Australia has now crossed that threshold into the nuclear world. We won't be deploying nuclear weapons, but we will be operating nuclear-powered vessels of war. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said we have entered a new era. He's right. We will now join only six other nations with nuclear-powered submarines. The battle lines for security in the Indo-Pacific are being clearly drawn. On one side is the US and its allies, on the other China. Australia no longer pretends it doesn't have to choose between Washington and Beijing. We are all in with the US, and the risk is a catastrophic conflict. In fact, we are preparing for it.
The US alliance has been the bedrock of Australia's security. But is that still the case? Former prime minister Paul Keating doesn't think so.