The Australian government’s recent decision to build eight nuclear attack submarines (SSN) with support from the United States and the United Kingdom and shelve the ongoing program for 12 indigenously built Attack-class conventional diesel-electric submarines in collaboration with Naval Group of France has not really come as a surprise from a geopolitical perspective. However, to cancel an ongoing contract on which considerable investment has already been made has raised more than a few eyebrows among those familiar with the submarine world.
This article addresses the blowback from France regarding the announcement of the trilateral AUKUS agreement.
Australia’s relationship with the United States, and the current diplomatic tensions with China, will have larger geopolitical impacts than just within these nations. China’s growing economic and geopolitical influence, which in some cases has bordered on coercion, has caused grave concern in the Asia Pacific region and globally. Any conflict arising out of territorial disputes—specifically on Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan—will only further exacerbate diplomatic tensions around the world. China has expanded its boundaries in the South China Sea, and its claim on islands in the East China Sea have caused anxiety in Southeast Asian nations. If the United States or China prove incapable of avoiding direct military conflict, it will be unavoidable for Australia to become deeply involved and at great cost.
Volume 04 Issue 5 - Fall 2021
Under Xi Jinping’s leadership, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), directed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is pursuing a grand strategy to achieve national rejuvenation. Its strategy incorporates various malign influence methods to control, persuade, intimidate, and manipulate foreign entities and citizens to support this vision. In its insidious infiltration, the CCP is leveraging economic coercion and interference in domestic affairs in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to implement its national grand strategy of rejuvenation that, if left unchallenged, could have detrimental consequences. The United States should prepare now and implement a united, interagency cooperative posture that also extends across applicable institutions and national governmental echelons to prevent an imbalance in favor of the PRC. Diplomacy is encouraged, but it requires transparency resulting in an overt, legitimate display of intentions and behavior that also includes reciprocity between participating nations. Open, free democracies should not be at a disadvantage because they implement soft power in alignment with their enduring principles, values, and international standards. While this article will not attempt to cover all aspects of the grand strategy pursued by the CCP, it will attempt to explain that its seemingly innocuous and insidious use of malign influence and interference needs to be recognized and countered by the United States and its allies.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to aggressively seek a return to international prominence and has increasingly amplified its presence as a global power. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made it abundantly clear that it has plans to reshape the world order more to Beijing’s liking. Within the Indo-Pacific, the PRC has strategically crafted its international policies through its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), designed to gain advantage and leverage Beijing’s growing economic and military might. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, President Xi Jinping’s vision includes “creating a vast network of railways, energy pipelines, highways, and streamlined border crossings, both westward—through the mountainous former Soviet republics—and southward, to Pakistan, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia.” Through this framework, four observable tactics have emerged: the use of debt diplomacy, border disputes with neighboring nations, the general disregard for agreements and international norms, and, more recently, Beijing’s undermining actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Arguably, an objective observer could consider the PRC’s international policies to be subversive and, at a bare minimum, have the potential to impact the entire Indo-Pacific region.
Volume 04 Issue 3 - Summer 2021
Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update has highlighted new and accelerated drivers that indicate a changing and less benign strategic environment. In this light, using effective processes to prepare for new challenges is a critical task for defense planners. Feasible Scenario Spaces is an embryonic tool that may be instrumental in military scenario planning. To be effective, however, it needs to be further evolved to embrace the potential for unconventional threats, including the emerging primacy of information warfare in future conflict.
The Quad can be seen as a new kind of twenty-first-century security alliance. What adds to the complexity of the grouping is the increasing polarization caused by the US–China rift, with both nations calling for others to “join” its side. The growing contingencies are pushing the Quad to take a greater role in fighting against nontraditional and traditional security risks. Here, the key queries remain: Has the Quad adopted a “fire-fighting” mode? If so, does that make China anxious? What is the role of India in the Indo-Pacific?
While debate surrounding the official formation of the Quad will undoubtedly continue and all instruments of power across the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic (DIME) spectrum will be in play, this article will articulate steps that will be required for the Quad to effectively execute deterrence through the lens of military, hard-power solutions. The questions this research seeks to answer are: What will it take, in terms of strategy, investments, and will, for the Quad to credibly deter the rise of an Indo-Pacific hegemon, and how can the Quad collectively provide a military deterrence solution by 2030? Different from previous research, this article will look to provide tangible solutions and demonstrate how the Quad nations can provide that path to deterrence.
As Beijing continues to assert itself through malign operations, activities, and investments in the economic, political, and military realms to undermine the international rules-based order—ironically the very rules-based order that has enabled China’s rise and which has rescued tens of millions from tyranny and lifted billions out of poverty—the United States must retain a robust, interoperable, and forward-present force that assures America’s vast array of allies and partners and deters China from undermining the free and open Indo-Pacific.
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. See our Publication Ethics Statement.