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Expand Five Eyes

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, August 1st, 2020 - 70 comments
Categories: China, uk politics, uncategorized, us politics - Tags:

With the growing assertions by the Chinese government across the eastern Pacific including in Hong Kong and our own repudiation of an extradition treaty, there are now calls to expand the Five Eyes intelligence network to include Japan.

There’s been discussion about this since at least 2018, with an excellent piece for the Japan Times by Arther Herman of the Hudson Institute.

It’s time to accelerate that move. This alliance gives mutual access between members to intelligence activities, as well as promoting further military interoperability, creating powerful ties that the digital age both allows and encourages.

We have to face that China as a rapidly rising giant requires sharper and sharper responses as the heat of its sun rises closer. For its part, China believes there is zero relationship between doing business internationally and how it manages its citizens. China’s Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi made this crystal clear last week:

“Instead of trying to change or remodel each other, we respect each other. As comprehensive strategic partners, China and New Zealand should continue to maintain strategic commitment in difficult times and support each other on issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“Pursuing a zero sum game and portraying others as enemies will lead nowhere and will only harm common interests. No matter how the international situation may evolve, China will remain committed to a path of peaceful development.”

That, taken at face value, is a whole bunch more diplomatic than the divisive belligerence of Mr Pompeo the U.S. Secretary of State when he talks about China these days. But then, China always requires silence and neutrality from the weak. The proper word for that silence is: obedience.

So far, New Zealand remains a kite in the wind blown one way and the next, insisting that we can both trade freely and be part of regimes that propose cooperation and containment. It’s our necessary ambiguity.

But even previous Prime Minister Helen Clark’s World Health Organisation investigation into the origin and responses of Covid 19 will likely have major diplomatic blowback from China. This pandemic is the most consequential event in the 21st century and it’s only just begun, and its own geopolitics is growing too.

One may say: New Zealand can continue on this path forever, ignoring winds of trade cooperation, economic contest, and national ideological opposition chopping high like the Wellington harbour tide running out against a southerly. But the Five Eyes or Six Eyes grouping brings that chop into hard focus. The goal must be both containment of China’s force, but also cooperation on all other areas including trade, investment, health and scientific research, food resources, and environmental research. As China continues to grow in power over us, we will need to regularly recalculate and recalibrate this balance.

Super-intelligence, cyer manoeuvering, and soft power messaging are the weapons of now and of the future. All sides are fighting this through the subtle world of cyberattacks and hacking. Sure, the world of warships and militarised islands is important. But China’s strategic goals are no longer achieved through hard power. Instead, as Sun Tsu’s Art of War reminds us constantly, China’s strategic goals are achieved by the non-confrontational means of spying, deceit, and subduing without fighting.

It’s likely that the moderate voices in Beijing will continue their goal of achieving some balancing up against longstanding domination by Western institutions. They’ll protect and slowly expand China’s historic sovereign areas and seek to share with other nations in peace. They’ll cement this in with the concrete-and-steel of the belt-and-road to bind the interests of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Iran, Malaysia, the Philippines, African states and more into a balancing of U.S. hegemonic influence …
… maybe in the deep long term better convergence of political systems and philosophies rather than conflicts.

But until then it’s in the interests of the strong democracies like Canada and Japan and ourselves to make China see the wisdom of this moderate path rather than the belligerence of the United States current regime or China’s embarrassingly absurd defensiveness exemplified by our Ambassador Wu.

China will keep hectoring and bullying us if we are weak and don’t muscle up our intelligence capacity. God knows after Christchurch and Covid 19 our intelligence and defence agencies are due for the most almighty shakeup. So until we get our intelligence shit together (we won’t), the best curb is the existence of an ever-more watchful ring of “eyes” to match and expose Chinese subterfuge, and to check China’s habit of soothingly saying one thing and ruthlessly doing another.

