The most prominent constructivist, Alexander Wendt, argued, “500 British nuclear weapons are less threatening to the United States than the five North Korean nuclear weapons” (1995). The assertion upholds the power of relationship and its competency between and among the states based on norms, beliefs and culture, though they geographically remain in a remote place. Despite 1071.7 miles distance between New York and England, their culture, norms and accord of attaining the same goal kept them allies for years.
Besides, Australia has also been reckoned a perpetual ally of the UK and the USA since it got independence from the British Empire. The remote country is still under the rule of the British Monarchy, although the British Queen Elizabeth II does not participate in all administrative activities of Australia. The British Queen plays ceremonial and focal symbolic roles. Constituting the aspects made Australia an eternal ally of the United Kingdom ,and intimate and anchored to the extant superpower, the USA.
Through the Thucydides’ Trap, we can effortlessly discern that AUKUS is taking us into another Cold War. In 2016, the Trump administration was in the leading role of beginning the economic cold war, in the name of a ‘trade war’, between the USA and China imposing sanctions on hundreds of Chinese products. As a consequence, China also imposed sanctions on US products and raw materials. Scholars deemed the Democrats would bring a halt to this war but the Biden Administration incited the war with greater interest
However, the three countries entered a remarkable trilateral security alliance, called ‘AUKUS’ on 15 September 2021. The initiative has been upheld and endorsed by the USA, UK and Australia, through a video conference, for enabling Australia obtain nuclear-powered submarines coming out from the generation of diesel-powered submarines. This initiative also comprises the alignment of the greater integration of military purposes, regional policies and actions, cyber-warfare and the capabilities of artificial intelligence.
As this initiative elicits, the security and military assistance to Australia from the USA and UK will ensue in the South China Sea, and the Naval Group of France is conceivably going to miss out on a $90 bllion contract with Australia signed in 2016. Marking a setback for Frrrench President Emmanuel Macron and his government, this initiative takes him aback.
Talking about the alliance, the security buildup facilitation to Australia is one side of the coin but the other side focuses on the root goal of the initiative that aims at confronting China in the South China Sea, the heart of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. In this initiative. None of the three leaders, Joe Biden, Boris Johnson or Scott Morrison, hinted the China concern, but it knows no bounds and AUKUS has been set up as a powerful security alliance against China’s expansionist drive in the South China Sea.
Johnson referred to this initiative as a ‘natural alliance’. He said, “We may be separated geographically” but we are “natural allies”. Morrison, however, insisted that Australia has no concealed intention of pursuing nuclear weapons. Australia will always be there to abide by the rules and regulations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was ratified by it in 1973. Moreover, Australia joined in the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1998 that also insisted on Australia’s eschewing pursuing nuclear weapons.
Notwithstanding this, critics assert this initiative would indirectly spur the nuclear proliferation of Australia. The alliance is creating a loophole in the NPT and perhaps, making the ways facile for Australia coming to be another nuclear-weapon-powered country. Australia is evolving as the first country to make use of the loophole that will bring about questions on the legitimacy of the NPT and other international institutions by exploiting the loophole in the NPT, critics argue. No misgiving that the alliance will intensify suspicion and give rise to security dilemmaa among the NPT members and other countries surrounding the aim against China’s expansionist drive.
Focusing on another spectrum, the UK has been working on the concept of ‘Global Britain’ for a long time. It yearns to engage with the Indo-Pacific strategy, augmenting military power and intending for a global gain with the USA Inducting the UK. The initiative would mould the shape of the neo-cold war in the region. Despite the UK’s dependency on the USA, from the military perspective, the onetime world hegemonic power is newly thinking about amplifying sea power. Johnson, however, felt the significance of this trio– the UK, US and Australia– in the Indo-Pacific region which didn’t let him think out of the box.
However, China is a rising power and the most peer competitor to the USA. A rising power never lets a superpower stay at peace. After 2000, China’s emergence in world politics was like a tiger that had been asleep for a long time but by strengthening military power it is becoming, with time, another lion in world politics. The USA, the most powerful lion of world politics, will never bear with such a rising of an Eastern lion as its bravado and hegemony is in great danger. China’s military uprising in the South China Sea etches another Thucydides’ Trap in the region.
Thucydides, the writer of the History of the Peloponnesian War and predecessor of classical realism, argued ‘when a rising power challenges the dominance of an established power then war is inevitable between them.’ For instance, before WWI, Germany was the nearest peer competitor to Great Britain, second in military, economic and naval power, which irritated the demons of Great Britain and led it to commence WWI.
Through the Thucydides’ Trap, we can effortlessly discern that AUKUS is taking us into another Cold War. In 2016, the Trump administration was in the leading role of beginning the economic cold war, in the name of a ‘trade war’, between the USA and China imposing sanctions on hundreds of Chinese products. As a consequence, China also imposed sanctions on US products and raw materials. Scholars deemed the Democrats would bring a halt to this war but the Biden Administration incited the war with greater interest.
However, Thucydides’ Trap in the South China Sea issue is very apparent. China reproached the QUAD (The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue among the USA, Japan, India and Australia) initiative since it began. Moreover, AUKUS, undoubtedly, would raise anxiety and tension in China,and in the South China Sea, strategically and militarily. China, the Eastern lion, will respond necessarily as its reign is being stymied by the Western lion, the USA.
AUKUS, it seems, is going to materialise another cold war. The Eastern bloc and Western bloc concepts will newly arise surrounding this issue. In the meantime, Bangladesh must be astute, as it fosters relations with not only the China bloc but also the US bloc, following further military and security policies. Bangladesh’s peace must not be obstructed in this ordeal maintaining friendly relations with the USA, China, India and all. As a NAM country, Bangladesh should uphold its core foreign policy ‘friendship to all, malice towards none,’ thus it can be competent to ensure security, economic and military peace and purposes.