The U.S.-China rivalry isn’t a new Cold War. It’s a new Great Game.
Early coverage of the new defense pact between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia (AUKUS) has focused on the anger of the French government at losing its deal to sell diesel-powered submarines to Canberra. That’s understandable. Paris has been loudly protesting Australia’s decision to break its French deal and purchase nuclear-powered subs from the U.S. instead. Nasty quotes from government officials and stories of recalled ambassadors make for exciting headlines and copy.
But the importance of the AUKUS agreement goes well beyond a fleeting diplomatic dust up with a European ally. The new pact is a bold bid for the United States to check a rising China — and especially to deter any military move against Taiwan. As such, it represents a significant shift in the balance of power in the Asian-Pacific region.