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Britain and U.S. raced to expa...


Britain and U.S. raced to expand Pacific defense pact before election turmoil

Britain and U.S. raced to expand Pacific defense pact before election turmoil
The Silicon Review
21 March, 2024

Japan and Canada could join AUKUS before the end of 2024

The trilateral AUKUS defense partnership involving the U.K., U.S., and Australia is being hurriedly expanded to include more allied nations before potentially contentious elections in all three countries within the next 14 months. Concerns in Washington, London, and Canberra about the possibility of Donald Trump rolling back or terminating the AUKUS deal if he secures the November presidential election have spurred the urgency for expansion. The AUKUS security agreement, announced in September 2021, initially focused on the U.S. and U.K. assisting Australia in constructing nuclear-powered submarines under pillar 1.

Pillar 2 of the agreement enables the three nations to forge deals for the development of advanced military technology, including artificial intelligence, hypersonic missiles, and quantum technologies. Expansion of pillar 2 to include additional U.S. allies such as Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea has always been anticipated. While Trump has yet to publicly address the AUKUS deal, his reiteration of America First rhetoric during the campaign suggests a possible embrace of isolationism in foreign policy. With the U.K. and Australia facing upcoming elections, there is a heightened sense of urgency to solidify partnerships under AUKUS while a favorable administration occupies the White House. There are concerns that a second Trump presidency poses a significant risk to the future of the entire AUKUS deal, particularly as the U.S. is set to loan several submarines to Australia as part of the agreement while new ones are being built.