Anxiety in both countries about China-US tensions sits alongside not-so-latent long-standing doubts about the reliability of US promises of nuclear protection. Grievances flowing from the Australian submarine deal may well feed the domestic cases for Japanese and South Korean nuclear weapons.
The timing of Mr Morrison’s announcements also merits some consideration. In our view, this project is a political stunt aimed to distract from Covid failures, please coalition constituencies, and split the Labor Party and render the Greens shrill and sidelined. In reality, it is likely that after a passage of years of staged announcements and pseudo-planning there will be little to show for it, and the enormously expensive, strategically ill-considered, and force-structure distorting project will quietly die.