How a New US Nuclear Submarine Alliance Checkmates China

How a New US Nuclear Submarine Alliance Checkmates China

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The new submarine alliance between the United  States, the U.K., and Australia could be the   most aggressive and devastating move against  China that has ever been conceived. As the West   tries to maintain dominance around the world,  these three nations have decided to take things   to another level. We are going to tell you why an  ally and member of NATO was stabbed in the back,   how the United States exploited a loophole  in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,   and whether this new nuclear sub  agreement could spark World War III. On March 13, 2023, President  Biden of the United States,   Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, and  Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom   spoke at Point Loma Naval Base in San Diego. It  was here that one of China’s worst nightmares  

manifested. The three nations laid out plans to  deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia   in the coming years. This obviously worries  China because it would threaten its position   in the Indo-Pacific region of the world and  have dire consequences for any future plan.

However, China is not the only country that  is unhappy with what has become known as   the AUKUS alliance. AUKUS got its name from the  abbreviations for Australia, the United Kingdom,   and the United States. Surprisingly, a member  of NATO, and an ally of all three nations,   was taken advantage of when the deal occurred.  Could AUKUS tear apart long-lasting ties   between Western powers, leaving China in a unique  position to extend its influence? Let’s find out.

In March of 2021, Australian Navy chief Vice  Admiral Michael Noonan met in London with   Admiral Tony Radakin of Britain. The meeting was  kept relatively quiet as Noonan would be asking   the British military for a powerful and highly  controversial vessel. It was during this meeting   that talks began about arming the Australian  Navy with nuclear-powered submarines. It’s   important to note that Australia was not asking  for submarines armed with nuclear weapons but   for submarines powered by nuclear reactors to  replace the diesel vessels they currently use.

We will come back to why this distinction needs  to be made and why this is a huge deal to China,   however, for now, it’s important to know that  when Vice Admiral Noonan and Admiral Radakin met,   this is what they discussed. It was later  discovered that Australia and the United   Kingdom both met with U.S. military leaders the  month before to talk about the possibility of a   military pact that would improve Australia’s  naval capabilities. Then at the G7 summit in   June of 2021 in Cornwall, England, President  Biden, then Prime Ministers Boris Johnson of   Britain, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of  Australia met to discuss the alliance further. Eventually, the meetings turned into an actual  deal. It was agreed that both the United States   and the U.K. would aid Australia in modernizing  its submarine fleet. This would be a long process,  

but in the meantime, the U.S. agreed to  loan out some of their own nuclear-powered   submarines for training and military  exercises to help prepare Australian   sailors for their future vessels. The AUKUS  agreement would evolve a few more times,   culminating in the most recent update given by  the leaders of all three nations in March of 2023.

The initial AUKUS meetings were done in secret and  without the knowledge of the rest of the world,   even though Australia already had a  previous deal with another country   to build submarines. There  is much more to this story,   and the betrayal inflicted by these  three nations will become clear later on,   but first, let’s look at why Australia having  nuclear-powered submarines has China on edge. Reason 1: Western military power  in the Indo-Pacific will increase.

In his most recent speech with the leaders of the  U.K. and Australia by his side, President Biden   stated, “The United States has safeguarded  stability in the Indo-Pacific for decades,   to the enormous benefits of nations throughout  the region from ASEAN to Pacific Islanders to   the People’s Republic of China.” This is one  of China’s major concerns. They already dislike   the alliances the United States has built in  Asia, especially with South Korea and Japan,   and they most certainly don’t  want to see that influence grow.

Therefore, Australia becoming closer to the United  States and modernizing its navy, strengthening   Western military capabilities in the region  is a serious cause for concern. China has been   complaining for decades that Western expansion  in their part of the world has been unacceptable   and a threat to their national security. If  Australia acquires nuclear-powered submarines,   it could carry out more comprehensive intelligence  gathering and reconnaissance missions. Their  

subs would be stealthier and could enter  Chinese-controlled waters undetected. And   in a worst-case scenario for China, these new  subs could make their own naval ships obsolete. Currently, China has the largest  Navy in the world. However,  

having more ships than everyone else does not  necessarily mean their navy is stronger. This   is especially true if China’s vessels are  technologically inferior to their adversary.   It’s estimated that China has around  730 vessels in its navy. Nevertheless,   many of these ships are old and run on obsolete  technology. The nuclear-powered submarines that  

the U.S. and U.K. are planning to equip  Australia with will be able to outmaneuver,   outgun, and outperform almost every  naval vessel in the Chinese fleet. This is obviously one of the biggest concerns  for China. It’s not so much that the Australian   navy is growing; it’s the fact that Chinese  forces won’t be able to compete with the new   subs developed by AUKUS unless they pour vast  amounts of resources and time into modernizing   their own naval vessels. And although the  nuclear-powered subs that Australia will   receive won’t have nuclear weapons, they will  be equipped with torpedoes and cruise missiles,   which could devastate Chinese  forces in an armed conflict. Reason 2: Western powers will have more  control over waterways in the region.

