Seismic. Tectonic. Earthquake. We cannot fault the media for using geological metaphors to describe Aukus – the security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced via video conference on September 15, 2021. The Australian government’s move to cancel a multibillion- dollar contract for the construction of 12 conventional Barracuda submarines for 8 nuclear-powered ones to be built with US-UK technology was unexpected. Viewed from France, it was also humiliating – a point President Emmanuel Macron made 48 hours later by withdrawing France’s ambassadors from Washington and Canberra. Also upset were several other governments – the communist one in Beijing above all, but also the democratic ones in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, who voiced legitimate concerns about the pact’s effects on nuclear proliferation and the regional arms race. Some harsh criticisms of the new pact came from within its member states, too – in Australia they have included two former prime ministers. And here in Canada, the feelings were mixed: a happy disinterest in nuclear-powered submarines, together with a certain fear of missing out. Taking stock of the agreement on its first anniversary, this workshop will bring together diverse Canadian and international security experts to address the key questions AUKUS poses for the strategic positions and policy discourses across the Indo-Pacific as well as for International Relations theories of conflict and cooperation.

The project members are:

Dr. Hager Ben Jaffel

 

 

Dr. Alexandra Gheciu

 

 

Dr. Thomas Juneau

 

 

Dr. Srdjan Vucetic