its military or fleet in an aggressive manner. This is all about getting ready to counter China's influence in the region, and a near inevitable military showdown between China and the US (and us and the Poms).

I've been predicting such a war for a while now, and we're one massive step closer as of this announcement.
We can't win a war with China, ANZUS is a big enough liability let alone AUKUS, its feels like the domino effect of the network of alliances that Gavrillo Princip set off by shooting Franz Ferdinand.

Buying the subs from the Japs made more sense, regional alliances against China are (a) less likely to piss them off and (b)more strategic than running to a fading imperial power and our former colonial overlords. South Korea manage to tread the tight rope more nimbly than the *******s we have in power here. As Yakimoto said "in diplomacy no word is lost" - its not in our economic self interest to perpetually deep throat America and UK - they will not run to our aid. Do you reckon the Yanks will disavow taking advantage of our trade dispute with China - US farmers are special
 

Sweet Jesus

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We can't win a war with China, ANZUS is a big enough liability let alone AUKUS, its feels like the domino effect of the network of alliances that Gavrillo Princip set off by shooting Franz Ferdinand.

Buying the subs from the Japs made more sense, regional alliances against China are (a) less likely to piss them off and (b)more stragegic than running to a fading imperial power and our former colonial overlords. South Korea manage to tread the tight rope more nimbly than the *******s we have in power here. As Yakimoto said "in diplomacy no word is lost" - its not in our economic self interest to perpetually deep throat America and UK - they will not run to our aid
China is not a benign actor. Why should we walk a tightrope between Western democracy and the CCP's authoritarianism? We've seen the price China demands for its good graces. No thanks.

There's a reason China's only friends are the likes of Pakistan, North Korea, Myanmar and Cambodia.
 

BaggyGreens

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Japan and Taiwan in particular, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc are all not happy about Chinas territorial claims in the South China sea, and increasing influence in the region.
Precisely my take too on the premise behind Sco Mo giving the disastrous French sub deal the royal flick. Are any of us aware that not one rivet has been placed in one sub hull despite the deal being struck half a decade ago. In addition, Australian involvement in the construction had been whittled away by the Froggies, meaning less jobs for our ship builders. The biggest speed bump to the deal tho has been the original cost almost doubling and the delivery date for the first sub now not until 2030 at the earliest with the remainder not until 2050/60. Our govt saw this as unconscionable so when the new alliance sub deal was announced Sco Mo had the chance he needed to pull the plug on the French deal.
 
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madmug

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If I had to spin the wheel here, this is how the conflict will likely play out.

1) China use cyberwarfare to destabilize Taiwan (in much the same way Russia targeted the USA). In addition to cyberwarfare, they'll also use economic and political pressure to seek to install either a very PRO China regime in Taiwan, or a very ANTI China regime in Taiwan, or simply have the island tear itself apart.

2) Pro China Taiwan government 'reaches out to China for military assistance in re-unification'. Alternatively Anti China government declares independence openly, (or the country tears itself apart in social discord) prompting Chinese military intervention 'to stabilize the country and protect Chinese interests'.

3) China rapidly deploy troops and occupy Taiwan within days, quickly overwhelming the island.

4) The USA delivers an ultimatum to China to leave, while preparing to repel the Chinese from Taiwan (and seize as may South China sea islands as possible).

5) China spin this ultimatum as aggressive foreign military action, and pre-emptively take down several US satellites, and launch a string of cyberwarfare attacks on the USA.

6) The USA stop short of declaring War on China, but military action to reclaim Taiwan and 'bases in support of Chinese aggression in the South China sea' (but no action on the mainland) is approved by Congress.

7) China respond by pre-emptive strikes on US Pacific bases at Guam and possibly Okinawa, declaring them defensive in nature counter US aggression.

8) Japan (under the auspices of its constitution barring military action unless in self defence) uses the attack on the US base in Okinawa as justification to enter the war, and mobilizes against China, joining the alliance between the UK, USA and Australia.

9) Protracted naval and air battles ensue in the Pacific and South China sea between the two forces. Despite massive casualties on both sides, including the loss of several aircraft carriers, the US/ UK/ AU and Japanese forces rapidly gain the upper hand, seizing several Chinese bases in the South China sea, and sinking much of the Chinese navy.

