Declining Anglo-Saxon Powers Intensify Alliance

UPDATED: The new U.S.-U.K-Australia military pact can be seen as a further indication of the nervousness in Washington, London and Canberra over the further decline of Anglo-Saxon power, writes Joe Lauria.

HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth pictured at sea for the first time on May 19, 2021. (Petty Officer Photographer Jay Allen)

Update adds French reaction.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

President Joe Biden announced a new defense pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, clearly aimed at China, during White House remarks on Wednesday in a further sign of the decline of Anglo-Saxon power.

The pact, to be known as AUUKUS, will make it easier for the three Anglo-Saxon nations to share knowledge and capabilities in artificial intelligence, cyber, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities, Politico first reported. Australia will have its first nuclear-powered, conventionally-armed submarines built as part of the deal. 

Biden was joined in Washington for the announcement via video link by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (watch here.) The Australian defense and foreign ministers were in Washington for meetings with their American counterparts earlier on Wednesday.

Australia had already had a $66 billion deal with France to build its submarine fleet, a deal Australia has now abandoned in favor of its English-speaking partners. France reacted bitterly to the move, cancelling a gala event in Washington, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calling it a “knife in the back.” He told Franceinfo radio that “the American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France” was a “regrettable decision” that “shows a lack of coherence,” adding that it was a “unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision,” that reminded him of Biden’s predecessor.  

The Unspoken Target

Though China was not mentioned by Biden, Johnson and Morrison, implications of the new pact appear clearly aimed at Beijing amid increasing tension in the South China Sea, where the three Anglo-Saxon nations have deployed war ships. The HMS Queen Elizabeth entered the sea in early August, prompting protest from China, which called it a “colonial” maneuver. Tellingly, the British aircraft carrier is named after Queen Elizabeth I, the monarch at the start of the British Empire. 

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reacted on Thursday, saying: “The nuclear submarine cooperation among the US, the UK & Australia severely undermines regional peace & stability, intensifies the arms race and undercuts international non-proliferation efforts. It’s highly irresponsible and shows double standards on using nuclear export for geopolitical games.”

After Biden withdrew the last U.S. troops from Afghanistan last month, he said in a White House address that the U.S. would be turning even greater military attention to Russia and China, which have been growing closer economically and militarily over the past few years.

The defeat in Afghanistan was a major blow to the U.S. and its Western allies in the “great game” competition over control of Eurasia, and a major win for China, which was missing U.S.-occupied Afghanistan in its Belt and Road Initiative, an economic plan to link Eurasian nations.

As Alfred McCoy wrote in an article published today on Consortium News:

With a trillion dollars invested in Eurasia and another trillion in Africa, China is engaged in nothing less than history’s largest infrastructure project. It’s crisscrossing those three continents with rails and pipelines, building naval bases around the southern rim of Asia, and ringing the whole tricontinental world island with a string of 40 major commercial ports.

Such a geopolitical strategy has become Beijing’s battering ram to crack open Washington’s control over Eurasia and thereby challenge what’s left of its global hegemony.

America’s unequalled military air and sea armadas still allow it rapid movement above and around those continents, as the mass evacuation from Kabul showed so forcefully. But the slow, inch-by-inch advance of China’s land-based, steel-ribbed infrastructure across the deserts, plains, and mountains of that world island represents a far more fundamental form of future control.”

Thus the new U.S.-U.K-Australia pact can be seen as a further indication of the nervousness in Washington, London and Canberra over the further decline of Anglo-Saxon power, which has dominated the world for the past four centuries.

The United States took over the mantle of running the English-speaking empire after World War Two, when Britain formally ended its empire and hitched its disappearing hegemony to U.S. global dominance.

The writing is on the wall for the Anglo-Saxon powers, as it sees the world slipping through its fingers, prompting ever greater aggressiveness, rather than face economic and geo-political reality. Instead of seeking to peacefully join a multilateral world as equal partners, it is turning to ever greater military alliance to desperately try to hold onto its fading power.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  


22 comments for “Declining Anglo-Saxon Powers Intensify Alliance

  1. Andrew Nichols
    September 16, 2021 at 20:08

    White english speaking nations and a colony sending gunboats round the world to threaten jonnie foreigner…How quaintly 19th Century.

    • Frank
      September 17, 2021 at 11:45

      To summarize- Australia ripped up its BRI agreements with China in order to face it down with nuke subs on US say- so.

  2. Richard Lemieux
    September 16, 2021 at 19:32

    The MIC will get (huge amounts) of additional money for new underwater platforms. This will end up to be a competition between social development in Asia and large financial gains in London and New-York. It would be simpler to just make friends with the Chinese but that is out of the Anglo-Saxon agenda apparently. It’s easier to be the trouble maker abroad than to restore the economy at home.

  3. Tony Kevin
    September 16, 2021 at 15:57

    Halford MacInder’s great game has gone global . China with Russia alongside is strengthening its strategic dominance of the Eurasian heartland . The Anglsaxon Atlanticists AUUKUS are playing around the oceans with toy navies and nuclear subs . People live and trade mostly on land . Russia and China have invulnerable second strike nuclear deterrence . Guess who is winning this now global game of strategy .

    An angry EU will now move towards Russia- Eurasia: it is their historic destiny.

    Clever of @unjoe to link Al McCoy’s brilliant recent essay on After Afghanistan to this new US – UK ploy .

    I also agree Morrison has been led by US and UK Five Eyes nannies. He did not come up with this himself . Australia is now the ultimate hostage/ canary in the coal mine . We will be the expendable sings Truman when US wants to test how far it can provoke China without starting WW3. Goodbye Pine Gap and Alice Springs.