New Zealand is beset by, in William Shakespeare’s phrase, “overmighty subjects”, which since our very beginning we have resisted by being formally part of far greater alliances. We need partners who are customers to trade into recovery from our current calamity. But we also need, more and more, to sustain and build our defensive intelligence capacity within the massively intensifying digital contests for our health, our banking, our personal data, our identities.

What we and the world need is for China to prosper but not to bully. Now more than ever our economic recovery and revival will be hugely dependent on an early return to healthy Chinese growth.

We also need guardians of power and of data to avoid more disruptions to the delicate balances of today’s network world upon which we utterly depend. Expanding Five Eyes as an alliance is an ideal move to achieve this.

70 comments on “Expand Five Eyes ”

  1. Byd0nz 1

    Better to dump 5 eyes, fuck the spies, propaganda and lies. Falling into Pompeo's trap spells crap crap crap.Regarding Hong Kong, well…….
    Shouldn't be a surprise to any one surely. Hong kong is part of China, Internationally accepted as so, get used to it. Hong Kong is however, the soft underbelly of China where foreign NGOs have poured millions of dollars and American flags for the young protesters to wave in their right wing rebellion, a rebellion led and mostly followed by young people whos brains have yet to reach the age of maturity. The real story about Hong Kong is the battle of the Capitalist for world hegemony, on one side the Capitalist West led by Uncle Sam and Capitalist China, noting here that the second 'C' in CCP should be 'Capitalist', as China is Communist in name only. Like it or not about Hong Kong, you just going to have to swallow it, because China is not about to be usurped by the so called Democracy Movement who will soon be abandoned by their foreign exploiters. So the pink left wingers here would be better to put their energy into making sure the Nats and co never ever take power again, because as the fight for World domination heats up, Uncle Sam will surely want to put military bases here in NZ and it would be a Nat Government that would facilitate that.

    • Tricledrown 1.1

      Yeah Right what about all the CCP donations to National then.

      We are in one camp or the other.

      Ditching the US would open us up to more influence from the CCP.

  2. Hanswurst 2

    After reading this post, I am none the wiser as to how China's apparently subtle spying and deceit is any different from what other nations do, beyond a borderline racist handwave that they will do stuff just like Sun Tsu. I can just imagine some chap in China saying, "The American, like Jesus, will go about healing lepers, rather than concentrating on the real threats confronting the nation". The post starts off implying that it would be a good thing for Japan to join Five Eyes, then goes off on a tangent as to why NZ (maybe) needs some sort of Five-Eyes-style arrangement (which, last I checked, it already has), and then states that being in Five Eyes (or making Five Eyes into Six Eyes, or something) is an ideal way of making China behave as a Liberal Bourgeois Democrat would wish.

    As to why intensifying spying would have that effect… no idea. To "match and expose China's subterfuge" seems like a weird goal in that regard. Exposing any subterfuge is probably a good thing, but getting Five Eyes to "match" it? Why do we want to trade Chinese subterfuge for subterfuge by other world powers? It's hard to see what the thesis of this article is, beyond, "The Chinese are evil spies who must be spied on". Ah well, it's probably just an attempt to get strident responses from self-declared lefties who are reflexively anti-US, and therefore pro-China in a "the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend" sort of way. At least, viewed through that prism, it suddenly becomes a lucid and stretegically structured article, rather than a stream of consciousness.

    • Dennis Frank 2.1

      A very good critique & analysis! Yet an essay writer on a political blog needs only pose interesting questions. Providing answers is often beside the point.

      "China’s strategic opportunism continues to destabilise its periphery", according to the Director of Geo-Economics and Strategy and Japan Chair for the International Institute for Strategic Studies. https://www.iiss.org/blogs/analysis/2020/06/japan-long-term-foreign-policy

      I somehow doubt that `destabilise your periphery' is one of Sun Tzu's dictums. Edgy moves on imperial boundaries are liable to provoke barbarians. But it is always possible that Xi sees himself as an innovator, keen to stir things up.

      In 2020 Japan will experience its most brutal recession since the end of World War II. Economic ground lost in the 2020 downturn is unlikely to be regained until 2022 at the earliest.