During the same speech, President Biden also  said, “our leadership in the Pacific has been   the benefit to the entire world. We’ve kept the  sea lanes and skies open and navigable for all.   We’ve upheld basic rules of the road.” He is  referring to how the navies of the United States   and its allies ensure that ships from all parts  of the world can pass through the Indian and   Pacific Oceans without being threatened. This  statement is loaded, especially for China. Although AUKUS claims that the nuclear-powered  submarines will guarantee the shipping lanes   remain safe for all vessels, China has a  hard time believing that Western powers   have everyone’s best interest at heart. Instead,  China sees U.S. navy ships in the Indo-Pacific  

region as encroachment by the West, and they  aren’t wrong. The new nuclear-powered subs   would most certainly allow Australia to police the  waters in their part of the world more efficiently   and may even provide trade vessels with more  protection from pirates and bad actors. However,   it would also mean that Chinese merchant and  fishing vessels could be watched a little more   closely. Not to mention that Australia  would be able to monitor Chinese naval   movements more efficiently, which would then be  shared with their allies like the United States. China does pretty much whatever it wants  in the Pacific and Indian Oceans because   they are the most powerful country in  the region. China claims that it, too,  

makes sure shipping lanes are secured for all  vessels, but it obviously has its own ship's   best interests in mind. This includes hauling  illegal goods across the planet or fishing   where they aren’t supposed to. Nuclear-powered  submarines will allow Australia to have a more   dominant presence in the region's waters and could  threaten the way China currently does business.

There’s also the fact that whoever controls the  waterways can more easily enforce sanctions and   trade agreements. If in the future, Western  powers need to place economic sanctions on   China or restrict the movement of goods to  and from the country for whatever reason,   Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines will  make this process much easier. The AUKUS   agreement is poised to increase Western  control of the Indo-Pacific waterways,   which China will not allow to happen  as it has continuously stated. This has been made abundantly clear through the  expansion of Chinese bases in Myanmar and further   west in Djibouti. The main reason they are doing  this is to protect their own shipping lanes from   any type of U.S. blockade. And if Australia gets  nuclear-powered submarines, China may need to   build more bases to offset an increased Western  presence near their most important trade routes.

It cannot be understated how important  controlling the waterways in the region   is for both sides. The United Nations Conference  on Trade and Development estimates that around   80% of global trade is transported by sea.  And an even more astounding statistic is   that 60 percent of total maritime trade  passes through the Indo-Pacific region   and into the South China Sea. Literally,  trillions of dollars in trade pass between  

the Indian and Pacific Oceans as Chinese  goods travel west to South Asia, Africa,   and Europe. And at the same time, resources such  as natural gas and oil are carried East to fuel   China’s economy and military. Whoever controls  these waterways controls this part of the world. Reason 3: the nuclear-powered submarines  will threaten China’s very way of life. China constantly warns that the encroachment  of the West towards Chinese borders will   not be accepted. To be fair, Western  powers, particularly the United States,  

have formed partnerships in the Pacific and  Asia to keep China in check and increase its   influence in the region. The morality and ethics  of indoctrinating other parts of the world into   Western ideologies can be debated, and there  are definitely negative consequences to the   U.S. establishing military bases around the world,  but for China, this is a matter of life and death. The Chinese government is an authoritarian  regime that controls everything within the   country. Like other powerful nations around  the world, they want to spread their influence   and continue to grow the country’s wealth  and prosperity. However, this tends to be   done through brutal crackdowns against anyone  who speaks out against them and threatening   retaliation if other governments oppose them. The  Chinese government does not care who gets hurt as   long as they can continue to grow their economy,  spread their influence, and do it all their way.