    Thanks Joe

    Tony Kevin

  4. rosemerry
    September 16, 2021 at 14:56

    There has been enough damage done by F?UK?US partnerships!

    AU/US/UK, against Australia’s major trading partner is only adding to the provocation the US insists on helping tiny Lithuania offer to China . Alexander Mercouris fleshes out China’s red lines and position in his online talks daily. China does not bluff.

  5. Eric
    September 16, 2021 at 05:16

    This aggressive move involves (so far) only three of the Five Eyes white successors to the British Empire.

    “New Zealand’s longstanding nuclear-free policy also means that Australian submarines developed under the deal are banned from New Zealand waters. ‘New Zealand’s position in relation to the prohibition of nuclear-powered vessels in our waters remains unchanged,’ the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said on Thursday…

    “”New Zealand is ‘conspicuous by its absence,’ said Geoffrey Miller, international analyst at the Democracy Project.
    ‘Canada and New Zealand are sort of being relegated here. It shows how far apart Australian and New Zealand
    foreign policymakers are.'”

    New Zealand has principles, but why is the slavishly pro-imperialist Canada absent?

    “In recent years, Canada and New Zealand have had similarities in their orientation toward Beijing – condemning human
    rights breaches on specific issues in a case-by-case way, but avoiding strong statements on the country more broadly.
    Miller said both countries were ‘trying to walk the tightrope a bit, and not trying to get into a big spat with China.’”

    Canada is likely being careful only because it’s trying to free two Canadians jailed as spies in China
    without rejecting Uncle Sam’s demand for extradition of a Chinese corporate executive accused
    of violating sanctions on Iran that Canada doesn’t have. Once this (and the imminent federal
    election) are resolved, don’t count on Canada to refrain from sabre-rattling at China.

  6. ConSmith
    September 16, 2021 at 03:51

    By recent accounts the Australians will not be getting their submarine(s) anytime soon. Runaway costs and bungled building and procurement have almost sunk the programme.

      September 16, 2021 at 10:18

      That was the prior French deal. This is a new deal to build the submarines.

  7. Robyn
    September 15, 2021 at 21:19

    Anyone taking bets on how long it will be before these ‘conventionally armed’ subs become nuclear armed?

  8. Marie-France Germain
    September 15, 2021 at 17:58

    It is my fervent hope that Canada does stay out of this troublesome trio! That way, when the nuclear war starts and the world ends, we will be less culpable? Not really, but it does make those of us who seriously are trying to reconcile ourselves to certain death through the chaotic climate crisis upon us or through incineration by nukes, feel that we had no control over the deadly United States machinery of global murder as it continues its rogue rampages through the continents.

    In a strange way, I could really identify with Ava Gardner in the old movie, “On the Beach,” when in a drinks fueled anguish asks why, when she had done nothing to start the nuclear bombs that brought planet wide radiation, she, like the rest of the non-militaristic innocents should die. What have billions innocents done to deserve death?

      September 15, 2021 at 19:01

      Canada does not have a presence in the South China see, as the US, Australia and Britain does. It has no role to play in this new alliance aimed at China.

    • Crazyczar
      September 16, 2021 at 20:06

      Rest assured, there will not be any nuclear exchanges. Fear is at play here to continue to fleece the treasury for the benefit of a few.

      • Zhu
        September 18, 2021 at 04:30

        Who imagined WW One in August 1913? Never underestimate stupidity!

  9. Odyssios Redux
    September 15, 2021 at 17:12

    As not unusual in political commentary, the Romans said it shortest and sharpest: ‘Sic transit gloria mundi.’ So passes worldly glory. Keeps on happenin’! Known politely as ‘history’. Traditionally written by the (always temporary) victors.

  10. rosenstein
    September 15, 2021 at 16:02

    Empires never go quietly.

  11. rosemerry
    September 15, 2021 at 16:02

    ” Russia and China, which have been growing closer economically and militarily over the past few years.”
    MANY years, even before Xi Jinping, and the military part has been because of US constant refusal to remain in international agreements and its “upgrading ” of weapons pretending it is the victim, not the instigator of conflicts.
    The whole pretence that somehow the USA has rights to lord it over us all and go out of its way to stoke disagreements (eg Taiwan as a real country, Ukraine as “our ally”, “Uighurs forced labor” (never accept than China can actually have terror attacks on it too) should not continue to be acceptable. The EU is in a tiny way realizing this, but the USA/UK/Australia ridiculous ganging up!!!really is pathetic. Seeing what China has achieved should be something to aspire to, not fear.

  12. September 15, 2021 at 15:36

    Canada is not involved in this Anglo-Saxon Pact?Is it because they are in NATO focusing on Europe as opposed to the Pacific or are they just not involved with them at all.

    • Linda Doucett
      September 16, 2021 at 08:03

      I sit in Canada cheering for the ‘other side’

    • Joe Wallace
      September 16, 2021 at 15:37

      Paul Shtogryn:

      Why would Canada get involved when it’s at such a distance from the South China Sea as, well . . . the United States is?

  13. Linda furr
    September 15, 2021 at 15:17

    The US has become the real barbarian at the gate to most of the of the world. I think China and Russia, through the UN and their internationally agreed upon forums, are trying to usher the US past this destructive stage of our development. For the world’s sake, I hope grown-ups prevail.

  14. Georges Olivier Daudelin
    September 15, 2021 at 13:32

    Vous oubliez le Canada, État-Nation voyou, criminel, barbare, tueur, assassin et meurtrier; le Nazgul besson du Nazgul de Washington; les deux rejetons bâtard de la BÊTE, la dictature bourgeoise affairiste cléricale libérale.

      September 15, 2021 at 13:46

      We didn’t forget Canada. The U.S. did. Just reporting what’s happening.

Comments are closed.