      The main opinion polls in Japan show a decline in support for Abe’s Cabinet over 2020. An unprecedented fourth term as president of the Liberal Democratic Party now looks unlikely for him. This partly reflects Abe fatigue – he is already Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. But his domestic policy agenda has also lost steam.

      The pandemic has scuppered Abe's push to reform Japan’s Constitution. Abenomics, his signature economic reboot program and keystone of his appeal to voters, is also flagging.

      This suggests Japan may be turning further inward, making a bold move such as joining 5 Eyes increasingly unlikely.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        The Japanese Defence Minister has openly sought an invitation from the Five Eyes group to join them. He made that request last week.

        The occasion was at the seminar fo the China Reserach Group held in the UK last week.

        The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee f the British Parliament, Mr Tugendart, responded: "We should allow trusted partners to join the alliance. We should seize every opportunity, and cooperate more closely with Japan."

        https://www.alleseuropa.net/five-eyes-alliance-intends-to-include-japan/

        So ti is under active discussion both from the Japanese government, and within a key Five Eyes partner. It is really unusual to hear of this kind of intelligence security alliance being spoken about in open forum at a very senior elected member level.

        That puts it in the more-likely-to-happen category.

        • Dennis Frank 2.1.1.1

          Okay, that's a big move! Perhaps it reflects deep thought in recent years in Japan's foreign policy establishment. Perhaps a non-partisan consensus lies behind it.

    • Ad 2.2

      You're one of those people who likes lots of links that are as plain as possible.

      New Zealand now has a specific warning against travel to Hong Kong.

      https://safetravel.govt.nz/news/hong-kong-demonstrations-and-national-security-legislation

      At the same time, the New Zealand government changed its policy on military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong, subjecting the city to the same as the People’s Republic of China (PRC). No explanation was given.

      And straight after the New Zealand gave the travel warning, and that ban on military and dual use technology, National's Simon Bridges, also made comments supportive of the government’s position, as did the leader of ACT, David Seymour.

      https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA2007/S00009/act-stands-with-the-people-of-hong-kong.htm

      So all parties in parliament agree the threat level has gone up. That unanimity is remarkably rare.

      That unanimity of politics about the threat change China now represents puts us three years behind Australia. Australia's Federal government agreed on this across Parliament in 2017, once they figured out how deep the influence of China on their politics had grown.

      https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/09/china-says-turnbulls-remarks-have-poisoned-the-atmosphere-of-relations

      Professor Ann Marie Brady has been writing about Chinese government political interference in our politics for a while here, including in this detailed submission on our local government elections:

      https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/52SCJU_EVI_93630_JU69172/ec59cb5bfacf8217b4d55c2200ba6e5875ce9943

      You can go ahead and argue with that and claim it's all racist or something.

      In other papers she also goes through the published works of Xi Jinping and his associates and shows how they are carrying them out.

      We have had multiple fundraising scandals over two local and national elections, all with Chinese mainland funding sources. They came close to taking out several party leaders.

      But we like to think we're too good, too virtuous, too anti-racist, too neutral and too small a place that international politics couldn't possibly happen here. What a joyful conceit we run.

      Our own government's diplomatic responses under Ardern have been subtle, but collectively over this term have distinct patterns and frameworks:

      https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/new-zealands-quiet-china-shift/

      But hey, go ahead and talk about the post as something just intended to get some imaginary "left" excited.

      • RedLogix 2.2.1

        But we like to think we're too good, too virtuous, too anti-racist, too neutral and too small a place that international politics couldn't possibly happen here. What a joyful conceit we run.

        I so wish I had written that. yes

      • Hanswurst 2.2.2

        I get enough links to read, including about China. I'm usually only inclined to click through to them if the person recommending them puts up a coherent thesis to convince me of why I should bother to do so.

      • Mark 2.2.3

        How many countries has the US invaded post-war compared to China

        The US has 800 military. China has one.

