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Putting Five Eyes in its place

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 pm, April 20th, 2021 - 19 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, Deep stuff, Iran, iraq, israel, Nanaia Mahuta, Propaganda, Russia, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags:

Following her speech to the NZ China Council, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta wanted to be very clear that in speaking out about issues with other countries, New Zealand would not be doing it in concert with Five Eyes partners. She expressed a view that New Zealand did not agree with Five Eyes remit encroaching beyond intelligence, and that this had been communicated to Five Eyes partners. Good.

Helen Clark had expressed a similar view last year. I had the same view in my submission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee a its special session to enquire into foreign interference in our elections. The SIS and GCSB produced nothing reports, at unknown costs, to say that while it may possibly happen they had no evidence that it did in the 2017 election. It has been the same for this latest election.

In the rest of the Five Eyes world the oxymoronic intelligence agencies are having a field day interfering in election politics, whether it is in their own countries or beyond. Russian interference in the US, anti-semitism in the UK, anti-China legislation in Canada and Australia, and that is only in their own countries. Elsewhere its colour revolutions, in Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, Belarus to name but a few.

The US, UK, Canada and Australia have shifted their strategic priority from the ‘war on terror’ to ‘extreme competition’ with China, Russia and Iran. Israel as always is a player in the background. The euphemism does not disguise that what is now happening is war, albeit an information war.  But as we saw with Iraq and the ‘coalition of the willing’ that is the usual prelude to the kinetic version. And the difference between kinetic war against terrorists and that against states, is that in the current environment the latter will most likely turn nuclear, in which case we are all dead.

The Four Eyes media in the other countries have been predictably abusive about New Zealand going its independent way. How dare we be the taniwha that roared! It will be interesting to see what the New Zealand media do, David Lange famously and accurately described them as “reef fish,” and there has been evidence of a burgeoning consensus of ‘China bad,’ to the point where people of Asian origin have felt compelled to demonstrate to protest against it.

Nanaia Mahuta’s speech was themed “The Taniwha and the Dragon.” I think it is great that Aotearoa/New Zealand has decided to be clearly independent in the way we see the world, and how and with whom we will express our Tiriti values and grow our Asia-Pacific interests. We went our own way with Covid, and that should enable us  to face the rest of the 21st century with confidence.

19 comments on “Putting Five Eyes in its place ”

  1. Anne 1

    It feels almost like it might be a re-run of NZ's anti nuclear stance in the mid 1980s and beyond. I hope not because that had serious repercussions for many individuals in NZ who dared to stand tall and be counted.

    It is not in our interest to join the anti-China gang. To do so would be to cut off our noses to spite our faces. I refer in particular to the very important trade deals we have with them. That doesn’t mean we have to kowtow to them, or not show displeasure towards them when it is deserved.

    If our intelligence communities have the guts to tacitly support Nanaia Mahuta in this decision, I will applaud them. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

  2. Byd0nz 2

    Well that has ruined my poem against 5 eyes, saying how NZ is under the Yankee and Bulldog thumb.

    How happy I am to be wrong on this matter. If Labour does nothing else, they have done us a great service in rejecting 5 eye fascism.Bravo

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    There are a lot of foreign policy issues out there at present, with Russia demonstrating on Ukraine's border, and British fleets at least counter-demonstrating in the Black Sea.

    A principled neutrality has always been NZ's best position, with a bit of humanitarian intervention close to home. If we're looking for causes, Timor Leste could use a bit of help about now: Timor-Leste faces new challenge amid Covid-19 pandemic | RNZ News

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Time to think about Timor L'Este again indeed. I agree with your suggestions overall.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Nice change to be able to enthusiastically support a Govt. Minister!

    Hopefully the Labour Caucus will support Nanaia Mahuta’s approach, and she is able to maintain this type of strategic line. Various think tanks, Associations (NATO affiliated and other), Security Agencies, ‘lifer’ diplomats and Ministry officials will be clocking up the hours trying deal with this Minister.

