China’s desire to expand in the Pacific region is cause for concern. The new defense alliance continues to cause alarm.
Usually, members of Australian unions take to the streets to protest wage increases. Not this time. Brisbane was recently in a state of emergency when hundreds of trade unionists demonstrated loudly against their comrades: the Australian Labor Party, which grew out of the trade union movement. held its annual meeting. There was a lot of self-praise during a good year after taking power from the Conservatives.
But not all delegates felt like celebrating. The purchase of eight US submarines planned by Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pushed especially left-leaning trade union members to the barricades. It is Australia’s highest ever defense spending.
Trade unionist Michael Wright asked rhetorically on television whether this was the best way to ensure the national interest – at a cost of some CHF 210 billion.
Aukus against expansion into China
The acquisition lies at the heart of the Indo-Pacific security agreement between the US, Britain and Australia – abbreviated as Aukus, after the initials of the two countries’ names. In addition to purchasing submarines, the agreement includes cooperation in other areas, such as cyber warfare.
It’s pretty clear: Okus is intended to be a counterpart to China’s expansion into the Pacific. Beijing has been expanding its influence in the region for years. But China was not mentioned by name. Defense Secretary Richard Marls told the conference it was about strengthening Australia in general. If Australia does not buy these submarines, the country will be in great danger. It would undermine the idea of national autonomy.
Western spearhead against China
But it is precisely this independence that critics in his party fear. For better or for worse, they say, such close, decades-old and stronger ties with the traditional ally of the United States would bind Australia with the United States. Thousands of US Marines are already stationed in northern Australia. Observers say that this constitutes a kind of Western spearhead against China.
In addition, some unions cannot accept that submarines in a nuclear-free Australia are nuclear-powered. However, they will not transfer nuclear weapons, Okus promised.
Made in the USA, what else
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese did not have to fear that the House blessing would be permanently lopsided by this rift within the Labor Party. He promised to provide thousands of job opportunities for union members. Because a significant part of the work on submarines will be carried out in Australia itself. This is busy. Finally all the delegates stood behind Okus.
It sounded like a reference to Albany. As soon as the lights went out in the meeting room, he announced the purchase of more than 200 cruise missiles. American, of course.
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