The spread of Western ideology and democracy  threatens China's authoritarian framework with   which it rule its people and interacts with the  rest of the world. The same can be said about   Russia and any other authoritarian rulers.  Whether democracy, socialism, communism,   or another form of government is the best  for the people can be debated. What can’t  

be debated is that Western democracies  and authoritarian rulers will never mix. Australia procuring nuclear-powered submarines  and growing its ties to the United States is   just another step towards the West boxing  China in and preventing it from spreading   its influence worldwide. Beijing has claimed  that the AUKUS alliance has created a “Cold   War mentality and zero-sum games” where  China will have to strengthen its own   position and respond with aggressive  tactics to maintain the status quo. After the speech by the three leaders of AUKUS,  the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement:   “the three countries have completely ignored  the concerns of the international community   and gone further down a wrong and dangerous  road.” This is one of their go-to arguments   when it comes to Western influence spreading in  Asia and the Indo-Pacfic. China claims that it is  

a matter of international security and that  the West should not force its ideologies on   other nations. However, when it comes to Gray  Zone tactics and using its economic strength   to influence other countries into doing  what they want, China is usually pretty   adamant that what they’re doing is fine. So,  there is definitely a double standard there. Chinese President Xi Jinping even said that the  new AUKUS deal was leading to the “all-round   containment, encirclement and suppression  against China.” The question then becomes:  

are the nuclear-powered submarines going  to be used by Australia to contain China   and suppress its expansion even further?  We would be lying if we didn’t admit this   would be at least part of the responsibility  of the Australian nuclear-powered sub fleet.   It’s unlikely these vessels would be used to  attack Chinese ships or assets unprovoked,   but they will definitely play some  sort of part in keeping China in check. So, we know why China feels threatened by the  nuclear-powered subs that the United States,   the U.K., and Australia will be working  on. And if all goes according to plan,   the AUKUS alliance will strengthen  the position of Western powers in   the region. Would this be enough to  cause China to attack Australia and   plunge the planet into World War III? Only  time will tell, but it seems unlikely.

However, what is not unlikely is the  continuing displeasure of one European   country that was stabbed in the back by the  AUKUS deal. France may hate AUKUS just as   much as China. Could this mean that France  may become closer to China? Let’s find out. In order to understand why France is so upset  about the nuclear-powered sub-deal between   Australia, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., we  need to go back to 2009. The Royal Australian   Navy desperately needed to update its submarine  fleet, which consisted of six Collins-class   vessels. These subs were built in the 80s  and are diesel-powered. A Collins-class sub  

can reach speeds of 10 knots or about 12 miles  per hour on the surface or at periscope depth,   and 20 knots or 23 miles per hour when submerged.  They have a range of 13,200 miles on the surface   but only 550 miles while submerged and  can operate for about 70 days at a time. These older Australian subs have a test  depth of around 590 feet or 180 meters,   but their actual operating depth is probably much  deeper, although this information is classified.   Collins-class subs have six torpedo tubes  with a mix of 22 Mark 48 Mod 7 torpedos and   UGM 84-C Harpoon anti-ship missiles.  These subs were formidable 40 years ago,   but naval tech has come a long way  since then, and Australia knew it   needed to upgrade its fleet if it had any hope  of controlling the waterways around the nation. This was why the military decided it was  time to build new submarines. And although  

nuclear-powered subs are the way of the future,  Australia ruled them out for a few reasons. The   biggest of which was that Australia does not  use nuclear power or have any nuclear weapons,   and therefore, due to the international Nuclear  Nonproliferation Treaty, it technically should not   be able to obtain nuclear reactors. However,  as we know, this did not stop the AUKUS. For several years Australian military officials  and diplomats discussed possible deals with   foreign countries to build a new class of  submarine. They wanted something that could   not only protect their waters but ensure that  Australia could control shipping lanes and   conduct intel-gathering missions in the region.  In 2016 the Australian and French governments   came to an agreement, and Australian  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed   a €31 billion deal with Naval Group, a company  that is mostly owned by the French government.