10) The EU denounce the conflict, and seek to mediate the parties and bring them to a diplomatic end. Russia stays out of the conflict, providing observers to the Chinese only, and materiel support (Oil mainly) to the Chinese.

11) The Chinese mainland starts to get routinely bombed by US bombers, nullifying missile sites and airfields in preparation for a massive marine landing at Taiwan. Chinese forces on Taiwan are cut off from resupply and reinforcement from the mainland.

12) China, now desperate, openly declare that 'as Taiwan is part of China' it does not consider itself bound to its resolution to only use Nuclear weapons against a 'foreign' aggressor. Additionally, as both the UK and USA are Nuclear weapon states, China states its resolution not to use nuclear weapons against non nuclear States is not applicable 'with respect to the primary aggressors'. The implication is clear; China are prepared to use nuclear weapons to counter any numerical advantage that America has in its liberation of Taiwan.

13) The American response is as always; 'Any attack on US soil or personnel by WMD's will be met in kind.'

14) The Bulletin of Atomic scientists meet. The Doomsday clock, currently at 100 seconds to midnight, is moved to 5 seconds to midnight, amid warnings of global nuclear annihilation.

15) American, UK and Japanese marines storm Taiwan to heavy casualties. Civilian casualties are high.

16) With American forces committed in the Pacific, and emboldened by lack of action in its annexation off Crimea, Putins Russia turns to Georgia, who have been formally offered a Membership action plan (MAP) to join NATO after years of promises. Georgia swiftly and unilaterally join the alliance to counter Russian aggression in South Ossetia. In response, the Russians invade (ostensibly peacekeeping to counter growing anti Russian sentiment in Ossetia), annexing the small country and securing a direct border with southern Turkey (and ME oil reserves).

At this stage we're basically in WW3, and fingers are over buttons with a nuclear attack likely.

Scary thing is, the above isnt actually an 'out there' scenario at all.
Great movie potential too!

China has just so many internal problems, of the CCP's own making. Ignoring them is impossible if the CCP is to maintain control.

The issue of India also looms large in Beijing. If they try the Taiwan thing, India may make border moves of their own.

We live in interesting times. I hope thats all they are.
 

Sweet Jesus

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Malifice maybe this development is best understood in geostrategic terms as the first concrete step in the potential construction of an Asian Nato?

To that extent, its significance might only be determined by whatever dominos fall next?

What if AUKUS and the Quad become seriously integrated? All the Quad leaders will be in Washington this week. The announcement of AUKUS was clearly timed with that Quad summit in mind, underlining the message to China i.e. "you are more isolated than you realise".

You know what would be handy? Some kind of vast trade deal to bind the region together while excluding China. If only there was some way to incentivise multilateralism as an alternative to China's "carrots but mostly sticks" approach. Like, some kind of transpacific partnership or something. I wonder why no one has thought of that.
 

BaggyGreens

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My five cents worth are that since Sco Mo asked for the Covid inquiry that Australia has started to mature.. grow up if you like. There has been a clear recognition and respect for us from other nations as we transition more from a backwater to a player on the world scene. Is that a fair accessment.
aircraft carriers
Any chance we will build one or two of these plus more ships now we have joined the big boys. Having a marine division sounds a good thing.
 

Sweet Jesus

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My five cents worth are that since Sco Mo asked for the Covid inquiry that Australia has started to mature.. grow up if you like. There has been a clear recognition and respect for us from other nations as we transition more from a backwater to a player on the world scene. Is that a fair accessment.
That might be overstating it.
 

Sweet Jesus

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This piece in The Guardian touches on some of my observations.

The immediate implications of AUKUS are not yet clear but it may be a sign of what comes next, particularly if it galvanises an alliance to further isolate China.

I think the writer also makes some astute points about the way trade relations partially overlap with these security considerations.

That said, the headline is a perfect example of the kind of splashy, hyperbolic declarations that have typified the coverage. And it's totally unsupported by the piece itself.

 
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