China presents a significant threat, believes former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Which is why, he says, the West must work together rather than engage in the kind of bickering triggered by the recent submarine deal between Australia and the United States. The sparsely populated, prosperous and peaceful country of Australia doesn’t often find itself dominating the news cycle, but for the last several days, it has been the focus of governments in the United States, China and the European Union, the great powers in a tri-polar world order.
Last week, Canberra, Washington and London reached agreement on a military pact reminiscent of the era of nuclear standoffs. The alliance, known as AUKUS, foresees Australia being outfitted with nuclear-powered submarines from the U.S. and Britain. It is a reaction to China’s rise to becoming the dominant economic and military power in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australia, located in the Far East but politically part of the West, lies on the fault line of the largest conflict of our times, the growing rivalry between China and the U.S.