Naval Group worked with the Australian military  to design a new type of sub which they named   Attack Class. This agreement became known as  the “Future Submarine Program.” The idea was   that the Attack Class submarines would be  designed using the French nuclear-powered   Barracuda class subs as a template  but would be fitted with traditional   propulsion systems instead of a nuclear  reactor to maintain compliance with the   Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Attack  Class subs were also supposed to incorporate   U.S. Navy combat systems and torpedos  designed by Lockheed Martin Australia. The Australian government also required that at  least part of every military vessel be built in   Australia to create jobs. This increased the cost  of constructing the Attack Class subs. However,  

even though the vessel would contain parts from  multiple countries and would be built partially   in Australia, France benefited greatly from the  contract. By 2019 the first round of designs was   pretty much finished, and Australia agreed  to a strategic partnership with Naval Group   to build 12 submarines. But, like with almost  every military contract, there were massive   delays and unforeseen costs. The money needed  to build the Attack Class subs kept growing  

and growing. Before Australia and France were  even ready to start assembling the vessels,   the cost of the project rose to €56 billion,  almost double what the initial contract was for. Negotiations continued for months, and in  February of 2021, the initial plans were deemed   too expensive and were scrapped. The Australian  government gave Naval Group 7 months to revise  

their plans and present new ones that would reduce  the cost of the project. Obviously, at this point,   tensions were high between all parties involved,  so much so that Australia put contingency plans   in place in case the project with France  failed. And when Australian prime minister   Scott Morrison met French president Emmanuel  Macron in Paris during the summer of 2021,   both voiced their concerns over the submarine  debacle. Although Macron did reassure Morrison   that France would do everything it could to  guarantee the success of the submarine contract. To reaffirm their commitment, France and  Australia released a joint statement saying   that their foreign and defense ministers knew  the importance of the Future Submarine Program   and would continue to push forward.  However, it appeared not everyone   was on the same page because less than three weeks  later, Australia would abruptly call off the deal.

On September 16, 2021, The Australian government  released a public statement canceling the deal   with France, and the Attack-class submarine  was dead in the water. They had already spent   around 1.5 billion euros on the project, and  it was likely that Australia would need to   pay hundreds of millions more in penalties for  prematurely canceling the contract. However,   the benefits appeared to outweigh the costs.  The French were disappointed and outraged by   the sudden and public collapse of their deal with  Australia. But what happened next would enrage and  

embarrass France driving them to publicly  denounce the new alliance that had formed. What Prime Minister Morrison claimed Australia  needed sent shockwaves across the world. He   stated that his country could no longer be  effective at maintaining open trade routes   and protecting the region without nuclear  submarines. The speed, carrying capacity,  

and stealthiness of these vessels were vital  to safeguarding the interests of Australia   and the rest of the free world. Soon after  the cancelation of the contract with France,   AUKUS was announced. It was at this point that  China started to voice its displeasure. Australia   building new diesel-powered subs with France  wasn’t a big deal. However, if they procured  

nuclear-powered submarines from the United  States, it would be a huge cause for concern. Let’s now fast forward to the G7 summit  that we mentioned earlier. Biden, Johnson,   and Morrison met behind closed doors  and in secret. They made it a point not   to inform France of the dealings that  were going on behind the scenes. This  

was possible due to the recent departure  of the United Kingdom from the European   Union post-Brexit. If Britain hadn’t left the  EU, these talks would not have been possible,   at least not with the UK involved, as it would  breach at least some of the trade and foreign   relation laws established to maintain the  cooperative nature of the European Union. When the United States was brought  into the conversation, Biden made it   clear that there was no guarantee the  U.S. would enter an agreement. Also,   the Biden administration needed assurance  that Australia ending the deal with France   was not a ploy to have the United States step  in and take over. Morisson reassured the U.S.  

President that this was not the case,  as the Australian government had been   considering alternatives to the Attack  Class submarine deal for over 18 months. AUKUS started under the guise of a joint  capabilities and interoperability agreement.   Although when the new alliance was explained  further, it was shown to include improving   cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence,  quantum technologies, and additional undersea   capabilities. The undersea capabilities are likely  the part that caught France's attention. However,   everything on the list was bad news for  China, which is why when AUKUS was announced,   it wasn’t just France that was voicing its  discontent; China was right there with them.

Let’s take a closer look at the other  components of AUKUS before coming back   to the nuclear-powered submarines that  resulted from the deal and why China,   along with many other nations,  including NATO members, are concerned. The AUKUS pact includes provisions for all three  countries to work together and develop hypersonic   missiles and defense against them. If we are to  believe reports coming out of China, they are   lightyears ahead of the United States and the rest  of NATO in hypersonic technology. And since it’s   believed hypersonic missiles will be one of the  most important weapons in the future of warfare,   this is bad news for the West. These missiles  travel five times faster than the speed of sound,  

are incredibly hard to intercept, and can cause  massive amounts of damage. It’s unlikely that   China has a large number of operational  hypersonic missiles, but the United States   and its allies need to expand research efforts  if they are going to keep from falling behind. China is not a fan of any agreements to increase  the military capabilities of Western powers,   so they are adamant that many parts  of the AUKUS deal are warmongering   actions against their well-being.  This also goes for the increased   information sharing that the AUKUS deal will  generate between the three nations. However,   it is the nuclear-powered submarines that  China is the most upset about. Anything that   will threaten their dominance of the Indo-Pacfic  waterways in the region is a cause for concern.

