Deceit and deception have always been part and parcel of international relations. There was never a time when a tribe, or nation, could entirely trust the word of those on the other side of a negotiation, no matter how seemingly watertight the resulting agreement.

Thus, when the Australian defence minister Greg Moriarty told a Senate hearing in Canberra on June 2 that, in spite of ongoing concerns over the logistics of the deal, “the government is absolutely committed to trying to work through with [France’s] Naval Group and build a regionally superior submarine in Adelaide,” what he meant was that he and his prime minister, Scott Morrison, were about to scrap the deal and sign a new defence and security pact with the US and Britain.