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Why America is ecstatic about Morrison’s AUKUS pact

Why Washington was so ecstatic about Morrison’s AUKUS pact,  SMH, 28 Sept 21,

Political and international editor  ”………….. For many years, a critical element of American war planning has been to defeat China’s navy by bottling it up in the shallow waters of the South China Sea.

It would do this by blocking choke-points that allow passage in and out. And submarines are the most effective tool for achieving this.

If much of China’s navy is contained in those coastal waters, it’s relatively easy for the US to find and destroy. China’s submarines are at their most vulnerable in the shallow littorals nearest their homeland. It’s easier to shoot fish in a barrel than in a pond.

“US forces and their allies will stand a far greater chance of finding Chinese submarines, hemmed into the South China Sea, than China will of finding America’s in the vast Pacific,” as Rory Medcalf of the ANU’s National Security College puts it.

This helps explain why Beijing has put such effort into asserting control of the South China Sea and, just to its north, the East China Sea.    In the event of a crisis, China’s priority is to scramble its submarines well beyond the first island chain into the deep waters of the Pacific where they can operate freely, concealed and lethal.

……………In the event of all-out war, the US wants Tokyo’s 22 subs and Canberra’s six to complement the US fleet of 68. Japan’s have been pencilled in to operate in the north and Australia’s in the south.

This is where AUKUS come in. It includes in-principle agreement from Washington and London to supply Australia with nuclear propulsion technology for a new fleet of eight submarines instead of the planned 12 diesel-electric subs, now ditched.

Why was this greeted rapturously in Washington? “The long-term prospect of eight nuclear-powered RAN subs prowling the Pacific resets the naval balance of power,” says Mike Green of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

…….. Australian officials say it will take almost 20 years to actually get the first Australian-built, nuclear propelled sub into the water. ……. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s subs expert, Marcus Hellyer says that the only plausible way that Australia could put a nuclear-powered sub in the water in time to be relevant to the looming US-China contest would be if America handed over some of its ageing Los Angeles class subs. The Pentagon is currently pensioning them off. They’d need to be refurbished. But that’d still be a lot faster, taking years rather than the decades of waiting for the first Australian-made one…..

And AUKUS is about much more than subs. “It’s about areas like cyber and emerging technologies…….

September 28, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, China, politics international, USA, weapons and war

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