Again, it can’t be understated how important  these maritime routes are for global trade and   the movement of military assets for China. They  need to be able to counter any Western blockades   that could be implemented in the future, and  the only way to do that is through controlling   key waterways in the region. Any vessels,  especially nuclear-powered submarines that   may threaten China’s ability to move freely in the  Pacific and Indian Oceans will not be tolerated. Before we move into the discussion around exactly  what the nuclear-power subs will look like and the   specific military repercussions they could have  on China, let's jump back to France real quick   to see if the AUKUS deal is enough to drive them  into the arms of the West's most powerful enemy. During the AUKUS deal, it was reported that the  only other county mentioned in the discussion   was France. However, there was no apology  offered. France lost billions of euros when   the Future Submarine Program abruptly ended.  This obviously angered the French government,  

but there is no chance that France will ever  join China just because its pride was hurt.   Franco-Chinese relations extend about as far as  most European countries. France most definitely   buys goods and technology from China like the rest  of the world, but they are not about the become   allies because of AUKUS. France is still part  of NATO and the EU. Losing a submarine contract   definitely won’t change that. So, even though  it was betrayed by some of its closest allies,   France will maintain close ties with the  United States, Australia, and Britain.

So, what is it exactly about  the nuclear-powered submarines   that Australia will be getting  that has China upset? After all,   there will be no nuclear weapons aboard these  subs. Do they really pose that much of a threat? Under the new agreement, the United States  will be sharing its nuclear propulsion tech   with Australia. The United Kingdom has had a  similar agreement with the U.S. since 1958 when   the US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement was formed,  so their submarines already operate using this   technology. The new submarines being designed  to replace the Collins-class vessels will likely  

be similar to the Virginia-class submarines that  the United States is currently transitioning to.   This means we can expect the new Australian subs  to have a few key features and specifications. The reactor aboard the new submarines will likely  be an S9G nuclear reactor, generating 280,000   horsepower or around 210 megawatts of energy.  This reactor will be connected to steam turbines   and a single shaft pump-jet propulsor that will  allow the sub to travel at around 30 miles per   hour. This is faster than current Australian  subs, but the nuclear reactor has another huge   advantage over diesel-powered submarines. The  nuclear reactors aboard U.S. subs can produce  

enough energy to power the vessel non-stop for  decades. Basically, the nuclear reactor will   allow Australian submarines to travel underwater  for any amount of distance and time. The only   thing that limits its capabilities is the need to  stop to resupply the crew and routine maintenance. Knowing this, it’s not hard to see why this  new class of Australian submarines poses such   a threat to China. Refueling isn’t a concern  for these new subs when conducting missions or  

patrolling waterways, which puts any conventional  Chinese vessels at a disadvantage. These new subs   will also likely have a test depth of at least 800  feet but will be able to go much deeper if needed. We don’t know exactly what type of armaments  the new nuclear-powered submarines will have,   but it’s not out of the realm of possibility  that these vessels will contain a complement   similar to the Virginia-class subs, minus  the nuclear ballistic missiles. This means   the Australian subs could have VLS anti-ship  missiles or even Tomahawk long-range missiles   for strikes against land targets. There will  also probably be at least four torpedo tubes,   and the vessel will be able to carry many more  missiles and torpedos than the Collins-class subs.

