The Facts

  • US Pres. Joe Biden welcomed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the White House on Wednesday, with nearly 4K spectators present for the official arrival ceremony.

  • The state visit — the fourth since Biden became president — involved a pavilion dinner on the South Lawn of the White House, as well as a press conference in the Rose Garden.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

The attempt by Biden to strengthen his ties in the Pacific has certainly been undermined by conflict in the Middle East as well as troubles within domestic Congressional politics. However, with the need to contain the reach of China's influence always a priority, the hosting of a state dinner for Australia and Albanese highlights the extremely delicate and complicated list of foreign policy matters that the Biden administration continues to navigate through.

Establishment-critical narrative

At the top of Biden's agenda with Albanese must be the revitalization of AUKUS. So far, despite positive rhetoric, the goals outlined in the deal have stalled, as the US drags its feet over export control provisions that currently prohibit nuclear submarines from being sold to Australia — a key agreement between the two countries two years ago. The purpose of AUKUS is to deter China's growing hegemony, a mission that is in danger of failing unless Albanese and Biden get their act together.

Pro-China narrative

While the AUKUS allies pretend that their military buildup is about peace and stability, in reality, this deal sets off a destabilizing and unnecessary arms race that will further provoke China. This unjustifiable move reflects a cold war and colonial mindset in which the Anglophone powers believe they have a natural right to dominate the region. By investing hundreds of billions, Australia is not only making itself an agent of US hegemonic interests but also risks gambling away its own political and economic future.

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