        Yet China is the main threat?

        Yep that is racist. Its white supremacist. Any non-white country on the rise must be 'contained'

        • Incognito 2.2.3.1

          Stupid whataboutery is a deliberate evasion from the OP and debate in good faith. You’re heading for the Exit if you keep this up.

  3. barry 3

    5-eyes is toxic and has never showed any measurable benefit for NZ.

    The best evidence is that the US knew about the impending Rainbow Warrior bombing in 1985 and didn't pass the information on to the NZ government as required by the then incarnation of the agreement.

    Our "security" services lie to the government and carry out illegal acts with impunity. They are captured by their 5-eyes counterparts and show more allegiance them than us. They failed to stop the Christchurch killings because they follow 5-eyes priorities (which are more anti-islam) rather than thinking about the threats that are relevant to NZ.

    China is flexing its muscles and behaving badly (Particularly to its own people). However, a lot of it it s in response to provocation from abroad, particularly from other 5-eyes nations. NZ does not need to take sides, we can criticise China more effectively if we are known for our impartiality. As a part of 5-eyes, everything we say is seen as an extension of US aggression.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Great post Ad. I really appreciate the time and thought that goes into much of your work. Of course it will attract like flies the reflexive anti-Americans who having spent decades dumping on the USA (often with justification), but cannot see how Xi Xinping has pivoted the PRC from a constructive, growing member of the global community, to something substantially more threatening than the USA.

    And far too many people have been dazzled by the rapid growth, the sparkly modern Chinese coastal cities and the superficial wealth, while failing to appreciate that all of this was only possible in a geopolitical environment created largely by the US post WW2 global trade order. And that now this security guarantee is being withdrawn, the immutable laws of geography, demographics and military defense are going to assert themselves with a new vengeance.

    In reality the PRC is in a much weaker position than it likes to project. In every important respect their underlying geopolitical position is a perfect storm of bad news. In the view of some commentators I respect a lot, this is the real reason for Xi Xinping's aggressive stance, it's has somewhat more to do with stoking ultra-nationalist sentiments at home and protecting the CCP from internal threat, than actual conflict with other nations. At least in the short term. It is of course a dangerous game.

    None of this exonerates the USA. Despite it's outsize influence in the world, it's core problem is that it's unique geography, conferring both security and wealth no matter how badly the American's try to fuck it up, mean that they have never had to be particularly good or competent at governing themselves in order to become prosperous. Generations of this logic has now taken them to the nadir they have demonstrably arrived at.

    But ultimately I have no time for those who would pretend NZ can somehow not take sides. The days when we could do 'security by obscurity' are long gone; we will soon have to pick a side, even if none of the choices appeal much.

    We need to keep our eye on a desired outcome for all of this; ultimately the age of the superpower must be brought to an end. We must ultimately transition to a system of federated global governance that permanently brings to an end the use of war (and all of it's variants). This means a world is which neither the PRC or the USA are engaged in a competitive struggle for supremacy. But getting there is neither obvious nor easy, in the meantime NZ must work to survive the very turbulent decade we face with the tools on offer. This means a strong regional alliance to counterbalance an expansionary and threatening PRC. Most of the components of this are in place; it's the logical extension of what you write here Ad.

    Michael Beckly offers a balanced dive into more of the details; if you get past the slightly click baity title it's well worth the 27 min:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1xde-gKgvA

    • Ad 4.1

      Cheers Red – I'll take a look once I've finished baking my fish pie for tonight's Labour mindwinter fundraiser.

    • Dennis Frank 4.2

      Haven't watched the vid yet but I'd prefer a three-sided scenario! Trouble with 5-eyes as a binary scheme is that it makes us more vulnerable to American macho stances & collateral damage. British hand-braking on the cowboys may still work somewhat, but on some slippery slopes the hand-brake seems insufficient…

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        A SE Asian alliance is the third leg you are looking for. Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia and NZ would make for a significant entity, with considerable geopolitical leverage.