When all is said and done, the nuclear-powered  submarines that AUKUS is developing will pose   a huge military threat to China. There  is no doubt that having these vessels   patrolling Indo-Pacific waters is something  that Beijing wants to avoid at all costs.   But there is still time before these  submarines will be built and launched,   which is good news for China. What isn’t such good  news is that during the transition period between   phasing out the Collins-class subs and the new  nuclear-powered vessels, the United States and   the UK will deploy their own nuclear-powered  submarines to the region to allow Australian   sailors to learn how to work the systems and  engineers to work with the nuclear reactors. The United States likely jumped at the  opportunity to deploy nuclear-powered subs   to the region. The AUKUS agreement gives them  a non-aggressive reason to deploy more vessels   in the Indo-Pacific since it’s all being  done for training Australia. In reality,  

having more U.S. and U.K. submarines in the  region will only strengthen the West’s position,   which is a huge problem for China. All three  nations deny that suppressing China through   an increased naval presence had anything to do  with the AUKUS deal, but it’s hard to deny that   more U.S. and U.K. subs in Indian and Pacific  waters wasn’t an enticing part of the plan. As it stands right now, only six countries have  nuclear submarines. They are China, France,   Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States,  and India. So, Australia would only be the seventh  

nation in the entire world to have nuclear-powered  underwater vessels. There are a few reasons why   so few countries have nuclear-powered ships,  but one of them is access to the necessary   materials. In order for a country to produce  nuclear reactors that can power submarines   and ships, it needs to have facilities  to generate nuclear fuel. Unfortunately,   any nation that has the ability to do this also  has the foundation for creating nuclear weapons.  

This is when the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty  comes into play. For the safety of the planet,   it’s better if we don’t increase the number of  nuclear weapons already in existence. Therefore,   limitations are put on who can generate  nuclear materials, how much can be made,   and what it can be used for. But not everyone  follows these rules, and much to the chagrin   of China and many other countries around the  world, AUKUS has found a way around the rules. Before we get into how the AUKUS countries  exploited a loophole to allow Australia   to acquire nuclear-powered submarines,  let’s see where the agreement stands. The   United States said that sharing its nuclear  propulsion technology is a “one-off” event.  

It’s been reported that South Korea, which  is closely allied with the United States,   also has ambitions to obtain nuclear-powered  submarines, but the U.S. refused this request   in 2020, citing the Nuclear Nonproliferation  Treaty. So, it’s a bit strange that the U.S.   is willing to breach that very treaty to  supply Australia with nuclear subs. China  

has called out the U.S. on their breach  of the treaty and has rightfully stated,   like many other nations, that the actions of  AUKUS could jeopardize the planet's safety. On August 31, 2022, the United Kingdom  agreed to send the HMS Anson S123,   an Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine  to Australia in order for their submariners   to begin training. On March 8, 2023, the United  States announced that Australia would buy three   Virginia-class nuclear submarines with the  option of purchasing two more in the future.  

The U.S. stated that the acquisition of these  subs would fulfill an important transitional   period as Collins-class subs are phased out.  However, there is still a long-term plan to   design a new Australian submarine that will be  built in conjunction with the U.S. and Britain.

Now China is faced with a huge dilemma. The U.S.  seems willing to break international norms to help   Australia become more dominant in the region.  The fact that both the U.S. and the U.K. will   be sending nuclear-powered subs to the region in  the near future is bad news for China, even if   they are only for training purposes. That, along  with the fact that Australia will procure three   Virginia-class subs in the coming decade, means  that China’s timeline for a response has become   greatly reduced. It’s highly likely that China  is looking for ways to offset the nuclear-powered   vessels that Australia is acquiring, and  this could be very bad news for everyone.

The argument becomes: if the  United States and Britain can   break the Nuclear Nonproliferation  Treaty, why can’t China? What is   stopping them from exploiting the same  loophole and arming Myanmar, Pakistan,   North Korea, or any other authoritarian  regime with nuclear-powered submarines? Let’s look a bit closer at the Nuclear  Nonproliferation Treaty and see how   exactly the U.S. and U.K. got around it and how  China could do the same thing in the future. The main purpose of the Nuclear Nonproliferation  Treaty is to control the amount of nuclear   fuel produced, whether for weapons or  nuclear reactors in general. However,   a provision allows non-nuclear-weapons states  such as Australia to produce highly enriched   uranium for use in naval ship reactors. This is  part of the agreement that the United States and   the United Kingdom used to justify delivering  nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. The problem is that this part of the treaty  is generally agreed to be for surface ships,   not submarines. The reason for this is that  the International Atomic Energy Agency,   also known as IAEA, which is the organization that  monitors nuclear fuel production and compliance,   can’t easily inspect and safeguard reactors  on submarines for obvious reasons. There is  

no such thing as a surprise inspection on a  submarine whose location is classified deep   under the waters of an ocean. No one believes that  Australia will siphon off nuclear fuel from their   submarine reactors to build nuclear weapons,  but the same can’t be said for every country. A perfect example of this happened in  2018. Iran informed the IAEA that it   was planning to build its own naval nuclear  propulsion system in the future. This gave  

them the pretext to remove some of their  nuclear materials from the safeguards put   in place by the IAEA. They could then use  this material to create their own naval   nuclear reactor for ships or use the fuel  for more nefarious purposes. Iran has yet   to remove any of their nuclear material from  safeguards, which is likely due to pressure   from both Russia and China, who don’t want  to elicit a response from Western nations.

