Joe Biden did not wait too long after getting to the White House to reunite with its EU allies and NATO partners, ending Donald Trump’s cold administration and sending a serious warning to Russia’s arrogant attitude. However, since the hasty and humiliating departure from Afghanistan, the U.S. administration is making it clear that its defense strategy is not going to be focused on the European continent or Vladimir Putin, but on the Indo-Pacific, keeping an eye on China. The goal is turning the region into a “free, open, secure” space, in Biden’s words.
To do this, like his predecessor, the U.S. president seems to rely more on single alliances than on international cooperation organizations, such as the United Nations or NATO itself. So far, Washington is part of two multilateral forums: Five Eyes (an alliance formed by the intelligence agencies of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom) and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (with Japan, Australia and India). Both have as a priority to collaborate in the Indo-Pacific against the expansionism of Beijing, with whom the U.S. has several fronts: a long trade war, the Chinese threat to Taiwan, the battle of sanctions after the elimination of Hong Kong’s autonomy and the reeducation camps for Uighurs.
It is in this context that the new security pact signed by the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom must be taken into consideration; that means a severe setback for Europe. First, it means a triumph for Boris Johnson after Brexit, which could be the prelude to signing a free trade agreement with the United States. Second, the agreement seals the sale of nuclear submarines to Australia, thus forcing Australia to cancel the purchase of 12 of these vehicles from France and making it the sixth country with this type of atomic weapons.
As expected, the communist dictatorship has already reacted, accusing the three powers of “undermining international peace and stability” and of “intensifying the arms race,” in a region where Xi Jinping has several conflicts because of China’s occupation of the South China Sea. Everything indicates that we are facing the beginning of a dangerous and unpredictable cold war in the Pacific.