        Yes the Americans would be involved, mostly via logistic and a supply perspective (I doubt very much the Americans want to engage in actual combat in Asia), but a formal regional alliance would provide considerable counterbalance against both PRC expansionary ambitions, and US macho. Not perfectly I agree, but it's the best offer in town.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2

        Trouble with 5-eyes as a binary scheme is that it makes us more vulnerable to American macho stances & collateral damage.

        Yes, I'd much prefer an alliance with other nations who are more interested neutrality and staying out of war but being willing to go to war when needed.

      • RedLogix 4.2.3

        The other alliance configuration on offer is this:

        CANZUK International was founded in January 2015 as The Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation, and is the world’s leading non-profit organisation advocating facilitated migration, free trade and foreign policy coordination between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (the “CANZUK” countries).

        Our campaign advocates closer cooperation between these four nations so they may build upon existing economic, diplomatic and institutional ties to forge a cohesive alliance of nation-states with a truly global outlook.

        https://www.canzukinternational.com/

        If you read carefully, this proposal has more legs than most people realise, with all the Parliaments involved having already made expressions of interest at least in principle.

        I can see no fundamental reason why we couldn't run both a SE Asian and CANZUK alliances in parallel; there are no obvious conflicts of interest.

        • greywarshark 4.2.3.1

          What have we got in common – all English speakers, so we know the official and unofficial meanings of all the words used in communication, a sort of unofficial code. The United States of America is not in it, but through its vassal country the UK, it will still have a presence, perhaps an empty chair will be left at the table symbolically.

        • Ad 4.2.3.2

          The relevant one that already promotes economic, political and security cooperation in our region is ASEAN:

          https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-asean

          Australia and ourselves should seek an invitation to be a full member of that.

          • RedLogix 4.2.3.2.1

            True.

            Now imagine a world with three major regional groupings, ASEAN, NAFTA and whatever happens to the EU with the UK sitting on one side of that. (The UK may well have committed to Brexit, but they have yet to unmoor their island from it's location on the Atlantic edge of Europe.)

            Now overlay this with CANZUK. Aus/NZ would link into the Asian region, Canada into the NAFTA zone, and the UK with Europe. All with a reasonably secure shipping route across the Pacific, the Northwest passage or train across Canada, and then across the Atlantic into the UK. All very doable from a geopolitical perspective.

            My point is that we have far more options open to us that just piously hoping we can be 'neutral' in a world that would see such a stance as nothing but the abject weakness it really is.

            • Dennis Frank 4.2.3.2.1.1

              we have far more options open to us that just piously hoping we can be 'neutral' in a world that would see such a stance as nothing but the abject weakness it really is

              Whereas I have been advocating Aotearoa as non-aligned, that was merely in response to the habitual binary framing most commentators use. I agree that the options you outlined are a more sophisticated framing for transcending the binary strait-jacket.

              Getting Labour & National up to speed on that will be a task for the future – probably necessitating younger players to leverage the outcome.

              I watched Beckley's vid for about 10 mins. The pacing was good but insufficient substance became evident, then I noticed his voice was competing with backing music: a sign of poor technique (cf TVNZ promos for 7 Sharp – or 7 Blunt, if you prefer honesty). So I googled the guy & it became evident that he's merely a yank propagandist doing spin for their establishment to leverage a career in foreign policy.

              https://www.michaelbeckley.org/about

              That said, I agree his pitch is a useful counterbalance to their usual gung ho propaganda & scaremongering re China from Trumpists. I just get too impatient when thesis presentation seems like a toddler making a castle out of a pile of building blocks. 😒

              • RedLogix

                I just get too impatient when thesis presentation seems like a toddler making a castle out of a pile of building blocks.

                I realise that geopolitics probably lacks a certain cerebral piquancy that you'd prefer, but the continuity of nations rests on certain basic foundational blocks, geography, demography and security. The post-WW2 US trade order, by providing an almost universal security of trade guarantee to all nations, largely subdued their import. To the extent most people stopped including them in the frame. Politics, personalities and cultural polarisation rose to dominate the discourse, especially in the post Cold War period.

