Policy, Guns and Money: AUKUS, climate change and Afghan opium trade

This week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the establishment of a new defence pact between Australia, the US and the UK—AUKUS. As part of this new partnership, Australia will move to acquire nuclear-powered submarines and has cancelled its $90 billion submarine program with France’s Naval Group. Peter Jennings, Michael Shoebridge and Marcus Hellyer share their initial thoughts on the new pact and what it means for Australia’s defence capabilities.

This past summer in the northern hemisphere was marked by unprecedented floods, fires, droughts and heat waves. Anastasia Kapetas and Robert Glasser discuss these catastrophic events and how Australia can prepare for simultaneous climate hazards domestically and in our region.

Back in 2000, the Taliban announced a ban against growing opium poppy, which led to a rapid decline in production. The ban was interrupted by the beginning of the US war in Afghanistan in 2001 and production levels increased. John Coyne and Teagan Westendorf consider what the return of the Taliban to power means for opium production in Afghanistan and what impacts the Taliban’s policies will have on the global drug trade.