Fri. Sep 20th, 2019

What Mike Pompeo’s Asia-Pacific program means for Five Eyes

On Monday, the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo concluded his most recent trip of Asia-Pacific following major stops in Australia and Thailand. In his meetings in Sydney which took place on Saturday and Sunday, among the chief bilateral program articles were the future prospects for Five Eyes which is currently facing pressure due to the Chinese involvement in 5G telecom networks. Five Eyes is among the most popular intelligence alliance around the globe.

The roots of Five Eyes can be traced back to the intelligence relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. during the Second World War established in the 1946 BRUSA (which later came to be known as the UKUSA) Agreement. In the later part of 1940s and 1950s, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, as previous dominions of the United Kingdom, started their representation in the agreement.

Even though the U.S. enjoys various intelligence relationships with chief allies among the G7 states such as France, Japan, etc., and the intelligence relationship is extended to Jordan, Turkey, etc. in the Middle East, the tightest knit intelligence cooperation that the U.S. enjoys is with the countries included in Five Eyes. The bond between these countries is strengthened by many years of sturdy security, economic and cultural relations. The vast geographical spread of these countries around the world signifies how members of the Five Eyes carefully distribute intelligence-related duties according to their particular region. An example is how the U.K. keeps a check on the Middle East as well as Europe.

However, it has been observed recently how the trust that these countries based their intelligence alliance on has been threatened by numerous developments, such as the leaks of Edward Snowden and, more recently, the employing of Chinese 5G telecom technologies, Huawei, to be more specific.

Canberra and Washington are being most obvious of their hostility towards Huawei, both of them have banned the firm from delivering their 5G network equipment.

This was initiated by Australia in 2018 when, under their prime minister of the time Malcolm Turnbull, they named themselves the very first country that banned Chinese companies from their 5G networks. It was only then that the United States banned 5G technology from China.

However, up until now at least, the members of the Five Eyes are not unified on the 5G problem