Simplistic, black and white judgements are dominant right now, but there is good reason to think that this war may turn out to be much more than a struggle over a lily-white democratic versus autocratic principle.
This apparently old-fashioned land war seems to be exposing the extreme fragility of global capitalism, a system we have been told is the only possible future. This is a further rip to the fabric of these illusions, which have recently been cast asunder by an apparently old-fashioned plague, and some very cutting-edge climate catastrophes.
Just as atomic and sub-atomic technologies reach into every corner of reality to transform it unceasingly, so too the US post-Second World War empire, powered by notions of a universal idea of right, bound up in individualism, capital and technophilia, seeks to transform and occupy any alternative source of power, locality and difference.
The decision to acquire nuclear-powered boats reflects what has been the Australian Way of War for more than a century: to operate inside the strategy of a superpower by contributing a well-chosen, niche capability to augment the larger force.
…if the next war is against China, over Taiwan, the South or East China Sea, or some contrived event, Australia will become involved, will be a principal target, and will lose the war. China is not the Taliban.
Australian strategic planners are well aware that it would be absurd to protect trade with China from China… In the real world, the military build-up is about whether foreign military and intelligence activities can be conducted in another country’s exclusive economic zone.
AUKUS is also a screeching message to powers in the region that the Anglophone bloc, with its vast historical baggage, intends to police the region against a country never mentioned in the joint statement but crystal clear to all present.
One does not have to be a Taliban supporter to see that this defeat reflects deep changes in not only geopolitical relations but ways of life that are making their mark on what the West can do practically.