Two weeks ago, amidst a great deal of pomp and ceremony at a San Diego, California naval base, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed off on the AUKUS submarine deal with the United States and the UK.

Under this extraordinary arrangement, Australia agreed to pay $368 billion for eight nuclear-powered submarines to be manufactured mostly in America and Britain. The staggered delivery dates stretch decades into the future.

The AUKUS pact, however, is not just about the purchase of a few over-priced submarines that may be technologically obsolete by the time they are built. The pact also firmly binds Australia to the wheels of the US and UK in respect of security issues in Southeast Asia.  More importantly, this week’s submarine deal represents an important shift in Australia’s foreign policy settings towards craven dependence on the US and UK, and away from its recent rapprochement with China.   

Footage of Prime Minister Albanese gazing in admiration at President Biden and Rishi Sunak in San Diego reflects perfectly the subservience that now characterizes Australia’s relationship with the US and UK.  “I am so honored to stand alongside you both,” he said.