Examining the Aukus Alliance through the Lens of History | Letters
The Aukus Pact is not a “new world order” (September 17) but an old order; they are colonial gunboats. I don’t expect politicians to read history like the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839, but I expect them to be aware of the story in their lifetime. Eton may not teach about empire failures, but China has been very clear about Taiwan since 1950.
When Biden said, “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It is about putting an end to an era of major military operations to remake other countries, ”he engaged in a new battle in the Pacific. China’s global dominance has been evident for over 20 years, yet we reluctantly commit to facing this new empire?
St Albans, Hertfordshire
Your article regarding a possible Chinese backlash on the tripartite agreement to supply nuclear propulsion technology to the Royal Australian Navy puzzles me (Aukus Pact: British and US battle to contain international backlash, September 16). It wasn’t Australia that claimed large chunks of the South China Sea by building military outposts on remote atolls and islands. Australia has not intimidated its neighbors either.
What we are seeing now is an increasingly belligerent China that wishes to retain a monopoly on bullying tactics against all of its neighbors, while hypocritically claiming that the Australian move is a threat to regional and world peace. As for Britain drawn into a regional conflict sparked by a Chinese attack on Taiwan, I ask – with what? I believe the Royal Navy has so few operational ships that you can count them on the fingers of one hand, and aircraft carriers would do well to think about what happened to the Japanese Navy aircraft carriers at Midway in 1942.
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Your editorial (September 16) says that “Boris Johnson highlighted promise of UK jobs” in the Aukus Defense Pact. But Britain is likely to gain little – economically, militarily or diplomatically – from the new alliance. At present, it does not suit Washington to be seen as unilaterally increasing the pressure on Beijing, so the White House has helpfully described the deal as a “down payment” on the “concept of world Britain. “. This, of course, encourages Johnson’s fantastic post-Brexit tale of Britain’s much-vaunted place in the world.
In truth, however, Aukus has very little to do with the UK (or even Australia). Rather, it is the United States demonstrating military might in the Pacific in an increasingly panicked response to China’s extraordinary rise and importance in the global economy.
Theresa May asks if the Aukus Pact could lead Britain to be drawn into war with China if it invades Taiwan (Report, September 17). For more than 40 years, the United States has made it clear that this will not be a casus belli.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger declared the island “part of China”. President Jimmy Carter unilaterally rescinded the China-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty after diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China were established in 1979. The Taiwan Relations Act (reconfirmed in 2021) promises cooperation, but not direct military assistance of the United States in the event of an invasion.
Dr John Doherty