A report in JapanTimes states that plans to get Japan associated with the Five Eyes framework may have commenced and it the right time for Tokyo to formally join the alliance. The alliance gives mutual access between members to intelligence activities, as well as supporting further defence interoperability, building compelling relations that the digital age both enables and encourages.
Behind this whole issue lies, of course, the overarching enigma of how best to deal with a belligerent China that has been bothering almost all of its neighbours.
You can see the visible uncertainty in US policy as Washington is uncertain in its approach – from warm handshakes with Chinese President Xi Jinping to trade wars and accusations against Huawei and obviously all the blame-game over COVID-19.
In Europe too, various nations have taken completely different positions toward China, both in regard to geopolitical concerns like Hong Kong’ fate or China’s belligerence in the South China Sea, to day-to-day matters like an inward investment, technology transfer, 5G and other various sectors where China has intruded.
What has all this got to do with Five Eyes? The answer is that intelligence, cyber manoeuvring and every kind of soft power messaging are the weapons of the future. If the goal is the containment of rising China on security fronts, but prudent collaboration on others, such as on trade, investment, scientific research and health and environmental issues, then it is specifically in these sectors that this balanced method can work and needs to work. This becomes even clear as China itself resorts to the dark and shrewd world of cyberattacks.
The news may be filled with reports of warships, new aircraft carriers, undesirable drilling rigs and artificial islands in the South Seas claimed by China (the infamous “nine-dash line”), complete with runways and fighter jets — although some are said to be now disintegrating back into the sea.
And there is also now a savagery clash between Indian and Chinese troops deep in the Himalayas, not to mention the thought of Chinese military invasion of Taiwan, which could trigger a world war. But Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is always the big influence when evaluating Chinese longer-term plan, and it states clearly that Beijing’s strategic goals can best be accomplished by non-frontal means, by spying and deception, and by suppressing without a battle.
As to what those longer-term Chinese goals are you can take your pick. Listen to some of Beijing voices and you hear screeching urge to become a global superpower, eyeball to eyeball with the US in a world too long dominated by Western foundations and regulations — an objective which sounds precisely hegemonic.
This is a scenario helped on its way by US critics and academics, who love to talk about the forthcoming clash of civilizations, the Thucydides moment and other apocalyptic scenarios. This is the path of broken pacts, countless border violations, stolen intellectual property, contemptuous disregard for human rights and the rules-based global order.
Listen to other more scholarly and unadventurous voices in China and you hear the more modest intentions to achieve some balancing up against long-standing influence by the West, to keep foreigners out of what is deemed to be China’s historic sovereign areas and to share with other countries in peace and friendship — win-win all around with the “Belt and Road” initiative binding East and West, and even an impending confluence of political systems and philosophies of governance rather than unavoidable conflicts.
The key aim of the western democracies is to make China see the wisdom of the second path, persevered fairly and legally, and the self-harming illusion of the first one. And here the survival of an ever-more watchful ring of “eyes” to match and expose Chinese deception, and to check China’s attitude of soothingly saying one thing and merciless doing another, is the best curb.
What the world needs is for China to prosper but not to threaten. Now more than ever global economic recovery and global trade restoration will be massively reliant on an early return to healthy Chinese growth. But it also needs to defend against “overmighty subjects” to use William Shakespeare’s phrase, who could fatally disrupt the delicate balances of today’s network world on which peace and restored prosperity rest.
And to guard, we need guardians. The Five Eyes alliance needs to be expanded to six.
Via: JapanTimes. Does Not Reflect The Views Of The EurAsian Times