‘AUKUS’: What is it, and why has it angered the French?

Political Analysis from Emily Minney

Just as Interp’s first issue was gearing up to launch, an important political announcement was being made that would send nuclear shockwaves across the western world.

Australia was teaming up with the United Kingdom and the Unites States of America to develop nuclear powered submarines. Hence the name, AUKUS.

Standing in front of two screens, showing the virtual presence of Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and The President of the United States, Joe Biden, Australia’s Prime Minister announced the deal, with no determined cost, to benefit the Indo-Pacific region.

While no other countries were mentioned in this briefing, there were heavy implications that the move was in response to China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific.

But the deal angered the French, who said the trilateral agreement was a betrayal, and they even pulled their ambassadors from Australia and the U.S. Why?

Because in 2016, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed a 50 billion (the cost grew to 90 billion over time) deal with French firm Naval Group.

The original contract with France to build diesel-powered subs has now been torn up Credit: Naval Technology

France say that they were kept in the dark about the termination of their deal, and on the day the announcement was made, an official letter had been sent to France, detailing Australia’s satisfaction with the progress of the deal.

The Prime Minister was in the U.S. last month on diplomatic talks, France was not attending, but he had received a frosty welcome from other European Union nations, and French President Emmanuel Macron has yet to return Scott Morrison’s calls.

There are now fears that trade deals with other European Union nations are in danger, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen questioning Australia’s reliability.

Australia is not the international powerhouse the government thinks it is, evidenced by President Joe Biden forgetting the Prime Minister’s name in the middle of the announcement.

“And I’d like to thank…that fella down under”

In trying to intimidate China, the Morrison Government may have made an even bigger mess, in a time where we cannot afford to lose our European partnerships.

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