                While the basics of geopolitics may seem like playthings to you, their relevancy is only going to become more intense in this coming decade, reasserting their old power. It's probably worth your time to refresh your acquaintance with them.

          • Anne 4.2.3.2.2

            And it is going to happen… both in political, economical and biological terms.

            If we could return in 100 years time – provided we haven't blown ourselves up or fried to death due to lack of CC action – we would not recognise the country both in terms of economic activity and population transformation.

    • Mpk 4.3

      I'm slightly curious about all the bellicosity revolving around China's "increasingly aggressive stance" so I held my nose and clicked through a couple of your Guardian links. They seem to amount to closing a US embassy, a deadly border dispute with India, cooling diplomatic relations with the UK and the new Hong Kong law. If this is aggression then please excuse my laughter. The embassy closure was in response to a US closure, the Indian border dispute was admitted as an incursion by India and occurred as hand to hand combat as agreed by the two parties as the way that border fighting will be conducted as a way to prevent escalation. Cooling diplomatic relations are a 2 way thing which really only leaves Hong Kong. Perhaps you dont accept that Hong Kong is now part of China and hence our change in the way we view extradition and trade in military capable goods. So that makes this an internal problem and therefore not agressive as far as world politics are concerned. There are many States that demonstrate aggression beyond their borders but China is not one.

      India/China dispute

    • Mark 4.4

      China has no wish to rule the world. China just wants to be left alone, and not be at risk of being pluinged into civil war through Western sabotage and wrecking such as what has happened in Hong Kong

      China could not give a fuck for how New Zealand or the US manages its own affairs. Does China ever speak out about indigenous or black imprisonment rates in the West? No. So why does the West, including New Zealand harp on about so-called human rights in China, about Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong.

      If New Zealand does not appreciate so called Chinese 'influence' (which in reality is just a point of view), in NZ, then surely we are being utterly hypocritical in lecturing Xi Jinping on Xinjiang etc?

      Its only the anglosphere that adopts this annoying busy-body approach. Don't see the Africans, other Asians, or Russians, Cubans worrying about how China governs China.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    We need partners who are customers to trade into recovery from our current calamity.

    A properly developed nation is not dependent upon trade.

    In fact, we could take the drop in trade from the covid19 and utilise the freed up resources to truly become independent. To fully develop our internal economy.

    • Incognito 5.1

      You’re not against international trade per se, are you?

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        No, I think its a nice to have.

        But detrimental to become dependent upon it.

    • Ad 5.2

      Whatever "properly developed" means in your mind, it doesn't include New Zealand.

      So for the foreseeable future, international trade is our simple necessity. And for that we need partners to protect that trade capacity.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        Whatever "properly developed" means

        Being non-dependent upon trade means that we can provide what we need without importation. So, food, clothing, computers*, etcetera – all made here from our resources.

        * Our burgeoning tech industry shows that we can do it – just need the fabrication plants and ore extraction and processing.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    It's always difficult to tell how much value one gets from intelligence services. Here in NZ they seem to have concentrated their efforts on inoffensive persons like Keith Locke, while leaving CCP infiltration in the too-hard basket, no doubt in part for want of the requisite language skills.

    As far as pernicious foreign interest goes, the leading local malefactor seems to be the OIO, an institution so round-heeled one has to look very hard indeed to find an instance of their declining an application, however manifestly against the public interest. And the result is that gross environmental abuses like the Timaru outfall are being backed through courts with truckloads of foreign cash, and to hell with the local community.

    A couple of dozen more spooks with software toys like Palantir aren't going to do much to improve that. And the service budget was already expanded massively under Key without improving the public experience. So before buying a truckload more of their services, they really need to make a case that promises some actual benefit. I wouldn't thank you for their current performance.

    • Ad 6.1

      The OIO is not an intelligence agency.

