The balance sheet of this enterprise is a poor one, and risks becoming more wretched. Tangibly, AUKUS has shown Australia’s diplomacy to be subservient and shoddy, alienating its European Indo-Pacific ally while also being laughed at by the United States. (President Joe Biden showed much contrition to Emmanuel Macron by suggesting, disingenuously, that the Australians should have told France earlier.) Even if these plans firm up in time for electoral exploitation, it will not clarify when these beasts of the sea will actually emerge from the cocoon of the imagination. In decades, the armchair strategists and naval cocktail circuit will be feasting over other prototypes and ways to burn money from the public purse. The Australian nuclear-powered submarine will be a comical relic, the butt of many a joke.