Tariffs could threaten 5 Eyes Alliance

 Editor's Note: The story below was first published in March, it seems to be greater relevance today, given the dynamics that the U.S and its Allies are currently engaged in.

Hollywood, MD - Five Eyes is the world’s most significant intelligence alliance. Founded in the aftermath of World War II with an agreement between the United States and the U.K., and later expanded to include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, it entailed the mutual sharing of signals and communications intelligence between these countries—and the understanding they would not spy on each other. 

This alliance had borne fruit on countless occasions, particularly between Britain and the United States. Anglo-American cooperation had been crucial in tracking Soviet ballistic missile-carrying submarines during the Cold War, and the United States had for decades relied heavily on British listening posts in its former empire for signals intelligence in the Middle East and elsewhere. Following 9/11, American and Pakistani intelligence arrested Osama bin Laden’s aide Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on the strength of an intercepted text message, leading to a wealth of intelligence about planning against British targets.

In light of the current tariffs imposed by the United States much discussion has ensued about what could be the rationale for punishing our closest allies. The economic argument of a global trade war has spooked Wall Street and surely must be giving pause to the allies of the US.  The ramifications of imposing tariffs (with exceptions, Canada and Mexico ) did defuse some of the concerns of Wall Street traders. The arguments go back and forth whether this will cause a net loss or gain of jobs in the US. The analysis seems to support a net loss although no one really can predict how our economy and the global economy will be affected.

I suggest that a far more dangerous fall out would be that imposing tariffs on our "friends" could be the beginning of a slippery slope where the Five Eyes of trusted allies may within a few years be radically affected to the point of breaking apart. The tariffs are being invoked  on the basis of National Security. The fear is that Five Eyes which is based on trust may have an unintended consequence leading to dissolution of that trust with our Five Eye partners. That surely would cause a clear and present danger.

Contact Martin Fairclough at

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