Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s credibility at a low point, with Scott Morrison’s lying and appalling performance at COP26

Bonne chance? Australia might need it on AUKUS nuclear submarines deal 2 Oct 21,

The AUKUS nuclear submarines deal had better pay off, because the costs for Australia are beginning to appear far greater than first suggested.

In case Prime Minister Scott Morrison really thought some time, and some space, would quell Emmanuel Macron’s anger at the announcement – which abruptly ended a $90 billion submarines contract with France’s Naval Group – the French president disabused him of that idea on Sunday.

Mr Macron knew very well what he was doing when he spoke to Australian journalists about the AUKUS deal, and Mr Morrison’s actions. There was an air of calm calculation about his words. If his intent was to express the depth of his disappointment, the damage the nuclear submarines deal had done to the Australia-France relationship, and to raise questions about Mr Morrison’s handling of the AUKUS move, then he was bang on target.

He didn’t overplay his anger, and even couched his disapproval of Mr Morrison’s actions with a respectful recognition of Australia and France’s friendship and shared history.

With two words, he also highlighted what is becoming increasingly clear about the AUKUS nuclear submarines arrangement: As an exercise in Australian defence procurement, it appears chimeric.

“Good luck,” he said, noting that far from a signed contract, Australia right now has to wait 18 months for a review before the next steps in its new quest for submarines. Bonne chance, Australia.

This is where the nation sits less than a couple of months after the AUKUS deal, in a region with heightening geopolitical tensions and unresolved questions about Australia’s ability to defend itself. Australia is falling out with its friends (France), while its closest ally gives a different version of events in the lead-up to the AUKUS announcement (it was “clumsy”, Joe Biden says).

In hindsight, the AUKUS announcement seems true to form for Mr Morrison. It was high in marketing, fanfare and gloss, but lacking in substance, ham-fisted in execution and questionable in the respect it afforded to those who deserved it.

Add Australia’s reputation as obstructing progress in international climate talks, its pathetically bare minimum net zero by 2050 position, and its refusal to support international agreements phasing out coal, and the nation cuts an increasingly lonely figure on the world stage.

Mr Morrison’s trip overseas for both G20 and COP26 is, at this stage, disastrous. Australia’s credibility seems to be ebbing, not just because of AUKUS but on climate action, too. Middle powers cannot afford to put their reputations at risk like this.

November 2, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international

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