Of all the recent failures of the Australian mainstream media, the failure to properly report and analyse the trilateral security partnership known as AUKUS must surely qualify as the most pitiable. Just two weeks after US forces pulled out of Afghanistan, abandoning the country to the very movement it had identified twenty years earlier as an existential threat to global security, and less than one year after the United States itself had almost delivered a second term to an erratic man-baby with a wrecking-ball ego, the Coalition government pinned Australia’s colours more decisively than ever to the US mast, while also flagging de facto changes to its anti-nuclear settlement in the shape of an agreement to acquire eight nuclear-powered submarines equipped with long-range land-attack missiles. Australia’s pundit caste, however, came to focus almost entirely on the diplomatic and reputational fallout—if that word may be used in the circumstances—arising from the decision to welch on the contract for twelve conventionally powered submarines from the French defence contractor Naval Group. Having elicited a candid dig at Scott Morrison from the French President Emmanuel Macron, the ABC’s Andrew Probyn looked more than usually pleased with himself, and the Insiders couch declared itself shocked, shocked, by the political optics. In The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher published a ‘deep dive’ into l’affaire AUKUS which resembled nothing so much as one of those post-reality-show panels that pick apart the events of the day (So what really happened between Scotty and Emmanuel? We’re joined on the couch by Michael Tomnoddy, life-coach and former diplomat…). In the end, the lede was buried so deep it would have taken a Tomahawk missile to unearth it. [More here.]