      But as I noted above, our government suspended both the extradition treaty and the export of military technology and dual use technology.

      https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-suspends-extradition-treaty-hong-kong

      “Firstly, we are changing how we treat the export of sensitive goods to Hong Kong. From now on, we will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as we treat those exports to China. Secondly, we have updated our travel advice to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the National Security Law.”

      You will hopefully be aware that this has been brought into sharp relief through the Pacific Aerospace export of planes to China which have now been transformed into military drones, and Pacific Aerospace are aghast:

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12350401

      So no, the Timaru outfall isn't relevant to Five Eyes.

      But the sale of military technology to China is.

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.1

        One can construe these things in different ways.

        I'm inclined to consider that intelligence agencies that only consider threats identified by our senior partners in the five eyes alliance fundamentally lacking in local relevance.

        Your suggestion of bringing Japan into fold makes sense, though it may come at some cost across much of the rest of Asia. Korea is a partner with considerable skill in relations with China – the so-called lips and teeth relationship goes back to dynastic times, and if Korea were excluded while admitting Japan, they might be a little put out.

        Then again, I consider neoliberalism a threat – it's done damage to NZ beyond the wildest dreams of the most Svengalian agent provocateur, and while it is allowed free reign to continue damaging our country, supporting a security intelligence apparatus to allegedly protect us is frankly fatuous.

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.2

        I'm not sure that military technology is particularly pertinent to us – not being a great repository of that early twentieth century miracle, the secret weapon.

        The threat to us is more industrial – as Korea, who have a bit of experience with China, could tell you.

        And that is why the OIO is a fatal weakness in our intelligence PPE. Created for a romantic time, when free market pretentions were entertained, it is not equipped to rebuff full court mercantilism. On the contarary, it is set up to encourage capital inflows that could be used to sustain the mirage of growth, which, with every country printing money now, has become irrelevant.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Was the -sarc- tag left off Ad’s post? It cannot be serious…6 Eyes? Japan asked to join the Anglosphere…state snoops always serve the ruling class before the interests of the mass of the citizens.

    A new 21st century non aligned movement of smaller countries would be worth investigating for trade and peaceful relations.

    • Ad 7.1

      Go ahead and set out:

      – who that would be,

      – how it would work, and

      – why it would serve our interests better than the current arrangement.

  8. Morrissey 8

    We have to face that China as a rapidly rising giant requires sharper and sharper responses as the heat of its sun rises closer.

    Did you write that yourself, Advantage? Or did you lift it verbatim from a Pompeo rant?

    • Ad 8.1

      Unlike you, I think. That's where it's necessary to critique allies, as I do here:

      "…the divisive belligerence of Mr Pompeo…"

      and here:

      "…the belligerence of the United States current regime…"

      and here:

      "…a balancing of U.S. hegemonic influence …"

      and here

      "… longstanding domination by Western institutions…"

      But top marks for your star barking turn as the unreflexive performing seal of the confused left without the mental capacity to read more than four paragraphs into a piece.

      • Morrissey 8.1.1

        You also refer to "the strong democracies like Canada and Japan." Surely you don't expect anyone to take you seriously on that?

        Or does supporting the Trump regime's (failed) attempt to undermine the democratically elected government of Venezuela mean Canada is not as it appears to be, i.e. an embarrassingly pliant "good neighbour" fronted by a lickspittle, but is instead a "strong democracy"?

        https://globalnews.ca/video/4934879/trudeau-calls-maduro-a-brutal-dictator-and-urges-immediate-free-elections-in-venezuela

        • Andre 8.1.1.1

          performing seal… hah! More like:

          • Morrissey 8.1.1.1.1

            Your analysis and wit are still at the same exalted standard, Andre. Thought up any other excruciatingly funny names to call President Drumpf lately?

            • Andre 8.1.1.1.1.1

              I've seen a few that caught my eye, but posting them here would be going too far off-topic. They may make an appearance in other threads where they're more relevant.

