Sam Roggeveen, director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute, a research center in Sydney, said that over the long term, the United States might decide that the contest with China is too costly, forcing some degree of power sharing and reduced influence.
“The U.S. has never faced a great power of China’s size in its history,” he said. “It has never faced down a challenger like this.”
An alternative risk is that the American pushback against China spirals into a conflict that Australia, because of its bolstered partnership, cannot avoid. The two superpowers have experienced deepening tensions over Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as Chinese territory. The United States says that using force to determine Taiwan’s fate would be of “grave concern,” leaving open the possibility of military intervention.
“As the U.S.-China rivalry escalates, the United States will expect Australia to do more,” said Hugh White, a defense analyst at the Australian National University and a former military official.
“If the U.S. is allowing Australia to have access to its nuclear technology,” he added, “it’s because the U.S. expects Australia to be deploying its forces in a potential war with China.”
For now, the Australian government appears to view even that risk as worth taking on. James Curran, a historian of Australian foreign relations at the University of Sydney, called the decision to double down on the United States “the biggest strategic gamble in Australian history.”
“Australia is betting its house,” he said, “on the U.S. maintaining its resolve and will.”
Sui-Lee Wee contributed reporting.
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/16/world/australia/australia-china-submarines.html287