What the AUKUS agreement does  is set a precedent for removing   nuclear materials from safeguards  in the future. If a nation wanted   access to nuclear-powered submarines  or just nuclear materials in general,   it could cite the AUKUS agreement to the  International Atomic Energy Agency for doing so. Technically, since submarines are naval  vessels, what the United States, United Kingdom,   and Australia are doing is not breaching the  Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. However,   it does set a dangerous precedent, which China  has been very vocal about. And they’re not the   only ones. Many leaders around the world are  nervous about what this agreement could mean   in the future and the damage it could do to  the nonproliferation of nuclear materials.

To be fair, the Nuclear Nonproliferation  Treaty doesn’t do much to prevent the   use of nuclear material to create weapons.  For one thing, a perpetrator would need to   be caught first. Also, there are no actual  consequences for noncompliance. Any nation   that is in violation of the treaty is  referred to the UN Security Council,   which then decides what to do. But since the  members of this council are China, France,   Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United  States, there is very little agreement about   what should be done if someone breaks the treaty.  This means it falls to the international community  

to condemn countries that take advantage of the  IAEA and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. However, when the parties in question are  the United States and the United Kingdom,   it is difficult for other nations to stand up to  their decisions. The U.S. is the only superpower   in the world and, with that title, has massive  influence over many countries. It’s unlikely   that anyone in NATO, except perhaps France,  will fully condemn the AUKUS deal. However,   if China were to do the same thing, there might  be some repercussions. These would probably come  

in the form of sanctions, but as things stand now,  it’s not clear how far the West would be willing   to go to punish China for doing something  that the U.S. and U.K. have already done. Like China is currently doing, the United  States and its allies would likely voice   their displeasure with nuclear materials  being shared. But it’s hard to argue against   something like delivering nuclear reactors to a  country without nuclear capabilities when you’ve   done the same exact thing. It’s this double  standard that has the whole world on edge. China is currently in a unique position to  have its complaints heard since they have the   second largest economy and military  after the United States. However,   the stronger U.S. allies get through  things like the AUKUS deal, the more   difficult it will be for China to spread its  power and influence in the future. China’s  

most powerful ally is Russia, and we now know  they are not nearly as strong as Putin claims. Therefore, China may be looking to  build alliances with other nations   that could offer strategic bases in the  Indo-Pacific region. This is why China has   been building alliances with many nations  in Asia and Africa. But arming countries   that could support China in the future is a  dangerous proposition. It can also take time,   which due to the AUKUS agreement  China may be running out of.

In the years to come, AUKUS may be a catalyst  for increased tension in Indo-Pacific waters as   China tries to strengthen its position. It’s not  clear what steps they will take, but new talks   between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin may indicate  that there will be a renewed push to combat the   encroachment of Western ideologies and influence  into the realms that China intends to control. The nuclear submarines that will be delivered  to Australia will likely only further increase   tensions between China and the West. However, how  far China is willing to go is not yet clear. They   are undoubtedly scared that these new subs  will allow the West to blockade their ports   and control shipping lanes more easily. Could  World War III be started over a nuclear-powered   submarine agreement? Unfortunately for us all,  it’s not out of the realm of possibility. The  

exploitation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation  Treaty by the U.S. and U.K. is a dangerous thing. China’s main concerns are for its well-being, just  like every nation around the world. Of course,   they are more powerful than most, and they have  an enormous amount of influence in certain parts   of the world because of their economic might.  However, this could all be put in jeopardy if   Australia uses its nuclear-powered submarines to  police the Indian and Pacific seas. If this is a   move to monitor and regulate China’s trade routes,  it could lead to a very real conflict in the   future. Both the West and China claim that their  only goal for increasing their military strength  

in the region is to protect trading vessels  and promote free movement in its waters. Yet,   it’s quite evident that much more is at stake as  nuclear-powered subs are deployed in the region. Now watch “US World War 3 Plan.” Or  check out “Russia and China vs. NATO.”

2023-04-28 18:46

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