Dead in the Water: The AUKUS Delusion


Australian Foreign Affairs is the country’s leading foreign affairs journal.

The latest issue of Australian Foreign AffairsDead in the Water: The AUKUS Delusion‘ examines Australia’s momentous decision to form a security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom that includes an ambitious, expensive and risky plan to acquire nuclear-power submarines – a move that will have far-reaching military and strategic consequences.

Dead in the Water looks at whether the AUKUS deal will enhance or undermine Australia’s security as tensions between China and the US rise, at the impact on Australia’s ties with its regional neighbours, and at whether the submarines plan is likely to ever be achieved.

Join Professor Hugh White, Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University for an in-depth discussion with Dr Emma Shortis, Senior Researcher at the Australia Institute’s International & Security Affairs program to examine whether Australia needs nuclear powered submarines and whether the AUKUS plan will deliver them.


Professor Hugh White AO FASSA is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra. He spent much of his career in the Australian Government, including as International Relations Advisor to Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Department of Defence. He was the founding Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and from 2004 to 2011 he was Head of ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. His major publications include Power Shift: Australia’s future between Washington and Beijing, [2010], The China Choice: Why America should share power, [2012], Without America: Australia’s future in the New Asia [2017], How to defend Australia [2019] and Sleepwalk to War: Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America [2022]. In the 1970s he studied philosophy at the universities of Melbourne and Oxford.

Dr Emma Shortis is historian and writer, focused on the history and politics of the United States and its role in the world. She uses her expertise in history to interpret and explain what is happening in the world today, and what it means for Australia, in a compassionate and accessible way. In a conversation often dominated by the same voices, Emma offers a fresh perspective on international relations grounded in moral questions about how we might imagine a post-American future.

Emma’s first book, Our Exceptional Friend: Australia’s Fatal Alliance with the United States, was published by Hardie Grant in 2021. She writes regularly for Australian and international outlets, and appears regularly on Australian radio and television. Before joining The Australia Institute, Emma was a lecturer at RMIT University, where her academic work focused on international relations and climate transition. Before that, she spent a year in the United States as Fox-Zucker International Fellow at Yale University, where she finished her PhD in History.


(ended on )




Looking for speakers for your next event?

Our experts