Interview | AUKUS: A New Front in US-China Competition

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The leaders of the United States, Britain and Australia announced the establishment of a new cooperation in security under the name of AUKUS on 16 September 2021, in which the United States and Britain will share nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia.

Political Scientist Ramis YUNUS

Experts believe that the “landmark trilateral partnership” will be seen by China as an attempt against itself, and in particular its regional influence in the South China Sea, in fact the United States does not hide the fact that the alliance was formed “against Beijing.” Indeed, in the past, the Russian Foreign Ministry has criticized the US creating areas of tension in the Indo-Pacific region and creating new dividing lines.

Currently, the United States has the most powerful army and military power in the world. Russia and China are considered forces close to the capacity of the United States in this regard. As a matter of fact, the United States ranks first in global gun power’s military power rankings.

After the announcement of AUKUS, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow had not yet set a position on AUKUS. The Russian official stated that due to the lack of knowledge about the aims and objectives of the alliance, they are considering all issues regarding this trilateral partnership.

“First of all, we need to understand the details of this alliance. Of course, we are carefully examining the information. It is important that we understand the objectives, aims and tools before creating a position. We need to answer these questions. There is still very little information,” he said.

The Alliance foresees sharing the high-tech submarine project capable of launching nuclear missiles with Australia and deploying it in the waters of that country. In the past, the United States has only made the technology available to the UK. Therefore, the project is considered as a new step against China.

Political scientists pointed that happening these things also exposes deep problems and growing conflicts of interest within the Western military alliance. Answering ANKASAM’s questions, Azerbaijani political scientist Ramis Yunus* argued that this agreement established by the Anglo-Saxons was against China.

Yunus pointed out that Beijing, Moscow and Tehran have turned the power gap in the regions where the US has withdrawn to its advantage. “Russia and Iran evaluated the power gap in Syria. As soon as U.S. forces left Afghanistan, Russia and China were the first states to develop policies in there. As we know, Russia and Iran are two of the four actors mentioned in the U.S. National Security Document. China is allied with these states,” he said.

“The United States is not regional in general; focused on global problems. Japan, which is not a member of NATO in Asia, is trying to limit China by allying with states such as South Korea and Australia.” he commented.

Yunus stated that the transformation in question is due to a paradigm differentiation, “This is why the United States, which has stopped applying the old paradigms, did not intervene in the situations that developed in Georgia in August 2008, Ukraine in 2014 and the South Caucasus (Kharabakh War II) in 2020. All these developments show that although the new paradigms are not yet fully formed, the old methods are no longer being implemented,” he said.

Emphasizing that the US signing an agreement like AUKUS heralds new paradigms, Yunus said, “The European Union and NATO’s position is weak today. The revolutions in Arab countries and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan were a fiasco, and everyone saw it. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan made their first official visits to the countries mentioned. This US agreement with The UK and Australia now shows that the paradigm is moving away from ideology and slogan and into a realist ground. This situation is expected to continue. The reaction of competitors such as China will emerge over time.” Yunus also underlined that Great Britain doubled its defence budget last year. [2]

*Ramis YUNUS is a political scientist who has had experience working at senior management levels both in Azerbaijan and abroad. He worked as the Head of the Prime Minister’s Office of Azerbaijan and the Head of the Parliamentary Administration. He has also held various positions in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. He is currently a U.S. resident and advises media organizations and foundations.
1 A group of Democratic Congressmen sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration urging him to reduce spending on nuclear weapons. The senators called on the U.S. President to create a nuclear weapons strategy that would limit the role of such weapons in national security matters and “reduce unnecessary costs,” as well as “establish strategies that will form the basis for the implementation of the arms-on-arms agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” on 16 September 2021. Members of the U.S. Congress have said that cooperation with Russia and China on nuclear weapons should be improved. Julianne Smith, who was also nominated for the post of Permanent Representative of the United States to NATO on the same day, told a session of Congress that Russia would continue to be the main military threat to NATO in the foreseeable future. Smith said that since the crisis erupted in Ukraine in 2014, NATO has achieved significant things in strengthening its capacity to counter Moscow; however, he said there are many more steps to be taken.

Aleksey Pushkov, a member of the Russian Federation Council, mocked the US statement on his Twitter page that the AUKUS military-political alliance is not against other states, especially China. “The Alliance does not threaten Russia, but this is a geopolitical effort to strengthen China. There is nothing anti-Russian about the creation of AUKUS. It is an indirect and potential orientation against Moscow that is practically not ready for action.”

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, said, “In any case, all this is alarming, frustrating and something that needs to be closely monitored. The point is, this agreement set a bad example. Australia is a power without nuclear weapons, even though it has large uranium reserves and several nuclear reactors. Now an example has also been set for Iran and North Korea. There will be other states that want to develop such technologies.”
Ülviye FİLİYEVA ERKEÇ-Lisans eğitimini Bakü Devlet Üniversitesi Gazetecilik Bölümü’nde tamamlayan Ülviye Filiyeva Erkeç, aynı zamanda Karabük Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden de mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, Aksaray Üniversitesi Kent Sosyolojisi Programı’nda sunduğu “Türk ve Rus Basınındaki Algılanışı ile Türkiye’ye Evlilik Yolu ile Göç Olgusu” başlıklı tezle elde eden Erkeç, Karabük Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı Bölge Çalışmaları Bilim Dalı’ndaki yüksek lisans eğitimini de sürdürmektedir. Filiyeva Erkeç, ileri seviyede İngilizce, Rusça, Avarca ve Azerbaycan Türkçesi bilmektedir.