torsdag 16. september 2021

Cold war echoes as Aukus alliance focuses on China deterrence

For those who study the history of the cold war, Washington’s new initiative with London and Canberra – known by its acronym “Aukus” – has overtones of the name UKUSA, an intelligence-sharing agreement signed 75 years ago now more commonly known as the Five Eyes partnership.

When the seven-page full text of UKUSA agreement was finally released in June 2010, Time magazine called it one of the cold war’s most important documents that “reveals one of the foundations of the special relationship the UK and the US still hold dear”. But unlike the cold war-era UKUSA agreement, the Aukus alliance has a strong security and technology dimension. It comes at a time when many western capitals are recalibrating their relations with China. Until recent years, Australia, for example, had insisted on a “hedging” strategy in navigating changing regional dynamics. At one point, Canberra withdrew itself from the Quad, a strategic alliance with Japan, the US and India.