        • Incognito 8.1.1.2

          You also refer to "the strong democracies like Canada and Japan." Surely you don't expect anyone to take you seriously on that?

          Did you see a satire or \sarc tag anywhere?

          Address the content of the OP and commentary and don’t divert to one of your hobby horses if/when you can’t cope/deal with said content.

          • Morrissey 8.1.1.2.1

            Did you see a satire or \sarc tag anywhere?

            I didn't. Obviously it was an oversight. The contention that Canada and Japan are "strong democracies" is beyond parody, surely.

            [Your contribution under this post is worse than a troll parody. Come back on Monday Troll Day, thanks – Incognito]

      • Mark 8.1.2

        Its clear Ad, that you see China as a great threat. But based on what.

        Do you know that China was a victim of Western imperialism, exploitation for a century. Indeed that is what gave rise to the Chinese revolution.

        USA: 800 military bases. China: 1

        That you see China as the threat shows you to up to be a closet white supremacist

        [

        That you see China as the threat shows you to up to be a closet white supremacist

        That tops off the trifecta of stupid troll comments under this post with a nice personal attack on the Author.

        See you in the New Year, the ‘white supremacist’ New Year that is – Incognito]

  9. Spikeyboy 9

    It seems that there is at least some recognition that the USA is part of the problem. For instance, the 400 odd military bases surrounding China could be construed as some kind of bear cage into which sharp sticks can be poked. For some reason, the resulting anger and rage is then taken as a sign that the animal should be put down.

    Many posters here seem to be happy with alliances and groupings of countries that include the country supplying the sharp sticks. These people seem uninterested in the way the bear percieves the world. Any grouping that doesn't include the view of China is doomed to failure. Adding Japan to 5 eyes is a particularly large and sharp stick and can only result in ratcheting up tensions. Mike Pompeo will be very pleased. But is helping to bring on the rapture really a priority for us?

    [Please stick to the user name that you have used before, thanks – Incognito]

    [Moderators, especially this one, get really suspicious when they see comments coming from supposedly different commenters using the same IP address under the same OP. They, especially this one, become even more suspicious when this behaviour connects to a commenter who has been banned permanently on this site previously. You’ll have some explaining to do if you and your alias want to keep your commenting privilege here – Incognito]

    • Incognito 9.1

      [Please stick to the user name that you have used before, thanks – Incognito]

    • Incognito 9.2

      See my other Moderation note @ 4:43 PM.

      • Sacha 9.2.1

        comments coming from supposedly different commenters using the same IP address under the same OP

        That is so corrosive to good faith discussion.

  10. Gawd this thread is depressing!

    Just saying. It reminds me of regular saturday morning pub sessions 45 years ago with the father-in-law's ex-military/intelligence mates discussing their lillies and crysanthemums and reminiscing about the war. Preservation of the Empire

    Let's do it all again shall we? Where's Wayne ….. please …. come back with your sage commentary on realpolitik. All is forgiven

    Shit! Did I say that out loud?

  11. PaddyOT 11


    "They’ll protect and slowly expand China’s historic sovereign areas and seek to share with other nations in peace. They’ll cement this in with the concrete-and-steel of the belt-and-road to bind the interests …rather than conflicts."

    The case of Ecuador having to choose between two world powers ( if you don’t count the IMF.)

    The ' Belt and Roads' type deals/gifts that keep on giving to impoverished nations -enviromental devastation, deforestation, oil pollution, resource depletion, deaths, corruption, 7,648 cracks in a dam below a volcano and life in poverty peeling beans to keep paying for the deal.

    2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/world/americas/ecuador-china-dam.html

    2020 With easy podcast.
    Like someone had a late night party and bought a …..lemon.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/podcasts/thetake/2020/07/dam-plan-wrong-ecuador-amazon-200729142714303.html

  12. RedLogix 12

    Another geopolitical angle on NZ's changing regional role, and the potentially interesting implications of the recent scientific recognition of the Zealandia continent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IodncMroGw

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