The news that Australia, the UK and the USA are combining forces to build a fleet of nuclear submarines in response to a perceived threat posed by China has surprised the world.
This is a potentially aggressive statement against Beijing. But the loudest objections have come from France, which has lost an estimated 37 billion Euros of business through the lost contract to build 12 nuclear powered subs.
France has now recalled its ambassadors from America and Australia in protest. Meanwhile Australian Prime Minister Morrison said "ultimately this was a decision about whether the submarines that were being built, at great cost to the Australian taxpayer, were going to be able to do a job that we needed it to do when they went into service and our strategic judgment based on the best possible of intelligence and defense advice was that it would not."
As the storm over this future Pacific nuclear submarine fleet grows into a major international crisis, the one nation unaffected by the tensions is, ironically, China. This is another example of where the West remains divided, further strengthening the apparent power and strategic robustness of the very superpower the West is so desperate to contain.