Canada Should Work More With Five Eyes to Counter China and Russia Threats: Report

Canada should collaborate more with its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to confront the challenges China and Russia pose to the liberal democracies in the West, a new report says. Titled “Evolving the Five Eyes: Opportunities and Challenges in the New Strategic Landscape,” the report says the members of the Five Eyes—Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and New Zealand—could work together to expand the ability of the alliance to counter China and Russia on a wider range of fronts, particularly in the areas of technology, information, military, and economics. “Over recent years, the international security situation has worsened and become increasingly fluid and dynamic, marked by hybrid warfare, grey-zone tactics, and non-kinetic threats; this entails political warfare, economic warfare, cyber operations, and strategic messaging against a target state without the use of conventional military means,” write authors John Hemmings and Peter Varnish. “Both Russia and China are waging increasingly aggressive campaigns of political warfare (also known as “below-threshold conflict”) designed to undermine the social, economic, and political resilience of the Five.” Hemmings is an associate professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, and Varnish is an expert in defence and security technologies and a visiting professor at the University of Coventry. The report is a joint publication released on Sept. 30 by the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa. Changing Threats In the report’s foreword, Richard Fadden, a former national security adviser to the Prime Minister of Canada and former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, says state competition is changing toward “deniable, intrusive, and non-military threats against all sectors of society,” which has led liberal democracies to increasingly look for a collective response. “China and Russia are taking increasingly assertive actions to reshape the international system and constrain the liberal democratic West using a range of non-kinetic tools,” Fadden writes. “While the threats from China and Russia are different in level and kind, they present a challenge that requires a collective response.” The report says that while the threats posed by China and Russia are similar to the political warfare threats from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, today the two regimes are “challenging global governance, maritime law, and international diplomacy” on an unprecedented level. “[T]he Five must develop the capability for analyzing and countering China and Russia’s interference and propaganda, and develop practical non-military ways to deter them,” the report says. Following China’s rise as an economic power, its neighbours and the Five Eyes countries have grown dependent on it for trade and economic growth. But unlike the Western states that link sanctions to human rights transgressions, “China has publicly denied any such [economic coercive] policies while at the same time quietly pursuing them,” the report says, quoting Christina Lai, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University. For example, it says Canada and Australia have been targeted by the Chinese communist regime. Canada was targeted following the arrest of Huawei’s senior executive Meng Wanzhou, and the regime set its sights on Australia after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for a public investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 global pandemic. “In the case of Canada, Chinese authorities restricted canola and meat products. The canola ban—costing the industry $1 billion—was based on allegations of ‘harmful organisms’ found in the crop,” the report said, adding that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not identify any such concerns. Recommendations Hemmings and Varnish compiled 12 recommendations from defence and security experts across the Five Eyes countries. The recommendations include creating a counter-interference handbook for analyzing Chinese and Russian interference both in Western democracies and in other countries. The authors also suggest creating a Five Eyes Defence Policy Bureau and boost political and security consultation between the members to address the economic warfare intended to degrade any members’ sovereignty. On the technology front, they recommended creating a Five Eyes tech centre for promising technologies to provide a venue for collaborative projects; creating interagency public-private working groups to collaborate on technology standards; and establishing a fusion centre to undertake classified analysis on information operations and interference. “Our hope is that this paper’s recommendations will foster evolution—not revolution—within the Five Eyes grouping,” the authors write. “This might include discussions leading to the solutions for urgent and immediate threats … and will also open up for discussion and

Canada Should Work More With Five Eyes to Counter China and Russia Threats: Report

Canada should collaborate more with its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to confront the challenges China and Russia pose to the liberal democracies in the West, a new report says.

Titled “Evolving the Five Eyes: Opportunities and Challenges in the New Strategic Landscape,” the report says the members of the Five Eyes—Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and New Zealand—could work together to expand the ability of the alliance to counter China and Russia on a wider range of fronts, particularly in the areas of technology, information, military, and economics.

“Over recent years, the international security situation has worsened and become increasingly fluid and dynamic, marked by hybrid warfare, grey-zone tactics, and non-kinetic threats; this entails political warfare, economic warfare, cyber operations, and strategic messaging against a target state without the use of conventional military means,” write authors John Hemmings and Peter Varnish.

Both Russia and China are waging increasingly aggressive campaigns of political warfare (also known as “below-threshold conflict”) designed to undermine the social, economic, and political resilience of the Five.”

Hemmings is an associate professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, and Varnish is an expert in defence and security technologies and a visiting professor at the University of Coventry. The report is a joint publication released on Sept. 30 by the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa.

Changing Threats

In the report’s foreword, Richard Fadden, a former national security adviser to the Prime Minister of Canada and former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, says state competition is changing toward “deniable, intrusive, and non-military threats against all sectors of society,” which has led liberal democracies to increasingly look for a collective response.

“China and Russia are taking increasingly assertive actions to reshape the international system and constrain the liberal democratic West using a range of non-kinetic tools,” Fadden writes. “While the threats from China and Russia are different in level and kind, they present a challenge that requires a collective response.”

The report says that while the threats posed by China and Russia are similar to the political warfare threats from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, today the two regimes are “challenging global governance, maritime law, and international diplomacy” on an unprecedented level.

“[T]he Five must develop the capability for analyzing and countering China and Russia’s interference and propaganda, and develop practical non-military ways to deter them,” the report says.

Following China’s rise as an economic power, its neighbours and the Five Eyes countries have grown dependent on it for trade and economic growth. But unlike the Western states that link sanctions to human rights transgressions, “China has publicly denied any such [economic coercive] policies while at the same time quietly pursuing them,” the report says, quoting Christina Lai, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University.

For example, it says Canada and Australia have been targeted by the Chinese communist regime. Canada was targeted following the arrest of Huawei’s senior executive Meng Wanzhou, and the regime set its sights on Australia after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for a public investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“In the case of Canada, Chinese authorities restricted canola and meat products. The canola ban—costing the industry $1 billion—was based on allegations of ‘harmful organisms’ found in the crop,” the report said, adding that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not identify any such concerns.

Recommendations

Hemmings and Varnish compiled 12 recommendations from defence and security experts across the Five Eyes countries.

The recommendations include creating a counter-interference handbook for analyzing Chinese and Russian interference both in Western democracies and in other countries.

The authors also suggest creating a Five Eyes Defence Policy Bureau and boost political and security consultation between the members to address the economic warfare intended to degrade any members’ sovereignty.

On the technology front, they recommended creating a Five Eyes tech centre for promising technologies to provide a venue for collaborative projects; creating interagency public-private working groups to collaborate on technology standards; and establishing a fusion centre to undertake classified analysis on information operations and interference.

“Our hope is that this paper’s recommendations will foster evolution—not revolution—within the Five Eyes grouping,” the authors write.

“This might include discussions leading to the solutions for urgent and immediate threats … and will also open up for discussion and debate long-term structural changes within the security and defence communities of our Five nations.”


Andrew Chen

Follow

Andrew is a reporter based in Toronto.