    5 Eyes belongs to a long faded Anglosphere, and it should be retired, and Aotearoa NZ pursue a non aligned, independent foreign policy, building relationships with the rest of the world based on mutually beneficial bi lateral trade and culture.

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    China is a problematic trading partner, seems overkeen on technology transfer ( doesn't respect others boundaries or ownership think kiwi fruit) and is running some fairly repressive political stuff. Quietly drifting away from them would be my pick for a policy.

    • Anne 6.1

      New Zealand faces the prospect of expulsion from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, according to the Daily Telegraph's defence editor, Con Coughlin, who says Jacinda Ardern has a preference for "cosying up to China's communist rulers".

      He refers to Jacinda Ardern as New Zealand's "tiresomely woke Prime Minister".

      "Thanks to Wellington's naïve decision to prioritise trade with China over its membership of the elite Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, Ms Ardern can expect her country's isolation to deepen further as New Zealand faces the very real prospect of expulsion from the alliance over its pro-Beijing stance."

      What a load of dripping pus from an ultra conservative war mongering British git still living in the colonial dark ages. Mind you with a name like his it isn't surprising. 😎

      • In Vino 6.1.1

        As I understand things, China has quietly dropped communism, and adopted many capitalist practices. I think China is still totalitarian, which I see as a far greater evil than communist.

        Yet here in our media (who treat us all as if most of us are idiots) the Chinese are still vilified by being falsely labeled as communist.

        • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.1

          It seemed a little complicated when I was there – many communitarian communist values survive to some degree, especially those that fit in with traditional Confucian ethics. The yuppie businessfolk I worked were thus downright rude to young beggars – but kind and generous to older widows.

          The mass of Chinese people have little or no conflict with the authoritarian part of the state, and so they don't experience it as particularly totalitarian.

          When conflict does occur, it is as heartless and as beyond appeal as the rulings of ACC – small gods playing force majeure with their borrowed authority. Hence why it sucks to be a Uighur, or anyone else the state deems uncooperative.

      • Michael 6.1.2

        I'd love to know who fed this guy his material – MI6? My guess is right-wing figuers here in Aotearoa are the villains. I'm also fairly sure that our Five Eyes partners have no intention of kicking us out. They need us too.

        • Anne 6.1.2.1

          He probably got it from some pompous NZ Defence Force 'git' who thinks that anyone who has ever voted Labour or – horror of horrors – the Greens is a paid up member of the KGB (alias FSB).

          They still exist inside the Defence Force but thankfully slowly dying off.

      • joe90 6.1.3

        But he’s distinguished.
        /

  6. Michael 7

    I agree with Mahuta (and her colleagues who would have approved her speech). Five Eyes is an intelligence network that we need (not least because we could never afford one like it by ourselves) at a time when China is aggressively projecting power into our region. But an intelligence network is all Five Eyes is. It is not a multipurpose framework for conducting operations against China. BTW, it is a fundamental principle of military organisation that intelligence and operations functions remain separate. If we need to work with our allies to respond to Chinese threat we should use other mechanisms. I'm not sure that we actually need to do that yet but we do need to think about it, just as we need to look at our military capabilities.

  7. Ad 8

    Well Mahuta's metaphorical speech was fine for about 8 hours, then came blowback, now today Ardern and Mahuta are walking it back and making every reassurance that nothing has changed and we are fully in the family tent again.

    That paves the way for a big Scott Morrison visit here in a couple of months. Sweetness and light breaks out.

    Morrison just overruled Victoria's belt and road sign up. So they remain the harshest pushback against China.

    Our wiggle room has no more wiggle left.

    • Anne 8.1

      Ahh… that's not the response I saw from Ardern. She upheld Mahuta's statement and made it clear there is no intention to remove NZ from the 5 Eyes alliance – nor does NZ have any intention of removing itself. I paraphrase.

      Helen Clark has also responded to the claim that they planned to remove NZ during her time as PM – because of her refusal to send troops to Iraq – and describing it as a staggering claim that never happened.

      That’s not walking it back.

      No surprises for guessing what is going on here. A right wing conspiracy theorist who lies? Nothing new about that.

      See Joe 90s wikipedia link.

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