AUKUS – no EU banner in sight …
Well I nevah! Our Westminster Mandarins are still capable of keeping secrets. They are still extremely adept at ‘hiding’ important news. I concede that military matters should indeed be kept out of the daily gossip round that the various ‘sources’ feed so cleverly into our daily ‘news providers’ but when one sees how quickly ‘other interested parties’ are able to react one wonders if the Whitehall leakers aren’t in fact driving the daily news & gossip rounds and if those intrepid MSM ‘writers’ are either complicit or simply incapable of finding things out unless hand-fed my mandarins.
So – AUKUS. By now you’ll have come across this new acronym. Let’s firstly look at the background and the timeline regarding this new acronym. AUKUS stands for Australia-UK-USA, a new ‘security partnership’ announced late on the 15th September 2021. You can read all the details on the Government website here. It was published on Wednesday evening.
That’s the same Wednesday evening when the Westminster MSM were solely occupied with watching Johnson’s dead-wood cabinet reshuffle. The earliest report I could find was in The Times on Wednesday night (link, paywalled). The DT produced their report early yesterday morning (paywalled link). The various opinion pieces trundled in yesterday evening and early this morning. There were ‘questions’ in the HoC yesterday evening, one from a certain Ms May who asked the prime minister in the Commons about the “implications” of the partnership in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan (link, paywalled).
Mainly, the clutch of MSM opinion piece writers think this treaty is a good thing, some pointing out the advantages of our associating with the USA, others that helping the Aussies against the bully China is jolly good while others describe it as the first fruits of our being ‘Global Britain’ after Brexit. One early assessment – early because it was published yesterday afternoon – mentions China’s reaction while providing some details:
“China on Thursday accused the UK, the US and Australia of fuelling an “arms race” in the Pacific that will make the region more dangerous after the three announced a broad security alliance. The new deal, dubbed Aukus and unveiled on Wednesday, will see London and Washington help Canberra to build nuclear-powered submarines as well as swap knowledge on cyber information, artificial intelligence, undersea technology and other cutting-edge sciences.” (paywalled link)
Later that evening there were also hints that France rather than China was most upset because they wanted to sell their nuclear subs to Oz. In their evening email newsletter, Ms Hardman drew heavily on a paywalled article in the Specie (paywalled link) and wrote:
“And yet the country that is the most vocally angry about the pact today isn’t China – which has branded it ‘irresponsible’ – but France. In signing Aukus, Australia is walking out of a submarine-building contract with the French. And that’s upset French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who said no one had told his country and that the deal was a ‘stab in the back’. There followed an awkward debate between France and the US about whether there had in fact been contact between the countries about the announcement before it took place. France maintains that there wasn’t any warning, while the US claims there was.”
Meanwhile, the BBC preferred reporting this morning that the USA and UK were facing growing international criticism. They also mentioned poor, angry, ‘backstabbed France’ and China’s accusation that the three powers were having a “Cold War mentality”, only to top it with the latest ‘fear propaganda, writing that “the pact has raised fears that it could provoke China into a war.” (link).
Oh dear. Angering France and China – how positively dreadful! The BBC is out of sync with the print media colleagues who think that France’s loss will be our gain (paywalled link) or believe that it’s a much-needed signal to Pacific nations like Japan that the AUKUS allies are intent on deterring China’s aggression (link, paywalled). To counterbalance this fear mongering, here’s an assessment by an Aussie – worth reading in full.
And so to the utterly delicious report on the reaction from the EU. It’s something you really couldn’t make up in your wildest dreams. This morning we read in RemainCentral – where else! – that the Dutch PM, Mr Rutte, who is visiting Johnson today, “will invite Britain to join deal [sic!] with EU” (link, paywalled). This will be ‘a pact with the European Union on defence and security co-operation’. Allegedly France and Germany ‘support this initiative’ because, also allegedly, Johnson is now ‘more receptive’, being less enamoured of Biden. And then there’s the inevitable ‘diplomatic source’, telling The Times’ Brussels correspondent:
“Since Brexit, not enough European leaders have been in touch with Johnson. It is important to look at the geopolitics without being divided and there is a need to work with the UK.” (link, paywalled)
Well I nevah! How exquisitely extraordinary! This ‘change of mind’, or rather waking up to harsh realities, especially after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, is already bearing fruit:
“In a mark of how seriously the Europeans are taking the possibility of talks, the EU has adopted a conciliatory tone over Northern Ireland customs controls to avoid a confrontation. Rutte will make the offer despite French anger over a security pact between Australia, the US and Britain. The EU regards the issue as primarily a trade dispute over Australia’s decision to drop a submarine contract with France rather than a strategic question.” (link, paywalled)
Well well well! Macron must be severely unamused by this approach from his EU neighbours, even though he is supporting this proposed ‘EU Deal’, for an obvious reason:
“Dutch, French and other European governments back greater co-operation with Britain to overcome European dependency on the US for airlifts, evacuation of nationals and emergency humanitarian assistance. Doing a deal with the UK is integral to European plans to develop a rapid reaction force to intervene independently of the US to ensure aid is delivered and evacuations carried out in a crisis.” (link, paywalled)
Savour this: Brussels wants to do a deal with Brexit UK! I hope Frosty is taking notice. Of course, RemainCentral could not resist mentioning that a Remain Tory – Tom Tugendhat, in case you wondered – would support such ‘closer relationship with European allies to reduce dependency on the US.’ Why we need Brussels for that rather than unilateral treaties – heh, once Remain, always ‘Pro-EU’. How valuable such alliance would be – not! – is nicely illustrated by the EU’s official assessment of AUKUS:
“The EU yesterday expressed “regret” that neither the Americans nor the British had consulted European capitals over the new alliance with Australia to counter China but it played down the significance of the row.” (link, paywalled)
Aww, diddums! So Brussels still regards itself as arbiter on what we, post-Brexit, can do while trying to minimise their usual anti-UK stance. Well, ‘tis because they want something from us – simple as that. I just love this remark of the EU’s ‘Foreign Secretary’, Mr Borrell, saying: “I understand the extent to which the French government must be disappointed. We regret not being informed.” (link, paywalled)
Well – tough! Let’s also not forget that, thanks to the general election in Germany in a few days their influence on EU policies is going to be much weakened, not least because of their obsession with green stuff. At the same time M Macron has his hands full with his general elections early next year, just at the time he’s going to ‘preside’ over the EU from January to July 2022.
Isn’t it wonderful how suddenly all those Remainers in the Westminster MSM are more concerned with that new, international ‘security partnership’ rather than what Brussels says or Macron wants. Even more delicious is that the mighty EU is suddenly trying to cling to our coattails – and all that after years of them telling us that, after Brexit, we’re going to be an insignificant little island of no account. My, haven’t times changed …
Photo by UK Prime Minister