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U.S., U.K. working to arm Australia with nuclear subs

The United States and United Kingdom are working together to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, CNN reported on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (read story here).

Australia has a small navy, with fewer than 20 large combat ships, which includes 6 diesel-powered submarines (details here).

“Nuclear submarines are able to maneuver at greater speeds and endurance, and more stealthily, than conventional ones, which must surface more often,” CNN said. A U.S. official said, “This allows Australia to play at a much higher level and to augment American capabilities …. This is about maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.”

China wasn’t mentioned in the official statements, but the move obviously is aimed at that country, which is engaged in a rapid military buildup aimed at seizing Taiwan and control of the South China Sea.

     Australia is a major supplier of iron ore to China, and the two countries have extensive trade, but their relations have been deteriorating (see details here). Meanwhile, the Biden administration is rebuilding relationships with our allies, and looking for partners as Biden positions the U.S. to confront an increasingly aggressive Beijing regime.
     China responded to the new security agreement with Australia by decrying the west’s “cold war mentality” (see story here). What do they expect?
     Update (9/16/21): France is upset about losing submarine sales to Australia. Their boats are diesel-electric, not nuclear. See story here. But Australia’s priorities should be their security and the rising threat posed by a more aggressive and militaristic China.
     Related story: Japan, which also is expanding its military forces, says it will defend its ownership of the Senkaku islands (see story here).

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